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                           Review: Aminet 19 CD
                             By:  Jason Compton 

Hey!  Aminet's almost old enough to drink in the US!

The nineteenth installment of the Aminet CD series has arrived.  There's
some pleasant and not-so-pleasant surprises on the ubiquitous little
silvery disc this time around.

Just for starters: Urban Mueller declares that Aminet is growing too fast
for the bimonthly CDs to keep up.  Terrific news, eh?  The commercial
software is also going to raise some eyebrows--AmiAtlas (German only, for
Germany) and, more importantly, CanDo 2.5.  Not only was it surprising
because I had thought Inovatronics was completely gone--not so, the German
branch is apparently still active--but now I know where to point the people
who over the past two years have asked me how they can get CanDo.

There's also apparently going to be a new Aminet Set coming--Urban alludes
to it by saying that some of the new material which couldn't make it onto
Aminet 19 will be there, but there are no additional details.

The not-so-good part of this is that Aminet's vastly inflated size of late
is largely due to a massive influx of mods and pictures.  On this CD in
particular, content in the mods and pix directories account for 388 of the
CD's 927 (compressed) megs, or over 40%.  The demo directory is close
behind, BTW, and including it makes these three categories most of the CD.
I don't have a problem with this in and of itself, since it's what Amiga
users are putting on Aminet.  But Aminet has come under fire lately for
this sort of expansion (pictures and mods) which some people see as "less
valid" than the contribution of software to the archives, and unfortunately
the makeup of this CD won't serve to deter them much.

Personally, I think that asking that anything be restricted from Aminet
(other than the real obvious ones, like non-Amiga software except in very
special cases and all pirated/commercial software) is asking for trouble.
Aminet is supposed to be a great public project, not a high-maintenance
filter.  We all have our peeves and our "Boy, I don't know why in the world
they allow THAT on Aminet", but as I benefit a great deal from Aminet, both
as a user and as someone who relies on Aminet to distribute a product, I'm
not about to tell someone else how they should run it.

As for using the CD: well, let's face it, the familiar AmigaGuide interface
is here, it's here to stay, short of a catastrophic worldwide failure of
the amigaguide.library, it's not going anywhere soon.  (Put that in the
"famous last words" column if Aminet 20 or 21 comes out with a totally new
interface!)  No new surprises, it's the familiar setup.

If you think I was a bit hard on the pictures and mods, just keep in mind
that the mods section of the Aminet CDs is typically one of my favorites.
I find that, in terms of downloading mods, I don't usually get enough
enjoyment out of what I download to justify the time and the storage.  But
getting them all on a CD, with an easy to use menu and shuffle button,
makes it worth my time listening to, even if all I have right now IS the
tinny little A4000T internal speaker.

Unfortunately, and Mueller blames it on the massive amounts of new stuff as
well as on what got left out, there's no "new" index to scan through, you
have to use the main CD index.  Not a total catastrophe, but it's something
that's missing.

The last two CDs have been sufficiently packed that Aminet CDs no longer
are "The newest and all of the <blank>" (mods, pictures, games, etc), they
are simply the newest.

It's still the be-all end-all of Amiga CDs.

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