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Old 17 February 2017, 23:08   #1
Emmet
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Who owns "Amiga"?

I was just wondering, as I'm getting back into the Amiga, I'd like to expand my knowledge with understanding the state of "Amiga" today, for example who owns the Amiga trademark, what is left of the company today (if anything) and who owns the rights to the kickstart software, I did try to research this but I've read conflicting stories and reports, if anyone could clear this up it would be most appreciated.

Thanks,
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Old 17 February 2017, 23:54   #2
utri007
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http://www.amigaos.net/
http://www.a-eon.com/
http://hyperion-entertainment.biz/
http://acube-systems.biz/
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Old 18 February 2017, 00:08   #3
wawa
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as usual when someone appears on horizont he is immediately exposed to blatant aeon/hyperion propaganda. however, to refrain from just a choice of follow up projects, probably most reliable information as to the state of trademark seems to be:
http://aminet.net/docs/misc/Amiga-Trademarks.pdf
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Old 18 February 2017, 00:23   #4
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There's always this to dive into...

https://sites.google.com/site/amigadocuments/

Long story short.. It's a mess to put it mildly..
The troll(s) at Amiga Inc still owns the Amiga trademark AFAIK.
Cloantop has rights to OS3.1 but then OS3.9 is such a mess (legally speaking) that no single party claims the rights to it. It involves Cloanto, Haage-Partner and a bunch of individuals who worked as contractors..
Hyperion has some license to develop OS4.x based on OS3.X

I said once that Cloanto should release 3.9 simply too see if it get sued and by whom... and move on from there :-)

The sad thing is that in the day and age of free OSes such as Linux, Android etc.. there are still some who want to squeeze the last few bucks out of this ancient OS instead of simply releasing the sources and let whats left of the aging community to turn it into something that the community itself wants...
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Old 21 February 2017, 15:56   #5
Emmet
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Thanks @wawa and @eXeler0 for the interesting reads, it's such a shame that "Amiga" is in such a complete mess today.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask, is there anything that could be done to save the "Amiga" brand, or has what's happened over the year(s) simply damaged it beyond repair?
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Old 21 February 2017, 18:03   #6
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AROS is probably the best community driven effort to keep things alive and modern, without all that legal crap.
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Old 21 February 2017, 18:55   #7
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@Emmet I think there's always a possibility. It would cost a lot of effort, and a lot of luck. Maybe if someday someone would manage to get everything together and scrap nearly everything, but the core concept of the Amiga and rebuilds it from there, it might be possible. But as I see it on this moment, fragmented and obscured, there's no way it could happen I guess.
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Old 21 February 2017, 19:14   #8
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Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
I'm going to go out on a limb here and ask, is there anything that could be done to save the "Amiga" brand, or has what's happened over the year(s) simply damaged it beyond repair?
The Amiga reputation is extremely damaged but not beyond repair. Despite the inept companies and criminals holding the Amiga hostage, there is still an interested Amiga community with a possibility for crowd sourcing and individual investors to raise money. The big problem is the legal situation though. A patent lawyer would likely incur significant costs but is really necessary to figure out who to buy what from and then there is no guarantee they would sell for any reasonable amount. I'm guessing that a financial expert would value all of the (ancient technology) Amiga Intellectual Property (IP) at no more than low tens of thousands of dollars but this would probably only get you laughed at by any one of the companies and criminals.

It would be possible to start over without the Amiga IP (including the "Amiga" name) but customers would be lost. Even the transition to PPC likely lost more than 50% of Amiga potential customers and that was before it was obvious that PPC was on life support. Who wants to switch to PPC now as there is only one company (Freescale->NXP->Qualcomm who is invested heavily in ARMv8) left making (embedded) PPC processors based on '90s PPC designs without SIMD and sometimes without even an FPU as the rest of the world's processors get faster and feature upgrades. Add to that paying a 10 times premium (compare for example the $35 Raspberry Pi 3 to Tabor at $400+). Sadly, the fastest Amigas are emulated and even smart phones will likely be able to emulate the Amiga faster than Tabor within a few years. The Amiga could give up on hardware and do software (emulation) only but that would be the end of any Amiga relevance or innovation.

It would be possible to move the AmigaOS to ARMv8. The logic here is that ARMv8 supports big endian and is the most similar architecture to the PPC. It is also cheap with a large selection of new designs. Unfortunately, moving to a new architecture is likely to lose many more Amiga users and then there would be direct competition with cheap ARMv8 hardware like the Raspberry Pi 3. IMO, the only way to save the Amiga is with very affordable mass produced hardware taking advantage of economies of scale. The Amiga could not beat the Raspberry Pi 3 on price, there would be nothing to differentiate the Amiga hardware wise from the competition and it would be late to the show with less support.

