Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

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Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby MacFalcon » Tue May 18, 2010 2:21 pm

Hello community,

I have one serious request to contact you:

Let us save our beloved TOS platform and make it survive in the future! I do not mean as what it is now (a more and more left alone system), but as a modern, independant platform regarding software and hardware! When we all pull on the same rope, we definately could achieve that!

Go, look inside yourself and think about why YOU use your Atari and what you love about it!

Take a breath... ;)

Now, wouldn't it be cool if you could use it for everydays work? I mean if you could browse the web without limits? Have a modern office system and at least the capability to watch DVDs... we are soooooooooooooooooooooooo close to that point as we have never been before:

- Falcon with CT60/CTPCI/Radeon is the fastest TOS machine, if not the fastest 68k based machine, ever. People this thing is hot! There's only one drawback... you need a nearly 20 years old Atari Falcon computer for being able to use it. Although I love my falcon and it will always have a place in my heart and my office, it remains old (but usually more or less reliable) hardware with an empty Dallas clockchip being one of the less important problems...

And there will be the Firebee - The long awaited Atari Coldfire Clone... I think this was the biggest surprise in Atari (TOS) history that this machine will face the light of day - as a modern, leightweight and nearly complete open source hardware project http://acp.atari.org. The announcement of that machine was so impressive that even some commercial developers finally joined the ACP advisors. A new hardware, to be the successor of the legendary Hades - who thought that we would face that day!

I am sure that this new piece of hardware could handle anything a normal computer user needs. And if YOU demand it, I am sure it will become reality! Just get active, ask any developer you might know if he would like to join/help ACP Team and spread the news, that there still is life in our old community! Those people at ACP are very enthusiastic professional developers who know what they do! Even one of them SPONSORED NEARLY THE WHOLE PRODUCTION of the first series, that anyone who is interested in a Firebee will get one!

I don't say that anyone here has to buy a firebee (or ct60/ctpci where a new batch is also on its way), but if you can, it makes sense!

But what I say is, go to the developers/programmers you know, tell them that you want an enhanced browser, tell them you want application XY on Atari, show interest in their work and appreciate it!

The Firebee has so much potential it would be a shame there would be nothing to really use it! And I even think that the future of TOS/MiNT depends on the acceptance of that machine. Exactly it depends on YOU whether it will be a bonfire, or just a flash in the pan!

I don't want a usual PC/Mac system, but I want a system I can USE and I am sure if enough people think similar then the firebee will be exactly THAT system and MiNT will move on in a little brighter future!

Where are the Atari enthusiasts and pioneers? We need you these days! Let's make the Firebee a real success (and a pain in the ass for people who thought TOS platform is death)!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby 3AtariSTE » Tue May 18, 2010 2:49 pm

Hi
I think should be fantastic to have a new Atari clone computer and FireBee (Coldfire project) seem to be promising.
Of course, I would max compatibility with old 16/32bit software, but with new performance too.
I would that Atari revive again today and in future, becouse Atari is an historcal name... :D
I think that this "name" could return popular again and again....but without the mistakes committed by the old Atari Corp!! :wink:

Maurizio

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby BoNuS » Thu May 20, 2010 7:10 pm

Sounds good, but I still think that the price is too much for most of us...
I know its a one of a kind machine, production numbers are low so cost are high.
But still I'm not confinced to buy one and I am a real atari freak, but also a realist !

You can buy a lot of hardware for 600 euro and esp. nowadays with everybody keeping
an eye on the wallet this may not be the time for such a machine. If I would want to
buy one I would have to sell atleast one of my Falcon's. And with that I know it works
100% for me (like GFA basic and so on). With this new super machine I hope it
does but no garantee...
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mal7921 » Thu May 20, 2010 8:29 pm

If it has an accurate DSP/Falcon bus emulation and can run Cubase Audio, I'd seriously consider it as my Falcons are not getting any younger.

