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Amiga.org Amiga computer related discussion Amiga community support ideas How to move AROS forward

Amiga community support ideas This forum is for the open discussion of new thoughts and ideas intended to help the Amiga community. What do we need? What do we want?

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Old 07-24-2008, 02:59 PM   #1
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Default How to move AROS forward

I'm not going to beat about the bush here, as much as I appreciate the work that has gone into AROS, and admire the dedication of those behind it, AROS has become stagnant and is frankly almost as useless as it was 5 or 6 years ago. Sure there has been progress, but that progress has been directionless and of no benefit for most of the Amiga community.

I'm not posting here to beat on the AROS developers. I'm here to be constructive and put forward a proposal of how things could be resolved. However, the first obstacle in the way of anything happening is to get the core AROS guys to acknowledge that there is a problem, and that THEY need to do something about it. That is why I have to be so blunt in the post about the dire state things are in. AROS is currently stuck between a rock and a hard place. The rock is the lack of binary compatibility and the hard place is the restrictions imposed by source compatibility. Hiding behind the APL just isn't going to cut it anymore.

My proposal is simple: Fork the AROS project into 2 distinct projects, each with a different technical focus and target audience. For the purposes for distinction, I'll refer to them as 'Classic' and 'Future' here. This is by no means my suggestion for naming.

Let's start with Classic. The Classic project's main aim would be 3.1 binary compatibility. The primary target platform would be *UAE, with real physical 68k machines the secondary target. Strip out anything that isn't needed to run in UAE - drivers etc. There are plenty of improvements that Classic could provide over OS3.1. It could be then used as a base for distribution builders such as AmigaSYS, AmiKit and ClassicWB to add value to.

With the Classic project handling the compatibility side of things, the Future project can concentrate on making something a bit more modern. No more skirting around Memory protection with small bits here and there. Full MP is now possible. All those 1980's restrictions are lifted, and the developers can concentrate on making something Amiga-like rather than Amiga compatible. Compatibilty might be added later through a sandbox technique utilising Classic as a hosted OS or even simply using classic under E-UAE, which seems to be the direction the core AROS team have favoured before.

Freeing Future should hopefully spark a bit more interest from outside the community. It appeared to me that one of the reasons certain Devs have left the project is that the Amiga restrictions have prevented them from building the OS they wanted.

Before going into a big more detail, I just want to be honest here. In this scheme of things, I favour Classic over Future. It would fulfil my personal Amiga needs. Also, while I'd sell an elderly relative to get my hands on a modern Amiga-like system, I don't have faith that it would happen. All new OSes, especially those of an OSS variety always seem to end up being just another unix-a-like. This has even happened to OS4 in certain places (thankfully outside the core system).

Back to Classic, I would propose taking a similar approach to the MOS team in getting the project going. There really needs to be momentum from the start. Start off as simply a bunch of replacement files that goes on top of an OS3.1 install and keep building them up until you have replaced everything. Make sure that this can be done easily and painlessly (see AIAB) and you're sorted. People want to use stuff now, not when it's done. Providing a fully function system from the start is key here. Really, it's how AROS should have been done from the start.

I guess that about covers it. Although it's great that MOS and AOS are still progressing, the whole community/market/whatever-you-wanna-call-it is far too fragile for anything other than an open source operating system at the heart of it. We really need AROS to do well.

Sorry for the extra-long post.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:09 PM   #2
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Isn't the only reason why AROS hasn't vanished into oblivion years ago the fact that it runs on x86 ? Other then that what makes it different from OS4 / MOS ?
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

With the current lack of manpower, formally forking AROS will just create 2 stagnant projects. Besides, AfAOS sort of accomplishes what your proposed Classic fork would do anyway.

I don't follow AROS very closely, so I don't know if there are any roadblocks to memory protection. The problem with implementing it on the other Amiga OSes has always been that everything would break. Given that there probably isn't any useful AROS software whose source code has been lost, I say, break it, then fix. Finish up that UAE integration to open up the Amiga's back catalogue, and there you go: a usable Amiga operating system on standard hardware.
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Old 07-24-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Can I be blunt too?

Are you on the aros developers mailing list?
Have you committed code to the svn repository?
What can you do to help move it forward?

