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    I felt particularly targeted by Axel Rauschmayer’s tweet:

    I’m tempted to buy one, but this is one of those things that I’m interested in in theory, but that ends up collecting dust in practice.

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      AMIGA replacement :)

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        A strong No. This is no Amiga replacement.

        If the idea was to rekindle the playfulness and exploration of that generation of computers, then the Raspberry has failed.

        Neither the Hardware front (due to complexity) nor the software front (if the operating system is Linux) are comparable in that regard.

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          I’ve done an awful lot more exploration and programming with Linux than my Amiga. And I love my Amiga. But much of what we can do with them now, 30+ years later, is due to reverse engineering. They weren’t open systems. There isn’t a particularly viable programming environment on them OOTB.

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            But much of what we can do with them now, 30+ years later, is due to reverse engineering. They weren’t open systems.

            I digress. See: http://amigadev.elowar.com/

            All this documentation has always been available. They also published the PCB schematics (they’re in the user manuals!).

            What’s missing is the latter AGA chipset documentation, which had to be reverse engineered, and of course AmigaOS’s source code and the internal designs of the custom chips.

            Unlike with current hardware, the Amiga custom chips had lowish transistor count, so it was not extremely hard to figure out how they worked in detail. Thus cycle-exact emulators (uae then winuae) and open hardware reimplementations (minimig and aoecs).

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              Unlike with current hardware, the Amiga custom chips had lowish transistor count, so it was not extremely hard to figure out how they worked in detail.

              And they were correspondingly less powerful. The solution is not for modern computers to be handicapped by being forced to a low transistor count. The ultimate solution is open architectures. Meanwhile, the Pi as a platform is far from perfectly open, but there’s enough open about it (especially on the software side) that there’s plenty for enthusiasts to do.

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                And they were correspondingly less powerful.

                In a meaningful way. You’d get to see the difference between fast code and slow code.

                The solution is not for modern computers to be handicapped by being forced to a low transistor count.

                The solution to what problem exactly? If the purpose is to understand and learn about computers, then the priorities are not the same.

                Meanwhile, the Pi as a platform is far from perfectly open,

                And thus fails at its original goal.

                (especially on the software side)

                Especially on the hardware side. The SoC peripherals, outside the CPU. Especially the GPU.

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            nothing stops you from installing another OS on this board. I think 9front should just work on it, and that’s a plenty playful OS.

            on the hardware front, the GPIO pins are available still, so while you might not be able to fiddle with the internals, you can access the outer world easily.

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            Shame it’s running Unix, though.

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              And the Ctrl key should be where the Caps Lock is.

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              Now if we could figure out a way to get the form factor of the Amiga UI into a modern Linux system, I’d be so happy :).

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                There is amiwm if your modern Linux system still uses X.org (mine does). There’s also amibian if you’ve got the ROMs, which you can legitimately obtain from Cloanto.

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                  Careful amiwm is not OSI/FSF approved Open Source/Free Software.

                  As for Cloanto, here’s my take: Please don’t feed companies that somehow own historical Amiga IP and are keeping it to themselves and exploiting it for profit.

                  This is specially annoying because of Cloanto’s empty promises of intent to open source, and no action in that front no matter how many years do pass.

                  Everything Amiga should be part of the public domain, in a sane world.

                  My take for an Amiga today? There’s a few options for the hardware, including but not limited to:

                  • FPGA-based open implementations (e.g. minimig or aoecs on miSTer hardware or ULX3S).
                  • Old Amiga from second-hand market. A500 are particularly common and easy to obtain cheaply, while they can run most software and have plenty of expansions available, including modern open hardware accelerators.
                  • WinUAE, fs-uae or some other emulator on a powerful PC; Not a raspberry, It cannot emulate at full speed with cycle accuracy. The software emulation option comes with a latency penalty even on the fastest computers.
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                    Everything Amiga should be part of the public domain, in a sane world.

                    It will be, 70 years after the death of the authors, in my locality.

                    There’s a few options for the hardware

                    Indeed, my own preference is the Apollo Vampire V4. I stream Amiga software development and we’re currently using an emulator with that, I’d prefer to switch to the Apollo but there are some problems getting amivnc to work that I’m not qualified to fix. I’m in favour of AROS becoming a good, free way of running Amiga software. In practice a lot of “running Amiga software” means games, and a lot of games need the original, proprietary kickstart libraries.

