We bring you an interview we did with Massimiliano Tretene during the Pianeta Amiga show held in September 2006. Max is the main designer of PPC board, codename Samantha. Only a short time ago nobody had a clue what this project is about. Samantha was officially introduced during the Pianeta Amiga show in Italy which is not a coincidence as the design team are Italian. For more information visit the homepage of the project.
AmiKit: Hi Max, would you have some time for a short interview?
AmiKit: I'd like more information about project Samantha. When did the whole project start?
Max: The development started in February 2006, however the idea was born a year ago. It happened during the previous Pianeta Amiga show.
AmiKit: Who is behind the project and what is your role exactly?
Max: There are three Italian companies: Soft3, VirtualWorks and Alternative Technology who fund the project together. All of them share the development costs equally. Their job, among other things, is to ensure logistics, customer support, etc. It is possible that these companies will join into a single company in order to be more effective. My responsibility is to develop the Samantha board. I provide the technical specifications and similar things. We have an agreement with another professional company that will manufacture the board for us.
AmiKit: Ok, the prototype is ready. What are you planning next?
Max: We are planning to take the board to the factory next week for testing purposes. The whole of October (2006) is reserved for testing. The board already contains all the important components, only a few connectors are missing. If everything goes as expected, the board goes into production soon after. The first manufactured series will be for developers only, approx. 100-150 pieces.
AmiKit: What about software drivers?
Max: Actually, most of the OS4 drivers are ready, eg. drivers for USB, Nec chip, SATA and audio. The only missing one is the CPU kernel.
AmiKit: And what about the license? There is a lot of confusion and problems in this area recently.
Max: Well, I and my friends are the developers and beta-testers of OS4 and we have a very friendly relationship with Hyperion. We do not expect any complications from this side. We also hope for the same situation from Amiga Inc. At least, Bill McEwen already mentioned Samantha in his speech.
AmiKit: Do you think the Amiga community is able to keep Samantha alive?
Max: Well, the Amiga market is not the only one we want to focus in. Samantha will also be targeted for Linux systems. We are able to change the specifications of the Samantha quickly, even during the production itself, which allows us to react on the market demands in a more flexible way.
AmiKit: What will be the price of Samantha?
Max: The price for end users will be somewhere between 370 and 399 EUR excluding tax.
AmiKit: There is a similar project called Amy'05 which has been discussed for a very long time but only today have people had a chance to see it with their own eyes. How come you managed to be so quiet about your Samantha project?
Max: This is our strategy. Simply we did not want to announce anything that was not finished at that time and thus anything could change.
AmiKit: Yesterday, during the dinner (and few glasses of wine), interesting rumours were spreading around. I heard some mystic names like "Moana" and "Bridgette" in conjunction with your future projects. Can you tell us more about them please? ;)
Max: Well, just a little bit. :) Moana is going to be a "desktop solution" with CPU GForce while the Samantha is a "low-end solution" actually. In addition, Moana is going to be for Amiga only. Bridgette is a project based on Samantha, however its development has only just started.
AmiKit: Thank you very much for the interview.
Max: I thank you.
Note: We gathered some funny information from the people who attended the show. "Moana" was the name of very famous Italian porn star. Maybe she was the inspiration, who knows :)
Special thanks to Severin for proofreading the text.