Some interesting news in Next-Gen Amiga-land

MorphOS on x5000 – again
So, after my last post about the rumors of MorphOS on x5000, it appears that it wasn’t an April fool’s joke after all. Here are a couple more pictures:

Also, porting MorphOS to 64bit Intel/AMD is currently underway, as described by famed MorphOS developer Mark “bigfoot” Olsen:


When MorphOS gets ported to AMD64, we will not be supporting Macs. AMD64 Macs have all the wrong hardware for that to make any sense. When such a time does come, expect us to support one desktop motherboard (with one family of CPUs and GPUs) and one laptop. We’ll of course make sure it’s hardware that’s actually available one way or another.

Does this mean PowerPC development will stop? I would think it would sunset at some point, but I don’t think they’d immediately cut off PowerPC users, unless they have resource/staffing problems. I’m all for the switch to either x64 or ARM as either have a roadmap for the foreseeable future and in the case of x64 (and eventually ARM) will provide a huge amount of horsepower for apps.

Hyperion Entertainment breaks the silence

Hyperion Entertainment finally broke the silence on their website. The relevant parts indicates that they are NOT bankrupt and that development is ongoing:

Contrary to some news items posted on certain websites, Hyperion Entertainment CVBA is not in a state of bankruptcy. Due to an unfortunate set of cirucmstances, the company was temporally listed as “bankrupt” despite the fact that the conditions for bankruptcy were never met and that in the eyes of the law, the company was never bankrupt.

Development of AmigaOS 4 (which recently culminated in the release of AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition) is and has been ongoing albeit that some resources had to be directed away to support the upcoming hardware of A-EON Technology.

The company is in the process of reorganizing itself by opening up its shareholdership and appointing a new executive director. More details on that will follow when all legal formalities are behind us.

However, they did ask that everyone update from older 4.1 to Final Edition as they’d said previously that they didn’t have the resources to update former version, AND Final Edition, AND finish 4.2.

Glad to hear they are still around!

MorphOS on the new A-Eon x5000?

Things have been quiet in MorphOS-land for a while now. I’m speaking in terms of new OS releases. The current release (as of this writing), is MorphOS3.7, which is a fantastic OS. I run it on a G4 PowerBook.

There has only been a single platform that would allow for both Amiga OS 4.x and MorphOS to run side-by-side, and that is the Pegasos II system. At the time of MorphOS 2.3 (around 2009), someone did some benchmarks and found that MorphOS really ran a lot faster than the OS4.1 of that time (not sure which update would have been around then). You can read it here (in French):

A while ago, I pondered about the power of the X5000 that A-Eon was building for OS 4.2. One of the comparisons was the 5040 CPU that a future update to the X5000 would have compared to the fastest G5 from IBM (which is the currently fastest machine supported by MorphOS). The 5040 in the x5000 would outrun the G5, but I think only if more than a single core was supported.

Both the OS4 team and the MorphOS developers have talked about multi-cpu support (SMP), but neither has demonstrated anything.

I think the battle between the two OS’s will heat up when the x5000 is released as we have seen a leaked rumor about MorphOS support for the x5000 coming.

Is this fake or not?

All sorts of Amiga news

Since I took a small, unexpected break at the beginning of the year, there have been plenty of developments in Amiga-land that are of interest. Let’s look at just a few of them, shall we?


Hyperion Entertainment went Bankrupt
Okay, so one of the biggest is that Hyperion Entertainment, current owner of Amiga OS 4.x, has gone into bankruptcy. Not much info about what happened but they’d just released OS4.1 Final Edition. What first happened was that Acube announced on their website that if customers wanted to get OS4.1 FE upgrade for previous SAM boards/ AmigaOne 500’s, they’d better hurry up and order immediately, because once the current stock ran out, it might be a long time before more was available. Then, an entry on Hyperion’s Wikipedia page showed bankruptcy. The main Amiga forums blew up with little response from Hyperion other than someone saying it was a mistake on someone’s behalf and they were going to clear it up. The most recent reports showed up on OldSchoolGameBlog: “The company started an opposition procedure. I expect the decision of the Court at the end of the month. ”

What does this mean for AmigaOS4.x development? Just after this news flooded the big Amiga forums, one of the Frieden brothers posted an update about their progress on Multicore support in AmigaOS 4.2, but didn’t address the current situation.

