The Champaign-Urbana Computer Users Group

The Status Register - October, 1999

This newsletter will never appear on CUCUG.ORG before the monthly CUCUG meeting it is intended to announce. This is in deference to actual CUCUG members. They get each edition hot off the presses. If you'd like to join our group, you can get the pertinent facts by looking in the "Information About CUCUG" page. If you'd care to look at prior editions of the newsletter, they may be found via the Status Register Newsletter page.
News     Common     Mac     Amiga     CUCUG

October 1999

To move quickly to an article of your choice, use the search feature of your reader or the hypertext directory above. Enjoy.

October News:

The October Meeting

The next CUCUG meeting will be held on our regular third Thursday of the month: Thursday, October 21st, at 7:00 pm, at the Bresnan Community Center. Directions to the Bresnan are on the back of this newsletter.

The October 21 meeting will be one of our split SIG meetings. The Macintosh SIG will literally be playing games. The Amiga SIG will be discussing and/or playing with whatever members bring in. The WinSig will be investigating the topic of batch files under the expert tutelage of Jim Lewis. Come and enjoy the evening.


Welcome New Members

We'd like to welcome our newest members, joining us in the last month: Robert E. Meintzer (A500/3000), Michael Jackson (A500/1200, ClonePC), Michael Nielsen (A4000, ClonePC), Dave Bush (A2000), Niels Peter Frandsen (A500/1200/2000/4000, ClonePC), Paul Matthews (A1200/4000,), Adam Andrus (Powerbook, PowerMac), Guillaume Guittenit (A1200), R. Paul Skeehan (PowerMac), David Peel (Amiga), and Michael Gaines (PowerMac).

We welcome any kind of input or feedback from members. Have an article or review you'd like to submit? Send it in. Have a comment? Email any officer you like. Involvement is the driving force of any user group. Welcome to one of the best.


WinSig group to merge with CUCUG

by Dave Witt

For the past year and a half or so, a group of ex-Amiga users, who have converted to Windows based machines, have been holding a small meeting each month. These meetings consisted mainly of different software and hardware demos for Win-Tel equipment.

Some examples were: How to convert your CD collection to MP3; Which is the best software to use for scanning pictures into digital format for email transfer and storage; Which is the best software package to use for backing up information to CD; and which is the best software to make audio CDs. Other topics included "issues" with the OS we have all come to know and "love".

With the demise of the Amiga computer, it has been decided to merge WinSig into CUCUG. The vote occurred at the August meeting, with the majority of those present voting "Aye". The new addition will be called the WinSig of CUCUG. WinSig will follow the same rules of induction as the Mac Sig did, namely initially using a machine kindly on loan from Dave Witt, planning (and conducting) future programs and generally being self-sufficient. Jim Lewis will be the WinSig Chairman, and Dave Witt will be the editor for the WinSig portion of the Status Register.

For the October meeting, Jim Lewis will be doing a tutorial on his infamous batch files. The November meeting will consist of Bill Zwicky doing Emulators for Windows, concentrating on UAE, the Amiga emulator for Windows. As always, the December meeting will consist of the elections for the CUCUG board.

Our goal is to build local membership by bringing WinSig into the club. If you are interested in joining (or just curious), please feel free to come to the monthly meeting at the Bresnan Center, or call Dave Witt at (217) 684-2815, or Jim Lewis at (217) 359-1342 with any questions that you may have about the new SIG.


OS3.5 to be shipped soon? For how long?

The Amiga Inc. web site has stated that "The long awaited Amiga OS3.5 will be shipped to the dealers and distributors worldwide, starting October 18. To order, please contact your local dealer."

Rumors had it that the OS3.5 shipment might be in doubt as Haage & Partner had yet to complete an agreement for the new GUI library portion of 3.5 (Reaction), but Markus Nerding of Haage & Partner states, "The delivery of AmigaOS 3.5 to dealers starts on Monday, 18th October, 1999. Rumors about a delay caused by legal problems is not correct. Due to the many pre-orders it might one to two weeks to carry out all orders. Thank you very much for your patience!"

Responding to questions more on the new OS itself, Olaf Barthel says that while OS 3.5 doesn't implement +4GB support in ROM (obviously, since no new ROM has been implemented), both the filing system and the scsi.device driver will support it. Olaf also said that some of the new operating system features are not supported by the current version of DirOpus Magellan, but that DirOpus still works. MagicMenu also seems to work properly. And, in the great Amiga tradition, Olaf has confirmed that there will be "easter eggs" (hidden messages) tucked away in the AmigaOS 3.5 update.

Looming in the background of all this, however, is the fate of Amiga International itself. Known personel have been departing from the company on a regular basis since the "Gateway Garroting" of Amiga last month. We appear to be on our way back to "Petro with a pushcart".


Aminet Back Online

10/14/99 - According to Matthias Scheler, AmiNet Administrator, the main Aminet site, located in Paderborn, Germany, is working again. The mirror sites can now begin to poll the main Aminet site again so everything should be back to normal soon for the Aminet network.

The reason for the several week outage was that the main site had been hacked and had to be reinstalled from scratch.


The Indianapolis Show (10/8-10/99)

by Ron Schwartz (, AmiTech Dayton

I and four others from AmiTech Dayton attended the show and had a booth. The facility, a National Guard Armory was nice and there was a lot of space so things were not crowded and it was easy to get to, only about a minute or two off I-70.

Unfortunately, whether it is the current situation with Amiga, inadequate publicity for the show, lousy weather, or what, the show was very poorly attended. What I heard was that they only had 60 paid admissions. I know they also had exhibitors pull out at the last minute or just no-show, Iwin being one of the latter, but I'm sure many of you will feel that's no surprise.

Those of us that were there had a great time, though. Among other things, since most of us were not that busy, it gave us a chance to just get together and just talk with several of the vendors, much more so than we do at the other shows.

Unfortunately, one of the no-shows was Don Hicks from Amazing Computing, since he was supposed to be the keynote speaker for the banquet, as well as an exhibitor. I didn't go to the banquet, but I understand that Bob Sharp spoke a bit and they showed the video tapes that Amazing is selling.

It's really too bad things turned out as they did because, if all the exhibitors and a good sized crowd had come it would have been a really nice show. As I said before, those of us that were there did have a good time and will try to help them if they are brave enough to try and do it again next year.

To those who were asking about the show beforhand, I apologize that I didn't notice that the ARCUG release didn't have a date and add it myself.

Becoming a professional show goer,

Ron Schwartz
AmiTech Dayton


Voyager prerelease 4 available

The public prerelease version of the Voyager V3 web browser for the Amiga is available. Check for more informations."


Netscape Communicator 4.7 Released


Despite focusing most of their efforts on Netscape Communicator 5.0, Netscape Communications has released Netscape Communicator 4.7. Changes are generally minor, with one useful but undocumented new feature: if you Command-Option-click a link, Communicator uses Internet Config settings to send the link to the appropriate application (such as FTP links to Anarchie, or mailto links to Eudora). Other changes include several security fixes, 56-bit DES encryption for both U.S. and international versions, and a Netscape Radio service that lets you listen to Internet radio stations. Communicator 4.7 requires a Power PC-based Macintosh running System 7.6.1 or later, and the full download is 12.9 MB. [ACE]


Faster Virtual PC 3.0 Shares Net Access


Connectix is now shipping Virtual PC 3.0, an upgrade to its program for running Microsoft Windows or other PC operating systems by emulating a Pentium processor (see "Virtual PC 2.0: Not Just a Minor Upgrade" in TidBITS-433_). The new version sports faster network and PC disk performance, USB support, the capability to share a single Internet connection between the Mac and the emulated PC, plus support for AppleScript and audio requiring SoundBlaster 16 hardware. To run Windows 98, Connectix recommends at least a PowerPC G3-based Macintosh running Mac OS 8.0 or later (Mac OS 9 needed for USB support under Windows 98) with 64 MB of RAM and 520 MB of hard disk space; the system requirements for running Windows 95 or PC DOS 2000 are less demanding. An upgrade to Virtual PC 3.0 for existing customers costs $44; otherwise, the program costs $180 with Windows 98 or $150 with Windows 95. Boxed upgrades should be available by the end of September; a 13 MB downloadable upgrade is available now. [JLC]


Linux plays games

From: CNET Dispatch (

In a clear indication that Linux is making inroads into the desktop market, computer gaming is becoming a reality on the upstart operating system. Loki Entertainment Software has entered into a partnership with gaming giant Activision, and Penguin computer yesterday announced it will sell a gaming-oriented Linux machine.


Microsoft Lambasts Linux

by Andy Patrizio, WIRED
8:35 a.m. 8.Oct.99.PDT

Microsoft has finally recognized Linux as a competitor.

The dominant operating system vendor posted Linux Myths on its Windows NT Server site, attempting to poke holes in commonly held Linux beliefs while touting the many ways in which Windows NT 4.0 Workstation and Server are, in Microsoft's view, superior.

The page zeroes in on five commonly espoused by the Linux faithful: That Linux outperforms NT, that it's more reliable than NT, that it's free, that it's more secure than NT, and that it can replace Windows on the desktop. Microsoft argues each point and uses benchmarks to back up some of its claims.

So why did Microsoft target Linux and not Solaris, the OS from established competitor Sun Microsystems?

"It's a very competitive market out there and you need to look at all the areas of competition," said Aubrey Edwards, group product manager in the business enterprise division at Microsoft. "There's a lot of interest around Linux and we need to compete."

"This makes it clear that Microsoft has decided it's time to get nasty with Linux," said Eric Troan, director of development at Red Hat, developer of one of the most popular Linux distributions. "Microsoft has obviously been concerned about Linux for a while, and we think it's kind of flattering for them to consider us a competitor and to be marketing against."

The purpose of the document was to provide data points of the technical merits of Windows NT and Linux, according to Edwards.

But the page begins to attack Linux in the second sentence: "First, it's worth noting that Linux is a Unix-like operating system. Linux fundamentally relies on 30-year-old operating system technology and architecture."

In its zeal to debunk Linux, Microsoft occasionally stretches things. For example, it points out that Linux lacks universal serial bus, plug and play, and power management. But it neglects to mention that the features are not native to Windows NT, either. Microsoft criticizes Linux for a lack of security. It fails to disclose that the US Army recently switched from an NT server to a Mac server because NT wasn't secure enough.

Troan said the Myths page is a mishmash of statements that aren't totally accurate, combined with selective editorializing. In some cases, he said, Microsoft simply ignores certain issues. For example, while Microsoft points out that Linux lacks a world-class journaling (error tracking) file system of its own, it fails to mention that SGI is porting its XFS file system to Linux. "There's a lot of facts they are missing which Microsoft certainly doesn't have any interest in promoting," Troan said.

"Sounds like they're pretty darn scared," said Mark Bolzern, CEO of WorkGroup Solutions, a developer of Web server software for Linux in Aurora, Colorado. "What is says is they see Linux as a competitor and they have to get into a FUD (fear, uncertainty, and doubt) campaign in a big way. That's a good thing."

Bolzern agreed with some of Microsoft's contentions, namely, that Linux has a way to go on the desktop, and that nothing in life is free, including operating systems.

Edwards says the page is not a direct attack, but simply points out the differences between Windows NT 4.0 and Red Hat Linux 6.0. The tests did not include the Linux 2.3.x kernel, which is the developer-release kernel that has all the new technologies like improved symmetric multiprocessing and USB.

The Linux legion responded in force on Slashdot's discussion board. Comments range from basic insults and flames to reasoned responses. "This only serves to polarize people further," posted one reader. "The Microsoft faithful will wave this around as proof of their beliefs and the Linux zealots will point to it as more proof that Microsoft is a nothing more than a hive of marketing droids who can lie better than they can write code."


Is Windows Stable?

A recent poll paraphrased from the August 9, 1999 issue of Sm@rt Reseller Magazine:

Question: The most stable version of Windows is:


Windows 2000          4%
Windows NT 3.x        4%
Windows 95           10%
Windows 98           11%
Windows NT 4.0       28% 

And the clincher:

None of these        43% 

Not exactly a ringing endorsement for Microsoft products from the people that have to sell and support them.


Earthquake shakes PC prices

From: CNET Dispatch (

The recent Taiwan earthquake may put the squeeze on holiday PC prices, analysts say. The ripple caused by supply shortages may hit starting in early November, and many say that right now might be the right time to buy.


'Errata' delay 500-MHz G4s

It looks like we won't see the 500-MHz version of Apple's Power Mac G4 until December at the earliest.

By Daniel Drew Turner,
October 9, 1999 10:49 AM PT

The top-of-the-line, 500-MHz version of Apple's Power Mac G4 -- originally scheduled to ship in October -- may be delayed past Apple's current November ETA because of outstanding performance issues, sources said.

Motorola's Semiconductor Product Sector in Austin, Texas, is reportedly working to resolve "errata" that affect its new G4 processor when run at speeds of 500MHz or higher. And according to Motorola's own schedule, a fix isn't due until December.

Motorola released Revision 2.2 of its G4 processor this summer, followed closely by Revision 2.6, which is shipping in the initial, 400-MHz version of the Power Mac G4. Sources said -- and Motorola's Technical Support Hotline confirmed -- that both revisions 2.2 and 2.6 contain errata that can be avoided only by keeping the processor speed below 500MHz.

