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===========================================================================
                           IPISA '95 Report
  Stefano Agostinelli                                 agos001@pn.itnet.it
===========================================================================

                             IPISA '95
                              Milan
                          18 November 1995

Hi,this text is a brief of IPISA 95.  Please note that this report does not
pretend to be a detailed transcript of IPISA lectures and if I forgot to
mention something (highly probable) is just cause my memory is limited, so
don't blame me for that, just buy me another Gigabyte.  :)

                           Introduction
                           ~~~~~~~~~~~~
IPISA stands for "Incontro Programmatori Italiani per lo Sviluppo su Amiga"
(E:"Italian Amiga Developers Meeting").

IPISA 95 was quite big (~400 participants); it's good to see this meeting
growing steadily each year, as well as an increasing quality of lectures. 
Moreover this year participants were graced with two CD-ROMs and a lot of
documentation.

IPISA is organised by a bunch of Amiga fanatics: Roberto Attias, Federica
Colla, Fabrizio Lodi, Sergio Ruocco, Carlo Santagostino, Reinhard Spisser
and Marco Zandonadi. (Good work guys keep it up!)

                        Spotlights on OOP
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This year Dr.  Peter Kittel was the main guest star; more on this later. 
Also from Germany we had Ms.  "Meeting Pearls" Angela Schimdt and Storm C
developers (Mr.Haage and Mr.Partner);from Portugal Mr.Lemos presenting his
portable C OO library Objection.

As said in the subject, OO programming was the main thread:

 o V.Gervasi demoed his great looking EUNice system to handle and mantain
   OO projects via a friendly MUI interface; this system requires using
   Amiga E as development language.  With EUNice the programmer can in
   every moment know what this method does and what parameters it requires
   and so on;this is very very useful in large OO projects when you have to
   deal with many objects.  The only thing I disliked is that it requires
   you program in E; would a version for BOOPSI programming be possible?

 o M.Lemos showed his Objection system which is basically a new
   C library dealing with OO issues; it's rather like BOOPSI but its
   advantage is that is already ported and available for Posix
   systems.Lemos showed a program designed to create state machines which
   used its Objection library.
 
 o F.Zuccollo presented his Media library; a sort of OO way of defining
   file system access (well it's a bit more complicated than that :)
   Zuccollo showed the limitations inherent to dos.library and the Amiga
   device handler design then pointed out how his system could realize a
   more open-minded method to deal with storage access.  Well, it seemed
   very promising but probably he needs to develop it further to show real
   life applications.

                         Other interesting lectures
                         ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

 o G.Ghibo' showed its EVPaths: a link library useful for a simpler and
   more powerful access to env variables; this was tailored made for TeX
   compilers that use env vars to define paths (like TEXINPUTS).  This guy
   also worked hard to provide the best Amiga TeX installation there is on
   IPISA CD: more than 300MB of useful stuff,including:

   o TeX 3.14159,
   o MF 2.718
   o METAPOST
   o BibTex
   o Midi2Tex
   o a revised ShowDVI 1.42
   o LaTeX2espilon
   o MusicTex
   o an improved SpecialHost
   o hyphenation for english,german,italian
   o much much more

 o G.Falcioni and S.Guarnieri showed their great (state of art on the
   Amiga) Visual Neurocomputing to deal with neural networks.  It's fast
   and its gadtools interface seems friendly and its very lot configurable.

 o M.Ciccione previewed his Audio Lab 16 v2 an advanced audio application
   that deals with 16 bit samples; it seems very powerful and its tailor
   made to fit audio engineers needs (at least that's what he said :).

 o A.Tasora talked about his Phenomena Forth/RPL modules for Real3D v3; He
   showed some wireframe anims made using these macros and they were
   incredible!  So good they seemed to come from Industrial Light & Magic.
   Phenomena includes 15 modules (Volcan, Fan, Dynamite, Splash and many
   others) and are a real professional work; they will probably be included
   in V4 of Real 3D.

 o A.Longo, BreathLess author and programmer of the italian game team
   Fields of Vision, showed his baby.  Well someone said that Doom isn't
   possible on Amiga....actually BreathLess is much better than Doom!  He
   showed a prerelease version on a vanilla A4000/40 and it was so fluid I
   couldn't trust my eyes; the graphics are really really good,the sound is
   great, speed on a full screen 1x1 is excellent on A4000/40 and he said
   that on vanilla A1200 it's enjoyable.  In fact he said that the first
   release (the version he demoed at IPISA) is not targeted to high-end
   machines, but is especially suited for A1200s in order to address
   initially the largest user base:for this reason he has left out
   PicassoII/CyberGraphX support and cut a bit the resolution of enemies. 
   He added that if initial release sells well he'll be going to release a
   version especially made for high end machines and gfx cards.  Having
   seen what BreathLess is now I think that this incredible italian team is
   capable to make BrathLess become the state of the art Doom clone not
   juts on Amiga but on any computer platform;so if you have an AGA machine
   run out and buy it!  (first release will be out soon (for XMas sales)
   for a price of 69-79.000 Lit (~57-64 DM or ~43-50 USD))

 o M.Puccini, of the italian development team ClassX of X-DVE fame, showed
   his XFA library, a shared library useful to make and play animations
   using XFA format; this format uses interlace cunning and its indeed fast
   (well a lot faster than ANIM-5) and was especially made for video
   playback.  The product includes an anim2xfa converter.

