Future of MorphOS
  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Posts: 2720 from 2003/2/24
    There has been lots of talk about the future of MorphOS during the years. After what happened post-MorphOS1.4, this has increased during time. Many people (bright minds) has left, because of the situation they experence as "hopeless". There are several discussions going on about the future of OS4 at some sites, and also current discussions about the future of MorphOS. Here is a long rant about this. I have been thinking about it, and thought I should at least put it on print, to see some reactions:

    Since MorphOS is a closed source proprietary operating system with commercial ambitions (right?), I think a company needs to be created. A MorphOS Inc or MorphOS GmbH or whatever (maybe even a MorphOS AB, since Sweden has some unique (I believe) rules that enables different kind of shares to be emitted, shares with different voting rights, that enables raising capital without letting all the power away). Since the development of this "commercial" OS currently is done completely on an unpaid basis AFAIK, I think it would be fair if the developers (as well as all old and new stakeholders) owns a part of the shares (and/or options) that corresponds to their created value. Everyone puts in their part of the created IP in the company, and receives an amount of shares that weights in at the same value. This way, everyone involved can feel that even if they work for free now, they will not be left out if/when a serious opportunity with lots of money involved materializes in the future, and any potential future conflicts that might arrive when a lot of money suddenly gets into the picture, is avoided. Owning a fair part of the total value (which can only rise in the future, and will do so according to how the business evolves) ensures that. If some investor could be found along the way, hey, even better; it's only a matter of emitting more shares and collecting the money. Heck, why not get a little offensive and go public?

    Everyone involved today (hence shareholders of the future MorphOS Inc), as well as *future* stakeholders, will have the ultimate power, and they executes their power over the direction of the company during the annual meeting of shareholders. One share, one vote (unless you go for the Swedish model, when you can use a mix of different types of shares, ie one "B-share" can equal to 1/10th of a vote, or a "C-share" with even less power (but all with the same right to the capital of course)). The most important mission of this meeting would be to elect a board of directors, responsible of carrying out the owners wishes. The board of directors could include some of the developers, but I think it would be important to add influence from outside; like business people with experience from the industry, entrepreneurial minds, etc. One of the responsibilities the board of directors has, is to hire (or at least "engage" at this point, where money *is* an issue) a Managing Director. The MD should IMHO not be a "techie", even if a "more-than-common-knowledge" in this field would be good. No, his (or her) mission will be to make a business out of MorphOS, to find and/or create opportunities, in all thinkable areas. The point is, this guy will concentrate on current and future growth of the shareholders value, making sure that MorphOS finds new markets, penetrates new segments, etc, instead of worrying about what's causing PPaint to crash under various circumstances, how to develop a 3D driver for Radeon 9800, and things like that.

    What strenghts/weaknesses does MorphOS have? What opportunities/threats are there? What is the best way of catching the opportunities, avoiding the threats, based on the strenghts and weaknesses?

    A long term *business* strategy needs to be developed. Then a long term *development* strategy needs to be developed accordingly, in order to make it happen. Then do the same thing on a tactical and perhaps even an operational level. The *business goals* comes first, *they* sets the agenda, and the development goals is defined from them (not the other way around).

    In a business/existential context - Where is MorphOS in one year from now? In two years? Five years? Or ten years? Today, no-one knows, but it's essential that *everyone* knows this (the *ambitions* of MorphOS development). Not only "the MorphOS team" (who probably has no idea about this themselves, or worse - completely *different* ideas), but the entire community (communities) of developers, users, investors, entrepreneurs, system integrators, etc, etc. It's a matter of *attracting* vs. *repelling* interest, efforts, investments (of time, soul and resources), etc, etc (everything that creates momentum). No-one will invest in a ticket to a train with a totally unclear destination (or if there are uncertainty whether there is a destination at all; if the train might remain at the station forever). Especially not if the train conductor, the driver or any other members of the train personell displays a clear and public *contempt* towards the only navvy's out there laying down tracks towards various possible destinations (and sending out such signals can be *nothing* but destructive).

