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      /  What will it take? Is money the answer?
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Poll : Can the rate Amiga software development be improved? How?
Just raising more money is the answer.
Publicizing the Bounty system more is the answer.
Donating more free computers to developers is the answer.
No, nothing is going to help. Give up now!
There is nothing wrong with the amount of development.
Better development tools are needed first.
 
PosterThread
amigadave 
What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 5:08:35
#1 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Jul-2005
Posts: 1727
From: Lake Shastina, Northern Calif.

The more I think about the current state of the Amiga community, the more I am convinced that we have plenty of hardware now, and pending hardware projects for the immediate future to satisfy most of our community (all flavors).

This is posted in the OS4 Software Forum, but only because there is no forum for software development for all flavors (such a forum would not make much sense). Please answer the poll and provide comments applying to all flavors of the Amiga experience. (if someone wants to suggest a more appropriate forum to put this into, I will gladly move it there, but if no one objects, we can keep it here.)

What we need is more software and developers. I have donated several computers to software developers (as well as some other people) to try to encourage more development, but that has yielded little in the way of resulting new software applications, or games being written or ported.

Now I am thinking a different approach needs to be taken along the lines of bounties, or something similar that raises substantial sums of money to pay for the software we are lacking.

Do any of you agree that more money for developers would solve our problems and attract more developers? Don't respond that we can't raise enough money, just tell me if more developers can be bought (or rented) for the right amount of money.

The second step (if the above answer is "Yes") would be to figure out how we are going to find this money and how much it is going to take for each software project that we want to accomplish.

A side benefit to this approach is that if we can attract some developers from outside the Amiga community (or bring back some old Amiga programmers that have been away for a long time), we might be able to keep them interested even after the current software project is completed.

I am sure we still have a few people in this community that have some skill at raising money, or making money, that can assist with ideas on how we might be able to raise substantial funds to get some of these software projects started. Bounties are fine, but aren't getting the job done fast enough, or consistent enough to my liking.

Anyone else have any ideas about this topic, or do you all think this is a waste of time and effort?

Edit: Decided to make this into a poll with multiple selection possible, so you can choose more than one answer in the poll if you want. Please vote and provide some useful feedback in a comment.

Last edited by amigadave on 05-Feb-2012 at 05:13 AM.
Last edited by amigadave on 05-Feb-2012 at 05:12 AM.
Last edited by amigadave on 05-Feb-2012 at 05:10 AM.

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opi 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 6:23:02
#2 ]
Team Member
Joined: 2-Mar-2005
Posts: 2752
From: Poland

@amigadave

Hm, having money is one thing. From my point of view moneys are just a part of solution. Firstly, programming on AmigaOS is almost arcane knowledge. You'd be hard pressed to find someone new who just know know AmigaOS' API. There are adult people out there who where born in the same year Commodore died.

So, first thing is, it's really hard to find people who could grasp AmigaOS ways and limitations esp. if they grew up with current systems, their limitations and toolkits. It's really that different.

Next thing, the costs of entry. I don't think I have to explain anything here. It's required for a developer to have at least one computer capable of running OS4. That's quite a chunk of change. Sure, you could use AROS/WinUAE and target 3.1 API, but I don't think that's the point. Developers are used to have IDEs with emulators, VM instances with OSes, etc. You can't do that with AmigaOS.

The "WHY" question. It's really a fantastic time to be a developer. You have so many options. Just look at GitHub's success. Sure, there's a lot of hipster BS out there, but if you're trying to contribute some work as FOSS/hobby, man, it's a paradise. If you're into your hobby to better yourself and for some of that lovely karma your users will shower you with, you have so many places to go. Places with huge audiences, places that will turn into work/business opportunities.

Documentation. It's related to my first two points. If you name any current technology I can jump onto YouTube, type its name with "tutorial" or "introduction" and find at least few videos that will give me a quick glance on it. I did it multiple times. It's really fun to be able to quickly evaluate software. After you're done with that just sit down and read the docs. And there will be docs, examples, there will be discussions on StackOverflow covering topics you'll need to know.

With AmigaOS your options are far more limited. Once you hit a problem you'll have to relay on few dozens of people who can answer your question. There will be little to none documentation in your native language.

