niedziela, 31 grudnia 2017

Summary of 2017 and plans for 2018

Another year for the Amiga has passed. Let's see what happened and what did not...


My previous summaries are originally written in polish! The translated version is not perfect!:
But, it can give a full picture of where (in my opinion) our (however, we are defining) Amiga goes.

All this is only my point of view. I'm focuses on the (potential) development of the Amiga. I don't pay attention to nostalgia. Therefore, the conclusions are controversial. Probably many of you may not agree with them.
Progress and development:
  • Apollo Team - the problem is availability of cards, although hardware is in the shops. Version for Amiga 500 (& Co.) is mind-blowing, despite the lack of FPU. The announced version of Vampire 4 in the standalone version, if it actually appears in 2018 will be a huge success!,
  • Software (for AmigaOS 4.1): AOrganiser (v. 2.2) - is a great little program that will help you organize your time with the help of a Google service. For Amiga, integration with online services is really rare. Try it! The program is available at AMIStore; eNewsReader - another, great and lightweight program, allows you to import RSS from your Feedly account. Application is amazing and free; Google Cloud Print - a convenient way to print from AmigaOS 4.1, through a printer present in the network (Internet), again, thanks to Google,
  • RadeonHD (Enhancer Software 2) - in fact, the only thing that is related to the development of NG systems (here AmigaOS 4.1). New drivers for graphics cards (Radeon Polaris) and support for 2GB VRAM (previously only 256 MB!) In my opinion, RadeonHD is the only interesting thing from the announcement of the new Enhancer Software. Unfortunately, still we don't have  support for sound via HDMI, or hardware decoding of movies!,
    • Hollywood 7: Eternity
       -  this actively developed scripting language (and additions plugins), has been updated. Hollywood has been with us for 15 years! Howeve, it's a pity, that the Designer doesn't follow development of Hollywood,

    Interesting projects:
      • IBrowse 2.5 - the return of the King? It's rather a small update of the old browser for AmigaOS 3.x. It will also be released in the native version for the AmigaOS 4.1. Nice. I hope that the potential sale will be good enough, and the author will develop a new modern version of the program. IBrowse 2.5 will require a AmigaOS 3.1.4 (for the 68k version)!,
      • ApolloOS - polished AmigaOS 3.9 distribution, for Vampire II card (A600 and A500). I must admit that the configuration is well thought-out, works great and offers a wide range of possibilities. Definitely ApolloOS is an interesting project for every Vampire owner. It gives access to great programs and games (everything ready to run!). However, it isn't very clear, how it's with the legal compliance of the attached commercial software,
      • Magazine AMIGA NG (PL) - the first magazine in Poland, and probably in the world, created for users of the New Generation Amiga. In the current, classic world, magazine about Amiga NG is an unprecedented precedent. Adam Mierzwa is a creator of this project. Adam is a man who is a huge fan of NG and one of the best Polish Amiga bloggers.
      • Magazine Amiga User (EN) - another project by Adam ZalepaAdam is responsible for a great polish magazine - Amigazin. The english magazine offers a very interesting content (also mine) and undoubtedly can be a competition for Amiga Future.


      • BlackBOX (ELBOX) - a very well-deserved company for Amiga. However, ELBOX has presented only a very nice tower system for Amiga 1200. The question remains, will ELBOX do something more ambitious than new versions of old PCI bridges for the Amiga 68k?

