Obligement - L'Amiga au maximum

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Jeux Amiga

0, A, B, C, D, E, F,
G, H, I, J, K, L, M,
N, O, P, Q, R, S, T,
U, V, W, X, Y, Z

Trucs et astuces

0, A, B, C, D, E, F,
G, H, I, J, K, L, M,
N, O, P, Q, R, S, T,
U, V, W, X, Y, Z


0, A, B, C, D, E, F,
G, H, I, J, K, L, M,
N, O, P, Q, R, S, T,
U, V, W, X, Y, Z


Annuaire Amiga

Amedia Computer


Hit Parade


N'hésitez pas à soutenir le projet Obligement


David Brunet



Interview with Martin Blom
(Interview realized by Johan Forsberg and excerpt from AmigaRulez - May 2002)

Martin Blom - Hi! Can you make an introduction of yourself?

I'm a 28 years old male, blond and about 180 cm tall. I'm good-looking, well educated, caring and have a good sense of humor. I'm looking for .... Hmm? Oh, sorry.

- What was you first computer?

My first computer of my own was an Amiga 500, which I bought in the beginning of 1989. I don't know how long I saved for it, but it must have been well over a year at least.

Before that, I sometimes visited the company where my father worked at the time (around 1984-1985) and played some BASIC on an ABC-80 and an IBM AT. However, it wasn't until 1986, when my parents bought a C-64 for the children, that I got really hooked. Best Christmas present ever! Or worst, depending on how you look at it.

- When did you first use an Amiga? What did you like about it? What do you like about it today?

Telia (or rather Televerket at that time) used to have a couple of A500s on display in their shops, and we went there from time to time. I mean, really, it was a masterpiece. Lots of memory, a GUI with a mouse to control it, a powerful shell, color display, multitasking, awesome sound ... We had never seen anything like it before, and it didn't even cost a fortune.

Later on, I enjoyed the games, the euro-demos and the simplicity and elegance of the operating system and the custom hardware.

Today, well ... All that's left is the OS, which is definitely showing its age. But I still like it. It's nice to know almost everything that goes on inside the computer.

- You're the author of the RTS system AHI, which is the de-facto standard on Amiga. What made you start with the project?

There was a real need for something like it at the time (around 1994). Basically, I was totally fed up with my current project, "TextRead", which I had written and maintained the last two or three years, and all other tiny, insignificant utilities I was writing. I was looking for something new, and since there was no (successful) device-independent audio system, I decided to give it a shot.

- Tell us about AHI in AmigaOS 4. Will it have any new features? For which soundcards will there be drivers? Will it be 100% PowerPC?

You tell me! :-) Seriously, I don't know what new features, if any, will be added. I do have one or two things I want to add before AHI v6 is released, although these things are not OS4 specific.

AHI for AmigaOS 4 will be 100% PowerPC-code, of course. Since I currently do not have any hardware on which AmigaOS 4 will run, the actual porting is done by Hyperion. All I did was the EMU10k1 driver (which was written using Amithlon and will, just like AHI, be ported to AmigaOS 4 by Hyperion). In addition to the SoundBlaster Live! cards, I believe SoundBlaster 128 will be supported as well.

- What programming languages do you use for development?

On the Amiga, only C with some assembly where required. I tried some C++, but the result was simply way too poor compared to C.

I do prefer C++ in the real world, though. While still being a portable assembler, C++ offers so many new ways the programmer can kill himself, compared to C. And speed and small footprint is usually not as important as it is on the Amiga.

- What do you think about AmigaOS 4? Will it be a success?

It's hard to tell, and you really have to define "success" in order to answer the question. Will Hyperion break even on the project? I hope so! Will it revive the Amiga? I doubt it.

Even so, personally, I look forward to it. The current AmigaOS is in a real need of an update and it needs to be moved to new hardware as well. AmigaOS really flies on a modern system, and I'm convinced AmigaOS 4 will be a major step forward for AmigaOS. It's definitely going to be the best AmigaOS version to date, provided it is reasonable bug free. Considering how much I enjoy AmigaOS, that really means a lot.

Unfortunately, since so little is known about AmigaOS 4 and its kernel and new APIs, there's not really much more I can say. I can't have an opinion on something I've not seen. Like everybody else, I'm in a wait-and-see mode at the moment.

