Amiga News

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech Gazette, June 2010

Anymore there's not a lot of news in the Amiga community at any given time, so when something actually does happen, it tends to stand out more. Even better, there's something going on for both sides of the PowerPC fence, Amiga OS4 and MorphOS.

On the OS4 side comes the early alpha release of Timberwolf, a first of the Mozilla Firefox Amiga porting projects to actually bear some fruit. I'm not an OS4 user (at least not currently), but I recognize the value of bringing Firefox to the Amiga. At an earlier time, I would have wanted to see this more than anything else, but with the proliferation of newer Webkit-based web browsers such as OWB, it's not quite the priority it once was. I can see one especially good reason for Timberwolf or other Amiga Firefox ports, and that's if they can support the wide range of plugins Firefox on other platforms uses. I don't know much about Timberwolf yet, so I can't say either way if it will. It would be a strong "selling point" though, especially if the port reaches a wider range of Amiga-related systems. 68K-based Amigas might be a bit much to ask for, but adding MorphOS and AROS would be welcome.

On the MorphOS side of the fence comes a new update to the operating system itself, version 2.5. Another PPC Mac model has been added to the short list supported by Morph. Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately, depending on your point of view) the only new added model so far is the EMac, particularly the 1.25 GHz model. (Other EMac models are not yet tested, but may work as well.) I've been waiting for support of one or more Mac laptop models myself, for portability, and others are waiting on the promised Powermac G4 tower models, but the EMac (notable for being rather inexpensive on the secondary market, as well as being the last Mac model with an integrated CRT monitor) is it for the time being. Hopefully more Mac model support is coming sooner rather than later. Like many MorphOS 2.x updates, it's more a matter of tweaks and bug fixes than added features. The OWB web browser is included, now at version 1.8. This version of OWB adds HTML5 video support, which makes YouTube and similar sites accessible (though you will have to change settings on the site from using flash to HTML5). Along with the previously mentioned Timberwolf, it represents another step toward making web browsing as functional on Amiga and Amiga-like systems as it is on any other. Let's all hope that it only gets better from here.

Oh yeah, I hear that iPhone and iPad are pretty popular too.