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Old 14 October 2016, 18:40   #81
Olaf Barthel
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Olaf, the beauty of open source development is that the tools (these days, at least) facilitate a kind of self-organization. Discussions around complex technical topics can be resolved with issues. Pull requests allow individual developers to submit changes, but that doesn't mean your fork gets overruled. With GitHub, you can put a project online as a maintainer who has the final say in terms of what gets pulled in. The point is it's all there for you, a model that has proven itself with tens of thousands of succesful projects at this point.

I don't doubt that Amiga development is complex, but it doesn't get any less complex without code being dissected and discussed in public, in a forum that is familiar to today's developers. If I were to say "yes" to your question about mentoring, it wouldn't matter if the code wasn't available anyway. The whole idea would be preposterous.

And of course things are a mess, but it's a mess because of both the practices around its development and the inevitable crust of time. Still, all of the toolchains can be improved. Perhaps some of them can be unified. The wonderful part is that, with an open source development model, someone can come in and improve some smart part in a spare moment, while another improves something else of interest. There is no need for a monolithic approach, though again, as the maintainer, you can reject anything you want during your code review.

Surely this makes more sense than the way things are done now. Surely a near-total industry shift to this model for everything except games and appallingly dangerous IoT devices tells us that this is something that works?

Personally I don't care who owns the so-called "rights" to AmigaOS, but if that bothers some folks, and/or makes it harder to collaborate on GitHub, then perhaps we shold simply look at collectively buying out these rights, once and for all? Why not pool our energies a bit and liberate them to the Internet, as should have been done 20+-odd years ago already.
Hum. I do don't reject the idea that process has improved over the past 22+ years. AmigaOS 3.5 and beyond were created using CVS and lateron SVN (why not Git? AmigaOS source code layout is very peculiar in how individual components are versioned, and that fits CVS/SVN better than Git; also, there's no Git for AmigaOS), it would have been murder to stick to RCS.

We used mailing lists for communications, we had a bug tracker (still do), we had a beta test team (still do) and a method to securely distribute updates. All of that is more or less a solved problem. Some people might suggest that things could be so much more productive by moving the whole show to cross-development instead of native development, plus the latest toys (e.g. GitHub, Jira, what have you). I doubt that.

The problem isn't so much with giving developers access to the operating system, including the tools to collaborate. The tools to create software with, and to test it with, as available for AmigaOS are about 20 years old, in some cases even older.

I'm groping for some sort of metaphor to illustrate what this entails. It's hard, but I'll try: imagine that development on the Linux kernel stopped in 1993 and did not resume until yesterday. Whoever wants to pick up the baton now has to figure out how to recruit collaborators who know something about the IBM-PC hardware platform, the CPU architecture, who know which tools (compilers, linkers, etc.) might be useful to get software development for the platform working again. People who know how to work together until the team jells, who don't throw up their hands and walk away when things get difficult.

This is the big challenge: "priming the pump". AmigaOS 68k development has been "suspended" for almost 20 years. How do you get it started again?

I'm reasonably certain that it could be done. My concern is that we lack the very fundamental resources required to build upon. For example, there's just one single working source level debugger for the Amiga, and it's about 23 years old. That sort of thing puts real fear into me.

Last edited by Olaf Barthel; 14 October 2016 at 19:14. Reason: That source level debugger was created in 1993, actually.
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:40   #82
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@Heiroglyph, I am saying nothing more than if it is less than $1M -- which it absolutely should be -- it can be done. Don't worry, until the other players are at the table, we are not bargaining.

@Olaf, I know your pessimism is somehow well-intentioned, but I honestly don't believe that anyone in this community has ever summoned the present-day powers of social media to do a true crowd-funding campaign for such a noble project. Whatever association you might be making I can guess was based on bounties in an extraordinarily limited context. To my earlier point about documentaries and rich interviewees, there are plenty of people with great fondness for the Amiga, going far beyond what is considered "the community".
most people have gone on and long lost interest. I doubt that many would contribute to somehow open sourcing of the 3.1 sources. But go on if you want. BTW I would not really know who owns it now. There are lots of discussions about that with no result. Of course you would need attorneys who check contracts assuming that you can identify the copyright owner and assuming this person or company is willing to sell.
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:43   #83
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As long as there's money to be made from AmigaOS (AmigaOS 4 is still developed and sold and is based on OS3.1 sources) it will never be open sourced, no matter what happens.

