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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved

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Amiga Players: 1999 and Onwards

The announcement that Gateway-Amiga were abandoning the Classic market had an electrifying effect upon the Amiga community: some believed that this was the end of the Amiga, some accepted the announcement with a shrug of acceptance, and some attempted to take the Amiga's development into their own hands. It the third group that prove the most interesting - their views and solutions were diverse, yet they all wanted to 'save' the Amiga as a computer platform.
This resulted in the mobilization of several political orientated organizations whose goal was to provide a road map for the Amiga that would allow it to continue its evolution during the 21st century. This is the story of those groups:

Open Amiga Foundation

Open Amiga Foundation
"The Amiga has a wealth of software and talent, whilst the free software and GNU/Linux communities have a great deal of political and financial clout. By combining the two we can leverage each other's strengths, and have both communities gain, within an atmosphere of mutual respect, understanding and co-operation."

The  Open Amiga Foundation began life as the Campaign to Open source AmigaOS (COSA). As the name suggests, its aim was to pressure Gateway into releasing the source code to the AmigaOS (at the time Gateway had no further plans to develop the OS) and formulate a developer network that would organize and rewrite the GPL-ed AmigaOS. This would allow the users' to repair long-standing bugs, remove the need for system illegal hacks, and make the OS easier to compile. A large percentage of the Amiga community supported the endeavour and they had opened negotiations with Gateway. To this end, the organization had considerable success - Gateway were prepared to open source significant parts of the AmigaOS (the exception being ARexx and other items that were licensed) as a goodwill gesture. Unfortunately for COSA, the Amino purchase, forced the group to abandon their previous efforts. In contrast to their predecessors, the new Amiga Inc. had no interest in open-sourcing the AmigaOS. Instead they would use it as a means of focussing the community towards their Tao-derived operating system.

This must have been a moment of intense frustration for COSA. While the Amino purchase was good for the Amiga, it had swept aside the good work done by COSA and had invalidated the main goals of the organization. COSA were forgotten in a sea of Amiga/Tao announcements.....

After a few weeks of silence, COSA reappeared from its chrysalis as the Open Amiga Foundation. This was followed by the announcement that they had entered into a strategic relationship with the AROS team. Under the new deal, OAF are responsible for public relations, marketing, business and legal affairs of the open-source AmigaOS project. This allows them to continue their original aim of developing an open source AmigaOS, albeit an unofficial one. Several former-Amiga developers have also been contacted to request that they release their source code and allow further updates to be made. However, the strain of defending themselves against various corporate bodies have taken its toll upon founder and chairman, Steve Crietzman, with the announcement that he will step down and a transitional governing council will take his place.

Open Amiga Foundation and AROS announce strategic relationship
John Chandler's article on the OAF

Phoenix

Phoenix
Soon after Amiga's cancellation of the MCC, the Phoenix Platform Consortium was created. The organization was set up as a direct response to the failure of Gateway to develop a next generation Amiga platform, while recognizing the failures of previous efforts to create a developer forum (such as the Independent Council of Open Amiga). They had already gathered an impressive list of names, consisting of several Amiga celebrities, including Car; Sassenrath, RJ Mical, Dave Haynie, Bill McEwen, Wolf Dietrich (Phase 5), Greg Perry, and many others.
Like a number of projects before them, Phoenix aimed to provide a clear upgrade path for current Amiga users'. Their intent, in the words of their press release, is to,
"... assume responsibility for aid and recommendation for reference platforms for the Amiga users who wish to upgrade their present Amigas, as we establish an open migration path to a new platform. That platform will in spirit and in feel be a new Amiga experience while incorporating and surpassing the features found on the desktop elsewhere today."
As a part of the establishment of a migration plan for new platforms, Phoenix aimed to work with several hardware and software developers to provide a reference point, consisting of certain standards and user experiences', that would create a spiritual descendent to the AmigaOS. During September 2000, QSSL offered the use of their semi-completed Neutrino OS as a starting point. Key members of the Phoenix Consortium would make suggestions, provide testing, and write applications that would make the OS more suitable for a desktop market. The organization played a key role in the "Get QNX" programme during 2000.

Amino's purchase of the Amiga took much of the focus away from the Phoenix Consortium's efforts. However, their core goal remained the same - providing support for Amiga-like operating systems. Over several months the Phoenix Platform Consortium changed their name to Phoenix Developer Consortium and refocused efforts to create a developer network and support structure for several operating systems in the Amiga market. At the time of writing, five operating systems are supported by members:

  • Amiga DE - Next generation Amiga OS, based upon Tao Group's Elate OS.
  • AROS - Open source 'Amiga Research Operating System'
  • Dolphin OS - Amiga-like OS in development. Written by Samuel A Falvo II
  • MorphOS - Unofficial PPC-based Amiga compatible OS
  • QNX Realtime Platform  (Neutrino) - Spiritual descendent and former OS partner
The Phoenix Developer Consortium continues to make steady but solid progress with its aims to provide multi-platform solutions and developer support. It has recently announced Ideas2Reality as a hardware partner who will construct a low-end 'A500'-style PPC unit for potential developers' and users'.

Phoenix Developer Consortium
Ideas2Reality
This Is Reality Control - Suite101

A.Q.U.A (Amino Qnx United Architecture)

A short-lived partnership between QSSL, Rebol, and Amino. In the absence of an official solution, the three companies intended to create an Amiga-like experience using familiar Amiga developers. All three seemed to be the living embodiment of the Amiga spirit:
QSSL represented  the past, the former OS partner to Gateway-Amiga would provide the base OS.
Rebol were the present, a multi-platform language, described as a next generation ARexx that provided simplistic, yet an incredibly powerful language
Amino were the future. They would provide the business model for organizing the disparate technologies and prepare it for market.

The alliance was abandoned when Amino bought the rights to the Amiga. This made an unofficial successor unnecessary, allowing Amino to rally the market around an official solution. AQUA was used as a project name for the Amiga DE during the early stages of development.
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Last Update: 1/11/2001
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