My solution? Go Linux. I jest.

I think, if you really want to attract new people, you'd have to go for something like this:

-- Since VM option is off the table I'd go with popular dynamic language (for AmigaOS 4 that's Python)

-- Pythonize AmigaOS API and make it usable outside AmigaOS4

-- Provide UI framework that could be used outside of AmigaOS4. Whatever you'll have to port ReAction or just something that will turn, I don't know, Qt Designer files into ReAction code.

Chances are I'll add extra UI layer, and maybe a Clipboard/Commodity/Datatypes code on top of my Linux software to make it Amiga-like, there are no chances I'll start project specifically for AmigaOS. And I like AmigaOS. It's just very hard for me to buy another computer and start writing C code.

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Breed 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 7:53:43
#3 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 8-Apr-2003
Posts: 197
From: Kuusamo/Finland

I think donating more free computers to developers is one answer, and it's also win-win situation. Computers for programmers and at the same time Amiga hardware manufacturers are hapier.


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kamelito 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 9:04:10
#4 ]
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Joined: 26-Jul-2004
Posts: 785
From: Unknown

1) You need attractive hardware at attractive price. Amiga OS4 machines as to be desirable. (this include support, modern toolschain,documentation, tutorial, code examples). Maybe you'll have to add a killer app, so we need to target a niche there. Hyperion should do PR targeting developers !

2) If 1) is working then, your user base should grow. If it's large enough to make a living (if you plan to develop on Amiga seriously) developer may be attracted. So we need to have more users. I'm sorry there but Hyperion should publicly said how many OS4 users there's (number of licences sold)
I also agree that developing for a small community can be rewarding. if users send mails or said in forums that they love x or y apps, it is rewarding for a developer and can be enough to develop or port apps to the Amiga.

3) All this will not happen quickly so I think that existing developers should be paid to develop the apps we think will attract new users. it's mandatory to take off. We already have browsers, mail client, office stuff can be done through google docs. The only ones I can think of right now is an Itunes clone, Excel clone...

Kamel




Last edited by kamelit0 on 05-Feb-2012 at 09:05 AM.

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realize 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 9:34:54
#5 ]
Super Member
Joined: 14-Apr-2003
Posts: 1797
From: nyc

@opi

Quote:
Firstly, programming on AmigaOS is almost arcane knowledge


This is the number one obstacle imho. When Genesi had resources and momentum with Morphos we looked into outside coders from Motorola and other sources (they were actually guys @ Moto with Morphos SDKs and boxes) we ran into the problems that Opi talks about. Apparently, even genius coders would have a hard time with the work flow of developing on Amiga and amiga like systems.

So its either bring back old skool Amiga coders - which is hard because a lot of them work for big companies, have dissapeared, lost amiga interest or are currently on morphos or os4 deve team!

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gerograph 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 9:58:35
#6 ]
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Joined: 5-Dec-2007
Posts: 901
From: Moers - Germany

@amigadave

I guess, iff you just pay enough money, everything can be done. Even, if you pay me enough money I would dig myself deeply into OS4.x API etc. But, as I have totally no knowledge about OS4.x API my wages would be extremly high. The time I have to spent is huge, this will result in cutting down other jobs I have.

On the other hand, if you got somebody who already knows about OS4.x programming it would be much cheaper as his timeinvest wouldn't be as high as mine. What about all those former Demo programmers ? What about the guys who did FinalWriter, Turboprint... If it is enough money they could be convinced.

However, I already emphasized this in another thread, we have to involve Hyperion. They are the only ones which can tell us the future direction OS4.x is heading. Will we have rewritten ReAction ?, Will we have enhanced GUI Toolkits ?, How can they assist new programmers ? Just think of how much assistants were needed in OWB-MUI from not only Hyperion.

Take a look at A-Eon ? What is the reason they can deliver a product ?

- enough mony (are we talking about 100.000 Euros or even more ?)
-> let's suggest we could raise enought mony for a software product as well
DONE

- Hyperion is onboard as well (Ben Hermanns even owns part of A-Eon)
-> NOT DONE (at least, not that we know...)