The price may well be high, but as my other music creating platform of choice is the Mac (Way better than a PC for MIDI/Audio, though not as good as an Atari on MIDI), €600 is not such a high price to pay.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby joska » Thu May 20, 2010 9:14 pm

BoNuS wrote:Sounds good, but I still think that the price is too much for most of us...
I know its a one of a kind machine, production numbers are low so cost are high.
But still I'm not confinced to buy one and I am a real atari freak, but also a realist !


I've ordered one. After all, it's ten years since the last time I bought a new "Atari" (my Milan) so I feel I can justify spending 600 euros on a new one. I'm looking forward to play with all the new stuff, and not having to relate to an emulator.

BoNuS wrote:And with that I know it works
100% for me (like GFA basic and so on). With this new super machine I hope it
does but no garantee...


I'm quite sure that Lonny Pursell will take care of that :)
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Thu May 20, 2010 9:43 pm

Because of the price discussion I want to make something once again crystal clear: The whole team is working without any payment! We are all doing this computer for free, beside our jobs.

What happened with the project in the last months is that we could bring together different people with different interrests:

• the community itselve
• MiNT developers and Open Source enthusiasts
• all the former clone producers
• remaining commercial ones like Calamus or Soundpool
• parts of the Demo-Szene
• …

That´s why I think it is really the chance to stabilize Atari Plattform, and bring back Atari computers to the desktop, for every daily task, without emulation. I would be glad about every possible support.
I see a chance – if not our only chance – to let our plattform stay alive, and prevent from becoming "pure retro". A chance to again attract former Atari users or even new people.

Recent Atari times are suspenseful, let´s see what the future will bring.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby AtariSociety » Thu May 20, 2010 11:09 pm

I am sure in time something like what I am about to note will be done, but for me, computer savvy but long away from Atari so I don't know well enough anymore, is what else do I need to buy with this board to make it into a usable computer. Something along the lines of a FireBee for Dummies guide that say's, hey you dummy, along with the FireBee board, here are all the other items you need to buy to make a system. Even make recommendations of what exactly to get so we have zero guessing.

Will this board come with a instruction list and manual on how to put a basic computer together? I think things like this, at least for me, would make me into a lurker and looker into an actual buyer. Something to make me feel more at home that when I buy this card, I can for sure get a computer running around it.

tj

Mathias wrote:Because of the price discussion I want to make something once again crystal clear: The whole team is working without any payment! We are all doing this computer for free, beside our jobs.

What happened with the project in the last months is that we could bring together different people with different interrests:

• the community itselve
• MiNT developers and Open Source enthusiasts
• all the former clone producers
• remaining commercial ones like Calamus or Soundpool
• parts of the Demo-Szene
• …

That´s why I think it is really the chance to stabilize Atari Plattform, and bring back Atari computers to the desktop, for every daily task, without emulation. I would be glad about every possible support.
I see a chance – if not our only chance – to let our plattform stay alive, and prevent from becoming "pure retro". A chance to again attract former Atari users or even new people.

Recent Atari times are suspenseful, let´s see what the future will bring.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Fri May 21, 2010 2:02 am

macsociety wrote:what else do I need to buy with this board to make it into a usable computer.
To clear that immediatly: basicall nothing. You can attach a monitor via DVI or VGA, power (any powersupply from 9 to 24 Volts) and a Keyboard/Mouse (recently Atari, later also PS/2 or USB) and start directly. TOS is in ROM, so the computer will boot within 2 seconds like known from every Atari. You might attach any mass-storage like plugging in a SD-Card or CompactFlash Card or attach a IDE drive, or SCSI drive, or ACSI drive. Also you might like to attach a floppy, or DVD-Ram or CD-burner. That´s it.

macsociety wrote: Something along the lines of a FireBee for Dummies guide
I will consider that suggestion.

macsociety wrote: Even make recommendations of what exactly to get so we have zero guessing.
That was always planned. As soon as the computer is ready we start with testing of peripherials. We will recommend floppys, PCI-backplanes, enclosures, drives, etc.

macsociety wrote:Will this board come with a instruction list and manual on how to put a basic computer together?
Yes, such a manual is under construction.

macsociety wrote: I think things like this, at least for me, would make me into a lurker and looker into an actual buyer. Something to make me feel more at home that when I buy this card
I am even a fan of printed user manuals, and work on it. Some people thought that is not necessary. So thank you for that clear words!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby AtariSociety » Fri May 21, 2010 2:46 am

Mathias wrote: I am even a fan of printed user manuals, and work on it. Some people thought that is not necessary. So thank you for that clear words!


