In a move destined to cause major controversy, Amiga Inc have licensed the BeOS operating system from Be Inc. to be the new operating system for the Amiga.
This will not affect the release of OS3.5 later this year, which will include a number of transitional developments designed to bring greater compatibility between the two operating systems. AmiBeOS is expected to be ready for release within 18 months, and will retain a very large degree of compatibility with older software.
Developments in the works to bring BeOS in line with future Amigas includes a set of conversion libraries and "code wrappers" which will allow for extremely simple cross compilation of current code. A BeOS version of MUI will become the standard GUI API, making porting of MUI apps very simple.
To ensure maximum compatibility, an Amiga bytecode emulator will allow all Amiga 68k applications to run in a BeOS workgroup. The emulation will run on both 68k and PPC versions of the operating systems, with performance promised to be on a par for 68k machines, while 68k emulation on PPC machines will give performance roughly equivalent to a 68040 / 33 on a 200Mhz PPC 604.
Further features of AmiBeOS which will be of major interest to the Amiga community is the support directly written into BeOS for symmetrical multi processing. This will be particularly welcomed by critics of the multiprocessor pre\box announced by phase 5, who have complained that multiprocessing systems like this need a multiprocessing OS.
The BeOS operating system has been without a hardware platform to call its own since BeInc gave up on their own dual PPC603 machine, the BeBox. While the OS has had trouble getting accepted as an alternative to MacOS or Windows, it has gained significant acclaim in both markets, as it has amongst Amiga afficionados, all of whom have admired the polished user interface, pre-emptive multitasking and solid programmers API. If these features sound familiar, they should be, as AmigaOS was a major inspiration to BeOS, and, as a spokesman for BE Inc said, the move is, for BeOS, "... like returning to our roots."
Dateline : April 1st 1998