- product plans were secret upto a certain stage (I claim this was at least a small part of the success)
-> NOT DONE (cannot be achived, if it is a community effort)

- enthusiastic team leader
-> DONE (suggesting that there is definitely a person in the community who will commit to the project)

- people with a proven "track record" involved (Hyperion + Dev.Team (including the "cream of the crop") , Varisys, TrevorD)
-> NOT DONE (even though some former Amiga Devs could fill this gap, given there is money to pay them)

Maybe we need A-Eon Hardware devision and A-Eon Software devision ?

Hyperion, can you please comment on this ?









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amigadave 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 10:55:52
#7 ]
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Joined: 18-Jul-2005
Posts: 1727
From: Lake Shastina, Northern Calif.

@thread,

Thanks for the intelligent replies and thoughtful ideas and obstacles. I am hoping that many people will contribute to this thread with their ideas and describe the obstacles and possible solutions, so that the dialog will be useful to Steve Solie and Hyperion, the MorphOS Dev. Team, the people working on AROS and anyone still programming, or wanting to program for Amiga 68k (including fpga systems).

I think more progress with Python will help several of the Amiga flavors. Ruby has also been suggested, but needs work for the different Amiga flavors (or does not exist at all for some of them).

Any tools that make it easier to program productively for any Amiga flavor would be a big help and are almost a "Must Have" for getting old Amiga programmers to return. If those tools are not already being worked on, raising money to get them done should be high on our priorities.

Having a good BASIC programming language for all of the Amiga flavors is almost essential for getting new programmers started and part time programmers that don't want to learn a more difficult programming language to produce easy projects. I have chosen AmigaE & PortablE to start with, hoping that I can skip BASIC, but that path may not be for everyone. Can someone suggest what existing BASIC languages are already available and for which flavors of Amiga platform they are available for?

Bounties are good, but is there a better way to raise money for software projects that we need? I know that the world is relying less and less on paper copies, but still think that having a great word processor with excellent printing capabilities on modern printers is a "Must Have" for all flavors of the Amiga experience. Support for all features of modern multi-function printer/scanner/fax machines is needed too (we have some limited support, but need more). It is probably the first software area that I will promote and try to raise money for. There are many other areas that we need new drivers & software in, that may be more important to some users.

I hope this thread can produce some good ideas and not just turn out to be more hot air and wishful thinking. At the moment, all I can contribute is trying to raise money and awareness, but others might be able to do much more, or at least suggest how and who is capable.

@geograph,

IIRC, Ben Hermanns is no longer a partner of A-Eon, since they reformed in the UK and closed the Belgium based company. AmigaKit is now a partner of A-Eon.

Last edited by amigadave on 05-Feb-2012 at 11:04 AM.

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OlafS25 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:23:44
#8 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 12-May-2010
Posts: 5980
From: Unknown

@amigadave

IIRC, Ben Hermanns is no longer a partner of A-Eon, since they reformed in the UK and closed the Belgium based company. AmigaKit is now a partner of A-Eon.

What does that mean? That Hyperion is no longer there or Ben Hermanns left Hyperion?

@all

I think there is a lot of true... we need better IDE´s and new open standards from other platforms. But the main problem is that there are no standards that are common for all platforms (and are also standard on other platforms outside amiga). The more difficult it is to support the platform as a whole the more difficult it is to motivate developers to port software (applications and games). At the end sales are all what count and sales are defined by the number of potential buyers and those are defined by the number of users you can reach with a given effort.

Bounties are only limited mean because you can never raise enough money to motivate a non-amigian to invest a lot of time. You would need a lot of money that is not realistic.

Last edited by OlafS25 on 05-Feb-2012 at 11:25 AM.

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dangerman 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:25:11
#9 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 26-Jul-2005
Posts: 213
From: UK

I totally agree that DOCUMENATION is what we need. I think that's the reason it's so hard to get software for AmigaOS.

I already knew C and C++ and I've been teaching myself to program the Amiga in my spare time over the last 18 months. It's been really hard for me and I'm an Amiga enthusiast. So imagine how much harder it would be for someone who didn't know anything about AmigaOS at all. No wonder that guy porting Open Office 4 Kids didn't stand a chance.