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Old 07-24-2008, 04:00 PM   #5
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

lacking the icon...

beating dead horse...

sigh...I have FUN with my old A2000 ... but NO future (don't want one..fun is enough)

Tom UK

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Old 07-24-2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

@Lemmink

AROS is open source, that is what males it different

@Matt_H
Quote:
Matt_H wrote:
With the current lack of manpower, formally forking AROS will just create 2 stagnant projects.
As I mentioned, my personal preference would be to concentrate solely on Classic. It makes the most sense. Amiga is predominately a retro-hobby these days. Targeting a VM as opposed to real hardware would solve many nightmares. UAE is a pretty decent bit of software ;-)

Quote:
Besides, AfAOS sort of accomplishes what your proposed Classic fork would do anyway.
No it doesn't. AfAOS replaces a couple of bits and pieces, not the whole system. I mean absolutely no disrespect to Bernd and his hard work here, but it's also a bit of a bodge. A full enhanced 68k port would be much better.

Quote:
I don't follow AROS very closely, so I don't know if there are any roadblocks to memory protection. The problem with implementing it on the other Amiga OSes has always been that everything would break. Given that there probably isn't any useful AROS software whose source code has been lost, I say, break it, then fix.
Which is a mammoth task. Everything would break. Whether or not you have the source doesn't matter all that much. The main thing is that currently the Devs won't break it because source compatibility is still core to the 'vision'.

And if they did break it what would happen to AfAOS? You can't have it both ways without a split.

Quote:
Finish up that UAE integration to open up the Amiga's back catalogue, and there you go: a usable Amiga operating system on standard hardware.
As far as I can see UAE integration is a fluffy after-thought that has been touted to stop people complaining about the lack of Amiga software. Even if it were to happen you'd still need Classic to run any software on it. It would be pretty rubbish if an open source OS required a commercial OS to run the majority of it's software.

Going back to classic again, with a minimal host OS (KXLight / XAmiga) and UAE you could have a usable Amiga Operating system on standard, or any other hardware you wanted.
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Old 07-24-2008, 04:27 PM   #7
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Interesting how the same thread can come out over and over again.

Six months ago, Rob, the responsible of the Traveller project wrote on its blog a similar proposal, despite based from different concepts: you can find it here, and here you can find the subsequent discussion in the forum.

Inside the same thread a proposal from HenryCase in order to avoid a fork and provide both new ways to evolve AROS (such as the holy memory protection grail) and in the same time provide the compatibility with the 3.1 API, but cannot say more about it because he haven't laid out anywhere yet, well maybe this is the right time....


By the way, i guess the post of rob is quite nailing the point: the AROS users and developers bring the same split feelings that Amiga/morphos user bring, therefore what is stopping now AROS to be more developed is the lack of a common goal.

And the fact that some of the assigned bounties were dropped without being brought to completion and not even shared what done so far does not help (tigger and EvilRich around?).

I personally think that AROS should more focus on evolving the amiga os way than simply provide an environment where to play older stuff: it has the potential and should use it.

The problems in a fork are: first that AROS is still incomplete, despite progress is slowly made and, as stated above, the low activity of the community that will slow down even more the activity with the forked project.

But,probably, a fork will not be needed:the latest homebrew hardware events, such as Natami that will lay on Amiga OS but especially on AROS in order to use the superAGA fucntionalities, should provide the way to increase the activity in the integration of old apps with the new system and proceed on porting AROS even on the classic hardware: part of the work has been made with AfAOS, we still need the kickstart and hardware specific code libraries.

At the end what i hope will have, and honestly is what developers need, is a base API reference to write the applications that should be easily portable on all the amiga/morph/AROS platforms and therefore an increase of the available software library and the coming of new developers.

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Old 07-24-2008, 04:30 PM   #8
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
yakumo9275 wrote:
Can I be blunt too?
Of course you can.

Quote:
Are you on the aros developers mailing list?
Not anymore.

Quote:
Have you committed code to the svn repository?
If I think a project's overall direction is flawed, am I going to waste time submitting code that won't change that? Would that really be a good use of my time? Or are you suggesting that I do the whole lot myself?

I fail to see what that really has to do with it. I really wish that people would stop hiding behind open source as if it is some sort of licence to absolve their projects of any criticism. If this didn't happen in the first place I wouldn't have to be so blunt in my original post.

Quote:
What can you do to help move it forward?
Proposing a sensible path forward (see above - you did actually read it all before going onto the defensive didn't you?)


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Old 07-24-2008, 05:09 PM   #9
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
uncharted wrote:


If I think a project's overall direction is flawed, am I going to waste time submitting code that won't change that? Would that really be a good use of my time? Or are you suggesting that I do the whole lot myself?
There is no direction! The only goal is to get something that works, and each dev works to improve what they can, what they know how to improve...

I appreciate you don't have much respect for the project, I'm quite sure it offers you nothing... but if you compile the latest sources, you end up with a usable OS, that is in every way like AmigaOS... with a bunch of programs to play with... frankly that's pretty much all my Amigas can do too... I wouldn't get much more from any other Amiga system...

