Amahi is, if I read the announcement correctly, an off-the-shelf Linux distro bundled with a set of branded, pre-integrated applications, but is not a Linux distribution or an application program in itself.
Amahi is not about Linux per-se. Amahi is about bringing the power of hundreds of the best apps out there to people who are interested in a next-generation router/NAS. And it uses the best platform on earth to do that: Linux.
What that means is that if you are into Linux, you can open up the covers and hack away.
The apps are not branded. Amahi uses the concept of pristine sources. This is so that the chain of trust is preserved from the original software developers onto the final user. The one thing Amahi packagers add is all the necessary under-the-covers setup to make installing all these apps truly one-click.
As such, I don't understand what value Amahi brings to the Plug Computer ecosystem -- substantially ALL plug computer applications consist of an off-the-shelf Linux distro bundled with a set of branded, pre-integrated applications, so it's difficult to get excited enough about this 'platform' to spam Twitter or create brand collateral for the opportunity to win what amounts to a GuruPlug Standard (Kirkwood 1.2 GHz, 512 RAM/512 Flash, 2 USB 2.0, 1 GbE).
Variety is the spice of life
You can chose whatever platform you like.
Now, with Amahi you can also develop, very rapidly, new applications that leverage the hardware running the show.
The Plug is a a great platform for a personal server. Since Amahi aims to be the best personal server making home networking simple, it's a great fit.
That said, Amahi 6 will have *even faster* ways to create apps via "widgets" (light apps) and "gadgets" (per-user customizable iGoogle
style panels). This part is probably one of the most exciting things happening, because it will allow custom apps and gadget to be built even faster with gadget and a widget generator.
The Cirrus (2.0 GHz Armada, eSATa, internal HD, etc) does look interesting, but Ionics specs specifically
state that a JTAG port is NOT an option for the model, and is therefore of limited appeal to developers.
Is Amahi intended to be the Cirrus operating environment when it eventually ships?
Yes. Amahi will be even a greater fit on something like the Cirrus. Given the power of the apps included in Amahi, the Cirrus will be a great boost in power for Amahi apps.
Generally one does not require a JTAG port to develop for Amahi. I realize that if you are a hardware developer or someone with kernel hacking chops, that it would be a requirement to access the console and debug information.