Motorola tech support said that Revision 2.8 will fix this issue when it arrives in December.

Sources said that the problem -- which only arises when the G4 is run at speeds of 500MHz or higher -- can result in some corruption in the processor's data cache. Motorola's recommended workaround is to enable the "GlobalWaitR" register in the processor, which, while preventing the problem, slows timing throughout the chip.

Motorola's Technical Support Hotline confirmed both the existence of the errata and the workaround, which it acknowledged entails a "speed hit."

Although the G4 processors in shipping Power Mac G4s contain the errata, their sub-500-MHz speeds keep them from encountering the corruption problem, sources said.

Indeed, another source said, this issue might never evince itself in Macs, since the OS doesn't manipulate data rapidly enough to cause the problem; the glitch would more likely effect more-efficient embedded operating systems. Even if data corruption should occur, a source said, the result would be nothing more than a system freeze, easily fixed with a restart.

"That kind of errata isn't unusual for new ships from any manufacturer," said Keith Diefendorff, editor in chief of the Microprocessor Report in Sunnyvale, Calif. He said that Motorola's warnings don't necessarily portend serious problems: "Motorola, as a company, is relatively conservative, and they like to have everything perfect."

Sources said Apple is telling a somewhat different story to its resellers and customers. In a report to dealers last week, Apple reportedly noted "intermittent shortages" of the 400- and 450-MHz Power Mac G4 systems and listed an "expected" October ship date for the 500-MHz configuration. Sales staff at the Apple Store, by contrast, said the top-speed model will be available by the end of November.

Apple did not return telephone calls requesting comment.


Apple's chip shuffle upsets some customers

By Jim Davis, Staff Writer, CNET
October 14, 1999, 2:05 p.m. PT

Apple's earnings report yesterday is sparking a schizophrenic reaction today, with thumbs up from Wall Street and thumbs down from many customers angry about what amounts to a price increase on some Mac computers.

The good news for Apple was that the company managed to beat lowered analysts' estimates, posting net profits of $111 million for its fiscal fourth quarter of 1999, or earnings from operations of 51 cents per share.

What really cheered Wall Street, though, were Apple's moves to make sure the company can reduce a $700 million backlog in orders. The company said it will resolve a delay surrounding new versions of its Power Mac G4 systems by using processors that are slightly slower than originally planned. The 500-MHz system, for example, now will contain a 450-MHz chip, but sell at the same price.

The company only shipped 64,000 G4 systems during the quarter, less than half the number Apple had predicted, because of Motorola's inability to make enough of the fast versions of the processor. Apple also is enduring a shortage of iBook notebooks.

Fred Anderson, Apple's chief financial officer, said in a conference call that the company exited the quarter with an "extremely large" backlog of more than $700 million in orders representing some 400,000 units not shipped. A significant portion of those would be from iBook orders; the company said it has received 200,000 orders and only shipped out 6,000 units during the quarter, although that number has risen somewhat in the three weeks since the quarter's close.

Anderson said the company expects to fill most of that backorder by November, although iBook's will still be in short supply throughout the quarter. Anderson's response came in response to questions about whether or not Apple would be able to get product on the shelves in time for the Christmas selling season.

A number of financial analysts reiterated their optimistic view that Apple will be able to fulfill demand in the next quarter. Apple's stock closed today at 73.19, an increase of 14 percent over the previous day's close.

Customers who already ordered G4 systems shortly after the products were first announced, however, are steamed.

Apple surprised dealers and customers alike by canceling these orders and telling consumers that new Power Mac G4 systems would come with PowerPC G4 processors running at 350, 400, and 450 MHz, rather than with chips running at 400, 450, and 500 MHz. A G4 processor running at 500 MHz will not be available until the first calendar quarter of next year.

The product revision, however, did not come with a price cut. A customer that previously ordered a 450-MHz system for $2,499 would have to reorder a 450-MHz system and pay $350 more. Conversely, he can get a 400-MHz system, but at the price Apple originally planned to charge for the 450-MHz box.

During a conference call yesterday, Fred Anderson, Apple's chief financial officer, said Apple wasn't going to make more money because of the change. He told financial analysts: "We're not getting a windfall here because of the big increase in memory prices." Apple could not be reached for comment today.

Apple has initially told customers who bought from the Apple online store that their orders had been canceled; resellers too, have started calling customers to tell them of the changes in their orders.

Apple's stance is of little consolation to customers.

"If they had to reduce the speed for the whole line then at least they could have made a symbolic $100.00 reduction per unit. Whatever it [would have taken] out of the margin now is nothing to what it's taking out Apple's goodwill for some time to come," said one customer in an email to CNET

"Certainly it's not ethical to force backordered customers to reorder at a higher price and then go to the end of the line on the waiting list," said another on one Web site.

One reseller was a bit more circumspect in his response to the issue.

"Once customers get over their gut reaction, it boils down to whether they want the machine now or if they want a machine that's 50 MHz faster four months from now. Four months from now, there's always going to be a faster machine in this industry," the reseller said.

Apple aims to ease crunch

According to Apple, the whole problem started when it learned Motorola would be unable to ship enough of the 450- and 500-MHz chips used in Apple systems.

The company decided the only way to rectify the situation was to make sure that they had another chip supplier. Yesterday, Apple said IBM would join Motorola in supplying G4 chips.

Motorola declined to comment beyond what it said yesterday in a statement: "We are disappointed that we have not been able to meet all of Apple's demands to date and are working diligently to rapidly remedy the shortfall.

"We view IBM's licensing of Motorola's G4 processor for sale to Apple in the first half of next year as further endorsement of Apple's long-term strategic direction as a company."

The news doesn't represent a new commitment by IBM to develop new PowerPC chips for Apple's desktop computers--Motorola is essentially outsourcing production to IBM--but the move does have significant implications for Apple.

Aside from increasing the supply of chips for desktop computers, the move could help Apple as it puts the G4 chip in PowerBook notebooks sometime late next year.

Apple needs chips designed for use in notebooks, where heat dissipation and energy consumption are key issues. Although the G4 as it is currently designed does use less energy on average than the older G3 processor, its maximum power consumption means it is not well suited for use in notebooks, according to Motorola executives.

One way to solve the problem is to make the same chip in even smaller sizes, something that analysts say IBM excels at. Motorola also plans on making some internal changes to the design of the G4 next year that will make it better suited for use in notebooks.


After Motorola delays, Apple adds IBM as G4 supplier

By the SBN news staff
Semiconductor Business News
(10/14/99, 12:36:09 PM EDT)

CUPERTINO, Calif. - With Motorola Inc. unable to reach volume production of 500-MHz G4 PowerPC microprocessors, Apple Computer Inc. said Wedesday (Oct. 13) that it has reconfigured its Power Mac G4 computer series to match the availability of slower MPUs. Apple also said it plans to add IBM Corp. as a competing supplier of the powerful copper-based RISC chips in the first half of 2000.

Apple announced those moves while releasing results for its fiscal fourth quarter. The computer maker posted a net profit of $111 million on revenues of $1.34 billion vs. an income of $106 million on sales of $1.6 billion in the fourth quarter last year.

Earlier, Apple had warned that Motorola was experiencing delays in reaching volume production of the 500-MHz G4 processors. At the end of August, Apple unveiled its Power Mac G4 processor series, touting the performance of the computer's central processing unit, made by Motorola with its 0.18-micron copper process. The G4 chip is Motorola's first copper-based processor, called the MPC7400. It integrates a 128-bit vector-processing engine on the RISC chip.

Apple called the processor a "supercomputer on a chip." The architecture was jointly developed by Motorola and IBM while the two companies were partners with Apple in the Somerset PowerPC joint venture in Austin, Texas. Last year, the PowerPC partnership was dissolved by Motorola and IBM. Originally, IBM was not slated to produce the G4 chip with its copper processes, but now Apple will be buying G4 processors from Big Blue.

For the time being, Apple will sell 350-, 400- and 450-MHz versions of the PowerMac G4. "These new configurations will enable us to meet the tremendous demand for our new Power Mac G4 line," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim chief executive officer. "Fortunately, the machines remain very, very fast - easily outperforming Pentium III PCs."

Apple has priced a 450-MHz G4 computer at $3,499. The 350-MHz G4 computers will sell for $1,599 and the 400-MHz systems are priced at $2,499.


Apple to Honor Power Mac G4 Orders

CUPERTINO, CALIFORNIA - October 18, 1999 - Apple today announced it will honor all orders for its Power Macintosh G4 computers placed before Wednesday, October 13, at the originally quoted prices, including those placed with the Company's resellers which were accompanied by a purchase order, or a cash or credit card deposit.

"We aim to delight our customers, and we clearly dropped the ball in this instance. We apologize to our customers for upsetting and disappointing them during this past week," said Steve Jobs, Apple's interim CEO. "Our actions today will hopefully set things right. As the old business proverb says: Good companies make mistakes. Great companies fix them."

Customers who ordered the 400 MHz and 450 MHz models will receive their Power Mac G4 systems as ordered at the originally quoted prices. Customers who ordered the 500 MHz model, which has been delayed until early next year, will be offered a 450 MHz model at its originally quoted price. Since Wednesday, October 13, Apple has only taken orders for its reconfigured Power Mac G4 line which includes processors running at 350 MHz, 400 MHz and 450 MHz, priced at US$1,599, US$2,499 and US$3,499, respectively.


Apple details new iMacs, OS 9

By Jim Davis and Tom Dunlap
Staff Writers, CNET
October 5, 1999, 2:30 p.m. PT

CUPERTINO, California - Apple today unveiled three new iMac computers and demonstrated additional features in its Mac OS 9 software at an event here.

The new iMacs feature more powerful chips, more memory, bigger hard drives, and souped-up graphics chips, said interim chief executive Steve Jobs.

The basic version, featuring a 350-MHz G3 chip, will sell for $999. Jobs also announced a $400 rebate deal with CompuServe, meaning a new iMac can be purchased for $599 if a customer signs up for three years of Net access with CompuServe.

Jobs also touted a new, higher-end iMac, called the iMac DV. It features a DVD-ROM drive, 400-MHz G3 chip, and new iMovie software for creating movies on the desktop. It will sell for $1,299, Jobs said. An offshoot of this version is the iMac DV Special Edition, which features more memory and a larger hard drive for $1,499.

But will offering so many different types of iMacs and other systems confuse the buyer? One analyst said Apple has learned from the past and doesn't appear to be making that mistake again.

Prior to 1997, Apple's strategy was confusing, with too many different models on the market, said Daniel Kunstler, computer analyst with J.P. Morgan Securities.

The problem before 1997 "was poor marketing," he said. "The strategy then was about a whole lot of model numbers you threw up on a wall to see if they would stick. It was completely confusing."

Currently, Apple has four families of products, and it's clear where they fit, Kunstler said. Having several configurations of iMac may be diverging a little bit from their strategy, he said, but it doesn't signal a change in focus.

Other analysts reacted to Apple's renewed focus from the Microprocessor Forum in San Jose, California.

"Steve Jobs, as irritating a figure as he might be, has single handedly rescued the company from the abyss," said Keith Diefendorff, publisher of the Microprocessor Report. Diefendorff is a former employee of Apple, where he served as director of microprocessor architecture.

Referring to the original iMac, Jobs said, "This product has turned the industry upside down. It's been a landmark product, not just for Apple but for the whole industry."

Apple executives spent the first part of today's event detailing OS 9 changes. One new feature they focused on is the "key chain" function of the software, which acts as a master password and sets in motion all other passwords for accessing corporate networks, applications, and the Internet.

Mac OS 9 will be priced at $99 and will be available on October 23, Jobs said.

The new iMac and OS 9 demonstrations drew hearty applause from the Apple faithful at the Flint Center, an arena that has seen the launch of some of Apple's biggest products over the years.

Some supply concerns

The new iMacs come at a time when two other recently introduced Apple products are in short supply, say various resellers contacted by CNET The iBook notebook computer, introduced in July, was shipped to customers in September - as Apple promised - but only in limited quantities.

Until now, Apple had eschewed offering different configurations of the iMac, because the company wanted to remove the problem of managing parts inventory for different models. Apple can afford to target a broader portion of the consumer market while still managing production of five different colors.

After the launch of the original iMac, "We got a lot of feedback that one model probably couldn't serve everybody," said Jobs. "It's a way, I think, to give people more choice."

"A lot of folks wanted the lowest price possible, but a lot of other folks wanted advanced features." As an example, Jobs said he expected that the desktop video editing software Apple developed for the new iMac would be a popular feature on the more expensive new models because the whole process of editing home movies has been simplified.

In the case of the new top-line Special Edition model, a change of color alone may be enough to help Apple's sales in different directions.

"We had some people saying we love the colors, I've got one in the home, but I want to put one (iMac) in the office." The graphite-colored model will extend the iMac's appeal to the office environment, as well as power users, Jobs said.

Also, the high-end Power Mac G4 systems, especially those with the fastest chips, have been delayed and have only recently started to trickle into customers' hands. Those delays will cause Apple to post lower earnings for the fourth fiscal quarter of 1999 than had been anticipated, the company has said.

