Re: Open-source software finds a natural home

From: phil osborn (
Date: Sun May 21 2000 - 22:22:38 MDT

>From: "Everitt Mickey" <>>Subject: Re: Open-source software
>finds a natural home
>Date: Tue, 16 May 2000 01:30:07 -0500
>>-----Original Message-----
>From: phil osborn <>
> >
> >The design philosophy in America evolved in the late 19th or early 20th
> >century to the engineering maxim that "we can build anything for a dollar
> >pound." It is worthwhile to compare the Amiga OS, which originated in
> >Britain as TRIPOS, a real-time industrial control mini-computer OS, or
> >LINUX, or Gasse's BeOS, with the American products - MS/DOS, Windows,
> > With design and forethought, the Amiga OS could easilly run rings
> >Windows or the Mac at the same clock speed, yet it was much easier to
> >more stable, and a tiny fraction of the size. (Imagine being able to
> >not one, but several floppies, simultaneously, while running five or six
> >applications and communicating online with no noticeable slowdown, and
> >able to switch tasks in 1/60th of a second, reliably. The Amiga was
> >that in 1990.)
> >
> >Then look at the absolutely unbelievable bugs and stupidity of Windows,
> >can't even recall from one instant to the next what kind of view you want
> >icons, list, details, big icons. It's a random draw - except when
> >willy-nilly decides to default to some view permanently - which happens.
> >And the errors were carried forward from Win'95 to '98! If someone had
> >me that such an atrocity was going to be the dominant OS of the year 2000
> >1980, I would have thought they were insane.
>I've mentioned this before but I had an Amiga once....two of them
>actually...the original and then the Amiga2000. Some years passed and THEN
>i was introduced to MicroSloth....I was shocked!! Shocked I say!!
>Disgustingly primitive and hard to use by comparison
>How come this happened? How did the bad overcome the good?
>Were not talking politics here (are we?) but engineering and software
The A-2000 was nice for its time, but a real clunker compared to the A-3000,
which was the real pinnacle of Amiga hardware, with 9 co-processors. The
A-4000 was supposed to be its successor, but by then Commodore was really
falling apart internally, and the engineers will tell you that some major
compromises happened due to cost-cutting, although an A-4000 with a
68060/Power PC combo board really flies.

Nostalgia aside, the history of the Amiga is one of the all-time great tales
of the forces of genius, integrity, community and creativity directly pitted
against the worst aspects of dog-eat-dog sleazoid klepto-finance-capitalism.
  Do you remember the competition saying things like "who needs
multi-tasking?" "Who needs 4096 colors?" Who needs 32-bit addressing."
"Who needs stereo high-fidelity digital sound?" Etc., etc.

It will be interesting to see if the new Amiga system, which is a software
virtual machine, not hardware - after Gateway suddenly pulled the plug on
the super 3D-HD-DVD Amiga they had designed in San Diego last year (right
before Gateway switched from AMD to Intel; no connection of course)- will be
allowed to succeed. It doesn't directly threaten any of the "powers."

On the other hand, the fact that it works with everything - all the OS's -
and appears to speed up operations betweeen 500 to 1000 percent might make
for a nasty food fight over who can grab it and monopolize it. Sun and Red
Hat together may have enough clout to stave off any such moves, especially
with MicroSoft potentially crippled, or at least weakened, but I've seen so
many great products smashed or "disappeared."

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