Toni Wilen is another of the great minds behind the leading Amiga emulator. Toni has become famous for his incredible speed of answering bug reports, and fixing the reported issues, as well as for implementing a big bunch of features users would not want to miss in UAE/WinUAE.
Also, he is the maintainer of WinUAE, he took over this position from Brian King.
Toni was interviewed by Georg Veichtlbauer on the 19th of November, 2002. It may be a bit lengthy but sure worth a read.
Q: Would you tell a few things about yourself Toni?
A: I am from Finnland, 27 years old, working as programmer/sysadmin. I haven't really done anything lately than working, watching Anime, reading Manga and programming something stupid and of course idling :).
Q: Did you ever own an original Amiga?
A: Of course, and many models... A1000 was my first Amiga (1988 or so), then I had two A500s (another was my brothers) and later two A1200's (again one for my brother). Now I have one A500 and A1200 for emulator compatibility testing :).
Q: When (and how) did your programming carreer start?
A: My first computer was Spectra Video svi-328. My first "programming" was writing and modifying some basic programs from computer magazines. I think I was 9 or 10 when I had my first computer :). I had c64 about 2-3 years later, wrote some stupid programs with C64-assembler...
Q: How did you get involved in UAE?
A: I think I saw someone say something like "it is impossible to emulate AGA" or something (I believe everything is possible). Then I started to examine UAE's code and add AGA support slowly (and this is true!). It took about 0.5 years until I understood UAE and even now I don't understand everything.
Q: You did not use any AGA documentation?
A: The unofficial aga.guide is the only documentation, but I knew it is correct because I programmed some AGA programs on my A1200 ages ago...
Q: Why did you decide to realize it with UAE instead of Fellow?
A: Choice was easy, UAE was in C. I hate Intel assembler!
Q: How much progress do you think UAE has made over the past years?
A: Too much? :) I'd say A500 emulation is very close. Only 100% correct cycle-exact CPU/Blitter emulation is not yet complete (because there is no documentation, you have to run test-programs on a real A500 to find everything out. Very time consuming. I am not really interested...). Of course 68020+ emulation needs MMU support (but probably not useful until everyone have 4GHz+ CPU :).
Q: What are the main features you implemented in UAE/WinUAE?
A: AGA, much more compatible disk emulation, more compatible blitter emulation, rdb, booting from real hdd's, more compatible sprite emulation, CD32, A1000 boot ROM, state save, drive leds :), partial CDTV (because of missing hardware documentation).
Q: Why did you accept the position as WinUAE maintainer? It sure isn't the nicest and best paid "job" you could get...
A: Because I wanted to continue improving UAE :). Sending patches to someone else is much more complex, and anyway, Brian wasn't interested in continuing for a long time. I'd probably have become win32 maintainer even if I didn't want :).
Q: Do you actually use WinUAE? I remember Brian saying he didn't do much with it apart from coding it...
A: Yes, mostly for classic A500 demos and games.
Q: How do you see the cooperation with the other coders of UAE?
A: Usually I disagree with Bernd Schmidt but unfortunately he has been too quiet lately. Unfortunately it appears only me and Bernd know how the UAE core works. Bernd Roesch and 2-3 other coders send me fixes for picasso96, bsdsocket etc., non-core emulation but thats it. Finding someone who knows Amiga hardware, has programmed demos/games on an Amiga, knows C (Amiga demos/games were mostly in assembler) and knows Unix or Windows programming is nearly impossible... and especially one who has time to learn how UAE works.
Q: Are you working on other publicly available programs?
A: Great Nations (Civilization clone, don't know if I ever have time to continue), NHLinfo (EA Sports NHL-game editor, mostly I have lost interest on that too because all NHL games since 2001 have been total crap), Filemaster for Amiga, and some other smaller Amiga programs.
Q: What are you planning for the WinUAE future?
A: Filesystem filenotification support,"sprites-outside-playfield" AGA-feature (but probably requires big rewrite of display code, don't expect too soon), Catweasel support, full CDTV emulation, MK3 (PCI) support.
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