After two years of work, Debian m68k has working build servers, and is slowly working through the backlog of stale packages. "Contrary to some rumours which I've had to debunk over the years, the m68k port did not go into limbo because it was kicked out of the archive; instead, it did because recent versions of glibc require support for thread-local storage, a feature that wasn't available on m68k, and nobody with the required time, willingness, and skill set could be found to implement it. This changed a few years back, when some people wrote the required support, because they were paid to do so in order to make recent Linux run on ColdFire processors again. Since ColdFire and m68k processors are sufficiently similar, that meant the technical problem was solved. However, by that time we'd fallen so far behind that essentially, we needed to rebootstrap the port all over again. Doing that is nontrivial, and most of the m68k porters team just didn't have the time or willingness anymore to work on this; and for a while, it seemed like the m68k port was well and truly dead." The tales of acquiring the needed hardware are pretty interesting (one machine is an Amiga in a custom tower case).
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Amiga Trombone writes "Christopher Stringer is one of the world's foremost paleoanthropologists. He is a founder and most powerful advocate of the leading theory concerning our evolution: Recent African Origin or 'Out of Africa.' He now calls the theory into question: 'I'm thinking a lot about species concepts as applied to humans, about the "Out of Africa" model, and also looking back into Africa itself. I think the idea that modern humans originated in Africa is still a sound concept. Behaviorally and physically, we began our story there, but I've come around to thinking that it wasn't a simple origin. Twenty years ago, I would have argued that our species evolved in one place, maybe in East Africa or South Africa. There was a period of time in just one place where a small population of humans became modern, physically and behaviourally. Isolated and perhaps stressed by climate change, this drove a rapid and punctuational origin for our species. Now I don't think it was that simple, either within or outside of Africa.'"
angry tapir writes "Icaros Desktop is an effort to build a modern Amiga-compatible operating system to standard x86 hardware. It's a distribution built atop AROS, which is an open source effort to create a system compatible at the API level with the AmigaOS 3.x series. I recently had a chat to the creator of Icaros, Paolo Besser, about the creation of the OS and why Amiga continues to inspire people today."
An anonymous reader writes "The 20th International Obfuscated C Code Contest apparently has the turbo button pressed, as the source code has been published in only two months, versus almost four years of the 19th contest. As we discussed in February, the judges' verdicts are in: the Best of Show entry comes from Don Yang with a program containing more programs. Some other entries winning this year are a text raytracer (used this year in IOCCC logo), a MOD player, a X11-based dual player tank shooter and a bouncing ball (Amiga-style) with ANSI escape sequences. Remember that every IOCCC entry has a limit of 4 kilobytes, so indeed every one is pretty impresive."
New submitter inhuman_4 passes along this quote from an article at Wired: "Last December, Microsoft scored a victory when the ITC Administrative Law Judge Theodore R. Essex found that Motorola had violated four Microsoft patents. But the ruling could also eliminate an important Microsoft software patent that has been invoked in lawsuits against Barnes & Noble and car navigation device-maker Tom Tom. According to Linus Torvalds, he was deposed in the case this past fall, and apparently his testimony about a 20-year-old technical discussion — along with a discussion group posting made by an Amiga fan, known only as Natuerlich! — helped convince the Administrative Law Judge that the patent was invalid."
crookedvulture writes "Commodore has revealed the Amiga mini, a small-form-factor system that runs a custom Linux distro dubbed Commodore OS Vision. A trailer for the OS hardly inspires confidence, and the rest of the system doesn't help. While the Amiga mini features a high-end Intel desktop CPU and modern conveniences like Blu-ray, USB 3.0, and 802.11n Wi-Fi, it's stuck with one of the slowest graphics chips Nvidia makes. Some of the other specifications are head-scratchers, too. The mini comes with a whopping 16GB of RAM but only a terabyte of storage. You'll have to pay extra to get an SSD, which makes the $2500 asking price particularly onerous. The case, Blu-ray drive, and power supply are being made available separately, but at $345, they're hardly a bargain. Add this to the list of nostalgia-baiting remakes that don't live up to their inspiration." Update: It looks like Commodore has dropped the price after receiving a lot of negative feedback.
An anonymous reader writes "News from the world of AmigaOS that the Beta version of Timberwolf (a.k.a. Firefox) was made available last month." Timberwolf is a port of Firefox to the AmigaOS (the name change is for similar reasons to Debian's use of Iceweasel name) and has been under development for quite some time. The AmigaBounty project page has screenshots and even more info for those interested. There's a video of the browser in action, but beware of the cheesy soundtrack.
A few weeks back, you asked gaming-world academic and game designer Ian Bogost questions from the business, philosophical, and aesthetic sides of gaming; below, find his responses. Thanks, Ian!
Leif_Bloomquist writes "The Toronto PET Users Group (TPUG) is pleased to announce the World of Commodore 2011. TPUG would like to invite everyone to join us for a weekend of all things Commodore. There will be information about and displays of a variety of Commodore computers, demonstrations of new hardware and software projects using Commodore equipment, screenings of Commodore related videos, vendors selling the latest hardware and software available for Commodore computers as well as classic hardware, accessories, applications, games and much more."
quanticle writes "20 years ago today, Bram Moolenaar released vim to the public. From the article:'The Vim text editor was first released to the public on November 2, 1991—exactly 20 years ago today. Although it was originally designed as a vi clone for the Amiga, it was soon ported to other platforms and eventually grew to become the most popular vi-compatible text editor. It is still actively developed and widely used across several operating systems.' Share your vim stories and your tales of battles with emacs users."
