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How Icaros Desktop Brings the Amiga Experience To x86 PCs 202

Posted by timothy
from the bouncy-bouncy dept.
angry tapir writes "Icaros Desktop is an effort to build a modern Amiga-compatible operating system to standard x86 hardware. It's a distribution built atop AROS, which is an open source effort to create a system compatible at the API level with the AmigaOS 3.x series. I recently had a chat to the creator of Icaros, Paolo Besser, about the creation of the OS and why Amiga continues to inspire people today."
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How Icaros Desktop Brings the Amiga Experience To x86 PCs

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  • by glrotate (300695) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:52AM (#40370045) Homepage

    Evar!

  • 68k games (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Hatta (162192) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @10:58AM (#40370143) Journal

    Can I seamlessly run Amiga games written for the 68000 on it? This would require emulation, but it's been done before.

    • by arth1 (260657)

      The biggest problem with games is the copper. Emulators tend to be "best effort", which is often faster than you need, but not locked to cycles. This might work fine for the blitter running as a separate emulation process, but the copper wears a different fur. A "standard" emulator won't do it - you need a special m68k+copper emulator. that can do things in step no matter what the execution speed is.

      This is likely a good part of the reason why some games and demos just won't work with UAE and other effor

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Take it from someone who used to program Copper every day in the early 90's: It's not exactly a miraculous superchip that is hard to emulate. Games are usually pretty easy, the Amiga demos are harder to emulate 100% thanks to various copper effects.

        Sure, Amiga architecture was way different from PC, but these days PCs are so powerful they can emulate 68000+Blitter+Copper easily. I'm pretty sure UAE has this covered pretty damn well by now.

        • Re:68k games (Score:4, Informative)

          by arth1 (260657) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @02:13PM (#40373107) Homepage Journal

          Take it from someone who used to program Copper every day in the early 90's: It's not exactly a miraculous superchip that is hard to emulate.

          No, the copper isn't, but what the copper triggers, when is somewhat harder.
          You don't have a lock to scanline in an emulator. For the display effects, you need to emulate every scanline separately and generate a complete image as it would have looked at the end. No biggie when you have fast enough hardware.

          However - and here lies the devil - the copper isn't just used for display effects but can also control a bunch of other hardware registers. (Including audio, where waiting until the end before presenting results won't do what you want - a simple example being creating a 100 or 120 Hz tone by doing two equally spaced copper moves per frame. And the CPU.)
          And you can even modify the copper list while it is running, triggered from either the CPU or the copper through a copper-scheduled blit, or both. Then it becomes a small headache to get things done in the right order at the right time.

          Getting some of it right is trivial. Getting all of it right is not.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:03AM (#40370225)

    I wonder why they wouldn't use a Linux distribution for this project.

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I recall from the Amiga back then (a friend had one), and what I have seen here so far, this "Amiga Experience" is all about the GUI, not so much about the underlying tech. Which is no matter what totally different than on the original Amiga for the simple fact that we have so different hardware nowadays. Hard drives, more memory, USB, optical drives, WiFi, you name it. It wasn't there back then, and is standard now.

    Already there are themes to make Gnome or KDE look and behave exactly like OS-X, or Mac Classic, or Windows XP or whatever. They can be themed so thoroughly, using different window managers probably even more possibilities, that I'd say this is the way to go.

    Take a Linux distro, e.g. Ubuntu, as base, and build your own customisation on it. There are plenty of derivative distros that do it just like that. Ubuntu being a derivative itself. And presto you have the Amiga Experience, with all it's quirks, with all the underlying goodness of modern hardware support etc.

    Or am I really missing something here?

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Because they don't want to use Linux? And, yes, it is also about the kernel, filesystem, etc. according to the Amiga snobs.

    • by Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:07AM (#40370293) Journal

      Well, according to the cult of the Amiga, you can't replicate the fluidity and responsiveness of Amiga with Linux. Amiga was about the hardware and software. The hardware was quirky, cool, and cutting edge. To use an Amiga in its day was like a trip to the future. Plus it didn't have any memory protection, so a single goof in a program would kill the entire system sadly you can't do that with just a gui in linux. At least not without creating your gui in the kernel.

      • by idontgno (624372) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:22AM (#40370495) Journal

        Yeah. What we need is a Linux kernel module that traps userland segmentation faults and throws a kernel panic. XD

        I love all my Amigas; I fought on the epic frontlines of the Amiga versus Atari BBS flamewars before most of you were an ache in your daddys' groins. I carried the Boing Ball flag into harm's way too many times to count. But the true Amiga experience, as depicted by connoisseurs, requires abandonment of such niceties as memory protection and process isolation.

