SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

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Aslak3
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SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by Aslak3 »

New here. :-) But I've been posting on amigaworld.net for about a month....

Hello!

I took the plugne and purchased a SAM460 system through AmigaKit. I previously used Amiga systems from 1990 through about 1997, doing pretty much everything with them from gaming to 3D animations to programming (AMOS and later C using intuition, gadtools etc). It's great that Amiga OS is still developed, and I really appreciate all the hardwork put into it.

So, I could write a big review, but instead I'll just say what's great, what's I think is not so great, and some suggestions:

The great

:arrow: AmigaOS *looks* amazing! I couldn't belive how well everything scales up to silly resolutions. The last time I used an Amiga I was happy with 640x500 "productivity" workbench. Now we have 1080p modes. Everything looks lovely.
:arrow: Everything is *fast*
:arrow: Web browsing works surprisingly well. OWB looks nice and is reasonably fast. I'm interested to hear if that is still being worked on though.
:arrow: SMBfs works well enough. Writes are a little slow (want to try to diagnose that), but reads are good
:arrow: The SDK looks awsome. I already ported a couple of my little projects from OS3.1 days. Hoping to upload one to os4depot soon. :-)
:arrow: Liikewise for the wiki, though it would be nice if it was updated so it didn't refer to things that aren't current anymore
:arrow: USB devices work well
:arrow: AmigaKit were AWSOME! Answering every PM in a matter of hours usually even at silly time of day. They also did an amazing buld of my machine in a custom case I wanted. Thankyou again AmigaKit. :-)
:arrow: It was a nice surpise to see printed material for the OS. I wasn't expecting that.

The not so great

This is mostly hardware related to the SAM460...

:arrow: The old lack of DMA problem. Probably enoguh written on that. But it would be really good if it could be fixed so it would free a PCI slot on my system.
:arrow: Overlay/3D. Same again really. Though they don't personally bother ME (I don't play games and I have lots of ways to view videos, including a nice TV downstairs!) but I can see how it would be great for others.
:arrow: Sound. Seemingly some systems have sound problems still and I'm one. :-( MP3s play sloooow, so it is unusable. This is quite anoying! Apparently acube are working on some fixes. I hope they come soon. It would certainly be nice to hear that these problems are being worked on. Again because of the SATA DMA problem I can't use a PCI card.
:arrow: General system stability. I'd say it is fair but not great. I have had network death (ping has no buffer space available, and nothing else works network wise until reboot) when copying lots of files using the Shell. That happened only once. Workbench pauses for 30 seconds while copying files, and once the mouse was unresponsive at coldboot. Most of my old 68K software seems to cause instant crashes so I have pretty much given up with inline emulation. UAE seems to work well though, but of couse with no decent sound games are no fun.

... EDIT:

:arrow: Workbench Bug: If a disk gets full while copying, the error requester cannot be dismissed, meaning you have to reboot.
:arrow: I also had networking die, again.
:arrow: Workbench Bug: Sometimes when deleting a file (on RAM disk, HDD, whatever) no confirm dialog will appear for several seconds or upto a few minutes. During that time most of the system is locked (but mouse moves and you can depth arrange but not double click windows). Then the confirm dialog appears and everything is ok again?

Can someone please confirm those above 2 Workbench issues?

... ANOTHER EDIT:

Through the help of the nice folks on amigaworld, I've tracked down the Delete problem. It seems to be a deadlock caused by a busy system. Though otherwise Workbench is fine (eg. the About window appears), if the machine is busy then the Delete confirmation dialog is prevented from appearing, or at least delayed. So I'm fairly sure this is down to some task priority issue.

Suggetions:

:arrow: Copying files using workbench is not clever. When copying (say) 3 directories each with 1000MB of files, the progress bar would go: 33%, 66%, DONE - with absolutely no updates and several minutes between. It MUST update as each file is copied, like UnArc does. Even if it is just to say the filename withbout moving the progress bar. Please? :-)
:arrow: The default Shell doesn't have scrollback, which is a pain.
:arrow: IMO there is *too much* in the core Operating System. More things should be made Extras. Small is beautiful, and there are plenty of ways to customise after install but it is hard to know what is safe to remove as it's currerntly layed out.
:arrow: I miss the distinction between Tools and Utilities. I think there is a difference: one if for ocasionally used OS-level manipulation, and the other is.. well Utilities. I know this nit-picking!
:arrow: Can we have a game or two in "Extras"?
:arrow: IMO the entire "network connection" wizard concept is not useful in 2012. Nearly everyone has ethernet and a router. Just DHCP the LAN and you have networking setup with no work, for about 95% of the users. The connection profile stuff just confused me when I looked at it.

Anyway, that's enough from me. Except that I look forward to contributing, in my own little way, to the Amgia scene. It's been 15 years since I thought about this OS and I'm really happy to be back. :-)

Lawrence

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ChrisH
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by ChrisH »

Your network problems sound like a driver issue, since I generally find networking on my Sam440 & X1000 to be rock-solid. You are using an ethernet port built-into the Sam460 right?

Your Workbench issues are wierd, and not something I recognise. Could be another Sam460 issue, or perhaps something else? You could also try installing Filer as a DirectoryOpus5-like solution (I use it heavily), and by editing ContextMenus' config file it can be integrated quite well into Workbench.

There are plans for a much-improved Shell, but until that is released I suggest installing KingCON (from 68k Amiga days), which works very well. You need to use a special bug-fixed version available here:
http://amikit.amiga.sk/exclusive-content.htm

As a beta-tester I've made some suggestions about how to improve the network connection wizard. But I can't say when or if anything will be done about it (basically wait & see).

