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Interview with Pascal Papara
(Interview realized by David Brunet - August 2010)


Pascal Papara have a lot of projects for AROS : a new computer (AresOne), a new distribution (Broadway), a new software (AMC) and more... So we asked him some questions about all his work.

- Hello Pascal. Could you introduce yourself?

Pascal Papara Hi David. My Name is Pascal Papara. I'm 26 years old and I'm living in Germany. I'm working as project engineer (powerplant systems) but also I'm studing mechanical engineering in the evenings.

My hobbies are AROS (Broadway), AresOne and 3D Design.

- When and how did you discover the Amiga?

I discovered the Amiga as young boy when I visited a friend of my family which had an Amiga 500. The first game I played was Silkworm (great two player mode). Then I wanted one and as I saw the Amiga Games (german magazine), I bought it and forced my grandma with my childish charm to buy me my own Amiga. I got plenty of Amiga software and then I realized I could do much more than gaming.

- What are your favorite activities on Amiga?

First, it was gaming. But later I used LightWave... I knew a person who worked professionally with the Amiga, he made many music clips and animations for german TV-shows.

Today I use only my AresOne and classic things via JanusUAE until Emumiga is grown up. I surf the web, write my mails and soon I start with Audio Evolution as new hobby. Also I'm curios about Aladdin4D and it's LightWave compatibility, will try this too. Most of the time I have to move on to finish Broadway and more which will be announced soon.

- When and how did you become interested in AROS?

Since my main job and even the school forced me to use a Windows PC I was not pleased with this situation and looked always for an alternative... I tried all possible operating systems I found in the Net and come up on AROS.

It was a great feeling just to read which goals this OS has! I tried it and I loved it. Ok, at this time 2004, it was not as good as today. I tried AROS-MAX (an old, and the first AROS distribution) on my P233 MMX - it was fast but well it could not replace my Windows partition. I followed the project since then but more as visitor and part-time user.

- You are the maker of the AresOne computer. Could you introduce this computer?

Sure. I introduced the AresOne in 2009, the idea was far older but Stephen Jones (the man behind the iMica computer) doing gave me the last trust and courage to give it a try. My intentions where to support AROS with a part of my profits, and to offer a compatible AROS computer. This way everyone could enjoy it out of the box without the hazzle of finding compatible hardware. Also people can save their few spare time (instead of building a system). I didn't want to cannibalize Stephen's income and I thought about what the Amiga was about. I came to the clue that the best feature was his expandability. And this is why I sold a tower computer (ATX). And one year later you can add a Catweazel, a ESI Juli@ Soundcard and, in September, a Wi-Fi card.

AresOne

Well time goes by and hardware evolves... It is time for the "new" AresOne. The new one is still expandable but smaller (µ-ATX). Also we tried to give as much options as possible. You can choose between several cases (tower, cubes, HTPC) or buy just a kit to save money. In total the new AresOne is less expensive because you get state of the art technic for a really competitive price. You can choose between Icaros Desktop and Broadway. You get ArtEffect, Amiga Forever 2009, A-live X and AMC for the best AROS experience so far.

- AresOne is more or less a concurrent of the iMica. What is your opinion about iMica and Cluster UK? Do you think there is room for two "manufacturers" in the small world of AROS?

Yes of course! We talked together and he does the mini-ITX Intel stuff and I concentrate on AMD/ATI and more powerful but a bit bigger systems. This way AROS fills some gaps like mini-PC, workstation and Media Center. Our mission is not to serve the existing AROS community (market), instead we are trying to get new, ex-amigans back and are targeting to other individualists out there.

- Do you plan to make other computers for AROS? For exemple a laptop?

Yes but no laptop because I could not produce a inexpensive product. Better buy a supported one and buy A-live if you like. But yes. I'm working on a Amiga x86, hopefully it will get the official Amiga brand one day. On the Amiga Event in Germany I talked to Jens Schoenfeld, which is well known, about integrating legacy connections (we could say Catweazel onboard). I called the project "missing link" in one of my roadmaps (on my blog www.aresone.de). But my beloved grandma died short after the Event and now I found a name for the mainboard - "Martha".

