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      /  Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
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Petah 
Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 27-Nov-2017 19:47:32
#1 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 328
From: Unknown

Olaf 'Olsen' Barthel - since you are known to be lurking in the AmigaWorld.net forums from time to time, please consider this a question for you - what is the current status of the ROM Kernel Reference Manual reprints and its update for AmigaOS 4.1?

As far as I know, this topic has been on the table for quite a few years but so far nothing seems to have come out of it. If I'm not entirely mistaken, there has been some negotiations with the current copyright holder (which, I suppose, is still Addison-Wesley?). May I ask if there are any active discussions with them at this time, or if everything has grinded to a halt?

For your information, a copy of the latest revision of Libraries was recently sold on Ebay-spinoff Tradera for roughly 65[/url]. I suppose the price tag tells you something, and I'd like to think it's a story of an aspiring interest among would-be-AmigaOS-developers that follows the recent surge of interest in AmigaOS compatible hardware. Reprints (and revisions) for the entire suite of books would really add a lot to the AmigaOS platform at large, I think.

For anyone not in the know, the ROM Kernel Reference Manuals - or RKRMs, in short - are a line of physical books that serves both as the official AmigaOS development tutorials as well as a source of reference for its APIs and the legacy hardware. The books have been out of print since the demise of Commodore, making them sought after and, accordingly, pricey.

Last edited by Petah on 27-Nov-2017 at 07:49 PM.
Last edited by Petah on 27-Nov-2017 at 07:49 PM.
Last edited by Petah on 27-Nov-2017 at 07:48 PM.
Last edited by Petah on 27-Nov-2017 at 07:48 PM.

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gregthecanuck 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 27-Nov-2017 20:05:15
#2 ]
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Joined: 30-Dec-2003
Posts: 785
From: Vancouver, Canada

@Petah

I would suggest expecting any physical print of reference manuals is unrealistic. Besides the cost and effort, the manuals are out of date and obsolete the moment they are printed.

A better solution would be to provide this information online as part of a wiki. This allows for quick fixes, a more readily available, searchable library and the opportunity for user contributions.

There is an "AmigaOS Documentation Wiki" here: http://wiki.amigaos.net/wiki/Main_Page
Ideally whatever information was in the RKMs should be published here.

In addition I remember a while ago Jamie Krueger did the SDK explorer... have you checked that out? http://bitbybitsoftwaregroup.com/sdkbrowser/index.php

Cheers!

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Petah 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 27-Nov-2017 23:44:52
#3 ]
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Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 328
From: Unknown

Greg,

although I appreciate your effort, please understand that there is an actual, genuine reason why I'm asking for updated, physical copies of the RKRMs. Nothing in my original post was typed by mistake. Like I hinted at, the staggering prices suggest there's an actual demand for a reprinted version of said books.

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gregthecanuck 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 0:30:18
#4 ]
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Joined: 30-Dec-2003
Posts: 785
From: Vancouver, Canada

@Petah

Nobody prints programming documentation any more. None of my developer team relies on printed documentation. It is all up on the web in one form or another. It needs to be searchable, etc... in order to be useful.

Printing manuals for a market so small as AmigaOS developers is just plain silly.

Spell out your reason (besides goofy auction prices) and we can address that.

Last edited by gregthecanuck on 28-Nov-2017 at 12:30 AM.

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bison 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 1:05:12
#5 ]
Super Member
Joined: 18-Dec-2007
Posts: 1000
From: N-Space

@Petah

Perhaps you should post this on the 'OS 3.1 update' thread on amiga dot org, since questions are being taken and answered there. It's probably a bit off-topic, but not excessively so.

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olsen 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 7:52:28
#6 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 15-Aug-2004
Posts: 701
From: Germany

@Petah

Quote:
Olaf 'Olsen' Barthel - since you are known to be lurking in the AmigaWorld.net forums from time to time, please consider this a question for you - what is the current status of the ROM Kernel Reference Manual reprints and its update for AmigaOS 4.1?

As far as I know there is no case for making printed copies of the documentation right now. The contents of the 3rd edition RKMs have been imported into MediaWiki, polished and reworked, though. The source are the original manuscripts, converted to LaTeX2e by yours truly, with the missing illustrations re-drawn. That documentation is now very much focused on AmigaOS4, and only little of the 68k platform specifics are still covered.

While printing from either the LaTeX2e or MediaWiki sources should be possible (in theory), the demand appears to be rather too small.

Quote:
As far as I know, this topic has been on the table for quite a few years but so far nothing seems to have come out of it. If I'm not entirely mistaken, there has been some negotiations with the current copyright holder (which, I suppose, is still Addison-Wesley?). May I ask if there are any active discussions with them at this time, or if everything has grinded to a halt?

Until the MediaWiki was set up, and the RKM text was imported, etc. the groundwork for making printed copies did not exist. That obstacle is out of the way now.