Apple will report earnings on October 13. Consensus analysts' estimates of earnings are now at 45 cents per share, according to First Call.

Apple's stock has rebounded from last week's slide. The stock closed today at 67.94, up 3.38. It was trading as high as 79.06 in September until news of product shortages tempered enthusiasm for the stock.

Apple has lost some of its luster as a result of the product availability issues, but analysts have not expressed concern that the issues will last into the next quarter.

[ Jim Davis reported from Cupertino and Tom Dunlap from San Francisco. ]


Gateway's all-in-one PC to echo iMac concept

By Jim Davis, Staff Writer, CNET
October 13, 1999, 9:00 p.m. PT

Computer maker Gateway is ready to take on the Apple iMac.

Gateway said it will offer an all-in-one PC similar in concept to the iMac computer, which for $799 will include a 15-inch monitor, a 400-MHz Intel Celeron processor, and 64 megabytes of memory. The system is priced $152 less than an equivalently equipped desktop PC from the company.

More than the design or price of the system, Gateway's new "Astro" PC will resemble the iMac in the company's pitch to users: The system easily connects to the Net.

"We've created the Gateway Astro computer to be very easy to set up and connect to the Internet. You literally just plug in the power cord, connect in a phone line, connect the keyboard, and turn it on," said Todd Bradley, senior vice president, Gateway Consumer, in a statement.

Apple recently introduced a new low-cost iMac that will sell for $999; by signing a three year Internet service contract with CompuServe, users can get a $400 mail-in rebate. Gateway, in contrast, no longer offers the CompuServe rebate on its systems, and its service is not bundled with the computer. The service is available as a $129 option for one year of service.

Apple's appeal to consumers from the start has been that the iMac is simple to connect to the Net. Given that most PC purchases these days are being driven by consumers' desire to get online, the move was on target. Apple has said it has sold over 2 million iMacs since August of 1998, and there are orders for 200,000 of the newest versions of the iMac, which are just now starting to ship to dealers.

While Gateway is echoing Apple's pitch, the company is being careful not to follow in the footsteps of two other imitators. Both Emachines and FuturePower have been sued by Apple for case designs that Apple says resemble the two-toned iMacs too closely.

Gateway's Astro is using a two-toned grey case.


Common Ground:

Motorola's next PC chip to join 700 club

By Michael Kanellos, Staff Writer, CNET
October 6, 1999, 11:50 a.m. PT

SAN JOSE, California - Motorola is revamping the PowerPC chip line again and is working on a processor that will boost Apple desktop computers beyond 700 MHz.

Details for a second generation of the recently released G4 PowerPC processor were disclosed at the Microprocessor Forum, an annual processor industry conference here.

Among other features, the new chip will run at more than 700 MHz, according to Naras Iyengar, senior member of Motorola's Somerset Design Center. The chip also includes 256KB of secondary cache integrated onto the processor, similar to Intel's upcoming "Coppermine" processor, he said.

"What we've done is come up with a completely new microarchitecture," Iyengar said. "This architecture is capable of reaching frequencies of over 700 MHz."

It is, of course, far too early to wonder if Motorola will be able to produce enough of the chips, although the company recently was not able to make enough PowerPC G4s for Apple's latest high-end system. Motorola blamed the delay on the G4's complex production cycle.

But the firm asserted that because the problem stems from overwhelming demand for the chip, the situation is actually an endorsement of the G4 technology.

The boost in speed as well as the integration of secondary cache onto the new processor will likely serve to boost the performance of Apple desktops. Although Motorola can tout performance features of its chips that exceed the results produced by chips from Intel and AMD, the company's chips typically have lagged behind in terms of megahertz, which is used to measure chip speed.

AMD, for instance, recently released a 700-MHz Athlon, while Intel is readying a 733-MHz Coppermine Pentium III for later this month. Motorola, meanwhile, hasn't passed 500 MHz.

Running a chip at a faster frequency does improve PC performance. Further, megahertz has emerged as one of the most important factors in PC marketing, according to many. The higher number typically leads to better sales.

Motorola will be able to achieve faster speeds because of highly technical internal changes to the G4, Iyengar said. The chip will be able to process four instructions per clock cycle, up from three in the current G4s, he said. In addition, the chip will contain a seven-stage "pipeline," or data-assembly and processing line, rather than a four-stage pipeline. Longer pipelines allow designers to crank up chip core speeds.

"We've built in significant headroom for higher frequency," Iyengar said.

The chip will also contain significantly larger caches than current G4 processors. Caches serve as memory reservoirs for the processor and keep the chip fed with data. Besides the integrated secondary cache, the chip will contain 2MB of third level cache, he added.

Iyengar would not disclose a date when the second generation G4 will come out. However, he noted that Motorola disclosed the architecture for the first generation of the G4 at the 1998 Microprocessor Forum and the first chips appeared in Apple's G4 computers this past August.


The Macintosh Section:

FileMaker Pro 5 Released to Controversy

by Adam C. Engst and Geoff Duncan (

Upgrades are different things to different people, and how you'll view the FileMaker Pro 5 upgrade, available today, depends on how you use the popular desktop database program. If you use FileMaker as a small stand-alone database, you may be interested in upgrading, and small office users considering FileMaker Pro's built-in Web publishing features also have reason to investigate the $150 upgrade ($250 for new copies). However, many FileMaker Pro developers and existing Web publishers are dismayed at the new version, which reduces or eliminates capabilities present in previous versions of FileMaker Pro, adds few necessary new features, and fails to offer many features users have been requesting for years.

New Features

Individual users accustomed to Microsoft Office may appreciate FileMaker Pro 5's reworked interface, which resembles that used by the Microsoft Office applications. Since many people end up using Microsoft Excel for tasks better done in a database because of the ease of viewing data in a spreadsheet, FileMaker Pro 5 adds a new spreadsheet-like view of records with resizable rows and columns. FileMaker, Inc. also enhanced the program's Web publishing support for those getting their feet wet putting databases on the Web. FileMaker Pro's enhanced Instant Web Publishing technology now supports Cascading Style Sheets (CSS), adds seven selectable "Web themes" to unify the presentation of databases published via the Web, and offers new security restrictions based on IP addresses. FileMaker Pro 5's Web Companion can also transfer data using XML (Extensible Markup Language), which could offer a wealth of new possibilities for XML-savvy Web browsers and other tools, although such tools are almost unheard-of outside Web developer circles at the moment.

In a move that presumably indicates the demise of FileMaker's Web page creation tool Home Page, FileMaker has also announced that Adobe GoLive, Macromedia's DreamWeaver, and Allaire's ColdFusion plan to integrate support for Web publishing with FileMaker databases.

FileMaker Pro 5 also enhances FileMaker Pro 4.1's ODBC (Open Database Connectivity) capabilities. ODBC, which is a database communication standard, enables database programs from different vendors to exchange information. FileMaker Pro 4.1 had ODBC client capabilities, so users could import data from ODBC data sources like Microsoft Access, Microsoft Excel, Microsoft SQL Server, or Oracle. Now, FileMaker Pro 5 can act as an ODBC data source as well, so other programs can access information stored in FileMaker databases, although FileMaker Pro 5.0 does not offer full OBDC Level 2 support, restricting its utility in some environments. FileMaker's ODBC features, along with the program's new XML capabilities, also help provide integration with Web page creation tools.

FileMaker developers will appreciate a new database synchronization feature, the long awaited capability to import and export scripts, the capability to resize a few key dialogs like the ScriptMaker (finally!), and conditional value lists that let the developer dynamically customize choices in lists or menus appropriately to the situation.

FileMaker Pro 5 requires a PowerPC-based system with at least 16 MB of RAM running Mac OS 7.6.1 or later.

Looking to the High End

With these ODBC and XML features, it's clear that FileMaker, Inc. is taking aim at corporate and enterprise database users, and FileMaker, Inc. is changing the product's pricing model to work more like those used by other large database companies, who charge by user or by feature. Previously, FileMaker Pro has essentially been a standalone database: when you bought the program, you got everything no matter how you intended to use it. However, FileMaker, Inc. has now also announced three higher-end products, FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, FileMaker Server 5, and FileMaker Developer 5.

FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited, scheduled to ship later this year for $1,000, will allow an unlimited number of guests and Web users to connect to databases and will provide remote database management via the Internet. FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited's Web services are implemented via a Java servlet that hooks into popular Web servers (including WebSTAR, AppleShare IP, and Apache) plus supports Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) connections and arrays of computers sharing databases via additional copies of the Unlimited edition - this in turn enables FileMaker to offer load balancing, fault tolerance, and concurrent processing of database operations. FileMaker, Inc. claims the Unlimited edition will operate with third-party Web publishing and CGI solutions; the standard edition of FileMaker Pro 5 does not.

The problem is that many of these attractive-sounding features, such as access by an unrestricted number of guests and Web users and compatibility with third party Web publishing solutions already exist in previous versions of FileMaker Pro. Unlike previous versions, FileMaker Pro 5 only supports peer-to-peer networking with up to ten other users, or up to ten IP addresses in a given 12 hour period. In addition, although it's nice that FileMaker, Inc. added shared database support for arrays of computers, users can already use separate machines and third-party products to add features like load balancing, fault tolerance, and concurrent processing to an existing FileMaker Pro 4.1 setup - we've done just that for our full-text searches of TidBITS. These multiple machine setups are necessary for some sites because previous versions of FileMaker Pro lack multithreading, which would allow the program to process multiple actions simultaneously, instead of on a first-come, first-served basis. FileMaker Pro 5 and FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited continue to lack multithreading, although it has been perhaps the single most requested feature from Web publishers using FileMaker for nearly four years.

The end result is that the standard version of FileMaker Pro 5 is useless for anyone relying on Blueworld's Lasso or other third- party Web publishing solution. Since the FileMaker Pro 4.x built- in Web publishing features are limited in features and scalability, anyone who used FileMaker as part of a serious Web publishing system relied on a third-party product. FileMaker, Inc. is effectively telling those people they must use FileMaker Pro 5 Unlimited - which doesn't offer multithreading, isn't yet available, and costs $1,000 - simply to retain capabilities they already have. Adding salt to the wound, FileMaker Pro 5 uses a different file format than FileMaker Pro 3.x or 4.x; therefore, Web publishers who persist in using previous versions of FileMaker will not be able to serve databases created with FileMaker Pro 5.

FileMaker, Inc. also plans to offer FileMaker Server 5 for $1,000 by the end of 1999. It will sport improved Open Transport performance under Mac OS 8.6 or later, automated database backups, and support for up to 250 concurrent database users. Although FileMaker Server 5 is a multithreaded application, previous versions of this high-end product have not offered Web publishing capabilities and have not worked with third-party Web publishing tools; nothing in FileMaker Server 5's product description indicates this situation has changed.

FileMaker Developer 5 will contain tools for distributing royalty- free runtime versions of FileMaker databases, documentation of FileMaker's XML capabilities, a new JDBC driver for Java-based integration with FileMaker solutions, and documentation of FileMaker's plug-in architecture. FileMaker Developer 5 includes a copy of FileMaker Pro 5 and should ship in early 2000 for $500.

Windows and a Hard Place

It seems as though FileMaker, Inc. considers the Macintosh market essentially tapped out and is putting more emphasis on the Windows version of FileMaker Pro, with features designed to appeal to large organizations who might purchase volume product licenses. Aside from the Microsoft Office- inspired interface, the new spreadsheet-like data view, ODBC features, and direct import of Excel spreadsheets, FileMaker Pro 5 is taking direct aim at Microsoft's database product Access by offering tight integration with the Windows versions of Microsoft Office applications and support for application integration via ActiveX.

FileMaker's long-standing dominance of the Macintosh database market means there are relatively few alternatives for Macintosh users. Users with modest needs can still use the database module of AppleWorks or ProVUE's Panorama. Those looking for more database power or Web publishing capabilities might try Panorama, ACIUS's 4D, Paradigma's Valentina, or even UserLand's Frontier (see "Frontier Demystified" in TidBITS-476).

In the end, it's good to see FileMaker, Inc. enhancing its namesake product, although the directions the company has chosen seem to conflict with the ways FileMaker Pro has traditionally been used in the Macintosh market. The standard edition of FileMaker Pro 5 is not all things to all people, and the main question is whether or not users whose needs now fall into the $1,000 price range will find sufficient reason to upgrade.


The Amiga Section:

EXECUTIVE UPDATE - September 14, 1999


Thanks for your notes and comments about our plans for Amiga. In the past couple weeks, we've received hundreds -- if not thousands -- of emails and messages from loyal Amigans worldwide, many of you expressing a concern about Amiga's future based on recent reports in the media and in numerous chat rooms. I am so impressed with the spirit and passion of this great community and I wanted to make sure I told you that.

The fact is... to borrow from Mark Twain... the reports of Amiga's death have been greatly exaggerated. To that end, I wanted to provide a little more detail about our plans for Amiga... both as a product and as a company, and hopefully clear up any confusion that exists.