Here's what I had to do: I used tutorial books on AmigaOS1.3 to teach me the basics. Then I struggled through various bits in the Rom Kernel Manuals to learn about 2.0 concepts. And from there, I stumbled around the autodocs, the SDK reaction examples and downloaded other people's source code to try to work out how to program for OS4.x.

The documentation that exists for modern Amiga systems is just reference material - autodocs and code examples. This is great if you already know a lot about programming AmigaOS but it's no good for anyone else. We need tutorials that properly explain all the concepts. And if we also want to give bounties to programmers to port software to AmigaOS, we need a guide that explains basic concepts in AmigaOS and how it's different to programming other operating systems.


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KimmoK 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:26:31
#10 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5206
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

AOS4 HAL etc for QEMU might be a good idea...

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amigadave 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:39:43
#11 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Jul-2005
Posts: 1727
From: Lake Shastina, Northern Calif.

@OlafS25

A-Eon and Hyperion are not the same company. Ben Hermanns is still at Hyperion.

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gerograph 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:43:11
#12 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Dec-2007
Posts: 901
From: Moers - Germany

@amigadave

... thanx for infos, but I guess you know what I mean. Having Ben Hermanns/Hyperion working as some sort of a "close" partner with you is essential.

Quote:
Any tools that make it easier to learn how to program for any Amiga flavor would be a big help and are almost a "Must Have" for getting old Amiga programmers to return. If those tools are not already being worked on, raising money to get them done should be high on our priorities.

Well MS used to have/has VisualStudio (I am not working for IT Business since a few years, so I might be a bit outdated...) on Amiga I see at them moment:

a) CodeBench which could be enhanced towards a complete IDE including GUI Editor
b) AvD which already has a Reaction GUI Editor, but is still WIP

Hyperion: Which is the one you would invest into ?

Quote:
Having a good BASIC programming language for all of the Amiga flavors is almost essential for getting new programmers started and part time programmers that don't want to learn a more difficult programming language to produce easy projects


Correct, once again a "Visual" GUI Editor is a must have here. As far as I know, currently we only have

a) AmiBlitz 3.5 incl. Stormwizard GUI Editor,
the upside
- complete GUI Editor
- complete IDE Environment
- easy to learn
- for free

the downside
- only 68k
- GUI Editor (stormwizard / wizard.library) is a bit outdated

b) A/A++ is the successor of AmiBlitz 3.5 but not ready yet. As GUI Engine there will be a modern "NTUI"... see
Link 1

Link 2

So, in my opinion we could appoint following very skilled programmers for such a task:

"The Wanderer" Thilo Khöler (AmiBlitz / A++)
"Rigo" (CodeBench)
Jamie Krüger (AVD)

"Rigo however seems to be involved in so many other projects, whereas Thilo doesn't have a PPC based Amiga - at the moment he is targeting 68k and working on NTUI. It was a bit quiet round Jamie Krüger, but I guess he is the one closes towards an OS4.x programmin environment. I guess if Hyperion states "Yes, this is/will be the near future of OS4.x it is worth supporting as well as we support Mr. Krüger" this will probably generate quiet a bit of cashflow, which might convince Jamie to invest more hours on AVD !

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gerograph 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:46:37
#13 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 5-Dec-2007
Posts: 901
From: Moers - Germany

@gerograph

Maybe Hyperion could contribute with a workshop on Amiga C programming... held by one of the Friedens, Steve S.,...

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Zylesea 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 11:55:53
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 16-Mar-2004
Posts: 2213
From: Ostwestfalen, FRG

@dangerman

I agree 100%. It is very difficult to get intoamiga API. Also I would like to see improved C++ support. C is a bitout of fashion on the maintream OSes, C++ also fell behind during the last decade, but is still very popular. Make a C++ program using MUI - difficult! Wel, at least I have my dificulties with it.

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kamelito 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 12:47:29
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 26-Jul-2004
Posts: 785
From: Unknown

We need courses like that ones.
http://ideveloper.tv/video/

Kamel

PS lot of coders are more interested by iOS and Android programming. Mac also cause of the AppStore. This is where the (possible) easy money is. But IMHO it's easier to have recognition in the Amiga land.

