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== CEI Conference on IRC! ==
On Tuesday, November 29th, an unprecedented IRC conference was held with
Alex Amor from CEI. It would not have been possible without the help of
numerous channel operators and monitors, particularly Bewdah (Boodah), who
basically did all of the work of maintaining the question queue. It is
estimated that at least 450 people participated, either in the conference
channel or on one of the numerous echo channels that were established.
<Jason-AR> On behalf of Amiga Report Magazine, I'd like to invite everyone
to the first EVER Amiga Buyout IRC Conference.
The conference will go something like this: /msg the moderator,
me, with a short summary of your question. You'll be put on a
list, which will be g iven out periodically by Boodah, the list
Excessive messaging of the ops, moderator, or guest will NOT be
tolerated. We have someone here specifically to do
I appreciate that everyone showed up, but also, not everyone can
ask a question. Follow-ups are impossibilities with such a huge
<Bewdah> By the way folks, congratulations on the largest IRC event as far
as we are aware of.
<Jason-AR> Alex, do you have any opening words?
<alex_cei> Yes. We are overwhelmed by the response from around the world
today. The support has been incredible, our hope is to finalize
the deal shortly and bring back the Amiga!
<Overlord_> Will you [alex] consider using GLint chips for the amiga?
<LehmanNAV> [GLint is a 3D gfx chip from 3DLabs -Thanks EdS]
<alex_cei> No, the Commodore engineering team was working on a chip set
with superior performance with a lower cost. This chip was
internally referred as a 3d/risc chip set.
<Frotz> Alex- how do you plan on providing educational support? The
university I work for is considering closing its amiga lab.
<alex_cei> Educational support is very important to the new Amiga company.
Our plan calls for a comprehensive support staff exclusively for
education. Additionally, special pricing as well as special
configurations for e ducation should make the Amiga quite
attractive for all schools. We are currently working on a plan
that provides the least expensive solution for students than
anything else thats available.
<Baffy> Amix is not the only Amiga Unix any more, but I feel it could be
the best, and thus commercially viable, if development were to be
continued immediataly . Are there any plans to restart
development/support of Amix?
<alex_cei> Support for Amix is possible. Development on the 68040
processor needs to be finalized. There is no reason the new
company wont support Unix, it's cheap and makes sense.
<gabe> ok what my question is what do you think about DSP? and also about
040 fo r a base cpu for the amiga (ie 040 1200, 040 cd32) and WHat
about amiga dos on a risc machine?(no windows nt) one more thing
what about tcp/ip in amiga's? thanks.
<alex_cei> A multiple part question I see.... First and foremost, DSP are
good and necessary but, the co-developmen t of applications is
As the price of the 68040 is reduced it will make the processor
attractive for low end platforms. The general transition has
been to start with the advanced processors on the high end
machines and migrate to the low end as price permits....
The OS needs to migrate to a new processor within the next
twelve months. There is no reason that the new Amigas can't be
multi-os machines. AmigaDos firs t and everything else is just
the topping on the cake.
<Phalanx> How much of the marketing budget would go into pan-Europe ?
<alex_cei> The marketing budget is fully dependent on a number of factors
that include the size of the market... the potential for
Amigas. I realize that a number of individuals in Europe are
afraid the CEI will ignore their market. This is not the case.
I fully understand the popularity of the Amiga and the amount of
marketing support which it needs in Europe. In order to run a
profitable company we must capitlize on the strengh ts of all
the markets. Marketing is Europe will be directed to the
consumer market and the d eveloping video market. While in
North America the main emphasis will be on the professional
<peman> Will next Amiga have the ZorroIII bus, or what bus will be used in
<alex_cei> The Zorro bus is as important to the Amiga as AmigaDos. I
believe the next generation machine should have the Zorro and
the PCI bus. This will enable developers t o add products
<Jason-AR> Ok, everyone, quick reminder: You only get to ask one question,
and that's if you're lucky. If you've asked to be on the list
already, DON'T ASK AGA IN. That, and perhaps we can clear up
some questions with this following salvo:
1. What is the current status of your bid and the negotiations?
2. Are you making any deals with the UK?
<alex_cei> CEI is in the final negotiating stages with the trustee. If all
goes well and there are no legal roadblocks there is a
possibility that the con tract can be signed early next week.
The inventory situation remains murky . Commodore's raw
material inventory was moved from the old C= factory to a
warehouse where a number of product were lost or misplaced. Our
goal is to reintroduce the Amiga as soon as possible so the
material issue is important.
