I've been reading about the AmigaOne, and I don't really get what the whole idea behind it is. At first I thought it was AmigaOS 4, but that's not even finished yet!
the important idea behind it. An AmigaOne will be a computer that runs AmigaOS4.
There are two reasons why the AmigaOne is already on sale, with OS4 not available yet:
1. There was a lot of demand. People wanted to have it as soon as possible, no matter if they would have to run Linux until AmigaOS4 arrives.
2. There's a competitor (Thendic/Bplan and their Pegasos motherboard). Both the AmigaOne and the Pegasos target the same market, and this market is (initially) very small. Whatever product coms first will have an important advantage. Both motherboards are finished, but the accompanying operating systems are both still in beta stage. Thendic decided to sell their Pegasos boards with a beta OS, that decision forced Eyetech to react. Eyetech now sells their AmigaOne systems with Linux.
So is it the AmigaOne motherboard? According to this site the only difference between an AmigaOne and a Teron CX is a chip that lets you run AmigaOS 4.
Oh, this is going to be a loong posting ;-)
MAI manufactures a northbridge chip called "ArticiaS". The main target of the ArticiaS are embedded platforms, but it is also suited for desktop computers with PPC CPUs - actually it is the only PPC compliant northbridge avalailable in sufficient quantities (both the A1 and the Pegasos use the ArticiaS).
To provide embedded system developers with a development platform, and to give them a chance to make themselves familiar with the ArticiaS, MAI offers socalled "evaluation boards" (the "TeronCX" and TeronPX") that were designed for MAI by a third party. These evaluation boards had several disadvantages:
- produced in very low quantities (MAI is not interested in selling computers to endusers)
- very expensive ($3900) due to the low production runs
- extremely crappy BIOS (a Softex BIOS from 1995)
- only OS running on them was a very old TurboLinux distro
- not tested sufficiently (see below)
- only available in the US
Now Eyetech enters the scene - they're searching for a PPC motherboard design, as their original designers (Escena) are not interested anymore. Eyetech discover the TeronCX/PX evaluation boards and get in contact with MAI. The two companies enter a partnership that offers substantial benefits for both partners:
Eyetech are allowed to take the TeronCX/PX designs and ask the third party that originally designed them to make a few minor modifications (e.g. implement a newer southbridge chip). They now have a motherboard that exactly fits their needs and can sell it as the "AmigaOne".
The benefits for Eyetech should be obvious (they get their hands on a PPC motherboard design). But there are benefits for MAI too: MAI will be able to grab some AmigaOne motherboards and sell them as TeronCX/PX systems. These new Teron boards are a lot cheaper now ($500), due to the fact that the AmigaOne motherboards are produced in much higher quantities. Eyetech establish a beta tester program that puts a first production run of these boards under heavy testing (in fact, a bug in the ArticiaS chip was discoverd) and ports lots of up-to-date linux distros (I think there are 6 distributions available now). Additionally, Eyetech will make sure that the AmigaOne boards have a decent BIOS. And last but not least, Eyetech will act as a European distributor for TeronCX/PX motherboards.
So: Yes, the TeronCX/PX are identical to the AmigaOne - that's because they're a combination of the original Teron designs and Eyetech's efforts.
I'm not trying to tell you that Eyetech are the designers of the A1 - they aren't. I just think they found a pretty clever solution to provide me with exactly the hardware I desperately needed. It's completely irrelevant to me, if Ronald McDonald designed these boards. They're standard off-the-shelf hardware that does exactly what it's supposed to do.