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All that comes in the mind of an italian guy moved to california
TECNOLOGIE
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?


TECNOLOGIE
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.
TECNOLOGIE
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
errors).

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
TECNOLOGIE
13 aprile 2009
Diary: Technologies: AROS: Icaros Desktop v1.1, Amiga Users and the Peter Pan syndrome...
NOTICE: Due to an overzealous filtering method of "il cannocchiale" blog platform, the links to the AROS-exec Group might not work (because the presence of the 'exe' string in the name); therefore please instead of click the link directly, copy it, paste it in the address bar and fix it by hand in order to access to the forum, at least until i dont get in touch with the group admins ad whitelist the group name...

Sorry if i took so long in write the SCALE article and other news last time: looks like i need to learn to be a bit more short, considered that an equal if not higher amount of time is needed to translate the article in english so all you international readers are found reading one month old news.... therefore new passphrase is "write less, write often" :) [and as you can see, in pure open source fashion is another "when it's ready deadline - Happy Easter to everybody :P ]

A little Parenthesis for the recent bad luck of the Aros-exec portal that has been hacked three times in the latest two weeks, the last recorded one on Friday april 10th with a malware-loaded pdf file brought through an iframe; looks like finally the attack was contained and the web site came back to normal, but for those emergency situations the alternative is to go in the other AROS portal usually less frequented (that is bad, is a good one, i also mirror my articles there), called arosworld.org.

Good news: finally I managed to use network from my personal laptop at home! The solution was simple but kinda hidden from the average user eyes, and i stumbled on it casually; i needed to check whether my used network stack (wireless in my laptop) is correctly mapped as Vmnet0, using the program vmnetcfg.exe, located in the same program folder of the VmWare Player; there is no icon on the start menu so find it is matter to look for it. Usually Vmnet0 is mapped on the ethernet card of the computer while the main network I use in my laptop is the wireless one so I had to set Vmnet0 to map the wireless network first. Once done, i finally had no further problems with the network.

Last March 26th has been finally released Icaros Desktop version 1.1 (so far known as VmWaros): i already talked about it last time and can only remind the most important new features:
- recent build of AROS;
- added IconDress script for a fast icon set changing system wide in just a click;
- added Janus-UAE;
- added OWB;
- a new PDF-reader, ArosPDF,based on xpdf by Craid-Kiesau;
- improved stability;
- new Wanderer version with added icon options and status bar;
- updated several applications, including amimemos, simpleeditor and MarranoFTP (still with some bugs though)
- added application-switch and screen-switch keyboard shortcuts windows-style;
- globally improved E-UAE performence and upgraded amibridge scripts;
- added nic for RTL8168, the actually built-in iMica network card;

further informations are available on the distribution site itself; plus The italian IT oriented website Punto Informatico for the second time mentions here the Icaros Desktop release, putting it in the last minute news. I set up Icaros desktop last saturday in my VM and found it very stable. There are still some problems with in example the Zune class Betterstring.mcc that in some applications, such as WookieChat, shows just the last typed character; the reason of this behavior is actually being investigated, also because Paolo Besser said that in its installed system it dont see that behavior, present in the builds that he make.

Steve "ClusterUK" Jones updated Amibridge scripts; since the original cripts by Paolo Besser ised to delete and rewrite the user-startup under E-UAE, the method implemented by Steve allows not to delete the user-srtartup and load simply the chosen application in its own Janus-UAE window, that later can be closed through commodities or closing gadget, so to have a tighter integration between the AROS desktop and the Amiga 68k applications. Despite there might be still some work to be done, including the double pointer problem - Steve says - the target is getting close. The script canbe downloaded from here.

