For the past 5 years I have been focused on purchasing and getting the most out of my Amiga systems, whether that be Classic, Next Generation (NG), FPGA or emulation based.
I have looked at countless new Amiga software and hardware products introduced in that time and I am always amazed by the quality of what is produced, as well as the enthusiasm of the community to support these efforts and keep Amiga alive in 2017 and beyond!
The AmigaOne X1000 was the system that really rekindled my interest in things Amiga back in 2012, and following actively the developments of AmigaOS 4 and the latest developments in operating system, applications and games, and even beta testing software has been very satisfying for me personally.
This also logically rekindled my interest in Classic Amiga systems too which I had to buy again, as I sold a lot of them many years ago - although I had kept a few favourites like my Amiga 2000, Amiga 4000D and 4000T. All this I covered on this blog in detail.
After all this work I ended up with upgraded Amiga 500, 600, 1000, 1200, 2000, 4000D, 4000T, CDTV and CD32 Classic systems, in addition to AmigaOne A1222 (AmigaOS4), AmigaOne X1000 (AmigaOS4), Sam 460CR (AmigaOS4), Powerbook G4 (MorphOS), Acer AspireOne (AROS), Minimig FPGA (A500), MIST FPGA (A1200), Amiga Forever and AmiKit X emulations! Whew, how fantastic!
I learnt all about alternative Amiga operating systems like MorphOS and AROS alongside AmigaOS 4.1 and optimised classic setups like AmiKit X, AmiKit Real, AmigaSys4, ClassicWB and had a lot of fun building the systems and trying out all the new software on offer! I have covered these in detail in this blog too over the years!
I hope I have inspired a lot of you to tinker and play around with your Amiga systems again!
It seems so, since I have almost a thousand people reading my blog everyday, and half a million since I started on it five years ago. For an Amiga focused blog I think that is amazing!
I have to thank you, the reader, because it is because of you all, your feedback and questions that I was so motivated to complete my Amiga projects that I have always wanted to do since I was a teenager.
I have been so engaged in all things Amiga I even travelled to the other side of the world to visit the AmiWest 2014 show in Sacramento, USA, and was really inspired by the current developments and developers of AmigaOS, pushing the platform forward.
There I also saw AmigaOS Final Edition and the new AmigaOne X5000 for the first time in the hands of Beta testers, which is of course now available for sale to the general public in 2017 with AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1!
I would love to go again to see an overseas Amiga show some day!
Following this AmiWest trip, I decided to help create the Adelaide Retro Computing Group, and as a result we now have a local vibrant and interesting monthly meeting of Amiga and other Retro systems brought in by passionate Retro system fans - right here in my home city of Adelaide!
We learn so much about new projects for our Retro systems from some very inspirational attendees!
Even Trevor Dickinson from A-EON technology came to visit us in late 2016. This is something I am very proud of!
I even got involved this year in the beta testing of AmigaOS 4 for Hyperion Entertainment for the upcoming AmigaOne A1222 (and Linux too)! Unfortunately this current AmigaOS related beta testing work (very interesting though it is) cannot be shared with you on this blog due to NDA's.
A-EON Technology is well aware of this and has many projects ongoing as I write this and of course now has an AMIStore Application platform for selling Amiga software directly to the NG Amiga community from their systems. Indeed they are even running a DevCon this very week.
But I think we still really need more developers and a genuine pipeline of development activity to get a constant stream of new releases for Amiga out there.
In my view, the ongoing sales of the AmigaOne X5000 and upcoming AmigaOne A1222 really do depend on a regular release of interesting NG Amiga software to keep people interested and engaged in the future of our favourite OS.
The tools are clearly there, the App store (AMIStore), the AmigaOS/MorphOS SDK, Development environment and IDE's, and even simpler entry level cross-platform software development tools like Hollywood 7 (released in 2017) run on our NG systems.
The Classic Amiga area (on the other hand) after being quiet for a number of years is booming right now for software and hardware in 2017.
Things like ACA500(Plus), Prisma Megamix, Vampire 500/600, Rapid Road USB, HDMI output Zorro graphics cards like VA2000, and Gotek USB floppy drives are great new developments and there is so much more than that too!
We even have Google Drive and Dropbox client software on Classic and NG Amigas!
