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All that comes in the mind of an italian guy moved to california
3 aprile 2013
Diary:Technologies: Sweet as a Raspberry Pi :9
First of All, Thanks to the ilCannocchiale staff for fixing comments; pity lots of more stuff need to be still fixed including permalinks...

This year had life going through and at the last moment prevented me to participate at SCaLE; might need to change home again, this time due to a problem with neighbors too long and complicate to discuss here; thank God the work side is good and have no complains.

Not too much news under the AROS front at first glance; however, as usually "look is deceiving" because we had a good amount of ports; Especially Slazard 'Bszili' Biro and Yannick 'Yannickescu' Erb are bringing to AROS a good amount of games and emulators i can remember Frogatto, TORCS (not released due to problems with GLSL), Flare, Gigalomania and lots of others; Joao Ralha, recently opened a new AROS blog called AROS Playground where reviews ported games and provides developer interviews;

Timothy 'Terminills' Deters is working on porting Gutenprint on AROS, on interfacing it with a generic Amiga printer driver.
Gutenprint, formerly know as Gimp Print are High Quality printer drivers based off the hpijs printer system; the name is from the fact that those drivers were originally developed for GIMP; were also adopted from Mac os X in the early version as printer drivers.
According to its plans Gutenprint will talk to the printer via a bridge software and to a generic 3.1 driver written by Jason 'Ezrec' McMullan; the driver written by Jason is also able to translate Gutenprint commands in Turboprint and 3.1 printer commands, however this implementation is not limited to Gutenprint; the printer driver is a 24 bit one and in the intentions of Terminills should also bring advanced features such as ipp (internet Printing Protocol), printer detection and driver auto detection; Terminills is also working at the zune based interfaces to configure the printers;

Among all the ports of Yannick 'Yannickescu' Erb, in 2010 was the long forgotten and neglected structured Graphics program Amifig to AROS; started a slow but steady work on updating it first improving the rendering, then adding file export and import with a side application; now a new version is available, with a new name, ZuneFig, a rewamped User Interface now in Zune, support for gradient and  Library previews and a better redraw with Anti-Alias;

Nik 'Kalamatee' Andrews is working on the native Raspberry Pi port of AROS; on March 14 he has been able to make AROS boot to wanderer;  the pictures of the first boot have been spreaded on the net via twitter and Amiga and AROS forums and communities; last week Kalamatee worked on debugging the SD card driver so to support also SDHC; the SD card support is also actually under further development by Pavel 'Sonic' Fedic to bve implemented as multiplatform device driver since the logic is changing form platform to platform; right now Kalamatee loosened a bit the grip on the port since he need to implement USB and still is trying to find a way to implement it. Curious is also that among the motivations of Kalamatee is the idea to finish its modular overhaul of Wanderer so that could be optimized for a less powerful machine like the Raspberry PI.

To finish,lately on aw.Net some threads appeared where people seems interested in a new kernel for amiga os or its like tastes; is known that in the past at least two attempts have been made: one was the well known Anubis, brought on by Alex 'MrBIOS' Perez, the other one was ARIX, started by Michal Schulz and from which the idea of Anubis took shape; summarizing, the idea behind those two partial forks is to have the actual exec kernel substituted by a linux one together with a wrapper that translates the AROS API calls in linux ones so that AROS binaries libraries and programs can run on top of it with no recompilation; is a similar approach to the system adopted by Android and can bring the advantage of memory protection, SMP and linux drivers to AROS; both projects have an actual unknown status and would like to know by the maintainers if there has been any progress since.
14 gennaio 2013
Diary: Technologies: Amiga / AROS: pointless bickering of a decaying world

Probably this will be considered old story from many of my readers, however i thought at the end is still good to post it.

This article was started with a more innocent motive at the begin of September, then to shelve it due to my Family visit in Los Angeles at the end of September; however i feel that is necessary to bring the cat out of the bag; i will still keep the original subject.

At the time i considered myself flabbergasted from what happened at the begin of September on the Amigaworld.net Forum: it gaves me at first a sense of despair on how the equilibrium that is building among the flavors might stall in every moment just for a word or (in this case) a theme. Things started in fact regarding a picture posted by Serk118uk on this thread on aw.net regarding the new version of Annotate on AROS using a morphOs theme by RainCaller, Christopher 'ChrisH' Handley added this remark:

Apart from mistaking AROS for OS4 (from a quick glance), it now seems that I'm going to mistake AROS for MOS. Doesn't that theme break some MOS copyright?

I would much rather AROS try to stand on it's own feet, rather than try to ape another OS that is (in many but not all ways) better than it.

The discussion went on a bit before to be put back on-topic; however, CrisH did not quit and put the same question on AROS-EXEC in this thread; plus he created a spin-off thread again in amigaworld.net here

Well this time am pretty pleased that the members of aw.net did not pay too much attention to the bickering of Chris, and its supposed idea that an amiga-like OS should not have skins of the competitors: since was possible, people always themed their oses, is more a sort of tribute than aping (people who can skin their OSes are a little bit more computer-literate) and, especially in the Amiga and like world, almost everybody know ups and downs of the other systems so they know is not the competitor, is just an aesthetic taste, not some malicious intent to deceive almost non-existing "n00bs".

Point taken, i still feel saddened by those threads; is really the title the most appropriate in my opinion to see how sometimes people that support Amiga and its offspring (legitimate or not) ends up shooting themselves in the foot; whether we like it or not, Amiga technology is already considered a thing of the past and even the knowledge related is slowly disappearing; so why still behave like it is still relevant whether a desktop environment is 'genuine' or 'polluted' from the other like-os and all this overzealous bickering?

Honestly amigans and like have IMO more relevant problems to solve: the original hardware and the accessories in example are starting to wear out; fortunately there are still some vendors that can provide original material, but in example is hard to replace or purchase an accelerator card or a graphic board non-standard such as picasso or bvision without ending on the huindreds of dollars/euros/pounds depending where are you located; despite this, ideas for replacement boards or alternate accelerator cards are substantially non existants or dead in the water, either for lack of documentation, for hard-to-understand still ongoing NDAs and limitations imposed from old hardware producers and, finally, for an absolutely crazy individualistic and ego-profit driven tendence of the amiga hardware designers that tend to keep progresses on their own personal projects secret and not to share with the community; recently following this thread i stumble in the pages of Majsta, a serbian(?) Amiga user that is working on its own accelerator card for A600 via FPGA; in the page Sharing he mention its own opinion, that i find pretty appropriated for this topic:

I just don't understand Amiga community. First of all we are in situation that things are stuck for 20 years or so and people who know something want's to keep that private. For what ??? They just don't want to share any ideas or knowledge or experience.

For past 2 years there are only few people who wanted to help me. Others just told me something like "You want to someone do all the work for you" or "Code speaks for itself don't need explanation???". Also those ones who created something related to Amiga hardware spend lot of time on most Amiga forums just to laugh at my work instead of giving support and sharing knowledge.

That is the main reason why Amiga is going nowhere.

I was thinking that they would like to see that someone want's to join them to work hard and share ideas. And if this situation continues Amiga will become nice memory and nothing more. In all my work regarding to PC, electronics, networks people wanted to help and all my life I helped others to learn but here in Amiga scene people are different.

And there is about 100 forums where I shared my knowledge and every time I found some solution I post it so people can learn from it so that they don't need to waste time and to continue their work. Working on this accelerator I spend thousand hours to do something that someone could do for only 10 minutes and still they didn't want to take that 10 minutes for me.

But they didn't understand that this work is not for me that this work is for all Amiga community.

They can't understand that era of money earning from and for Amiga is gone forever but if we unite we can do something. Few people are working on Amiga hardware and for them all others are just stupid to enter their circles and they don't want to waste their time to anyone who want's to work hard.

I started this project without any knowledge related to Amiga accelerators and Amiga hardware and now I m in situation to know lot of things. There are no open hard&soft databases. Where are the people who worked on old projects??? They only write something on the forums and laugh at those who are trying to create anything. They don't have will to start new projects or share ideas regarding old ones...

So Amiga community is just Talk Talk community.

A similar project on its preliminary steps (forum in italian) met a problem in which to save time they tried to use a more recent version of the minimig core but seemed that the minimig forum either removed the link or the forum tiself became read only.

Still about the ego clash is difficult not to remember what happened to the Amiga Guru Book in 2008, or some limiting licenses to open sourced components (Warp 3d in example with a license that forbid its use on mos and AROS);  however in a way or another i already discussed those topics, but the main persisting question is when we Amigans will put down our weapons and our flags and just enjoy our hobby platform, whatever incarnation is, without belittling ourselves and others?

28 giugno 2012
Technologies: AROS: What is the state of Developing tools for middle and advanced Users?

