Linux Mozilla On Amiga

Wednesday July 21st, 1999

James Russell writes in with information regarding Mozilla on the new Amigas: "...Amiga has announced the NG Amiga MCC (multimedia convergence computer) will have an OS written atop the Linux kernel (and Java2, Jini, C++, and more) and X Windows as a lower-level piece of the new Amiga Workbench (GUI) which Amiga has said they will release back into the Linux open-source environment (yes, the Workbench) for people to improve on.

For this reason, Linux Netscape will run on NG Amiga 'seamlessly', as they put it, and therefore those programming Linuxzilla now are actually programming NG Amigazilla along with it."

Interesting news - it'll be interesting to see how Amiga accomplishes their goal.

#3 Part of my report to my employer:

by Kovu <>

Wednesday July 21st, 1999 1:20 PM

You are replying to this message

First off, I should clarify that Amiga is no longer owned by Commodore, a company that entered into voluntary liquidation in 1994. Amiga is now a wholly owned but fully independent subsidiary of Gateway, Inc., and has been since 1997.

Secondly, I should stress that Amiga has not released all of the specifications for the Amiga MCC. I have been researching the new or "next generation" Amiga for the last year but only now do I finally have enough finalized information to present. More info will be released July 24th at the World of Amiga show in London and AmiWest 99 in Sacramento, CA, at which point I can update this report.

NOTE: I saw it necessary to include here some definitions straight from the technical brief on the Amiga MCC that Amiga released on July 16. Quoted material is from this tech brief unless otherwise attributed. The entire report can be read at the following URL: <…executive/tech_brief.html>

Reason #1: The Amiga Multimedia Convergence Computer (Amiga MCC)- In Amiga's own definition the Amiga MCC is, "a hardware/software platform specifically designed to meld outstanding multimedia performance, a new level of ease of use, transparent access to the Internet and, through home networking, access to a growing family of Amiga-compatible devices around the home. The Amiga MCC will be distributed in two formats: an integrated multimedia convergence computer and a standard ATX motherboard. Both include the Amiga OE, an underlying OS, and support for digital video/DVD, 3-D graphics, surround sound, and emerging broadband and home networking standards. The Amiga MCC is intended to serve as both a great platform for multimedia applications, such as 3-D gaming and digital video integration, and as the hub for a next-generation distributed home computing environment."Amiga has targeted the release of the Amiga MCC at $499 for late 4Q1999.

Reason #2: Compatibility With Current Standards Because the MCC will support current hardware, no one has to be convinced to switch hardware platforms, but rather only to upgrade their current platform. Take my self-built high-end PC, for instance, and I'll show you just how much I can use from it when I upgrade to an Amiga MCC ATX version:

*Sony 17-inch Trinitron monitor (via adapter to USB) *Keyboard (PS/2 to USB adapter) *Tower case (Amiga ATX board will fit right in) *Modem (one of two PCI slots) *CD-ROM drive (one of up to 4 E-IDE UltraDMA devices) *Iomega Zip drive (the second IDE device) *Floppy drive (the third IDE device) *Printer (serial to USB adapter) *Hard drive can be one of the two supported, enabling easy dual booting between Windows 98 and the Amiga MCC *The 128MB worth of 168-pin SDRAM I have on my current motherboard will be added to the 32MB system memory and 32MB (all SDRAM) frame buffer that the motherboard comes with. That's 160MB of system memory and 32MB for the graphics. :)

All I'll have left will be a lonely Intel processor, motherboard, and sound and video cards that will have been replaced by one ATX motherboard. Scary, eh? Yes, it's that easy. Such will be the case with those like me who have spent a ton of money on current high-end hardware - even those Power Mac G3 systems can use port right over to Amiga, I'm sure, as ATX is pretty much universal. Both systems will use common, fast 168-pin SDRAM DIMMS, and the ATX version will be upgrade-able to 1GB (the standalone to 288MB). WOW.

