Amiga Reviews & Magazines

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech-Dayton Gazette, October 2009

The days are getting shorter, and colder. It seems to be happening quickly, too. Anyway, there hasn't been a lot going on recently in the world of Amiga stuff, though for whatever reason, I'm not really seeing that as bad news. One nugget of interest is the author at OSNews who reviewed Amiga OS4 a while back (l talked about his article back when as well) just reviewed MorphOS 2.3 as well. The article can be found here:

http://www.osnews.com/story/22315/MorphOS_2_3_EFIKA

What makes these reviews interesting (to me at least) is they are written by someone who is not already Amiga-savvy, nor viewing everything through Windows or Mac-colored glasses (though some bias does creep in from time to time). It's about as close to impartial as a review such as this is likely to get. One small downside here is that the author was limited to using the Efika hardware, and noted running into issues, mainly with the system's limiting 128 megs of hardwired RAM. To be fair, he likens this to trying to review Windows 7 on a similar spec, so he couldn't review fully, and was forgiving of limits he ran into, not so much with MorphOS itself, but the applications run on it. He did note that Morph was quite fast and responsive, even with the limited hardware. He also noted the interface design made more "concessions to the modern world," feeling it was a bit more accessible to those not already familiar with Amiga-style design, mentioning the "browser-paradigm" file manager interface versus the "spatial-paradigm" interface of OS4. (The author shows his ignorance here, as Morph is capable of working either way, at least to an extent.) Still, it was a worthwhile, if short, read.

Sometimes, when I think back to the glory days of Amiga, one of the things I miss most is the magazines. There were the American magazines, the larger British mags with their floppy discs (and later CDs), even specific magazines for Amiga gaming and the CD-32, (however short-lived). Reading most of the magazines was both a source of news and a joy. Not every magazine was great, and not every article was about something that interested me, but the ratio was always well above average. Nowadays things are different, as the vast majority of Amiga-based publications are long gone and the Internet gives quicker access to information than any magazine could. Also, the overall world of computers has changed. My computer experience has extended from Amiga to Mac and Linux. Mac magazines are interesting, but they are really "anything Apple makes" magazines. I don't feel I'm getting much value out of a publication where half of the coverage is on stuff for iPods and iPhones, so that interest ratio is much lower. Linux magazines are no better, simply because Linux covers such a wide field of interests, applications, and distributions. Any one Linux user, especially if they aren't using Ubuntu or one of the other most popular distros, is going to have a pretty limited amount of press that they can directly relate to. There is a light in the darkness though. When I see the Amiga Future magazines, even in this time of less Amiga news and less that can't be found on the Internet first, I find the feeling I get from reading Amiga magazines back in the 'nineties still exists, justified or not. lf only everyone could recapture past feelings so easily.