AmigaOS(TM) distribution policies and PPC hardware

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On April 12th, 2002, you, Amiga Inc., published your plans regarding distribution policies for the forthcoming AmigaOS4 in an "Executive Update" on your web site.

In short, what you say and what we the undersigned object against is this:

  • Any hardware capable of running AmigaOS must first be modified with "AmigaOS specific extensions" to its "boot ROM" in order to be allowed to run AmigaOS.

  • Such hardware and its distributors must be approved and licensed by Amiga Inc. and the hardware distributors must also sell and support AmigaOS4.

  • AmigaOS will only be available bundled with such hardware.

We think that the above will seriously hurt AmigaOS users, the POP/PPC hardware market and thus ultimately you, Amiga Inc., yourselves.
We expected to finally be able to break away from proprietary hardware solutions and escape from the dark pit of expensive, custom hardware from a few select distributors which has plagued anyone using AmigaOS ever since Commodore stopped its own hardware development.

AmigaOS users will be hurt because we unnecessarily lose options, both when it comes to hardware and distributors of such.
The POP/PPC hardware market, its development and competition will be hurt because it would have to be artificially split into an "Amiga" and an "everybody else" part, instead of growing with users regardless of OS. Yes, there might eventually be more than one hardware distributor who decides to get a license and sell and support a third-party OS together with his hardware, but the fact remains - unnecessary limitations are applied to our options.
Amiga Inc. will lose revenue since you'll only make money on the very few hard-core AmigaOS users who can be expected to buy bundled and licensed hardware together with AmigaOS at premium prices.

To us, the undersigned, it seems like you are overlooking the fact that you don't design or sell any hardware of your own, like e.g. Apple. Independent hardware designers and distributors naturally have no reason to get themselves and their products licensed and bundled with another company's OS, unless that OS is as dominating as Windows. Just look at the recent bplan GmbH Pegasos(TM) debacle for one concrete example of what could have been avoided if the compulsory licensing and OS/hardware bundling hadn't existed. Instead, we who wish to buy and use AmigaOS just lost a hardware option, the bplan company lost the entire AmigaOS market and you lost the Pegasos market to competing PPC operating systems.

Only technological compatibility issues should decide whether we are able to install AmigaOS on a piece of hardware, it shouldn't matter from whom we bought the hardware or if our distributor acquired a license from Amiga Inc. or not.

We understand the anti-piracy aspect in requiring modified hardware (BIOS extensions), but obviously there are countless other options for copy protection that doesn't involve any special demands on third-party hardware designers and distributors.

We also don't object to licensing in general. If you want distributors who wish to sell AmigaOS or sell AmigaOS/hardware bundles to apply for a license, fine. Just don't deprive us of options for no technological reason when it comes to hardware.

To be blunt; unless you design "an Amiga" or distribute hardware yourselves, then our hardware is none of your business.

You claim that your currently presented policies were put into place after consultation with e.g. developers and users, so we hope that you will take our concerns into consideration and come up with a morally and economically sensible revised distribution policy for AmigaOS:

  • Sell your product, AmigaOS, separately (as well as bundled with hardware from licensees).

  • Don't try to enforce compulsory restrictions on other companies and their products, the hardware. We hope that you will work to make AmigaOS compatible with as many hardware options as possible and that you will strive to make AmigaOS as big a financial and technological success as possible.