What on Earth is Going on Here?

A series of convoluted but telling events virtually akin to "AmiGate"...

By Michael Webb, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, 103165.3700@compuserve.com

Is ignorance bliss?

Generally, I would be inclined to say that "Knowledge is Power," but over the past month, the Amiga community has been witness to a number of events that could leave the most determined news-follower running for cover.

If you're wondering if the Amiga has finally been acquired by some company, I regret to inform you that no, that is not the case, and if it were, it would be emblazoned in headlines across this entire issue.

Just when you thought that VIScorp was going to end up with the Amiga (and due to the way things were handled, I'm sure some of us thought it was already a done deal), some wrenches may have been thrown into the works. But if you listen to some of these wrenches, that may actually be a good thing...

See, I told you this was one big confused mess.

So what's the point?

To cut through the rhetoric and get to the point, first of all, Carl Sassenrath is no longer with VIScorp. For those who don't know, Sassenrath designed the Amiga's multitasking OS kernel, and joined VIScorp recently in order to add his wisdom and experience. He announced his resignation earlier this month with a rather violent posting on Usenet in which, shall we say, he did little to enhance the image of VIScorp in the Amiga community, calling it "an idiotic, screwed-up, incompetent company." Apparently, if what he says is true, VIScorp was hardly even in communication with him, and they may not have the best in mind for the future of the Amiga.

On the heels of recent events such as the Sassenrath resignation, growing unrest and grumbling, and the assertions of our very own Samuel Ormes in the November issue of The Amiga Monitor, a certain wave of anti-VIScorp sentiment has been growing in the Amiga community, or at least certain parts of it. You can even see evidence of it in The Amiga Monitor, but let me remind you that this magazine, and I personally, have no official viewpoint and offer no editorial endorsement regarding any companies involved with the Amiga at this time.

Recent reports reveal more shocking revelations: as it turns out, VIScorp is no longer the frontrunner in the race to acquire the Amiga, and its contract of acquisition has been cancelled. A press release from VIScorp maintains that that was part of the strategy agreed upon when executives decided the suggested price for Amiga Technologies was too high. At this point, anything can happen. It is important to note that precisely which companies are in the running to acquire the Amiga is not known. One can only guess, or follow rumors.

Probably one of the most surprising things to happen recently, however, was a second resignation in a matter of a month. My esteemed colleague Jason Compton, in charge of public relations for VIScorp, will be leaving VIScorp this month. In contrast to Carl Sassenrath, Compton's posting on Usenet was far less scathing. It gives little in the way of reason, and emphasizes that he will be leaving VIScorp on good terms. Exactly what will result from all this is yet to be seen.

If nothing else, one may draw the conclusion that with Sassenrath and Compton gone, VIScorp has little remaining in the way of a connection to the Amiga community; in fact, we know little of exactly what they care to do with it, aside from build set-top boxes. Perhaps it would be in their best interest, if they do acquire the Amiga, to release a VERY detailed account of exactly what they hope to do. They must listen to the Amiga community as well.

If anybody is still wondering what I meant with my reference to "AmiGate" (credit to Kyle Webb for that pithy little expression), it has to do with past and present events within the American government that, as a whole, have led us to seriously question the ethical motives, or the ethical principals themselves, of our government officials, and how we should expect them to treat us in other areas as well. Virtually the same exists in the Amiga community. Our experiences have begotten deep distrusts that, deserved or not, greatly affects everyone's views of events in the world of Amiga. If ever there was a good way to become cynical, this is surely it.

It's hard to tell what anybody's motives are now, especially with the restrictions legalities place upon corporate openness. Let me just say, however, to any company that is vying for the Amiga technology that may be reading this (VIScorp or otherwise), that we hope you really do have good intentions for the future of this platform, and if you do, then we're all for you; but if you don't, then please withdraw your negotiators immediately and leave it to someone who really does care.

We really have had just too many of the empty promises, and I have to wonder if any of us, or the Amiga itself, can take much more of this.