Note : The version in French is here.
One month after the release of MorphOS 2.0, we have interviewed one of its developer : Grzegorz Kraszewski. He's one of the "numerous" polish developers focused on MorphOS and the author of Reggae and the upcoming Digibooster 3.
Hello Grzegorz, could you introduce yourself to our readers?
A standard question at start :-). So is the answer. My name is Grzegorz Kraszewski, I'm 35. I live in Bialystok, a big town in the north-east Poland. I have two jobs currently, the main one is at Bialystok Technical University, I'm teaching students and do some scientific researches. The second one is a service man at a copiers/printers dealer. My hobbies, well, programming of course, also some weird kinds of music, biking, reading books (crime stories, technothrillers and spy stories usually). And finally taking care of my children, maybe not a hobby really, but time consuming. ;-)
When and how did you discover the Amiga?
It was in 1994. I was a proud Atari 65XE owner, but it looked that there is the time for 16 bits. It seemed to me that Atari ST is the "natural" direction, but most of my friends advised me either Amiga or PC. So I visited two friends, one with i386 PC, and another one with A1200. Then the decision was obvious ;-). Unfortunately I could not afford an A1200, so I've bougth a second hand A500. And then it started...
What have you done on the Amiga before being on MorphOS?
The first work was an obscure statistic program written in Amiga Basic. I needed it for my studies. Then I've started learning m68k assembler (having good knowledge of 6502 assembler from Atari). I must admit that m68k is one of the nicest processors when we talk about assembler programming. Then I've got a book about Amiga hardware, chipset, Blitter, Paula, etc. It looked that I will become a scene coder. I've joined a group, started swapping disks (public dial-up to Internet started in Poland in 1997/98) and writing intros...
Then one day I've read an announcement in "Magazyn Amiga" (one of main Polish printed Amiga magazines). A group named "BlaBla" searched for members. But it wasn't a scene group at all. They were writing utilities and other small programs having nothing to do with the computer scene. They were using C, E and other higher-level languages. I've joined and the scene lost a coder... ;-)
My first work under BlaBla name was "WormHoles" a small app for cheating in Frontier Elite. It was also my first MUI application. Unfortunately it didn't make to Aminet. I've started lots of never finished projects, which seem to be a common hobbyists problem... A few of them are on Aminet, but the rest is lost generally. Then hardware era started in my life. I'm an electronic engineer by education, so it is not a surprise. My first project was AmiPCI, a bit naive approach to bring PCI slots to A1200. It failed mainly for financial reasons, but then Matay contacted me and we are at the next question this way...
You have participate of the development of the PCI bus card Prometheus for Matay. Do you have news about Filip Dab-Mirowski and/or this company?
No. We are not in contact anymore. Matay is not connected with Amiga now, only sells the stock.
When and how did you discover MorphOS?
Trying a public 0.4 version for PPC Amigas. I've always followed the Amiga PPC way (had an A1200 with BlizzardPPC, then A4000 with CyberStormPPC). A system running purely on PPC processor drew my attention.
You are the developer of Reggae. Could you present this software?
Reggae is a framework for streamed media processing. It may be roughly compared to GStreamer on Linux or DirectShow on Windows. It is much "lighter" however, designed with low memory footprint and low CPU overhead in mind. On the other hand its purpose is to replace datatypes, at least audio and video ones. Reggae consists of small libraries, every of them performs some processing task. Then a processing structure is built (by application programmer, or by Reggae automatically), where objects are linked in a processing structure. Media data flow through the structure in small chunks and are processed chunk by chunk. This modular design allows for smaller memory consumption and better project management.
In MorphOS 2.0, Reggae and datatypes are both available. Is it planned to include only Reggae in the future?
No, datatypes have to stay for backward compatibility. It is possible however that some day datatypes.library will become a wrapper around Reggae.
Put aside Reggae, what have you done for the system until now?
Sound datatype and its subdatatypes. Bugreport.library also. And finally some minor things here and there.
As a developer and user of MorphOS on Efika, what is your opinion about this little machine? Is it really usable? What are its strongs and weaks points?
I'm very satisfied with MorphOS on Efika. I have my Pegasos II at work and Efika is my only computer at home. Believe it or not, I use it as a development workstation. It also serves as a video player for my children. Strong points are : silence, portability, low power consumption. One can easily build a system without any fans (and even without the HDD). Taking Efika to some meeting at the other end of the country is simple, just drop it to the bag... Power consumption will become more and more important as I expect electricity prices to go up, slowly but mercilessly... The weak point is only 128 MB of RAM, it may be not enough for some applications. Another disadvantage (from my point of view) is lack of AltiVec in the CPU, as AltiVec programming is the area of my scientific activity.
Efika 5200B and Pegasos I/II are no more produced. What are the new hardware targeted by the MorphOS Development Team to run the system on?
There were alpha versions shown running on Mac mini G4 and PowerBook. I guess they will be finished some day. It may happen that some new hardware from Genesi appears, MorphOS may be ported to it too. Genesi has some plans like MPC5121e/5123 based LimePC, or Efika 3 with MPC8610. LimePC is interesting as it may bring the real portability to MorphOS. MPC8610 machine on the other hand, may be a good continuation of Pegasos II. We have to wait a bit more however until these hardware materialize. It is obvious that MorphOS port requires the hardware to be working stable and being available in reasonable quantity. I've read on powerdeveloper.org that Freescale has serious problems with MPC5121e CPU and Genesi has to wait for a fixed production run.
About the development of MorphOS, what are the priorities currently? And for the next 6-12 months?
Current priority is a bugfix release. You may expect it really soon.
For many users, MorphOS 2.0 is overpriced (150 euros). What is your opinion about this?
I'm a MorphOS Team member, so the team decision of the price is also my decision. I would prefer not to comment on it.
Do you have some news about the new filesystem for MorphOS?
No. I only know that it is being developed.
You are working on a new version of the tracker DigiBooster 3. Which new functions you want to add?
DBPro3 will not have many new functions. The main goal is to write it from scratch. Further developing of 2.x version became impossible. DBPro3 is MUI-based, has scalable, redesigned GUI and is far more system-friendly. It has also AHI-independent sound rendering system - AHI is used as an output device only. After implementing DBPro 2.x functionality I can think about new features.
On which platforms will be Digibooster 3 available? Will it be free?
It will be available for AmigaOS 3.x, AmigaOS 4 and MorphOS. It will be a commercial application released by APC&TCP, the same as DBPro 2.x.
Which others computers / operating systems / consoles do you own and use?
I have an old PC with Windows XP at work. I have also Linux installed on Pegasos, but use it very rarely. My second Efika runs as a teleinfo.pb.edu.pl server, under Debian Linux. No consoles, no time for gaming. :-)
You're Polish. Could you talk about the Amiga/MorphOS "market" in Poland?
It is obviously small and divided into three groups. Probably the biggest, but the least active one is the group of classic Amiga users. Then there are about 50 MorphOS users and 10 or so AmigaOS 4 users. There are some personal conflicts between them, which often lead to flamewars on forums. I'm trying to stay away from it. I'm a member of MorphOS group of course, so I only can say more about us. We are concentrated around PPA portal and #ppa IRC channel on FreeNode network. We are organizing meetings around the Poland. This year we had three meetings (AmiMajowka in Cracow, PowerDevMeeting in Chelm and Amiga Eastern Meeting near Wlodawa). Two next are planned.
There are a lot of polish developers of the MorphOS Team. The future of MorphOS will be in Poland? ;-)
Don't think so. We have no majority yet. ;-)
A last word for our readers ?
I would like to say hello to MorphOS users in France and all people interested in MorphOS.