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Annuaire Amiga

Amedia Computer


Hit Parade

A Propos

A propos d'Obligement

A Propos


David Brunet



Interview with Wayne Hunt
(Interview realized by David Brunet - august 2009)

- Hello Wayne, could you introduce yourself?

Wayne Hunt, 43, Huntsville Alabama, USA.

In real life, I work as a programmer for a local defense contractor at the moment, but as with all things government, that's subject to change at any moment.

My hobbies. Hmmm. I'm an avid motorcyclist, I love to cook (despite being diabetic) but eat out 90% of the time. I watch too much TV, and would rather go out to an expensive movie every night than sit at home alone.

- When and how did you discover the Amiga?

In 1987 (or perhaps early 1988), I went to the local IEEE computer show. I had just bought a fully loaded C64 system when I ran into the NASAU booth with their Amiga 1000's and 500's on display. Three days later, I had an Amiga 500 and had sold the C64 to my boss at work.

- What was your first Amiga? What was your different configurations from the beginning to nowadays?

My "first" was the aforementioned 500. Afterwards came a 2000 and a 3000UX, which I sold in about 1997. About that time, I got interested in running a BBS for the Amiga group (Wayne's World BBS, circa 1988/89) so I bought and subsequently started leaning toward building PC clones for the BBS.

My first hard drive, for example, was a full-height 5,25", 155 MB Maxtor hard drive that ran Wayne's World BBS. I had two of them, and paid over $700 EACH for them at the time.

- Apart designing websites, what do/did you do with your Amiga?

Mostly games, like everyone else, though I loved building "Director" presentations and later doing Scala stuff for fun (and later for work).

- You're the webmaster of Amiga.org. Could you tell us a bit more about its creation? When and for which reasons this website was created?

Amiga.org was conceived and initially purchased in April of 1994 after consulting with the people at Commodore who thought it was "a fantastic idea". The ISP that we were working with then (back when domain names first started being sold) either didn't realize that registrations were yearly, or forgot to pay for it, so it was re-registered by me in April 1995.

The site wasn't even built back then because, like everyone, I was just learning what HTML was. The site went live on 26 April 1995 with a "hello world" page and way back then, everything was manually written HTML, meaning the site looked a lot like the Amiga Web Directory.

As for the reasons, I bought Amiga.org because I saw a niche which needed to be filled which wasn't being adequately covered by the reigning champion site of its time (the Amiga Web Directory).

- Could you introduce the original team behind Amiga.org? Who work on Amiga.org now?

Originally, though the site was in the name of the North Alabama Society of Amiga users (NASAU) it was 100% run and managed by me. That was easy, because back then every day was "search for new news and links, then post them". We didn't have forums, or even user accounts until about 1996 or 1997, so no spammers, no trolls, no need for moderators.

Now, there are about 10 people who serve as moderators. They've come and gone through the years, but the site pretty much runs itself now with the occasional need to close a thread or caution a troll.

I'd shout out their names in high praise, but I'm not sure a few of them even want people to know they moderate the site, so I'll defer to the moderator's list on Amiga.org.

- Could you tell us the main steps in the life of Amiga.org? (the great changes, the good/bad times, people who join (or left) the team,...)

History. Not my favorite subject but ok.. let's see.

1995 - 1997

Static HTML in the early days lead to Dynamic HTML and server-side includes.

1997 - 1998

PHPnuke (maliciously destroyed by certain troublesome community members who poked around, found the dbadmin tool and took it upon themselves to go in, steal passwords, and trash the site).

1998 - 2009

Various versions of Xoops and Xoops 2.x.

2009 - ...

vBulletin as the site exists now.

As for good/bad times, my favorite era would be the Gateway ownership. Darreck Lisle was THE MAN as far as the site was concerned, and I lived and breathed the idea of Amiga.org becoming the community arm of Gateway's Amiga. Alas that was a short-lived dream as we all know.

My least favorite, which I've rehashed so many times I'm tired of hearing myself, would be the red/blue wars, and the emergence of Genesi/BBRV. Anyone with Google access probably knows how I feel about that couple, so let's not reopen old wounds.

As far as who's come and gone from the team, there have been a few who've come and gone (Kees Witteveen for example) but he's still around. As a matter of fact, the list of moderators really hasn't changed in years.

- How many people visit the website? What was the evolution of visitors since the beginning? And what was the maximum of visitors?

Right now, there are approximately 800 unique accounts that have been accessed in the last 30 days. And 6000+ total accounts. Visitor counts are always tough, because the Amiga community is now about 1/20th of the size it was when we first started in 1995. We didn't even track that stuff back then.