There is also an abundance of legal issues which are being
resolved. If all goes well an announcment will be made upon the
As far as the UK status, CEI is willing to work with whatever
party to make the Amiga succesfull. Our plan calls for opening
up a new operation i n the UK and Germany within the next sixty
days. These operations will be staffed by the most competent
individuals possible (either old/new Amiga management) and new
<Timmer> Possibly CBM's biggest mistake was the bungling of
AppShell/AppBuilder. Will you be rekindling this project and/or
undertaking a similar new project?
<alex_cei> I'm afraid that I am not familiar with this project. If its
good, sells Amiga and helps the market, yes.
<Tau> [AppShell/AppBuilder is a development tool to help designing well
integrated GUI/ARexx interfaces, basically.]
<Intr> Alex well i wanted to know what is after the 68060? is it the
PowerPC (that what i think should be the best) or PA-RISC or
<alex_cei> IBM/Apple is pushing us towards the PowerPC. We have had talks
with HP on the PA-RISC. This is a determination that needs to
be made by the new engineering team. Obviously, we want the
most powerful Amiga for the least amount of money. Porti ng the
operating system will be a key component to the new processor
for the Amiga.
Kati-AR> Two parter:
1. You mentioned education. Where will the educational software
come from? The most popular titles out now are on CD and
aren't available for t he Amiga.
2. Will future versions of WorkBench look more "slick"? Many
people now use hacks and new icon packages to make their
desktops more attractive.
<alex_cei> Part one.....the biggest boost to educational software is to get
more computers out in the field. The easiest way to accomplish
this is through special models and pric ing for education. As
the Amiga being the first multimedia computer it makes no sense
why every Amiga does not come with a CD-ROM drive built in. The
utilization of a multiple OS machine al so makes sense.
We have a very long list of cosmetic improvements for workbench.
<Bewdah> Sorry to interrupt, but what about including a better text editor,
paint program, term program, etc ala IBM OS's? Ed really stinks.
<alex_cei> ABSOLUTELY....What about a terminal program to communicate with
Internet? The possibilites are boundless. I fully realize that
our look and feel needs to be more professional and "zappier".
<Tau> [Commodore used to have Internet software.. Bundling AS225 shouldn't
be out of the question even today]
<LehmanNav> [AS225 is too complex]
<alex_cei> We need a communication package that's user friendly. Its
important to remember that there is a possiblity that the Amiga
might be the first computer a customer has purchased. Ease of
use is extremely important. We would like to provide a complete
out of the box solution for both the home and the business.
There is no reason that advanced home Amigas can't have
communication capabilities already built in from the factory.
<AlexG> alex: Is there a possibility that you will look into entering the
Mexican or Latin-American market, which is growing rapidly?
<alex_cei> The Mexican market has always been strong for Amiga amiga ;-)
<Richie> First, Thomas (ProComp) sends his regards and regrets he couldn't
Q1: Any plans to start production of the A3000+ instead of 4000
models and/or 3000+ motherboards as upgrades for current
Q2: Will you, if you decide to go with the PPC, make the Amiga
MkII-ser ies compatible with the new hardware specs for
PPC-machines from IBM/Apple/Motorola?
<alex_cei> No. The first order of business is to restart production on the
A1200, A4000 and A4000T. The ability to offer upgrades is one
that will be explored early in t he game. The value and loyalty
of our existing customer base will not be ignored.
<CasBaH> How many people will you have developing new Amigas that have
actually developed Amigas or hardware for Amigas before? And how
big will the development team be?
<alex_cei> When we acquire the assets from Commodore we will be getting 17
engineers. Plans call to increase that number to 103 by the end
of the year. We will also be working closely with other
manufacturers i.e. Ameristar for networking, etc.
<DanF> What does CEI plan to do to support Amiga Users' groups?
<alex_cei> Discount programs, promotional materials, regional
demonstrations, loan support programs, etc.
<Fila> Will you continue to make and support CD32's
<alex_cei> Yes. But, I see the future as an Amiga 1200 type machine with a
built in CD. We must be realistic that competing with the big
boys(Nintendo, SEGA) will be extremely difficult. Lets take the
advantages of our technology and move them forward. The CD32 is
a great unit for interactive kiosk applications. The next
machine utilizing the new technology has a better chance agaisnt
the big boys. Unfortunately, C= lost too much valuable time
with the CD32 and trying to bring it back will simply cost too
<_lisa_> It seems that now that market is in its mature phase that
marketing will be critical, especially as the big boys excercise
hold-and-maintain strategies .How will you fight this?
Also It seems that now that market is in its mature phase that
marketing wil l be critical, especially as the big boys excercise
hold-and-maintain strategies .How will you fight this?