The real question, though, is what happens after 4.x. Once the OS runs on today's hardware, it needs to get the features people expect from today's operating systems. Having an out-of-control process overwriting the file-system's disk buffers just isn't acceptable anymore. While I'm all for taking one step at the time, I do miss a real, no-nonsense roadmap for AmigaOS beyond 4.x.

- What are your thoughts about the competing product MorphOS?

Legal issues aside, I think it's great. I would have loved to see this product as the next AmigaOS. I'm especially fond of the L4-like micro kernel; L4 is a small, simple and elegant micro kernel, just the way I like it. I think it's the perfect foundation for an Amiga-like or Amiga-inspired operating system.

As far as I know (I've only seen MorphOS 0.4), the MorphOS team is still focusing on AmigaOS compatibility, A-Box enhancements and some eye-candy. While it's the obvious first step, it's the next step that is really interesting: when the new Quark APIs begin to take shape. In the end, it will be much more than just an AmigaOS clone, and unlike other interesting operating systems projects (BeOS a couple of years ago, for example), I will still be able to run my old AmigaOS software during the development period -- it's the best of two worlds.

- I know you're running Amithlon at the moment =) What do you think about that product?

Hey, it's great too! Anything that looks and feels like an Amiga is an Amiga in my mind.

Basically, I've been impressed twice the last couple of years. The first time was when I first saw MorphOS running on my Amiga, and the second time was when I saw AmigaOS running on my PC (for the record, ANN visitors, I do hope to be impressed a third time later this year, when I see OS4 running!).

Sure, there have been Amiga emulators for years, but Amithlon is so much more than just an emulator, and the speed and quality of this product really blows your mind.

My main concern is that nobody is yet taking advantage of the possibilities Amithlon offers. Just think of the fact that it's actually Linux running on an x86 CPU (albeit well hidden), for example. What does that mean? For starters, it means you can load and use nVidia's binary-only OpenGL drivers. It also means you can load and use Microsoft's VMA and VMV codecs. Wouldn't that be nice?

- What do you think will happen with the Amiga in the future?

What I think or what I hope? There are lots of good things going on at the moment, but at the same time, there is no end is sight of all this fighting and bitching. Maybe it's not just AmigaOS that needs a sandbox ... Time will tell. OSX is my backup plan.

- Do you think Amiga should go x86 in the future?

Definitely, but no sane person would try to port the current AmigaOS to a little endian CPU, since it's just not going to work. Yes, there is a proof-of-concept C compiler out there that generates big endian code for x86, but not many would base a business on a hack.

So AmigaOS 4 on x86 is probably not a good idea, and there is no money in OS 3.x anymore. But I would love to see Amithlon running on top of Quark/x86 or -- if it ever materializes -- OS5/x86. That wouldn't be the classic AmigaOS on x86, though, since both Quark and OS5 are (or will be) completely new operating systems.

On the other hand, very few still interested in classic AmigaOS can be diagnosed sane. Look at AROS, for example. Has anyone ever heard of a more insane project? It's open source, doesn't even run existing Amiga binaries and is still next to unusable for most of us. I love it! The problem is that except for the die-hards, most of us really need an integrated m68k emulation. And I don't think UAE is enough, at least not in its current shape. For me, AROS compiled natively (but big endian) on Amithlon would be the perfect Amiga-on-x86 -- at least in the short term.

- Do you have any "real" Amiga now?

Yes I do. After my CyberStormPPC died last year, I dug up my old 040 CPU card from the closet, installed it in my trusty A4000, added 8 MB of RAM and two disk drives. Voila! A game machine. www.back2roots.org rules! Most of the old euro-demos crashes, though, which is a bit disappointing.

It's even networked through Envoy to my main Amiga (the Amithlon PC, that is), making the ADF image transfers smooth and easy. Very nice.

- What do you enjoy doing with your computer except programming? Do you have any other interests besides computers?

A few, but I usually never get to practice them as much as I would like. I like scuba diving, although not really here in Sweden. Next thing I'd like to do is to get a HD or something similar. I just love the sound of those engines!

I also (used to) read quite a lot. A good book and a cold beer a warm, sunny spring afternoon is really something, especially when you've been doing software or hardware development all day at work. To me, it just seems most people have forgotten how important peace of mind is.

- And finally, do you have something to say to our readers? =)

Yeah, did you see Yoda swing that light saber? That was really something! (Translation: "Chill out, there is more to life than just the Amiga." :-))

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