      Disappointment:
      • Tabor - A-EON product, which has been presented for over two years. It was also a hero of failure in my summary from 2016. A1222 was supposed to be an "alternative" to Vampire. Attractive price, encourages people (who have never been interested in AmigaOS 4.1) to buy Tabor. Unfortunately, the computer can't be bought! Also drivers aren't even ready! In my opinion, 2017 was a crucial moment for Tabor. We also don't know if the computer will appear in 2018,
      • MorphOS - after two years, MorphOS 3.10 was presented in Neuss (Amiga32). Unfortunately, you can't buy the system, and from what we can see, apart from new skin, and slightly improved Odyssey (but still using old WebKit) it's a nothing new. 3.10 supports X5000. Nice. If the development of AmigaOS 4.1 will be abandoned, then MorphOS could become the only  one Amiga-like system for AmigaOne,
      • phase 5 digital products - it turns out that the great return of the phase5 is highly doubtful. The lack of a grounding layer in new cards, it's perceived by the community, not as a mistake but as an attempt to extort money. We accidentally learned the prices of new cards, which are quite excessive.
      • AmigaKit vs AmigaOnTheLake - this year we had a small war: between the leading distributor of AmigaOne (AmigaKit) and the new and fresh shop in US - AmigaOnTheLake. The conflict was averted, but the disgust remains,
      • Cloanto vs Hyperion - another conflict between key companies. The fight is about intellectual property of AmigaOS etc. It's hard to say something good here. But it shows that Amiga is not just a hobby. Influences and potential profits are important too,
      • Odyssey Web Browser - lack of development of the best web browser for NG systems is a regular guest of both podcasts and summaries of the year. After all, until now Origyn Web Browser remains the only valuable browser for AmigaOS/MorphOS/AROS (despite active development of NetSurf). The lack of new engine (not counting minor corrections) from 4 years is becoming more and more noticeable. Neither the author nor any of the most important companies or teams responsible for the development of systems don't realize this fact or don't want to. What is a modern operating system without access to the Internet?
      • LibreOffice - announced, it should be in a beta phase. In fact, no one has seen it. We don't know when it will be available, what version and what will be in suite. This is another (announced) program, just like ImageFX or Aladdin4D (the responsible company is A-EON), which doesn't show up.
      • Apollo Team - despite the huge success and great work that the team made, the Vampire/FPGA is still without working FPU. Software emulation of FPU (FEMU) is completely inefficient. The revolutionary firmware - Gold 2.7, along with the FPU didn't appear in 2017. There are also "amazing" speed test results...,
      • A.L.I.C.E. - another NG project that was supposed to be ready. How difficult is the preparation of emulation environment for AmigaOS 3.x or 4.1? It looks like this task is extremely hard to finish...
      • AmigaOS 3.1.4 (instead of AmigaOS 4.1 development!) - what is the purpose of stepping back not only from line 4.1, but also from AmigaOS 3.9 to version 3.1? Is the release of the old system with a few fixes (when version 3.9 is available for the Amiga 68k) makes sense?  Hyperion understood that the NG market has a downward trend, and the money is in hands of retro fans. I also understand the ambiguity of AmigaOS 3.5/3.9. But it is a nonsense, to sell 25 years old software as a new one (another question is: is it possible at all? Currently, we have a dispute between Hyperion and Cloanto),
      • AmiCygnix i QT - software (framework) that allows to run programs such as GIMP or smTube for AmigaOS 4.1. This solution is criticized as "non-native". In my opinion, this is one of the best options to have access to the latest web browsers or other missing programs. However,  the problem lies in the fact that packages have not been updated for several years!

      My activities:
      • AmigaOS 4.1 every day - the book about daily use of the latest AmigaOS on the AmigaOne X5000 computer. It describes how you can use AmigaOS 4.1 in everyday tasks. It is also a rough description of the X5000 computer. Unfortunately, the title didn't popularize the NG trend in Poland, and in the world. Funny is, when I was writing this book (or after writing it) I didn't get any technical support from developers of: AmigaOS 4.1, or AmigaOne X5000!,
      • AMIcast Player - I released the AMIcast podcast player for AmigaOS (3.x and 4.1), as well as MorphOS and AROS. The application, although simple was noticed by the Amiga press,
      • YouTube - mainly in Polish, but it is an attempt to create a channel about Amiga NG, applications, and some games,
      • Flower Pot / AmiKit X - in these projects I was a beta tester. I'm not a coder, at least in that way, I could help to create the AmigaOS 4.1 emulation package and the best version of AmigaOS 3.9,
      • eNewsReader and Google Cloud Print - here I was also trying to support the authors in beta tests. Now, Amiga has access to a great RSS reader and convenient printing from AmigaOS 4.1,
      • interview with Trevor Dicinson - some say, he is the father of modern Amiga(One). A great man, one of the most interesting interviews I've made. Unfortunately, I have the impression that my guest is losing control over the direction in which Amiga NG goes...

      Plans for the next year.

      Every year I announced the to do list that I want to accomplish in the near future. However, 2018 will be different. After the publising of two books in the field of the New Generation Amiga, I noticed that this isn't a very interesting topic for Amiga users. Responsible companies and teams have no vision. This means a bad situation of NG is even worse...

      For sure, the AMIcast app will be updated with new episodes, but there will be no new functionality. Unfortunately, I'm not a developer, the program was created in Hollywood Designer. I don't have time to learn Hollywood language itself.

      On the other hand, it may be possible to release a engine for a potential disk magazine. It is also created in the great Hollywood Designer. The program could be available for every operating system (from AmigaOS to MS Windows).

      Of course, the activities of podcasts will continue. Maybe, I will be a slightly slower. As you can see, there is no place to hurry. Moreover, a new AMIGARAMA podcast has appeared. It is interestingl, especially for those who are interested in old games. I should also mention one more very good podcast - Amiga Ireland Podcast. Here we have a much more topics!

      What will the year 2018 be like?

      Without a doubt, it will be the year of the classic Amiga, precisely the 68k line! All thanks to Vampire FPGA cards that offer good performance and access to the graphics card. I could say it's a "small" NG. Probably this technology can (again) merge the community. That's good! Divisions have led us to today's problem. If this will be supported by the release and (what is more important) actively developed AmigaOS 3.1.4, it can be a success. Retro is trendy, has strength, and fun. If programs and games will keep up with the new equipment (FPGA) the fun can be even better. In addition, the commercialization potential (software and hardware) is much bigger than for NG.
      The year 2018 will be rather marked by one of the latest version of MorphOS (I personally don't believe in switching to x86 processors), lack of development of AmigaOS 4.1 (and 4.2). Maybe Tabor will be available for purchase. However, without new versions of key software, it will only prolong the inevitable end of NG. The question is if AROS can be the only hope for the modern AmigaOSAROS still isn't popular solution and has status - very work in progress (both for x86 and 68k processors)? Or we will stay in the 90's?

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