Ottawa Amiga Show

I went down today to see the Ottawa Amiga Show. This time it was a lot easier to get to; no G20 meeting with protesters besieging the city core. As usual, Cinereal was there in one room showing off modern video systems and giving seminars on making videos, and selling piles of old Amiga stuff (most of it has become junk by now, and won't be valuable until far into the future).

Speaking of the future, the other room had the future of Amiga. The Technomages were their with their Amiga Digital Environment games, which they do as a sideline to their main business of setting up web sites. I had a chat with one of them, they seem to be having fun doing games. They even were able to get Eric Schwartz (a famous Amiga animation artist) to do some pictures for their puzzle game.

The real highlight for me was seeing an AmigaOne prototype and talking to the developer who was using it. It looks like an ordinary PC but has a PowerPC as the CPU, with a very small fan - it's not the power guzzler an Intel or AMD CPU is, perhaps because it was a 600Mhz part (G4 and faster ones come later). The interesting leverage trick is that they use ordinary PC parts for the rest of it, including a VIA south bridge chipset so you get the usual USB and ATA/100 peripherals, and whatever else becomes available as the south bridges change over time. It was running AmigaOS 4.0 (the version compiled two days ago), which is at about the same stage as OpenBeOS - you can boot the kernel and get a command line prompt on a VGA text mode device. Linux is also available. They're also upgrading the Amiga Fast File System to be native PPC code, with support for large hard drives (hopefully more than a few years worth of support since hard drive technology is still advancing very rapidly). Virtual memory is there (possibly with shared or private address spaces as each program desires), and it's still a message passing OS. Eyetech says they will ship the OS in early 2003, which seems plausible since most of the other parts already exist and would just need a bit of tweeking and recompilation.

- Alex

Copyright © 2002 by Alexander G. M. Smith.