I would like a 68k build, and there are people messing around with that right now... but no Amiga system can really offer any more than than what AROS offers now... so I am happy.
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Old 07-24-2008, 06:44 PM   #10
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
uncharted wrote:
I fail to see what that really has to do with it. I really wish that people would stop hiding behind open source as if it is some sort of licence to absolve their projects of any criticism. If this didn't happen in the first place I wouldn't have to be so blunt in my original post.
What it tells me is you have no investment in AROS, and it is some minor form of absolvment from criticism, because if you dont like it, you have all the rights in the world to go do something about it, make your own fork. Start writing code to get that fork where YOU want it to be.

Quote:
Proposing a sensible path forward (see above - you did actually read it all before going onto the defensive didn't you?)
I did read it all, and I dont think I was defensive, I just asked you a couple of questions. I can understand your POV. You want it NOW, not when its ready. I want a lot of things now too, but the world doesn't work that way. We have to work hard for the things we want.

Proposing a 'sensible path forward' does what exactly? what does that achieve? nothing... in open source, code is what counts, being the guy with the big idea doesn't really mean squat.

AROS only has a small set of developers. If you fork it, how many folks do you think will work on the classic side? how many on the future side? Will it take twice as long to get anywhere with half the developers?

What would this 3.1classic compatible AROS bring that genuine 3.1 doesn't? You can still get 3.1 on amiga forever cd so its not like its unavailable.

Why dont you start an arch/m68k-amiga port in aros, because, that would get you off and going with the whole 'classic' piece that you want. Once you get that compiling you should be able to drop in all the libs and other bits as replacements.

I do like the idea of a 'future' version, Id love to see an L4 kernel driving it, make use of that mmu, a much better filesystem, etc.

I'm trying to get aros working on the efika. I dont care about classic hardware or classic binary compat. I would love to see a jittable emulation layer that translates api calls across from m68k apps into native code. But I dont really see your 'classic' view point of 100% drop in binary compat and replacing wb3.1. You really need to explain your classic idea and sell it coz I dont see the point of it. If genuine 3.1 wasnt available, then I could maybe see a point to it.

The way I see it, AROS now is the start of your 'future'. The 3.1API is a nice API to start with, its well defined and understood for app developers. I'm very much with Rob on his views.

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Old 07-24-2008, 06:53 PM   #11
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
Matt_H wrote:
With the current lack of manpower, formally forking AROS will just create 2 stagnant projects.
Bingo.

Quote:
saimon69 wrote:
Inside the same thread a proposal from HenryCase in order to avoid a fork and provide both new ways to evolve AROS (such as the holy memory protection grail) and in the same time provide the compatibility with the 3.1 API, but cannot say more about it because he haven't laid out anywhere yet, well maybe this is the right time....
Well remembered. I'm not going to say any more on the subject until I'm ready to code a 'proof' for my theory (the MP issue always causes a sh*tstorm), so you're right, now is not the time.

Quote:
uncharted wrote:
Proposing a sensible path forward (see above - you did actually read it all before going onto the defensive didn't you?)
uncharted, thank you for ideas, but as you can see from saimon69's post AROS fans already discussed these same ideas a few months ago. Some would argue we lost a good developer out of those discussions (though there were other factors at play too).

I'd say yakumo9275's response was justified. Too many armchair experts (including myself), not enough developers, that's AROS's main problem, so what are you going to do to fix that?

Anyway, contribute something concrete to AROS and I'm sure you'll get a more favourable response to your ideas.
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:02 PM   #12
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
yakumo9275 wrote:
You really need to explain your classic idea and sell it coz I dont see the point of it. If genuine 3.1 wasnt available, then I could maybe see a point to it.
I know you were talking to uncharted here, but what the hell, let's open this can of worms again...

68k AROS + new 68k Kickstart = freedom for classic machines, giving a much more expandable and customisable OS. Useful for the machines we owe so much to as well as the new 68k Amigas (Minimig, Natami, etc...). To turn your question around, why would you not want that?
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Old 07-24-2008, 07:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

My 2 bits . . .

Many years ago I asked why AROS isn't designed for one piece of hardware and complete the OS so it can be used regularly, then branch out to more hardware. But every one back then wanted it to run on their hardware, hence, still under development for all that hardware.

AROS for 68k, a great path to go for freedom from 3.x series with more modern possibilities is great. My preferred path for AROS ATM. Think Natami . . .

But going in so many directions just slows the development overall.

I do like tinkering with AROS but its not even going to make my 6 year plus predicted "2010 Ready For Prime Time" debut.