First, I hope you'd agree that Amiga was never about a box. It was never about an operating system either. Sure those things were part of what made the original Amiga great, but at its heart, Amiga was simply about a better way. Amiga was ahead of its time. Amiga promised to change the world. It ran against conventional wisdom and was better than anything out there at the time. In fact, we could all argue that it's still better than anything out there.

The ideals and spirit of that original Amiga are alive and well today. But to limit Amiga to just one box, one product, one OS, is to keep Amiga from ever seeing its full potential. Think about it.... The original Amiga never did really reach its full potential despite its technical advantages and its cost and ease of use advantages. Why? Because it never became ubiquitous. The company's early vision was probably too limited for the vast potential that Amiga offered.

The original Amiga was all about multi-media, so why not have Amiga running on every type of device imaginable, on top of every other OS out there? That's the beauty of Amiga and where we are as an industry. We're in the midst of a revolution unlike anything the world has seen, and Amiga has never been better positioned to change that world and make a bigger impact. Limiting Amiga to just one box and one OS at this point would be like offering the world a better horse and carriage at the dawn of the automotive age. Amiga and its revolutionary spirit deserve better than that. Amiga is going to produce software technology that will enable Internet services on an emerging category of products commonly referred to as "Information Appliances". It is an exciting new mega trend in the industry and we are excited about being at the forefront of this next great wave in computing history. In addition, we have decided to work with business partners who will deliver our software technology on their systems, rather than enter the hardware business directly.

So long live Amiga, but if you think that Amiga was just a box, you've missed the point. Amiga is about a better way. In the coming weeks and months, we promise to keep you posted on progress against our plans for Amiga, and we thank you for your continued support. Let's work together to enable Amiga to revolutionize the industry and change the world!

Long live Amiga,

Thomas J. Schmidt
President & C.E.O.


EXECUTIVE UPDATE - September 17, 1999

Open Letter to the Amiga Community

There has been a great deal of confusion and frustration expressed in the news groups and via email over the past several weeks. I apologize that we have not been more direct in our communications, and I want to set the record straight.

First, per my previous messages, I continue to be impressed with the passion and commitment of this community. You have "hung in thererough a number of upheavals over the past years, and through several false starts on next-generation Amiga platforms. You deserve better. I have received many, many emails over the past two weeks, expressing your opinions and frustrations. Let me try and summarize what I have heard.

Many of you acknowledge the fact that we are focusing on software for the coming generation of "Internet appliances. are very excited about the new Amiga Operating Environment, the work we are doing with Linux (and other operating systems that support Java), and the huge growth curve in Internet appliances that we are going to ride. You have gracefully wished us well in this endeavor, for that, I thank you. As you know, we announced in July that we were pursuing the development of a "multimedia convergence computerat would serve as the next-generation Amiga desktop computer. After the change in management at Amiga, we reviewed all our product plans. To be honest, the ability for us to deliver the MCC was unrealistic. Furthermore, I have fundamentally decided that it would be better to partner with a wide variety of hardware partners, rather than compete against them with a product of our own.

From your perspective, one big problem exists. Sounds great, but what does this new direction have to do with the original Amiga computer? Quite honestly, nothing! We realize that this does not satisfy the desire of the Amiga community for a next-generation Amiga. In response, I remain committed to seek out partners who are interested in developing a next-generation Amiga computer and operating system. We have been following the discussions amongst the newly formed "Phoenix Platform Consortiumd talking to companies interested in supplying the next-generation Amiga. We are open to the possibility of licensing the MCC product specification and design that is now on the shelf to companies that are interested in further developing the Amiga desktop computer product line. We believe that this could be an attractive business opportunity for another company.

In summary, we are continuing to focus our resources on setting software standards for the coming generation of Internet appliances. We are not planning to offer hardware devices, but will work with hardware manufacturers who want to license our technology. As far as offering next-generation Amiga systems, we are open to talking to companies who want to offer such a product. For those of you who are excited about the Amiga Operating Environment running on a wide variety of future Internet appliances, we invite you to track our progress and activities over the coming months. The Internet appliance software model that we are putting together will open up an exciting new era of software development that we think will be very interesting to the type of innovative thinkers who were drawn to the Amiga computer in years past.

Best Regards,

Thomas J. Schmidt
President and CEO Amiga, Inc.

  " ...what does this new direction have to do with the original Amiga computer? Quite honestly, nothing! "  

Response to the Executive Updates

To:     Thomas J. Schmidt
        President & CEO
        Amiga Inc.

From:   Aaron Ruscetta
        President, Image Architects
        Former President, VP and Secretary, Amiga Atlanta Inc.
        Current Board Member, Amiga Atlanta, Inc.
        Amiga Programmer & Developer

Re:     Open Letters to the Amiga Community (9/14/99 & 9/17/99)

cc:     The World Wide Amiga Community

Dear Mr. Schmidt and managing staff of Gateway's Amiga Inc. subsidiary:

Congratulations. With your announcement of Sept. 14th, 1999, I think you have now established a clear path to accomplishing what two previous trustee bankruptcy's, endless legal wrangling and 15 years of corrupt monopolist competitors have failed to do: you will finally succeed in killing the Amiga (at least the name, anyway, since nothing can kill the spirit).

Your assertion that the Amiga is not "just" a box is a thoroughly correct one, though every conclusion you build from that point belies a complete ignorance of what makes the Amiga technology so unique, so empowering and so inspiring that it spawned a fanatically dedicated and extraordinarily creative community of millions. A community who's spirit, like the Amiga itself, is so durable, resilient and adaptive that it has already survived without visible support for seven long years in an environment where change is measured in days.

The vessel that holds the spirit of the Amiga has always been and will continue to be One Box, whether seen as a single computer or the entire body of its components. One Box so accessible in its simplicity, so diverse in its applications, so efficient in its distribution of function and so integrated in its form that it holds nearly infinite possibility. From its One amazingly compact, fully integrated, priority preemptive, object oriented, multi-tasking, multi-threaded Operating System to the custom, multi-processor hardware architecture to the innovative graphical interface to the video standards compatibility and multimedia delivery, that One Box set levels of flexibility and capability in 1985 that took its peers a full decade to approach. Even after development of the Amiga's technology had been sidelined for years, the genius of its design could only be challenged by brute force, with behemoths that swallowed up 10 times the resources and burned up 10 times the processing power, like rocket powered ox carts attempting to fly like helicopters.

For someone to suggest that the free flying marvel of the helicopter, that the spirit of the Amiga, could somehow be realized by a software interface layer riding on an interpreted emulation engine wedged into foreign operating systems floating on TCP stacks cabled to the internet... well, infinitely absurd can only begin to describe the image of it. Even an ox cart looks like comfortable and efficient transport when compared to straddling a saddle glued to an apple crate lashed to the back of a tap dancing pig on roller blades.

In hearing your plans for the future I am reminded of the old saw, "three's the charm". If there's any truth to that, then the failure of Amiga Incorporated through the bankruptcy of Gateway is inevitable now. Like the two previous owners of the Amiga who refused to help it grow or allow it to fly on its own, you will be burned up in the commodity market exhaust of rocket powered ox carts. It will mark the final chapter in the book of clone computer makers who could neither see the brilliance nor hear the spirit of the Amiga while it was in their trust.

I think Jim Collas saw and heard the Amiga. I know that he listened to it's community, that he held the torch out for your vacant eyes and told its story for your deaf ears. It is a sickening shame that Gateway abandoned his promise and commitments so completely that he had to walk away; his integrity in doing so is to be greatly admired. I would hope his energy and integrity will stay with the Amiga spirit, that he'll follow it with us to the next incarnation of genius that is already rising from the ashes. Though a bit hard to view from here, it's looking a lot like some cool kind of helicopter, hovercraft, Harrier jump jet hybrid; definitely nothing of cart wheels or roller blades about it, so it's sure to be a brilliant ride!

--- 9/16/99

Addendum, 9/18/99 (justice?):

Your Open Letter of 9/17/99 more clearly and openly acknowledges that Gateway and Amiga Incorporated intend to quite thoroughly abandon both the community and spirit of the Amiga. The honesty of that letter is appreciated, even if most of its message is not.

One point does suggest, however, that Gateway harbors some regret for the neglect and abuse inflicted on the Amiga over the past two years. Your promise to leave the door open for licensing of the Amiga technologies, as empty and self serving as the gesture is, shows that you may still possess some conscience, some sense of the injustice in your other actions. Perhaps Gateway will make a surprising break from its traditional handling of Amiga policy and actually honor that commitment.

Of course, if Gateway and Amiga Incorporated possess any real sense of conscience, integrity or justice, you will do what should have been done years ago: release the classic Amiga technology, in its entirety, as Open Source.

By now it should be infinitely obvious to you that, regardless of your actions, it is impossible for anything to kill the spirit of Amiga. Since you refuse to see it, or hear it, or help it grow, continuing to obstruct its flight is a most mindless cruelty. I believe the deepest hope of the Amiga community is that you might recognize the futility of trying to restrain the Amiga spirit and arrive at the only rational, respectable course of action: set it free.

Most Sincerely,
Aaron Ruscetta


The Quitter

When you're lost in the Wild, and you're scared as a child,
    And Death looks you bang in the eye,
And you're sore as a boil, it's according to Hoyle
    To cock your revolver and . . . die.
But the Code of a Man says: "Fight all you can,"
    And self-dissolution is barred.
In hunger and woe, oh, it's easy to blow . . .
    It's the hell-served-for-breakfast that's hard.

"You're sick of the game!" Well, now that's a shame.
    You're young and you're brave and you're bright.
"You've had a raw deal!" I know--but don't squeal,
    Buck up, do your damnedest, and fight.
It's the plugging away that will win you the day,
    So don't be a piker, old pard!
Just draw on your grit, it's so easy to quit.
    It's the keeping-your chin-up that's hard.

It's easy to cry that you're beaten--and die;
    It's easy to crawfish and crawl;
But to fight and to fight when hope's out of sight--
    Why that's the best game of them all!
And though you come out of each gruelling bout,
    All broken and battered and scarred,
Just have one more try--it's dead easy to die,
    It's the keeping-on-living that's hard.

- Robert Service, from his third book, "Rhymes of a Rolling Stone"


The Phoenix Platform Consortium

Date: Mon, 13 Sep 1999

We are pleased to announce the acceptance of provisional charter for the Phoenix Platform Consortium.

Phoenix signatories believe it is time to place our destiny back in the hands of folks who understand what the Amiga is all about. You will notice members of the original Jay Miner team within our ranks.

Unlike other new entities we will not field questions from newsgroups, mailing lists, or in email, nor will we be erecting a marketing facade to false hopes. Results and honest direction are our mandate.

The Phoenix Platform Consortium will assume responsibility for aid and recommendation for reference platforms for the Amiga users who wish to upgrade their present Amigas, as we establish an open migration path to a new platform. That platform will in spirit and in feel be a new Amiga experience while incorporating and surpassing the features found on the desktop elsewhere today.

More information will be posted when we have facts to present. Please do NOT email the participants in curiosity. We ask for your patience in this matter. Please respect the wishes of the participants named below. There is much to do and we have just begun.

As information becomes available it will be posted on mailing lists, newsgroups, and at the following website: which will be up shortly. This announcement is freely repostable.

Thanks, from the Phoenix Platform Consortium, currently:

      Alan Crandall             JMS
      Alan Swithenbank          Stanford Comp Systems Lab
      Albert Bailey             Flying Mice
      Andy Finkel               Met@box
      Aron Digulla              AROS
      Bart G Colbert            BG Colbert
      Berardino Baratta         MetroWerks
      Bill Bull                 QNX
      Bill McEwen               Amino
      Bohdan Lechnowsky         REBOL
      Bruce Ellsworth           AmiTrace/ACSVideo
      Carl Sassenrath           REBOL
      Christian Kemp            ANN
      Clash Bowley              Flying Mice
      Dan Dodge                 QNX
      Daryl Low                 QNX Internship
      Dave Cook                 GuruMeditationError
      Dave Haynie               Met@box
      dinglis                   QNX
      Don Cox                   Don Cox Computer Productions
      Drew S Tarmey             IAT Manufacturing
      Dr Greg Perry             GPSoftware
      Ed MacKenty               MacKenty Software Services
      Eric Herget               Ki Networks
      Fleecy Moss               Amino
      Frank Friesacher          QNX
      Fred Wright               The Wright Solution
      Gary Peake                Team AMIGA/OwlNet
      Geert Bevin               Thunderstorms/The Leaf
      Giorgio Gomelsky          JMS
      Glenn Davidson            Cloud Media
      G'o'tz Ohnesorge
      greenboy                  Phoenix
      Hal Greenlee              HardDrivers
      Holger Kruse              Nordic Global
      Igor Kovalenko            Motorola iDEN
      Joanne Dow                Wizardess Designs
      Joe Gulizia               SCOLA
      Johan R=F6nnblom
      John Shepard
      Kevin Lowe                BrainDrops
      Kevin Tiernan             Elfnet
      Marc Albrecht             A.C.T.
      Mario Charest             Zinformatic
      Mario Saitti              Phoenix
      Marko Sepp=E4nen          Visual Engineer
      Martin McKenzie           CADTech
      Matt Sealey               U of Leicester
      Michael Battilana         Cloanto
      Mick Tinker               Access
      Odd H Sandvick
      Olaf Barthel              logical line GmbH
      Paul Lesurf               Blittersoft
      Paul May                  Phoenix
      Paul Nolan                Paul Nolan Ltd
      Ray Akey                  HMetalsoft/ZenMetal
      RJ Mical        
      Robert Krten              PARSE/Cisco
      Ron Liechty               MetroWerks
      Rudi Chiarito              Magrathea Development
      Samuel A Falvo II         Dolphin
      Shaun Sauve               QNX
      Stephane Desrosiers
      Stephen Jones             Siamese Systems
      Steve Tomkins             QNX
      Tobias Abt                Picasso 96
      Vegard Berget
      Wolf Dietrich             phase 5

Interested developers may contact greenboy [] with a post titled

         Dev Database

and with the following information in the body

  1. Name
  2. Company
  3. Email@
  4. Developer Category
       A. Hardware
       B. Software
       C. Beta tester
       D. Marketing/Support Functions
       E. Internet-oriented development
  5. Development Description (ie specialties - video, office suite, etc)
       A. Current Projects
       B. Past Projects
  6. Platforms currently involved 


AROS - The Amiga Research Operating System

by John Chandler, October 2, 1999

Continuing the 'theme' unintentionally started with UAE last month, I turn to a project mentioned in a previous article on open sourcing AmigaOS. I speak of AROS, the Amiga Research Operating System.