        The hardcore nostalgics forget that the Amiga didn't have memory protection first because the hardware wasn't routinely available, and more importantly because the seamless memory map allowed all of RAM to be a huge playground for the CPU and custom co-processors to accomplish amazing things at less than 8 Mhz. Also, the kernel was blazing fast because there was no meaningful context transition from userland to kernel; everything was memory-pointer based, and all memory was directly mapped and non-virtual.

        Therefore, it was also fragile. But that was an acceptable cost for blazing speed and jaw-dropping media performance at a time that MS-DOS machines were single-tasking, playing beeps and boops through a 2" speaker in the system case. and displaying EGA-level graphics.

        So, let's not wax too nostalgic. True nostalgists wouldn't want this any more than an intelligent car collector will settle for a kit car body, even if it's on a more powerful and capable chassis than the original 1950s Ferrari (for instance).

        Amiga enthusiasts who are curious or interested in one evolutionary path of the old OS might want to see this.

        Other than that, I can't imagine this being a very popular product.

        • I fought on the epic frontlines of the Amiga versus Atari BBS flamewars before most of you were an ache in your daddys' groins.

          Most perhaps, but not all. Some of us here on slashdot actually wrote the BBS software that the flamewars went on.

        • I love all my Amigas

          I'd imagine your Amigos are jealous.

        • by uradu (10768)

          Well said! I was with you in those trenches of Amiga fanboihood in the late 80s, preaching Amiga religion to anybody who would listen and hating on those who wouldn't. Let's face it, it was the only "modern" consumer OS at the time, with proper preemptive multitasking and coprocessing subsystems and a proper driver system for external hardware and message queues. Plus it had a very powerful UNIX style CLI with advanced scripting beyond anything outside of UNIX, a power user's wet dream. And you could open a

          • by Lussarn (105276)

            Couldn't agree more with what you said. The Amiga was a breeding ground for technologies and programmers. For its day it had it all. Altough I was more of a "Hardware reference" guy, I still remember my first copperbars, spinning cube or a screen full of bobs in glorious 50fps like it was yesterday. But it was a short trip, the OS or hardware never evolved much inside Commodore. A lot of what made it great was third party. And when Commodore went bust the tech was already outdated, and really no way to fix

            • by Bert64 (520050)

              And the legacy lives on in some respects... When i interview someone, if they started out on the amiga they are in 99% of cases much better at the job than someone who started out on windows... I put this down to a system that encouraged you to learn about it, vs a system that discourages you and makes you fearful of breaking things (dont look at this dir, it contains system files and you might break something!).

            • by uradu (10768)

              And gamers, don't forget gamers! Because in the 80s the Amiga wasn't just an awesome development platform but also by far the best gaming platform. No telling how many of today's avid gaming Gen-Xers started on the Amiga. For me it was the other way around though--I got to the Amiga because of the games and flash and it dragged me tooth and nails into the programming world, making my future career all but inevitable. I will confess that before getting the Amiga I was actually seriously in love with the Atar

          • by equex (747231)
            Yeah AREXX and the CLI was great. My favourite command was ASSIGN.
        • by Bert64 (520050)

          At the time, dos, macos, early versions of windows, atari tos etc also didn't have memory protection...AmigaOS was still a better os on similar spec hardware.

    • Also, if you had finished the whole summary you'd notice how they want API compatibility with AmigaOS which you don't get from Linux or by changing the GUI.

      • by jedidiah (1196)

        Ironically, Linux is the perfect example of "API compatibility". It shares that with Unix. You could even make libamiga not dependent with x86 so it would run on things like Sparc, and PPC, and Raspberry PI.

    • by Alan Shutko (5101) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:22AM (#40370493) Homepage

      That's exactly what they did. Icarus Desktop is a distribution of AROS, in a prepackaged VM image to make it easy to use. AROS is similar to WINE, in that it can run programs within a hosting OS. It also has native ports, but those progress slowly on the hardware support side.

    • Because it's an operating system?

    • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @01:36PM (#40372563) Homepage Journal

      Correct me if I'm wrong, but what I recall from the Amiga back then (a friend had one), and what I have seen here so far, this "Amiga Experience" is all about the GUI, not so much about the underlying tech.

