poniedziałek, 10 kwietnia 2017

AMIcast - Text Interview 8 - Norbert Kett

After some time, we have new text interview. My guest is Norbert Kett in real life Lead programmer / 4Flash company. In Amiga scene, he is responsible for Amiga Cloud Handlers and he wants to give us OpenGL for Vampire turbo cards.
1. Your first contact with computers. And was it Amiga or something else?

My dad is an electronic engineer, so when I was young we had many 8 bit computers, but the first real impact made the C64. I was 14, and I decided I want to make programs. And then I saw photos about the Amiga 500 in paper magazines ... whoa ... we (with my older brother) started to begging for an Amiga to our dad :) Finally, we got one. It was around 1990.

2. Your first Amiga. Type and configuration? There were some other models too?

As I mentioned above, it was a plain A500. As some of my friends had A1200, I really wanted an A1200 too, but I didn't work yet so I again asked my dad's help :) and I got it! with 60MB HDD :) it was a big upgrade. Also, the accelerator cards were too expensive that time. a few years later when I started to work, I save some cash and bought my top dream machine, an A4000 (68040@25 + 16MB FAST RAM) and with an EGS Spectrum 24 video card.
3. When and why you switched to NG systems? Which NG system are you using now?

Around 1998 I noticed that all my Amiga friends are gone. Everyone used PC. Even my brother. I was the last-one-standing around my living place. So I moved forward ... Much later in 2013, i found the dead page of Natami and Majsta's FPGA project. And I started to interesting again about Amiga. The flame is got back :) My brother also started to collect and use Amigas. I have every kind of NG machines, except consoles. I rather just listing my Amiga related machines ;)
  • A600+Vampire600,
  • A1200+Blizzard-1230,
  • A1200+ACA1221,
  • Powerbook for MorphOS
  • AmigaOne-500 (donation)
  • And a desktop machine for AROS (donation)
4. Tell us something about your work? You have brought Dropbox and Google Drive for all Amigas! Why you did it?

In the main time, I'm working on mobile games (iOS/Android). Would be good to do only Amiga development but for me, it's possible only as a hobby. The handlers ... I was working with Google Drive REST API, and I got the idea to make a handler with it. I was soo happy for this idea, I felt I can make something useful for this platform. I must mention BSzili, I got much help from him regarding GCC.

5. Your "cloud solutions" are paid for full version. Why? What is behind this decision? Should our developers try to get some money in this way?

The developing wasn't easy and required a lot of time. That's why I released in this construction. I expected 100 registrations, but it's still not reached :D I think it's not expensive, but I considering to make it soon full free, and open source.

6. A lot of guys said Dropbox will never be available for Amiga. Now is. Next plans?

I didn't know that is impossible, so I made it :D Now I working on the AmiSSL versions of this two handlers. Later I would like to make a Google Cloud Print Handler, depends on my free time.

7. We (computers, smartphones) are always online. Do you think this is right or not?

Yes, it's a very good feature of our life. I'm internet and computer addict :D

8. Amiga NG is outdated mainly in internet technology. We don't have a modern and good browser. In my opinion, it is must have. As a developer, can you comment it? It's too hard to bring for Amiga modern browser?

Exactly, and the Timberwolf attempt wasn't too successful as I know. I see two main problems with this: Modern browsers need fast CPU, and they are very complex projects. Porting, and maintaining is not ideal for one person. I think it requires a small team.

9. What are you missing on Amiga platform? Tools? Memory protection?

Well, many features and tools are missing :) Let's hope eventually they will be implemented somehow :) Just saw the videos about AROS new SMP feature. It's promising. A Libre Office port also would be good. And of course a decent browser with WebGL :D

10. One of the best software for Amiga is Hollywood. Have you tried it? Can it be a good way for a fresh guy to start writing programs and games using it?

Uhm I'm sorry, I never tried this software. As I missed many games... For writing games I rather recommend the GCC with SDL :) Bebbo is working on the gcc6 for m68k... I tested it, and it generates much faster code than the old GCC 2.95.

11. Our community is divided: AOS4, MOS, AROS and classic Amiga. This is not so good for Amiga future. Can be something done? Can we reunite again?

I don't expect any change in this area :) I must admit for me the classic (m68k) AmigaOS is the most important :P

13. In this divided situation how we should develop software? For example, MUI is different for AmigaOS and MorphOS, AROS has Zune. Maybe we should have one core team for MUI/Odyssey etc., and then port software for tree main systems?

Perhaps with enough effort and resource, it could be managed somehow. I don't really follow all events, but I hope the OS4 finally will move to the hands of A-EON.

14. Lack of time = lack of software or developers.  A lot of Amiga user said: ports are not a solution. Do you agree with that?

I think Amiga is a hobby platform, so ports are our butter and bread :D But of course I'm happy with every Amiga only projects too.

15. For newcomers. What Amiga you can advise? Classic or maybe NG? Or emulator?

There are newcomers? :D It depends on every person's taste. I'm happy with any newcomers, doesn't matter what Amiga platform they choose.

16. Vampire FPGA for Amiga 600/500/2000 is a big success. Do you think it can be a future for us? Can reunite community?

Yes, it's the big bang :) A bit lately, but it's happened. And I'm very glad to see the Apollo team's progress. It's the reason why I'm developing for Amiga again. Big respect for them!

17. As I know you would like to make OpenGL for Vampire? Do you think FPGA is powerful enough? Without FPU Vampire is still slower than 68060 processor.

Well, I started to work on Fabrice Bellard's TinyGL lib. It's super compact and well optimized, but need to add many features. FPU is essential, I really waiting for that. I also started to work with Apollo team to speed up the rendering with TinyGL. I hope they will make some special texturing instructions.

18. AmigaOS 4 under WinUAE is a great success. Instead of PPC hardware maybe a better solution is powerful Intel with emulation?

For speeding up the development for OS4 it's a good thing, but I don't see it as a better solution. Nevertheless, it's definitively a cheaper solution :)

19. What about AROS? When two are fighting (MorphOS and AmigaOS), can this third player be a winner of whole war?

OS4 progress is super slow, and MOS also slowed down in the past year. That is not good. AROS also not a quickly evolving OS, but they have good progress with SMP. I can't predict the future :)

20. Greetings.

Greetings to:
  • my dad: he bought my first Amiga computers
  • my brother: thanks for the A600 ;)
  • BSzili: thanks for the GCC help
  • Sir_Lucas: thanks for the PCMCIA network cards

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