To the best of my knowledge, the original publisher does not know, does not care, does not know that it does not care about the Amiga books it published some 25 years ago. These books did not sell well at all, and Commodore had to sweeten the deal with the publisher to get them published at all. The publisher is not the problem, the problem is the demand and the cost for making printed copies. The core documentation (the "libraries" and "devices" volumes, excluding the user interface style guide and the "hardware" volumes excluded) runs to some 1200 pages alone. That's what they used to compare to a small town's phone directory (when they still had phone directories, and for that matter, small towns and phones).

Quote:
For your information, a copy of the latest revision of Libraries was recently sold on Ebay-spinoff Tradera for roughly 65. I suppose the price tag tells you something, and I'd like to think it's a story of an aspiring interest among would-be-AmigaOS-developers that follows the recent surge of interest in AmigaOS compatible hardware. Reprints (and revisions) for the entire suite of books would really add a lot to the AmigaOS platform at large, I think.

Availability of documentation and example code count for a lot, and this is one of the big problems for the AmigaOS 68k platform to be solved. The Amiga Developer CD 2.1, which contains the RKM text, the software development kits, DevCon material, etc. can still be bought (although I personally have my doubts whether it is sold legally), but the contents are not easily available. What is easily available is the AmigaOS developer Wiki, but it does not cover the 68k platform well any more. It cannot stay like this.

Available, but not easily available, are scanned copies of the developer manuals, including the 3rd edition AmigaDOS manual, such as from archive.org and other places.

What is missing is a "curated" collection of the AmigaOS 68k platform documentation and the developer material to go along with it.

I am not so sure if having a 1200 page tome sitting on your desk is the one prerequisite for doing Amiga software development today. It used to be so, some 25 years ago, but I daresay that we could do better today. Sure, that stack of books (the whole set, with the "includes & autodocs" volume) is nice to have, but even in the day it was nothing more than a well-written and well-structured reference. That these were books, not digital data, was because it was done that way, in that age. At some point Apple moved all its printed books to PDF, and this is really how it ought to be (especially for Apple at the time, whose documentation not only filled a whole bookshelf, the contents could have been printed using maybe half the number of the pages if the layout artists had been permitted to do so).

Last edited by olsen on 28-Nov-2017 at 08:01 AM.
Last edited by olsen on 28-Nov-2017 at 08:00 AM.
Last edited by olsen on 28-Nov-2017 at 07:59 AM.
Last edited by olsen on 28-Nov-2017 at 07:59 AM.

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OneTimer1 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 16:21:39
#7 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 3-Aug-2015
Posts: 319
From: Unknown

@Petah
Rom Kernel Reference for AmigaOS4 .... sounds like a hoax.

The AOS4 Kernel is not in the ROM.

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Petah 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 18:34:35
#8 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 10-Mar-2003
Posts: 328
From: Unknown

Olaf,

thank you for sorting everything out for me (and everyone else interested). From what I understand, you have (once again) put a lot of uncredited work into all of this already. I think it's safe to say the platform at large is in your debt.

In summary, and for those not interested in having to plow through off-topic posts in this thread, here's the current state of affairs:

1: Although publically available through (questionable) sources on and off the net, there is no known legal source of acquiring the RKRM books for AmigaOS 2.x neither in print nor in a digital release.

2: The contents of the latest revision of the RKRM books have been published on the official AmigaOS development wiki, albeit in a version heavily adapted for the AmigaOS 4.x APIs.

3: The lack of an official way of retrieving official AmigaOS development documentation for OS versions prior to 4.0 is, in essence, unacceptable and eventually needs to be addressed in one way or another.

Did someone say Kickstarter?

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Britelite 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 28-Nov-2017 19:15:07
#9 ]
Regular Member
Joined: 23-Jun-2005
Posts: 286
From: Finland

@Petah

Quote:

Did someone say Kickstarter?

No

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gregthecanuck 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 5:58:25
#10 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 30-Dec-2003
Posts: 785
From: Vancouver, Canada

@Petah

Quote:
... and for those not interested in having to plow through off-topic posts ...

A bit harsh... I was actually trying to be helpful. Going forward here is more info for others who hit this thread.

Scanned copies of the RKMs are on line and available for download in PDF format. For example: https://www.ikod.se/download/documents/. If you want a printed copy go nuts with a print-on-demand service.

As suggested above, have a look at Jamie's SDK browser. It looks pretty slick - I have seen it demoed before.

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Trixie 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 7:36:59
#11 ]
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Joined: 1-Sep-2003
Posts: 1627
From: Czech Republic

@Petah

Reprinting RKRM's makes neither practical nor economic sense, with or without Kickstarter. The documentation is available, the documentation is printable for those who think they need a hardcopy... why would anyone churn money on something like that?

In a world where technical documentation - print or electronic - is produced using XML or DITA publishing chains you come up with reprinting old books? That surely is a true retro approach; no wonder our platform is a laughing stock.

Also, you're making it appear that the OS3.x classic platform is full of developers waiting for printed documentation to get started. I say c'mon man, you're painting the devil black...

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salass00 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 9:24:34
#12 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 31-Oct-2003
Posts: 2687
From: Finland

@Trixie

While I agree that electronic documentation like PDF and HTML is much more convenient if you just want to quickly look something up while working on something, it can still be nice to have a real book for some light reading when you're not near a computer or your eyes are hurting from staring at the screen too much.

