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David Brunet



Interview with Simon Archer
(Interview conducted by David Brunet - February 2010)

Simon Archer Simon Archer is an AmigaOS 4 developer who has contributed to the recently released AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1. We asked him some questions about his work.

- Hello Simon. Can you introduce yourself?

My name is Simon Archer and I'm a UK based Amiga addict.

- When and how did you discover the Amiga?

It all started many moons ago with a friend of mine that has a suped-up A500. That led me to buying one, and from then on I was hooked.

- Which computers / operating systems / consoles do you own and use?

I have a WinXP box which does my everyday tasks, plus a MicroA1, Sam440ep and my AmigaOne XE.

- What are your favorite activities on Amiga?

Amiga for me is a programming platform, that's all I use it for.

- In a 1997 issue of the magazine CU Amiga, we have discovered "Suzanne", your highly customized Amiga 600. Could you tell us the story behind this computer project?

The answers to these questions are still the same as they are in that text, it seems pointless to repeat it all again here.

- Have you continued your work on this Amiga portable? Do you still use it?

No, and no.

- Have you tried to make an Amiga laptop with other models? For exemple a MicroA1?

I thought about it, then decided against it.

- Do you think an Amiga laptop will be built one day?

I'm sure that depends on whether someone comes forward with the capital to do it, but looking at the response of "the community" towards the efforts of A-Eon, I doubt it will ever happen.

- You're the developer of AmiUpdate, an updating system for AmigaOS 4.x. Could you present this software and its main features?

Sure, www.amiupdate.net gives you all the info you need, again repeating it here is pointless.

- Your current big project is named CodeBench. Could you present it?

CodeBench came about because the only other software available to OS4 users was difficult to set up with the current SDK etc. I wanted to create something that fitted in better with the Amiga way of working, and a GUI which didn't look like it had been borrowed from some other operating system. The first lines of code was written in 2006, and after a short time it was long before I was building the software in the software I was building. :)

- What are the current key features? And which new features do you plan to add in the future versions?

As with any project of this size, features are never set, there's always something else to add. Now that the Hollywood 4 version is out, I suppose the next thing is to start expanding the range of plugins again.

- It seems a CodeBench will be commercial. What is the expected prize? Do you plan to make a MorphOS/AROS/AmigaOS 3.x version?

The completed version will be commercial, yes. The two public versions that are available now are limited in various ways, and they can only be used with one project type. As for porting to other systems, I doubt that is ever going to happen, I have put a lot of work into the BOOPSI gadgets within AmigaOS 4 in order to support functionality I need, and as these classes are not available on the Amiga-like systems, it makes a port impossible.

- What would you need to make developping easier on Amiga? As an example, something that would allow to develop faster.

Ultimately, someone else to do it!

- What is your opinion about the AmigaOS 4 SDK?

A proper debugger is something that is sorely needed, and is something I have been trying to write for ages, but my motivation for it is very low.

- You are one of the main beta testers of the AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1. Since when are you a member of the AmigaOS team and a betatester?

2003 if memory serves me correctly.

- How big is the betatesters team?

It's not about size, it's about the quality. A team of 500 useless testers is nowhere near as efficient as a team of 20 red-hot ones.

- In the betatest phase of the AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1, which new features/tools/libraries were particulary hard (or annoying) to betatest?

I don't really understand the motive behind this question. Testing something is about a series of logical steps in order to cover all aspects of functionality. There is no "degree of difficulty" simply a matter of logic.

- Apart your work on betatest, what have you done in the system?

My contribution extends to a few parts of the system, but if I told you what that was, you'd have someone to blame! :)

- Users wait new features like a new shell, a new Workbench, USB 2.0 support or better 3D drivers. Do you know if these new features will be in the next release of the system?

I don't even know when the next update will be, let alone what's going to be in it.

- At the Colmar Multimédia Expo 2008, you wrote a driver for touchscreen. Will this driver will available one day?

Technically there's nothing stopping it being available today, but unless you have the same touchscreen unit, it won't do you any good. All the touchscreen units I have come across have been vendor-specific, and different in their operation, so each device needs a dedicated driver.

- What is your opinion about the AmigaOne X1000?


- A last message for the Amiga community?

Honestly? "Grow up!", it's like a nursery school in those forums most days.

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