    If we don't know where we are going, then we will end up nowhere. It's time to define some long-term, mid-term and short-term business goals, and development goals accordingly. There needs to be some roads defined that leads us towards those goals. We need roadmaps, with milestones along the way. When *that is all defined* and all *crystal clear*, when everyone (MorphOS developers and community) knows the path that lies before us, then there will be no problems in releasing progress reports, ETA's, etc. The "nagging" about "when is it done" (and what will that be?) will stop in an instant. Also, there needs to be a general internal agreement on the objectives, and some carefully planned, disciplined work towards the goals. Then one can start talking about *a team* instead of a collection of individuals doing scattered ad-hoc work wherever (and whenever) they feel like it. And it's time to realize that this is not a one-man show (or "a few men show"); building a platform takes the involvement of a *community*! MorphOS is very lucky to have one (a pretty unique thing for a new OS, which perhaps can turn out to become the difference between success or failure). Make use of this fact!

    A developer of some embedded application needs tools and components in order to put it all together. One business idea for MorphOS could be to center around this fact. If that developer can be offered a hardware design (open or closed), a firmware/hal, as well as OS (or components of it) and other software, in an attractive and supportive way, then it could be a way ahead?

    Correct me if I'm wrong here, but in the FPGA industry, isn't it like this, that there are providers of hardware, of software development tools, and then there are providers of IP (many which are third party) consisting of a wide range of pre-made "cores" with various functions? A developer can pick what he wants and put it in his shopping cart, and then check out and get down to business. AFAIK, third party IP is offered pretty much in the same space as the rest of the tools, which is a great thing, and maybe this whole idea could be applied to MorphOS as well?

    Say you would want to create a info-kiosk or in-store display/demo unit. You could start by putting a check-mark on the Efika (or an offspring, which will be essentially the same thing from a technical point of view) and the Genesi HAL/OF. And what if you then could choose from a "smörgåsbord"/buffé of MorphOS components (from a collection of the whole desktop OS) as well as third party software; you would of course start with checking-off the MorphOS core (the kernel, dos, basic libs, whatever "the core" might be), then a check-mark at AHI, perhaps some datatypes or "Krashan equalents", and end with Hollywood (the device should run a stand-alone Hollywood player). You are creating a recepie databank for use in grocery stores. Here you would likely need MUI and TurboPrint as well, but probably not AHI. A small footprint Internet terminal (like this for instance) for use on train stations, internet cafés, etc, would need a TCP stack, a set of Internet applications (including java, flash, etc). Various options of licenses are prepared ahead, so it's just to pick and choose.

    Anyway, that was just *one* idea, only brainstorming here. But no matter the way you may go with this, you will *have* to open up MorphOS for business. It's time to change focus and bring in some business developer into the game, or at least present a clear vision/ambition/strategy of doing so. Developers should be separated from the business process and focus on what they knows best - developing. Business people should be brought in to build up a business. MorphOS ownership situation (including new components, old components and their past and current stakeholders) should be established formally and communicated in a crystal clear way. This includes (but not exclusively) documenting GPL dependencies, or other licenses, also with third party developers and "investors" that has contributed in the past (no "Henes", this is not evil, and I am *not* claiming that MorphOS is illigal now). Ultimately, the full rights to all IP should be brought under full control of the umbrella company "MorphOS Inc" (which, by all means, could be owned by MorphOS developers as I said above), where it will reside from there on, completely independent of any developer. This will be the only way of ensuring waterproof safety of the project and a stable evolution; ie that we won't see another "Gerber thing" in the future (where people simply quit and takes their IP with them, leaving a hole of void), or that some "team members" decides that they don't like certain people and won't allow the use of "their" software for certain projects. One can say that this is taking a step to a higher, more professional ground, where *business* is the focus. But most of all, this will be an important step of making MorphOS "licensable". Entrepreneurs wanting to license MorphOS should only have to turn to *one entity*, who has the full ownership and full power of granting any kind of licenses that suits the progress and evolution of MorphOS the best (completely independent of individual developers). A complete infrastructure for this should also be put in place. But for any of this to happen, if MorphOS should go *anywhere*, there must also be some goals/visions established, roadmaps covering how to get there, with milestones for progress reports. Then there has to be some disciplined teamwork, focused completely on taking the OS to those goals. Of course, there has to be frequent and crystal clear communication regarding this, and *everything* above (this entire post). And yes "bigfoot", a *webpage* would be a very good way to do this.

