Originally Posted by Charlie
How is it that a tiny community like 'RiscOS' continues to develop the OS + Hardware + Software & yet for the Amiga - nothing, but for what the remaining enthusiasts write?
( MacroSystems managed to produce the Draco in '94 so clones are doable )
The way Acorn went down was much cleaner than Commodore, the company was already somewhat well divided into various business units, ARM had been spun out some time before, and RiscOS LTD had already purchased a license to develop and sell the OS from Acorn (by then Element14) unencumbered by the kind of bizarre licensing conditions between Amiga and Hyperion.
The hardware is much easier to clone than real Amiga hardware, being much less complex to redevelop. The Draco, whatever its good points, wasn't cheap, and didn't even attempt to reproduce the custom chips. Furthermore, Acorn had effectively left the desktop market, focusing on STB type devices, but made it relatively easy to license their technology, so clones were a viable proposition at a time when the Acorn market was still relatively active.
In the Amiga world meanwhile, it would have been virtually impossible to get a license for anything, C= wouldn't have gone down that route while they were alive, and the subsequent bankruptcy procedures of themselves and Escom left anyone wanting to produce a clone with nowhere to go to get licenses for the essential stuff. Even when Gateway and Amiga inc. took over the reins, actually getting hold of the tech was near impossible, the companies had grand plans that could not be interfered with by people going off and making their own stuff. Not to mention the incompetence involved, Mick Tinker and Nate Downes were both foiled in their plans to produce replacement motherboards by being unable to obtain the AGA designs, or even chip masks to produce a licensed run of chips in the case of the latter, apparently not because gateway/amiga didn't want to license them, but because they couldn't find them.
The Acorn world apparently isn't all that rosy anyway, Castle technology purchased their own RiscOS license from Pace (Who bought element 14) and produced RiscOS 5 for their RiscPC clones, leading to two different branches of RiscOS in active development, though an agreement has apparently been reached to merge them back into one. It did however cause something of a rift, not unlike the AmigaOS/MorphOS split, the difference being, that the people actually in charge seem driven to get stuff done instead of talking about it.
As far as the future for Amiga is concerned, my money (If I had any
) would go to getting AROS running on 68k, and then to building an application base for it. If the coldfusion project reaches fruition, the possibility of a combination of a board containing a coldfire CPU and an FPGA carrying the Minimig's core logic, running a coldfire native AROS is a tantalising one, and far more Amiga-like than a slightly modified PPC reference board.