An interesting, and a bit pathetic thread started - or i should say restarted, considered that it represents itself every now and then - some days ago on amigaworld.net and successively even on osnews, about an x86 port of Amiga Os 4.1; a small but noisy minority of users made hear their voice on how the Amiga OS future should go, as happened for Mac OS, through the Intel processor family also considered some key events, such as the purchase of Freescale corp. from Apple and the closing of other manufacturers, that have left a strong uncertainity halo on the PPC platform.
Hyperion some time ago let know their opinion and  that they do not have intention to port Amiga OS under x86 - due, as most readers pointed on the thread, to a combination of low ROI, high porting cost, high piracy risk that might make the operation a huge loss - and is also interesting to see how, once reminded this and also stated that at the moment AROS is "the only game in town" on x86 and x86/64 platform, those people literally thrown out something that can only called tantrums in the fact that was not a REAL Amiga-labeled os, that was NOT os4, etc.

I do wonder sometimes if some Amiga user suffer of a peculiar Peter-pan syndrome form or else...

I have to be honest: this kind of aggregating all together around the Amiga "Brand" was something that made sense when I was younger, a way to express an identity and a social role and to stand from the bunch: i used to have a painted "I <3 my AMIGA" sticker on the back of my black Fiat Panda around 1995 to 1999 but then, once started to work and to use different systems made me feel the inadequacy of hanging hard on a single platform: the coup-de-grace came when, in order to do a big gig i had to add some removable storage and so I went to buy a zip drive and a surf-squirrel; i never been able to make it work properly due to the fact that my ViperEC030 RAM area collided with the PCMCIA access and therefore every single time i tried to access the drive, either via shapeshifter or from the Amiga side, the system hanged up pretty badly and had to resort in buying a power mac aside (no, using less ram was not a viable option).

Then, several years later, my rediscover of AROS in a moment in which was looking for alternatives to my fast-decaying "alternative"xp install on my old laptop, made me reconsider the option of an Amiga OS-like system and of its philosophy: it was much more user friendly than linux and a well known environment for me; a deeper immersion in the AROS community made me realise its big potential as Open source system and as ideal prosecutor of the Amiga OS philosophy: fast, lightweight, modular, user-centered and can run fast even in less recent and cheap hardware. The big plus the fact of being open source: mantained and updated by the community itself, it guarantees an indefinite long life to the system and allows the flow of new ideas and philosophies, beside the possibility to be used in commercial systems that would like to use it (as in example Natami) without the need to pay licence fees or to stipulate binfing OEM contracts; in short as i already said, an ideal solution for the diffusion of the Amiga philosophy and methodology. What i see instead is still several old school Amiga supporters stuck in their principles like "intel outside" and "Amiga is a full Hardware and Software complete solution, and is the ORIGINAL one", and whines about wanting anything that has the "Amiga" brand: reminds me closely the monologue of Eddie Murphy in the "Eddie Murphy raw" movie when he talks about its experience when he was a kid and was asking the mom for a McDonald burger (watch it and laugh here) and, having instead received a home-made burger (better than the McDonald one for sure) he start crying because other kids that have the McDonald burger fools him; luckilly growing up the sense of what is important changes and so when Eddie is grown up he craves for the mom's house-made burger (the moment of the admission here at 3:30): in my own head i see AROS as the mom's burger and Amiga OS as the McDonald's burger; vantages are visible: your mom can make your burger the way you like instead of McDonald's that being a big industrial franchising has its own easy-to-make-fool-proof-recipes-and-cooking-methods (see the book McDonald's behind the arches to know more about their procedures), but both things have their reason to exist even in relation to the number of people they need to serve: right now Amiga OS and MorphOS have a number of users too small to become mainstream and afford the jump to the x86 platform making sure they will see a decent Return of Income from a non-indifferent effort.
So, if you look for AmigaOS on the x86, AROS is here already and, as already said, being open source, can be expanded from anybody who has the skills to do it; the proposal of AROS now, in this very moment, thanks to the self-compilation, to OWB, to the (partially) working USB stack that allows to use external medias that started to glance in the eye of several hobbyists ,returning amiga users and, hopefully, even on the eye of more business-oriented people such as Steve Jones, who give AROS installed in bundle with its iMica; as i said this is finally the right time to introduce AROS at a higher number of people, for now mainly hobbyists and geeks, then, once solved the lack of software problem, even for less tech-savvy people.