On the begin of June 2012, a discussion on Amigaworld.net started by PhantomInterrogative introduced the experience made from the ADAM community (yes, ADAM, the home computer extension for the colecovision), left in the cold from the Coleco bankrupt in 1984; the post, summarized, tells how, in order to keep alive the community, users had to make the 'paradigm shift' to become developers of their own software; while a comparison between the two situations cannot be easily made (ADAM was not a successful machine and a 8-bit one, only a dozen users remain so far), however developers are a nowadays a rare breed among Amiga OSes, knowledgeable developers even more; due to the increasing age, even find adequate documentation for the Innards of the Amiga related OSes is pretty difficult, though efforts like the recent Amiga Wiki from Hyperion, the AROS wikibooks for users and for developers and several web sites that provide transpositions from the AmigaGuide versions exists; therefore a similar paradigm shift is probably a good idea even in the Amiga/MorphOs/AROS communities.

However, programming so far has not a task for everybody in the Amiga universe at least since the demise of Commodore (and the new system, unlike the old 8-bits, does not provide a main programming language in front of the face of the user, but that is another topic).

Right now the most rewarding way to build a proficient program in a NG Amiga system has indeed been using C/C++, and that is not on everybody skillset; other operating systems however are actually providing alternative languages that can be compiled or executed as runtime; well known are Java, Python, Lua, Visual Basic, VB.NET, etc - not to mention alternate toolkits such Flash/AIR or the latest trend HTML5; those languages and runtimes have a less steep learning curve and in some way is possible for somebody to produce simple programs or intermediate utilities and games; those rapid development tools can provide a shortcut for hobby programmers to use the Amiga systems in a more proficient way if available; but What rapid development tools (or in some cases what development tools at all) are actually available for AROS  so far?

NOTE: on the scope of the article, as middle and advanced user is meant somebody with a good experience with the system and a basic programming experience like Basic,HTML or basic javascript, able to learn at least new language basic skills with the help of tutorials and reverse engineering examples.

IDEs and Editors

Actually in order to write either code or fast text, in AROS there are four main editors available; the first is the System Editor; does not support syntax highlighting and has very basic features as copy/paste and find,however has a tabbed view that allows to have more files open at once.

For more traditionalistic coders, a port of Vim is available for AROS made by Hitchhikr; not the most recent port and am unsure whether is still working, but provides all main Vim features and syntax highlighting; usually distributed with Icaros Desktop up to 2009 as far as i know, is available on the AROS archives here.

then there is NoWinEd by Sh1nKurO; born as a base text editor to be used in a never taked-off magazine, is available throughout all Amiga systems with different look and features according to the version of MUI/Zune available; the common ones are: tabbed display, autosave, handling of UTF-8 files and autosave and auto-backup; other versions beside AROS one -due to some still unfixed Zune shortcomings - also support drag and drop of files.

Annotate! is so far the most advanced text editor on AROS; designed by Doug Bakewell then updated and maintained by Daniel Westerberg is distributed under the label Onyxsoft as GPL software; supports multiple tabs,syntax highlighting, advanced find/replace, macros, an AREXX port and - though some GUI design choices might look a bit unconventional, like the scrollbar without arrows on the left - do its own job pretty well. I used it to code my experiments with lua/zulu and it behaved pretty good. Had to investigate the xml syntax file in order to personalize it but, if you know xml, is a pretty trivial task since the file is pretty self-explanatory It can be downloaded here.

There is one Integrated Development Environments or IDE officially,called Murks!IDE that, in theory, could be used to develop applications under AROS, however i am not sure whether is still actively maintained since the files on the sourceforge.net repository are from January 2010. Murks looks kinda primitive at first sight and does not support syntax highlighting; it does however supports tabs and can be used to compile C and C++ projects.

In 2010 an user called Proto started work on an alternate IDE called Ganymede that should have, in its intentions, cross-platform and commercial; the development thread on Aros-Exec is here where Proto shown screenshot and even videos of its incoming creature; Steve 'ClusterUk' Jones was in contact with him and had occasion to test some development builds, however in November 2011, Steve declared in the same thread that the development of Ganymede stalled; from the images and videos posted so far, Ganymede supported some interesting features, including syntax highlighting, a scintilla-style grouping of functions, a debugging report window; was also intention of Proto to find a way to support GDB for debugging. Personally i wonder if Proto could release its work done so far as open source and let the project be finished by other developers or if he is available to set a 'ransom' to free the code that might be collected via bounty;

The last IDE that want to mention is not native of AROS but is a pretty effective one especially for cross-platform productivity:  AmiDevCpp is a work of Heinz-Raphael "Heinz712" Reinke based on the free Development Environment WxDev-Cpp and Jocke "Zerohero"Birging 's Crosscompiler and runs on Windows. According to the AmiDevCpp web site, AmiDevCpp provides a comfortable Development Environment to Amiga Developers such as Project managment, Class Browser, Code completion and a lot more features; it also can be expanded with plug-ins that the web site call DevPaks.


PortablE is a rewrite for modern systems of the original Amiga E, made by Chris Handley; it works translating the E code in C++ code and then amking it compile by the extension PEGCC in an executable. E language has been quite known under Amiga OS in the nineties, and after the fdevelopment of the original Amiga E language stopped in 2000, PortablE was one of those projects that took over the inheritance.

The PortablE web site explains more:

PortablE is capable of generating code for both the C++ (and AmigaE!) languages, which is then compiled to a proper executable. It supports Windows, AmigaOS3, AmigaOS4, AROS & MorphOS. (It can potentially support other OSes & generate code for other languages.)

PortablE has native executables for Windows, AmigaOS3, AmigaOS4, AROS (x86) & MorphOS, because PortablE is written in E itself!

It comes with portable modules to cover stuff like file & directory access, shell parameter parsing, graphics, sound & GUIs. These portable modules are NOT always supported by all OSes, especially not by Windows yet. You can find a complete list & description of all of them in the "Standard Functionality" document, but essentially Windows only supports Shell-like stuff.

Many Amiga modules are also provided for AmigaOS3/OS4/AROS/MorphOS: AmigaGuide, AmigaLib, Asl, Commodities, Console, DataTypes, Devices (inc. AHI & Timer), Diskfont, Dos, Exec, Gadgets, Gadtools, Graphics, Icon, Identify, IFF, IFFParse, Images, Intuition, Layers, Locale, Keymap, MPEGA, MUIMaster, Resources, ReqTools, RexxSysLib, Utility & Workbench. Plus part of class, mui/*_mcc, Other & Tools. Also 'libraries/ahi_sub' & 'libraries/cd_play'. (Additional modules can be added if there is interest, but the original idea for PortablE was to provide abstract modules that did not expose the OS.)

Additionally, some modules contributed by others are currently only available for some targets: 'mui/Lamp_mcc'(OS3/OS4), 'mui/TheBar_mcc'(OS3/OS4).

Modules that are specific to certain OSes: 'Picasso96API' (OS4), 'target/application' (OS4's application.library), 'target/cybergraphics' (AROS/MOS).

For Amiga-like OSes, 256MB of installed memory is the recommended minimum. A stack of at least 100KB is also required.

In the same web site is present a comprehensive documentation, links to the original E language documentation, and together with PortablE is possible to download several examples of tools and demos to compile and test.


Hollywood name is well known in the Amiga and AROS community; as a language syntax is between lua and Basic, which makes it quite easy to grasp; its actual incarnation is at version 5.0 and has been already used to build great tools on AROS such as the Amiga [AROS]Media Center and also small tools as Acuario (a screensaver), the image viewer LookHere, the profile manager for AROS Broadway and several games.

I asked Fabio 'Allanon' Falcucci, developer of AMC, of the SCUILib Hollywood Library (that provide tools to create advanced GUIs) and other applications made using Hollywood to write me an introduction and summary about its features and about Hollywood and AROS:

Hollywood is a great tool and a nice choice for all people looking for a simple yet powerful programming language, it offers many modern features and it is ideal for anyone that does not like all “C” stuff and weird constructs. It is based an Lua scripting language and its programs can be run interpreted or compiled, compiled programs are something like Java programs, they are compiled in bytecodes and linked with a JIT player that executes the code when launched. Speaking of AROS it’s a great resource for begginers but also for experienced programmers just because there aren’t much high level programming choices available to code under this operating system if we are excluding “C”. Nice examples of Hollywood are LoView and LookHere, two free image viewers done respectively by Tuxedo amd me, Dental Info and Dental Canal, both commercial products developed and sold by Ferrule Media, and AMC, a Media Center developed and sold by me.

One of the biggest advange of Hollywood is the complete compatibility between all supported OSes, if the programmer does not use explicitely platform dependant features the source code can be easily compiled for almost all OSes including AROS, Linux, Windows, OSX and all amigaish systems.