There have been countless threads on all Amiga forums about open sourcing it, but we need to face the facts.
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:53   #84
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As long as there's money to be made from AmigaOS (AmigaOS 4 is still developed and sold and is based on OS3.1 sources) it will never be open sourced, no matter what happens.

There have been countless threads on all Amiga forums about open sourcing it, but we need to face the facts.
Threads are just threads. Who took the first step, did the research, and then proceeded to actually get a deal going? Anyone?

I watched some of the videos from the recent AmiWest, just to get a sense of who is involved with this stuff. And honestly, I begin to get it. You've got a handful of gentlemen who seem to have done fairly well for themselves in life, and OS4 is basically their own little hobby project, a basis for their their own computer club, which is itself about computing for fun in a world of tired old standards. In other words, AmigaOS4 exists because they love some idea of what Amiga is, and because they have the time and resources to make it happen. It is not because they are evil capitalist scumfucks. My guess is that they are simply not aware of what greater good they could do by another model; they may only be superficially aware of the alternative model at all.

But anyway, what's the saying, money talks, bullshit walks? I will be first in line to plunk down, just to get this incessant ringing out of my ear once and for all.

Last edited by wXR; 15 October 2016 at 10:19.
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:54   #85
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...
but we need to face the facts.

the facts:

Speculators will speculate!
Fanboys will feed them!

Damn Amiga fanboys!
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:54   #86
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They already have source code that could benefit us if it was adapted to 68k.
They actually don't, most of it has to be hacked, disassembled and recompiled again by knowledgeable folk like Olaf B. The leaked source is old and not entirely all you need to make this work. At least this is my impression and this is why people like Olaf, Don and Peter are working on reworking/disassembling/fixing bits of the OS little by little (see Olaf's comments above regarding intuition and graphics libraries). [edit] after reading Olaf's message above, I guess they have a bit more to work on, which is a bit of a relief (for his own sake).

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I hope you will agree with me that at least destroying the so-called intellectual property rights via that process, would be a good thing.
Yes, 100% agree. If that is the way to go, I support it. I just don't think it'll necessary lead into a huge leap forward in regards of OS3.x and the necessary fixes and 21st century upgrades it could use.

But as you said, first things first: it would be necessary to have whoever the hell owns this sell it to the community. But honestly, with the hard time people have had in the past crowdfunding useful stuff like Amiga cases and keycaps, I find the chances of us crowdfunding the purchase of these assets a rather dim chance

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Now, do I need to hire an attorney and start from scratch, or will you guys who know about the legal situation speak up?
Is there anybody that knows? I think this is so fragmented it'd be a hard enough task. I don't think even the people that tout ownership are sure of what the situation is. Ever since the ESCOM/Gateway times, this has become a confusing mess.
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Old 14 October 2016, 18:59   #87
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@Akira: I was referring to the OS4 source code that they have been using since 3.1. A lot of those updates would be nice to have. The new Layers.library for 68k is an example of this and is a huge improvement over 3.1.

After seeing how little was done with the Open Video Toaster source code, I'm not convinced that a big assembly based project would be taken over by the community in a way that really benefits us.

That project was released a long time ago when there was actual interest in it and there were more developers left in the community too.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:03   #88
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Yes, yes, it might not work. Yes, yes, this project and that project, problems, problems, problems.

Let's take the first step, please, instead of worrying about the last one.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:05   #89
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Yes, yes, it might not work. Yes, yes, this project and that project, problems, problems, problems.

Let's take the first step, please, instead of worrying about the last one.
I'll back you up if you want to try to get it open sourced.

