Interview with Jacek "jacaDcaps" Piszczek
Here comes another great interview from us at MorphOS Nordic.
* Can you tell us a bit about yourself.
I'm 30, born in Toruń, Poland. During the years I have worked on MorphOS,
I've done two full Antarctic Winterings, spending over 2.5 years abroad.
Right now I am restarting my life back in civilized world, in the Polish
* Tell us a bit about your computer history.
I've been working as a programmer for around 10 years now, my first real
job being the work I did on MorphOS in the good old Pegasos 1 era. Right
now I lead a small team of programmers at a company owned by the biggest
privately owned TV in Poland, doing Windows and iOS multimedia streaming
applications like the ipla.tv client.
* When did you first get in touch with Amiga and later MorphOS?
It all started when I started attending programming classes when I was 11
or so. We were learning AMOS on the good old A500s. That was also my first
computer, although quite a few years later. When I switched to a PPC
equipped A1200, programming was the pretty obvious thing to do. Back then,
around 1998, it was still possible to find people doing similar things in
my hometown, so we quickly got into making silly attempts at democoding -
but this wasn't enough, which made me look into writing utility apps and
then move from asm, AMOS and E to C with ReqAttack, which I inherited from
I got interested in a PPC OS as soon as I read about it in the Polish
Magazyn Amiga paper mag, I liked the 0.3 beta and the slowness of the 040
was already getting on my nerves by then A few months later I got in
touch with Ralph, got intuition sources from him and started working on the
skinning and all the compatibility issues and bugs this code we got from
AROS was riddled with. At the beginning, I didn't really even know much C,
not to mention the whole AmigaOS API, but the amount of problems and bugs
in the code forced me to learn quickly.
* What do you do when your not working on MorphOS?
I don't really have much spare time usually, so I really try to squeeze as
many things as possible into those free slots. When not working on MorphOS,
I try to read a lot of books (usually when commuting) and do a lot of
running with my friends - from normal daily trainings to marathons.
* What are your part in the MorphOS development?
We all have our tiny pet projects we work on in the Team, so it's mostly
designing new things and maintaining existing modules - a strictly
programming job. All of us also have to do the less fun jobs, so I also
often end up writing things like release notes.
* Can you give us some examples of things you have been involved in?
As I already mentioned, it all started with intuition, then quickly moved
into other GUI parts like the preferences, MUI classes and then MUI itself.
My first stay in the Antarctica resulted in Enhanced Display we introduced
into MorphOS 2.0. Lately I have also been working on things like
PowerBook's power management and sensors monitoring as well as the SDK.
* What is the biggest challenge you have been facing when developing
Getting the gazillion of Semaphores in intuition, gadtools and layers
libraries to work together without deadlocks with all these hacky Amiga
applications. I think it took about two years to get this into a usable
state. It's hard to believe how many applications try to abuse the AmigaOS
APIs by peeking into internal structures or by performing operations under
conditions specifically forbidden by the documentation. And yet, those
calls semi-worked on AmigaOS3.1, so we had to ensure they'd work on MorphOS
* Are you working on some features that we will se in MorphOS in the future?
Of course, although due to my limited time they're mostly little things I
can be sure I will be able to complete. A careful Morphzone observer could
tell you about the xbox pad driver in the works for example. I also really
like writing tiny screenbar modules.
* What are the biggest challenges MorphOS is facing?
An architecture change. Sooner or later we will be forced to drop the Amiga
compatibility in order to move forward and make use of the new multi-core
CPUs, etc. This will be a huge effort.
* In the event of an architecture change, what would you prefer and why?
That'd be amd64. And hopefully MacBooks We'd likely need to limit
ourselves to certain hw and a locked system like a Mac means less
variations. Of course it could also be computers built for MorphOS like you
can see with AROS or some other specific laptops.
* What future if any do you see for the PPC platform?
PPCs we have already should be OK for the next few years imho but sooner or
later we will have to move to something faster.
* Why should anyone chose MorphOS over any other OS?
A tough question I'd say it's for users who are fed up with things like
Linux and are at a level of being able to handle Linux. So if you want
something different and are not afraid of solving little problems on your
own or talking to the developers, MorphOS is for you.
* What future do you see for MorphOS?
It all depends on the time resources and our motivation within the Team -
we're not getting younger. Still, there are new, younger people still
showing up wanting to write some code for MorphOS, so perhaps we'll be able
to continue this work for years to come.
* What would you like to see in MorphOS in the future?
A new API with all the goodies like resource tracking, memory protection
and smp while keeping the good old look and feel of the OS and the apps we
all like and use every day.
* Is there anything you would like to say to the MorphOS community?
Thanks for sticking with us through the worst period between 1.4.5 and the
2.0 release. That was a time when for a long period we did not know
ourselves if we will be able to release anything. And thanks for supporting
us with registrations, especially embracing the Mac mini which turned out
to be a success. I am sure you won't be disappointed with what the new
updates will bring to the OS.
Re: Interview with Jacek "jacaDcaps" Piszczek
Very interesting stuff! A good interview, well performed, lots of info. Thanks to all involved!
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