Hollywood states itself as a multimedia programming language oriented to make presentation and run interactive slides but with the latest release it have become more powerful offering commands to manage almost anything you can thing about: transition effects, pictures, videos, music, samples, sprites, layers, windows, they just some examples of object you can handle with Hollywood. Hollywood programs can interact with the users with the keyboard, mouse, pad and joystick. In my opinion it’s a perfect tool to develop 2d games (even complex games) as well as applications. With the latest release, 5.0, Hollywood exposes an interface for a plugin system: virtually there is no more limitations with plugin systems, anyone now have the tools to make additional plugin available for this great language; some examples released from the author are an XML parser, SVG support, Ogg Thora & Ogg Vorbis support, and some more available for free.
Unfortunately Hollywood it’s not perfect because it’s still lacks some features, in my opinion, that should be added; for example threads are not yet supported, and there is no support for 3D graphics, moreover 2D graphics are only partially hardware accelerated and this could lead easily to slowdowns when you fill the screen with animated and moving object. Another major missing piece is a GUI framework and it’s still missing because of the cross platform nature of Hollywood: there is no common GUI framework for all supported OSes. To try to fill this gap I have started a project to build a GUI framework coded with Hollywood, full platform independant. I’ve got nice results but my time is limited and actually the project is going quiet slowly, but this demonstrate again that actually Hollywood can be used for almost anything.
The good thing is that the author, Andreas Falkenhahn, is very active on this project and listen to the community resquests implementing features or modifying behaviours suggested by the user-base.

Concluding this brief summary about Hollywood I can say that actually it’s the only choice for AROS programmers (begginers or experienced) that does not like “C” (or does not have time to learn it) to unleash their creativity.

Fabio is also the owner and main contributor of the new blog Hollywood Tools, dedicated to tutorials, libraries and applications for all systems developed using Hollywood.

Together with Hollywood is provided, only for Amiga OS and MorphOS (probably due to the usual shortcomings of AROS), the Designer program; recently updated to version 5.0, it is a graphical frontend for Hollywood; according to the Airsoft Software website it is -beside a Multimedia editor for Hollywood - also a graphical editor that supports also the SVG format.

Considered the base requirements (kickstart 3, 68020, a board using Picasso96 or CyberGraphX) i might guess that Designer might be used via Janus UAE, but would like that someone that alredy tried to confirm or deny this.

Hollywood and Designer are commercial products and for pricing I refer towards the Airsoft Software website.

Amilua and Zulu

Whoever follows me knows that Amilua and zulu are among my favorite RAD tools on AROS; however, for the uninitiated will explain briefly that Amilua is a port of the scripting language Lua made by Matthias 'Mazze' Rustler with bindings to the Intuition interface and Zulu is a binding to Zune; lately other bindings have been added such as socket support and SQLite recently; Some interaction with AREXX and shell script is also possible parsing the Environment variables.

Using the syntax combined of Lua and the MUI class definitions is possible to create simple GUI programs and frontends; actually Zulu is powering the front-end of some utilities by Yannick Erb,including a nice weather widget, the Theme Manager and some utilities made by Steve Jones; an advantage of Amilua/Zulu is that the script can be launched from shell and from icon via icon tooltips so that will behave like an application; to write Amilua/zulu scripts any text editor can be used, however i personally like to propose Annotate, also because there are additional Syntax Highlighting extensions (one made by me some time ago) for Lua.

On the negative side of Amilua/Zulu is: first of all that the binding does not support callback hooks (events that call a function) and that prevents the building of more sophisticate interfaces; the existing apps need to redraw the app window in order to show updates and that might make the application look slow. Mazze once said that was thinking a way to enable callback hooks via Lua instructions rather than C like Zune is expecting; wish that some more developer might help Mazze in improve Amilua/Zulu that so far shown its power and potential once improved; personally would also love to see more bindings with Cairo and other (of course to be ported) graphical toolkits like WxWidgets; some impressive demos can be seen on the Lua all-in-one archive available for Windows and Linux; though not recent it still can be used to build fast tools and even videogames; an impressive one is this quake-style game using a binding with the irrlicht engine (like to see that ported too).

By the way Amilua and Zulu are included in the nightly builds and in every AROS distro, so is easy to try out. If you new to Lua, there are some good generic tutorials in this website, plus some good hints and discussions (some of my own experiments) in AROS-Exec.

AROS Ruby and Zuby

Dave "Misterdave" Webster has been working on porting Ruby on AROS; following what Mazze did with Amilua/zulu he created a binding with MUI that end up being called Zuby (my fault? :P); however, Dave improved the binding keeping it abstract so that, unlike zulu, is not strictly tied to the MUI syntax in building Interfaces; in fact Dave has made Zuby able to use XML documents as reference to build the interface, as he shown in its blog, using Glade GUI Builder XML as reference for zuby to buid the GUI for the example shown.

Since had no news about ArosRuby/Zuby at least since last February - when the last post appeared on Aros-Exec, I asked further information to MisterDave via PM and he kindly answered:

Don't worry, I haven't given up on arosruby What I have been trying to do in the past 6 months is to keep the version in the Mercurial repository (http://code.google.com/p/arosruby/) as the 'definitive' version, which should be of release quality more or less. I tend to bundle this up and post binaries on to Aminet and Aros Archives, although I haven't done so for a while. Ideally this should be stable enough to put into an AROS distribution or I could create a GUI installer for users to install the binary release themselves.

There are a couple of C extensions that I am working on:
 * the socket library - I have been trying on and off for about 3-4 months to get this to work, but I think that there is some incompatibility between the Unix socket API and the AROS socket API, despite them theoretically being the same. This may just be a bug in AROS that has been recently fixed. I will have to download a new nightly and check. This feature has been the tipping point for me before contacting Paolone and the other distro maintainers, however, I may just go ahead anyway and add the socket library later on.

* The other part is the Zuby extension which hooks into Zune/MUI and implements the same interface as Ruby-GTK for the Ruby programmer (http://ruby-gnome2.sourceforge.jp/). The advantage here is that I can just use the default Gnome GUI builder Glade and use 'ruby-glade-create-template' to generate the ruby stub code. Now the tricky thing is that my own version of the source for this was built rather quickly and experimentally so, while it does 'work', I need to get rid of some rough edges. What I need to do is to check this piece by piece and add it to the public source repository over time.

Regarding your question about your RAD article, I did set up a blog to talk about the development on arosruby back in February, however, I have only made one post so far. Hopefully this might give you a bit more of an idea about what I have planned. If you want to ask me some questions then, yes, I would be happy to. http://davewebster.wordpress.com/

As with most hobby projects, the day job takes its toll on one's free time, however, I am on holiday next week, so hopefully I can get some more stuff pushed into the Mercurial repository. The repository has an updating changelog, so hopefully this will give you a good idea in the future of what I add, however, please feel free to nag me :) http://code.google.com/p/arosruby/source/list

Have no experience with Ruby Language, but for beginners like me there are good platform semi-agnostic tutorials on nettuts that also include screencasts; that should give at least the basic notions to get dirty with it, and then as usual, hope there will be some extra hints in the source code of the examples included in AROSruby and Zuby, however anybody that will grasp the base concepts can also write their own tutorials to help spread the technology...

[UPDATE - Misterdave did let me know that since the final code quality of AROSRuby is still not satisfying, he did not put any binaries to dowload yet; however, if somebody want to beta-test AROSruby my advice is to get in otuch with him via PM in AROS-Exec or in its own blog. ]


Recently the user Mequa started the operation of building an AMOS interpreter , rewritten in C++ that uses SDL and can be compiled for the modern Amiga systems: X-AMOS is a brand new addition to the panorama of the languages available for AROS - the first build from the begin of June - but since the roots on the original AMOS code it is expected to gain popularity pretty fast. The implementation, according to Mequa itself, is not yet complete, as answered to an user from Mequa itself on this post on Amigaworld.net explains what still is missing to have a more detailed reimplementation:

First of all, GOTO is not yet implemented in XAMOS, but may be in a future build.

For...Next is also not yet implemented, though you can use While...Wend to get identical functionality. So the current program is not yet supported.

Let's assume, however, that a future version of XAMOS will implement For...Next in the same way as it currently does While...Wend. Then the jump-points of both the For and Next will be pre-calculated.

(Note that in AMOS, the "F" in "Next F" isn't needed, and does nothing on that line, besides the "syntactic salt" of having to match with the variable given in "For" if not omitted.)

So then, if XAMOS is extended to support For...Next, GOTO and line numbers, here's how that program will execute:
1) Print "I am going to Crash" ten times, and exit the For loop.
2) On the GOTO, jump back into the For loop, and print "I am going to Crash" once more.
3) On the "Next", jump back to the For (pre-calculated jump-point). Here is where AMOS would crash.
4) On the "For", F will be 10 or more, so jump to after the "Next".
5) Repeat from 2), giving an infinite loop, printing "I am going to Crash" repeatedly and with F either increasing or remaining at 10.