I guess we’ll have to wait to see if they come back or if AmigaOS gets thrown into the winds again for someone else to pick up.


Community Project: PowerPC PCI for Amiga
This isn’t the UltimatePPC that was announced a few years ago, this is an opensource (there’s even a github available) project to allow a G3 Accelerator card, originally created for some PowerMacs over 10 years ago, to be used on Amigas that have PCI slots (currently Mediator boards). The idea is to be something that will work with WarpOS, so that this card will be like a co-processor, instead of a main processor (at least for now).

In just a couple of months, the guys working on it have made custom built sonnet and pci library files and have gotten the basic card set up and running some powerpc commands. It’s truly a fun project to watch.


WinUAE 3.1.0 continues to march forward
Toni Wilen continues to work his magic, and the latest version of WinUAE works great! I hope to have some previews of some Classic software soon for people to see, using this latest version.

Here’s the latest –>changelist<–.


VBCC Crosscompiler gets an upgrade
After more than a year, the latest version of VBCC is out, and is sporting a huge list of –>changes<–


RapidRoad USB avialable
This is actually from late last year, but Individual Computers finally released their USB host adapter for classic Amigas. It works with clock ports on the A1200 (and other products that provide a clockport interface), as well as an attachment to their X-Surf zorro card. Read a review –> here <–


Custom made clockport expanders available
There is a community project where you can take your single clock port on the A1200 (and I’m guessing others that have clock port aftermarket adapters), and turn that single port into 2 or 4 ports. The 2 port version is for towers that have a GREX-II expansion (due to room I guess). The expander has been shown to work with the USB adapters, serial ports, sound cards and MP3 decoders. It looks like it will be less than 30 Euros with shipping internationally. Check out the link –> here <–


Custom Amiga Power Supplies
A guy named Ray Carlson is building Amiga power supplies for $80. You can contact him at: rcarlsen(at)tds.net


Super-fast Amiga Accelerators coming soon
The Apollo core team are taking a poll to see who would be interested in their new Apollo Phoenix Accelerator for the Amiga 600 and Amiga 500/2000/CDTV. It sounds like they will be about 150Euros. They had previously updated the core on Majasta’s Vampire 600 board for faster-than-68060-speeds results. Majasta is taking pre-orders for version 2 of the Vampire board –> here

The link for the new boards are –> here <–

The performance page (old info) is –> here <–

Pictures of their progess are updated often –> here <–

Update to my blog entries on app stores

Okay, there were a few comments on both Amistore and IndieGo! Appstore blog entries that may clear up some issues I had at the time (I plan to revisit each when they are out of beta).

For AmiStore, I had an issue with being redirected to PayPal and my system defaulted to using NetSurf 3.2. This version of NetSurf 3.2 had limited javascript support and Paypal was complaining about it.

Two solutions were suggested:

1) Change the default URL handler in the system prefs to use another browser, such as OWB
2) Completely disable javascript in Netsurf and Paypal would fall back to a non-JS method of processing the payment.

For IndieGo! I had a few concerns and the author of the program left suggestions for each:

1) When selecting the platform, I could only scroll using the arrow keys. Apparently, if the mouse pointer is over the list, the wheel should work. He said selecting more than a single platform selection will be supported in the future.

2) The download speed after purchasing an item was unbelievably slow. This turned out to be a buffer size setting that he said was easy to fix:

Open with a thext editor the file
Edit the line nr. 10:
[SIN]dlchunksize =
And replace the 64(Kb) of buffer with a higher value like 128 or 256 to speedup the download

Full re-review when final versions come out.

WinUAE with Toccata emulation

Audio cards were a luxury in Amiga computer. Apart from a few clockport models, it was the Zorro slot machines that gave the real high quality option.

