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© 1997-2006
Gareth Knight
All Rights reserved

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· · OPEN LETTER TO THE COMMUNITY


Linux Announcement

Dear Amigans,

After months of research and in-depth discussions with all of our technologypartners we have decided to use Linux as the primary OS kernel for thenew Amiga Operating Environment (OE). I know this decision is a shock tomany of you given the previous announcements and activities relative toQNX. This was a very complicated and difficult decision to make and I assureyou that I didn't make this decision without a significant amount of researchand deliberation. We have been researching Linux since February but didn'tfinalized our decision until several weeks ago. We were planning to communicateit to the Amiga community in the technology brief that will be releasedin the next few days.

I am pressed to communicate the Linux decision before the technologybrief because of information released by QNX in the last few days. Thisinformation had not been reviewed or approved for release by Amiga. Inlight of our Linux decision, this information is confusing and misleadingso I would like to take the time to clarify the situation. I can't discloseany details of the Amiga/QNX discussions because of legally binding confidentialityagreements but I can talk to you about our decision to use the Linux kernel.I think that you will agree that this is the right decision once you understandthe reasons for this decision.

Before I continue, I should mention that our technology decision doesnot reflect negatively on QNX. I believe that QNX is a good company withgreat technology. I just believe that Linux gives us a better chance ofexecuting our plans successfully.

The decision to use QNX as our OS partner on our next generation multimediaconvergence computer (MCC) was made late last year. When I took over aspresident of Amiga in February of this year, I initiated an in-depth reviewof existing Amiga plans and decisions. As president of Amiga I had to makesure that we were defining a strategy and an execution plan that wouldallow Amiga and the Amiga community to be successful. We reviewed our strategy,architecture decisions, technology partners, and execution plans. Duringthis review period we also added a number of very talented and experiencedpeople to help us finalize our technology and product decisions. I am confidentthat we now have a solid and exciting plan that people can have confidencein.

Linux has been picking up substantial momentum over the past year asa viable, open OS alternative in the marketplace. This momentum, the growingcommitment to Linux applications from a wide variety of software vendors,and the growing availability of Linux device drivers from hardware vendors,makes it a compelling candidate. Additionally, with all of the significantcomponent suppliers putting resources on writing drivers for Linux it wasdifficult to get them to port to yet another operating system. Using theLinux OS as a foundation for our Amiga OE allows us to leverage a significantamount of available software drivers and utilities. This allows us to quicklysupport multiple graphics cards and other peripherals.

Given the above-mentioned advantages, we decided to do an in-depth technicalanalysis of Linux to determine if it was a suitable OS kernel for our newAmiga operating environment (OE). As we ported parts of our higher leveloperating environment and AmigaObjectTM architecture to Linux, we discoveredsome significant performance advantages in the Linux kernel in areas suchas distributed object messaging across a network (up to 10X the performanceof Windows NT). Although Linux configurations can be very large in size,the core pieces of the Linux kernel are actually very small and efficient.In considering hardware requirements we also found companies working onhardware components that were optimized for the Linux kernel. Additionally,Linux is probably the most stable operating system available in the market.After months of in-depth research we were confident that we could buildan extremely exciting next generation Amiga based on the Linux OS kernel.

Does this mean that the next generation Amiga will not be unique? Absolutelynot! Remember that the OS kernel is only one component of the new AmigaOE and the hardware is unique. The revolutionary nature of the Amiga OEis in the way it extends the traditional operating system to provide ahost environment for a new class of portable applications – applicationsthat exist in a pervasive networked computing environment. We will be integratingmultiple technologies including an efficient windowing environment anda unique user interface.

In summary, we decided to use Linux because of the incredible momentumand the fact that it is solid technology and a good foundation for ournew Amiga OE. Additionally, the Linux community is an impressive forcethat we should be aligned with. We share many common values and objectiveswith the Linux community. Using Linux as our OS kernel allows us to builda unique and revolutionary operating environment while leveraging the enormousmomentum of Linux.

The soon to be released technology brief will further explain our architectureand plans for integrating all of the selected technology. Once you readit, I am confident that you will understand the revolutionary nature ofthe next generation Amiga. I assure you that Amiga and the Amiga communitywill be a driving force behind the next computer revolution.

Sincerely,
Jim Collas
President, Amiga

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