Yes, I like printed manuals also. Just like when we buy an old computer today, its value is always better when it comes in original box with manuals. 8)

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby AtariSociety » Fri May 21, 2010 2:50 am

Something else to think about for early buyers and adopters of the FireBee. Sometimes buyers always seem to wait for version 2 of stuff. I am not one of them and like to jump right in. At the same time, it would stink a little if within 6 months a newer board comes out that say, "fixes" an issue that some experience in the early days, and then the folks that come in later to buy only version 2 get the benefits of the new board while the original folks don't. So, maybe have some "upgrade" path for those early adopters to at least get a nice discount on rev 2 boards. More folks will then buy Rev 1 for sure.

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby AtariSociety » Fri May 21, 2010 3:06 am

By the way, how much more power does the FireBee CPU wise have over the current fastest Atari or Atari clone? I never followed the CT60 Falcon stuff so not sure what speed those CPUs are and how one can determine how much faster the new FireBee will be over the older systems? Obviously the biggest benefit I see is all the new ports and options the new FireBee will have is super cool.

Raw speed is always nice though.

Now, I think the one thing the Atari platform needs for anyone in this world to re-look at the platform and re-engage in their fond memories of the golden days of fun computing would be easy internet access.... easy internet access...easy internet access. Let's face it, most folks live in the Internet these days. From web browsing to buying on eBay to Facebook, you name it. I think the ONE thing that would capture us all is a easy way for the new FireBee to connect to the Internet and it not take a rocket scientist to make that connection. Add to that a basic all purpose web browser that can handle most web pages of this day and age and I think we would have a winner.

I for one would not want to have to use a different PC just to get on the Internet and only use the FireBee for nostalgia. I want to have both the fun of old and at least somewhat new connectivity to the net at my fingertips from the one Atari I want to use daily. So, would be sweet if developers would work on that next. I for one would pay $50 to $100 for a good web experience on an Atari. No need for it to be free for me as I understand developers have to feed their families also.

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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby BoNuS » Fri May 21, 2010 6:05 am

:) I see my "kick" in this topic worked, discussion is finaly going here.

Regarding my earlier mentioning of 100% GFA basic comp. It will have ofcourse loads of new hardware(options) but
how can I use them. Since GFA is no longer developed, how will I be able to acces all those sweets :)
Like extra GFX modes or sound options.
This is ofcourse not a problem for the ACP team but it is a something I would take in consideration if I would
buy one. Because this is what I do on my Atari now...

Let me ofcourse mention that all the work that has done by all the people in there spare time is great.
So much dedication is superb, where else do you find that nowadays.
Still I'm waiting to see an working final machine and test it. It's liek a new car, I want to drive it before
I buy it, thats not a strange thing is it. Or atleast more info / pictures / demo.

Thing like internet connection I would like, but not so for browsing but more for downloading the stuff
I need for this machine. Or online gaming (would be great). For things like browsing and so on I can abuse my
PC because thats what it is for. Since I use one for my regulair work I still would have atleast one so...
I would see my Firebee as my "fun" machine for the thing I would like to do, not the things i must do ;)
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Fri May 21, 2010 6:32 am

macsociety wrote: So, maybe have some "upgrade" path for those early adopters to at least get a nice discount on rev 2 boards. More folks will then buy Rev 1 for sure.
There are no plans for an revision 2 of the board. Except you could invest some money, so that we can call Freescale and ask them for 100k of V5e Coldfire Processors ;)
The upgrades should happen the next 5 years through good drivers for PCI cards and nice FPGA configurations!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby Mathias » Fri May 21, 2010 6:40 am

macsociety wrote:By the way, how much more power does the FireBee CPU wise have over the current fastest Atari or Atari clone?
I will not answer this question before we have a fully working and good configured machine of the upcoming series at our hand and did some benchmarks. It wouldn´t be reliable to tell any speculations.