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broadblues 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 10:40:55
#13 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Jul-2004
Posts: 4189
From: Portsmouth England

@Petah

Quote:

Like I hinted at, the staggering prices suggest there's an actual demand for a reprinted version of said books.


I suspect you are confusing collectors of ancient computer memorabelia willing to pay inflated prices, for coders in need of docs.

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broadblues 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 10:47:50
#14 ]
Elite Member
Joined: 20-Jul-2004
Posts: 4189
From: Portsmouth England

@Petah

Quote:


3: The lack of an official way of retrieving official AmigaOS development documentation for OS versions prior to 4.0 is, in essence, unacceptable and eventually needs to be addressed in one way or another.



Due to the nature of a wiki the original version of all the RKM text, before any 4.x edits are still on the wiki, accessable via the history link for each page.

Should there really be meaningful demand for purchasable pre OS4 develeoper information then a rerelease of the DEV CD 2.1 would make most sense.

Last edited by broadblues on 29-Nov-2017 at 10:50 AM.

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olsen 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 17:48:58
#15 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 15-Aug-2004
Posts: 701
From: Germany

@broadblues

Quote:

Due to the nature of a wiki the original version of all the RKM text, before any 4.x edits are still on the wiki, accessable via the history link for each page.

Should there really be meaningful demand for purchasable pre OS4 develeoper information then a rerelease of the DEV CD 2.1 would make most sense.

Yes, this works, generally, but due to the scale and scope of the RKM import and the subsequent polishing (e.g. artefacts of the LaTeX2e import had to be manually removed from tables) it may not be practical. Also, the contents of the pages changed over time do not show up in searches, just the current state of affairs.

The most practical approach might really be to just import everything again and start over from scratch, unless Steven Solie, who spearheaded the import and polishing, made snapshots of the database as it evolved which could be rolled back to the date when the 68k content was still present.

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olsen 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 17:56:25
#16 ]
Cult Member
Joined: 15-Aug-2004
Posts: 701
From: Germany

@salass00

Quote:

salass00 wrote:
@Trixie

While I agree that electronic documentation like PDF and HTML is much more convenient if you just want to quickly look something up while working on something, it can still be nice to have a real book for some light reading when you're not near a computer or your eyes are hurting from staring at the screen too much.

I know what you mean... There is something to be said about the quality of the Amiga RKM text which really stands out, compared to much of the technical writing I stumbled upon in the past decades. You get the feeling that the RKM text, as published, was not the first, second or third draft. Somebody, likely the late Rob Peck, took his time to work out with the engineers how things worked and how they could be best explained and presented to the reader. The text is typically brief and to the point, without omitting anything. That this kind of quality documentation was produced in-house is something of a miracle.

While I do own a tablet which permits me to read technical documentation on the screen, I still prefer to read it in a printed book, even if that book (e.g. "The practice of system and network administration") happens to be much more unwieldy than a tablet.

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NutsAboutAmiga 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 29-Nov-2017 21:06:06
#17 ]
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Joined: 9-Jun-2004
Posts: 10798
From: Norway

@olsen

Can't just update AmigaOS1.0 to reflect the AmigaOS4 changes

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number6 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 24-Feb-2018 15:53:36
#18 ]
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Joined: 25-Mar-2005
Posts: 10134
From: In the village

@gregthecanuck

Quote:
have a look at Jamie's SDK browser


February 22nd, 2018:
SDK Browser v2.1.4.0 Released


#6

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remotenemesis 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 24-Feb-2018 16:44:36
#19 ]
Member
Joined: 11-Jan-2018
Posts: 47
From: SF Bay Area, California

@gregthecanuck thanks for the link to these books.

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RNS-Amiga-Scientist 
Re: Status of ROM Kernel Reference Manuals reprints?
Posted on 26-Feb-2018 10:37:36
#20 ]
Member
Joined: 12-Nov-2010
Posts: 84
From: Warsaw, Poland

@salass00

Quote:
While I agree that electronic documentation like PDF and HTML is much more convenient if you just want to quickly look something up while working on something, it can still be nice to have a real book for some light reading when you're not near a computer or your eyes are hurting from staring at the screen too much.

I agree. I am still used to read printed books, even these ones related to computer science. I like for example my original manual for Deluxe Paint V, because it is wire bound and it is so good written. Many good books are convenient to read and you don't need to use a computer all the time.

Searching topics in books is not a problem as well since most of the times they contain table of contents and an index.

But most of the times it is required to read whole book in order to start working.

It would be great to reprint RKRMs, preferably the missing Amiga OS 3.1 ones first, since the latest - 3rd edition is related to Amiga OS 2.x as far as I know.

The new Amiga Developer CD would be nice to have as well. I've got Amiga Developer CD v1.1 from Schatztruhe (materials from ESCOM/Amiga Technologies) and the Amiga Developer CD v2.1 from Haage&Partner (Amiga International).

Last edited by RNS-Amiga-Scientist on 26-Feb-2018 at 10:46 AM.
Last edited by RNS-Amiga-Scientist on 26-Feb-2018 at 10:43 AM.

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