Also I will work together with Fabio Falcucci (AMC) on another project soon. The result will be a portable device, but not a Netbook.

- AresOne comes with an AROS distribution called "Broadway". Could you introduce in details this distribution?

As soon I started to sell the AresOne I realized that it would be better to have my hands on the OS too. Take the HD Audio driver as example. It took some time until Icaros had it included. Broadway gives me the chance to support new hardware just in time. To be honest, this is not the only thing. Personally, I disliked Amistart and I just wanted to have some other features too, for example online updates.

I talked with Paolo Besser if we could work together and we agreed BUT as I started the concept to visualize my thoughts I licked blood ;-) and had fun.

The good thing is that we have now two distribution for different tastes. The actual version shows only 1/6 of the finished version. For now we have the "Quickstarter" a nice alternative for Amistart and "Up2date" the online updater which calls a script from my server called "stardust" - this check which component of Broadway needs an Update.

The following things will come (some but not all until Christmas):
  • User-account management and Login/Lock Window.
  • A blanker.
  • A Theme based on the MOS-one but dark.
  • A printing GUI (utilizes the tools we have like Ghostscript, a2ps, copytopar and datatype2eps).
  • And a big secret! But it comes for Icaros too...
The biggest difference to IcAROS for now is that I try to do quality management. This means I don't put every existing AROS app in it. I will provide one pre-selected, stable, app from every task like imaging (Vector, pixel), tracker, Email and so on. This way I hope to give AROS a more matured feeling. Most crashes happens because of hush hush ports and bad programming.

- Is Broadway will be available on CD or DVD? (so non-AresOne user could use it)

Broadway is available for free on www.aros-broadway.de. A physical disc is not planed. Buyers of an AresOne will get a CD-R with Broadway as free bonus.

- AMC is your project for an Amiga Media Center. Why did you choose to do this kind of application?

Well everything I do, I do for me :-). I thought about how we could get others interested in Amiga/AROS and I made a list of missing thinks. Printing, video editing, Media Center, drivers and games. As I had a todo-list I made an public job offer but without much effort. Now on Aros-exec I asked about a GUI for MPlayer and a user, you know him as Nikolaos, suggested me to ask Fabio (Hollywood master) Falcucci. BAM! It worked. Fabio was excited about this idea because we could fill a gap in Amiga-land. AMC is a big thing. We are in talk with many Amiga-related partners to bundle it with their hardware also. And I will sell another hardware "Ares Media Center" to people outside our Amiga-world based on BroadwayCE (based on a striped down AROS-kernel), The idea is to offer BroadwayCE + AMC to other companies which produce media devices. 1/3 of the royalty would go direct in the AROS fund on power2people.org and 2/3 would be for AMC. Just a try, we can't loose anything.

- What are the features of AMC? Which external software are used?

I showed version 0.56c on the Amiga Event in Essen which had slideshow, image browsing, Web-TV, video payback and TMDb included. The final version will have also:
  • Plug-In support for 3rd party and our own one's (we thought for example about UAE and DOSBOX-launcher).
  • Audio playback.
  • Web-TV recording/timeshift (you can record and watch another clip at the same time).
  • Full remote support.
  • and more but still secret...
AMC is based on Hollywood and it will come for AROS, AmigaOS and MorphOS but a Windows/Mac version could come too. AMC calls wget and MPlayer. We got officially the right to access the TMDb. We hope they will add AMC to there page, this is good public relations for all Amiga systems. TMDb is used to get information about your movies and downloads posters/covers which can be shown as thumbnails whlie browsing through your library.

- When will it be available?

Gives us at least 1,5 or lets say 2 months for polishing and maybe changing the layout here and there.

- We can see in one of your video on your website (and YouTube) the AmigaTrinity project. What is it exactly?

