Introduction to me
For those who do not know me
My name is Steve Jones and a long time ago I ran a couple of Amiga companies in the nineties in the UK. I used to sell novel Amiga hardware like Avideo24 from Archos and Cando, Opus and other cool stuff.
However, I also developed our own hardware either by our self or in cooperation with other people. For example the original Checkmate Digital Amiga 1500 was one of mine and a guy in Milton Keynes, forgot his name sorry, the HiQ Power Station and we had an A500-A2000 conversion system with our own bus board including 4 Zorro slots, a CPU and a Video Slot and tower case.
But I am probably most well known for the Siamese System which was developed with Paul Nolan of Photogenics fame. This was like Terminal Services on the PC but way before anybody else did it. It enabled the Amiga display, sound and drives to be mapped to the Windows graphics card using Siamese RTG software which was new then also.
The final spin of the coin was the PCI Amiga project which was going to be sold by Gateway 2000 inc. until they pulled the plug and the project collapsed. The PCI Amiga was part of a transition of Amiga OS using Siamese technology to x86 and would have been the best route IMHO. At this point I left the Amiga market and swore I would never get involved in Amiga’s again.
Oh well, so much for that then but I did have a break for 10 years. Early last year I came back and found Aros one day while looking around and was curious, was this where I left off with PCI Amiga. After nearly a year of playing I decided it was time to dip a small toe back into the Amiga world.
Reasons for iMica System.
The one problem I found was that I have loads of PC hardware floating around as I have always been into experimenting and building machines for friends and family, but getting a working system with the right bits was difficult.
Add to this I wanted a small efficient Amiga computer that could run my old software like Lightwave, Adpro, and Brilliance etc. through emulation, and be a modern fast and efficient system that did not need quad core and 4 GB of ram to get the OS to run half decent.
Aros is beautiful in all these respects but it still has work to do, to be where I would like it. However, for most users it is already a viable hobby computer with Internet applications, graphics, music, video and other apps just waiting to be played with.
The real icing on the cake, and I say this not forgetting the huge work done by amazing volunteers in the development cycle, but what makes iMica possible is the work done by Paolo Besser on VmwAros Live. It is polished, professional and worthy of a huge amount of praise.
So the iMica System (I have dropped the One title) was assembled so I could have a small fast and good looking (I hope) new Amiga type OS that could run new Aros software, old Amiga 68k software and not need a degree in engineering and systems integration to build and setup software. In other words plug and go and not break the bank.
Obviously there are driver problems but as the iMica System has a PCI slot we could fit the SoundBlaster live (EMU10k) cards to solve the sound problem, and the vesa driver is really good on the built in graphics chip. This left the network which we did not have a driver and I had no slots left. By luck I met Kalamatee, Nick Andrews on Aros-Exec.org and he said he would write the network driver. So I sent him a board and sound card and he wrote it.
I was then going to release but I decided to wait for the new Origyn Web Browser by Stanislaw Szymczyk. It was worth the wait and now iMica is really a serious contender for a great little hobby computer. I actually think that the new VmwAros 1.1 will be the ideal iMica installation and as soon as it is ready it will be default.
Aros or Amiga or MorphOS
This may get me into trouble now but here goes, firstly I have not tried either AmigaOS 4.1 or MorphOS mainly because I do not want to spend 10 times the price for a motherboard with less than half the performance just to have PPC because the x86 is obviously the devil processor.
This is not moaning at the obvious quality of the Sam boards because small scale means expensive. My argument is that Amiga OS followed the wrong processor path. I knew that in the late nineties so did others but now the Amiga platform has pushed itself into a technology Cu-De-Sac.
I know I will be corrected on this assumption if wrong, but I believe that MorphOS is based on early Aros work, ported to PPC and then turn closed source. This was not a good idea, I hope they are making money but now we have a fully fractured market with three main flavours and only one available to low priced hardware where the bulk of the Amiga market always sat.
Now I know that people will say that MorphOS and AmigaOS may run on Mac PPC hardware, but those boards are no longer being made and again are slower than x86.
I believe that all three parties should work together so that a single merged system can be put onto x86 and modern GPU hardware by next summer for the Amiga 25th anniversary. With a combined approach we may see a rebirth of the Amiga into the hobby mainstream computer market.
If not then projects like iMica System will hopefully fund the development of work needed to surpass AmigaOS and MorphOS and become dominant over the next year and take up the mantle of the NEW Amiga.
Controversial, maybe but the Amiga deserves a future and it is up to all of us to get together and make this happen.