Without a single doubt, the most active the site's ever been is during the 1997/98/99 Amiwest and Saint Louis events with several thousand watching Bill Borsari and the UGNs coverage via webcam (and blimpcam).

- What is exactly your daily work on Amiga.org? How much hours do you spend on Amiga.org?

Unfortunately most of my work on the site now is centered around killing spam accounts, changing the security protocols almost weekly, and trying to keep everything up and running.

In the early days when I was a kid, I could spend 6 to 8 hours a day tracking down news items and new links. Now I'm lucky to be about to spend 2 hours a day on running the site unless we're in the midst of an upgrade cycle.

- You have recently moved Amiga.org to a vBulletin engine. What was the reasons behind this move?

The copy of Xoops we had stuck to (2.0.7) was the last Amiga browser compatible version. We'd run that since about 2003 and couldn't ever upgrade without losing the compatibility with IBrowse and AWeb. Unfortunately, Xoops 2.0.7 was dependent upon PHP version 4. PHP 4 was officially retired in 2007, and support for it was dropped in early 2009. That meant no more security or bug fixes, so 99% of all Web hosts mandated an upgrade to PHP 5, which wouldn?t work with Xoops 2.0.7.

The result was an involuntary upgrade. After spending about three months looking at all the options, I chose vBulletin because of the potential for an upgrade path (saving the years worth of data we had).

The upgrade migrated most of the data (user accounts, forums, etc.). Amiga.org member Karl Churchill came along and offered to save the world by migrating the news, links, images, and practically everything else. I dare say and I've told him this were it not for Karl, Amiga.org wouldn't be here today.

- On August 19th, you have announced your plan to stop working on Amiga.org and to sell the website. Can you explain this decision? Is it inevitable?

Nothing is inevitable. My decision to leave the community is not too hard to understand. I spent 15 years building the site, but when I was 20, I lived, ate, and breathed computers.

Now at 43, computers in general don't hold any special interest for me. A case of "been there, done that" syndrome I suppose. Amiga.org is also a constant reminder of not only the good, but the bad times in my life, from the Genesi incident, to losing my mother in 2003, to other big issues which have all contributed to my life in general spinning out of control for the past few years.

As such, I'm trying to get my life back in order and to do that, I just feel it would be best if someone who still appreciated the Amiga were running the site. My decision isn't an easy one, and it's not based in any idea of malice or hatred against the community. I love this community, but at some point, proverbially speaking -- I have to grow up and put away my toys.

- You want to sell the website $10000. Do you received any offer?

I've had at least one offer I'm considering. It's a generous offer, but I am hoping that the actual members who use the site and benefit from it will still organize a "buyout" if you will, to let me exit with a little dignity for the effort.

Some have suggested that I'm somehow in the wrong for trying to "sell" the site, but I respectfully submit that there's also a larger concern here. Amiga.org is my baby. Amiga.org is a child of 15 years devotion and dedication. Whether you believe the site is worth that investment is up to each person reading this, but I view it like an "Excalibur test". If I just gave away the domain, software, copyrights, and everything to either one person, or to "the community", I would have absolutely no guarantee (or hope) that the site would be in good hands and continue into the future.

Setting an arbitrary value to the site means "to me" that the person or group that steps up is very serious about keeping the site alive and moving forward in the right direction, and THAT is what is most important to me.

- You said "I have wasted 15 years of my life". Is really a waste of time to inform and help thousands of people during 15 years?

There are certain people, and certain attitudes that have always brought out the worst in me, as they do in everyone. I've never felt that I've wasted my time or my efforts. I've always thought that I was, in fact, building towards something. As such, when the trolls and naysayers come out of the woodwork to tell me that my life's effort is worthless, I tend to take offense, as anyone would.

- Is there any chance to republish all the threads/forum of the old version of Amiga.org?

Every thread which has ever been posted to Amiga.org, every forum, every piece of data that we've ever had is already online now (thanks entirely to Karlos' hard work).

- You're very close to the Amiga news since years. Could you tell us what is/was your feeling/reaction to these Amiga events :

The fall of Commodore

Devastated. Shocked. Surprised. Then again, I wasn't a shareholder.

The Escom period

Escom came and went so quickly, I never really had a chance to even react. I understand they are, or were big in Europe, but the name Escom is meaningless in the U.S., so most of us really had no idea about Escom until they were already gone.

The Viscorp period

See Escom above.