Reason #3: AmigaObjects- AmigaObjects is a transactional object-oriented language which, in Amiga's own definition: "serves as the foundation for all objects in the Amiga Operating Environment (OE) ... [and] provide powerful component building blocks that allow developers to rapidly create impressive and powerful Amiga applications. AmigaObjects furthermore enable integration of a wide variety of different technologies under one umbrella [Java2, Jini, Java Enterprise Edition, kJava, pJava, Linux, C++ to name a few]. Networking is intrinsic to AmigaObjects, which means that AmigaObjects are free to move around on the network or use network resources. The AmigaObject architecture by virtue of this flexibility enables a new class of "Net-aware" applications where there is no clear boundary between a device and the network. "

"AmigaObject technology can be embedded in devices as small as hand-held computers and scale all the way to large servers. The power and flexibility of the AmigaObject naturally extends to all other objects in the environment, thereby giving all objects in the system network transparency and the ability to proliferate across the network." AmigaObjects will be compatible with all major platforms (being heavily Java-based). More specifics will be released soon.

Amiga has chosen Java as their primary programming language for portable applications based on AmigaObjects, and says C and C++ will also be supported for native MCC applications, as well as Java technologies such as kJava, pJava, Java2 and Java Enterprise Edition. By embracing Java and Linux and uniting them on hardware optimized for both, Amiga does not have to convince developers to switch either languages or hardware.

Reason #4: Information appliances- This term refers to devices such as wireless LCD tablets, Internet terminals, digital TV set-top boxes, notebook computers, Web phones, DVD-based games machines, and more. Information appliances network wirelessly in real-time with the MCC, which in turn integrates the devices into a real-time comprehensive operating environment. Because the Amiga MCC shares its resources (via the Internet, home networking, and broadband Internet service), and this allows the Amiga appliances' hardware and software to be lighter on memory demands and thus size, weight, and price. Information appliances are targeted around $500, with price varying per appliance (and not yet established publicly, anyhow).

Information appliances will be run by the heavily Java-based AmigaObjects, which are transferable across platforms. This relieves any fear that Amiga appliances will be dependent upon purchase of the Amiga MCC. If a PC user wants to run appliances but they don't want to switch to Amiga, the part of the AmigaSoft OE, the subset (named, fittingly enough, the Amiga Information Appliance Environment) that communicates with Amiga information appliances will be ported to all major operating systems to allow them to host Amiga appliance environments. Target release for the first gaggle (if four is a gaggle) of Amiga appliances is targeted for 4Q1999, and with these first four devices Amiga hopes its open-standards architecture interests outside developers in making their own devices. Users taking this option will be required to have half-decent computing power to run the appliances with any quality. A 486 with 23mhz processor? Nope, take it out and shoot it. But wait! The case and monitor might work!

Reason #5: Instant Support -- the Linux and Java Connections- There is no question that Amiga will have software support. Ordinarily, a massive barrier to any newcomer to the computing industry is convincing those that have high-end PC hardware that they will not have to run out and buy all new hardware. Luckily, Amiga sidestepped this barrier completely by building their new operating environment atop the Linux kernel and X windows (on the lowest sub-level of the windows management system -- invisible to regular users) to leverage Linux' market momentum, drivers, in addition to that of the Java and C++ communities.

Amiga will run both Linux and Java software as Amiga's president Jim Collas put it, "better than any computer in the world," and from the released specs along it is evident that he is right. Amiga says they chose Linux in no small part due to the software support for Linux that's just beginning to really flame through the computer industry now, as well as Linux' extremely prominent record for being the most stable operating system in the market today. Linux versions of Corel WordPerfect software and Netscape's (AOL's) Communicator are already out for Linux and both have their newest updates (9.0 and 5.0, respectively) due for all major platforms this year (including Linux, and thus by default the Linux-compatible Amiga MCC), by the end of 1999. Netscape support means ICQ and AOL Instant Messenger are both in the works for Linux somewhere ... that's support, and it's already there.