macsociety wrote:easy internet access.... easy internet access...easy internet
I know, but this depends on the developers of Highwire etc.


macsociety wrote:I for one would pay $50 to $100 for a good web experience on an Atari.
So please help this initiative. Te guys are still collecting! viewtopic.php?f=28&t=17621
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby lp » Fri May 21, 2010 7:15 am

BoNuS wrote:Regarding my earlier mentioning of 100% GFA basic comp. It will have ofcourse loads of new hardware(options) but
how can I use them. Since GFA is no longer developed, how will I be able to acces all those sweets :)
Like extra GFX modes or sound options.
This is ofcourse not a problem for the ACP team but it is a something I would take in consideration if I would
buy one. Because this is what I do on my Atari now...

Let me ofcourse mention that all the work that has done by all the people in there spare time is great.
So much dedication is superb, where else do you find that nowadays.
Still I'm waiting to see an working final machine and test it. It's liek a new car, I want to drive it before
I buy it, thats not a strange thing is it. Or atleast more info / pictures / demo.


Well, contrary to what you just said, GFA is still developed to some degree. I have cleaned up the code base so it runs nice on MiNT, that in turn means GFA is using less shorts and more proper system calls. My current release should run as is on the new machine, assuming the machine manages to run older software as is. Just how fast GFA will run remains to be seen. I also won't make any guesses on that. :)

As for accessing all the new goodies and modes etc, well that is a matter of OS calls. GFA can access all the OS layers (VDI, AES, GEMDOS, XBIOS, BIOS) just as "C" or any other language. If a system call is not built into the language you only need to write a binding, and presto you can make any call you wish. If you need an example, head over to the GFA section and suggest something, I'll gladly write an example.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby MacFalcon » Fri May 21, 2010 7:38 am

Nice to see discussion is going on... that's a sign of life, definately!

As Mathias wrote, internet access WILL be very easy... Ethernet is onboard and usable.

But the browser is the key to make that machine usable for everyone! This has to be our main focus if we want it to get the success it deserves!

@BoNuS: This machine is supposed to be able to be used as a fast falcon clone (DSP in FPGA) when FPGA design is finished... so it would be kind of an exchange if you'd sell one for Firebee ;) With the benefit that you could use more horsepowers...

I am really excited about benchmarks... I am sure (and hope) they will be more than just satisfying!

If you see that this computer isn't one of those fast outdating PCs, the price is really okay!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby BoNuS » Fri May 21, 2010 7:47 am

lp wrote:
BoNuS wrote:Regarding my earlier mentioning of 100% GFA basic comp. It will have ofcourse loads of new hardware(options) but
how can I use them. Since GFA is no longer developed, how will I be able to acces all those sweets :)
Like extra GFX modes or sound options.
This is ofcourse not a problem for the ACP team but it is a something I would take in consideration if I would
buy one. Because this is what I do on my Atari now...

Let me ofcourse mention that all the work that has done by all the people in there spare time is great.
So much dedication is superb, where else do you find that nowadays.
Still I'm waiting to see an working final machine and test it. It's liek a new car, I want to drive it before
I buy it, thats not a strange thing is it. Or atleast more info / pictures / demo.


Well, contrary to what you just said, GFA is still developed to some degree. I have cleaned up the code base so it runs nice on MiNT, that in turn means GFA is using less shorts and more proper system calls. My current release should run as is on the new machine, assuming the machine manages to run older software as is. Just how fast GFA will run remains to be seen. I also won't make any guesses on that. :)

As for accessing all the new goodies and modes etc, well that is a matter of OS calls. GFA can access all the OS layers (VDI, AES, GEMDOS, XBIOS, BIOS) just as "C" or any other language. If a system call is not built into the language you only need to write a binding, and presto you can make any call you wish. If you need an example, head over to the GFA section and suggest something, I'll gladly write an example.