In this thread on AROS-exec, Mequa also draw a sort of a roadmap for the further development of XAMOS:

Not in any particular order:

- SDL features:
Full collision detection (needed for games, simple collision already possible)
Multiple screen support
Screen Clone
Bob/Sprite Hot Spots (handles) including with Abk support
Bob/Sprite/Screen priority switching
Rainbows (behind screens, simple implementation already done)
Graphical text

- Language features:
Full syntax error checking (may be a lot of work - also with AMAL)
Call functions without using ()
Use of "To" syntax instead of comma
Call procedures without using Proc
Variable scoping and Global/Shared (currently all variable are global)
For...Next (as well as While...Wend)
Goto/Gosub, labels, line numbers (for legacy - usage discouraged)
Print statements with ;
Data statements

- Extended language features from AMOS:
Call procedures as functions as well as using Param (extended from AMOS)
Custom datatypes (already implemented as static types only)
Simple object orientation (much groundwork already done)

- Compiler (to C++ source) including AMAL

- GUI features:
Cross-platform IDE (may not be AROS-compatible at first or may require a rewrite for AROS).
Possible syntax colouring (in future)
Integrated sprite bank viewer

Other languages/tools


There have already been available builds of Python for AROS, since PyAROS around 2004 and then the port of Python 2.1 made by Stanislaw Szymczyk for the AROS self-compile bounty; however as far as i know nobody made any MUI binding for it (that might have maybe be called -to follow the tradition- ZuPy?) nor many of the libraries used in other systems such as PyGame have been ported yet.


MUIBuilder is a small utility that should help build MUI and Zune GUIs, created by Eric Troel and ported on AROS by Mazze; last version was a recompile of original 68k 2.3 sources and wasreleased on January 2011; despite it generates C code i guess that some medium-experienced developer can translate the soruces for zulu, being however aware of the usual amiulua/zulu shortcomings.


MuiBase is a relational database written for Amiga systems, Windows and Linux; has an internal LISP-type syntax language that allows to develop pretty complex applications and display it via ZUNE/MUI windows; through the language it is possible to define some export filters of the data as text (as far as i know no complex database formats are supported, rather CSV or similars to export).


FreePascal has been ported to AROS last year by Marcus 'Alb42' Sackrow; as from the Alb42 words "Lazarus is a RAD for Freepascal which is very easy to use, as GUI-API it uses the own LCL (which is a port of VCL of Delphi). IT can use variant Widgetsets, e.g. GTK, GTK2, QT, Win and some more."

Marcus made Freepascal able to generate Zune interfaces,even if not in a typical MUI fashion (with buttons statically positioned rather than the usual cascading resizeable approach of GUI; as from the latest news I know of, on March 2012 Markus was working on the port of Lazarus/LCL (that is also developed in FreePascal); the progress can be seen in its blog and in this AROS-Exec thread.


AREXX might be considered outdated by some but so far is one of the most important pieces on Rapid development since allows applications that have a port to communicate and allows also IPC control; is known that the version used on AROS is derivated from Regina Rexx and has some incompatibilities with some Amiga AREXX commands; insome case this prevents some amiga scripts to work completely under AROS. Staf Verhagen ported Regina Rexx on AROS and,as far as i know, is trying to iron some of the incompatibilities when is not busy with the ABI v1.

This article purposedly omits some projects that are present in AROS but lack advanced functionalities, like SDLBasic, that in its actual AROS incarnation has basic drawing tools but no sprites, for example.

It was my intention with this article to attempt in provide an overview of what Rapid Development Tools under AROS are actually available and how powerful they are; those tools that can allow some less advanced user to build basic applications and utilities in order to utilize AROS as base for their own projects. The situation is indeeed improved in the latest years despite i think there is still a good amount of stuff to be done.

Feel free to comment with correction, updates, additions to this article incase i omitted something or made mistakes.

20 maggio 2012
Technologies: AROS: Rant: Are we entitled to develop tinker and play with the Hobby OS we like?
(brief, a bit OT but effective)

Not the first time that i take this topic, but there are people out there that think about the involvement with AROS community and about tinkering with AROS as, in the order: useless, time wasting and even harmful in some cases.

Considered that am not working on any plan to overturn the world or that am not doing any active damage or boycot, i wonder why some people feel entitled to tell others what to do and how to do it, but most importantly i wonder: can I do what i like? Or better: can I use an OS that i feel more suitable for my style of computing and also try to improve it, find a way to integrate it in my hobbies and when possible in my work life, spread and endorse my experience despite its known shortcomings?

The answer might be. from an idealistic side, an obvious yes; however, despite this there is people out there that feels that sometihng like tihs is an insult or similar to that; non  uncommonly, same people profess that other solutions promote freedom.... isn't that ironic?

Well, i know this blog is mostly dead but like opinions on it.

Tag inseriti dall'utente. Cliccando su uno dei tag, ti verranno proposti tutti i post del blog contenenti il tag. amiga aros hobby os tinker

permalink | inviato da saimon69 il 20/5/2012 alle 20:0 | Leggi i commenti e commenta questo postcommenti (1) | Versione per la stampa
22 marzo 2012
Technologies: AROS: Cooperare Necesse Est
The following is the translation of this post appeared on the italian blog on May 21,2011: despite almost one year is already passed by since that post, its actuality is still strong, especially concerning the new Directory Opus Magellan Cross Bounty and the recent Odissey Web Browser port by Fabien "Fab1" CoeurJoly; it summarize my basic idea about how the actual NG Amiga and like Operating Systems can find a way not to compete each other but instead, in a pure "divide et impera" fashion each one cover the different market segment and promote a better interoperability.

Sorry if lately i did not took care of my posts; might seems improbable but am still putting back the pieces from my SCALE exhibit; my main laptop started to behave erratically, with long pauses between keyboard inputs up to 10 seconds, USB that is not recognizing devices and sticks and browsers that regularly freeze when am trying to watch flash videos or trying to use google voice; [fixed last year with a re-format :NDR] to this add an increased workload (and a decreased paycheck :/) to have a snapshot of my actual situation.

There is an unfinished article here where am trying to talk about the ABIv1 development and the new kernel features (like VESA screen dragging and a further modularisation); there are still several details to be ironed out, including the optimisations made by Kryztof "Deadwood" Schmiechoviz(check) for some Graphics.library functions and the actual work in progress of Pavel "Sonic" Fedic concerning the graphic subset that will target Wanderer and the GUI; worthy to mention also the hard work made by Toni Wilen and Jason McMullan for the continuous improvement of AROS 68k, now also able to boot in some real hardware machines (despite optimization is still lacking); their work also have been helpful in improving AROS retrocompatibility and in making several native libraries that were not yet created work; lastly, i need to mention that Kalamatee continued its work in improving Wanderer and in its transformation in a modular tool, which should also be possible to add "plug-ins" (like the fanous tree view shown here some time ago).

But the real focus of this article is a post that I made on the Amiganews.it forum, proposing my personal point of view on how a cooperation could be set up between Amiga OS,MorphOS and AROS. Here is the post text:

I am taking the occasion to spin-off this amigaworld.net thread where, for the third(!) time in the last six months, somebody ask if there is a way to join forces between the three Amiga and like OSes.
Since am aware of the clear differences, both architecturally and philosophically speaking, existing nowadays between the several Amiga-like oses and also of the strong opinions among their developers and users, will not discuss of it.

Instead, will take advantage of the topic to underline some, for me, important points:

1) Amiga and like systems transversally cover almost all the available processors (ARM [hosted], PPC, X86, 68k for AROS, PPC on mac hW and pegasos for MOS, PPC fo os4 and 68k for classic) and price ranges (low for AROS, middle for MOS and classic HW, high for OS4);

2) is well known that Amiga and like systems are now reduced to a hobby market range with a very reduced number of users (probably all together in the single digit of the thousands) and that is a big no-no for any commercial venture since a ROI is not guaranteed;

Honestly i tihnk that those two factor are something that we should take advantage of: rather than try to have a dominating platform over the other two, right now i think the most important factor is make people aware that amiga and like systems exists, that there is a basic coherence among them and that all together cover most of the consumer computing; then would be good to work to increase the user base - no matter of what system and finally , once users are present, give them a way to use all three systems together in a workflow almost seamlessly.

Is my presonal opinion that Amiga and like systems have still appeal in the hobby market even among the non-amiga users that do not like the idea to user windows or mac and that consider linux too hard to handle properly: also, usually people does not have just one hobby: rather it might also be interested in side activities such as collections, robotics, ham radio, etc.

Think for a moment what potential can have for a person -probably even an ex amiga user that owns an old pc or an old ppc mac- and, due to the fact that those machine are by today standard and requirements obsolete, cannot use it; the possibility to have Morphos and AROS in those two machines running almost the same applications that communicate via network and therough AREXX keeping their own files synced or sharing the data processing - a case that i have in mind (because have a close experience with it) is about the fater of a close friend of mine, that used amiga to handle its Ham radio staton; right now i think is using windows but you can see how it might have been easier for him to use both AROS in the PC and the amiga, both communicating through AREXX; pity thisa example is purely academical since the ham radio software have never been ported on AROS.

