Comments From Dave Haynie on the Current Situation

The following is an informal email interview conducted with Dave Haynie, Amiga Hardware Guru-Daddy, formerly of Commodore. The interview was conducted by Brian Sorli sorli@clas.ufl.edu of the Gainesville Amiga Networking Group. Brian was nice enough to share the interview with The Amiga Web Directory and its users.

Subject: Haynie joins AT team
From: Dave Haynie
Reply-To: Dave Haynie
Date: Wed, 22 May 1996 11:07 EDT

: Heh.... Can you clear up a few things about what is going on and what you
: are involved with?

Sure.

: 1. Pios - a new company born from the ashes of the old and new Amiga
: groups. Does Pios exist and how are you involved?

I guess pios officially became a company on the 15th. I'm working under contract as their hardware guru, much in the same capacity as when I contracting for Amiga Technologies.

: 2. Viscorp - alot of speculation about this company. Supposidly held a
: conference in France on 5/19 - not sure myself - we have heard
: nothing.

I gather there was a conference on the 19th, but it was under NDA. I've only heard rumors of what went on. Last I heard, VIScorp is supposed to be making major announcements tommorrow (May 23, my birthday).

: Are you in communication with Viscorp and will Pios and Viscorp work
: together?

Yes, and I hope so. I have e-talked with a few of the folks I know at VIScorp, but they couldn't really say much. The pios strategy is really counting on the AmigaOS, since that's the enabling OS for low end multimedia systems (pios may offer other OSs on their standard PPCP machine, just because that's easy to do and may let us have product before the PowerAmiga OS is done). I'm hoping VIScorp is open to collaboration on this. The one thing we definitely don't want is a fragmented AmigaOS -- there has to be one API, one binary standard, etc.

: 3. Phase 5 - I guess they just got sick of waiting for Amiga Technologies
: to make the right moves.

Perhaps, AT did take too long to start on the Power Amiga stuff (it didn't even start happening until late last November). I suspect everyone at AT was a victim of ESCOM's money problems, even back then (though we didn't know about them). I also think there's a little animosity on the part of phase 5 -- I think they were expecting more an embrace of their stuff from AT than they got. They do, apparently, have a simple way of running an AmigaOS emulator on a PPC with native graphics support, though they didn't have anything ready to show last February. Since Andy and I were advising AT, we insisted in doing things right. Their approach on the software front is kind of a hack, and on the hardware front it's just too much like the old Commodore; at best, they'll wind up with interesting, non-standard, and overpriced machines that can't keep up with the rapid changes in the industry. Computing in the 90s is radically different than it was in the 80s or 70s. Things have just gotten more complicated. Chips are far more complex to design, so you need larger volumes to make them practical at all, and they might last only 1/2-1/4 as long in the market as their equivalents of 10 years ago. IC processes have gotten exponentially more expensive, to the point that only the top IC makers in the world have state-of-the-art fabs, and even these guys are having to get together on the next generation fabs.

: It is ovious Phase5 has big plans for the future Power Amiga and
: alot to do with bringing the Power Amiga into existence.

The real question I have about phase 5's plan, all practical bits aside, is this: will they sell you a Power Amiga, or a PhasePower system that, oh-by-the-way runs Amiga 68K binaries. They're talking about writing their own "advanced" OS as the native PPC part, and they're letting the 68K emulator hook into some bits, like their graphics subsystem. That's not the same thing as a real AmigaOS port, and I don't think the Amiga community can support multiple OSs -- an Amiga runs the AmigaOS, and only the owner of that (presumable VIScorp) gets to say just what that is and isn't.

Not to mention the fact that it takes a long time to write a good OS. I know of three new OSs written by experienced OS people (rare, in these days of Microsoft dominance): Scala's MMOS, the 3DO OS, and the BeOS. Scala and 3DO took each took over three years for their OSs, and neither was intended as a general purpose personal computer OS. Be's OS work started five years ago, and they're still clearly in the beta testing phase (with some modules not out of alpha yet). Either phase 5 is adpoting some other, unnamed OS, stealing the AmigaOS, offering up an ugly hack, or they're not shipping any new OS in 1997.

: The Pios homepage mentioned that Pios was planning on working with
: anyone and everyone to achieve the ultimate goal -- bringing the
: ultimate Power Amiga to life.

Absolutely.

: Are there any plans for Pios, Viscorp, Amiga Technologies, and
: Phase5 working together on this effort?

Folks from pios and VIScorp are meeting to talk this week. Amiga Technologies, far as I can tell, is no longer a factor -- there are no technical folks left there. It's either a sales arm of VIScorp, a sales arm of ESCOM, or cancelled. It would be nice to get phase 5 to cooperate on the PowerAmigaOS, rather than going their own way, but I don't know if they will or not.

: We meet at the Amiga Atlantic Banquet back in February...

You mean the Amiga Atlanta Banquet in January?

: and I remember how knowledgeable and upfront you were with me and
: everyone you spoke with.

Well, with all we've been through, the last thing the Amiga community needs is more bullshit. So I try to tell it like I see it, at least as far as any NDAs permit.

: P.S. If Pios plans on working with the other groups mentioned above -
: everyone would benefit from this knowledge. Get the word out as soon as
: possible.

All of pios supports this kind of cooperation. Not that we have all that many people yet :-).

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