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                      It will be, 70 years after the death of the authors, in my locality.

                      Way too late, and that’s only if the source code isn’t just lost.

                      Apollo Vampire V4

                      Completely closed, both software and hardware. Has proprietary extensions to the instruction set and the chip set which could lead to vendor lock-in, as there’s no alternative implementations of these. Unfortunate.

                      And full of annoyances. To date, it is not even possible to use your kickstart of choice on the accelerators, without running the one they embed first. They really want you to see their logos and such. There’s other small things that make it not feel right. Full disclosure: I own a V500v2.

                      My take is that we should focus on the oshw and open source software fronts.

                      We should use/enhance the available open hardware such as TerribleFire’s accelerator boards, the minimig core, aoecs, tg68k, fx68k and such.

                      We should rewrite, one piece at a time, all of AmigaOS’s rom modules, and the on-disk parts.

                      Until we manage to get our shit together and do that, we’ll always be the laughing stock of the Atari community, which has emuTOS, FreeMiNT and a vibrant ecosystem of open source software and hardware.

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                        Full disclosure: I own a V500v2.

                        The V4 is a different experience, evidently. The kickstart they embed is the open source AROS kickstart, and while CoffinOS has to remap the Hyperion kickstart after the AROS one has booted, it can do that without showing a Vampire logo should you wish (and you could do the same to boot to Commodore kickstart/AmigaOS). And the software is a fork of AROS. I think it already mostly does implement the full ROM and on-disk OS, actually at a better level than the out of date status page upstream.

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                          AROS is unfortunately not open source, by FSF/OSI definition or even Debian guidelines. Vampire’s ROM extensions and patches aren’t, either.

                          The only reason they bundle AROS with the standalone V4 is to sidestep the legal nightmare (ownership is disputed) of licensing actual AmigaOS. End users can simply load AmigaOS themselves and they generally do, as the AROS isn’t a real alternative on 68k/amiga platform.

                          MiSTer or ULX3S development boards are, by the way, much cheaper than Vampire V4, and when loaded with the Open Hardware minimig/aoecs cores they will run existing software much faster than the old hardware, with great compatibility.

                          Personally I ordered a ULX3S (for Amiga unrelated reasons), and I will be getting an OSSC Pro once available (miSTer compatible).

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                            AROS is unfortunately not open source, by FSF/OSI definition or even Debian guidelines.

                            The AROS public license specifically hasn’t been approved by OSI, but that doesn’t mean that the license isn’t open source or free software. It’s the MPL with the word “Netscape” removed.

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                    Unfortunately, amiwm just takes care of the window decorations – everything inside them is still huge widgets with slow animations.

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                    Which Amiga UI are we talking about, Workbench 1.3 or all of the meh? :)


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                      One man’s meh is another man’s treasure!

                      (Edit: the meh one’s where it’s at for me but Workbench 1.3’s flat, but contrasting and space-efficient layout is IMHO better than pretty much any modern flat theme. Properly anti-aliased and coupled with a similarly low-latency widget set it would beat any Arc-powered desktop.)

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                        The code do need some patches to handle x11/wl clients, and it is what it is quality wise - but it did run on a first gen rPI ;-)

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                          Oh I know it, I’ve fiddled with it quite a bit!

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                            Forgive me for doubting you :D

                            I did get a bit curious as to how much it would take for an OKish live image to the pi400 though - or make a voxel-like VR version..

                            With the newer helper-scripts, I think it’s just the really stupid stuff that might have a problem running due to the open source drivers – like the CRT glowtrails effect, it’s quite complicated as a ‘wanted to get vectrex like screen effects, takes like a ring buffer of n client supplied frames rotating, sampling, blurring and weight-mixing. The lil’ pi isn’t exactly a master of memory bandwidth.

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                          I recently changed my x pointer to the kickstart 1.3 one, albeit scaled to 128x128, which helps me see the damn thing on a 4k display.

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                          Workbench 1.3

                          Nitpick: The video you’ve linked is a (poor) recreation of 1.0, not 1.3.

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                            You’re the recreation of 1.0!! :-p

                            Seriously though, what’s your trigger? 1.3 was the first to add the 3D drawers!