Also 1) will the amiga ever make it back into mass merchants sand
2) would y ou like a fresh outta grad school MBA for your
<alex_cei> Another two parter I see. First the Amiga is still, even today,
viable against the big boys of the computer market. There is no
one that makes a personal home computer that can do what the
1200 does and sells for that amount.
If we concentrate on the markets which the Amiga can win hands
down there is no reason we cant repeat the formula of the
Commodore 64. By moving forward with the new technologies that
Commodore posseses we can play a signi ficant role in new
developing markets. (Set-top boxes, interactive display s
As for the second part our marketing has to be controlled by
creative (read "unusual") marketing approach. We simply need
the best people (PERIOD).
<Camelot> What are your plans for Europe? In prior conferences you have
mainly talked about the US. Do you have enough funds to market
properly in Europe also?
2. Are you plannning to hire the former C= employees back (eg.
Dave Haynie) ? Al so,> with the rehiring of C= employees would
you consider AAA? As far as I know the plans for RISC are based
on the opinions of 17 engineers, who do not k now AAA?
<alex_cei> Once again Europe is extremely important! C= sold 85% of their
computers in Europe. We will devote whatever resources are
necessary to make the European market flourish.
There are a number of ex-Commodore employees who have offered
their services once the ac quisition is complete. Of course we
are thrilled to build a new Amiga Team uti lizing some of the
<hog> 2 downers of NTized (boo!) Amiga:
1. will repel loyal Amigoids, who love its close relationship
between CPU/ custom chips/OS
2. will have hard time attracting people who already have NT
alex: what is your opinion?
<Jason-AR> Translation: Do you want to use Win NT?
<alex_cei> The Amiga is unique due to its OS and custom chips. This does
not remove the possibility of running multiple OSs. Remember,
the Trojan Horse. Wait till they see our operating system.
PS. Most people will not purchase an Amiga because it will run
NT but , some will not buy it because it doesnt.
<Tau> two parter from people outside:
1. You mentioned getting old C= employees back. Most of the old
dev team is at Scala and 3DO it seems. Do you have plans for
co-development with Scala?
2. What is planned for future sound support in Amiga?
<alex_cei> CO-development with Scala is not out of the question. CEI has
an excellent relationship with SCALA. We look forward to
working with them in the future.
<Tau> [Sound is one of the things where even the current OS compliant
software is VERY close to hardware. Getting it moved to something
else will be quite a challenge. Good luck.]
<mickh> How are your plans for porting AmigaOS to a risc cpu? As native
and how fast will applications be available than?
<alex_cei> Porting the AmigaOS is large task that we plan to undertake
almost immediately. In order to properly implement a port it is
important to have developers co-assis ting. Our role includes
full complete co-developer implementation of the porting. When
the ported OS is released applications that fully utilize the OS
need to be present.
<HarvL> Alex, hi. Re: upcoming trade shows. VTU/Calif next month and
CES/Vegas Jan '95. What are CEI's plans to be at and/or display at
either of these shows. specifically CES wuld make for a great
venue to "relaunch" the amiga?
<alex_cei> Time constraint is critical. Once we have wrapped up the
purchase of the Commodore assets we will immediately begin an
extremely aggressive show schedul e. But, to start prematurely
does not make sense. I will be attending a number of shows in
the next few weeks to meet privately with developers and
<Xed> The amiga used to be big down here in Australia until commodore
screwed all the distributors. Are there any plans to re-start
Commodore Australia and rebuild the userbase down here? I know
plenty of people who really don't want to sell their amiga (Me
<alex_cei> Yes, we are having conversation with a number of key players in
the Australian market. Our immediate plans do not call for
opening an office but, working closely with allies.
<Axios> Is a CD-ROM unit with CD32 and MPEG support for the A4000 on the
list of immediate releases once things get going?
<oleg> mr amor, many people have said that amiga is dead technology,
limited by its custom chips, why spend money on it?
<alex_cei> There are over 400 users here with us at this time. Orders for
thousands of computers are being submitted. The Amiga OS can do
things that Windows never even dream of at a cost no one can
The There are over 400 users here with us at this time. Orders
for thousands <alex_cei> of computers are being submitted. The
Amiga OS can do things that Windows never even dream of at a
cost no one can match. The Amiga is dead?
<Marrs> C= only had a developers program which cost a lot of money. Do you
plan on a "cheap" support program for PD/ShareWare authors who just
want the documentation of the latest OS.