      Everyone had a different idea of what the "Amiga Experience" was, because the machine was so striking in so many different ways.

      I don't remember talking to many people who thought Intuition and Workbench (the GUI) were all that special (right-button fixed-position menus, and "screens" being the only "cool" Amiga-exclusive GUI features that I can think of off the top of my head), but OTOH in the mid-1980s there weren't that many GUI competitors, so I guess it's not far-fetched that at least some people thought that was special.

      To some people, it was just the games. The Amiga had its day in the sun where it was, for a brief period, the game machine. When that day ended, those people moved on.

      To me, it was all about the tech. And even within the tech, there were at least two camps and lots of people with a mix of membership in both. The custom chips were excellent -- by mid/late 1980s standards (by 1996 I had installed a graphics card and by 2000 the case was truly stuffed to the gills with replacements for nearly everything on the mobo, every Z3 slot filled and some cards with other weirdo connectors which connected to other sub-cards!).

      Exec was excellent (if you ignored the issue of memory protection) and simple, and I still sometimes wish on Linux I could "nice" processes with absolute priorities. (But it doesn't matter as much, these days.)

      Even AmigaDOS (!) (when's the last time you heard that part of the system praised?) had some very nice things about it, or easily added onto it. Linux finally got equivalent ramdisk tech with 2.4 but I still don't see a pipe device as awesome and convenient as APIPE. ;-) Linux finally got diverse filesystems (on of my favorite things about it) and has pulled ahead by a huge margin (I'll admit that; Linux is now the world leader in this regard) but Amiga people were plugging in, and playing with, and benchmarking different ones, years before anyone ever heard of Hans Reiser. When x86 people were working around fdisk partitioning, Amiga people had RDB -- equivalent tech is just now hitting becoming widely deployed with GPT. Some of its features seem very dubious by today's standards (I can't explain to anyone in 2012 why they would want "assigns" and not sound like a moron) but compared to AmigaDOS' comtemporaries .. oh, those people knew why someone would want a feature like that, and envied the Amiga even if they had to do it in secret.

      The Amiga was plenty loved for its tech. Maybe by different people for different reasons, but the techlove was there, and I think critical to Amiga lingering after Commodore's death, for as long as it did.

      One thing, though. For all the Amiga tech we don't have today, we still get by. Some of it got improved on (FFS seems so quaint now), some of it got the need for it bypassed by either new paradigms or brute force (you don't need copper lists, or to tell APIPE how much memory to use for its queue, or decent partitioning system when you have LVM), some of it is now seen as a bad idea (e.g. reading the the code which implements a filesystem, from the inserted media), and whatever we all still lack today, is mitigated by the other advantages of being the mainstream (e.g. Core i5 for $200 instead of a Cyberstorm 060 for $1000). The tech was damn fine, but it's still 1980s tech that we're talking about. It still impressed in the 1990s, but mainly because the 1990s were a semi-dark age.

      • by Bert64 (520050)

        What was special about the amiga gui, was the way it was extremely responsive and fully multitasking, competing systems of the time usually couldn't multitask very well if at all, and were generally very sluggish even on considerably faster hardware.
        This is also why the amiga stuck around for quite a while, although the hardware was getting dated the user experience took longer to seem slower than the underlying hardware would have suggested.

      • by amorsen (7485)

        I still sometimes wish on Linux I could "nice" processes with absolute priorities

        You can, you just need to use the realtime priorities instead. However, you need privileges to do so because it is trivial to crash Linux that way. Just like it was trivial to crash AmigaOS that way, of course.

  • by Viol8 (599362) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:09AM (#40370315)

    It was a superb machine (arguably the best personal computer) in the 80s and early 90s, but its now 2012 and things have moved on. Why are people still intent on trying to resurrect it like some festering computer zombie? Its making a mockery of the Amiga name and of the time and effort the original designers put into its HARDWARE - because it was the hardware rather than the OS which really made it what it was.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:14AM (#40370403) Homepage Journal

      No, it was the OS. The OS was fantastic. I'd have been much more comfortable jumping to ix86 back in the mid 1990s if AmigaOS had been available then.

      The hardware was fantastic in 1985. In 1990, it was OK but looking a little odd. By the time AGA finally rolled out, there were serious concerns amongst many in the Amiga community that the Amiga hardware was already way behind the PC and Mac. And, of course, infamously, it was about that time that Carmack made it clear that Doom would never be ported to the Amiga due to hardware concerns, despite it running on the lowest end PCs of that era.