One of the oldest and most supported cards for Amiga was the Toccata soundcard. The sound controller IC is well documented. Someone pointed this out on the EAB WinUAE support page and Toni Wilen (fresh off the release of v3.0 of WinUAE, with PowerPC Support) decided to add Toccata emulation support.

Why do this when the UAE sound support is already well handled? Well, why not? I downloaded the v3.1.0 beta 1 WinUAE on that support site and set out to see how it worked.

The link to the thread where the latest version can be found is –> here <–

Then, I looked around to find some driver software. I found that amiga.resource.cx had some links to some diskmasher format installer disks. So I fired up Amikit (v8) on this latest WinUAE and included the toccata 1.1 dms file as a floppy:

and then got into the Workbench and opened the floppy icon to start the English installer:

and it was the standard Commodore installer:

but I ran into my first problem: The toccata.audio driver for AHI wasn’t included in the standard AHI that was part of AmiKit v8 (and I think it isn’t installed by default).

So, after a bit of digging around, I found that I had to head over to Aminet.net to get supplemental AHI drivers:

I manually pulled out the toccata.audio file for the DEVS:AHI folder and another settings file for the toccata card and put it into the right folder.

I then had to download v12 of the toccata library from –> here <–

Then, after a reboot, I set up the AHI Preferences to use Toccata stereo 16.

I then ran into a problem trying to run AmigaAmp. It was complaining that it couldn’t open AHI device. I eventually had to go redownload and reinstall ahiusr_4.18.lha from Aminet.net and this fixed that.

Then, AmigaAmp wanted to use the stereo++ version of the output:

I had tried to set up Toccata as unit 1 and leave the UAE sound device as unit 0. I eventually had to set Toccata stereo++ as unit zero and change AmigaAmp settings to use AHI unit 0.

I was then able to get some sample mp3’s I’d downloaded to play using AmigaAMP.

So, what is the advantage of using emulated Toccata? Not sure yet for a WinUAE user unless there exists some software the specifically uses the Toccata, but I thought it was cool to use.

Amiga App Store Review part 3 – IndieGO! AppStore for AmigaOS4.x

Okay, so now we are here at part 3 of the Amiga App Stores, see part 1 (AMIStore by A-Eon), and part 2 (Jack for Amiga AppStore).

I downloaded this from a post on Sept 7 from AmigaWorld.net. I also found that there is a link to both this GUI version and a command line version from the official IndieGO! website.

This software is the product of the same team that is working on AEROS, a software distro that has a Linux base with a hosted version of AROS running on top. The x86 version will allow the use of Linux, Windows (via WINE) and Amiga software all in one. An interesting combo that I hope to try one day.

The IndieGO! store will eventually (once it comes out of beta I’m sure) use AmiCoins/IndieCoins, an new form of payment supported by this software and maybe more in the future. These coins will be purchased in their online store. I’m not sure if other payment services like Paypal will be available. Using a virtual coin system like this is similar to how many of the recent free2play games do their in-app purchases. I would think that changing the value (and therefore profitability) would be easier by using an interim virtual currency that is completely controlled by one group (as opposed to bitcoins which have a value based upon market demand). It will be interesting to see how this works out for them.

Anyway, back to the AppStore in question.

The client download extracted out and didn’t include an installer or Icon launcher. That’s okay, this software is still in beta. I’ll assume the final version will include these. For now, I had to launch by going to the extraction folder, setting the window to show all, then double clicking the default icon with the name AppStore:

Oh, before I did this, I read a readme file that indicated that slower systems (such as my low-RAM WinUAE OS4.1 install) would benefit by lowering the resolution, so I found the global config file, and opened it to find the screen resolution settings and changed the width and height values from 0.85 (85%) to 0.5 (50%). This controls the width and height of the AppStore window to be 50% of the entire screen.

I was first prompted to accept the terms:

I was then presented with a login screen, which also had a register button:

Clicking register, I was able to set up a new account within the app, without having to go to their website. This was a nice addition over AMIStore I reviewed earlier. I was also allowed to use the username I chose instead of a generated one like AMIStore. I did, however, have to go check my email to confirm the registration.