I assume the fact that, for an hobbyist that includes computing in its interests (possibly amiga and like), there is an added value in using its favorite machine to accomplish hobby related tasks. But, in order to reach this optimal situation i think that some level of cooperation are required: of course i cannot expect that all os4, morphos and AROS developers decide to join forces for it; what i consider more feasible instead is that some base ground can be laid down in order to increase the interoperativity.

This can be obtained providing both developers and users of adequate tools;
For the developers is important that some key libraries and technologies are available in all three systems to make the development and porting of application easier; those may be in example MUI, AREXX,SAMBA, AHI, LUA/RUBY/PYTHON, language bindings in the same style of Zulu and Zuby, maybe some extra tool such as QT and WxWidgets [there is lately some resistance to it due to the fact that those are not native toolkits, problem is we are in a chicken-and-egg situation: NDR]; every os can handle it in a personalised way but is important that base features and API need to be common or similar;

For final users instead, is important to have a way for the three systems to "talk" and "work" together: in example two portings of the same software can talk through AREXX,or a Lua or Python script that can be made run in two different Amiga Systems but it behaves in the same way and display in the same way thanks to libraries like Zulu (my favorite) that will allow to hae common GUI everywhere.

With this approach is possible from one side to keep authonomy between all Amiga and like Systems and also keep the hold on the market segment where the system has its main focus (advantage for the flavor-specific developers) and, from the other side users are allowed to use and interoperate the flavors in a coherent way (advantage for final users); as a plus, a similar versatility should look more viable for new users towards all flavors and with more users usually there is the hope that there might be more interest for investments from commercial entities on the technology [and - with some daydreaming, if and when somebody might decide to port AROS towards other non-amiga 68k machines (vecchi mac 68k, falcon, maybe even x68000) so to allow the use of AROS even in those systems and in the same time make AROS become a vaid option to still use those system proficently for their own hobbies].

Would like to hear other opinions about my viewpoint.

Despite the text above was supposed - beside its length - to be self-explicative, want to further explore what said above:

- the first important problem is not the disappearance of one of the Amiga-like OS, rather than the disappearance of the Amiga philosophy and way of doing things as a whole: there are very few users left (as said above, in the single digit of thousand overall) and,unless made for 'acts of love', is simply not feasible for complex commercial programs, not suitable for the so-called average Joe and, among geeks, is either considered extinct,useless or its existence ignored, also due to the fact that new generations never used one and also that those seems to have a more 'disposable' approach towards consumer electronics hardware and software.

Now, with the Amiga and like OSes stuck in a stuation like this, bickering among neighbors can only do more harm than good and ultimately lead also the most hardcore fans to think it is a lost cause.

What was my proposal, then?
1) that each flavor continues to take care of its main reference target hardware and their base core technologies, since full spectrum coverage from all systems combined is, and will repeat it more and more, a vantage point;

2) An agreement is sought on the technologies (like network protocol, scripting languages and IPC scripting languages like AREXX, interpreted languages with binding like lua and zulu, GUI libraries like ZUNE,MUI [and others if required]) and in a minimum subset of commands features and API needed to have an advanced interoperability between the systems; those are basic networking and distributed computing needs though, but Amiga os and like have been sorta left behind in this part:

To tell the thuth, those tools, especially the interoperativity ones should be part of every operating system; a (big) problem of the original Amiga OS was that the OS Maker support got lost in the moment on other systems small and home LAN were flourishing (though the same home maker did not do any effort to create a network infrastructure too as far as i know) and therefore Amiga OS was left behind until third party apps and stacks did not appear; however, is indeed a basic need now to have ways for applications and file systems to interoperate between them and between like OSes and with other OSes, o course.

If can also be done in a more amiga-ish way even better.

3) [is a necessary repetition] Is essential to be aware that right now the very same idea of what has been Amiga OS, its own philosophy, its user experience, its coding style and guidelines and the technologies related with it are endangered; in my opinion is very important to increase the external awareness of the EXISTENCE of Amiga and like oses, its usefulness on hobby projects and is available on omst of the processors and platforms (am a bit biased on this when i think on AROS but ppc is well covered by os4 and MorphOS too);

4) When the 68k AROS port from Jason and Toni started to deliver usable results i personally thought that this was the good time to propose AROS not only as a viable actively developed alternative for old 68k machines and homebrew hardware like monimig and Natami, but also as a viable alternate OS for other 68k platforms such as Atari falcon, the japanese x68000, and even (heresy!) ST machines and propose itself as a transversal OS for active retrocomputing use;

5) Last but not least [and another for me fundamental repetition] is the most difficult thing to do: change the way we are relating with each other; when the 'Red vs Blue' war was exploding on the net, i already stopped using proficiently Amiga and getting interested on it since at least a couple of years earlier and so lost (fortunately?) this part of Amiga history; as far as i hear from several users, seems that the actual state of things is broken beyond repair [in some cases perhaps kept artificially so] but then i can see people like Fabien 'Fab1' Coeurjoly, Itix and others help other developers to port their programs on other Amiga-like systems (see OWB, mplayer,screenrecorder); something even unthinkable just some year ago; all this reminds me the dynamics of a dying small country town like the one I grew up in Italy, as said in one of the answers to the same forum thread as above:

...am honest to say that i refuse to have a revenue oriented viewpoint at the situation, at least i refuse to think that there should be a winner system: main problemis to have a user base that is transversal to all Amiga and like systems, that should be the goal instead to behave like disputing neighbors in a small town in risk to disappearance thay, instead of working together to make tihngs such a tourims flourish to keep the place alive and thriving, mind only to fight with each other; yes because THIS is EXACTLY the actual situations; and while some of you might enjoy to be the disputing neighbor, i don't; since i used to live and grow in a place with people behaving the same way, i feel so frustrated to see all good work and a nice potential thrown away in name of some few ego-stroking personalities.

Nothing else to add, guess the above is self-describing; so now is time to act.
10 dicembre 2010
Technologies: AROS: the backfire AROS haters, the "you're wasting your time" people and similar fauna...
Wanna keep it short and to the point this time.

Well, i still try to convince people to try AROS when life/wife/work does not go in the middle, but sometimes things have backfired on me; take in example some of the former Powder developers; some of them now are linux users and even involved in LUGs; the other graphic artist of the project is working on an iPhone Beach Marble Racing game;
OK, i don't expect them to drop everything and love AROS at first sight :P but, at least, give it a look: maybe the "feeling at home" sensation that entangled me might have effect on them too - and if they help in fixing stuff even better ;) - problem is that for them AROS has no sense: no practical sense; to repeat and translate the answer of one of those guys came out from a chat: "AROS is the answer to problems nobody has anymore", and he told me to use better my time since he consider this project useless.

The other ugly side of the fauna are the AROS haters; those people might be linked either to one of the remaining other three factions of the actual Amiga community,and they do not like AROS, they are not even satisfied of the recent progresses happening with the Kickstart Integration Bounties; AROS is not 'pure', is not 'holy coming from Commodore', does not have the Amiga name and - sacrilege! - it is open! Anybody can work on it and taint the code....

well, let me say those things to them: first of all the hobby is mine, i like AROS and like to meddle with it; i think it can evolve nicely and - despite the old school still insists on the 3.1 goal - i hope that once reached something similar to the version 1.0 new API and improvements will happen following the experiments of Michal Schulz on 64 bit and of Pavel 'Sonic' Fedic on the ongoing IOS hosted Port; and also hope that apps like the new Video Editor funded once again from Steve Jones will bring more users to it (and also to the other Amiga flavors of course);

second, lets be honest: right now AROS is the best chance for a modern and updated Amiga-like OS to run in old hardware and, once the bounty will be finished, to be used for homebrew projects that aim in recreating Amiga technology, such as Natami or Minimig, without the need to seek for external licenses. Probably right now AROS is a bit too heavy for original classic hardware - excluded 040/060 with RTG graphic cards - but optimisation is something will likely happen in future: there are still three months before the bounty deadline and, seen the results so far, i expect great improvements.
That is also the reason for Jason McMullan to come out with a further bounty proposal to create a "lite" version of Wanderer to be included in the 68k AROS ROM image; Toni is also working on the DOS packets and in the BCPL interpretation for the old 1.3 apps.
2 novembre 2010
Technologies: AROS: Closing the loop

What is this? Read and see....

After at least three failed attempts (Evilrich and then Tigger, disappeared almost immediately,Greg 'bheron' Casamento - that had a good amount of bad luck and, very shortly, Gary 'Gaz' Pearman), finally the Kickstart integration bounty started to deliver results and code.

The latest person to get the task is called Jason McMullan; this time he started to submit patches for 68k ROM in the developers mailing list around the begin of october. In october 6, deadwood asked him what he was working on, and he answered:

Frankly, I'm attempting KickStart Replacement Bounty I and II.