      • No, it was the OS. The OS was fantastic. I'd have been much more comfortable jumping to ix86 back in the mid 1990s if AmigaOS had been available then.

        IBM peeled off some Amiga developers to work on the Workplace Shell for OS/2 2.x and later. That OS also had some enthusiasts (and still has a few).

      • Not being familiar with the Amiga OS at all, could you explain what made it so good? Is there anything about it that is better than what we have today?

        • by pipatron (966506)

          I use Amiga OS almost every day. Technically, Linux have almost every capability that Amiga OS have.

          I write "almost" because the Amiga OS is more or less a true "microkernel", so you could replace most everything in the system live. Normally you don't do this though, and it's pretty insignificant.

          What it excelled at during the days was that it had true multitasking with a fast message passing functionality, and it took something like 5-10 years until other desktop operating systems had that (windows, maco

        • Apart from multitasking, lots of colors, very small kernel and speed, hundreds of smart and cool features, graphical beatifications, smarmy and small programs - it was always safe to turn off or turn on computer by - pressing on/off button - without waiting for the shutdown crap. It booted in few seconds - well below 10. It had 4 channel stereo sound. There was an ecosystem of add-on cards, pushing it way beyond anything out there. Apart from all that - in the very early 90's the only animated thing on a PC
        • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:04PM (#40371091) Homepage Journal

          Over time, there probably isn't a lot that's better than what we have today, beyond efficiency and a look and feel that I just felt comfortable with - which itself is somewhat subjective... hey, take a look here: http://home.datacomm.ch/mrupp/TAWS/WB.html [datacomm.ch]

          At the time however, these were considered radical:

          - Pre-emptive multitasking
          - A shell that was half way between Command.com and Bourne. Had some very nice user friendly aspects, such as named parameters and a shared command line parsing system.
          - The file system supported mixed case, long, filenames.
          - An automatically-managed multiple desktop system. Larger apps would have their own desktops. Each could be a different screen mode if necessary (important in the days when there was a resolution/colour tradeoff)

          Everything was patchable and extendable. Utilities were encouraged to intercept standard library calls for all kinda of stuff. The file system had some extremely nice features such as an assignments system that allowed you to assign symbolic names to directories - you didn't have drive letters or a single file system, but something more partitionable. From Workbench 2.0 onwards it had an extremely pleasant look and feel (older versions, not so much.)

          It's hard really to describe how radical and better it was at the time to anything else mainstream. Unfortunately, it became obsolete the moment MMU support (and other security features) became important, which is to say, as soon as the Internet proper came on the scene.

        • by Jeremi (14640)

          Not being familiar with the Amiga OS at all, could you explain what made it so good?

          It had extremely efficient and lightweight pre-emptive multitasking, such that multiple programs could run simultaneously and respond to the user very quickly even on very modest hardware (e.g. 7MHz 68000 CPU, 512KB RAM).

          The downside of that was that there was no memory protection -- all programs ran in the same memory space. While that made efficient data sharing trivial (any program could just get a pointer to any system data it needed to access, and read it), it also made things very insecure -- one bug

          • by Nutria (679911)

            The downside of that was that there was no memory protection

            Replacing a non-protected OS with a protected version while retaining app compatibility is impossible. That's why Apple had to ditch the original Mac code base and replace it with OSX.

            • by Belial6 (794905)
              No. It isn't. They would just need to virtualize every non-protected app so that they had their own memory space.
              • There's a hell of a lot of Amiga stuff that relies upon tasks all seeing a single, unified, memory image. IPC for example. And even stuff like drawing graphics is done in an environment in which processes assume they'll be able to address the screen directly.

                Now, before you go "But that's OK, because you can just..." and then explain the obvious solutions, yeah, I know. The problem here is that I've yet to hear solutions that do not fundamentally result in an OS that has no resemblance to the original, a

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            They didn't as if the OS was better, but if there was anything about it that was better. I would say that DataTypes was an awesome feature that is still not in modern OSes, and we would all be better off if it was.
        • by toejam13 (958243)

          At the time, the Amiga had a very good blend of processor, graphics and audio performance tied together with a multitasking OS (rare at the time) for a reasonable price. But the OS was admired because it had a very small footprint and was very fast. It was also easy to use.