An anonymous reader writes with a report that an employee of Hyperion Entertainment has disclosed (but not officially announced) that there is a new portable computer with the Amiga name on it in the works, quoting: "Supposedly, the new netbook Amiga is will be 'sourced in a special configuration from an OEM.' The manufacturer in question is, just like the price tag, the launch date and the hardware specifications, currently unknown paving the way for further speculation and rumors. The netbook Amiga will set a mark in computer history as the first portable Amiga to see the light of the day since the Amiga 1000 was introduced to the U.S. market in 1985."
ChipMonk writes "Over at hobbyist site OS News, editor-in-chief Thom Holwerda published a highly skeptical opinion of the announcement of Commodore USA's own Amiga line. Within hours, Commodore USA sent a takedown notice to OS News, demanding a retraction of the piece and accusing the site of libel and defamation. What's funny is that the takedown notice was mostly copied, with minor edits, from Chilling Effects, a site dedicated to publicizing attempts at squelching free speech. The formatting, line breaks, obtuse references to 'OCGA,' and even the highlighted search terms were left largely intact."
the_arrow writes "As a celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Amiga computer, Hyperion Entertainment has made a video using the Gource CVS visualization software showing a time-compressed version of 25 years of Amiga development, from the early days of AmigaOS 1.0 to the present. Personal commentary added by one of the current core full-time AmigaOS developers, Hans-Joerg Frieden (a.k.a. 'Rogue')."
retsamxaw reminds us that yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Amiga. "[The Amiga] debuted to rave reviews and great expectations — heck, InfoWorld said it might be the 'third milestone' in personal computing after the Apple II and the IBM PC. ... Commodore was a famously parsimonious outfit, but it splurged on the Amiga's introduction. The highlight of that Lincoln Center product launch was a demo in which pop art legend Andy Warhol used an Amiga to 'paint' Blondie's Debbie Harry. The exercise didn't prove much of anything other than that Warhol was able to use the paint program's fill command, but it was heady stuff... Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings — most notably OS/2 and Linux... But Amiga nuts of the 1980s and early 1990s... remain the ultimate fanboys, even though it hadn't yet occurred to anyone to hurl that word at computer users."
An anonymous reader writes "We're happy to announce the availability of the first alpha release of Timberwolf, the AmigaOS port of the popular Firefox browser. Timberwolf needs AmigaOS 4.1 Update 2 installed. Please read the documentation for information about usage and limitations. This is an alpha release, meaning it will have a lot of problems still, and be slower than it should be. We are releasing it as a small 'Thank you' to all those that have donated in the past to show that development is still going on. Timberwolf is available on os4depot.net. For further information and feedback, check the Timberwolf support forum on amigans.net."
Orion Blastar writes "While many Amiga users have moved on to Linux, Mac OS X, and even, gasp shock, Microsoft Windows, some of us don't want to give up so easily. There are two open source projects that are keeping the Amiga legacy alive even if Amiga Inc. seems to be deader than a doornail and not really doing much but selling old Classic Amiga games for new platforms. Like WINE, there was a project to run AmigaOS 3.1 software for Linux and other platforms, but it evolved instead into an open source operating system named Amiga Research OS, or AROS. AROS is best run inside an emulator, and while it is not a modern OS like Linux, it can be downloaded and run inside of Linux (and the downloads section has more). While it is not ready for prime time yet, it is a promising OS that is being ported to many platforms and uses the user friendly Amiga GUI we Amiga users grew up with." Read on for more.
HKcastaway writes "Amiga Inc and Hyperion Entertainment announced a settlement over ownership and licensing over AmigaOS 4.0 and future versions. Since the bankruptcy of Commodore, Amiga's history has been littered with lawsuits that have affected the development of Amiga hardware and software. Having a lawsuit-free OS probably will help a great deal to the continuity and recovery of the Amiga heritage. Hyperion also provides AmigaOS SDKs for developers.'
physburn writes "Somewhere in a triangle between Roswell (UFO) NM, Albuquerque (Left Turn) NM, and Amarillo (Do you know the way?) TX, a 22.5 square mile triangle of High Temperature Superconductor pipeline is to be built. Each leg of the triangle can carry 5GW of electricity. The purpose to load-balance and sell electricity between America's three power grids. Previously the Eastern Grid, Western Grid and Texan Grid have been separate, preventing cheap electricity being sold from one end of America to the other. The Tres Amiga Superstation, as it is to be called, will finally connect the three grids. The superstation is also designed to link renewable solar and wind power in the grids, and is to use HTS wire from American Superconductor. Some 23 years after its invention, today HTS comes of age. "
Amiga Trombone writes "An article in the IEEE Spectrum argues that the rate of technological progress has slowed in the last 50 years. While there have been advances in areas such as computers, communications and medicine, etc., the author points out that these advances have largely been incremental rather than revolutionary. He contrasts the progress made within the life-span of his grandmother (1880-1960) with that in his own (1956-present). Having been born the year after the author, I've noticed this, too. While certainly we've produced some useful refinements, little of the technology available today would have surprised me much had I been able to encounter it in 1969. While some of it has been implemented in surprising ways, the technology itself had largely been anticipated."