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Phoenix pledges to lift Amiga from ashes

Platform's users, developers combine to take control of Amiga's future

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Some of the best-known names in the Amiga community have banded together to wrest control of the platform's destiny away from its official sponsor, Amiga Inc. The Phoenix Platform Consortium (initials 'PPC', you'll note...) will "assume responsibility for aid and recommendation for reference platforms for the Amiga users who wish to upgrade their present Amigas, as we establish an open migration path to a new platform". Quite what form that "new platform" will take has yet to be decided beyond the PPC's desire to offer a system that's new yet retains the "spirit and feel" of the original Amiga. Contrary to the extravagant claims touted of late by other Amiga-based businesses, most notably Commodore wannabe Iwin, the PPC is taking things a little more cautiously. "Unlike other new entities we will not field questions from newsgroups, mailing lists, or in email, nor will we be erecting a marketing facade to false hopes," said the group's charter statement. "Results and honest direction are our mandate." "Phoenix signatories believe it is time to place our destiny back in the hands of folks who understand what the Amiga is all about," the statement adds. A tad arrogant? Possibly, but the PPC does include some of the key players in the Amiga world, including Carl Sassenrath (one of original Amiga development team, and co-founder of Rebol), Wolf Dietrich (head of upgrade supplier Phase 5), Bill McEwen (formerly of Amiga Inc, now at Amino), Dan Dodge (head of OS developer QNX) and Fleecy Moss (Amino). How the PPC proceeds will depend a great deal on Amiga Inc. itself and the plans of its parent, PC vendor Gateway. An announcement from Amiga on its ongoing strategy is expected later today, and if the rumours are to be believed Amiga president Tom Schmidt will formally ditch the company's current Linux-based 'multimedia convergence computer' (MCC) in favour of a more basic system, possibly Microsoft's X-Box games console. The Register is sceptical about that one. Even if Gateway signs up to Microsoft's proposed platform standard -- and that's by no means certain; Gateway has only ever been mooted as the kind of PC company that would back X-Box, never as a signed supporter -- that doesn't make the demise of Amiga in its present form a certainty. That said, some major revision of the company's goals is essential. Sony's plans for the PlayStation 2, announced yesterday, put the Japanese giant's games console/home computing system right up against Amiga's MCC. Given the strength of Sony's brand, the size of the PlayStation's existing userbase, the money Sony will spend to promote the PlayStation 2, and the developer support the next-generation console has already garnered, Amiga hasn't much of a hope, no matter how good its technology is. The threat of the PlayStation 2 and, to a lesser extent, Sega's recently released Dreamcast (like the PSX 2, a 128-bit console, but far less focused on the wider home entertainment arena that Sony's box is) could well drive Amiga back to its desktop PC roots. That certainly appears to be what existing Amiga users want, and so is likely to form the basis for the PPC's own platform development efforts. ® Related Stories Commodore wannabe don't want to be Commodore no more Amiga president bails Amiga to develop games consoles, digital music players

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