Commodore's Planned Updates to AmigaOS Release 3.1 (v42)
Contributor Ignacio Gully explains:
AmigaOS 3.1 was never supposed to have been released. It was Village Tronic GmbH, makers of the Picasso series of graphics cards, that released it for their customers as it contained a few fixes that were valuable for ReTargetable Graphics (RTG) card owners. Village Tronic was a registered developer of AmigaOS, as many other companies were, so they had early access to confidential ongoing development work, which included what we now know as OS 3.1.
Commodore sued them because of this, and ended the 3.1 distribution. But given their opportunistic nature, Commodore realized that it was a reasonable idea to release whatever sellable content they had for 3.1. So, it quickly became an official release, despite originally being an unintended one.
Before Commodore went bankrupt on April 29, 1994, the following updates to OS 3.1 were in development, but either never finished or released:
- A new Japanese locale (implemented via a JIS double-byte code set). [See also: Using Japanese on the Amiga]
- New GadTools gadgets:
- Cycle (reworked)
- Minimal fixes to Kickstart components:
- intuition.library (was being ported from Assembler to ANSI C, which would have significantly improved its maintenance/ongoing development)
- CD32: A built-in audio spectrum analyzer display.
- CD32 and CDTV: Improved Workbench CD-ROM support with a nice prefs program that used the new GadTools gadgets, as well as a simple audio player tool.
- Improvements to various commands:
- Two new native monitor drivers for a high resolution Workbench screen called "Motivator" and "Motivatim". In some ways similar to what
- A new "specialfx.library" for visual effects (explained by Spencer Shanson: "If you are a registered developer you can get a copy of specialfx.library, which is a library of copper tricks game developers like to use for things like parallax scrolling, which will be future compatible.". [Olaf Barthel notes that: "You are probably thinking of specialfx.library, which was then in development primarily for the benefit of the CD32, but it also shipped in early developer test versions for the A1200 and A4000." He adds: "The specialfx.library was in development between March and September 1993, when everything stopped. While the source code still exists, the knowledge of where development was going, and how/why this code was written is lost today."]
- Apparently some kind of support for the 68060 was planned, but work for it hadn't even started. Bear in mind that when Commodore declared bankruptcy on April 29, 1994, only samples of the 68060 (50MHz and 66MHz) had been shipping. Full-scale production of the 50MHz and 66MHz versions took place in the third and fourth quarters (respectively) of 1994. As an aside, had Motorola stuck with the 680x0 line, a rather chilling note of their intended direction comes toward the end of the article:
"Ultimately, the 68060's highest volume market will be as an embedded processor in equipment such as printers and communications equipment, Reinhart [Jim, Motorola's manager of 68000 marketing] said. Eventually, the chip will be targeted more toward that market, Motorola indicated, and will lose backward compatibility with its predecessors. "We won't be responsible for 68040 compatibility in future generations [of the chip]," Reinhart added."
- New datatypes:
- MacPaint (.pntg/.mac)
- PCX (.pcx)
- Windows icon (.ico)
- Bug fixes to:
- Blanker (screen blanker) commodity
All this development was what would have been version 42 of the AmigaOS, though with no specific number assigned to it. The work was far from complete and appears to be in an initial state; very much a work-in-progress development halted by bankruptcy.
Of course, later, by approximately 1996 some development work resumed under Escom/Viscorp and Amiga Technologies, but that is just another chapter of the Amiga story.