I'm not sure how much good I can do, but I'll certainly go along with anyone willing to try.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:07   #90
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Great, but don't worry about it yet, we're not even that far yet.

Who owns AmigaOS?
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:14   #91
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@Olaf

I don't doubt your concerns, but you lose me completely when you cite GitHub as a mere footnote. GitHub is no toy. You are clearly missing the most important thing about it, which is not something technical. GitHub provides a well-designed social network for software development. That is its greatest strength, and why it is the glue for almost all of today's most important projects. Without using it on a day-to-day basis, you wouldn't understand this at all. Indeed it might simply seem like a toy. But if you are really interested, I would strongly suggest that you participate in some active, open project hosted there. Only then will you have your own moment of gnosis.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:21   #92
Olaf Barthel
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@Olaf, I know your pessimism is somehow well-intentioned, but I honestly don't believe that anyone in this community has ever summoned the present-day powers of social media to do a true crowd-funding campaign for such a noble project. Whatever association you might be making I can guess was based on bounties in an extraordinarily limited context. To my earlier point about documentaries and rich interviewees, there are plenty of people with great fondness for the Amiga, going far beyond what is considered "the community".
I doubt that you could properly fund this development work by using social media. Hey, how many crowdfunded projects do you know which promised and delivered within 1-2 years of their intended target release date?

I'm viewing this as very pessimistic, because (drum roll!) AmigaOS would be a software development project. This kind of work tends to be late and underfunded. It's practically a given that this will be extraordinarily hard to pull off, even if you narrow down the scope of deliverables.

I suspect that the best one could do is try and build a small team, then figure out what it can realistically build within a year (it helps if some of that stuff has already been built and "only" needs polishing & integration) and ship whatever is stable and useful at the end of that year. Then try to repeat the exercise. This is what (sort of) worked for the AmigaOS 3.5 project and the 3.9 effort which followed it.

Planning ahead and collecting funds in advance is only going to increase the size of Damocles' sword hanging over the project. The more money thrown at it, the less likely it will succeed.

Last edited by Olaf Barthel; 14 October 2016 at 19:37.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:34   #93
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I liken this more to a bounty the way Poseidon was paid for by AROS.

"How much to give us the code?"
Money is raised.
Source is released.

I don't see it as a Kickstarter type project where money is raised and a product must be released on a schedule.

The release of the code would be the end of the funding drive.

Development based on it would probably fragment a bit at least at first and if it works, it works. No timeframes needed.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:36   #94
Olaf Barthel
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@Olaf

I don't doubt your concerns, but you lose me completely when you cite GitHub as a mere footnote. GitHub is no toy. You are clearly missing the most important thing about it, which is not something technical. GitHub provides a well-designed social network for software development. That is its greatest strength, and why it is the glue for almost all of today's most important projects. Without using it on a day-to-day basis, you wouldn't understand this at all. Indeed it might simply seem like a toy. But if you are really interested, I would strongly suggest that you participate in some active, open project hosted there. Only then will you have your own moment of gnosis.
Been there, done that. I'm no stranger to Git and certainly not to GitHub.

The problem is that as a tool you still have Git underneath that, and AmigaOS is a very strange beast which makes a very, very poor fit for the versioning model which underlies Git's architecture.

Please do not discount this, my statement, as the incoherent mutterings of a Git doubter who pines for the days when CVS ruled the roost and dinosaur herds were seen peacefully disemboweling each other by the stream next to the office.

The AmigaOS source code history goes back to 1985, and they did things differently then with RCS, which was converted to CVS, then to SVN over the years by yours truly. Each single component of the operating system has a change history completely separate from all other components. Individual versions are tagged, and (this is the fun part) there are numerous components which use the same version tag (e.g. "V36_4"), but these version tags do not refer to the same release. These tags just mark spots on the timeline of the individual component's development history.

To the best of my knowledge, SVN is the only model which allows the for AmigaOS code change history to be preserved as it is. We did ponder switching to Git, but so far the structure and layout of the whole thing resisted conversion.