I'm working on porting AROS to the Commodore Amiga 1200, specifically
the UAE emulation. I also have a real A1200 I would like to get
this running on, but I'll need a flash burner for that.

I have a ROM image building with stock ELF binutils 2.20 and gcc 4.5.1,
with (I think) the correct register based ABI for libcalls. Total
ROM size is currently ~430K, so I should have plenty of space for the
Amiga AGA/OCS/ECS HIDDs and whatever other device drivers I need to write.

My short term goal is to get all the 'support' patches into the mainline
first, then bring in the m68k-amiga specific code, so that I have a
working build when I check in the m68k-amiga support.

I plan to complete this goal withing the next few weeks, depending on
how badly my changes clash with the existing architectures. I have
tried to be clean with this, but accidents happen.

My medium term goal is to boot an AROS Workbench disk, and have all
the AROS/C applications work on A1200 on UAE.

I hope to complete *that* goal by December 31, 2010.

( No HUNK support, it's all ELF right now, but HUNK backwards compatibility
  should be doable in the future.)

My long term goal is to be able to boot a Amiga WorkBench 3.1 disk, and
have all the Amiga HUNK apps work. This would allow AROS-m68k-amiga to
fully operate as a KickStart replacement ROM.

Jason did not simply applied for the bounty: he worked on a proof of concept  achieving, thanks to the latest UAE developments that finally allowed amiga UNIX buiilds to run, the build of a debian image to be used for compiling AROS on 68k. From this point he begun to submit a big amount of patches for getting the AROS 68k version back on track using GCC 4.5.0.

Its plan is to first be able to compile AROS then, slowly, replace in ROM images original amiga libraries with AROS ones in order to obtain a bootable AROS rom; furthermore Jason thinks to include, together with AROS ELF file format, also Amiga Hunk format in order to obtain the binary compatibility with Amiga software.

Lately Jason is no more alone in working in the bounty, even Toni Wilen, one of the WinUAE team coders, started to work on the bounty helping Jason in setting up the rom, especially taking care of the amiga-only hardware device drivers; he announced its intention to help Jason in this letter in the developer mailing list on October 21st:

Hello, it is WinUAE guy here. I think it is time to finally post something
here now that m68k build is really happening (great job!)

Sooner or later I am going to start working with 68k rom, mainly for (game)
emulation use, including add/fix missing Amiga specific drivers (I know
Amiga custom hardware inside out and also how drivers work) Unless someone
else have already started writing boring driver code..

I can help with low level drivers like Amiga floppy hardware driver, display
(+copper/blitter), CIA+keyboard, mouse etc.. anything that is close to
hardware and needed to boot not-too-badly programmed disk based games
without need for original rom. Of course many really old games will never
work without some kind of KS1.3 "compatibility" mode but that isn't
important now, perhaps someday..

Any list(s) of missing/not yet working 68k specific device drivers?

I think there are 2 phases:

Phase 1: support programs that have custom bootblock, possibly loads few
more tracks using trackdisk.device and then the rest uses hardware banging
Phase 2: support programs that boot to CLI, uses startup-sequence.

btw, I don't care about the bounty (or about "new" Amigas), I "only" want to
finally have (win)uae with built-in legal more or less "retro-compatible"
rom replacement.

Before to go on, is better to remind: Why the Kickstart integration phase 1 and 2 are so important?

The integration bounty are important for a good serie of reasons: first of all, once the AROS 68k port will be completed, it also will include binary compatibility with the HUNK file format, and most of the existing amiga applications written according to the Amiga OS guidelines will work directly on AROS: that means is possible to use AROS in place of the original Amiga OS; unlike the original Amiga OS 3.x, AROS is actively developed and therefore there is the advantage of having new features and patches;

second, AROS is open source and free of charge, and a 68k version b inary compatible with Amiga programs will come out handy for all those alternate and homebrew projects that require Amiga OS compatibility without the need of an official Amiga ROM, names as Natami, UAE/WinUAE.J-UAE, Minimig and the FPGA Toaster-on-a-chip comes to mind;

third but not less important, the existence of an Amiga version of AROS has an emotional factor, binding to the original Amiga Replacement OS project of AAron Digulla - sort of the return home (Amiga Hardware) of the Prodigal Son (AROS) and will add even more legitimacy to the project form those people that so far were against AROS for the fact that does not run on Amiga Hardware; potentially can also add for some more developers that might decide in contribute for improve the compatibility and the performance, just as Tony Wilen did.

Today November second, Jason communicated another significant progress:

I have successfully loaded my first disk block using Frankenrom with KS 3.0!
With Toni's help, I realized that I needed to enable DMA (DUH!) early on after IRQs have been enabled, and KS 3.0 + AROS exec will now get to the point where it *sucessfully* loads the first disk block.
However, the screen is still black. Is any of this debugging useful? (I disabled alert.hook and exec/SetFunction() Just In Case, but no change in behaviour)

And today even better:

KS 3.0: Getting there! exec will now get to the boot screen! http://www.evillabs.net/wiki/index.php/AROS_m68k-amiga
I need to make a disk with *just* the Install boot block now.

and the result is the boot image seen above; it is just AROS exec and the rest is Amiga routines but is a significant step forward!

Jason recommmended Tony Wilen for the assignment of the Phase 2 of the bounty since he has more experience in the Amiga OS hardware internals and is able to code effectively drivers. The outcome of this bounty are keeping mu attention level high nd am really excited to see the progresses!

27 giugno 2010
Diary: Technologies: AROS: AROS on BBC and eaudio.device ported on AROS
Notice: since i have been really busy have little time to finish the other article;  now that have some moment available i think is important to mention those two good happenings in AROS land:

- first, saturday June 19 and 20, at the Vintage Computer Festival in Milton Keynes, was held the twentyfifth Amiga anniversary party; amiga users know about it because it also marked the first public appearance of the Amigaone X-1000, a new high-end machine with a dual core processor (even though at the moment Amiga OS can support only one); produced by Trevor Dickinson (an amiga aficionado and also estimator of AROS btw) in cooperation with Hyperion entertainment; a lot has been written about it on the Amiga Forums, in good andin bad, but my main focus is on the participation of ClusterUK development and its iMica stand, where Steve Jones proudly presented its range of AROS powered machines, inclusive of the new GMA950 drivers for intel graphic,written by Michal Schulz,  that grants a nice graphic performance boost. Myself tried the GMA driver on my favorite victim - my wife MSI netbook and my AROS stick some time ago and loved the fact that was running nicely in the external screen actually used by my old laptop; i tried to load a video and the experience was quite smooth and enjoyable; people can easily forget they are using a netbook. Among other initiatives of Steve, we also have the endorsement of the development of the Ganymede IDE - a new developing environment actually in progress made by Proto (dont know its real name sorry) - that should provide a more modern workflow under AROS; the project is commercial but, since Ganymede will be a quite high quality tool coded from scratch, guess developers might not be too bothered in spend some money on it. The interest of people towards the iMica stand, according to steve, was quite high; and was also nice to see younger people get interested in the Amiga technology.
Plus, an interesting twist is that BBC Click, one of the most important computer and technology TV shows in UK, interviewed Steve at the VCF; the interview was held by LJ Rich and will be aired on July 2nd; once a link will be available will be published in aros-exec. Interesting fact is that,according to Steve (since am not in UK and never seen the transmission so far), the show usually focus on consumer electronics and mainstream operating systems; so that appearing in a transmission like that is a sign of interest towards alternate platforms and an important occasion to show the existence to people normally quite oblivious to it.

the Imica stand at VCF - courtesy of Niels Bache - http://nbache.dk/

- the second good news is that the eaudio.device, a wrapper for the Amiga Paula chip audio.device to AHI system calls has been open sourced by its developer, Emmanuele Cesaroni. This device, originally developed for MorphOS, will allow the port of several Amiga software that uses the standard audio.device for their output and operations and, plus, will also allow emumiga to output the audio.device calls. The device has been ported on AROS by Krzysztof "Deadwood" Smiechowicz just two days ago and for test he compiled an Amiga Chiptune player, that is actually working.
17 luglio 2009
Diary:Technologies:Amiga / AROS: Hacko ergo sum

This time will not talk about lua programming, also because since many of the project that i tried to work in either got covered by somebody else, (like the network control panel or the amistart calendar). Am also still thinking on how to build some tutorial to explain the base concepts on how to generate a zulu interface.

Andrea "Afxgroup" Palmete' accepted the OS4 Depot Gnash os 4 port bounty: considered that  Gnash is a project under GPL license, it might be possible, once the bounty has been satisfied, to port it in other amiga-like systems with adequate modifications (being a os4 project it uses reaction for its - thank God quite basic - GUI); so far results are pretty good: youtube movies are working properly and flash applications up to version 7 are quite supported too; a summer of code task should bring to the mainstream project the actionscript 3 classes support. Personally i still hope that somebody might build one day an open source builder for flash contents: in the past there were attemts such as f4l but now the projects looks abandoned and the project that should have replaced it, called UIRA, was actually suspended for political/legal issues; the original developers made a call for new people that would have liked to bring it on....