And in the sense of improving AROS a good new is coming from the developer's mailing list: Jens Langner and Pavel "Sonic" Fedin are cooperating in order to compile Betterstring.mcc in the cross-compiler without passing through MetaMake (the AROS building system); therefore now the Betterstring class for AROS will be added directly from mainstream and removed from the source tree; in future Jens plans to make other classes, such as NList and TextEditor, compile from the cross-compiler and therefore to be released together with AmigaOS and MorphOs updates; Jens also plans to port YAM - the most known open source mail program for Amiga OSes - for AROS.

Nik "Kalamatee" Andrews is actually working in further improvements of Wanderer: some pictures appeared on AmigaNews.it and a Demonstration Video made by Kalamatee itself on Youtube shows the Wanderer windows holding a win-style directory tree at the left and the already known status bar on the bottom: the interesting fact is that those features will be in future handled as external modules and therefore enabled or disabled at will; that show the intention of Kalamatee to make Wanderer a more modular system easy to customise and upgrade, even with third party modules that will surely appear.

And, finally, another comeback of Stanislaw Sszymczyk, that released the 0.9.3 version of OWB: several bug fixed, optimised for better speed, the .htaccess login problem has been finally addressed and now OWB show a modal requester asking for username and password.
The latest OWB requires the latest codesets.library that can be taken from a nightly build .iso made after March 30. The new version, available for x86 and x86/64 can be downloaded from the sand-labs AROS OWB website.
TECNOLOGIE
11 ottobre 2008
Diary: Technologies: AROS: Opinion: Alternative OS HELPS Open Source, and Linux too.
[Warning: this topic has been left open for whoever likes to add contributions to it]

It's my intention to start DIGG the english section, maybe will help to spread my opinions and make something more happen... Last Saturday I found a link in linux.com pointing at this article on pingdom about the ten most interesting alternative Operating systems in the future: as you can see, at the first, sixth and seventh place we have three Amiga OS-like systems: AOS4.1, MorphOS and AROS;

Beside that, something make me feel perplexed; i already mentioned it in this blog, but guess the time is come to talk about it again.

It is interesting see as still many modern Amiga and Morphos Users consider AROS a kind of resource waste, even despite aprts of AROS code got used for a variable amount of time both in MorphOS and in the new Amiga OS 4, not to mention AfAOS.

And instead is interesting to look as other alternative systems, as Haiku and ReactOS, beside their own problems are getting more aknowledged outside their original niche: it is quite understandable why: both are a valid and open alternative to their closed source counterpart and both are much more user-friendly than even a nowadays linux: beside the old rust between ReactOS and the Wine team for an unfounded topic, the environments are much more peaceful than the "holy wars-ridden" Amiga OSes territories.

And full rivers of words have been written, even in amiga forums, in how AROS allegedly denaturated the original Amiga OS philosophy and look and feel taking ideas from some linux and windows user interface guidelines: then, looking a bit closer in os 4.1, some similar things happened even there but nobody still noticed it, just add a ReAction wrapper and everything is accepted...

But today i dont want to rant about the usual Amigaland mess.

I guess is pretty clear that all the hype around free software has become more than a philosophy: Since money started to run around Linux in the server market the free software transformed itself in a political matter, with internal fights and different -- sometimes opposite -- ways to look at the open source: form the Stallmanian obsession for the purism to the Novell conduct, all surrounded by ego trips and currents: just think at how Kernel programmers are criticizing Canonical for not contributing enough to the Kernel (despite the fact that Canonical is working to improve the final experience for the user and in the desktop development); by the way the programmer criticizing Canonical is working for Novell, and Novell is considered as a Betrayer for their agreements with Microsoft on some patents that MS might decide to enforce against Linux.

By the way, speaking of zealotry, is not known to everybody that last January 23rd 2008 Stallm,an itself has "excommunicated" [EDIT: ok, that is a big word, just removed aros from the link list] AROS because of its requirement of using proprietary roms in UAE and about the recommendation to find them through the purchase of the Amiga Forever package: here is the original mail from AAron Digulla as appeared in the Developer Mailing list:

Hello,
Richard Stallman just let me know that they deleted the link to AROS on their link page (http://www.gnu.org/links/links.html) after I had a longer discussion with him.

