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Report: AmiWest 2010
(Article written by Dragster - October 2010)

It all began on Friday October 22th when my friend Efren and me arrived to the Holiday Express hotel in Sacramento, California, after a two hour drive from Dublin, CA. We were so excited as this is our first international Amiga show, when we got there we entered into the hotel and walked to the back to the hall of the show and there they were, Jens Schoenfeld, Trevor Dickinson and the Frieden brothers (Thomas and Hans-Joerg), they were unpacking stuff and setting up their own stands. We saluted and shook hands with Jens Schoenfeld and Trevor Dickinson who is a very friendly guy. They couldn't believe we flew from Mexico specially to attend the show!

AmiWest 2010
The Frieden brothers with the AmigaOne X1000

So, I hear that the Classic Amiga tech. clinic was set to take place on Friday, however I was not exactly putting attention on it, I was more focused on the new machines and the AmigaOS 4.1.

Saturday Oct 23rd 2010

On Saturday we arrived a little bit late to the show since we had to travel from Dublin to Sacramento once again, but I still made it to the show to attend part of Trevor Dickinson's speech, he introduced the AmigaOne X1000 and he confirmed that the AmigaOne X1000 cases will be sold at AmigaKit separately.

AmiWest 2010
Trevor Dickinson's speech

At some point Ben Hermans started to talk and he said that the AmigaOne X1000 CPU is partitionable, that means that it can host two applications (OSes) at once, that could be AmigaOS 4.1 and Linux. He also said that the Amiga users should continue to support the PowerPC platform (line of CPUs) `cause he considers the PowerPC is still a viable CPU platform.

AmiWest 2010 AmiWest 2010
The AmigaOne X1000

AmiWest 2010 AmiWest 2010
Some specifications of the AmigaOne X1000 shown by Ranger

Software wise, he said that one of the AmigaOS 4.1 components that needs an overhaul is the printer system, since it has not been changed for a long time now. The Open Source printing system CUPS may be used in a future version of AmigaOS 4.x. Others priorities are the graphic subsystem, the 3D (Gallium3D will replace MiniGL) and the support of processors with multiple cores. Ben Hermans also referred to the P4 and P5 processors from Freescale for future AmigaOne computer. Finally Trevor Dickinson said that Open Office For Kids development is in progress.

The next presentation was Carl Sassenrath's. He announced that REBOL 3.0 is available for AmigaOS 4.1! Great news indeed, everyone applauded on that one.

AmiWest 2010
Carl Sassenrath's speech

Next he started to warm up the presentation (and the crowd) by showing several cards he had brought in a big cardboard box, so he described every piece of hardware while he held it on his hands and said ok, jewel or junk? There were several Amiga cards and other common PCI/PC cards. After that he explained what REBOL is and the philosophy behind it, a very interesting approach. He finally said that he had brought some interesting pieces of hardware for sale, and there they were! An Amiga 1000 prototype, an Amiga AA3000 mounted on a wood sheet, a CDTV Professional Kit, a prototype of Amiga CD32 with a debug card, three never opened factory sealed CDTVs and a CDTV-CR which is a cost reduced version of the CDTV. The main feature of it is that it has a tray mechanism instead of the common caddy mechanism. These pieces of hardware were sold for some good cash, I think he sold one of the CDTV for US$250 to David Morris and the Amiga AA3000 for US$500! At the end of his presentation he got a very long applause from the crowd!

AmiWest 2010
An AA3000 prototype

Following Carl Sassenrath's presentation, Steven Solie started his presentation about modern Amiga development. He said that he didn't have enough time to prepare it very well, but he did his best. Basically he connected on his AmigaOS machine to the internet and accesed his website which contains some information about modern programming concepts like shared objects and threading and how they apply in AmigaOS. The information he presented can be found on the following website: www.solie.ca/articles/map/map.html.

After Steven Solie's presentation, the show was over, we had a break of two hours for the Banquet tables to be setup. So we went back to the hall at 19:00, the Banquet starts!