<alex_cei> Yes, the developers are an integral part of making the Amiga
succesful. Many developers are small companies working out of
their homes. We fully realize that all individuals need to be
update with the latest informations.
<LehmanNAV> Don't you get the feeling that this whole thing could possibly
be too little too late? Especially in the shaking up of the
market which begun this summer and probably won't end for a
All of the companies in the industry have become highly
competitive, and the market tends to polarize around the
"winning" (not necessarily the best) standard(s). Do you
really think CEI is equipped to cope with this enormous threat?
<alex_cei> YES! Our intent is not to compete directly with the IBMs and
Compaqs of the world. The market is fragmenting and customers
are being wiser when shopping for products.
The Amiga can do a lot more for a lot less. No I dont expect
miracles but, the ability to viably compete in the market is
more than just an opportunity.
<Sysinfo> 3 Questions:
1) How will developer support under CEI differ from the former
2) will CEI do what it takes to get the support from SAS
(SAS/C) back ?
3) And last, what is CEI betting on, AAA or the so called
"HOMBRE" project ?
<alex_cei> CEI will work closely with developers. This include joint
ventures, joint marketing programs, bundling the developers
products with the machines and getting input on the direction of
Getting SAS back on line with the Amiga is critical. CEI will
do whatever is necessary to obtain this support.
The final decision on which technology to go with has not been
made. By having the machines share a common bus with graphics
not located in the motherboard will allow greater flexibility.
<Setok> What will be the price range for the new Amigas? I don't know much
about the OS so does it have mem. protection and stuff?
<alex_cei> There is not a lot of room in the low end Amigas, they were
cheap to begin with. The high end Amigas need to be priced more
realistically. Our goals are to utilize the original formula
that made C= succesful in the beginning. The most powerful
machine for the least money. The last few years they seemed to
have forgotten this.
<Jason-AR> Interrupt: This will, of course, involve more high-profile floor
scrubber marketing, will it not? GA
<Richie> Q1: How will you support dedicated Amiga dealerships in favor of
mail-or der multi-platform houses to enhance the image and
strength of the Amiga?
Q2: Have you considered buying SC from SAS and develop it
<alex_cei> Strict market controls need to be implemented. The Amiga is not
a PC clone and should not be treated like one. The profitable
survival of the dealership is crucial to selling a specialized
product like the Amiga. We have not considered the purchase of
SC at this time.
<vidarp> This is all fine & dandy but are there NO REAL news just a bunch
of IF' s & THEN's, i mean C= UK is 99% sure of getting the ami so
are you, real news so meone must know something, we are still in
the DARK here, if this takes much longer even i jump ship.
<alex_cei> IS THAT A QUESTION OR A COMMENT?
<Jason-AR> Comment. Next question.
<Tachy> HI Alex, will future releases of the Amiga-OS support
memory-protection by MMU like OS/2, UNIX and others? As a
programmer, I think we should care about the efficient OS and
multitasking of this machine too... what does CEI think about it?
<alex_cei> Remember, I'm not an engineer or a programmer. I believe that
the market expects that all Amigas be equipped with MMUs.
<Metalite> Multiple processors, Multiple users and multiple screens &
keyboards in one machine? oh and memory protection in next
<alex_cei> Sorry, your question is beyond me in this mode.
<dmalovic> will CEI designed amigas have both chunky and planar modes, and
will they remove videodma from stoping the processor (dual port
<alex_cei> Yes, the work to convert is already existing in the CD32. This
question is also beyond me, due to its technical nature.
<Lomby> hello alex: what kind of support do you plan to give in foreign
countries(private resellers, subsidiaries..)?
<alex_cei> Major centers of operations will be UK, Germany, Canada and the
US initially. Expansion into Norway and Italy are possible.
Our goals are to work with partners in the remainder of the
world to fullfil the market needs.
<PreSSo> When will massive multiprocessing (or at least multiprocessing:)
be sup ported in AmigaOS and on which CPU? WAlso where can users
send their ideas on im provements on amiga? (an email would do:)
<alex_cei> The first question is way to technical to be addressed by me in
this media. We are happy to take suggestions by regular mail to
5555 West Flagler Street
Miami, FL 33134
Att: Amiga Suggestions
Once we have accomplished the acquisition we will publish the
Or send your suggestions to "JASON@floorscrubber.com". He will
forward them to us on a timely matter.
<Jason-AR> Interrupt: No, no, it's email@example.com, but that's an
excellent name for when I get a site running...:)
<Phalanx> When can we see RTG ? It's even more important than RISC.
<alex_cei> RTG is the top item on our need list. It's time has come.
