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Features

Main »» Show Reports

Fun of Computing 2004 report & editorial (4-Oct-2004)  Popular
(Read 13437 times)
Last weekend on the 2nd and 3rd of October there was a multi-platform event taking place in Ilmenau, Germany. Originally I was planning to attend the "Computer- & Videobörse" in Bremen on exactly the same date. The event in Bremen was founded and is being organized by an Amiga user group twice a year and earlier this year the Frieden brothers showed the latest version of AmigaOS4 there. Sadly they couldn't make it this time, but I learned that Jens Langner was planning to do an AmigaOS4 demonstration at the "Fun of Computing 2004" event this same weekend. Also Sebastian Bauer, who is a developer involved in the OS4 USB implementation would be present as well. So that's when I decided to go to Ilmenau instead!


Before the show

Jens Langner My state of mind was influenced by recent events as the days before going to this event I was yet again dragged into a discussion on the 'Amiga Network News' (ANN) rumours & news forum. On a positive note, due to this discussion I came into contact with an old time Italian friend again, someone who had left the Amiga community more than a year ago. Two years ago, Luca Diana invited me onto his private "Amiga Community Crisis Management" (ACCM) mailing list. Together with AmigaOS4/AmigaDE representatives he mainly got several well known Amiga community editors to join his effort. This was all with the intention to help provide constructive feedback and thus help advance the platform by overcoming possible obstacles. Sadly when some rival people got air of its existence lots of conspiracy theories were being made up and were being spread all across the community, perpetual almost like a war propaganda machine! At this point Luca was so fed up with everything, as his positive effort seemed to have done more harm than good and he eventually decided to quit his own list and even the community all together!

So well over a year later after the original list had been disbanded there are still people making wild claims on ANN and elsewhere about how malicious the ACCM effort allegedly had been! After making some corrections to some of the wildest claims and some pretty specific allegations, accusations and related insults outed against me personally (ironically a moderator called me to be a liar & hypocrite with regard to these ACCM-related corrections) I then decided that further discussion would be pointless and I contacted Luca Diana to make him aware of these false allegations. He then wrote an IMO quite refreshing response from an ex-Amiga community member point of view and took the time to confirm what I had stated in the forums. I was quite surprised to see that Luca has actually been just as good friends with some of these rumormongers as he had been with me and they were actually happy to hear from him again! Luca also made me aware of the ability to lookup the old ACCM archives (with word search) and I decided to use this when I tried to clear up the issues and misconceptions of the involved ANN moderator and all claims outed on ANN by various individuals appeared to have been completely false and unfounded. Luckily we have been able to resolve these issues and we agreed that these and other people's wild claims must have been based on miscommunications and misinformation. So doesn't it make you wonder how much utter nonsense is being spread across our little community and how much this really hurts all the involved parties? How many good people like Luca have left us for greener pastures?


The show

Sebastian Bauer My first thought when arriving at this multi-platform event was: "Wow. Amiga events get bigger and bigger each year!". No seriously, I have never been to an event with such a small setup ever before(!), even all the local Amiga user group meetings I have attended in the past have always been bigger than this! Within the two main halls there wasn't more to be seen than around two dozens tiny tables with small groups of people playing on their various c64, Classic Amiga, AmigaOne, Linux, Pegasos systems and one less known StrongARM based Omega computer made by MicroDigital. Just the night before, the company YellowTAB cancelled their participation for this event.! YellowTAB is a company which develops an alternative operating system called "ZETA", which is based on the BeOS operating system. However most of the interest seemed to have been for Jens' AmigaOS4 demonstration. There were around 30 people attending Jens' demonstration and he continued his demonstrations for several late comers including myself in a separate presentations room with AmigaOS4 projected on a large screen.

Compared to what I had seen at the very successful and crowded AmiGBG show in Sweden earlier this year, the most noticeable difference between AmigaOS4 then and now was the large increase of general performance. This had already been demonstrated by AmigaOS4 beta-tester Crisot within the following videos: MooVId movie player and native graphics drivers. Personally I created a small video showing the time it took for Jens' system to boot fully into his beta AmigaOS4 environment, including Elena's 32-bit PNG PowerIcons utility running transparently as well as a clock utility. From the Boot Delay on (AmigaOS4 debug & normal mode selector) his AOS beta install seems to load completely (including AmiDock) within 15 seconds. I believe by having a look at all three videos, this will already provide a good idea of what kind of performance is to be expected from AmigaOS 4.0 when this project is completed.

Jens & MikeBOther than this and his own OS4 developments Jens did not have much new to show, he made it clear that he wasn't an Hyperion employee but rather does application development for fun (this includes work on YAM, InstallerNG and MUI). The day before he had quickly downloaded some SDL games to be able to show something, however it was pretty funny when somebody asked him to demonstrate the "Grim Reaper" (a program which is started when an application crashes and allows to kill or continue the program, reboot, create crash logs or attach to the GBD debugger) and he was unable to find anything within the operating system or within his small software library which would crash! Several times Jens' intended Grim Reaper demonstration went like this: "Oh I remember this prefs util still crashes!... Ehhh.... Nope, they also fixed that problem...."

Sebastian Bauer, the person behind programs like SimpleMail and the Amiga port of FreeCiv (of which there will be an OS4 specific version) was also present. Next to his application development he is also an OS4 developer involved in the OS4 USB implementation. He told me about his efforts and how much more advanced the system has become and that software development has become much easier now. His table was next to Jens Langner and although their projects are actually rivals, they kindly compared and discussed ideas to allow them both to make SimpleMail and YAM better mailers! Maybe a good example we should follow within our little alternative OS communities of today!?

I also had some interesting discussions with Jens about the Amiga community in general. It should be noted that Jens is also a Pegasos owner and a MorphOS developer, but in his view many people involved in this project immediately drive anyone (also) involved in AmigaOS4 projects into a corner in a hostile manner. I have heard similar statements from various people who decided to support both solutions, including ordinary users and this IMO must change for the benefit of us all. Personally at one time I was interested to own both platforms myself, but the attacks made it near to impossible to support both simultaneously, although I am sure I will bug Eugenia of OSNews.com to check out MorphOS 1.5 when it's finally available, just like I have done with its previous releases, in fact maybe even more ironically I was involved in the process of getting her a Pegasos system in the first place!

Although my previous public appeal to all Amiga-related communities one year ago in an effort to stop the damaging rivalry seems to have been very much fruitless. (IMO mostly a small vocal group of MorphOS and AROS supporters seems to disagree.) If you are one of the people trying to damage a rival effort, please think about who is really your "enemy"? Is it this small bunch of mostly enthusiastic computer hobbyists, who at one time you may have called "my friends" or is it the dominant OS monopolies who really rule the real world of today? Isn't it time for us to unite under the logic: "The enemy of my enemy is my friend"?

P.S. Luca was happy to know that AmigaWorld.net has meanwhile grown into becoming the most popular English languaged Amiga community portal and asked me to keep him informed when something really *good* comes up! Yes, there's still hope, it's all up to us!

Click on the pictures for a larger view.
MicroDigital's Omega Computer c64 tower
[url=http://webring.amigaworld.net/funcomp/13b.jpg] - MikeB
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