AROS has its origins in the aftermath of Commodore's demise. At the time, the situation looked bleak and no one was quite sure if the Amiga would be able to carry on or not. Some enterprising individuals took stock of the situation and evaluated what they could personally do to ensure the continuation of the Amiga line. This evaluation culminated in the decision to write an OS from scratch that would be both fully AmigaOS 3.1 compatible and portable to any hardware. Software compatibility comes in two flavours - binary compatibility for actual Amigas, and source level compatibility for other platforms. It has long been mentioned that UAE and other technologies could eventually be incorporated to provide binary compatibility between the whole range of AROS systems, but this is still a way off from being realised.

Progress has been slow, but impressive. For Linux and FreeBSD on the x86, AROS is mostly working and there are builds for Linux on 680X0 and native Amigas. The Amiga and 680X0 Linux flavours feature binary compatibility (a list of software which has been tested and known to work is published on the website), and all versions support fully-functional Intuition windows.

In addition, a standalone x86 version is in the works (thanks to the effort of Michael Schulz), which promises to be an ideal showcase of what AROS has achieved. The version currently boots into the Amiga's internal debugger, SAD, so doesn't support much in the way of software, but once the appropriate hardware drivers are implemented it will be a fully functioning AROS/Amiga platform running on standard PC compatible hardware. The same can be done for pretty much any other hardware out there - the only reason why other such ports haven't materialised is lack of support. If any developer out there fancies helping AROS port to such platforms as PowerPC (PowerUP and/or CHRP), there has never been a better time to get involved - AROS on G4 anyone?

Take a look at the screenshots on the AROS site to get the general idea (URL listed at the base of the article) or download the source and binaries for a real hands-on peek. (Unfortunately, the AROS FTP site is currently unavailable but should be up again shortly.)

It's at this point that quite a few out there will state that it's about time AROS have begun to show some tangible work, after all they've been working on it for years. That's true to an extent, but remember writing a new OS isn't a trivial task, more so if you have to maintain compatibility with an existing OS. If you want to get it right first time, that means even more work and more time spent - it all adds up. But the most important reason for the delay is something a lot of people conveniently overlook: there aren't many people supporting AROS, and those that are can't dedicate themselves to it full-time - these people have their careers or education to think about.

AROS really does need your support. Even if you can't write a line of code to save your life, you can promote, test, document... every little bit adds up. If you can program, so much the better - even a single function contributed will take AROS one step closer to completion. Remember that this project is of benefit to the whole Amiga community because it helps broaden the scope of what is truly an Amiga, and it opens up fresh directions we can all make use of.

There has been much frustration, even anger from some, about the official direction Amiga is being taken, some of it based on confusion and poor communication, but most of it with some basis of truth. The immediate response from a few zealous users has been to launch themselves into a frenzy of activity building new projects to create their own next generation of Amiga. This work is admirable, and a true testament to the Amiga community but most are starting from scratch - with a blank slate and poor initial support. Worse, they seem completely in ignorance of AROS which has already been there, done it, and bought the t-shirt. Why reinvent the wheel and waste more time, effort and even money?*

Yet here is an almost complete AmigaOS clone built from scratch to be multi-platform just itching for support - every new AmigaOS replacement project takes away that potential support, and in the end you just fragment and dilute all the effort going on, probably to a point where nothing is ultimately achieved except a series of half-finished ideas. If AROS can get this far with little support, it makes you wonder how much further down the road it could be with the right backing - doesn't it?


Aaron "Optimizer" Digulla:

Stefan Berger:


AROS website:

AROS FTP site:

AROS users' mailing list:

AROS developers' mailing list:

(* I exclude Phoenix from this because they do look like a worthwhile project, have considerable backing and their focus doesn't appear to exclude partnerships with AROS or any worthwhile aspects of the official Amiga. I hope to cover Phoenix in a future article).

Many thanks to Stefan, Aaron and the rest of the AROS team for their support and enthusiasm while I prepared this article.

[Source: ]


Here We Are Again

by Fabian Jimenez (

In an "open letter" to the community, Amiga's President and CEO Tom Schmidt has announce to the Amiga community that their plans have been scaled back to focus on developing their Java-based Amiga Objects. Dropped from their plans was the development and production of a Linux-based Amiga Multimedia Convergence Computer (MCC). In this letter (printed on page 3), Tom stated that Amiga would be willing to license the MCC design or work !fl furthering the Amiga platform with other interested parties such as the Phoenix Platform Consortium.

By focusing on just the development of Amiga Objects, Tom has altered Amiga's destiny from that envisioned by former president Jim Collas. Tom, in his letter, characterized Jim's plans as "unrealistic". Amiga Objects will provide a common environment for various internet appliances and devices across a pervasive network he further states. Needless to say this has devastated the remaining Amiga faithful, many crediting Gateway for finally killing the Amiga despite the years of neglect since Commodore's demise.

In response, former Amiga Inc. employees Bill McEwen and Fleecy Moss are attempting to establish a company charged with the development of a successor platform in the spirit of the Amiga called Amino. Attempts to purchase the Amiga intellectual property from Gateway have failed due to the exorbitant price demanded by Gateway. Gary Peake has reported that Gateway is attempting to sell off the Amiga name to other mainstream PC companies.

Amino is not to be confused with the Phoenix Platform Consortium, AQUA, and Team Amiga Central who have issued press releases announcing their efforts. While Amino is part of both Phoenix and AQUA, it is relying on its own funding and plans to create a machine that the Amiga Community desires. Phoenix will serve as a community based developer organization much like the dormant ICOA was suppose to for Amiga Inc. AQUA is the name of the architecture based on the standards derived mainly by Amino, as well as an OS partner and the various hardware participants. At this time the OS partner is thought to be QNX, however, other RTOS companies are being considered.

Concerning hardware, Fleecy Moss has indicated that the odds on favorite CPU for the machine will be Motorola's G4 PowerPC CPU. Thus the remainder of the hardware spec may read a lot like Mot's dormant CHRP/PREP specifications that were scrapped when Apple ended its participation. It is hoped by Amino that long time Amiga hardware manufacturers Phase5 and Metabox will be involved. However, for all of this to be considered, the first thing required will be Amino's successful securing of funding and contractual agreements from the various partners. Until then, all of this can be viewed as speculation and posturing by the various entities named above.

Oddly enough, there are some in the community who are still supporting Amiga lnc.'s efforts like Wayne Hunt of the UGN and website. According to Wayne, Amiga will license out the MCC design for other companies like Gateway to produce. Wayne claims that Amiga's plans have really not changed since Collas first took over Amiga earlier this year when plans for an MCC did not exist. Wayne has criticized those in the community that have lost faith in Amiga Inc. calling their thoughts "drag queen screaming, sky is falling, world is ending melodrama."

One main reason that Wayne may feel this way is that earlier this year, Amiga Inc. paid for the service and software that the website resides on. Despite the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Wayne is siding with Amiga in the hopes of a potential employment opportunity or the fear that Amiga will take their toys and go home.

Needless to say, Amiga will not go quietly. With the release of AmigaOS 3.5 things may get messier with the Amiga before a migration path can be determined. Amino, Linux, Be and Petro's Amiga effort may provide compelling reasons to be that path. Regardless which is chosen, Amigans today are dismayed by that last slap in the face Amiga Inc. has given them.

[Source: The National Capital Amiga Users Group newsletter, "Amagi Intuition" September, 1999. NCAUG's address is P.O. Box 12360, Arlington, VA 22209. On the web it's ]


Where Do We Go From Here?

by Joe Obrin ( )
VP, Rocky Mountain Amiga Users

Throughout the history of the Amiga, it has been the users, and, by extension, the users groups, that have kept the machine alive. This has been in spite of all of the trials of poor marketing and short sighted executives from the companies who have owned the Amiga name. Once again, we are dealing with a company who just doesn't get it. But, just because Gateway has abandoned us, doesn't mean that we need to abandon each other. We need to ask ourselves where do we go from here? Since this is the RMAU home page, I really want to consider this question from the standpoint of members, officers, and representatives of the Amiga Users's groups throughout the world.

It may seem strange, but the first thing that we have to do is to get our language straight. Since the name Amiga can be applied to many different things, I'll try to be clear in this article when I refer to each one. After all, there is clearly a big difference between the Amiga community (which I'll try to refer to as the users or the user groups) and the Amiga company (which I'll call Gateway, since the distinction between them was clearly a ruse). There is also a big difference between the Amiga Computer (which I'll refer to as the Amiga, because it deserves the name), and the Amiga information appliance. Then there is the Amiga OE and the AmigaObject technology, which I'll try to refer to as such.

It mays seem like a small thing, but this name confusion only serves Gateway, and not the Amiga users. After all, if you love your Amiga, and Gateway can convince you that they are building another Amiga, then they believe they can count on your loyalty to the brand to purchase this next product. Technically, they have bought the trade name Amiga, and can apply it to whatever they want. But, this confusion is not in the interest of the Amiga users. After all, if they are selling car tires or pesticides, and using the name Amiga, they are within their rights, but it doesn't imply that it's in our interest to blindly purchase these products or support their plans.

This really is the point which we need to address. What is good for Gateway may no longer coincide with the function of the Amiga user's group. The Amiga user's groups exist to serve their members, the users, not Gateway, just because Gateway happens to own the trade name.

The question of what is good for Gateway versus what is good for the users and the user groups was radically changed when Gateway cancelled their plans for the MCC. It is really pointless to debate what came first--Collas's departure or Gateway burying his vision. But, the point is that what the community was told is very different from what Gateway now has planned. More important than the sense of betrayal that most users justifiably feel is the question of how this change effects the computing products which Gateway is developing, and how it effects the users and the user groups.

It is entirely possible that this new product plan is good for Gateway. Gateway's only interest is in selling a lot of products, and it evidently does not matter to them what the nature or quality of those products is. Since they foresee the existence of lots of information appliances, and this gives them the opportunity to sell lots of copies of the AmigaObject technology, they stand to make a fair amount of money. What people use the technology or the AmigaObject technology for is really irrelevant to Gateway. It's just the number of copies that matter.

If this information appliances are simple minded and easy to use, that is so much the better, from Gateway's perspective. That represents less resistance on the part of the average buyer, and more copies sold. Whether there is really the power to accomplish significant and creative things is not relevant.

The point is that when the MCC went away, the emphasis shifted from an integrated environment which could be used to accomplish great things to one whose purpose was just to sell a bunch of copies. Realistically, without a real computer--a traditional computer, with dedicated computing resources, storage, and fully functioning human interface--the things which can be accomplished with an information appliance environment become rather trivial. You are not going to use your personal organizer or your VCR to write letters. You aren't going to use your cell phone to create graphics or run spreadsheets. You aren't going to be designing web pages, writing books or magazine articles on your smart microwave. These appliances may make the average consumer's life easier, but they are not going to be a tool for creative and useful work.

Ironically, if you consider it, you won't even be able to develop applications for these information appliances unless you have a real computer. Who is going to write code to exploit these new devices and the AmigaObject technology without a real computer to use for development?

In a nutshell, you will not be able to do any of the things that our users - the members of our user's groups - do right now with their computers. The only exception might be that you will be able to play games with certain of these devices. Well, at RMAU we have one games meeting a year, just to lighten the mood from our regular topics. So, less than 10% of the needs that we have for a computer are going to ever be met by these information appliances.

It is also clear that the users of these appliances aren't going to be joining user's groups. Does anyone really believe that there will be people coming to the Amiga user's groups trying to figure out how to program their VCR? The simple-minded, low-power, easy to use but unsophisticated information appliances that will sell so many copies are not something that anyone is going to make their hobby. They are not something in which people are going to invest a large amount of time becoming proficient. They are not something that will give the user's groups a purpose for being.