<LehmanNAV> [I've been asked what RTG is, RTG == Retargetable Graphics,
which allows a standard graphics interface no matter what the
graphics characteristics of your display device]
<Tinea> Are you negotiating with Microsoft or Lotus about porting Word or
AmiPro ? (Final Writer still doesn't cut it, IMHO)
<alex_cei> We are talking to a number of different players in both the
hardware and software industry. At this time I am not liberty
to give out any specifics. If we can introduce a mu lti-OS
machine this would by default give the Amiga users a broader
base of programs.
<MrGandalf> You mentioned cosmetic enhancements with the OS, what type of
enhancements might you mean?
<alex_cei> We have taken a close look at the SGI, Windows, etc. They look
and feel more professional then our beloved Amiga.
<Tau> [geez, give me GEOS-C64 rather than Windoze, please ;)]
<Shades> Will the 1200 keep it it current shape as "all-in-one-case"
computer, or will it be keyboard + case? And what will be the
name of the company?
<alex_cei> I believe there is room for improvement on the basic Amiga 1200.
This does not necessarily mean a redo on the machine but, might
mean new models (A1 400, A1600, etc.).
The working name is currently Amiga Technologies International,
remember this is subject to change depending on the legal types.
<cwolf> [NeXTSTEP would be a much better model :)]
<Tau> [Walk through doors, don't crawl through windows - is that what you
wanted , Timmer? ;)]
<Frotz> Why has this taken over 6 months? Can you explain the difficulties
so that the skeptical among us understand?
<alex_cei> First of all you must remember that Commodore was once a billion
dollar company. There were 35 different companies located in
over 20 different countries. It is a legal nightmare. So far
the only people who have made money have been the lawyers and
The majority of the legal matters have been settled and that why
the actual transfer of property is close at hand. The problem
with the Phillipine inventory has also caused the most recent
<MattC2> [Lawyers are known for drwing things out as they get paid by the
hour - :)]
<alex_cei> Hopefully, all these issues have been or will be resolved by the
end of the week.
<XmikeX> alex: any idea when CEI will have an inventory ready for those
who've a lready placed deposits on some offbeat CBM equipment like
a c65 :)
<alex_cei> We have taken no deposits on any offbeat Commodore equipment.
When the inventory becomes available we fill orders on first in
first out basis.
<Timmer> Would you consider contracting out some of the OS work, eg. the
improvement of the GUI? I know that we at Phantom Development
have already done a lot of ground work in this area.
<alex_cei> Yes. We welcome the opportunity to work with developers to move
our plans ahead.
<Tau> [I'm sure Pepo here would love a chance to have a look at Intuition
<dracon> The amiga has always been a great sounding machine since the 500
What ideas have CEI got for the enhancement of the amigas sound
capabilities? 16bit audio, built-in midi support?
<alex_cei> Again, DSP is instrumental (pun intended) to move the Amiga in
the sound theater.
<Bewdah> Alex Any chance of EVER seeing the A3000+? And did you enjoy this
enough to want to do another IRC conference? ;)
<alex_cei> I believe you will see a machine that will have all the
capabilities of the A3000+ and more.
I have enjoyed the opportunity to be with you this afternoon.
Hopefully, next time we can report that we are moving forward
with the Amiga instead of just talking about it!
<Bewdah> Score, ANOTHER conference!! :)
<Jason-AR> Ok, the conference is coming to an end. Just to wrap up...
Many people have expressed interest in working for the new
company. What do you suggest they do at this point?
<alex_cei> We need everyones help in order to be successful. The one big
difference is CEI is willing to listen where C= did not. Let us
<Jason-AR> What sort of presence, realistically, could you have at this
Winter CES? I would think that by now, it's too late to get
<alex_cei> CES is out of the question at this point.
<Jason-AR> Ok, everyone, that'll do it. Stick around for the wrap ups and
* Bewdah thanks Alex for his time for the entire non-voiced crowd. "Thanks
<Jason-AR> Thanks to Alex Amor, President of CEI, for taking the time to be
here today. Thanks to the over 400 people who showed up, either
actively or in a listening mode, for the conference.
<Jason-AR> Thanks to the channel ops for looking imposing, and thanks to
Bewdah for doing the grunt work of maintaining the list and
handing out voice. His help was invaluable.
<alex_cei> Thank you all for attending. I would like to give a special
thanks to the moderators and all who have assisted in setting up
<Jason-AR> Comments can be directed to CEI at the address they gave you a
while back, or directed to me, firstname.lastname@example.org, and
they'll eventually get to them.
That should about do it. Thanks to everyone for making this a