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Amiga chief outlines plans

Collas hits out at Gateway "mismanagement"

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The president of Amiga, Jim Collas, who formerly worked at Gateway, the company that owns Amiga, has outlined his plans for the future of the Amiga platform. Collas said that an Amiga show held at St Louis two weeks ago had showed an increase of 14 per cent in visitors year on year. He said: "The Amiga community is the most innovative, dedicated, heroic and enduring community in the computer industry." But he said some of the problems the Amigos had endured in the last two years came from "misguided" decisions by Amiga Inc. In an open letter, he wrote: "It is now obvious to me that some very big mistakes were made in defining a path for Amiga in the last two years. The low priority and support given to Amiga by our parent company, Gateway, aggravated this situation. Gateway was preoccupied during this period with significant internal restructuring to strengthen its core business for the future. The intentions relative to Amiga were good but the situation was mismanaged. "Some people have told me that I should stop talking about past mistakes and only look toward the future. I agree with this but I also want people to clearly understand that I realise how much our past mistakes have hurt the community and delayed progress. This is important because I do not want to repeat these mistakes so be patient as I discuss this one last time. "In my opinion, the biggest mistake was the decision not to evolve the current Amiga architecture as we developed the next generation. This hurt the current Amiga community the most. The right decision would have been to overlap product generations just as Apple did during the Apple II to Macintosh transition. Apple evolved the Apple II architecture by introducing the Apple III even after Apple came out with the Mac. The Apple III wasn't a big seller but it helped Apple II hardware and software companies and allowed them time to transition their products to the new Mac platform." "In hindsight and from the vantage of the Amiga community, not evolving the current architecture may look like an incredibly stupid mistake but it was not as obvious to people coming from the PC industry. I am not trying to justify this flawed decision but to give some insight as to how such a decision could be made. Living in a computer industry dominated by Wintel PCs skewed the thinking of people making this decision. In a computer industry dominated by Wintel PCs, computers are obsolete within six to 12 months. The inefficiency of the architecture requires a continuous upgrading of CPUs, graphics and storage devices in order to deliver acceptable improvements in features and functions. This is what happens in an industry where revolutionary innovation has been replaced by constrained evolution. From this PC-centric view, no one could imagine that a computer architecture that stopped evolving in the early 90s could have any life left in it. "Obviously this view was very limited and flawed as the Amiga community has proven over-and-over again how much life was left in the current Amiga architecture. It is obvious that the community would currently be stronger if we had made the decision two years ago to evolve the current Amiga architecture. Two years have now passed and we are faced with a tough question. Is there still life left in the current architecture? I believe that there is. The release of O/S 3.5 in late July or early August will allow the current architecture to live on for a few more years. In addition to O/S 3.5 we are looking at supporting companies that are looking at hardware enhancements to the current architecture. We will also support emulation of the current Amiga architecture on the next generation Amiga so that people can use most of their old software. I am spending time with key people in the Amiga community to finalize transition plans between the current Amiga and the next generation." He said the Amiga community is very strong in Europe and he plans to visit the UK and Germany later this month to meet representatives. "I will use this input to finalise our future architecture and plans. I especially need help in planning out how we will transition from the old architecture to the new architecture in such a way that keeps the Amiga community healthy." ®

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