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Gateway Lazarus box to revive Amiga

AmigaOS machine to run on PowerPC, take on Apple's iMac

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Direct vendor and erstwhile would-be Mac cloner Gateway appears to be keen to get its own back on Apple with a scheme to release a PowerPC 750 (aka G3) machine codenamed Lazarus. The life-after-death reference is explained by Gateway's decision to base the machine, which is due to ship early next year, on AmigaOS 4.0, according to rumour-mongering Web site, Mac the Knife. Gateway, of course, bought Amiga last year. The anti-Apple angle is supplied by Gateway's apparent decision to provide the machine with some form of MacOS emulation. Mr Knife's comments contain three different ways this may be achieved, but the most likely option would be to use AmigaOS' virtual machine mode, which allows a second OS to be booted and run natively with the addition of some extra software. Revamping the Amiga isn't as daft as it sounds -- irrespective of whether it's a way of bugging Apple or not. The Commodore box won widespread support in a number of professional areas, most notably the music business, and there are still plenty of aging Amigas out there whose owners are primed for upgrade sales. Many earlier upgraders moved to the Mac, but Apple's troubles ultimately persuaded other users to go down the Windows route. That may explain why Gateway is apparently also considering an Intel-based version of Lazarus, still running AmigaOS 4.0. That's perhaps more likely to see light of day than the PowerPC box -- Gateway is, after all, already making Wintel PCs, and bunging in a new OS isn't that difficult, despite Microsoft's Windows licensing terms. Still, Gateway has long been keen on breaking into other markets than the Wintel space, hence its early interest in licensing the MacOS. While Gateway was ready to go ahead, Apple appeared to get cold feet and pulled out of the negotiations. Since then, there's been rather less of a strong business case for pursuing the hardcore Mac users who won't move to Wintel but might opt for a halfway-house solution based on AmigaOS. Today, however, the success of the iMac may well have persuaded Gateway that it's time to look at it again. The proposed spec of the PowerPC-based Lazarus -- at least according to Mac the Knife -- is a 233MHz PPC, 3GB hard drive, 16MB SDRAM, 32x CD-ROM, two USB ports, two RS-232C serial ports, EPP port, SVGA video port, four PCI slots and a SCSI 3 port, all of which rather sounds like overkill to us, but does address some of the criticism professional users made of the iMac -- specifically that it lacked PCI slots and other peripheral connectors. ® Click for more stories

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