But, more important than the fact that these information appliances will not provide a cornerstone for our users groups is the fact that our members still need, and will continue to use, real computers. They need real computers, not information appliances, to keep doing the things that they are doing, the things that make them come to our user's groups in the first place.

For the user's groups to embrace the information appliance idea is not only pointless (information appliances users aren't going to form users groups), it abandons the real interests of our members.

So, many of us will continue to use our Amigas as we always have. And, we will hold onto them as long as possible, because the reasons why we chose them in the first place remain valid. But, this is clearly something that can't last forever.

Given time, most of our users will need new computers. Ironically, they will need new computers to access or develope AmigaObjects (assuming any of them really cares), because AmigaObjects will not run on AmigaDos (no Java). And they will need fully supported machines in current development to keep up with the latest computing standards. Where is our Java, our Quicktime, or our JavaScript (the new IBrowse had promised to address the JavaScript issue, but is so buggy that most people have gone back to the previous version). Despite the Amiga's efficiency, we really could benefit from a faster processor, especially if we are streaming multimedia, performing image manipulation, or doing 3D modeling. Finally, we have to face the fact that our trusted old machines will eventually break, and it is going to become increasingly difficult to find the custom parts or qualified repair facilities.

Our users will, in time, need new computers. There will be no new computers from Gateway. Our users will basically have four options.

Their first option is to hope that a third party develops new computers which are compatible with our old Amiga. We'll discuss this a little later.

Their second option will be to begin using a PC. Some of our members have already done this--they are using a PC alongside their Amigas now, or have abandoned the Amiga completely. But, many Amiga users won't do this. It represents a real loss of the quality to which they have become accustomed. It also represents support of a corrupt monopoly and abandoning your freedom of choice.

Their third option is to begin using a Macintosh. This may be a viable option for several users. It is better than a PC, but not by much. Strictly speaking, it is better designed than the PC, but many of the important system functions remain shrouded from the user, and Apple has made some other curious design decisions. From a philosophical and ethical standpoint, it still represents support of a monopoly, due to Microsoft's very public (and marginally illegal) purchase of a large block of Apple stock.

Their fourth option is to begin using a Linux box. Careful consideration reveals this to be the best choice. Linux represents the only serious challenge to Microsoft's monopoly. Compared to MS Windows, Linux is fast, reliable, and simple. Whereas with the Macintosh, you can't readily access system functions, in Linux you can go so far as to modify the OS yourself. This highlights one of the most powerful and exciting reasons to embrace Linux--it's open source nature. Since the source for the entire OS is freely available over the Internet, anyone can make improvements to the system. Thousands of programmers are making improvements on a daily basis. Linux may not be the most technically advanced OS at this moment in time, but it will improve faster than any other system. It now has the support of low end devices, such as the Sony Playstation, mid range computers, such as IBM, Compaq and Dell (you can purchase machines from these companies that have no trace of Microsoft on them), and high end devices, such as Silicon Graphics servers (SGI has plans for a Linux box involving 128 processors, and have completely abandoned their Windows NT development. The main reason? Linux is open source).

Even now, there is software available on Linux that we don't have on the Amiga. There are fully functional web browsers (including Netscape) on the platform. The Star Office Suite (now available from Sun Microsystems) has more all of the applications that you find in Microsoft office, plus a functioning web browser, an HTML composer, and a fair drawing program. And the applications can read and write the counterpart Microsoft file formats (e.g. the word processor can read and write Microsoft Word Documents, though you don't have to). The price of this office suite for the Linux platform? Well, it's free.

Linux has a potential upgrade path available for current Amiga users. There is a Linux version available for the Amiga, so you can try it out without committing to a new box. In fact, you can easily continue to use your Amiga both as an Amiga and a Linux box.

The other reason that Linux makes sense as a path for Amiga users is that the Linux community already embodies, to a large extent, the Amiga spirit. Linux was created and developed by users. A large part of its structure has been developed under open source by end users around the world, and both the complete OS and it's source code are available through the Internet. It's sort of like Aminet, but with the OS itself being on the table. And the Linux community has been a tight nit, rebellious community, that doesn't want to accept the status quo of a monopolistic software giant.

Now let's consider the user's first option--hoping that a third party will develop a new computer which is compatible with the Amiga. The Phoenix Platform Committee has formed from a group of former Amiga developers who recognize that there is no future for them in supporting Gateway's plans. Some of the people associated with this committee are very impressive, including the Phase 5 hardware group, Carl Sassenrath, and other developers of the original Amiga.

But, this group has already done some very disturbing things. Whereas Jim Collas had a sound technical vision, several members of this group were already attacking that vision long before Gateway eliminated Collas and betrayed the community. Fleecy Moss has even been publicly quoted as stating that Collas's departure was good for the community. It's obvious that statements like this are more motivated by personal vendettas than the interest of the user community.

The group has also shown reluctance to include input from the users in the planning process. Their web page leaves a great deal to be desired, and they have stated that they will not be answering e-mail regarding their plans, nor participating in forums such as the newsgroups. If they are going to lock the users out of the process, don't expect the end result to be any better than Gateway's.

The groups obsession with the QNX OS is also disturbing. Whether or not QNX is technically superior to Linux at the moment is irrelevant. Linux's development curve and third party support cannot possibly be matched by QNX. In the long term, Linux will surpass QNX technically, and already has more applications and driver support.

Besides their current technical and personality problems, this group has neither the money of Gateway, nor the massive community support of Linux. Can they really launch a successful alternative platform? And if they do, how long will it be before it is viable? Some of our users need a viable migration path right now.

Regardless of which platform most of our users eventually choose, we can expect that they will continue to use their Amigas as long as they can, then eventually migrate to other platforms. The question becomes what can the user groups do in this time to continue to serve their users, and can any of the community that we have grown so found of survive?

The users groups should certainly continue to support the remaining Amiga users, answering their questions, demonstrating and helping them with applications, and helping them to identify the dwindling repair options for their machines. We need to try to help our users to hold on to their Amigas as long as possible, because the users groups exist to help people use their Amigas. But, as people leave the community, the users groups can also arrange for unused Amigas to be redistributed. That is, to help those who want to stay with the Amiga to stay as long as possible. Machines that may not have been upgraded to the latest processors and graphic cards can still provide a source of parts to a user who still relies on their machine.

As unpleasant as it is, we really owe it to our users to help them as they transition to other platforms. Our users groups can begin to provide a forum for discussing the pros and cons of the various migration paths. After all, these people are our friends. And friends don't let friends use Microsoft.

Finally, the users groups can put pressure on the Phoenix Platform Committee to include user input and discussions in their plans. Without user input they will fail. Arguably, their chances may not be that good anyway, but they are the only ones working on a truly Amiga compatible solution. It would be nice to have this path be as practical as possible for the users that would choose it.

In closing, the officers of RMAU would like to hear from our members as to these directions. Our group is going into a different mode now, and we need you to tell us how we the group can continue to be of value to you.

[Source: ]


Petro visiting the Netherlands

From: Gerrit Jongepier (

Hello, I was visiting a meeting of AGGF, Amiga Gebruikersgroep Friesland, , in Leeuwarden, the Netherlands on Saturday, October 16th. Special guest was Petro Tyschschenko, who held a speech about the current situation at Amiga Inc. Amiga Inc. will continue the new Amiga software, the selling of OS 3.5, the delivery of spare parts of "classic" Amiga's, the selling of Amiga's in India (mainly film industry) and Amiga motherboards to Australia mainly for game machines. Game machines which are sold over the whole world even Las Vegas!! He could not speak freely about the leaving of Jim Collas, business policy. He brought copy's of the new OS 3.5 who were sold for 110 Dutch guilders.

Kind regards
Gerrit Jongepier
Spokesman of cHc
ICQ 34395260


ProFileSystem 2

An outstanding upgrade for your Amiga

Reviewed by Johnny C. Kitchens (

With the biggest upgrade to the Amiga to happen in years about to come about in the form of 3.5 OS, you may be wondering if there is a way to improve even it. The answer is yes... and it exists now! The product is PFS2 or ProFileSystem 2 from Great Effects Development. PFS2 is a replacement filesystem for the Amiga's FFS or FastFileSystem. Although 3.5 will offer an improved version FFS, it will still have many of the disadvantages that FFS carries now. Thankfully, bigger harddrives will finally be available with 3.5, which PFS2 already has now, but PFS2 offers even more. Here are the features that PFS2 offers that make it worth considering even with 3.5.

An impressive list to say the least. The first and the last attracted me the most, but after a short time I have come to appreciate several of the others. With FFS, if you are writing to a disk and a crash occurs, be prepared for a very long validation process... and hope it works. This does not happen at all with PFS2 -- an advantage all by itself! I read many reports of the improvements and wanted to see more!

Installing PFS2 was very straightforward. You do need a CD-ROM drive, which you will need for 3.5 as well. Getting a drive set up was a bit tougher. I had to read the instructions, as it needs to use HDToolBox. I have never been fond of HDToolBox and preferred other methods to set up harddrives. HDToolBox just seems a bit too complicated for what it needs to do. After setting up one drive, I set up others without even needing to glance at the instructions... easier than I thought. After setup, formatting and copying the files onto it finishes the drive. Formatting can be quick or full, but full is the recommended procedure. Copying the files back gives your first impression that things are moving at a greater speed. One real winner is a boot-up. For my machine it dropped from a rather fast 48 seconds to a spectacular 26 seconds! I do not see how Windows users can stand those horribly long boot-ups. I honestly believe my 1000 booted up faster than they do.

For a comparison of PFS2 vs FFS I used a SyJet drive. I figured this would take care of drive variables and allow easy switching between formats. Besides I had already changed my other drives over to PFS2 and I am not about to change back. I also included a test of FFS in combination with DynamicCache, a high performance caching scheme that accelerates reading and writing to the drive. For this test I used my Font directory which really puts pressure on any data transfer system. With many small files and directories everything is put to the test, and mine contains over 9MB of data and over 800 files. Amazing how many fonts you can collect after more than 10 years. So here goes the first comparison:

 FFSFFS w/DynamicCachePFS2
Copying Font Directory2 minutes 52 seconds1 minute 37 seconds0 minutes 29 seconds
Deleting the directory1 minute 00 seconds0 minutes 37 seconds0 minutes 12 seconds

Is there any doubt that PFS2 is faster? DynamicCache helps make FFS faster, but PFS2 is so much faster you cannot help noticing the difference. The file names go by so fast that they are just a blur on the screen -- on the other hand, the files go by slow enough to be read one at a time using FFS.

For my second test, I used SysSpeed 2.6. SysSpeed can test all sorts of things on your Amiga including the harddrive. It splits the test into two main parts: operations per second and Megabytes per second. In operations per second, it is approximates file manipulation in day to day use. The Megabyte per second gives a more raw performance benchmark for the drive. Here is what I got:

Operations Per Second
Directory Scan31934276911
Megabytes Per Second
Create File.531.381.87
Write File1.251.481.90
Read File1.9418.932.58
Raw Read2.561.022.66

Here we see that PFS2 is still showing impressive performance, but the DynanicCache FFS has a few readings that are very impressive. But you need to read between the lines... DynamicCache makes its impressive performances on the read parts of the test. Since the reads on the drive are cached into memory, this performance relies less on harddrive performance and more on memory and CPU performance. Still, as you can see, caching your harddrive can be an advantage. As another bonus, DynamicCache works on PFS2 to speed it up as well!

One thing for sure... PFS2 really boosts drive performance in just about every way. As a further bonus PFS2 can be used on a floppy drive to boost performance for it as well. It comes with several variations, such as multiuser, direct SCSI, and even processor optimized versions. As a further bonus, Great Effects Development throws in a platform game called "Kang Fu" and some music tracks to hear. Sorry, I have not tried the game so I cannot tell you a thing about it. I have listened to the music and some of it is nice, but all of this is definitely a secondary consideration to PFS2.

Is there anything bad about it, you may be wondering? It uses more CPU time than FFS, but I found that no bother at all. DynamicCache used even more. I wished PFS2 had its own setup GUI. While there is a great defragmenting program, ReOrg, for FFS, there are none for PFS2. There is an ARexx script that optimizes files, but it does not optimize the blocks. Oddly enough, this only shows an occasional file that need fixing, but it is not a necessity. Performance remains better than FFS even with fragmented files. Getting PFS2 with 3.5 will give you the biggest update to your Amiga, you may have ever enjoyed. It is that good!

While I was working on this, Great Effects Development announced that PFS3 is about to be released! The improvements are:

I will be looking forward to this!

[Source: ]


Networking - How to connect an Amiga to a PC

By Bill Raecke (
Amiga Groups of the MCCC (AGM)

Early this year I became the owner of a Compaq PC. No, I haven't gone over to the dark side -- I needed it for work. I still use my Amiga every day, but I also use my PC every day... and I found myself needing to transfer files back and forth between computers on a regular basis. Of course the Amiga can read and write PC formatted floppies easily, so that's not a major problem. In fact, my Amiga 2000 is equipped with two high-density floppies so they can actually hold a fair amount of data. But floppies are slow. And walking back and forth across the room with a floppy in my hand got old in a hurry. What I needed was a network.