Nothing is really happening in the Amiga world ATM.

Yes, I realize MorphOS 2.0 has released, but where's the hardware. The price . . . Efika . . .

OS4 is a deadstick ATM.

AROS has stalled.

Ho Hum . . . . . . . .
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Old 07-24-2008, 11:22 PM   #14
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

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But going in so many directions just slows the development overall.
I think that is hitting the nail on the head; any development effort can be thwarted by trying to make the software too many things to too many people. It's important to focus on setting realistic milestones when implementing anything, an operating system especially. it seems to me that the efforts of the community are far too divided for anyone's good.

Quote:
Yes, I realize MorphOS 2.0 has released, but where's the hardware. The price . . . Efika . . .
don't laugh, the efika is a nice little system. I'm thinking about buying a second one, actually - my fiancee loves the idea of the low power consumption and only needs basic functions (word processor and email). the morphos team promised 2.0 the second quarter and delivered despite some, myself included, thinking they would not; I think I will not be as surprised if we see MOS on Mac Mini systems soon.
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Old 07-25-2008, 01:14 AM   #15
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
Wolfe wrote:

AROS for 68k, a great path to go for freedom from 3.x
...and no hardware to buy. Great idea. I think we already have that. :roll:
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Old 07-25-2008, 04:15 AM   #16
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
HenryCase wrote:
Quote:
Matt_H wrote:
With the current lack of manpower, formally forking AROS will just create 2 stagnant projects.
Bingo.
Hahaha, but no... Go on fork it now, it's easy! Download the souce code, set up an SVN server, and then develop it how ever you like... Try and get devs on board though and see how far you get... If you make a sucess then what have we lost?

But like most in the Amiga scene it's all just talk... at least the AROS team as it is DOES achieve something.

I summise that the current AROS devs just work in their spare time and work on what parts they understand or find interesting. They do a fine job. If you make fork, they're not going to work on that fork (they don't have the time or the motivation)... the Main AROS tree wil develop as it always has, and your fork will die.

Quote:
Quote:
saimon69 wrote:
Inside the same thread a proposal from HenryCase in order to avoid a fork and provide both new ways to evolve AROS (such as the holy memory protection grail) and in the same time provide the compatibility with the 3.1 API, but cannot say more about it because he haven't laid out anywhere yet, well maybe this is the right time....
Well remembered. I'm not going to say any more on the subject until I'm ready to code a 'proof' for my theory (the MP issue always causes a sh*tstorm), so you're right, now is not the time.
It can't be done... the AmigaOS design does not allow for MP... I am happy to talk you through it again... it's a topic I actually enjoy talking about.

Quote:
Quote:
uncharted wrote:
Proposing a sensible path forward (see above - you did actually read it all before going onto the defensive didn't you?)
uncharted, thank you for ideas, but as you can see from saimon69's post AROS fans already discussed these same ideas a few months ago. Some would argue we lost a good developer out of those discussions (though there were other factors at play too).
Yes, we lost a great developer... but even though he has now left, he contributed a great deal to the AROS project!

Quote:
I'd say yakumo9275's response was justified. Too many armchair experts (including myself), not enough developers, that's AROS's main problem, so what are you going to do to fix that?
I don't think AROS actually has a problem at all... we are half way throguh 2008... the whole concept of the Amiga is VERY VERY dead.

AROS is now very much a hobby project, and as such it's actually doing very well. I can install it on my various computers, it functions just as my old Amigas function, it's fun to play with... it costs me nothing to mess around with... I have the source code if I want to try out an operating system idea, I can try it out, because of AROS I understand how AmigaOS actually works and the design choices made and why... and seeing the flaws in it made me apprciate the design choices and trade offs made in other operating systems...

Quote:
Anyway, contribute something concrete to AROS and I'm sure you'll get a more favourable response to your ideas.
Anyone is free to contribute to AROS, and also use AROS as a learning tool!
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Old 07-25-2008, 08:56 AM   #17
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
Colani1200 wrote:
Quote:
Wolfe wrote:

AROS for 68k, a great path to go for freedom from 3.x
...and no hardware to buy. Great idea. I think we already have that. :roll:
My thought on this was for the future . . .