          The only major benefit you'd get out of it today is that it is incredibly lightweight. But that is because it uses a very simple memory management subsystem. There are a lot of benefits of using a more complex memory subsystem, which

        • by cpu6502 (1960974)

          >>>Not being familiar with the Amiga OS at all, could you explain what made it so good? Is there anything about it that is better than what we have today?

          It had the same power as Windows98 or MacOs 10.0, but back in 1985. It had preemptive tasking, near-photographic level images/videos, and near-CD quality sound. So in other words in 1985 it was over a decade ahead in technology (and now it's about a decade behind). There's really no reason to use AmigaOS today, except to experiment with a diffe

          • by Belial6 (794905)
            To be fair it wasn't Windows98 that the Amiga matched. It was closer to Windows95, and even then it was a little behind. The day before Windows95 came out, the Amiga was well ahead of it's peers. The day Win95 hit the streets, it was a little behind. Of course, at the end of the day, I am quibbling over whether Amiga was 10 years ahead or 13 years ahead of the rest of the industry.
        • BTW, quote from Dave Haynie [archive.org] (who posts here occasionally. Originally a C64 engineer but moved on to the Amiga group and later chipset design work):

          And while ads might have helped, additional interfacing with Marketing might not have done much in those days. Amiga engineers were better in touch with the buyers than Marketing. Because most of us WERE the target market - we were making our own new toy, within the financial limits accorded.

          That's what's missing from modern computing.

          Ubuntu is about corneri

        • by Belial6 (794905)
          The one thing that Amiga had that still isn't in modern OSes is DataTypes. On the Amiga, if a new graphics format came out, a new DataType could be written, and every well written application on your system would instantly be able to use the new format. It was like device drivers for data.
      • by Hatta (162192)

        it was about that time that Carmack made it clear that Doom would never be ported to the Amiga due to hardware concerns

        Apparently, Carmack was wrong. It won't run on an Amiga 500, but the A500 was 6 years old at that point. The Amiga 1200 was current at the time Doom was released. And you can obviously run Doom on it now.

        What Carmack really meant was that it wasn't worth the effort to port Doom to the Amiga hardware.

        • Well, kinda. The Amiga 500 was 6 years old, but the 500 and 600 were the most popular brands of Amiga ever made and there were tens of millions of them. The 1200 was sold towards the end of Commodore's life and didn't sell at anything like the same rate.

          Could the 1200 run Doom? Well, yeah, just about, but that wasn't what Carmack was getting at. He was looking forward, saying "Look, mainstream Amigas have this bitplane architecture. It's nice, and flexible, but when it comes to 3D games, it's just never

          • by toejam13 (958243)

            The point I'm making is that the Amiga, in the early nineties, just wasn't something you bought for the hardware

            Yes and no. The Amiga 3000 and Amiga 4000 were the cheapest 68040 workstations at the time. Amiga Unix (System V Release 4) and NetBSD could be loaded onto them, making them more cost effective than anything from Sun.

            The problem was that the rest of the system was suffering. The Enhanced Chipset (ECS) was little more than an incremental upgrade of the Original Chipset (OCS). It should have looked more like the Advanced Architecture (AA/AGA) that came out in '92.

            Commodore was just never able to smoothly

            • I'm curious if they were bad at estimating fabrication and support chip costs or if they were bad at coming up with a target price and sticking with it. I mean, near the end you had AAA then AA/AGA then AA+ and lastly Hombre. Sounds very chaotic.

              Neither. From the Interview with Dave Haynie I linked to earlier, this gives some insight into the day to day problems the Amiga team had to deal with.

              How to you feel about the A4000 in relation to the A3000? It's allways felt like a rushed system to me, whic

              • by toejam13 (958243)

                The problem C= had with producing the chipsets, etc, was almost 100% politics.

                I see two surprising things. First, that the board of directors would have allowed Sydnes to kill the A3000+ project without anything else in the pipeline. Second, that Commodore was so seriously decentralized. For a company as small as Commodore, you'd think that board of directors would have been more involved in calling the shots.

                I'm NOT surprised by the price constraints with the A4000. Commodore was never able to shake Tramiel's mantra of "for the masses, not the classes". It is rather sad that we

        • by anss123 (985305)

          The Amiga 1200 was current at the time Doom was released. And you can obviously run Doom on it now.

          Running Doom on a stock Amiga 1200 would be a painful experience. If it's upgraded with a 030 CPU and 4MB memory is another matter, but there wasn't many of those. You could also run Doom on an upgraded Amiga 500, as there were 030 upgrade cards for them too.

