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Old 03-22-2004, 04:36 AM   #1
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Default What will drive the New Amiga?

What will it take to get the average "Joe" to consider purchasing the new Amiga (and compatible) platform in the future?

It's inarguable that the current situation with the future Amiga, and derivative products such as the Pegasos, et al., is a confusing, frustrating mess. No one knows quite who owns what, when they owned it, why "Fleecy" kept babbling about OS4 a year after they supposedly sold it, etcetera.

Disclaimer: I'm not here to play favorites and I really hope that everyone here knows and understands that I have almost no vested interest in either company. For the sake of this article, let's put the companies, their problems, and everything else aside (as we should be doing anyway -- although sadly it's become the best three-ring circus in town). Please take the time to understand the following sentence very clearly. In this editorial, when I refer to "the Amiga", for the purposes of brevity I mean the AmigaOne/OS4, Pegasos/MorphOS, and all the Amiga derivative products<sup><font size="1">1</font></sup> equally.

<font size="3">In the beginning...</font>

... every platform had a-buzzword alert!- "killer app" that brought people to the platform itself. The classic Amiga had-in my case-games like F/A-18 Interceptor that used 16-bit color when 16 colors on the PC was still a luxury and Apple computers were still monochrome. Remember, Windows as we know it today wasn't even born yet.

Then Commodore tanked and took Amiga with it; and then there were two. Support for the Amiga dried up and-a once laughable concept in Amiga's heyday-Macintosh took over in Amiga's absence and cornered the desktop publishing and graphics world with Photoshop and other programs.

Later, just as Gateway was looking to purchase Amiga, Microsoft was taking over in the office with Microsoft Office and Windows, which helped it invade the work place with great success. Different gaming platforms had different platform games, such as the Mario Bros. one of many franchises for Nintendo that helped them approach their target market.

Later in its life, the classic Amiga had the Video Toaster, true. That too however has been absorbed by the monolith from Seattle and Apple. Apple carved out a niche for graphics, video, and flashy stylish hardware, and Microsoft currently owns the workplace.

Can we lure those users back? The Amiga currently has no killer apps anymore; nothing worth switching platforms for. With all due respect to the individual authors intended, the OS doesn't even have a decent Web browser yet! So the task here would be to generate enthusiasm in the platform to get things developed. How could they do this?

<font size="3">Recruiting for a new (old) platform</font>

A new Amiga platform is going to have challenges recruiting good developers from other platforms because they can't offer the potential of a "million seller" like programs for Windows (and rarely the Mac) can. To recruit developers to your side you'd have to focus on doing a few main things:
  • Give away a lot of full systems. As Genesi is now discovering, this method doesn't automatically mean that the recipients will actually produce things for your platform.

  • Hire good, solid developers. I know that Amiga Inc. put their livelihood-and a great deal of money-into infiltrating the world of the "digital environment", but four years later that market is already becoming saturated, and not too many of us are interested in cellphone java apps.

  • Attract third-party developers. Some companies are easier to work with as a developer than others; be the easy kind. Don't charge a fortune for your SDK; take it on the chin for awhile financially and support third-party developers as much as you can afford to; it's them who'll be supporting your platform-or not.

  • Attract users. To get the world to switch to Amiga, there have to be "killer apps." But are there even any killer apps left for the desktop PC? The last I could have thought of (and did long before it was available) was a file sharing network. Windows developers beat us to it though, in the form of Napster, Kazaa, and about a thousand others. The only remaining possibility I could envision would be if someone could integrate my Tivo and my desktop computer... Dammit.... That's a Windows Media Center PC!

  • Most importantly: God forbid have a profitable venture. Let's face a hard fact here. While there is still a great deal of pride left in software development, and people can swallow their pride, they can't feed their families with it. Software development is a capitalist-driven adventure. Hyperbole aside, writing a commercial program these days is about making money; with competition like Microsoft you need to create a product that everyone wants badly enough to switch to a non-Windows compatible computer.

<font size="3">Community support?</font>

Some might ask "...But Wayne, what about shareware and freeware apps?", and I hear you. While there have been commercial products available, after the death of Commodore ten years ago, the classic Amiga platform has really been supported the last ten years by nothing more than freeware and shareware. As you see by Aminet though, over the last ten years, the graph has fallen completely away from shareware and freeware and is now mostly child products<sup><font size="1">2</font></sup> such as music files or 1k demos.

What drives sales of X-Box (and other) gaming hardware is the existence of new, exciting, and technologically advanced games. What drives the sale of the PC is a massive amount of available software; as well as the latest games, not ports of games from other platforms.

<font size="3">Murky future</font>

Let's presume for the sake of imagination that Amiga OS 4 is finally released this summer and both companies finally have saleable products that are available in the necessary quantities through proper distribution channels. In other words, say in a few months we finally have an even playing field. Then what?

Once on an even field, the question really becomes whether either company actually does the only thing that's important to the survival of the Amiga platform. To me, brand loyalty and religious zeal aside, that sole important thing is whether either company can actually generate (or motivate) the actual production of the useable, unique software that's required to keep the platform alive.