I guess I should make clear at the outset that this is what I was after... a quick and easy way to get files from one side of the room to the other. It seems there are a lot of people who are interested in networking for other reasons -- printer or modem sharing for instance. If there's a way to share a printer between an Amiga and a PC, I haven't found it yet. As for modem sharing, a 56K modem costs considerably less than an Ethernet card for the Amiga, so there doesn't seem to be much of an advantage there. It's just file sharing I was after, and so that's what I'll be talking about here.

The Ariadne II Ethernet Card

The first piece of the puzzle, of course, is the ethernet card itself. The obvious choice there seemed to be the Ariadne II card from Village Tronic ( . It's fairly modern technology, since it supports the 10baseT standard. (The Ariadne II also supports an older ethernet standard, but that won't be of much use when hooking to a modern PC.) By Amiga standards, the Ariadne II is relatively inexpensive... approximately $128 plus shipping. I was one step ahead of the game on the PC side -- my PC already had a 10baseT ethernet card installed.

What I didn't have was a hub. With the 10baseT (or the newer, faster 100baseT) standard, the computers are tied together with a "hub" between them. A "hub" simply looks like a small box with number of "ports" and an external power supply. There's no setup involved here -- you just plug your cables into the hub, attach the hub's power supply, and you're ready to roll. The function of a hub is to handle ethernet traffic so that messages don't get lost and so they wind up getting to the IP address for which they were intended. The hub I bought has just four ports and handles only 10baseT connections. It cost me approximately $50. For a larger investment, you can get one with more ports or one that will automatically sense and handle connections running at 10baseT or 100baseT.

Of course I also needed cables. With the hub somewhere between the two computers, I needed two cables... one to go from the Amiga to the hub -- the second to go from the PC to the hub. The cables themselves are similar to cable-TV cables in diameter, with connectors that resemble telephone jacks on steroids. I don't remember the cost of the cables, but they were rather insignificant in price.

So, hardware wise, that's it. There's an ethernet card in each computer, each attached via an ethernet cable to an ethernet hub. You might notice that I'm only using two ports on my four-port ethernet hub. The neat thing about ethernet is that other devices can be plugged into the hub with little fuss. For example, in another couple of weeks I'll be getting a cable modem connection to the Internet. The cable modem will simply plug into one of the spare ports on the ethernet hub and that connection will then be available to both computers. (In order to access the Internet, each computer will be assigned its own unique IP address by the ISP -- for a small additional fee.) Of course, nothing is ever as simple as I think it's going to be. I imagine I'll have to devote another article to my cable modem adventures.

Miami Deluxe

Now that the hardware is connected and waiting for some data to transfer, it's time to work on software. Ethernet connections talk to each other using the TCP/IP standard, so each computer on the network needs to be running a TCP/IP stack and have its own IP address. Since TCP/IP is built into Windows, setting up the IP connection is a piece of cake. It's simply a matter of going to the control panel, opening Network Connections and configuring your ethernet card. The primary thing to do here to assign an IP address. For a LAN (local area network) the IP address is normally 192.168.1.x where x is a whatever number you choose (each computer has to have a different number). Of course, I'm going on the assumption here that you have an ethernet card installed on the PC. If not, installation of the card should lead you through the necessary steps.

Of course, the Amiga is a little more complicated. There is no TCP/IP protocol built in to the operating system, so you have to run one. The Ariadne II card comes with a partially crippled version of the Genesis software. It's crippled in that it won't allow PPP/Dialup connections -- only LAN connections. If you want to use your LAN and a dialup connection at the same time, you need to upgrade Genesis. The cost is 14.95 British pounds -- I'm not sure what that is in American.

Or, you can do what I did and use Miami Deluxe ( Miami is notoriously easy to set up and Miami Deluxe gives you all the power you need to have a simultaneous dialup connection and LAN connection. Besides, it's what I have been using, so I was halfway there. I'm not going to go into a great deal of detail here on what's involved in setting up Miami Deluxe. There's a very nice document that comes with the package called "IP-NAT-Gate.txt" that gives step-by-step instructions on how to do that, so there's no need to repeat it here. It's not the simplest process in the world, but if you follow it you'll be up and running in fairly short order. If you decide to follow the Miami Deluxe path as I did, the only thing you really need from the floppies supplied with the Ariadne II is the ariadne_ii.device that Miami will use to drive the card. It goes in the DEVS: drawer, of course. You'll also want to set up Miami Deluxe so that it starts automatically each time you boot your computer. This way, with your LAN connection set to automatically connect, you'll be ready to send files back and forth without having to do anything special first.

Reality Check

If I had been connecting two PC's, I'd be done now. Part of normal networking expectations is the ability to share drives. The drives on one computer will normally appear as devices on the other computers on the LAN (at least if you have enabled sharing). There's no such luck when connecting an Amiga to a PC. At this point all I had was two computers nicely networked together. They could "ping" each other, but that's about it. There was no indication in any file requester or anywhere else that showed anything about the PC on the Amiga. And on the PC side, the Amiga didn't even show up in the "Network Neighborhood," much less in a file requester or in Windows Explorer.

So now what?

Time for a little research. And "little" pretty much describes it. There doesn't seem to be any information about file sharing on Amiga/PC LANs anywhere that I could find. (Am I breaking new ground here?) There's lots of information about modem sharing, but I'm not sure why since, just to get to this point, I've spent enough to buy two 56K modems.

Amiga Forever to the Rescue

Amiga Forever ( provided the first piece of my solution. I'm not running Amiga Forever on my PC (I haven't seen the need, since my Amiga is just a few steps away), but there's a piece of software included in the package called "Amiga Explorer." The installation process for Amiga Forever provides a way to install just this piece on the PC. You also need to install a matching piece on your Amiga. The Amiga piece runs invisibly in the background simply waiting to handle access by the PC. I found that the easiest way to set this up is to tie it to a Miami Deluxe "event." When my Amiga starts up, Miami Deluxe starts with it. Within Miami Deluxe, I have the LAN interface set to automatically connect. And within the LAN interface within Miami Deluxe, I have the "Online" event set to run Amiga Explorer. By the way, it doesn't matter if the PC is on or off when Miami and Amiga Explorer start up, the connection is ready to work when it needs to. Likewise, the Amiga doesn't have to be going when you start the PC.

When you're done with the Amiga Explorer installation, you have an icon on the Windows desktop labeled "Amiga Computer." If you click on it, it opens a window that lists your Amiga hard drive partitions. From there you can drill down into directories and sub-directories pretty much like you can on any PC drive. The major difference is the fact that you can't just double-click on a file and have the PC act on it as it does with native PC drives. To explain -- if I have a JPEG picture on the PC and I double-click on it, the picture is displayed using whatever tool I have specified in file-types. If I have a JPEG picture that is displayed in Amiga Explorer and I double-click on it, nothing happens. In order to view a JPEG picture from my Amiga on the PC, I need to copy it to the PC first. Of course, here is where Amiga Explorer shines. I just drag the file to where I want it to be on the PC and a couple of seconds later, there it is. At that point I can double-click it and it works as expected.

To make the interface even more seamless, the "Amiga Computer" icon does appear in Windows Explorer. That makes it seem even more like a native PC drive, although, in reality, the same restrictions apply. And the Amiga drives still don't appear in any file requesters.

Click here to see Windows Explorer and Amiga Explorer in action on the Windows desktop.

But What About the Amiga?

This was pretty much the way things stood for about a month. It wasn't too bad actually. What I had originally wanted was a way to transfer files from the Amiga to the PC -- or vice versa -- and I had that. The only drawback was that I could only do the transferring from the PC. I wondered if there was a way to set up the Amiga to do the transferring. As before, the internet was of no use, so I brought up the question in one of the Amiga By-The-Loop chapter meetings. Ned Kelly and Max Sappenfield recommended that I try using an FTP client. They advised that if I simply entered the IP address of the PC in the FTP client's address book, that should allow me to transfer files that way. So I went home and tried it. It didn't work. But I have to thank them anyway, because it led to the solution. What do you need anytime you have a client? You need a server. So what I concluded is that I needed was an FTP Server running on the PC.

This time the internet came to the rescue. I poked around for a little while and found several FTP servers available for download. I downloaded three of them. Two were freeware, the other was a shareware product with a trial period. (This one was highly rated by the shareware collection I was downloading from.) Being occasionally thrifty, I tried the freeware packages first. Remember, at this point an FTP server is something I had no experience with at all. All I knew is that I thought I needed one. I played around with the first of my three packages for about 45 minutes and never got it to run at all. (Where's that delete key?) The second one I tried I managed to get running to some extent in about 1/2 hour. But I wasn't entirely pleased with the way it worked. So I broke down and tried the shareware product. In about 10 minutes I had Serv-U ( up and running. The next day I registered the product ($40).

Serv-U starts automatically when I start Windows and it runs in the background waiting for someone to log in. The way I have it configured, it requires a login ID and a password. If you don't know the correct login ID and password, no access is allowed. It could also be configured to accept a login only from a specific IP address either in addition to the login ID or instead of it. And, of course, I could allow other users or even guests to login if I wanted -- and each user could have access to whatever parts of the system I wanted, and whatever rights I decided to grant (download, upload, delete, etc.). The possibilities are pretty much unlimited.

But, I'm getting off track. Right now, what I was after is a way for my Amiga to access my PC. So I only allow the Amiga to call in -- and it has to know the password.

Now, what I needed was the FTP client on the Amiga side to call in. I've been using AmFTP ( for some time now to update the AGM website. So, obviously, that's what I used to connect to the PC. It's very simple to set up. Just click on the "Connect" button and the "Server Profiles" window opens. Add a "New" entry, supply a name, the IP address as the "Host Name", the correct login ID, and password. Click on the "Connect to FTP server" button, and you're there! I now had access to everything on the PC from the Amiga. As a bonus, it was quite a bit faster than Amiga Explorer at most transfer tasks.

Click here to see AmFTP on the Amiga connected to my PC.

Directory Opus Magellan II

What else could there be? Well, I soon tired of having to open a new program, AmFTP, in order to access the files on the PC. I was using Directory Opus 5.1 for my file management software on the Amiga, but the PC files were still invisible to it. It would be nice, I thought to myself, if I could just use Directory Opus to access the files on the PC as well. That way the network would blend seamlessly into my system. Well, it turns out there's a way to do that. What I had to do is upgrade my Directory Opus 5.1 to Directory Opus Magellan II. (Opus Magellan isn't cheap. The software is $80. The upgrade was $70. But I think it's worth it.)

Opus Magellan II ( contains FTP software built in. Once more, it blends FTP tasks so tightly into the environment that I can simply double-click on a JPEG picture that's on my PC, and Opus Magellan displays the picture on the Amiga. This is the way things should work!

Opus Magellan II contains an FTP Address Book similar to the one in AmFTP. You simply set up the IP address you're calling, supply the login ID and password, and connect. Works like a charm! But... by default, connecting to an FTP site opens a new "lister" in Opus. (A lister is just a window where the contents of the directory you're looking at is displayed. In Opus, you can have as many "listers" open at one time as you want.) When I go to any partition or directory on my Amiga, it opens in the current lister. That's the way I wanted my ethernet connection to work. The question was, how to make it work that way.

ARexx eventually provided the answer. I built a button in Opus to call an ARexx program. The button is set up as an ARexx command that calls the program

   DOpus5:ARexx/ConnectCompaq.dopus5 {Ql}. 

The {Ql} parameter sends the "lister handle" of the "source" lister to the ARexx program. The ARexx program just looks like this:

/* ConnectCompaq for DOpus (c) 1999 Bill Raecke */
/* Connects to PC via LAN using active window */

options RESULTS
parse arg sourcehandle .

if sourcehandle = '' then exit

Address 'DOPUS.1'

'command FTPConnect LISTER 'sourcehandle' SITE Compaq'

Clicking on the button should now execute the ARexx program, which will cause Opus to connect to the specified FTP site (named "Compaq" in my Opus FTP Address Book) and put the default directory in whichever lister was currently the "source" lister.

But it still didn't work. What happened is that the connection was made via the source lister, but the default directory was not read in. I had to select "refresh directory" in order to actually see what was on the PC. I spent several frustrating days trying to overcome this problem. It finally occurred to me that there might be a fix available, so I logged onto the Opus support web site and downloaded the latest upgrade... version 5.81. This version resolved all problems.

Click here to see Directory Opus Magellan II connected via FTP to my PC.

Opus functions exactly as I wanted -- and it so happens that it also outperforms AmFTP and Amiga Explorer in most measures. I ran a few speed comparisons to verify that my perceptions were correct:

Test Amiga Explorer AmFTP Opus Magellan
194 files, 10.38 megabytes total size
Amiga to PC 3 min 53 sec 1 min 31 sec 1 min 24 sec
PC to Amiga 2 min 17 sec 4 min 22 sec 1 min 03 sec
1 file, 4,787,284 bytes
Amiga to PC 35 sec 18 sec 22 sec
PC to Amiga 37 sec 16 sec 17 sec


Finally... perfection. My ethernet network works seamlessly. I can transfer files back and forth between computers using either Directory Opus Magellan II on the Amiga or Windows Explorer on the PC. It certainly wasn't easy and it certainly wasn't inexpensive -- but it works... and works quite well.