The Gateway period

Gateway to me represented "the last hope" for the Amiga. Once it died, we ALL knew what that meant for the future of the Amiga. With respect to the current Amiga Inc., the hopeful were waiting on them to do something (myself included) but that never happened.

Now (2009), my personal opinion is that the only possible salvation for the Amiga (and more appropriately AmigaOS) is if someone comes along and "pulls an Apple OS X", meaning writes AmigaOS to run on commonly available hardware (x86) that doesn't cost thousands for sub-standard, non-supported prototype stuff.

AROS was hopeful, but it's my understanding (I hope I'm wrong) that AROS has hit a dead end as well.

- In 2003, you joined Genesi. Could you tell us the your "Genesi story"? (role in this team, your work, problems with wages, etc.)

Frankly, this is all WELL documented across the Web. I can't bring it up here again without opening old wounds for some community members that I truly appreciate now. Suffice to say "I chose poorly, I got screwed, it cost me my marriage, and sent my life into a sucky spiral until recently". Nuff said I think.

- What is your opinion about the AmigaDE's strategy from Amino/Amiga Inc.? And the situation of Amiga Inc. nowadays?

There was a time when I had an "inside" with Amiga Inc. Every person still associated with them I still consider a friend, so I couldn't betray that confidence.

My personal feeling? And again, I wish Bill and everyone well -- is that with the invent of the Apple iPhone and its clones out there, the idea of building a business to sell cellphone apps is dead on arrival. Apple's App store was pretty much the nail in that coffin.

- Do/did you have particular/preference relations with Bill McEwen?

I consider Bill McEwen a friend. I understand the bad blood in the community. I understand the history of coupon scams and everything else. I'm actually very respectful of those things, but say what you will, the fact that McEwen is still trying to hang on to the rollercoaster should, IMHO, be considered a testament to him rather than a source of hatred as the community wants to make it.

As a matter of fact where the Amiga's concerned, he's about the only Bill on the block that hasn't screwed me over. Even when he had the chance and I would have willingly taken a job with him (I've had two formal job offers btw. The timing just never worked out).

- What is your opinion about Amiga systems :

MorphOS - AmigaOS 4.x - AROS

I don't want to upset anyone, nor do I ever want to take sides again on this subject. I also would never want to discourage any of you from your hobby. Remember, I'm not enthusiastic about computers any more, so take my opinion with a grain of salt.

I just don't personally see any of the above systems becoming viable commercial systems. I don't see any of them selling in the local computer store or even Walmart any time soon.

- What is/was your definition of "Amiga"?

In the beginning of course, "Amiga" was a computer platform by Commodore. After the demise of Commodore, "The Amiga" (to me) became much much more about the community itself than it has ever been about the machine. Simple computing for the fun of it. That sort of thing.

- Some people said that the Internet has saved the Amiga. What is your opinion about that?

I would agree in some aspects, disagree in others. The net has made it easier to find parts, and cheaper than it was in the good old days of the only dealers were those local and in magazines.

On the other hand, the Internet completely destroyed the ideal of local user groups along with the computer shows of the past. Not to mention the devastation that the Internet has caused to magazines themselves.

- What is/was your favorite Amiga websites? (past and present websites)

The Amiga Web Directory was always nice, clean, and simple. I often wonder how I would look today had their club's board not voted to close it down. ANN.lu was fun but suffered from massive troll infestation until he built a registration system. When people had to register, they stopped coming, and ANN.lu closed.

Other sites such as Amigaworld.net and MorphZone.net do a great job at representing their own audience, but even then you'll note that as of late, their targeted audiences are expanding to cover what Amiga.org has always covered.

- You're American. The Amiga was born in the United States but now, all Amiga evolutions come from Europe (Pegasos, MorphOS, AmigaOne, AmigaOS 4.1, Minimig, Sam440ep,...). Did the Americans lost interest in the Amiga?

By in large, the Amiga was always much larger in Europe than it was in the United States. The fact that it continues to be that way shouldn't be a surprise. The exception to that rule would be AmigaOS 3.x and 4.x which Amiga Inc. wanted to give to Kermit Woodall (Nova Design) based on the better proposal, but which our beloved Petro gave away to other companies without their even bidding "because they're german". That is of course urban legend? Or is it really?

- Can you share with us some anecdotes?

You mean other than the previous 8 pages?

- You're a fan a motorcycling. Do you plan to create a great website about this?

I already own several domains intended for such usage, but it's a case of life making other plans.

- A last message for the Amiga community?

If I could say one thing, it would be simply "Thank you". Thanks to each and every member of the community who made Amiga.org what it is today. It is, and will hopefully continue to be a privilege to serve you.

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