          But I strongly doubt a stock A1200 would be anything but epically slow on Doom. First you need to run it straight from a floppy drive, as most owners didn't have a hard drive. Then you'd have to squeeze the game into half the memory, and that memory

          • by toejam13 (958243)

            Running Doom on a stock Amiga 1200 would be a painful experience

            I agree. There was just too much overhead doing chunky to planar conversion. Even with the CD32 and its Akiko chip where you could do the conversion in hardware, the results were mediocre at best.

            The question is, what was the choke point? The MC68EC020/14, the Akiko or the AGA chipset? Would the stock 020/14 have been enough if AGA included an 8-bit chunky mode, or would an 020/20 or 030/16 been needed?

            • by anss123 (985305)
              The c2p stuff wasn't too much of an overhead, the big perf. killer is simple lack of memory bandwidth. The game would have to be scaled down to 64 colors at the very least, as 256 colors used up pretty much all the bandwidth. Add 4 MB of fast ram and the AGA (or ECS) chipset is free to consume all the membandwidth it needs without hurting CPU performance.

              As far as CPU goes, any 020 is likely too slow (unless there's lots and lots of room for optimization in the Doom engine). A 16MHz 030 is better, but is
              • by toejam13 (958243)

                As far as CPU goes, any 020 is likely too slow ... a 16MHz 030 is better, but is still slower than the 25MHz minimum requirement of PC Doom

                True, but I don't see Commodore releasing a 68EC030/25 as their entry level processor in 1992. Even over at Apple where Gassée was busy pushing high-end systems, they still released the Mac LC with only a 68020/16.

                I guess a good question to ask is how much more would it cost to have produced an A1200 with a 68EC030/16 versus a 68EC020/16. More expensive chip and socket, an extra eight memory bus lines on the motherboard and so on. Also, would they have run it at its native 16MHz like in the A3000 or

                • by anss123 (985305)
                  With the Amiga 1200 being such a low cost system, adding a 030 in 1992 was perhaps not a realistic option. But Doom was released in December 1993, and Commodore could perhaps have had a cheap 030 machine ready for early 1994 with a decent port of Doom.

                  However, by that time Commodore was bankrupt.

                  If you're going to get Doom on the Amiga I think you need to go back as far as 1986. C= was in financial difficulties back then, and the Amiga was yet to become a runaway success, and therefore they didn't inve
          • by Bert64 (520050)

            It was slow even with an 030, it was just about playable on a 68040, and the only amiga to come with a 68040 by default was the A4000... Also the default 68040 card in the A4000 was quite slow, the one i played it on was significantly faster than a stock A4000.

      • by antdude (79039)

        I find it interesting that fans released an Amiga port based on DOOM's source code. It seems to run well too.

  • by xxxJonBoyxxx (565205) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:15AM (#40370411)

    >> why Amiga continues to inspire people today

    Um...not really. I owned two Amiga machines and worked on two different Video Toaster rigs. Fun at the time, but I'm very, very happy that the Amiga's best features (graphics, sound and text-to-speech) went mainstream. I haven't plugged in any of my old systems in more than five years.

    Let it rest - RIP.

    • I think the weight of "people are inventing entire operating systems built in the manner of AmigaOS" outweighs your "I never turn on my video toasters any more."
    • by BigSes (1623417)
      For the collector / new to Amiga market, what would you recommend? I want to get a complete Amiga system, for gaming exclusively, but I always get tripped up in the model numbers (500, 1200, 3000, etc). Just something new to toy around with for a few months and add to my collection of gaming equipment. I had a Commodore 64 since it was released in the "C" format, and still have all of my equipment and software, but I was so jealous of the back-of-the-box screenshots for Amiga titles (we really couldn't a
  • Why the animosity? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:20AM (#40370471)

    Why the animosity to Amiga enthusiasts? Im willing to bet that a significant portion of Linux users on Slashdot were once Amiga users and for various reasons moved on - maybe like myself - a reluctant windows user in the late 90's before discovering Linux and dumping windows for good eventually! Initially Linux - for me reminded in many ways of Amiga OS which is why it was so easy for me to fall in love with it.

    Although Linux will for the moment remain my primary OS I've been keeping an eye on AROS. Over the years and as of late the system is becoming really polished with different distro's including one for 68k that can be run on classic hardware - as well as a port currently underway for the Raspberry PI. So you will see that this is not just about running AmigaOS on x86 but creating an OS that eventually will run across different processor architectures. There is also a very interesting Aros / Linux hybrid which opens up the world of linux applications to use inside AROS ... Aeros / Broadway X [aros-broadway.de] .