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Aslak3
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by Aslak3 »

Yup I'm using the onboard NIC. I have no choice in fact, as I have the SATA card in the main PCI port, unless it's possible to use a NIC in the mini PCI-E port?

I'm pretty convinced the issues with network death is a genuine bug, maybe related to DMA or some such low level thing. Luckily it's only got me twice so far, and both times I was "looking for trouble".

With regard to the Workbench problems, I can't see how they'd be anything other then software issues? And should effect all systems. It would be nice if someone could confirm the problem with disk's getting full, though I can't see how everyone wouldn't have that problem. I would expect the copies to immediately stop. Though there's other tools about, I like the simplicity of the Workbench for file manipulation, and usually fall back to the Shell only for more complicated file management.

The problem with deleting files is a problem with AsyncWB. It seems it's being starved by other tasks if the CPU is busy. It can easily be worked around by just moving it to priority 1 via a tool-type in it's icon.

It's great that the Shell is being given some love. I'll have a look at old KingCON. I remember using that on my 1200!

I know I took a punt with the SAM460. It seems to be not quite as well supported hardware-wise to the 440. But the performance is good, and what problems there are seem to be small in the grand scheme of things.

... EDIT:

I had to download both the new bits of KingCON and the original aminet version and "mix and match". Suffice to say I have it just how I want now, just missing mouse wheel support. Everything else is just how I remember. :-)

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djrikki
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by djrikki »


aslak3:
Workbench Bug: Sometimes when deleting a file (on RAM disk, HDD, whatever) no confirm dialog will appear for several seconds or upto a few minutes. During that time most of the system is locked (but mouse moves and you can depth arrange but not double click windows). Then the confirm dialog appears and everything is ok again?
Appeared in Update 5.

Another bug introduced in Update 5 is when the Workbench boot-ups sometimes nothing on screen responds to mouse click.

There are other annoying bugs (or rather things that have yet to be implemented) such as if a USB device's Drawer Window is visible on-screen and you remove the USB device, even if you then close its Drawer Window the device is left mounted - problem one. Problem two, re-insert the USB device and because it has the same device name, screws up Workbench, getting stuck in a loop and usually requires a reboot. This oversight needs fixing ASAP as its simply incorrect behaviour.

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ChrisH
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by ChrisH »

djrikki wrote:
aslak3:
Workbench Bug: Sometimes when deleting a file (on RAM disk, HDD, whatever) no confirm dialog will appear for several seconds or upto a few minutes. During that time most of the system is locked (but mouse moves and you can depth arrange but not double click windows). Then the confirm dialog appears and everything is ok again?
Appeared in Update 5.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, you *might* be right. Recently I have occasionally noticed WB confirmation dialog not appearing, but I had put that down to something in the background heavily using the CPU.
There are other annoying bugs (or rather things that have yet to be implemented) such as if a USB device's Drawer Window is visible on-screen and you remove the USB device, even if you then close its Drawer Window the device is left mounted - problem one.
I think it's always been like that?

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djrikki
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by djrikki »

ChrisH wrote:
djrikki wrote:
aslak3:
Workbench Bug: Sometimes when deleting a file (on RAM disk, HDD, whatever) no confirm dialog will appear for several seconds or upto a few minutes. During that time most of the system is locked (but mouse moves and you can depth arrange but not double click windows). Then the confirm dialog appears and everything is ok again?
Appeared in Update 5.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, you *might* be right. Recently I have occasionally noticed WB confirmation dialog not appearing, but I had put that down to something in the background heavily using the CPU.
There are other annoying bugs (or rather things that have yet to be implemented) such as if a USB device's Drawer Window is visible on-screen and you remove the USB device, even if you then close its Drawer Window the device is left mounted - problem one.
I think it's always been like that?
I agree with 'might', obviously I've deleted files in the past and I never noticed it even once in prior updates.

Yes, it has always been like that - its one of those things that should no longer be the case!

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Aslak3
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Re: SAM460 and OS4.1 thoughts and issues

Post by Aslak3 »

ChrisH wrote:
djrikki wrote:
aslak3:
Workbench Bug: Sometimes when deleting a file (on RAM disk, HDD, whatever) no confirm dialog will appear for several seconds or upto a few minutes. During that time most of the system is locked (but mouse moves and you can depth arrange but not double click windows). Then the confirm dialog appears and everything is ok again?
Appeared in Update 5.
Hmmm, now that I think about it, you *might* be right. Recently I have occasionally noticed WB confirmation dialog not appearing, but I had put that down to something in the background heavily using the CPU.
Like I said, this is down to the busyness of the system. If it is idle, the confirmation requester will appear right away. if it is busy, you will have to wait. The "fix" for this is to raise the priority of AsyncWB, via the icon tooltype, to 1 (say). This seems to have no bad effect on my system, but if you use a system which lacks efficient means to remove files (ie. no disk DMA) then you will find performance of everything beside the Workbench will suffer while copying and deleting.

The other problem I reported, to do with "disk full" error messages not being dismissable, seems to have been caused by user error. I was trying to get past the error by dismissing the "Disk full" message, but I should have canceled the copying first with the progress window.

The problems I have with my SAM seem to be mostly down to hardware drivers, not the Workbench. Ie. the network death, occasional USB oddities, and the sorry state of sound support.

Lawrence

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