    All this needed to happen yesterday.

    MorphOS is Amiga done right! :-)
    MorphOS NG will be AROS done right! :-)
  • »30.03.06 - 15:24
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 328 from 2003/5/19
    I think we have very different views. Let me outline some differences:

    1. I think MorphOS for the forseeable future has zero commercial
    potential as a platform.

    Although there is some room for licensing components (such as a driver
    for embedded use, or such) or for using MorphOS expertise and code
    base for special paid projects, thereby making it possible for MorphOS
    developers to get something back financially, I think there are no
    commercial options for MorphOS as an OS. Not as a consumer OS, not as
    an embedded OS, not at all.

    2. I think getting involved with money when there isn't much of it is
    a road to disaster.

    We've already seen it and it can happen again. Money may not be the
    root of all evil, but when expectations do not meet reality it quite
    commonly breaks up friendship and destroys cooperative spirit.
    Besides, administrating such things take up a lot of time and is
    boring work, which is completely useless when there is next to no
    revenue anyway.

    3. I don't think it's crucial that the MorphOS user base grows

    It's possible that some "bright minds" have left (though I've seen
    little proof of it, there doesn't seem to be a great mass of used
    Pegasoses available). But I'm not sure it matters. It seems to me that
    the people leaving (many or few) probably had false expectations:
    they expected MorphOS to be a commercial success, or they just wanted
    to toy around with frequent updates they wouldn't really use anyway
    and updates haven't been frequent enough to fill up their time. People
    who really want to do something with MorphOS are not leaving as far as
    I can tell - there's quite a lot to do, all it takes is inspiration,
    skill and persistance. To me it's important that MorphOS attracts
    inventive developers, not so much users, "bright minds" or not.

    4. I think MorphOS as a hobby OS is quite attractive.

    I don't believe MorphOS will take over the world, but a team (and a
    community) driven by passion, rather than money or the ambition to
    attract lots of users, has a unique possibility to create an OS that,
    at least in parts, offers something new and progressive. Such
    improvements can then live on in future OSes regardless of whether
    MorphOS survives or not. There are too many hurdles for such a small
    OS to be able to offer everything a regular user would want, or even
    to compete favourably with embedded systems. But I believe it is
    possible to remain attractive for people who are willing to lag behind
    in certain areas in order to enjoy what is special about MorphOS. If
    this base consists of enough developers and users to act as
    betatesters and keep up some sense of community, I think MorphOS can
    survive. Maybe one day there will be some commercial possibilities,
    but I don't see it today. And it's not really important to me.

    [ Edited by merko on 2006/3/30 17:39 ]
  • »30.03.06 - 16:38
  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 741 from 2003/2/24
    If I've learned one thing in the last 5 years is that
    I'm happy with what I have and it makes no sense to ask
    for more ...
  • »30.03.06 - 16:44
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  • MorphOS Developer
    Posts: 619 from 2005/8/27
    From: the land with ...
    First of all, I agree completely with everything Merko said...

    Secondly we have documented all the licenses, author/ownerships etc, this was already discussed in The Thread That Disappeared(tm)(r)(c).

    Thirdly I don't think it's any of your business how we chose to run our "business", and certainly not trying to forcibly suggest that our statements regarding Efika somehow are not valid (sure, we might change our minds some time in the future if the conditions are right, but it's hardly fair to suggest the things you suggest on ANN), and quite frankly your Genesi fanboyism disgusts me...