So, I had paid for three Banquet tickets but Chuck Washburn didn't write down the name of the person for my 3rd. ticket! It was a bit complicated to make him understand that I had paid for three tickets, he finally gave me a 3rd. ticket from somebody who had cancelled in the last minute. So, with my ticket in hand I entered the hall where the banquet would took place and sat in the front most table with my friends Oscar and Efren and other Amigans, including one AmigaOS 4.1 betatester. Before the dinner started, Dale Luck (original Amiga developer) said that he felt really amazed and fortunate because what the Amiga is now and the impact his work and what he did has had on many people over the world. Following that, people were encouraged to tell an Amiga story of their own lives, so some people actually told stories around the Amiga. The dinner started, it was a really good one and I enjoyed it a lot. At the end, we had coffee and cake as dessert, the cake to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the birth of the Amiga!

AmiWest 2010
Carl Sassenrath, Dale Luck and the cake

A big announcement took place after the Banquet when Ben Hermans said that AmigaOS 4.1 will be released before the end of this year for the Amiga Classic machines with PowerPC accelerators! He didn't said if it will have all the features of the current release for nextgen machines. But one thing is for sure, AmigaOS 4.1 will unfortunatly not have support for the BlizzardPPC SCSI controller which is one of the features most of the Classic Amiga 1200 users want. I confirmed this with Matthew Leaman from AmigaKit and this is due to the same old issue with the original coders of the BlizzardPPC firmware and the driver of the board's SCSI controller. However, the ZorRAM Zorro III memory board will be supported. AmigaKit will be the official distributor for AmigaOS 4.1 for classic machines. It will not be a free upgrade for current AmigaOS 4.0 users but a new complete licensed version of the AmigaOS at full cost.

Sunday Oct 24th 2010

Started with Ben Hermans with a Q&A session, unfortunately we didn't make it to this even on time, we got there a bit late and we arrived when Jamie Krueger from Bit By Bit Software demonstrated his SDKBrowser 2.0 and GUI Builder. It's a software that will help AmigaOS 4.1 developers to create applications faster and easily. Hopefully, it will be released soon, it looks pretty impressive, a professional developer tool I would say.

Following AlexC demonstrated how easy an animation can be created with Blender for AmigaOS 4.1. And at the end of the show, the Amiga Games Competition sponsored by David Morris took place. The big prize was an eMac with MorphOS 2.6 installed and registered!

At the end of the show I stayed a little in the hall and talked to some of the Amigans still there who were really friendly. During this time I had played a bit with Steven Solie's Sam460ex machine and I discovered some new features in his AmigaOS 4.1 version! First of all, I noticed an icon that reads "updates" which is similar to the current AmiUpdate icon. It seemed like AmiUpdate was already integrated into AmigaOS 4.1, however I was told that it will be included as a contribution but not really integrated. I also noticed another set of features of AmigaOS 4.1 in the Workbench pattern and Workbench preferences programs. As you can see in the pictures, the new options in the WBPattern prefs program are:
  • Scaling options
    • Aspect ratio
    • Alignment
  • Background
    • Pen
AmiWest 2010

Both set of options available for the Workbench and windows preferences. Great! In the Workbench prefs program there is a new tab called "previews" which seems to be thumbnail preferences for images listed in a Workbench window. The new options are:
  • Image
    • Normal width
    • Normal height
    • Frame
  • Picture information
    • Show
    • Text height ___ pixels less than icon level
  • Caching
    • Cache path
    • Maximum number of entries
AmiWest 2010

Interesting! We will see if these new options are available in the coming release of AmigaOS 4.1 for Amiga Classic machines equipped with PowerPC accelerators and as an update for the current AmigaOS 4.1 nextgen machines (Sam, Pegasos II, AmigaOne, etc).

Another very well known feature that is supposed to be coming is the tabs for the AmigaOS 4.1 shell windows, and the vertical scrollbar which can be seen in the following picture.

AmiWest 2010
The new shell with tabs and more

So well, that's all for now, the Amiwest 2010 show ended happily with many satisfied users, we will be looking forward to Amiwest 2011!

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