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Old 24 October 2013, 03:06   #1
djukon
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Question Daily (productive) use for an A500(+)

Text Mode Thin Client (Main Usage)

I'm currently considering using my A500+ as a thin client for text applications. Is it possible to achieve this in good conditions (color, speed, compatibility)? Any pitfalls you can predict?

Other Productive/Creative Uses?

I was also wondering if there are any other productive/creative things to do with it. I'm not very interested in playing games anymore, so I'd like to breath new life into the A500+, instead of having it "gather dust" as collectable junk. Artistic graphical endeavors with OCS/ECS graphics applications (pixel art), MOD composition and developing applications/games natively ensuring 2.x compatibility are some inroads I'm considering. Those are things I never did before, so they spark an interest in me. Anything else you can think of?

Context and Resources

I use most daily apps in GNU+Linux 80x25 text mode (zsh/bash, elinks, vim, irssi, mutt, abook, newsbeuter, centerim, calcurse, ncmpcpp, etc.), so telneting via serial to a screen session seems like something the A500(+) can handle. I'd be connecting the A500+ to the Raspberry Pi via a serial cable (with a serial to USB adaptor). The A500+ side expansion port is occupied with an Alfa Power, so no ethernet, though the trapdoor expansion is unoccupied. The Alpha Power has a CF hard drive and an extra 8MB of fast RAM. For sound mixing, if you are wondering, I have a 4 input source mixer. Has anyone attempted something like this before? What terminal emulator do you recommend for KS/WB2.x? It should connect via the Amiga's serial port and support the GNU screen terminal, preferably working at least at 78x24 supporting 16 colors.

Constraints

The main resource I have (besides the tangibles in my possession) is time, I'm not interested in spending money on upgrades at this moment. Therefore, no A1200, KS3.1 or extra expansions, if possible. I would like this project to eventually give A500(+) users without many resources, reasons to keep the first low cost miggy going for as long as possible. Maybe we can end up with a custom WB1.3/2.x floppy distribution that has the necessary tools to connect it to a Raspberry Pi (or similar), for those who don't have a hard drive connected to it. A1200 users have more than enough reasons to keep using their miggy on a daily basis, not so for A500 users, unless they are very into just OCS/ECS gaming on the real thing.

Text Mode, really?

Yes, I enjoy minimalism challenges. Besides, if I am stuck in a situation with very low energy, bandwidth, and CPU cycles, I should be able to make the most out of it, comfortably. I am aware I can bypass the A500+ and have the text mode work environment directly on the Pi, but I want to access a classic Amiga environment too, which the Pi is not well suited to emulate (at least for now). I also would like to ditch the Win32 netbook, if at all possible. I might even one day try connecting the A500+ to the Fonera 2.0n router's serial connection, bypassing the Raspberry Pi, but that won't get me a full fledged text work environment, unless I SSH into a remote shell account.

Ongoing Costs and Functional Design Mindset

A downside (cost-wise) to all this in the (very) long run are the electricity costs. An A500(+) with some expansion goes beyond 20W power usage. If you use the A500 "workstation" for 10h a day, it could be around €1 more per month. Not much, but it is the cost of a Raspberry Pi every three years, which only uses around 3W of power and is much more capable of performing modern tasks by itself. If you operate in the Reduce, Reuse/Repair, Recycle mindset (the 3Rs), and the miggy doesn't have a use, it gets "reduced" or recycled (or goes to a museum - another reuse). Please help me push off "it belongs in a museum" for as long as possible .

There are also other reasons I'm still engaged in the classic Amiga and minimalism. The [ Show youtube player ] is emerging distributively through many initiatives, including Open Source Ecology (Global Village Construction Kit) and 3D printing in general. Eventually we will get to a stage (possibly a few decades away) with the capability to produce our own high precision tools locally, bypassing in large part the industrial age global market, which is [ Show youtube player ]. Initially, the open source technology tree might only be able to produce 'products' computationally equivalent to the 80's 8-bit/16-bit industrial age relatives, which would require us to revisit the older computer architecture designs.

Functional design, which is the mindset taken on in Permaculture, strives for getting more done with less, therefore my drive for constraining myself to fewer resources. I call what I'm doing Permacomputation. There are also great ideas 'lost' in the classic Amiga ecosystem which I'm trying to pick up and rescue for society's next-gen paradigmatical mindset. Maybe one day we might be able to print out a A500/A1200 replica, or a NatAmi-like machine in our settlement's fablab. I'm just trying to do the best I can with what I have, and have fun at the same time .

Update: there is also the concept of [ Show youtube player ]n, which I recommend you check out.

Raspberrry Pi Companion Idea

The Raspberry Pi could sit inside the Amiga and interface with it, enhancing its capabilities and connectivity. How much and how exactly, I don't know, maybe someone more enlightened hardware-wise can come up with something. Maybe as a floppy drive emulator?