Another hardware option is (vertical integration) to create an FPGA 68k+custom chips SoC which can be turned into an ASIC. Practically all of the current Amiga customer base could be retained, customization could aid in compatibility, standardization and features like SMP, the company destiny could be controlled by owning the sythesizable code and the Amiga could start to innovate in hardware again. The downsides are increased costs and risks where business partners could be helpful. Trevor of A-Eon gave a $10 million dollar figure for relaunching the Amiga recently. I believe a mass produced Amiga Pi like hardware board (enhanced 68k+Amiga custom chips+3D) would be much less risky than trying to launch a low end PPC based board using existing Freescale/NXP/Qualcomm processors. Low end PPC may have been what killed the PPC as processors like the PPC 603(e) could not outperform the 68060 without double the cache sizes, 2x the memory bandwidth and twice the clock speed. Launching Amiga ARMv8 hardware would be cheaper and lower risk to bring to market but that market is competitive and saturated while the loss of Amiga customers from the architecture switch could create a situation where the hardware would not sell.

I believe the 68k CPU has hidden potential locked away. It has one of the best code densities (and encoding room to improve) of any popular 32 bit CPU which allows for smaller ICache and less fetch bandwidth without affecting performance. ARMv7 Thumb 2 is close in code density but lost performance by dropping back to 8 GP registers (10%-15% more cache accesses are needed than the 68k with 16 GP registers). Intel made a (no longer produced) superscalar inline Atom CPU with reduced micro-oping which outperformed an ARMv7 OoO Cortex A9 in adjusted 32 bit performance and energy efficiency despite the Atom only using 8 GP registers also (https://research.cs.wisc.edu/vertica...-struggles.pdf). Compared to the Atom, the inline superscalar 68060 has 8 more GP registers for 10%-15% less ICache accesses, better code density and encoding room for improved code density and smaller SIMD instructions (fetch bottleneck of the Atom), easier decoding with less/no micro-oping, a shorter pipeline and easier superscalar instruction scheduling which all translate to better performance and reduced power requirements. The 68060 also exhibits the same strong single core inline superscalar performance of the Atom/x86 (a CISC trait). The Apollo Core is another inline superscalar 68k design with many similarities to the 68060 including the strong single core performance (especially good for games). The 68k can't compete with PPC because it was never allowed to by Motorola/Freescale after the AIM agreement. Hyperion and A-Eon do not want it either. Perhaps it is the Amiga's last hope but only Amiga makes it impossible.
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Old 21 February 2017, 19:20   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emmet View Post
save the "Amiga" brand
that depends on what you consider to be "safe".

there are people who actually believe, in the current situation "amiga" or what is left of it to them, so they can call it by the name, has been saved.

just honestly. realisticly, there is no way out. there is just another prison at the other end of the tunnel. whoever gains control will not satisfy all definitions, people may have developed by themselves. its been to long fought over and dragged around in different directions, its ruined.

the best thing if you dont want to leave it rest is to forget the "name" and choose some of the projects around it, that satisfy your vision of it most.
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Old 21 February 2017, 19:36   #10
Emmet
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@matthey thank you for a very detailed descriptive reply.
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Old 21 February 2017, 22:49   #11
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I guess it boils down to 5 sets of people;-

1) Cloanto still distribute the 3.1 Kickstart ROMs and 3.1 and earlier Workbench releases.

2) Vesalia.de still distribute the 3.9 Workbench release and Developer materials for 3.5-3.9.

3) Aeon Inc release PPC hardware to run OS 4 on PPC only hardware.

4) Hyperion code AmigaOS 4.

5) Amiga Inc of California own the name, and aggressively protect it while selling every bit of software they can for Blackberry... er... so I'm told.

3 times I've predicted no more Amiga production, and 3 times (4 if you include Minimig) I have been completely wrong. Latest one is A1200 Reloaded... prototype due this year, should reach production in the 100s of units at least. Depends how much Amiga chips Individual Computers have.

I would guess that today, it is likely that more Amigas are emulated rather than using Classic hardware. Which might upset some people... I take it as more of a compliment really. And I am delighted with the Vampires. Must admit, I really might have to get one of them at least.

As to "who owns the rights to kickstart", the last kickstart CBM released was 3.1 on the CD32, a 1MB size. There are any amount of people "cooking up" custom Kickstarts, and some of those are meant, not for classics, but for emulators.

ARM8 with AmigaOS could be awesome, but I doubt it will ever be for sale. "Cooking up" ROMs for your own use is one thing. Selling a ROM as "Amiga compatible" would be a legal minefield, with much risk and little potential for commercial gain. I guess that would involve Cloanto and Amiga Inc giving the nod. The snag is also making it Workbench 3.9 compatible for big disks. Hence Cloanto selling the 3.x ROM.

Last edited by Pat the Cat; 21 February 2017 at 23:17.
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Old 21 February 2017, 23:30   #12
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Since even Commodore's planned successor, the 'Hombre' chipset wasn't going to be backwards compatible, it's pretty clear we were all going to have to jump to a new platform in some way, shape or form.

It's just a shame that the ownership and therefore community fragmented and never agreed to jump to the same platform. The Apollo-Vampire-Natami project at least has some potential in that it starts out in a real Amiga box running 68k compatible code, and has the potential to grow into a new, independent system.