AmigaTrinity is just my concept of supporting all three parts of the whole Amiga family. AMC is the first step. App-browser is the next one. It will come also for all three systems and will include a appstore to merge the three small markets to one less small. I hope we get all some nice apps/games from Indie companies. Good examples are Gish, Aquaria, LugaruHD. Also it will be a essential part of Broadway since I don't put all free software in it, the user could download them easely with App-browser if he misses one. A first and quite old concept sketch can be seen here : home.arcor.de/phoenixkonsole/app-browser1.pdf.

Another part of AmigaTrinity is that I will provide all Hyperion (AmigaOS 4), MorphOS, x86 based, custom, machine in the future and a codebase to start with. AROS and MOS will share at some point more than you could imagine.

- Do you think if all the current Amiga communities (AROS, MorphOS, AmigaOS 4, Classic, emulation) get together, they could create a viable economic market?

Yes! You can't imagine how much german ex-amigans wrote me a mail and asked how things are working. The interest is still there. And the existing Amiga community is relative big but splited over many countries. A dedicated central market (App-browser) will make thing better for coders and customers. Well and for retailers for which we will have room for in app adverts. The money they pay will be used for hosting and funding the AROS fund, Amiga or MorphOS bounties (depends on the percental use of App-browser).

- You were at the Amiga Event Essen the 24th of july. What were the reactions of people about your AresOne/Broadway?

They where great, all positive, non of the visitors had any critic. This gives energy for doing more. But in the end only money counts :).

Some people told me it has the feeling of a Mac but also Amiga. Well yes, this is good because we must try at some point to get more new users from other fractions. They should not miss to much. The new AresOne was shown in the lowcost version but I had a medley of my YouTube clips with me so I could show more options. People liked the expendability. And it made fun just to reboot the system, because it is fast ;). A nice person from belgium talked with me about Audio Evolution, which was shown also and video editing. I told them that the first customers of the AresOne will get a license of Audio Evolution for free. I bought six. One for me and one goes already to France make still four licenses. I try to make a deal with DiscreetFX about Aladdin 4D to establish the AresOne as AROS workstation. The Amiga Event made fun. Also interesting was to get contact to the MorphOS Team and to see Trevor Dickinson (AresOne and iMica customer, BTW). I know things I'm not allowed to speak about. :)

AresOne

- You said "all profits I gain go back to AROS funding and more projects". What projects do you support? How much money did you give for the moment?

This question forces me to give info about my business ;). Ok, lets say I paid 5 times more than I got for now. Ok I made some donations to power2people.org (Pascal.P).

I gave hardware away. I donated to Claus Desler everytime I sold a machine + a bonus from my person. I donated to Paolo everytime + a bonus from my person.

And the author of FryingPan got money for a bunch of licenses and gets soon again something. I hope he updates it soon as he planed. BTW, I'm sure that I said to give at least 25% and the truth is I give all + bonus :). If you count the time in I spend and I would calculate this with a normal day for a engineer (my job), OMG. It makes fun and I do it also for me because I like to have things other don't (eccentric).

- Now some more generic questions about AROS : currently, what are the strengths of AROS compared to other Amiga systems? And compared to other non-Amiga systems?

Compared to other Amiga systems we have some more modern and faster things. Take Gallium as example. Wi-Fi is expected to be ready in September. AROS works on cheap hardware and we have two good distribution full of free apps. It's the power of freedom, the power of a enthusiastic and creative community. From the user for the user.

Compared to other OS, AROS is just the fastest booting OS (with the right hardware). It has the classic feeling but gives modern opportunities. It is free like Linux but not as hard to control for the user. Just a lightweight. But to be honest we still have a long way before we can stand up against the big ones. As soon more commercial apps are released and Wi-Fi works, as printing on non PostScript printers, we can compare them again.

- In your opinion, what are the priorities in the development for AROS? And which features/applications you would like to see in futures versions?

First, we must reach the goal for ABI v1. Full AmigaOS 3.1 and partially 3.5/3.9 source code compatibility. Then I will switch this year with Broadway from AROS32 to AROS64.