The answer, in my never-so-humble opinion, is simply "no." Neither Amiga Inc, KMOS, nor Genesi have anything in place to promote, support, or push many developers in the right direction beyond a few dead mailing lists and Tao's intent documentation. Genesi in my opinion seems to be taking baby-steps in the right direction with the MorphOS Developer Connection (MDC - http://mdc.morphos.net/). I'm sure that the Amiga people have their own NDA'd version of things, but even that isn't enough , I feel, because it's only known by people who've actually heard of the Amiga-and that number is quickly dwindling.

My point is: without real software the Amiga is a PowerPC Linux machine or, in the case of the classic Amiga, a toy with no remaining commercial purpose. That's how far the classic Amiga platform has sunk after being mishandled by a handful of just seemingly clueless parent companies. It's kind of like browsing the Internet with your Commodore 64. It can be done, but why?! Similarly, the fact that you can browse the Internet on your Amiga (or Pegasos) won't sell a single motherboard when people can run out and buy a cheap PC system, take it out of the box, turn it on, insert a CD, and do what they want.

I would love to hear anyone's ideas on how to stimulate software development, taking into consideration that neither Amiga Inc. nor Genesi seem to be really able to pour money into it like they should. At this point, we can only hope KMOS - whomever they may be - will be a step in the right direction. The only remaining question and concern on my mind is "Who is this new KMOS, and why have they owned the AmigaOS but been silent for almost a year?"

<font size="3">A new hope?</font>

At the end of my little ramble here, I'd like to point out that all is not yet lost. While I honestly do not believe any platform will ever reach the pinnacle of success seen by Microsoft's Windows, it's still very possible to adapt the future of our platform to non-desktop machines, and no, I'm not talking about AmigaDE.

Devices like the "Mini-ITX" form factor (thanks Xeron for the correction) AmigaOne open up all sorts of avenues for small embedded devices such as Digital Video Recorders (DVR), or, better yet, a Digital Video Studio (Server) in a small, portable box. Can you say "$300 Digital Media creation laptop server?" I hope we all can someday.

<hr>
<font size="2"><sup>1</sup> Excluding systems that shipped with Linux (after all, who really cares about Linux on either hardware platform?), which of us would have actually purchased either expensive solution specifically to run Linux? I'm betting very few, if any.</font>

<font size="2"><sup>2</sup> Child products are those downloads which are not truly products in themselves, but things like mods and pictures that have been created with another already existing product.</font>
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Old 05-14-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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Default Re: What will drive the New Amiga?

Hi,

@ Wayne, & the Amiga Community,

I just love it when someone agrees with me,

Thanks Wayne

Lets take a look at when the Amiga first came out, it had stereo sound, no other computer had that, it had unheard of graphics with 4096 colors, unheard of at that time, it had a multi tasking operating system, pc where still inserting floppies to use one program at a time and MACS where lucky to just boot up.

So there we have it, sound, graphics and multi tasking.

Now lets go back and look at the C64, it had sound, but not stereo, it had graphics, but not many colors, and it was a single program running computer.

Now when I first bought my C64, there was very little programs, but it had a BASIC programming language included and a manual on how to use it, and then on top of that it had a supporting magazine called Ahoy!, which came out with type in programs and tips and tricks. Then as time went on it had supporting companies writing software.

Now lets look at the Amiga 1000, it had stereo sound, 4096 color graphics, multi tasking and also included was BASIC computing language and a supporting magazine called Amiga World, which once again gave programs you could type in, and tips and tricks.
Now lets also say that in time Software Co. rolled into the equation. So what did I like about the C64 and Amiga, one typing in programs, and trying to find my typo errors, I really enjoyed trying to type in code to make music (failed terribly) and had loads of fun trying to get the graphics to do stuff.

So what is our niche, a home based computer that people could play with and use.

Graphics today on PC's is getting to the point where there is no catching up, sound is so realistic when hooked up to good speakers, is it a computer or a stereo.

But

What is lacking is a friendly usable computer that you could play with, without the fear of crashing it and taking all day to reload it. Face it the magic of the Amiga was actually that, being able to use it, experiment, and if you crashed it, it only took minutes to reload.

My opinion, it may not match other opinions.

Like

My opinion of Karlos is that he is a complete fun abuser, other people may have a different opinion which favors Karlos ( which I think sucks) but opinion none the less.

Please don't read the above line, I think Karlos is a kool person, he plays games like Crysis 2, on a PC, and I always thought he was a bean counting MAC user. Never will troll Karlos again.

Oh yeah, Commodore also had a software writing department to make software for their new computers to help on kickoffs.

smerf
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MorphOS is a MAC done a little better

Last edited by smerf; 05-14-2011 at 09:07 PM.. Reason: Apology to Karlos
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Old 05-14-2011, 09:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: What will drive the New Amiga?

Did this topic just get a revival from a revival from a revival?

In any case, being my usual cranky retrophile self, I say that what will drive the new Amiga is hardware that is directly compatible with the old Amiga (in other words, a 68k-compatible CPU and at least as much compatibility with the old chipsets as they had with each other.)
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