After the confirmation email, the app successfully logged in:

Then, the the default AppStore menu is shown. The upper left icon is slightly discolored to indicate that it has focus. This is the entrance to the real AppStore. Other items include: User Profile, Settings, Log Out, Exit, News, download manager, etc.

Clicking the upper left AppStore icon, you get into the subsection where you have News, Special offers, Sales Items, App Search, redeem coupon, and filter by Platform.

Clicking the filter Icon to show only apps for a particular platform brings up a scrollable list:

The strange thing here is that you can’t currently use the mouse to scroll this list. You have to use the arrow keys. Also, you can only filter on a single platform. It would be nice to be able to include more than one platform (like Amiga OS3.x and Amiga OS4.x).

Then, after setting the filter by platform, going into the Catalog Browser brings up various category icons. This beta version still has most of them showing the default icon, so you have to hover over them to get the subcategories (like utilities, office, games, etc).

The top left button goes back a step in navigation. Clicking the Games category brought up a sublist showing game Genres:

I clicked the Action genre (the one with the ABUSE cover) and got a crash:

This memory-related issue may have been due to running AmigaOS4.1 on WinUAE, which is limited to 128MB when using the CyberStormPPC (I should convert to BlizzardPPC as I read that you can go up to 256MB). I had other things running so I reset WinUAE and was careful to not start anything else and only run the IndieGO! store.

After restart, I got into the Action Game Genre okay:

I can also scroll down, but only via the arrow keys to see the rest of the entries (please ignore the graphics garbage, this is a WinUAE config issue, using 2900b24):

I selected Alien Breed – Tower Assault demo for Amiga OS3.x and was presented with a buy screen:

Clicking the BUY button on the right brought up the confirmation screen:

Since this beta had a price of ZERO for everything, the purchase went through without having to purchase AmiCoins right now:

Now, it shows that it is “owned”:

and now the downloading can be started by clicking the Download button (which changes the button text to say Downloading…):

I had NetSpeedometer running and the downloading was unusually slow. Not sure what was going on as I’ve seen speeds ten times faster in the WinUAE environment. Also, it was downloading chunks, then nothing, then more chunks. I have no idea what server it was connecting to but I hope it is faster in the future:

Finally, the tiny file was downloaded and this window was presented:

Here’s where things got a little strange again and I am not sure if it was the app or my WinUAE environment. I saw the highlight flickering between “Execute the Package” and “Do Nothing”. I also couldn’t click anything so I finally, forcibly ended the app and found the downloaded file under the install folder in a user / download folder. It was just an LHA archive in this case. I could then manually take over if I wanted to.

    Conclusion:

So, this is really the main competitor to AMIStore. Both are not in a state of being ready for the general public. It appears that the AMIStore by A-Eon may be slightly ahead in terms of readiness for final release.

Things I liked about AMIStore:

  • Full Installer and launch Icon
  • Ability to Use Paypal
  • More finished feel to the category browser
  • Auto download and extract after purchase

    Things I didn’t like about AMIStore:

  • It didn’t have an in-app registration mode
  • It didn’t allow me to use the username of my choice
  • It didn’t detect and show my local currency
  • Euro-VAT tax for non-Euro customer (not sure of the customs rules)

    Things I liked about IndieGO!:

  • Register for an account in the app, instead of another website
  • Can login using my choice of username
  • Support for other platforms
  • Might have a larger catalog at the moment
  • Coins? (maybe, or maybe not… do we get charged VAT when buying coins?)

    Things I didn’t like about IndieGO!:

  • No installer or launch Icon
  • UI is a bit slow and had a memory issue
  • Switching between mouse and keyboard for navigation
  • Didn’t auto download/extract (would be a nice option setting)

    So, there you have it: Amiga AppStores (as of December 2014). Both are showing promise. At the moment, if I had to choose, I’d choose AMIStore, but I’ll definitely also have IndieGO! as I feel it will eventually get the kinks worked out.

    Good job everyone. Let’s Keep Amiga relavent in this day and age!