I have an A1200 for it until Natami :-D Arrives . . .
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Old 07-25-2008, 09:18 AM   #18
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

Quote:
pkillo wrote:
Quote:
Yes, I realize MorphOS 2.0 has released, but where's the hardware. The price . . . Efika . . .
don't laugh, the efika is a nice little system. I'm thinking about buying a second one, actually - my fiancee loves the idea of the low power consumption and only needs basic functions (word processor and email). the morphos team promised 2.0 the second quarter and delivered despite some, myself included, thinking they would not; I think I will not be as surprised if we see MOS on Mac Mini systems soon.
But its not fast enough to replace my A1200 and all its games etc . . . My migi is getting old. Now if all I needed was to check mail and surf the web etc., well, still, the cost of the OS Just buy a chesp PC and run BeOS . . . :-D Or Zeta like me . . . As I don't like Linux . . :-x

Now, when they release a version for the Mac Mini 1.5 (which I have and use side by side with my Zeta Box) I might buy it since I already have the hardware and can get more use out of Morph OS . . . :-)
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Old 07-25-2008, 10:55 AM   #19
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

@bloodline

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
Hahaha, but no... Go on fork it now, it's easy! Download the souce code, set up an SVN server, and then develop it how ever you like... Try and get devs on board though and see how far you get... If you make a sucess then what have we lost?
I agree that creating a fork isn't necessarily hard (or a bad thing for that matter) but I would prefer to keep the number of forks to a minimum. Where do you think I would be getting those developers from, the AROS dev community or elsewhere? If I'm going to get new devs involved, I'd much rather they worked on the main x86 (or x86-64) AROS branch.

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
But like most in the Amiga scene it's all just talk... at least the AROS team as it is DOES achieve something.
I agree, and that's why I admire the AROS devs, they're making a real positive difference in the Amiga community.

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
I summise that the current AROS devs just work in their spare time and work on what parts they understand or find interesting. They do a fine job. If you make fork, they're not going to work on that fork (they don't have the time or the motivation)... the Main AROS tree wil develop as it always has, and your fork will die.
The only (new) fork I would be interested in would be a native 68k port. There are other projects I would rather complete first as I don't possess all the necessary skills to work on a 68k fork. The first major project I'd like to tackle is an AROS audio player, though I must admit that I'm still in the early stages of learning C programming properly.

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
It can't be done... the AmigaOS design does not allow for MP... I am happy to talk you through it again... it's a topic I actually enjoy talking about.
Glad you feel that way bloodline, I didn't want to feel like there was a negative vibe after our last discussions on the subject (and other subjects), but I did feel that vibe, which is one of the reasons I held off.

So lets start this discussion again, but first a question... can you name me two Amiga programs that are designed to trade data with each other through memory addresses?

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
Yes, we lost a great developer... but even though he has now left, he contributed a great deal to the AROS project!
Yes, Robert N did contribute a great deal to AROS, but to those who are unaware of the situation it's best we clarify the outcome of the 'AROS fork' discussion he started was not the main reason he left us.

Quote:
bloodline wrote:
I don't think AROS actually has a problem at all... we are half way throguh 2008... the whole concept of the Amiga is VERY VERY dead.

AROS is now very much a hobby project, and as such it's actually doing very well. I can install it on my various computers, it functions just as my old Amigas function, it's fun to play with... it costs me nothing to mess around with... I have the source code if I want to try out an operating system idea, I can try it out, because of AROS I understand how AmigaOS actually works and the design choices made and why... and seeing the flaws in it made me apprciate the design choices and trade offs made in other operating systems...
AROS doesn't have a problem in the sense that it is still alive and progressing, but it has great potential that is still untapped, which we would be able to tap with more developers. In my opinion AROS should be the most popular of the three modern Amiga based OS's, why do you think that it is not?
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Old 07-25-2008, 12:24 PM   #20
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Default Re: How to move AROS forward

I'll throw my 2 cents in here...

AROS is absolutely usable, looks great, performs well, etc. It has for a long time now. That said I think all development needs to cease, and be re-focused on 3 vital projects:

Modern web browser (started, but needs more hands)
JAVA runtime environment (I see no mention of this anywhere)
Multi-IM client (at least Yahoo and G-Talk)

Take care of these projects and everything else will fall into place quickly. Give us web access and chat capabilities. Getting JRE working we'd instantly have a lot more applications to run.

This gives us BASIC usability using the old PCs most of us already have. With that, more programs will be written as more people will be interested in it, some of them programmers.

Look at BeOS, how much stuff was written for that before it tanked? Just because people were using it. QNX, looked promising till the morons who owned it closed it off. Linux's problem is it's too complex for the average user's desktop... Yet look how much development goes into programs for Linux, just because it CAN be used.

AROS gives us the ease of AmigaOS, with the power and cost effectiveness of x86. We don't need it on dead architectures, we need it on x86. We don't need backwards compatibility, we need to move forward. We don't need to run Amiga programs on it, we have UAE and real Amigas for that.

Give me my AROS!
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