    How quickly we forget that Linus Torvalds was scratching an itch to build a minix clone for x86 which has led to the incredibly widespread and varied use we see today. So to AROS which started albiet more recently than Torvalds effort which has similar but humble beginnings.

    AROS and the work that has been done are enabling things like replacement , royalty free Kickstart's that can be used with emulation software - free of the chains of licensing. Its open source nature will ensure that the operating system can be free and modified by all.

    I for one applaud the efforts that have gone into the project particularly since they have so few active developers. (Anyone interested should probably dig in)

    • by jedidiah (1196)

      > Why the animosity to Amiga enthusiasts?

      There's plenty of people here that will screech and point at anyone they think isn't part of the herd.

      I suspect that's not the old 68K users acting like pod people here.

    • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @12:23PM (#40371471) Homepage Journal

      Because back in the early nineties, we were obnoxious.

      I'm not kidding. We'd bring in the Amiga into every discussion. How it was the best computer in the world. How you suck for having a PC or Mac. How Bill Gates sucks because he won't support our wonderful computer system.

      We were basically the early nineties equivalent of Apple fanbois. Except worse, if you can imagine such a thing.

      And I suspect there are a few Team Amigans out there who are still like that. The rest of us are old farts who post to threads like this and reminise, which makes us easy pickings both for trolls, and people who just didn't like us back in 1992.

      That's not all of it of course. There's also always the MBA-who-thinks-he's-a-geek type who, on hearing someone has created a 6502 entirely out of discrete soldered together transistors, or out of Lego, posts here demanding to know WHY ANYONE WOULD MAKE A 6502 in 2012?!! And they're posting here thinking "Amiga?! But why would we want anything other than {"Linux"/Windows 8/Mac OS X}"

      That's why. My advice. Ignore it. Enjoy the fact geeks are doing geeky things. And try the OS if you have a chance, you might find a use for it, and you'll certainly learn something from it.

      • by Picass0 (147474)

        >> "Because back in the early nineties, we were obnoxious....I'm not kidding. We'd bring in the Amiga into every discussion. How it was the best computer in the world. How you suck for having a PC or Mac. How Bill Gates sucks because he won't support our wonderful computer system. "

        Very true. I was an Atari ST guy. Man, you guys pissed me off so much. And what REALLY sucked was I knew deep down the Amiga was the better machine. I carried a stupid torch for Atari that looking back was completely u

  • I used to be a die hard Amiga fan and I still dip into the scene every now and again to see what's going on.

    They seem to have a fairly decent browser in the form of a Firefox port called Timberwolf, but it's quite sad to see the amount of effort they have to through just to watch a video on YouTube.

    Likewise, USB support is still quite lacking (I'm not even sure they have USB2 support yet), and most of the software is just ports of Linux software (Blender etc.)

    It's interesting to see what's going on, but it'

    • by LoadWB (592248)

      I'm running USB2 in my 4000D with OS3.9. With this, I have a multi-card reader, 10/100 Ethernet adapter, and wireless keyboard and mouse. It can also handle USB wireless adapters and I connect USB flash drives and hard drives frequently. Not bad for a dead system. And, yes, it's a hobby and it's fun. I can't explain it any more than anyone can explain why it's fun to tinker with old cars, planes, stamps, etc.

      • by BigSes (1623417)

        I posted this above, but you seem like another in-the-loop Amiga fan to ask, so I am reposting below:

        For the collector / new to Amiga market, what would you recommend? I want to get a complete Amiga system, for gaming exclusively, but I always get tripped up in the model numbers (500, 1200, 3000, etc). Just something new to toy around with for a few months and add to my collection of gaming equipment. I had a Commodore 64 since it was released in the "C" format, and still have all of my equipment and soft

  • Pascal Papara's Broadway AROS project [aros-broadway.de] has been brought to the Raspberry Pi by Stephen Jones [facebook.com]. There's also an ARM6 hosted version of the AROS project available [sourceforge.net].
  • Another undead "Amiga". Hooray...
  • by IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) on Tuesday June 19, 2012 @11:54AM (#40370913) Homepage Journal

    something was named Icarus, it went down in flames.

  • The good old timey feeling of the late Renaissance

Forty two.

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