The reason is that they only want "free operating systems that have a *policy* not to include, or *recommend*, non-free software."

In our case, we recommend the use of "Amiga Forever" which is non-free software (it contains the Amiga Kickstart ROMs) on http://aros.sourceforge.net/documentation/users/applications/euae.php which means we are in violation of the GNU philosophy.

I had a longer discussion trying to figure out what is going on and the net result is that we're in a similar situation as Linux which can run MAME but Linux doesn't advertise MAME but we do. I'm not sure if it would be worth the effort to delete this page or to move it into the E-UAE package. It feels hypocritical to me to behave as if we didn't recommend UAE while we do recommend it for stuff that doesn't run on AROS itself.

Richard, of course, has a very strong opinion about this and I guess you can't change the world unless you are ready not to make concessions.

So if that topic comes up on AROS-exec or anywhere else, keep a cool head, don't flame Richard or the GNU guys, handle this professionally. I'm not very happy with the decision but OTOH, I doubt that we have many visitors coming from gnu.org (especially since only two other OSs are listed there) and no one will probably even notice the change.

Furthermore, Michael Battilana from Cloanto is actively supporting the Amiga community and us, so I think recommending his product is the least we should do.

And, if we see it with a cold mind, is just a taste of the aforementioned politics. [EDIT: Thank God, the community does not consider follow GNU guidelines strictly a priority nor is important for AROS cause so far things have been handled professionally and business went on as usual].

Sometimes i also have the sensation that several people in the Linux community thinks that developing alternative open source operating systems might be considered a theft of resoueces from what looks like is been decided to be a full focus on linux and other linux-like ooperating systems and distros. The comments in the Pingdom thread gives quite a good overview on the general opinion, defining alternative systems as "Windows 9x bad copies" (even the Amiga Oses:P).

Many of those that wrote the comments by the way, comes from new generation computer users, grown up with windows or linux and of course ignoring or considering obsolete other operating systems before; it is clear as they don't see any need or reason for something different: i might say they don't know there might be something different.

And so they not even understand as the simple existence of other operating systems in the open source universe is important: so as AROS and other alternative systems are using and re-implementing code from linux so the opposite - linux using code from Aros and other alternative systems - might happen and sometimes is happening; in example ReactOS adn Wine exchange code between themselves for a better Windows compatibility and even Amiga OSes got benefits from Linux code: the old ixemul the newer CigWin, most recently even Netsurf, a browser born in RiscOS and ported even on linux under GTK; linux can also benefit using in its code - when the license allows it - code from ports under AROs and other alternate systems. The existence itself of other options "non-linux" beside linux and its distros is a basic part of that "freedom of choice" professed by advocates and one of the essential characteristics of the Open Source philosophy: every one choose its "weapon", the one that fits best with its own modus operandi and how to deal with computing.

Also, the know-how of different people turn out to be good for the operating systems technical exchange.

I already mentioned in past the Kickstart Replacement Bounty phase I and wrote about the assignment to Bheron.

That is all that is shown in the bounty description under the power2people web site: i admit that surely does not look exhaustive. This because, according to one of the developers, the feature showing the bounty assigned coder bio has not yet been implemented.

So, through the comments to the assignment in aros-exec at last it has been possible to know the identity of Bheron. Its real name is Gregory John Casamento and this is the bio from the aros-exec comments:

I've been doing software development for about 18 years. I'm currently an independent contractor.. I own a small company called Open Logic Corporation (not the one at openlogic.com, they took my name 6 months after I got it). I'm currently the chief maintainer of an FSF project called GNUstep, you may have heard of it. ;) I've done everything from C, Objective-C, C++, Assembly on x86 and 68k, etc etc. I was a proud Amiga owner when I was younger and did a lot of C programming on it before Commodore went away. I'm glad for the opportunity to help AROS out. :)

So looks like he is got a great resumee and reliable competences; i put in the links its personal blog in order to follow its progresses on the bounty, if he decides to talk about it.

I will keep this article open in order to add any further precisation and comments to come.
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