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Bolton Peck tells his story about Amiga Inc

Published 19.04.2007 - 02:00 by Eule

There is a new Thread in the Amiga.Org Forum, where Bolton Peck, a former Amiga Inc. employee tells us about his work at Amiga Inc.
I can answer your questions somewhat. I'm the (in)famous Bolton Peck, the guy who worked there and didn't get paid for a lot of that time, then after their broken promises, sued them and won. It was kind of a pyrhic victory, as they have yet to pay me a cent. I worked there from 2000 to 2002, and was lucky enough to be there for some of the good times, when there was money, before the bad times when there wasn't.

They (well mostly their CTO, Fleecy Moss) had this vision of 'write once, run anywhere' software, they wanted to extend and enhance the API of British software firm Tao's Intent/Elate virtual processor platform. It was pretty cool in some ways, it ran on a slew of host processors, but to code for it you only had to write for its' native VP or Virtual Processor. Code written this way could theoretically be run on any environment capable of running Intent. Intent was the underpinning, Elate was Tao's GUI layer. The underpinning was very dependent on host hardware and software-it couldn't even access CD drives or removable media until we made it do so. Their Elate GUI layer was, well, let's say it wouldn't give Amiga Workbench 1.0 a run for its money. Our coding department worked mightily for years to get it going, but it was just too much of a kludge to be really useful in the real world-the promised sound, 2D and 3D acceleration never saw the light of day.

There were a few remarkable apps made for it, many by developer ZeoNeo, and I was the tester who was charged with testing these apps, among others. Initially I had a test lead but he left after a month or two of no money, that was in 2001. Smart guy..

Anyway, long story short, there was at one time a fair amount of investor interest in it, but then Java got so much better, and Tao's initially good Java offering couldn't keep up because it couldn't do swing. But Java got everywhere so what was the point of writing for this VP thing which, despite the cool repackage and Amiga boingball, could really only run on WinCE, other Windows flavors, and on Linux if you were lucky. Investor interest dried up, and a slew of bad management decisions caught up to Amiga.

They had a sort of love-hate relationship with the 'Classic' community, who they often saw as a bunch of die-hards and crackpots. Yet, when they needed money, they'd just repackage whatever was on the slab, stick some Amiga graphics on it, and be sure it'd sell to at least 1500 of those crackpots in Classic land. The Classic community were the ONLY people who ever bought anything from Amiga. They learned that lesson way too late. No one wanted Fleecy's half baked 'Digital Environment' enough to keep dumping money into the company.

When I got there in 2000, Bill McEwen told us all that 'Classic is dead. There's no money there at all in that market.' I didn't agree, and it turns out he was kind of wrong. Hyperion took on OS 4 entirely on their own, it was their idea, and they actually had to kind of goad Amiga into letting them use the name. Interestingly, there were even brief talks between MorphOS crew and Amiga to have MorphOS be the next Amiga OS. Sadly, the battle of egos on both sides crushed that idea. No one could come to a deal everyone liked. So Hyperion had to start basically from scratch, although they did have at least parts of the OS 3.1 sources.

Amiga were also offered Amithlon before anyone else. I was the first to run it. It ROCKED HARD. I begged them to use it, we had a WINNER and could sell a bajillion of them. We owned all the rights to it! But sadly, Bill and Fleecy didn't want people confusing Amiga OS as we knew it with the new Digital Environment that Fleecy envisioned, so we didn't use it. It was good enough-we coulda had it in CompUSA in two months. Pre-Release CD 6 could have just gone gold as it was and been a hundred times the seller that the 'party Pack' was. I still have the Amithlon pre-release CDs. Every now and then I fire it up, it is wonderful for emulating an OS 3.1 box, and it was faster on an Athlon 900 than my Cyberstorm could ever hope to be.

Boat. Missed.

I have no idea how they are surviving today. I wish them well. I wish they'd pay me.

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