But, of course, it's a free market...
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Old 22 February 2017, 04:17   #13
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Since even Commodore's planned successor, the 'Hombre' chipset wasn't going to be backwards compatible, it's pretty clear we were all going to have to jump to a new platform in some way, shape or form.
There were hardware limitations then which we don't have now. There were manufacturer limitations then which can be overcome now. There were false assumptions then which did not turn out to be true. C= probably wanted to maintain Amiga compatibility as at least one Hombre target was supposedly to get a 68k+AA single chip solution. The PA-RISC Hombre may have been for 3D and multimedia processing in this configuration as the MAX SIMD was one of the first in a CPU. It wouldn't be the first or last time a SIMD unit was planned as a GPU replacement. Intel started developing the IMCI SIMD in 2006 as an alternative to existing graphics processors. The usage as a GPU was terminated in 2010 but the 512 bit SIMD made it into the Intel Xeon Phi. One test for medical applications had the GeForce GTX 680 using Cuda at some 8 times faster than the 512 bit IMCI SIMD. The Hombre PA-RISC MAX SIMD was likely 64 bits (same as Apollo Core AMMX SIMD) so the IMCI should be some 8 times faster at the same clock speed and SIMD units don't scale well in hardware. Perhaps GPU Shaders with standard integrated motherboard graphics so transfers don't have to go through a slow bus would be even faster. Technology seems to play follow the perceived leader. The use of a PA-RISC CPU was probably a convenient solution anyway.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Marchie View Post
It's just a shame that the ownership and therefore community fragmented and never agreed to jump to the same platform. The Apollo-Vampire-Natami project at least has some potential in that it starts out in a real Amiga box running 68k compatible code, and has the potential to grow into a new, independent system.
The Amiga has had bad luck since the C= bankruptcy. Everything promising seems like it has been cursed.
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Old 22 February 2017, 09:10   #14
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Would be a great Indiegogo project; a bit like that TrueCrypt audit of a few years ago. In this case; hire an international patent attorney, a trademark attorney and maybe an company attorney to get a good overview of all rights to perhaps create a community effort to renew the Amiga.
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Old 22 February 2017, 15:15   #15
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The problem with the trademarks is that most of their registrations are running out this year or next year - and it's unlikely the completely defunct Amiga, Inc. is going to do anything about it. In other words: Lots of parties will want to get their hands on the oh-so-important trademarks. This is going to be chaotic, ugly or both chaotic and ugly.

The actual IP (i.e. Kickstart/Workbench) is owned by Cloanto these days, but Hyperion has a very broad license - and the two parties don't seem to agree on who's got what rights exactly. We already have two different Kickstart 3.1 updates: one from Cloanto, one from Hyperion.

The only thing that has a single, easily identifiable owner is the domain amiga.com. I think the registration expires in June, I wouldn't be surprised if a domain squatter takes over after that.

Somebody mentioned Amiga, Inc. releasing stuff for Blackberry: They had to stop that years ago, because they don't own Kickstart anymore and their license (from Cloanto) expired.
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Old 22 February 2017, 18:16   #16
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I wouldn't think Amiga inc would let it's domain expire. They still seem to get some money out of whatever they got and domains are cheap. They probably would stop paying their hoster first.
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Old 22 February 2017, 22:22   #17
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Since even Commodore's planned successor, the 'Hombre' chipset wasn't going to be backwards compatible, it's pretty clear we were all going to have to jump to a new platform in some way, shape or form.
If Commodore had survived, the Amiga would probably have evolved into a slightly customised x86 platform by now in order to remain competetive, just like the Mac has.
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Old 22 February 2017, 22:48   #18
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We all know in our heart of hearts if Commodore survived they would have released the A1400 in 1995 with an 030 28mhz, 2mb ram, double density floppy drive, Akiko 2 and workbench 3.2. £399 or 100mb hdd version for £599

Let's not kid otherselfs they would have released an amazing 3d powerhouse machine!
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Old 23 February 2017, 02:42   #19
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People abandoned the Amiga for Playstation and/or VGA/3dfx PC.
Any new Amiga would have to have been cheaper and better than both to keep people interested.
There's just no way Commodore could compete. Was Hombre really up to the job?
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Old 23 February 2017, 02:49   #20
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There's always this to dive into...

https://sites.google.com/site/amigadocuments/

Long story short.. It's a mess to put it mildly..
The troll(s) at Amiga Inc still owns the Amiga trademark AFAIK.
Cloantop has rights to OS3.1 but then OS3.9 is such a mess (legally speaking) that no single party claims the rights to it. It involves Cloanto, Haage-Partner and a bunch of individuals who worked as contractors..
Hyperion has some license to develop OS4.x based on OS3.X

I said once that Cloanto should release 3.9 simply too see if it get sued and by whom... and move on from there :-)

The sad thing is that in the day and age of free OSes such as Linux, Android etc.. there are still some who want to squeeze the last few bucks out of this ancient OS instead of simply releasing the sources and let whats left of the aging community to turn it into something that the community itself wants...
Based on the History, and by history I mean a Youtube video ,it changed hands several times... Commodore, Gateway in 99-2000 and again later
[ Show youtube player ]
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