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BigBentheAussie 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 13:11:36
#16 ]
Super Member
Joined: 28-Oct-2003
Posts: 1690
From: Melbourne, Australia

Of course, this type of discussion has happened frequently over the last decade.
If hardware is not the issue, then the issue is software.
If software is not the issue, then the issue is hardware.
It is either one thing or the other and years later the situation has not significantly changed.
The software situation will not change now without a radical change in thought.

Obviously, the AmigaOS market is too small to develop a commercial product from scratch. So you really must rely on free open source apps as a source.

Practically all of the more complex apps that exist on AmigaOS&alike come from Linux.
The refinement of a cross-platform APIs are the only way to get most or all the goodies from the other operating systems, to quench the thirst for new apps for AmigaOS&alike users.

If time has demonstrated anything, AmigaOS&alike specific software projects of great complexity and magnitude cannot originate from the AmigaOS&alike community, they must come from outside it. i.e Firefox, Open Office, Webkit etc.

The porting and refinement of toolkits like Qt, for instance are imperative to the future of AmigaOS. Efforts must be made to encapsulate Linux functionality into wrappers, that make the transition of an app to AmigaOS almost seamless. I know of a lot of these sorts of things have been done to a certain extent, but the source code needs to be open to the community to work on and promoted as a viable application development method or perhaps even THE development method. If you can't beat'em, join them. There is plenty of scope for amigafication of the code and app presentation.

I think there is a need to get out of the situation where you need the considerable expense of an AmigaOS machine to write an AmigaOS&alike app. We need to remove the inherent complexity of the AmigaOS API. If you enjoy AmigaOS you enjoy it for what it is, but we all know the apps are severely lacking.

I am not saying to throw away original AmigaOS&alike apps, but users lamenting for software should be a thing of the past in this day and age. I look at what is present in Linux, and gasp, because there is practically everything a person could want available. I think, if the community focuses on an existing cross-platform toolkit they could have all the apps they could ever want, and conversely, as commercial developers, open themselves up to a far larger market.

Last edited by BigBentheAussie on 05-Feb-2012 at 01:16 PM.

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Amiboy 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 13:17:24
#17 ]
Super Member
Joined: 21-Dec-2003
Posts: 1036
From: At home (probably)

@BigBentheAussie

Quote:
Obviously, the AmigaOS market is too small to develop a commercial product from scratch


I take it that this meant a SOFTWARE product from scratch? As A1-X1000 says hello!

Last edited by Amiboy on 05-Feb-2012 at 01:17 PM.

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Yogi27 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 13:19:31
#18 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 11-Dec-2002
Posts: 353
From: Chicago, Illinois

Hi Everyone!

Here is the problem. The documentation is old are not existent at all. I am a pretty good programmer in C++ and I have been trying to learn the Amiga API for OS4 for a while. I have been using an Amiga programming book from 1988 "Inside the Amiga with C" just as a roadmap of how to proceed. I have to take every example in the book, see how it is written today, find new documentation on how to do it, and find more modern examples of it being used (sometimes examples don't exist at all).

We need two things. One we need a new programming manual with examples. Not even a printed book, but something. Like "Inside Amiga OS4 with C++", something like this. Second, we need a good and easy to use WUSIWUG Gui Builder.

The problem is not money. There are plenty of us that would be willing to program but OS4 needs better tools and some more modern manuals.

Yogi

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KimmoK 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 13:30:31
#19 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 14-Mar-2003
Posts: 5206
From: Ylikiiminki, Finland

IIRC, there's some new developer support system coming? And Amiga programming "book"? And better end user documentation?

What's the status of those?

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eliyahu 
Re: What will it take? Is money the answer?
Posted on 5-Feb-2012 13:40:12
#20 ]
Super Member
Joined: 3-Mar-2010
Posts: 1873
From: Waterbury, Connecticut (USA)

@KimmoK

Quote:
IIRC, there's some new developer support system coming? And Amiga programming "book"? And better end user documentation?

What's the status of those?

at amiwest 2011 steven solie mentioned the creation of a developer wiki and updated documentation in the style of the RKRMs as being goals for the immediate future. i would think he and the development team would welcome anyone here who has a background in amiga software development to get in contact with them and help out.

documentation, tutorials, guides, etc., are all very helpful to us noobs. that and tons of code examples.

-- eliyahu

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Multicore support is still a priority

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