To summarize, here's what you need:

A PC ethernet 10baseT card approx $40
An Amiga 10baseT card -- Ariadne II $128
An ethernet hub $40
Ethernet cables $10
Miami Deluxe $60
Amiga Forever $60
Serv-U $40
Directory Opus Magellan II $80
TOTAL $586

Of course, if you have some of the software or hardware listed above, as I did, your total cost will be reduced by that much. Further, the prices listed above are for the full package. If you can upgrade, your costs are reduced as well.

For me, getting all this accomplished stretched out over a period of about 6 months. I ordered my Ariadne II card from National Amiga in February... I received it about 3.5 months later, in June. After that, things went a little faster, but I really didn't finish the setup until August. Stretching the expense out that way made it a little easier to bear. And, of course, I had some of the software and hardware listed above to begin with.

The bottom line to me is whether it was worth the expense. To me it is. It makes transferring files between computers very easy. And it's just plain cool to have a PC hooked to an Amiga.

Now for that cable modem.

[Source: ]


Ariadne II

Review of an Ethernet Card for the A2000, A3000 or A4000

USEnet review by Matthew Sawyer (


Ariadne II


Ethernet card with 10Base2 and 10BaseT connectors


Name:       Village Tronic
Address:    Muhlenstrase 2
            31157 Sarstedt

Telephone:  +49 (0) 5066 / 7013-10
Fax:        +49 (0) 5066 / 7013-49


$159.00 (US)




An unused expansion slot in an A2000, A3000(T) or A4000(T).

The board does not come with any cables. I had to purchase a peer-to-peer twisted pair cable (Cost: $6.99) to connect my Amiga to my PC.


TCP/IP software is required to use the card. It comes with a registerable version of Genesis (formerly known as AmiTCP).

I am using Miami and only needed to get the updated device driver off the Nordic Global web site (





Installation was easy. The card is not quite full length and easily fits into any of the expansion slots.

It comes with two setup disks that include the necessary device drivers and TCP/IP software. However, the version of the software that came with my card was v1.0 and did not come with the diagnostic tools listed in the user manual. An e-mail to Village Tronic quickly revealed an updated set of install disks (v1.2) on their ftp site.

Running the installer on the first disk installs all the necessary drivers and diagnostic tools.


This is my first ethernet card for an Amiga. As such, I can't compare it to other cards that are available. However, I can tell you that I am extremely pleased with the card.

The card comes with two types of connectors 10Base2 (chepernet) and 10BaseT (twisted pair). I am using twisted pair (reversed) from the Ariadne II directly to the ethernet card in my PC.

It does not come with any ethernet cables, however they do supply an ethernet "T" connector and a terminating resistor for 10Base2 users.

One thing that was interesting about the card is that it has several expansion connectors on it. However, Village Tronic has not announced any expansion options for this board so I don't know if they will ever be used for anything.

I have not tried using the card with the supplied Genesis TCP/IP software. I have been using Miami for my PPP connection to my ISP. In order to use PPP and ethernet at the same time, I had to upgrade to Miami Deluxe which is currently in beta test but is available.

Being the networking novice I am and the lack of documentation with the beta version of Miami Deluxe, it took me a while to get my Amiga configured so that I could use both PPP (internet) and ethernet (intranet/LAN) at the same time. With a little patience and persistance, I got it working just perfectly. So now my setup looks something like this:


I can easily pass files back and forth between my Amiga and my PC. Plus, my Amiga acts as an internet gateway so that I can access the internet from either computer seamlessly.

There is no noticable slow down when accessing the internet from the PC. File transfers between the Amiga and the PC are fast and error free. Using ftp between the two, I've been getting around 470 kb/s.


The board comes with a 34 page user manual. My only comment about it would be that there is only 2 paragraphs about the software installation. This would be fine if the only software provided was just the device driver. There is nothing mentioned about the included Genesis TCP/IP software at all. In fact, I didn't even know it came with Genesis until I ran the installation.

However, I should point out that Genesis comes with it's own documentation in HTML format.


The card appears to be well made, was easy to install and has performed above my initial expectations. Plus it wasn't so hard on the wallet. It was much less expensive than any of the other ethernet cards on the market.


It would have been nice if they would have mentioned something about Genesis in the user manual. Also, when I e-mailed Village Tronic about the card when it was first announced they told me it came with a 2 year warranty. However, there is no warranty information in the user manual.


I haven't used any other Amiga ethernet cards, so I can't really compare performance. However, price wise it is much less expensive.




Excellent. When I inquired about the board via e-mail when it was first announced, they answered all my questions quickly and with courtesy. Same for when I contacted them about the updated installation disks.


The user manual doesn't say anything, but I was told via e-mail it is 2 years.


I am very pleased with the board and would recommend it highly. I give it 5 out of 5 stars.


Copyright 1998 Matthew Sawyer

This review may be Freely Distributed as long as it is only distributed in it's entirety.

You may contact the author at:
Matt Sawyer (


The CUCUG Section:

September General Meeting

reported by Kevin Hopkins

The September 16, 1999 General meeting began with the traditional introduction of officers.

President Lewis then announced that "Gateway has pulled the plug on the Amiga." There were several others that pronounced, "The Amiga is dead." When the question of "What about Petro?" was raised, the answer was "Petro is a Dead Man Walking." Other pronouncements were that Iwin is a hoax, the Boxer is still not out, and, more positively, OS 3.5 seems to still be on track. The Phoenix Platform Consortium was then discussed.

Turning to Macintosh news, Richard Rollins reported that the G4 machines have been released. He said if anyone was thinking about purchasing one, they should wait, as the current machines have G3 motherboards with G4 chips on them, with software to turn them on. Actually G4 specific motherboards won't be available until October. When asked if current G3 motherboard machines can be upgraded to G4s, Richard said he had heard it was possible if you hadn't upgraded the firmware on your original G3.

Richard reported that Apple stock is now up over $75 a share and will probably hit $90 by year's end.

Richard also mentioned the release of Apple's new flat panel 22 inch monitor, which provides 1600 x 1024 "letterbox format" resolution. He informed us that the AirPort wireless station had finally received FCC approval, noting that the new G4 computers would use it. He then ticked off some release dates: the 450 Mhz G4 out in October, 500 Mhz G4 out at the end of October or early November. OS 9 is to be released in early October.

In discussing the new Macintosh machines, it was put forward that IBM had released the design of the PPC motherboard, with the hope of sparking a PowerPC clone market. The design is great for multi-processor systems - SMP - Symmetrical Multi-Processing. Intel, on the other had, does not have their multi-processing code working properly.

Richard was asked what machines Apple's upcoming OS X will run on and he said it will run on G3 machines and above, and maybe on 604e machines. It may run on others, but it won't be supported.

Richard informed everyone that Word Perfect 3.5 had been released free to the public. It can be downloaded at It's about a 33 MB download.

Richard strongly encouraged those using Filemaker Pro to get the Y2K patch for version 4.1.

Richard stated that MacInTax for Business has been discontinued, but MacInTax Personal is still continuing.

The discussion of these software upgrades, patches and offers lead to a wider discussion of the web, connections, and commerce on the web and the attempts of moneyed interests to control the Internet. Richard mentioned the desire of some software companies to become Application Service Providers, not selling the customer the software, but attempting to charge the customer on a per use basis over the Internet; in a sense, making your computer nothing but a dumb terminal. The direct sales model came in for scrutiny.

Richard ended his segment by noting that the new iBook is shipping and has had 160,000 orders so far.

Just before the break, Kevin Hisel talked about the Dream Cast machines. He said there had been talk of upgrading them to true computers and that they do have a rudimentary OS. He said it had been discovered that you could Telnet into a Dream Cast on Port 23.


September Board Meeting

reported by Kevin Hopkins

The September meeting of the CUCUG executive board took place on Tuesday, September 21, 1999, at 7PM, at Kevin Hisel's house. (For anyone wishing to attend - which is encouraged, by the way - the address and phone number are both in the book). Present at the meeting were Jim Lewis, Emil Cobb, Dave Witt, Richard Hall, Kevin Hopkins, John Lynn, Kevin Hisel, Mike Latinovich, Richard Rollins and Jim Huls.

Emil Cobb: Emil reported that we had average attendance at our last meeting.

Dave Witt: Dave said the meeting was decent. In discussing WinSIG issues it was noted that Dave Witt and Doug Michaelson will be the WinSIG webmasters.

Richard Hall: Rich reported that all the third Thursday meeting dates for next year have been confirmed at the Bresnan. He dealt with the entire business over the phone. In giving his Treasurer's report, Rich reported paying all of our Federal taxes and State taxes for the last two year. He also paid our estimated taxes for 1999. Needless to say, it was a not inconsiderable sum.

Kevin Hopkins: Kevin delivered the mail and an updated copy of the database to Kevin Hisel, for his and the President's use.

Kevin instigated an exploration of the ramifications of proposed actions for later this year. Financial and publishing issues were discussed. Newsletter editorship issues were also touched upon.

Richard Rollins: Richard spoke about a service call he had just been on before the meeting. He said he was working on the eighth machine killed by lightning.

Richard said that next month's Mac SIG will be on games. He said the last meeting was nice.

Richard reported that Apple's stock was down 10 points on the news that earnings would be down because they can't get enough G4 chips to meet demand.

The iBook is doing well. There was a major earthquake in Taiwan where the factory is, but it is OK.

John Lynn: John said he was sorry he missed the last meeting. Commenting on the latest "no new machine" announcement from Gateway/Amiga Inc., John said he wished that Gateway had done it a couple of years ago. The Amiga community could have weathered their "do nothing" stance far better.

Mike Latinovich: Mike floated the idea of petitioning Gateway to not use the Amiga name in their new products. They should have some respect and retire the name.

Speaking of the last meeting, Mike said, "Doughnuts were good. Doughnuts with CUCUG are worth the price of membership." Mike said he enjoyed the format of the meeting - just setting around a large group of tables and talking. He said it reminded him of the Amiga group long ago. Mike said that he hoped that we can do it again.

Mike said he is looking forward to the WinSIG.

Kevin Hisel: Kevin discussed the Phoenix Platform Consortium. He noted that it has been called the FMAIM - the Fleecy Moss Acronym Initiative of the Month. Kevin said there is a lot of talk going on in the Amiga community but no on wants to do the heavy lifting required for effective action. Kevin also reported news on the Amiga compatible front.

Next on Kevin's agenda was a literal house cleaning. He brought out several items that he want to find a new home. First was the Fred Fish collection, an A1000 and a C64. Mike Latinovich took everything.

Kevin noted that September 14 was a decisive day for him.

Jim Huls: Jim said that Mac OS 10 and the G4 could be very exciting in the future. Jim said, "Sorry about the Amiga."

Jim reported that the U of I has a group called the Mac Warriors that will be giving a series of Apple Script workshops during October. He asked if anyone wanted to go along with him to some of these.

Jim Lewis: Jim said that Caldera Open Linux 2.3 was very cool. Several other Board members concurred.

Jim lead a discussion of marketing ideas to grow the club locally. He stressed that the time had come to actually "do it." It was decided that Jim will write the copy. Kevin Hisel will proofread. Mike Latinovich will post it to CMI newsgroups. It was also decided to place ads in the News Gazette classified section the Sunday before each meeting for 3 months.

Planning for upcoming WinSIG demos, Jim Lewis will be doing batch files in October. Bill Zwicky will be doing Amiga Forever in November. December will be our club elections.

Returning to publicity issues, Jim Huls will do a flyer, if he can have content provided. Rich Rollins will check TV stations for email submission of Community Calendar announcements.


The Back Page:

The CUCUG is a not-for-profit corporation, originally organized in 1983 to support and advance the knowledge of area Commodore computer users. We've grown since then.

Meetings are held the third Thursday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at the Bresnan Meeting Center in the Champaign Park District Headquarters (398-2550). The Center is located at 706 Kenwood, 1/2 block south of the corner of Kenwood and John Street, in west Champaign. Kenwood is the fourth north-south street off of John as you are going west, after crossing Mattis. The Center is in the northwest corner of Centennial Park, northwest of Centennial High School.

Membership dues for individuals are $20 annually; prorated to $10 at mid year.

Our monthly newsletter, the Status Register, is delivered by the postal service or email at the member's choice. All recent editions are available on our WWW site. To initiate a user group exchange, just send us your newsletter or contact our editor via email. As a matter of CUCUG policy, an exchange partner will be dropped after three months of no contact.

This newsletter was prepared with PageStream 2.22 on an Amiga 3000 25/100 and output to an HP Laserjet IIP plus. Pagestream was donated to CUCUG by Soft-Logik Publishing Corporation.

For further information, please attend the next meeting as our guest, or contact one of our officers (all at area code 217):

   President:            Jim Lewis           359-1342 
   Vice-President:       Emil Cobb           398-0149  
   Secretary/Editor:     Kevin Hopkins       356-5026     
   Treasurer:            Richard Hall        344-8687  
   Corporate Agent:      Jim Lewis           359-1342 
   Advisor & Mac SIG:    Richard Rollins     469-2616
   Webmaster:            Kevin Hisel         406-948-1999           khisel @

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