The 32Bit version will not get obsolete because of Up2date and the App-browser. But my main work will be Broadway 64. Someone must start and as soon people see that 64Bit is running well and brings a bit + we should use what we have. Then the time may come where the first bits of memory protection in the 64Bit version will be expanded.

My attempt is to have a solution to run 32Bit AROS-apps on AROS 64Bit (sandbox).

What I want is a driver for PCI/USB TV cards (good for AMC too), a video-editor, a port of ffmpeg-x (GUI), OWB with HTML5 and Flash via plugin. If someone reads this and would like to help, feel free to contact me (ADC is waiting aros-broadway.de/page2/page2.html).

- Currently, who are the key people in the AROS scene? (who and what they do). Is Aaron Digulla still concerned by AROS?

Good question, I must say that I don't know what Aaron Digulla is doing in the moment.

Key people is hard to specify because if you follow what happened in the last 6 months you would see that every day came a new thing and from many different people. I try to tell some but the list is far longer :
  • Well, we have Stephen Jones for public relations and initiating the HD Audio driver, Catweazel driver, Intel graphic driver.
  • We have Terminillis (not much said but important) who works on printing. He brought us a2ps, copytopar (USB support) and work in the background on more big things. He also bumped the Wi-Fi bounty up to 2000 euros.
  • We have Nick "Kalamatee" Andrews which works solo on Wanderer and brought as backdrop and listed-view.
  • We have Frank Charlet who brought us the RTL8169 device.
  • We have Krzysztof "Deadwood" Smiechowicz who brought us Gallium and a nearly perfect 2D nVidia driver. He helped us also with MPlayer for AMC.
  • Paolo Besser who brought us Icaros Desktop and many new user and devs.
  • Fabio Falcucci is essential too... he brought us applications like LookHere, AMC and will work further with me.
  • (Ahh the list is long!).
  • Neil Cafferkey worked and works on S-ATA support and brings us Wi-Fi soon.
  • Pavel Fedin is working on our graphic subsystem and enhanced it a lot.
  • Staf Verhaegen is doing mostly unrecognized but important kernel stuff and pushes AROS to the ABI V1 direction.
  • Matthias Rustler is important too.
You know what? Everyone is a part of the family, every user on AROS Exec is nice and brings his thought into the game. And everyone is welcome. Big "thank you" to all involved and all user for their feedback.

- Is AROS can run on Mac x86?

Yes it can but not on all : aros-exec.org/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4793&forum=24&post_id=43657#forumpost43657.

- What about memory protection, SMP, and 64 bit support in AROS?

Oh, I talked about this before... SMP is no option for now the timeline has no end. May come at some point. First ABI v1 and 64Bit than the rest. It maybe that even OpenCL could be come earlier than SMP (don't know).

- Where do you see AROS in 5 years?

In your pocket, on your PC, on your Netbook, on your Media Center, in your car, in your bank-terminal. :)

Just kidding. AROS in 5 years is 64Bit, could be the base of MorphOS x86. Producing 1% of the Internet traffic. Financed by the AROS fund which has then a monthly income of 3000 euros.

- Do you think AROS have the "Amiga Spirit"?

Sure, don't forget that for now the goal is to reach AmigaOS 3.1 source code compatibility. And we are looking to get as much Amiga programs ported over as possible. Hell, yes!

- What do you think about others Amiga NG systems?