In the meanwhile Stanislaw Sszymczyk continued to update OWB that, so far, reached version 0.9.7 [edit: 0.9.8 is already out]: it fixes some errors that brought 0.9.6 version (like inability to submit forms in some pages such as the aros-exec forum one) and features also a basic bookmark manager. Beside that, the cookie handling has been updated in the mainstream version and implemented (fixed a bit more too) in the AROS version.

I am also glad to announce that now the AJAX editor of my blog platform is working too unde OWB, beside the minor annoyance to need to refresh the page once i saved the content.

OWB 0.9.7 on my blog edit platform - the bookmark window is in the bottom right.

Paolo Besser is working too in try to improve its Icaros Desktop distro: recently, beside the new Icaros Desktop 1.1.2 release, he published a new Automatic Upgrade tool that will detects upgrades either from an .iso file, a CD-ROM or from internet, downloading a nightly.iso and using it to upgrade the system I tried it yesterday but it makes my QEMU environment close, guess because the disk ran out of space (my system partition is small) while downloading the nightly .iso from the net.

And Chris "platon42" Hodges is working on fixing the port of Poseidon on AROS: one of the main problems that Chris is having now is that he is lacking a real x86 hardware where to test on: its actual method of testing is to develop on VmWare, upload its latest binaries on the nightly buillds and have users with real hardware report about any problems it might arise.  So far some peripherals are recognized and some can also be mounted, but in other cases we still have either system freezes and hangups or the new inserte dperipheral might not be recognized properly by the stack. Once that is done, seems there still are some problems with the fat.handler, where in example the OS command copy does not work properly from FFS/SFS to FAT yet...

Matthias "Mazze" Ruster is busy, together with the YAM developing team in porting finally the well-known Amiga mail client on AROS; the port is virtually finished, beside a necessary bug hunting for some specific system-related flaws.

Last June 6 I had the occasion and the privilege to participate at a monthly reunion of the Southern California Commodore/Amiga Network (SCCAN) in the town of Castaic, north of the Los Angeles County and San Fernardo Valley, almost at the limit of the huge LA urban area. In the garage of one of those almost-cloned suburb houses i was greeted from Joew May, one of the members and the house owner. On ce the garage door slide up i faced its "laboratory": on the various crowded shelf i seen a c64, a sx-64 (c64 executive), several amiga 500, 1200 and a 3000 with or without external hard disk, beside three or four a2000 with toaster piled in a corner. After a while other members of the group arrived, included Robert Bernardo, the founder and brought further hardware and software; i therefore seen UAE on a eee-pc 700, i was able to see a custom version of the c-one board which also supported Minimig in its FPGA programming, the sx-64 mentioned above and other relics from the 64 era, including a plastic musical keyboard overlay similar to the one distributed by SIEL in italy.

An overall view of the SCCAN : from the left, standing Jerold - a guest movie operator; then Robert Bernardo sitting with white shirt and glasses, then standing Tim, the c-one user and, sitting on the right Matt with its eee-pc running UAE. Just next to Robert look st the pile of a2000 equiped with Video Toasters:)

It was a pity that, since my wife and my mother in law were with me, i wasunabvle to stay more than a couple of hours but it was nice to see some other people with a common ground to share; beside those little reunions, the SCCAN and the Fresno Commodore Club also organize in Las Vegas the Commodore Vegas Expo (or CommVEx) on the last week-end of July; as usual for budget reasons i cannot partecipate: this was a good edition with excellent guest (among those,Dave Haynie, RJ Mical and miss Jeri "C-One" Ellisworth !!!) but at least it is my intention to go to Castaic again next end of August/begin of September.

In order to show AROS to the SCCAN members, I thought it was about time to introduce it in a much better way than it happened at SCALE, where I introduced VmWAROS on virtual machine, full screen but no sound and the network still to be fixed; that of course was unprofessional and, am afraid, even unconvincing.

The stimulus to do that also came from the IRC channel, where an user asked how Icarosperformed on Virtualbox;  nic answered that he has been unable so far to make Icaros run on virtualbox properly and remembered - and me too -  that last year Michal Schulz made some fixes for AROS to run properly on it; other reason has been due to my subscription in the FSUGItalia board, where I introduced AROS and one of the users complained about the fact that VmWare was not an "open" virtual machine and was looking for alternatives such as Virtualbox.

So, at the end I downloaded and installed Virtualbox on my own machine and proceedted to look for make Icaros work on it.
According to an old multiplatform tutorial I should have first joined together all .vmdk files with the
vmware vdiskmanager, usually buindled with VmWare server but not with the player (thanks again to Kalamatee that provided me the file via IRC saving me from an approximate hundred megabytes download) and then I should have used qemu and convert the virtual file in a middle format that, using a Virtualbox tool, should then become readable from this one; and therefore I proceeded in all the iter to the Virtualbox converter... that was not there! Hoiw come?

A further search in google clarified that latest versions of Virtualbox can read VmWare virtual drives (nice to know having spent half an hour converting the files...) and so, once deleted the converted files I do the attempt to configure Virtualbox in run Icaros. The first boot attempt ends with the red pointer on the black screen and nothing else; considered that, whan I made my tests, the ata.device still were having big problems with AMD boards (and my Dell laptop has an AMD Sempron), i decided to follow instructions on Icaros site for unsupported SATA drives and so I  changed in GRUB the ATA=32bit string in ATA=nopci (ATA=nodma works too btw) and doing so i finally boot on Wanderer.

Icaros on Virtualbox: it works, despite some problems...
First of all I need to make clear that, unlike VmWare and qemu that adapt a screen refresh rate to the host machine speed and virtualisation capabilities, Virtualbox will run at full video speed (else known as 1-1 screen refresh) and will run excellent if your hardware support virtualisation else,like in my single core laptop, expect to wait up to three seconds for opening a wanderer window and show its icons.

Second, might be a mistake in my configuration but the Virtualbox network bridge tends to make exclusive use of the network, therefore forget to browse from AROS and windows at the same time; ti make sure the bridge does not give me any problem, i disabled it when i dont use VB, and will keep it like that until i dont understand what to do about it, or somebody will suggest me a workaround.

Third and last, the sound "kinda" work if i set a compatible sound card (AC-97 with a supported chipser) in the virtual machine, but the sound test make a kind of attempt of a sound (sound like BEEreberebereberebeepp-p-p, instead of a two seconds Beep) and then it freezes badly the virtual machine.

So for now Virtualbox is still there, sitting in my disc; probably i will do some more experiments in the future; about me i decided to switch to plan B and try the QEMU option.

Hopeful to have a better result (also because to what an IRC member told me) i decided to install the VE version of Icaros, that also includes KQemu, and follow the instructions given by Paolone in its web site for installing a QEMU environment on a netbook here, with some interpretation, of course. And the final result was really good: double clicking on the executing .bat file shortcut, Icaros start at full screen (i have another.bat file for work in a window), the sound seems to work properly, tried with milkytracker  (this .mpeg file make freeze and quit qemu environment btw) and the network works fine thianks to DHCP.

Icaros on qemu: finally something to show for evangelisation :)

Despite that i still gave problems in transferring files: considered the (damn!) net sandboxing system of qemu, making a subnet with IP addresses like 10.2.xx that is not visible from outside, this mieans that in order to transfer files i have to FTP from inside qemu towards my machine; and that is complicated from the fact that my machine does not have a static address, being used mainly through wireless. I tried a simple FTP address on it but so far it did not work, art least i was unable to see it from inside qemu. When i have some time will install the XAMPP package (doing web sites i need it even for work) and will set filezilla server.

But those were not all the experimentations that I made so far: when the Network control panel came out had the pretty insane idea to make a personal "emergency live-CD" with all I needed to go on line, like OWB, a IRC client, YAFS and the FTP using as base a nightly; this because my old laptop has a malfunctioning DVD drive that can read only CD-ROMs. Therefore, I found a copy of Magic ISO maker and started to experiment burning images. For my perosnal disappointment i have been unable to make any progress: either the CD booted showing a mangled scren or they did not boot at all (but they were showing if i boot from another original nightly). So, seems that so far the only way to make a bootable CD is to build AROS using the toolkit from source;  knowing that the GRUB boot file for AROS is called eltorito (yuo, same as the mexican food restaurant chain) i tried to make point the bootable option to it, still without success so far. Any advice for me?