    - CISC
  • »30.03.06 - 23:17
  • Paladin of the Pegasos
    Paladin of the Pegasos
    Posts: 1914 from 2003/10/19
    From: Port Hueneme, Ca.
    Well said Merko. I would agree 100% with you as well.

    Now lets not turn this thread into a flame war. Genesi needs to focus on making money and thats that. MorphOS isnt something they can do that with. What I would like to see is to have MorphOS stay like it is and be developed with fun in mind and getting more things working with it. We have the baics, lets focus on the best of those basics and get them working well.

    I would also like to see companies like Elbox build working drivers for the Mediator. I cant see it being too hard a job. MorphOS is so close the AmigaOS 3.1 they should just build and work with very small changes. It would sure get a lot more people running the MorphOS. They also need to pull there heads out of the sand and release a working PPC solution that can be run with MOS. Why wait for OS4 when they could be selling boards like mad now and run MOS on them?
    Powermac Dual 2.0 GHZ G5 PCI-X (Registration #1894)
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  • »31.03.06 - 00:00
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  • Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Acolyte of the Butterfly
    Posts: 148 from 2003/3/4
    From: #amigazeux
    > Many people (bright minds) has left, because of the situation they experence as "hopeless".

    Can you give some examples and their real reasons? And how much is many?
  • »31.03.06 - 06:47
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  • Moderator
    Posts: 441 from 2003/2/25
    From: Sweden

    Long post by you.

    Well, my comment to You is. If You have the financial resources thats needed for doing what you are discussing, then just give Ralph a phonecall and discuss, and put the financial resources on 'the company account' and hire the people needed too force the development model you are describing.

    Its easy, not much too discuss actually :-)
    Best wishes, Gunne
  • »31.03.06 - 09:01
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  • Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Posts: 2050 from 2003/6/4
    My comment?

    You got too much spare time ;-)

    Whenever you're sad just remember the world is 4.543 billion years old and you somehow managed to exist at the same time as David Bowie.
    ...and Matthias , my friend - RIP
  • »31.03.06 - 09:22
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  • Butterfly
    Posts: 65 from 2003/2/10
    From: France (Agen 47)
    Sorry "takeme", but I will not read your long long post because I think it's clueless to think for the MOSteam, they have their own view and it's fine as it is. I think they are intelligent enough to develop it for whatever the aim they choosed.

    On Amiga, there are too much pressures from users that proclaim to know everything and have THE solution to conquere the world. Keep cool and use Morphos for your pleasure and that's all. And if you have some skill, you can also use it for other Morphos users doing some code, translations, doc, gfx, music, etc.....

    Stop being stressed, it's bad for health :-p
    N'cha, LorD
  • »31.03.06 - 09:57
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  • Just looking around
    Posts: 9 from 2004/11/26

    I'm happy with what I have and it makes no sense to ask for more ...


    ...MorphOS for the forseeable future has zero commercial potential as a platform


    ...getting involved with money when there isn't much of it is a road to disaster


    ...MorphOS as a hobby OS is quite attractive

    What a lame attitude! MorphOS is doomed to be forever HobbyOS then.

    takemehome is right.

    [ Edited by Dante on 2006/3/31 13:00 ]
  • »31.03.06 - 12:55
  • MorphOS Developer
    Posts: 1107 from 2003/6/11
    From: Białystok...
    What a lame attitude! MorphOS is doomed to be forever HobbyOS then.

    And what is wrong with it? It is more or less obvious, that MorphOS lacks some features considered essential in the commercial world. So it will never go commercial in its current state. If you can't stand using non-commercial OS, you would have to change the OS probably.
  • »31.03.06 - 13:36
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 165 from 2004/11/18
    i think that whith little imporvment the Os can be included in a commercial project, the olny on probleme is the lacks of commercial software but morphos is a good as win98 which is always on the market ...
    think macos9 which is poor is allways used by mac users which doesn't like osx (it is too slow for them)
  • »31.03.06 - 13:56
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 204 from 2005/10/13
    From: PACA, France
    (Even though it's none of my f***g bussiness) I think there might be a bussiness case for MOS in some specialist sectors (SCADA systems come to my mind) BUT it is up to the MOS team to do whatever they want with their OS.

