In the heyday years, the Amiga was felt to be an incredible machine due to its creative and talented users who produced all kinds of software for the art, music, and business world. In addition Amiga users strode to encourage others to create software for themselves by providing all the developer tools they would need. At this time magazines such as Amiga Shopper and Amiga User International were felt to be essential monthly buys if you wanted the low-down on the serious side of the market. They played an important role for they not only reported on the serious side of the market, they gave confidence to serious software developers and thus encouraged development. Many years have gone by since the demise of Amiga Shopper but it is my belief that the time has come for the void to be filled.
Although coverage of the serious software market has been poor, the state of the market itself is not, for it is my opinion that it might even be more productive than the gaming side. The past few weeks have been busy with utilities such as Amistart, clvrwin, and Privoxy being made available, the first trial version of GoldED Studio AIX, a development version of YAM2.4, and a new version of SuperTV were released, AmIDE a powerful integrated development environment was made GPL, IOSPIRIT launched a promotion giving you the possibility to sidegrade from your current scanner software to fxSCAN 4.0, and the developers of PowerD a modern programming language made it available for public download. It is clear that the serious software market is in a healthy state with developers working hard to cater for the interests of Amiga users. Only a web site dedicated to the serious side of the Amiga market could provide the kind of coverage such a market deserves.
The creation of a new web site focused solely on the serious software market would be extremely beneficial to developers as they are experiencing some problems. The most urgent problem in need of address is attracting talented users to work on new projects. For example the attempt to bring Open Office to the Amiga has been hampered by the fact that they can't get enough people involved. This I argue is mainly due to the fact that news posted on the general news sites is only up on the headlines for about 24 hours and so is easily missed by people. A web site could help generate interest drawing valuable members to development teams and draw the support needed to give developers all the enthusiasm and confidence they need.
For many months Amiga Flame has been providing coverage of the new markets set to emerge in the near future – AmigaOne and AmigaDE. However, this coverage has mainly focused on the gaming side with only brief coverage of serious software such as Audio Evolution 4 and Realsoft 3D Version 4. It unfortunately gives users a distorted view of these emerging markets as some users have expressed the view that the focus of these markets is on providing game titles. The reality of the matter is that serious software is on its way. Ibrowse, Open Office, HD-Rec are just some of titles to be delivered to the AmigaOne while according to Bill McEwen a web browser, 4 messaging programs including Scribble, developer tools such as TinyGL and Jami are being prepared for the AmigaDE. There is a need to send out a clear message that the Amiga has and will always be more than a gaming platform.
Amiga Flame has since 1996 been a focal point for Amiga gamers and developers. It's been rewarding as I have been able to provide gamers with daily news, features, demos and even some reviews. I believe that games developers have found Amiga Flame to be beneficial for not have their efforts been highlighted to gamers but they have been able to get ideas and feedback for their games. I have also used Amiga Flame to post news about developers seeking help on their games, and thus doing my bit to encourage people to help play an exciting role in creating new games. I don't have enough time or knowledge of the serious software market to provide the kind of coverage the serious end deserves but I hope that there are people in the Amiga Community willing to step forward. It will involve a lot of hard work but ultimately it will be worth the time and effort, to create a web site to cater for the serious, more creative software user.
I will soon open up a discussion thread on amiga.org to allow users to discuss ideas and to find out who is interested in taking up the task.