 o R.Solmi talked about his new NetMail program;this program was made to
   handle internet mail and can be easily interfaced with POP3, SMTP, and
   UUCP transfer utilities.  NetMail is ARexx based and offers some
   advanced features like automatic foldering and mime support.

                              Speeches
                              ~~~~~~~~

 o M.C.Battilana, Cloanto's head of Personal Paint fame, was so kind to
   give partecipants a free pre release version of Cloanto Personal Suite
   CD Rom: a cd containing old versions of some commercial programs
   (Personal Write, Personal Font Maker, SuperBase, etc...) and Personal
   Paint v6.4.  He talked about future OSes we're going to see in the next
   few years:mainly Taligent's CommonPoint and Micro$oft Cairo.

 o P.Canali, THE italian hardware guru, talked about his project: a PCI
   bridge for the 68020 (i.e.  A1200).  He explained the trouble in
   designing such a thing and talked about what directions AT can take to
   integrate PCI bus in new Amigas.

 o G.Ligorio talked about compression of images and sounds; he pointed out
   a clever variation of the Huffmann compression especially made to
   compress further IFF-ILBM containing bitmaps compressed with RLE.

                              Guest stars
                              ~~~~~~~~~~~

 o Angela Schmidt talked about the Meeting Pearls history (herstory?:). 
   She showed the new Meeting Pearls III and its new features.

 o Haage & Partner showed the Storm C C/C++ development system currently
   available only in German; they said that the international version will
   be out quite soon and that a demo version will be uploaded on Aminet in
   a few days.  They showed the integration of the development tools:
   compiler,linker and debugger.  C++ compilation is fast,but is not fully
   3.0 compliant (I think); also the compiler has no global optimizer so
   source code is not as good as that produced by SAS/C: however they said
   that differences are in the order of 5%.  This should be addressed soon
   of course.  The debugger seems quite good and offers a more intuitive
   interface than cpr.  All the features are available on a friendly custom
   BOOPSI based interface.

 o M.Lemos see above

                        Dr.P.Kittel speaks
                        ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Well he said lots of things and was very cordial with the audience; firstly
he talked about what AT has done,what is doing now and what are future
directions (a SCALA presentation helped him).

What AT has done we all know: they have reintroduced Amigas A1200 and
A4000T).

What are they doing now?  He said they will introduce soon the Q-Drive (a
quad speed PCMCIA CD-ROM reader for the A1200),they will make some small
changes to the OS,they are talking with many companies for strategic
decisions and developments.

In the more distant future: the first issue is to make AmigaOS portable,
the first implementation will be PowerPC based but once they have AmigaOS
available as a portable system they could as well sell it for other
architectures.

Regarding PowerPC he said that they want to design an entire family of
Amigas from the low to the high end.  The high end will be definitely CHRP
compliant, while the low end will probably be not.

He also said that custom graphics chip are already in the works but at an
external company,if possible they will be upgraded in order to give 24bits
screens, chunky modes and 16 bit audio; no it's not AAA, that is "dead" but
some of its features could as well be implemented on the new graphics
chips.

Note that he said that they think that on new Amigas would be the user to
choose this or that graphics subsytem; so I presume that the new chipset
will be available on a PCI card.  Talking about PCI he said that surely PCI
will be available on new machines,so you could use all those speed demon
PCI gfx cards.

Then he talked about ADSP and assured that will be started very very soon
now (he talked about 1 Dec as a reference date);certified developers are
divided in Non-Commercial (100USD/year) and Commercial (300US/year)
sections.  The Commercial ones has to show one existing or nearly finished
commercial product; commercial AT developers get phone support,
non-commercial do not.  All certified developers will have access to
private mailing lists or something like that, while documentation will be
available on the Net for everyone.

Well after that we had some Q&A with him:he was very cordial and
clear in his answers.Things that emerged:
 o AAA and Hombre are dead.
 o The DSP project is interesting and is being considered.
 o ColdFire is not fully 680x0 compatible so it has been rejected
   as a cpu for an interim machine.
 o Alpha workstations are being considered as a possible architecture
   to port AmigaOS to.

Stefano Agostinelli