Emulation has made a lot of progress in the last five years, especially with the introduction of PowerPC emulation under WinUAE, which has enabled PowerPC support under OS 3.x and also allows us to run AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition under our Windows/Linux PC's and Macs!
FPGA too has made massive strides recently in recreating our Classic Amiga systems through Minimig ECS and AGA cores running on inexpensive MIST FPGA, FPGA Arcade and Chameleon64.
The hardware and software developments in particular give the Classic Amiga systems new features they could never of dreamed of when they were original built.
The Apollo team Vampire 68080 accelerator of course being the real talk of the community this year. Performance speeds never seen on an Classic Amiga 500/600, with HDMI RTG video out and plenty of ongoing active and public accessible information about progress keeping people very engaged!
This presents an interesting issue though. Is it better for the community to focus attention on Classic Amiga only, and forget about developing NG AmigaOS, keeping Amiga firmly in the Retro system hobby camp, or should we focus on pushing the boundaries of AmigaOS on NG platforms (AmigaOS, MorphOS, AROS) to see what we can do with it?
Ideally we can do both as a community, resourced sufficiently by passionate people, without one direction affecting the other or pointless fighting of one approach over the other draining enthusiasm to keep things moving forward.
And more transparent Amiga community engaged development of the NG operating systems (AmigaOS, MorphOS and AROS) to keep the remaining community interested and get them more engaged in actively improving the systems for our ultimate benefit.
In my view vendors and developers shouldn't need to hide behind restrictive NDA's and closed development cycles in 2017 for a hobby based system platform like the Amiga.
You only have to see what is happening with the Apollo Team Vampire project with their ongoing core development work to see what is possible when you engage openly and positively with the community through social media, irc, forums and so on.
No one is expecting perfect software, but I think we all want to be part of the progress, and most importantly to know that there is actually progress being made!
This is what I hope for anyway! Probably dreaming but worth putting it out there!
And as you have seen, the Amiga scene is still very much making progress:
AmigaOS 3.9 BB2 with Vampire 500 68080 Gold 2 Core on Amiga 2000 (2016)
AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 on AmigaOne X1000 (2017)
MorphOS 3.9 on Apple Powerbook G4 (2016)
Icaros Desktop v2.2 (AROS) on Acer AspireOne x86 netbook (2016)
AmiKit X (WinUAE) Classic Amiga Emulation on x64 PC (2017)
So much has been achieved in the past 5 years and I look forward to what comes next!
As mentioned I have shared a lot of setup and build information along the way to show how great Amigas still are and how to make the most of them! I hope this has been useful for you, or at least you could have a good laugh at my (lack of) skills!
I feel that I have reached a kind of peak in 2017, where all my Next Gen and Classic Amiga systems are where I want them to be upgrade and build wise, with all the functionality that I need from them to enjoy using them daily.
Mind you I have said this before and then bought a bunch of stuff so who knows...
I still want to find new Amiga mountains to climb though!
Earlier this year I was debating stopping the blog altogether once I had upgraded all my systems to where I wanted them (which I have now done!). But, I still enjoying blogging about Amiga, and I still believe there is still more good stuff to come on Amiga!
Libre Office, Tower 57, Wings Remastered, Final Writer new version, Octamed new version, just to name a few...
Meeting and talking all things Amiga with other Amiga crazy fans here in Adelaide and elsewhere has done wonders for my motivation too!
Who knows, maybe I take up Amiga programming or something as a new challenge and continue this blog in a new direction to create some new software!!
In summary, I really hope you have enjoyed this blog for the past 5 years. It has been quite a ride and a lot of fun for my personally.
A little off-topic I have finally weakened and created an Instagram account to share my photos of computers, trains and other things of interest. I also share some of these photos to my Facebook page and Twitter account from time to time too. I did this because I don't have time to blog about everything of interest these days and not everything fits my blog subjects either, so this is my easy way to share stuff I enjoy! If you want to follow me on Instagram, search for epsilon2012. I will still blog too of course!
In the meantime keep playing with your Amiga systems and upgrading them, whether it is Classic, Next Gen, FPGA or via emulation! Support the developers who keep our platform moving forward by buying their products when you can.
I don't know how long I will continue blogging about all things Amiga (I never thought in 2012 that I would still be blogging about Amiga in 2017!), but I will continue as long as I continue to enjoy doing it! :-)