Sam is nice but cost more than my AresOne and a iMica. Otherwise it is the only AmigaOS 4.1 hardware until the release of the AmogaOne X1000. For AmigaOS users it's a good choice. A Sam with AROS+AMC would be cheap too. ;)

The AmigaOne X1000 is hard to decribe for me. It depends on what you are looking for. If you are eccentric and you have the money well really kicking as machine! But if you have a limited budget for your hobby it is just a bad idea. It's sad and I was a bit shocked as short after the release of the AresOne someone announced the X1000 and the price target... ouch! I hoped to make a sign with the AresOne but is wasn't seen. I wish them luck because it is targeted to a market where people have not much money, are loosing jobs and so on. Hard times for customers, hard times for retailers. Maybe "Martha" could be the future after the X1000. I talked to DCE in Oberhausen (Germany), about "Martha" and a prototype would cost nearly the same as an X1000. I just repeat this sentence as often as possible - hopefully they read it. And think in two years about it. Also we should think about emulation of PowerPC hardware using a patched Dolphin emulator. Otherwise the X1000 is made by people with big love for the Amiga and I honor this move and the risk they are taking on their shoulders. Good luck.

- There are people who use MorphOS or AmigaOS as their main system, but it seems there are not yet AROS only users. Do you think this could happen one day?

I'm doing only video editing on my Mac and use CAD apps... everything else is made with my AROS computer.

I think yes because if I think about my wife which is only consuming not working I'm sure.

What we can reach quick is the point to serve all consumer-users like 70% of the Apple crowd. If we get a clean support for HTML5 and Flash we are ready. Cinnamon Writer gets an update soon with additional support and functions. Printing will be better and we have SCANdal (scanning application). Web-Cam support is in talk. Wi-Fi as mentioned before is coming too. I forgot to talk about virtualization on AROS which could solve this really quick. QEMU, Kqemu could bring us Windows nearly in fullspeed under AROS. Possibilities are there. So, I say: Yes we can!

- Do you think PowerPC is a dead end? Do you plan to support non-x86 AROS?

Sorry but yes. I used until 1999 a PC, then I switched to PowerPC and VirtualPC from Connectix. In 2008 I switched to a Mac Book Pro. It is absolutely irrational to use a special, expensive and not equally fast CPU for a damn small community which has not the budget to buy it. On the Amiga Event in Essen someone told me that even the MorphOS Team said they will stop using PowerPC in 2013. We will see [finally, this statement was untrue, MorphOS Team don't plan to leave the PowerPC].

Yes I will support PowerPC with BroadwayCE and I make one (!) release of Broadway for Sam and one for PowerPC-hosted. But I can't maintain them because I have no time. It will be a gift to the community and someone may contact me to maintain Broadway PowerPC further. If there will be interest I would like to help to get Hollywood ported to AROS PowerPC.

This would give ACube the option to sell Sam+AROS+AMC. More I can't do. I talked with Andreas Falkenhahn (the author of Hollywood) and he told me that he would port it for around 2000 euros or the equivalent amount of Hollywood orders.

- The 13th of July, in a thread on AmigaWorld.net, you indicate you "have a solution to run PowerPC code" on PC. Could you say more about it?

The MorphOS guys showed a patched QEMU running MorphOS some years ago. It is just slow and reached the speed of an Efika 5200B (even a bit slower). My suggestion is to use Dolphin, would need some love too from a coder to give the emulated Wii more RAM and VRAM. This is the fastest PowerPC emulator existing. What would be still needed is a port of AmigaOS and or MorphOS to the emulated Wii. Even if the changes to the Dolphin code has to be made public, both companies could still control on which computers their OS runs (to obtain a license). An encrypted keyfile in BIOS would be enough. And the "new" AresOne can load BIOS files from USB and CD.

- Is your solution could integrate MorphOS or AmigaOS 4? Will it be free?

Well as long as I get no support from Hyperion/MorphOS Team and no port, it is just impossible. The emulation had to be free but a license fee had to be paid for the BIOS file, to ensure that no pirated copies could be run on every PC out there.

- Do you anything to add? A message for the Amiga community?

I wish all involved companies and groups another nice 25 years with the Amiga. We should work together as much as possible. It is not about MorphOS vs AROS vs AmigaOS, it should be MorphOS/AROS/AmigaOS vs. the world! Fanboys are great supporters but you should know that all people behind the three systems are respecting the work of the others! Users should try this too. And please just try to thrill your friends about your operating system.


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