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23.Oct.2022



Amiwest: A-EON, Amigakit and ExecSG presentations
Traditionally, representatives of the AmigaOS 4/AmigaOne camp are attending AmiWest to give presentations about the current state of affairs and announce the next releases being worked on. This year, Trevor Dickinson and Matthew Leaman from A-EON/Amigakit were videoconferencing into the show while Steven Solie from the ExecSG team gave a presentation on site. We have briefly summarized the most important points from both presentations; the associated slides can be found at the end of this news item. A recording of the entire first day of AmiWest - including the presentations discussed here - is already available online.

A-EON's next PPC motherboard 'A1222 plus' (originally: 'Tabor') is scheduled to be shipped to end customers early next year. Dickinson considers Enrico Vidale's (ACube) statement from Amiga 37, that endusers might receive their boards in January "typical Italian optimism", he believes delivery in February or March to be more likely. The final price hasn't been decided yet - but they're trying to stay as close as possible to the original goal of offering the cheapest possible entry-level system. However, global bottlenecks in electronic components and the resulting higher prices have increased production costs significantly. Initially, 200 motherboards are to be produced, of which 100 are reserved for participants in the Early Adopter program.

Due to a shortage of P5020 CPUs, the X5000 motherboards currently being shipped by A-EON are already equipped with a P5040 quad-core processor. The price for these machine is therefore a bit higher, but the final pricing is set by the respective dealer. Said dealers would also take care of bundling the hardware with a properly licensed AmigaOS 4 (editor's note: A-EON no longer has OS4 licenses itself).

Version 2.3 of the in-house software bundle Enhancer Software will be a free an update for existing customers, it will contain "new components" in addition to an update of the 3D driver system Nova. A new version of 'Enhancer Core' will be released in October. The latter is a free compilation of the most important libraries and system modules from the enhancer package, which is intended to ensure better acceptance of the corresponding components by third-party developers and users.

A-EON's attempt to establish an operating system that has no ties to Hyperion is apparently called "Enhancer Software V54" currently and is described as a "self-booting distribution that requires an AmigaOS 4.1 license". The project now also has its own TCP stack: A PPC port of AmiTCP that also supports DHCP. However, according to Dickinson, publishing the distribution will require "6 to 9 months" of additional development time.

Novabridge, which supplements Nova with the old Warp 3D interfaces and thus makes old applications run on systems with modern graphics cards not supported by Warp 3D, was originally planned as an exclusive component of Enhancer Software V54. But due to significant interest from customers, it will also be sold separately via the in-house app store AMIStore. A price or a release date were not announced.

The second and third parts of the book series From Vultures to Vampires, originally planned as a single volume and now expanded into a trilogy, have now also been completed. Dickinson expects the second part to be released "early next year", the digital release will probably come first. The last volume will then be published shortly thereafter, that book's layout is still being worked.

Dickinson has now received a video showing the current state of the LibreOffice port from the responsible programmer Hans-Jörg Frieden, which he will publish as part of his next blog entry. The AmigaOS 4 implementation has been "completely revised" again, the betatesting will start "soon".

For ExecSG - which Dickinson expressly presents as his personal property, not that of A-EON - project manager Steven Solie explains that there are currently two variants of the kernel: Firstly, a single-core variant, which has received numerous optimizations and improvements, and which he intends to publish as soon as possible. Agreements or negotiations with Trevor Dickinson and Hyperion are still necessary here in order to clarify the exact procedure. He wants to offer ExecSG for free for "as long as possible".

Secondly, a version of the kernel with multi-core support already exists. The operating system always runs on the first core, while other tasks are currently randomly assigned to one of the available cores - in later versions, a scheduler will of course always select the currently least utilized core. However, the multi-core variant of the kernel is still very prone to crashing and is difficult to debug. A demonstration of the multi-core kernel can be seen at A-EON's AmiWest booth, but Solie describes it as "not very exciting because it keeps crashing".

In addition to minor improvements to the kernel (refer to the slides below), work is currently being done on porting the multi-core variant to A1222 plus, after which an adaptation to the AmigaOne X1000 is being planned. Solie hopes that porting the multi-core kernel to the other systems will provide new insights, since other processors are used there.

In addition to working on the kernel, Solie is also responsible for firmware updates. The U-Boot versions for X5000 and A1222 plus not only received various bug fixes, but will now also correctly initialize the additional cores of the multi-core CPUs used in these machines. Firmware updates will be distributed "soon" via A-EON. Once they're installed, the respective computers will then be "multi-core ready".

The X1000 also requires a firmware update for multi-core support. According to Solie, the problem here was that the sourcecode for the 'CFE' firmware used in that particular machine was lost - fortunately it was found again in the meantime. However, the system is so old that it can no longer be compiled with current compilers - which is why Solie is currently trying to set up an older system with the help of a virtual machine, which will then hopefully produce executable binaries.

All slides of the A-EON/Amigakit presentation (Trevor Dickinson, Matthew Leaman)


All slides from the ExecSG presentation (Steven Solie)


(cg) (Translation: cg)

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