    However, and in the light of CISC's quite violent response to a suggestion that IMHO doesn't deserve it, I will allow myself to ask you all (and especially the MOS team) a simple question:
    Did ANY of you ever did a simple SWOT analysis (or another accepted marketing technique) to factually SEE (not guess) whether there is a bussiness case for MOS or not?

    Until someone answers yes to the above question, everything's that said on this subject is just either guesswork or smoke and mirrors.

    P.S: Please don't take this personally, I would only like to see a reasoned, argumented answer to TMHG's post.
  • »31.03.06 - 15:11
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 741 from 2003/2/24
    I bought a computer not a company or a team of devs (took a while
    until I realized that myself ...)
  • »31.03.06 - 16:15
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  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 653 from 2003/2/24
    From: Hungary

    If I've learned one thing in the last 5 years is that
    I'm happy with what I have and it makes no sense to ask
    for more ...

    Words of wisdom. So far we always got things first. We are subject to envy :-) Hope it will stay this way.
  • »31.03.06 - 17:00
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 381 from 2004/9/7
    I think that MorphOS must turn to a commercial release. Because the benefits will be much more than they are now, like a "HobbyOS" as you say.

    Well, I don't want to use MorphOS or even AmigaOS to do my hobby, I want to use them to do my job. I don't want to have Pegasos and PC together, because of that.

    If MorphOS become commercial release, then more third party companies will try something for our operating system. If not, then MorphOS will be just like it is, a hobby-only OS and nothing more. That means that MorphOS will be for only a few users around a world (and I think just only old Amiga users), so don't think MorphOS will grow as you imagine or dreaming.

    This is my opinion only, how I want MorphOS to be. Not a hobby OS, but an entirely new OS, so I don't need to have a f****g pc to do my job...
  • »31.03.06 - 17:28
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 328 from 2003/5/19
    Uh, a "SWOT analysis" is only
    a) a method for breaking down your guesses in more steps
    b) a method to disguise your guesses as "science"

    (choose depending on whether you want to be nice or not)

    Whether or not you'll be able to use MOS professionally depends more
    on the nature of your work than anything else, IMO. If you need
    specific tools made only by a few big companies, then forget about it,
    they will never port that. We'll have to rely on software being made
    by the MOS community, or ported from open source.
  • »31.03.06 - 18:03
  • MorphOS Developer
    Posts: 619 from 2005/8/27
    From: the land with ...

    Again, completely agreeing with what Merko said. ;)

    ..as for my "violent" response to tmhg you have to realize that it's based on the accumulation of all the mindless drivel he's posted in the past, this one basically just topping it off, and as such I don't see any viable way to make a "reasoned, argumented answer", simply because it's not a reasoned, argumented question.

    - CISC
  • »01.04.06 - 00:10
  • Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Priest of the Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 929 from 2003/7/13
    From: Universe

    [ Edited by Velcro_SP 24.09.2011 - 04:10 ]
    Pegasos2 G3, 512 megs RAM
  • »01.04.06 - 15:26
  • Butterfly
    Posts: 79 from 2004/11/25
    From: Sweden
    Well I have not much to say but:

    I don't know if a commerciel company is necessary but a functional homepaga and not just "comming soon" would be nice.

    A list of future plans would be nice and a list of the members in the team would be fun to :)
  • »01.04.06 - 17:26
  • Moderator
    Posts: 441 from 2003/2/25
    From: Sweden

    There is a list of members (with pictures) to find at bottom of this page. ==> LINK :-)

    However I'm not sure if all pictures are genuine pictures of the persons mentioned ? At least CISC did not look as on the picture when we met in real life, neither did some of the other...

    [ Edited by gunne on 2006/4/2 0:14 ]
    Best wishes, Gunne
  • »01.04.06 - 17:58
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  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 328 from 2003/5/19
    I agree "mindless drivel" may not be a very constructive thing to call
    it. But I think it's in order to be a bit harsh here. I'll be a bit
    long winded.