Going on with my activities, lately had occasion to work again on the translation of the Amiga Programming Guide by Gianfranco "ShInKurO" Gignina; he prepared a SVN repository on Google Code for allow other people to partecipate. Since am already susing SVN at basic level from my office in linux shell, i thought that was a piece of cake to handle. But, as usual, murphy decided to pay me a visit. To contribute I decided to download TortoiseSVN, a SVN client for windows that provide a graphical user interface integration. I already prepared the translation of the new parts of chapter 5 but, despite I did inserted the google code repository and the generated password in the settings (as https too) i have been unable to commit in the repository.My caontribution has been uploaded by ShInkUrO itself, which I sent it via email; i really hope to fix this soon.

And, to finish for this time, let me provide an interesting link that I found on the net: the "how to survive poisonous people" talk made by the SVN developer's team and hosted on Google video: it talks about problems that might arise when some community members are, to say it soft, "less cooperative"; thank God this happens less in AROS environment, but is still a good source of advice.

28 maggio 2009
Diary:Technologies:AROS: the long and painful road to 1.0

I needed to take a leave a bit from the blog scene because my main laptop has been infected badly by a virus so that had to reformat and reinstall my OS: plus as bonus the backup DVDs i made looks like have errors and so i might be unable to recover my old AROS virtual disk: thank god i used to work my lua scripts on Windows and have copies on my SD card.

Anyway, despite Przemyslaw "Qus" Szczygielsky fixed its TCPPrefs control panel for AROS,this does not mean that I should abandon my lua Network config project: the problems withmy computer stopped me for a while but am ready to go on: at least i hope the related aros-exec thread should be a good didactic reference point for whoever want to start an Amilua project. Anyway, is my intention to post a tutorial when will have some free time.

I already set up the user interface: both mazze answers in the thread and some lua regular expression tutorials helped me in parsing the configuration files and do backup copies of it (in a bit rudimental way, parsing them and writing in a new renamed file via script), so what else is missing?
First of all I need to set the graphical frontend gadgets according to the preferences set in the files, including pre-set the cycle gadget on the actual network card; second i need to write the new configuration with the user set parameters. And last, if i would indulge in a little ego trip, a menu with a voice to show the about window ;) .

My Network Config Amilua app and part of the debug output window

Once done with this control panel, I would like to write sometihng to manage the Amistart calendar: one of the few widgets for Amistart, that also should be taken as example for those that want to write some more - is not happening yet, dont know why ;  another idea tingling my mind is to write a simple bookmark manager for OWB but so far there is no way to make OWB open a new address using the DOS getURL command and it is only possible to use the command OWB [url to launch] in order to open the program: it is not possible to use it with an open session: the old one needs to be closed first; i tested it personally.

At the begin of may I helped on write the AROS website status update: in this one I asserted that the latest months progresses brought AROS on the verge to be available for a daily usage; but in order to reach this goal still several obstacles need to be overcome, both on software availability, and on the system stability and affordability.

Neil Cafferkey still continues in its work on the ata.device; being this a critical piece of AROS, every time he or somebody else put its hand on it there is the risk something that used to work might break and, once it was fixed, might make it wonder how the hell was able to work before, but first let's get the facts: An updated ata.device patch has been provided with the Icaros desktop 1.1.1 upgrade; the upgrade has been temporarily removed by Paolo Besser itself due to the fact that on computers with southbridge board AMD SB600 or with similar architectures severe data corruption occured writing data in the disc partition; beside this, several users were greeted with a black screen and the red pointer with no further boot progress. For those the solution, was less drastic, citing from the Icaros website:

If you can't boot Icaros and the process stops after the red pointerappeared on the screen, please do as follow to fix the issue:

- turn on PC
- choose a resolution from Grub's menu but DON'T press Enter
- press 'E' instead
- move cursor after "ATA=32bit" and change it either to "ATA=nodma" or "ATA=nopci" (depending on what it works for you)
- press Ctrl+X to continue booting

Ifbooting has success open /boot/grub/grub2.cfg with the AROS editor,search for the "ATA=32bit" string and replace it with "ATA=nodma" or"ATA=nopci". You can do this easily, using the 'replace' option in the'search' menu of the editor.

At the same time, in answer to the problem exposed by Paolo Besser, Neil Cafferkey unveils what happened in the developer's mailing list:

I think I've found the cause of these problems: we don't set the
controller's timing registers.

My guess is that when DMA *did* work with older driver versions, it was
just a coincidence: ata.device re-set the drive mode that the BIOS had
already set, so there was no need to change the timing registers.

If we want to use a drive in a mode that the BIOS hasn't set, we need to
set the controller's timing registers to match that mode. Unfortunately,
there is no single standard for these timing registers. This is why Linux
for example has numerous PATA drivers: one for Intel, one for ATI, one for
Silicon Image etc.

This problem probably became more apparent because the new driver version
checks the cable report register bits to determine if the 80-wire cables
necessary for high-speed UDMA are present. My mistake was to assume that
all PCI controllers followed the T13 spec for these registers, but I
should have realised that that was unlikely given that the spec was only
published as recently as 2003. The T13 spec is implemented by Intel (and I
only have machines and emulators with Intel chipsets to test on), but I
suspect that T13 were actually following Intel's established design. Other
manufacturers have incompatible controller registers.

So on non-Intel controllers, the driver will incorrectly determine that
only 40-wire cables are installed, and downgrade the DMA mode from say
UDMA5 to UDMA2. Since the timing will then be wrong, data corruption is
likely to occur.

As a solution, I propose that, at least in the short term, ata.device does
not attempt to set a mode for any drive, but simply detects and uses the
mode already set by the BIOS. I hope that this will not lead to a
degradation in performace in most cases: in my small sample, BIOSes in
modern machines seem to set the best available mode for each drive by
default. I have this fix working locally. We already rely on the BIOS to
set addresses for PCI devices and enable bus-mastering, so this is just
one more thing.

In the longer term we could look at setting timings ourselves, but this
looks like a complicated procedure, and probably wouldn't give any
performance gain in most cases.

To help confirm my theory, I set a disk in one of my PCs to MDMA mode in
the BIOS instead of UDMA, and ata.device failed to access it after it put
the drive into UDMA2 mode. It had worked perfectly when the BIOS had set
it to UDMA (UDMA1 as it happens, but probably close enough not to cause

once the ata.device was fixed, the icaros update has been restored and is now available again for download.
In the Icaros Website Paolo expressed the fact that, despite he is doing the best to offer maximum stability and performance with the most recent system libraries and programs, sometimes it might happen that some components were not fully tested, also because is hard to test all hardware configurations, and especially for a small volunteered project as AROS; Paolo also assures how, despite the actual problem, the actual situation is even improved, considered that  now AROS boots even in machines where was unable to boot before, and that, thanks to the fact that the actual users and testers are aware of the beta nature of the syatem, damage was pretty limited; those kind of accidents might happen in open source projects- without mention Linux and its well known breakages - i might not say it happens often, but it happens.

Recently Neil also worked on fix other ata.device problems, including the fact that the device thought there were two DVD drive in case a SATA DVD drive was used. The change of the device enumeration system is also planned.

Neil is actually checking DHCP system, due to the fact that, once the shell command arostcp stop is given (or  a CTRL-C break command, as is called in unix environments), the DHCP stack become unresponsive and bring the CPU usage to 100%.

At the same time Michal Schulz worked on improve graphic performance on ATI Radeon - same graphic card that he as on Efika; bot Michal and Nik  "Kalamatee" Andrews  seen how the themes design (bad) implementation is among of the culprit in slowing down Wanderer performance - this in a fairly slow system such as Efika is much more perceived ; therefore Michal worked hard in accelerate several display redraw functions and the performance on ATI radeon both on x86 and PPC are improved quite dramatically.
Kalamatee, beside its actual task in improving and modernizing Wanderer, is considering whether to take the Graphic Subsystem Bounty, but so far nothing more is known about this topic.

And, at last, a rare happening in the actual Amiga oses landscape: with a joint effort, users from both Amiga OS, MorphOS and AROS partecipated to reach the $4000 goal set for the Poseidon USB Bounty: Thanks also to the initiative of a community member, that offered to double further received offers, the actual bounty quota is at $4170. Chris Hodges, the author of the Poseidon stack, started to work at the port - which source code will be open - and the stack will be released on the APL license; this will also allow other Amiga-like oses to port and to update extend and improve the stack code.

Outside the Amiga communities (with maybe the exception of the Haiku os) the bounty system concept might sound unknown - considered that in example a bigger open source player system such as Linux usually projects are founded from those government and commercial entities interested in their further development and maintenance; for smaller projects and communities, instead - such amiga-like oses -  the bounty system is the major (almost unique for AROS) source of funding. Therefore projects like this really are funded from the community and literally belong to the community, in a sort of similar fashion to the gothic cathedrals in the middle age.

And now a last word on the Aros-exec portal: last May 22nd the portal, after another virus exploit, was once again closed: now, after a week, the portal is finally back online using an updated and exploit -free xoops version and also a nice blue-metal new skin. I by the way remember that aros-exec is mainly a development-oriented portal; is my advice to point final users to the more user-oriented portal Arosworld.org. test



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