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                              Amigas In Iran
  Paymaan Jafari                                         rdc@dci.iran.com
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   First of all, It's better to introduce myself; I am Paymaan Jafari,
Founder of PALAPAL Amiga Programmers Group(0098-21-3153445), & Forum-Op
of NONIBM forum of MAVARA BBS(0098 21 8740815) Tehran, Iran.

   Our group and I have designed, programmed, and made control, medical,
etc.  systems for about 6 years just using our beloved Amiga.

   I remember Commodore used to have a branch on Iran, till about 4 years
ago, and although it was just importing Amigas here, it was helping us to
get our machines as easily as possible.  And suddenly Commodore went away
and its branch changed its business to other computers, mainly IBM-PC
clones :(.

   At first we were shocked.  Until that day, we were arguing to PC & MAC
users about the detail and power of AmigaOS and mostly about the hardware,
CPU (I believe Motorola is best in making CPU, both for users and
programmers.) and finally, the architecture of the Amiga.  We were already
victorious in these fights.  There was no technical reason they could use
to show we are wrong!  Just some usual things we all have heard from these
types of users, like: "If the PC is bad, why are so many people using it?"
or "If the Mac is bad, why does it cost so much more?" and the like.  :)
All weak reasons.  We even tried to show our university professors what a
strong OS & Hardware Amiga has, and tried to do all our hardware and
software projects on Amiga.

   After retreat of Commodore, Amiga's prices began to get higher and
higher, and more people went toward those low-cost Pentiums and DXs.  Other
Amigans and me tried to get information, software and magazines from around
the world to supply users, to recover our Amiga Community moral and to
bring users back to our beloved platform.  Some came back, because DOS and
Windows are really hard to use, especially for users who have worked on an
Amiga, but low prices and that damn DOOM game, no useful Persian font and
direction compatibility (our caligraphy is right-to-left, but numbers &
math are written left-to-right), also the PC bad standard font and char
table that uses Amiga control codes for normal chars, causing problems in
showing them in normal Amiga Console devices, made others to stay on PCs. 

   To solve our problems we have need of information about new libraries,
new capabilities of OS and other info any programmer needs.  But I have
just 2.04 autodoc series and no idea where in the world I can find
up-to-date information.  We had no speedy connection to the internet, and
the embargo was another problem.

   Amiga users branched to 3 types or groups: professional
animators/musicians who were already the main film/TV-adverts/clips
generators, these people have no problems, they easily bring required
systems by themselves (it is no problem for a person who is returning to
the country to buy and bring a full system), and they are always successful
in making the best products in TV.

   Second group was programmers (us) :-).  Everything was against us!  No
copyright laws, no support from the former Commodore, (even when it was
alive), no documents, nothing, nothing, nothing...!  Some of us tried to
get required information by ourselves.  I myself tried to buy AutoDocs and
connect to programmers and Commodore itself, to catch the info. 

   I bought the full AutoDocs from USA, but CATS never accepted my
subscription and this made me supportless (others too!).  Even with all of
these problems, our team made some great software/hardware that were based
just on the Amiga.  A language laboratory controlling system, a micro
resistance meter (for Sharif Industrial University, Tehran), 3 or 4 medical
systems; a gamma ray photographer,...  and finally 2 of us made the
PolymerAnalyzer, it won the 3rd place Innovation prize in 1994/5 (1374
Solar year from Hejrat, our time base.) and all of the systems were a
little hardware plus a assembly code written by my dear friend Majid
Heidary, and just an A1200!!!

   Third group are normal users, gamers, kids,...  they are main part of
Amigans here, but we can't rely on them.  This group can easily change
their way, seeing a DOOM may cause them to sell the high-price A1200 and
buy a low-cost Pentium120 to play DOOM and WarCraft!!!.  Students are
better than gamers, but lack of educational software is a problem.  There
is no low-cost analog electric software (like SPICE), Math software (like
Derive) and other topics you know.  Desktop publishers have all gone to the
MAC or PC side, cause there is *NO Persian DTP Package* here, and no DTP
packages support right-to-left (also some other minor differences) for
their publishing.

   After 2 years without any useful relations with other Amigans around the
world, we tried to support our country's Amiga users by ourselves, by
exchanging information, shareware/PD programs, magazines (AReport mainly :)
) and news.  To do this, two of us increased our activity on one of the
best Iranian BBSs, called MAVARA, so they accepted that an AMIGA forum was
a need, and created that and a file Library too.

   I got to be its operator, and suddenly, we gathered all Amiga users
there, providing them their needed info and files.  Through INTERNET
connections, we found our best info and shareware resources and these were
so good, cause if we want to use commercial software, there is no
authorized dealer and we are forced to use pirated copies (that I extremely
hate.)

   All we have done, was just to keep our beloved Amiga alive, and to show
people how well its made, but it is not the time to delay, it is the time
for competition, with all of our capabilities, to pass this critical
period.  Till now, the hi-tech design of Amiga has made it stay alive, but
time passes, and computer technology progresses too fast, and if we don't
move, it'll be to late too win the competition. 

   We need VISCorp's support.  Iran has a extremely high capacity for
selling Amiga, many more than other countries, if it imported here by a
company, not people.  If all text based programs, like DTP, text editors
and even vector and bitmap painting packages consider a right-to-left
option for text (with some descriptions about control codes), then I
estimate we could force almost all publishers to use Amiga as their base
system.  We have made some commodities, but if the software itself support
this option, it'll be more functional.

   Also, I would like to ask programmers to contact us for persian
localization of their software (also we can do arabic translations).  The
last need is about shareware support.  We can do money transfer to
programmers, but if and only if they consider a lower shareware fee for
countries like us where the money rate is lower than theirs.  And they also
have to support those users through us, just like other users.  This may
sound not so good, but it helps shareware authors to be supported.  For
this, all Amiga users around the world will get low-cost good programs,
because our costs are very lower than other countries too.

   I'll be at anyone's service who wants to know more about us.  Here I'm
going to appreciate some good friends;

    Mr.  Compton, who has made this great magazine, Tachyon, Sibbi, TjardE
    (On IRC) and many others who helped me to prepare my WWW, AmiTCP, Mlink
    to work, and any other Amiga Lover/User/Programmer/Artist :)