Communications Suite/Synergy Idea

Develop an integrated protocol/suite to be used on the serial connection to support terminal + file transfer + synergy-like (keyboard&mouse events) control of the assisting computer (Raspberry Pi). I.e. you'd connect the A500 to the Raspberry Pi (or equivalent) and you would have all these features immediately available without having to connect and disconnect each application. The synergy-like feature is switching the monitor source over to the Raspberry Pi and being able to control it through the Amiga's keyboard and mouse captured and mapped events. This way, you only have to have one keyboard and mouse for both systems. This is NOT like Keyrah or even Lyra. It would behave like Synergy (http://synergy-foss.org/), where the Amiga is the server in the keyboard&mouse sharing perspective. This way you could go into a modern windowing session (X11) if text mode wasn't sufficient for the task at hand. The whole communication suite would be the serial text connection equivalent of Remote Desktop Protocol with a focus on the Amiga. Update: An AmigaOS 4 synergy client exists, no sign of 3.x and below, or even a synergy server for the Amiga.

Thanks.

PS: I'll be updating this thread in the likes of Stack Exchange Q&A.

Last edited by djukon; 17 May 2014 at 01:50. Reason: ephemeralization and title
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Old 25 October 2013, 03:44   #2
djukon
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Multilink (mlink) serial connection

If you need to connect directly to the internet on a KS2.x/WB2.1 without setting up a TCP/IP stack on the Amiga and SLIP on the RasPi you'll need to get Multilink.

Code:
    Multilink (or Mlink) is a package which simulates a direct
connection to the internet.  If you have an account on a UNIX machine
connected to the internet, you can run Multilink on the UNIX machine and
your Amiga, and Multilink will allow you to use all those wonderful
Amiga networking applications such as Grapevine, DaFTP, telnet and
Amosaic without having to have a real SLIP or PPP connection.

    Multilink requires at least AmigaDOS 2.1 and an account on a UNIX
host connected to the internet.
For reference, Cammy has a report on another thread concerning a serial connection (from what I believe is for Vicky's A2000 without an ethernet card).
Post number 4
Post number 11

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cammy View Post
Then it's a really simple matter of installing mlink in Linux, then you log in through a Telnet client on the Amiga, run mlink, close the Telnet client and you're online. This uses far less RAM than any TCP/IP stack on the Amiga and the speed is as fast as you can expect through serial. I have browsed the web, chatted on IRC and MSN, and even VNCed into a PC and ran the desktop remotely through a serial link to a PC and it's totally usable. The slow Amiga doesn't get much faster on the web with a faster connection since it's the CPU slowing the page loading down.

Last edited by djukon; 25 October 2013 at 18:47. Reason: Title
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Old 25 October 2013, 15:17   #3
djukon
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Cross-reference (Terminal Emulator request)

Posted a request for a terminal emulator in the Terminal Emulator for WB 2.1? thread over on request.Apps.

Update: mark_k recommended checking out NComm, Term and VLT with a link to Aminet's comm/term directory.

Last edited by djukon; 25 October 2013 at 16:20. Reason: mark_k's recommendations
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Old 25 October 2013, 18:46   #4
djukon
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Cross-reference (Synergy-like request)

Posted a request for a Synergy-like platform in the Synergy-like (kbd & mouse sharing) on Classic Amiga? thread over on request.Apps.

Update: Akira suggested adapting VNC application source code found on Aminet for this purpose.

Last edited by djukon; 25 October 2013 at 19:44. Reason: Akira VNC source code suggestion
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Old 27 January 2014, 13:47   #5
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Cross-reference (Raspberry Pi as Floppy Emulator & more)

mram has designed a low cost solution for a floppy drive emulator using the Raspberry Pi. In the thread there is talk about using the Rasberry Pi for more classic Amiga enhancements, such as acceleration and video output through HDMI. Some really interesting ideas floating around.
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Old 27 January 2014, 13:56   #6
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Using an A500 for BBS and IRC

There is a [ Show youtube player ] (in 2013).

Last edited by djukon; 27 January 2014 at 14:01.
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Old 09 April 2014, 14:12   #7
djukon
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Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?

Can You Do Real Work With the 30-Year-Old IBM 5150?, an PC World article example on what I'm looking for in this thread.
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Old 09 April 2014, 16:39   #8
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Door stop.
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Old 09 April 2014, 21:05   #9
djukon
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Door stop.
"Now that is a [ Show youtube player ] stop."
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Old 25 September 2015, 18:55   #10
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Synergy Server

I have the same idea about using the Amiga to run synergys, connected to an RPi running the synergyc client. I am working on a port from the latest version. I feel optimistic that it will be able to run well on high-end Amigas, and can probably be optimized to work for the low end machines too. I will be targeting A3000/040 first, then working my way down to A500 if I am successful. I intend to use the networking stack initially, but would like to eventually migrate to using a simpler and more efficient transport. Amiga serial speeds might not prove realistic, but the parallel port is promising.
 
Old 25 September 2015, 22:53   #11
alexh
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There is already a synergy equivalent on Amiga. headless VNC server plus win2vnc or x2vnc. And unlike synergy cut n paste works correctly
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Old 05 October 2015, 17:04   #12
djukon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zonekeeper View Post
I have the same idea about using the Amiga to run synergys[...]
Thanks for chiming in, zonekeeper, and welcome to EAB! Where will you be posting updates on this and similar projects?

Quote:
Originally Posted by alexh View Post
There is already a synergy equivalent on Amiga. headless VNC server plus win2vnc or x2vnc. And unlike synergy cut n paste works correctly
Thanks for the pointer, alexh!
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