And, as I wrote, there is no Git client for AmigaOS. One can still, however, conveniently use the SVN client, which in the case of AmigaOS allows for subtrees to be checked out as needed.
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:41   #95
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...
And, as I wrote, there is no Git client for AmigaOS. One can still, however, conveniently use the SVN client, which in the case of AmigaOS allows for subtrees to be checked out as needed.
Git has submodules, "links" to other repositories within a repository, if that's what you mean with "subtrees"?
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Old 14 October 2016, 19:49   #96
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The most I can do right now is try and bookmark your posting. You are aware that you are basically asking for intuition.library to be modified? That's going to take guts.

Just about every RTG solution (Domino, Picasso II, EGS, Retina, CyberGraphX and Picasso96 -- I think that's the whole list) plastered intuition.library with patches which would depend upon certain register configurations and internal data structures to be just so that screens and windows would come out on a graphics card rather than use the built-in Amiga custom chip set.

Modifying intuition.library (and graphics.library, for that matter) and remaining compatible with those RTG solutions will be a tall order. Not necessarily impossible, but quite hard. You know you're in trouble when the changes to be made have to be side-effect and bug-compatible :-/
Heh. I didn't say it'd be easy Maybe we need another thread where people can post feature requests? The dynamic gadget sizing might be problematic, but I'd hope the font spacing on titlebars would be a fairly isolated fix. It used to work that way on 1.x

Thanks for looking at my ramblings though
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Old 14 October 2016, 20:23   #97
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Git has submodules, "links" to other repositories within a repository, if that's what you mean with "subtrees"?
No, it's worse than it. If only it could be handled by submodules.

Imagine it like this: for each file on your Workbench partition there's a Git submodule which contains all the source code for that file. This gives about 400 individual submodules, each with own change history and tags (remember: the tag names are not unique, they only uniquely identify releases within each submodule history). The Kickstart modules add another 60 submodules. Library source code, header files, build tools, etc. add some more 20-30 submodules.

This would in effect create a Git repository which consists of nothing but submodules.

According to how I learned to use Git, this type of layout does not play to Git's strengths.

If one were to make it fit what makes Git's intended purpose shine, one would have to figure out a way to deal with the thousands of tags attached to the files in this collection, or discard the tags entirely.

This would, however, result in a loss of change history. It would be difficult to mark which release version of each submodule is which.

Because SVN does not enforce a particular layout of the data and lets you pick any directory structure you might choose (scary thought: or any directory structure it might choose for you), it handles all of this better than Git was designed to. That's the nature of it.

Last edited by Olaf Barthel; 14 October 2016 at 21:04.
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Old 14 October 2016, 20:35   #98
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How many truly active 68k Amiga users are there in the world. People who actually regularly spend money on hardware and/or software?
Ill venture a guess. I say somewhere about 2000 and 3000? Any counter bids?
Lets assume a new OS version selling at €30 would sell about 2000 units. That's €60000
Realistically, a major new version would be released every 5 years.
So maybe in 10 years you'd sell two copies per active user.
Throw in some Euros for ROM updates.. You max out at maybe €150000.
1 full time dev during 10 years would cost twice as much. So 50% part time developer or 1 cheap one tops.
It doesnt exactly look like a cash cow to me.
If id make a bid for the source it would be in that ballpark.

That's the amount raised for the A1200 molds by less than 1000 ppl so I wouldn't say its impossible.

The real challenge is to pull the heads out of the source owner's asses and to sort out the bizzare and tragic legal situation.



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Old 15 October 2016, 00:13   #99
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I emailed with hyperion directly and this is the reaction of steven solie.
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Old 15 October 2016, 00:57   #100
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I emailed with hyperion directly and this is the reaction of steven solie.
It would be good if they stopped ignoring the 68k market.

As much as I'd like it open, I'll let them do the updates and pay them for it.

It just needs to happen one way or another.
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