    Lots of people one time or another in their life get the idea that
    they have a great talent for programming. Then they get a compiler and
    start out on their new masterpiece, and fail miserably because it's
    quite obvious when a program works and when it does not. Most people
    then give up, but others keep trying and eventually may become
    competent programmers after a lot of training and experience.

    Lots of people one time or another in their life get the idea that
    they have a great talent for business. Sometimes they start a company
    and fail miserably, but usually they are content to tell other people
    about their great marketing plans. Consequently they don't really have
    any contact with reality. This is exploited and encouraged by tons of
    books and courses (even at universities) that teach a lot of bullshit
    that have no real use for running a real business. But it enables
    people to repeat catch phrases and buzzwords and makes them feel
    comfortable in the delusion that they are great entrepreneurs.

    In reality it's quite hard to make business, probably even harder than
    being a programmer. It takes experience that is really hard to come
    by. And let's face it, it usually also takes lots of money. People
    tend to forget that Bill Gates didn't start out with two empty hands,
    he started with two empty hands and a million dollars or so that his
    mum gave him. There are a few people who really succeeded in building
    something "from scratch" and most of them never read any of this
    "entrepreneurship" bullshit or went to any "business school".

    Now I don't know anything about tmhgm's background and I don't care.
    But I do wonder, what are his credentials for claiming that his
    business plan would be anything worth taking into consideration? Just
    because faulty business plans don't immediately explode like faulty
    code does, doesn't mean anyone's opinion on the matter is valuable
    just because s/he spent a few hours thinking about it (how many
    people here have a clue about how much time Ralph Schmidt, to take an
    example, spent in the last day, week, month or year improving MOS?).

    The MOS team have (collectively) a lot of expertise when it comes to
    the market for operating systems. They know the competition, they know
    quite a bit what is requested (because many of them work
    professionally in this field). Several are or have been operating
    their own companies.

    So you think you know better? Ok, fine. But maybe it's in place to be
    a bit humble about it. You know, there are people around here who
    spent years not just *thinking* about this problem but actually
    gaining hard, first-hand *experience*. And if they follow your plan,
    chances are that *they*, not you, would fail miserably. And in my
    experience most people prefer failing miserably with a plan they
    devised themselves, than with something handed to them from someone
    who doesn't hold a stake in it.

    [ Edited by merko on 2006/4/2 0:14 ]
  • »01.04.06 - 23:12
  • MorphOS Developer
    Posts: 619 from 2005/8/27
    From: the land with ...

    I don't think he posts "mindless drivel" at all. That's really judgmental and insulting of you.

    Insulting, surely, judgmental, hardly.

    - CISC
  • »02.04.06 - 05:22
  • Order of the Butterfly
    Order of the Butterfly
    Posts: 175 from 2005/1/14
    From: core of universe
    one thing I really learned from the history of Amiga-OS, MorphOS (..and even BeOS):

    * It's bad to use a closed source OS.

    There's some day, where the development slowly ceases more and more .... and causes frustration by the users, which are willing to help out, but the can't .... at the end, the OS is doomed completely ..

    MorphOS's story causes also frustration on my side, because my Peg's where bought for it ... and not linux. (..which a 386x fits much better for, anyway)
  • »02.04.06 - 06:51
  • Caterpillar
    Posts: 33 from 2005/10/16
    From: sweden
    Yes! It does seem to be a bad thing to be in demand of money in top of being closed sourced.
    MOS seems to have a lot of dedicated users who wants to get involved but cant.
    And thats why it would be a good thing to put efforts into AROS. Those bits and pieces of AROS is available for anyone including the MOS/OS4 developers.

    Efforts that goes into AROS will benefit the Amiga community wherever its heading. If you want to ensure that your software does not follow an OS in the grave, port your stuff to AROS in addition to MorphOS. MorphOS´s path seems unclear for the moment. Aros will allways be there for anyone of us in the meantime.

    Daniel (AROS marketing department) ;-)
  • »02.04.06 - 09:12