With development I really had in mind the official support of GFA ofcourse :)
Well thats sounds good, I still work with the old 3.6TT version which does what it needs to do.
So all the new features should be available in GFA in the future, also the probably new gfx modus.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Fri May 21, 2010 11:34 am

Mathias wrote:There are no plans for an revision 2 of the board. Except you could invest some money, so that we can call Freescale and ask them for 100k of V5e Coldfire Processors ;)
The upgrades should happen the next 5 years through good drivers for PCI cards and nice FPGA configurations!


Are they planning to sell that many firebee? Is there such a big atari follower market still?
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Fri May 21, 2010 11:37 am

MacFalcon wrote:As Mathias wrote, internet access WILL be very easy... Ethernet is onboard and usable.


Internet access was always easy on the ST.... the serial port just needs a modem.

Ok... so not talking about speed, just Internet access.
.... also noone not about usable internet access.... :lol:
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Fri May 21, 2010 11:40 am

MacFalcon wrote:But the browser is the key to make that machine usable for everyone! This has to be our main focus if we want it to get the success it deserves!


If the speed is as fast as those smartphone CPU, then a similar browser for smartphone should be usable on it.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby MacFalcon » Fri May 21, 2010 12:37 pm

Coldfire is 266 MHz CPU, so if it would be a native coldfire application speed should at last be around the same as Windows Mobile Smartphones < 2008. And on those devices there is a Firefox Beta and Opera Mobile / Skyfire running at decent speeds... so I see no reason why there shouldn't be a similar browser for Firebee.

That comes to your first (ironic?) question: I don't think that there is a "big" market for Atari/TOS compatibles... but it could become a niche product and computer for everyone if we get enough Atari users in the boat! I told somewhere else that if Firebee has a decent webbrowser, I know at least 3 of my friends (non Atarians) would buy one!

And I think a platform with a long life span, no Virus problematic and a few (and increasing number) of high quality applications could still be a burner nowadays!
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby christos » Fri May 21, 2010 2:28 pm

Well, I've written about my experiences with the ct63. Basically with a decent graphics resolution and colour depth the Atari has the necessary juice to get by in today's world, as long as you don't do anything cpu intensive (raytracing and image editing come to mind, though you can definitely do some of it).
Anyway, since GFA will be Firebee compatible my programs will work on it (whether that's a good thing is a different question entirely :P)
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christos
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Fri May 21, 2010 3:07 pm

MacFalcon wrote:That comes to your first (ironic?) question: I don't think that there is a "big" market for Atari/TOS compatibles... but it could become a niche product and computer for everyone if we get enough Atari users in the boat!


but that still be a bit short of the 100k pieces of V5e.
I think it will be just like the Amiga platform..... it's there, available but not so many takers.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby wongck » Fri May 21, 2010 3:09 pm

MacFalcon wrote:Coldfire is 266 MHz CPU, so if it would be a native coldfire application speed should at last be around the same as Windows Mobile Smartphones < 2008. And on those devices there is a Firefox Beta and Opera Mobile / Skyfire running at decent speeds... so I see no reason why there shouldn't be a similar browser for Firebee.


:thumbs: would be nice if there are some.
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Re: Firebee (ACP) - Let's make it a REAL success!

Postby lp » Fri May 21, 2010 4:05 pm

I think before anyone gets it in their head that the machine is expensive, consider the fact that I could have 2.6 FireBees for the cost of my Hades. I'm not joking. In my opinion the price is extremely low.

It also should be said that the machine doesn't have to necessarily boot TOS. Other operating systems could be ported and the boards size lends itself well to specialized projects where size matters. There's potential sales outside the Atari market. Think outside the box as they say. :wink:

Revisiting the GFA topic again, its equally defunct on the PC and amiga, so at least in this case its not just us Atari folks that got hung out to dry. :lol:
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