There has been a fair amount of talk recently about unity and co-operation between all of the Amiga camps (OS3, OS4, AROS and MorphOS). Many of us are tired of the divisions that cause many arguments and slow down progess. What we'd like to see is more co-operation between developers and users, just like we had in the good old days.
We now have an opportunity to make progress with this, by supporting the bounty that will open-source the well known and popular Directory Opus Magellan 2 desktop environment.
The bounty is hosted on the Power2People website, which has consistently proven to be trustworthy. Here is a direct link to the bounty:
The purpose of the bounty is to collect sufficient funds to purchase the source code of GPSoftware's Directory Opus Magellan II (version 5.82, AmigaOS) for free use on Amiga (and Amiga-like) systems, under the AROS Public License, a derivative of the Mozilla Public License 1.1.
The bounty will be completed when $5600 USD has been raised (now we have 1700, 3900 still left), which gives enough money to meet the price GPSoftware has set for the release of the program source code to a public SVN repository.
So what will the release of the Directory Opus Magellan II source code mean? Firstly, we will have the sources of one of the best pieces of classic Amiga software ever created, free for any Amiga fan to use.
Secondly, as the program will be open-source, developers from all of the Amiga camps will be free to work on a common desktop environment, progressing the cause of unity between us.
Here's is a summary of the benefits, by separate platform, and in total:
Wanderer is the main desktop environment for AROS, but it's still in the early stages of maturity. Having Directory Opus Magellan will give AROS users a mature desktop environment they can use straight away. This takes the pressure away from Wanderer, as well as giving another choice for AROS users.
Whilst Workbench on OS4 is more polished than Wanderer on AROS, there are still some gaps in functionality that Directory Opus Magellan would be able to fill. Worth noting that, when the sources are available in the public SVN, there is already some os4 devs who want to plays with, exploring what is necessary to port it to OS4.
Ambient is the most advanced of all Amiga desktop environments, but there are still nice features found in Directory Opus Magellan II that aren't yet found in Ambient. Porting should be easy as the 68k version already works in MorphOS. To see how it looks running in MorphOS, check out jPV's tutorial
Even though official support for OS3 has stopped, there are still plenty of people interested in it, as well as unofficial addons/hacks. It is clear that there will be much interest in having updates to Directory Opus Magellan as well.
---The bigger picture: Progressing together---
The ports to the separate platforms are only the start of the story. The best news is any improvements made to this software will benefit everyone. Magellan II is great now for those that run it, but having access to the sources means we can make it even better for _ALL_ amiga and amiga like oses.
Q: Why are we spending money on this when we can improve our own software instead? Isn't it easier to implement more features in AmigaOS than to spend money replacing it?
A: We don't have many developers, and those we do have are too busy with their own projects to start making a cross-platform desktop. Directory Opus Magellan will be a great way to get this done quickly. Also, the work to improve AmigaOS wouldn't transfer to other Amiga platforms, whereas this work would.
Q: Isn't this software really outdated? Look at those ugly icons!
A: It is no problem at all to replace the icons. As for the age of the software, even MorphOS users that have access to Ambient still sometimes use Directory Opus Magellan. AROS and AmigaOS4 users should enjoy having access to such feature-rich software, with many features not available in their current desktop choices (Workbench, Wanderer or Scalos).
Q: Why is it so much money?
A: $5600 USD sounds like a lot of money for one person, but if we all work together, little by little we can raise the necessary funds.
Q: Who will port it to [insert OS of choice]?
A: Porting software is much easier in comparison with writing software from scratch, pretty much any developer can do it sooner or later. A few developers have already expressed an interest in starting the porting work.
Q: This bounty will only open up the source code, why is this such a good thing?
A: Apart from the chance to port Magellan to all Amiga platforms, it also gives us the chance to improve it.
Q: If we don't reach the bounty target, can we reuse the money elsewhere?
A: Up until the point the target is reached, you always have the choice to receive a refund for the money you've donated.
Q: Has anyone signed a contract with GPSoftware, ensuring that the money we donate will be handled correctly?
A: Power2People are the organisation handling the donations, and have proved themselves to be trustworthy, even with larger sums of money.
So let's reach into our wallets, and show we really want to support unity in the Amiga community, bringing ourselves a great piece of software in the process. Here's the bounty link again:
We already collect 1/3. We can do it for real !
Thank you all.