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                              The window titlebar appearance (waves, buttons).

                              On a second look, it does look like neither 1.0 nor 1.3. But certainly 1.x inspired, not 2+.

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                        More like Acorn replacement, if used with RISC OS.

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                        From the product page:

                        The GPIO pins remain accessible, so if you want to explore beyond the desktop, you can connect components and prototype your projects.

                        I’m happy about this decision.

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                          I wonder what the typical use case is.

                          As a mobile computer, I would love to see a Raspberry Pi inside a tablet.

                          Keyboards are plenty out there. But a tablet that runs Linux is a challenge to find. You have to hunt around the net, hoping to find some users who describe their experience.

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                            I think one use-case will be in schools, where studens just have to “plug-in their keyboard” into the monitor, and they can just use the system, and easily take it home. It’s easier than with a standard pi, since you don’t have to carry around peripheral devices, and they actually get to own their hardware for once.

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                              I wonder what the typical use case is.

                              Perhaps, as a modern home computer, like Commodore 64, Atari ST, and the like, or, specifically, to emulate these platforms.

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                                The magic of those platforms wasn’t the keyboard. It was the explorability and comprehensibility of the programming environment, and the power it off and on again robustness of the firmware: no “oops, I screwed up my install” worries encourages fearless exploration.

                                The keyboard is nostalgia at best, cargo cutlting at worst.

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                                  I don’t think we’re ever going to get that back; not beyond proverbial “toys” anyway (as opposed to machines you actually do stuff with).

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                                These would be great for running classes in the hackerspace I’m a member of. We got given a bunch of old laptops to resurrect a while back, but before that had happened it was really difficult to teach computer-y classes ’cause getting 8 or so functioning computers for students was not necessarily trivial, and having students use their own computers for stuff is a great way to spend 90 minutes on installing/setting up programs.

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                                  For one, I’m thinking of building one of these for my daughter as soon as she’s old enough to want to play with a computer :)

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                                    Desktop replacement. You could stretch it into a laptop replacement by adding a touchpad, a battery bank and a hinge for your portable (USB-powered) screen of choice.

                                    To make a tablet would be a further stretch in terms of touch support on Linux (not to mention UX). I actually made one based on a Nitrogen6x, but that was before Linux supported multi-touch. As you can imagine, it was really only usable as a laptop replacement.

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                                      Dang; I was hoping they would have done something to make the Pi easier to run off battery. It’s really a beast; without an onboard charging circuit the best most people have been able to do is hook it up to an external USB auxiliary battery, which usually means you can’t charge it without powering the whole system down. (the only SoC I could find that doesn’t have this problem is the Pine64)

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                                      One reason a tablet poses extra difficulties as the touch UI is different from the classic desktop UI.

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                                      I get the appeal of this form factor, but my main issue with it is that I don’t get to choose my keyboard…

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                                        Maybe you can plug an external keyboard into it.

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                                          Is there any advantage over the standard pi once you do this though?

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                                            The CPU is slightly faster than the standard Pi 4, but you are also restricted to 4Gb RAM unlike the Pi 4.

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                                              Oh yes, I remember seeing a teardown that mentioned that, however, it also mentioned that the latest revisions of the Pi 4 also have the upgraded CPU, which should be overclockable to be at the same speed.

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                                          It’s kind of hilarious; I tried to build a laptop around a Pi a few years ago, and I ran into a lot of problems around powering it, getting a good display hooked up, etc. The only part which wasn’t difficult was the keyboard; that’s more or less trivial to anyone who has a soldering iron and a laser cutter. So … thanks, Pi foundation?

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                                          I am so happy about this! It’s actually a bit hard to assemble a working Raspberry Pi setup, what with the case, USB hub, mouse, keyboard, SD card, suitable power adapter, cables, etc. This will make it accessible to so many more kids. And the GPIOs are a real killer feature of this board — imagine the joy of a kid learning to control real things in the physical world from Python on their Raspi. Especially since so many kids these days only have locked-down phones and tablets, so they can’t even really learn computers on their own. I do wish it had 8GB RAM though, 4GB is pretty limiting these days.

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                                            The good thing here is not the keyboard, but the slim, long circuit board form factor, for possible other case/screen adaptations, IMO.