posted by Fulvio Peruggi on Mon 17th Jul 2006 11:14 UTC

"Page 3"
ShowGirls and MUI Prefs Filesystems for hard disks are very important components that must take care of precious data. MorphOS provides an implementation of FFS, the standard Fast File System of the Amiga, that is present mostly for compatibility reasons. SFS (Smart File System) is a much faster and more reliable filesystem, that keeps track of the last transactions before they are applied. In other words, it is a journaling-like filesystem that guarantees the integrity of the data even in the case of computer crashes during write operations. SFS has been adopted by MorphOS as its default filesystem, but MorphOS also supports other filesystems including the impressive PFS (Professional File System) available commercially for Amiga computers, and even the ubiquitous FAT (File Allocation Table) of MSDOS environments. Salvage utilities are available both for PFS and SFS, and handle operations like retrieving deleted data, file system structure repair, and even reorganization to decrease fragmentation.

MUI Prefs The USB stack of MorphOS is called Poseidon, and is probably the most efficient USB stack in existence on any computer platform. The best description of its features is certainly given by its author (Chris Hodges) that I report in the following lines:
"Poseidon is a software solution that unleashes the possibilities of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) and the devices with USB interface, ranging from mice, keyboards, tablets, joysticks, printers, scanners, webcams, digicams, flash card readers, zip drives, floppy disk drives, harddisks, memory sticks, ethernet adapters, scanners and audio adapters to less common things like power supplies, GPS location devices or fingerprint readers. Poseidon has a modular design that fits into the AmigaOS/MorphOS environment very neatly. It is no port of an existing system (like the Linux USB stack), but has been created with the unique features of AmigaOS/MorphOS in mind, that make these operating systems so efficient."
Let me add that Poseidon always tries to do its job in a completely automatic way, but in case the user needs customization for a specific USB device, Poseidon reveals incredible configuration capabilities that allow the user to solve almost any problem.

MorphOS desktopThe printing system adopted by MorphOS is TurboPrint, a licensed commercial software package also distributed in the Linux world. It allows full control of the printer and its colors (if any), and of course runs transparently for any application. TurboPrint requires an update if the user needs printer drivers for recent printers, but the upgrading package is also convenient for the presence of some useful printing utilities that are absent in MorphOS.

The advanced scripting system that characterized AmigaOS since version 2.0 is ARexx, an implementation of REXX, an interpreted, structured, high-level programming language introduced by IBM. On the Amiga almost every important application has an ARexx port that allows its (possibly full) control by means of ARexx scripts, or even by means of ARexx commands coming from other programs. This gives rise to very interesting possibilities for the users, that were fully explored during years of use in the Amiga environment. MorphOS has a native implementation of this language (except for a library that is still being coded, and currently must be extracted from AmigaOS).

MorphOS integration

There are a number of applications that, today, people expect to be standard components of an OS, like an installation utility for software packages, a text editor, a TCP/IP stack, a mailer, and a browser. After having used MorphOS for a while, you will note the absence of these programs in its current distribution (1.4.5). However, a few searches on the net will show you that no MorphOS user complains for the absense of these programs. This apparent contradiction is actually a legacy effect of the tormented Amiga history, and does not affect MorphOS in any way. Let me dedicate some words to this subject, just to show you the correct perspective before you start to think, erroneously, that MorphOS is an incomplete OS.

In its current form, MorphOS is perfectly suited for its current user community, i.e. a group of hardcore Amiga users. Such persons, in the fast rise of the Wintel era, faced the problem of integrating an OS that was no longer upgraded. Indeed, in the 90's, after Commodore's demise, the owners of the brand froze the development of AmigaOS. This OS survived thanks to the impulse provided by many independent developers who slowly added almost any type of missing features. Most of this software is available at the huge repository of free and shareware Amiga software, Aminet, that currently contains 76,000 software packages. So the main rule of thumb for Amiga users is: if something is missing, download it from Aminet. And, of course, this rule extends to all MorphOS newcomers.

MorphOS has no installation utility for current and legacy applications.
Go to Aminet and download the Installer 43.3. Of course this is a standalone file that you can simply put manually into a strategic directory of your hard disk.

MorphOS has no text editor for modifying startup scripts and plain texts.
There are plenty of text editors on Aminet. You can go there, and search and download what you need. In particular you will also find some editors already ported and compiled in native PPC code for MorphOS.

MorphOS has no TCP/IP stack.
Well, go to Aminet and download MOSNet, which is a TCP/IP stack compiled in native PPC code, and created specifically for MorphOS.

MorphOS has no mailer.
All mailers for the Amiga are open source. You can download YAM or SimpleMail from SourceForge or their homepages. There are nightly builds created in native PPC code for MorphOS, too.

MorphOS has no browser.
The source code of AWeb, formerly a commercial browser, was donated by the author to the Amiga community at the beginning of the millennium. All the upgrades for this browser created by the current development team are available at the AWeb homepage, even in a native MorphOS version.

(Please note that all the previous applications are open source software - except the Installer 43.3 that is freely distributable -. Their use does not prejudice in any way the owner rights of MorphOS and the software packages written/distributed by independent developers and/or software houses for commercial purposes.)

MorphOS has a very minimal documentation.
Due to the API compatibility, the AmigaOS 3.1 documentation covers 75% of all the possible issues. However, MorphOS is not a simple clone of AmigaOS: it already embodies a large number of enhancements, most of which are not immediately visible to the unaware user. Here the community has again given its help with the creation of Le livre du Pegasos (The Pegasos Book), that collects in a single book a huge set of very useful and important information concerning hardware, software, and configuration issues that it is important to know when using the Pegasos/MorphOS pair.

In conclusion, the main point that you should understand is that the community that currently uses MorphOS is only the launching platform of this OS. The forecast future community should be larger and not necessarily Amiga-related; and future versions of MorphOS may be commercial. In such a case, of course, the MorphOS Development Team will take into account any change of the targeted user base. New distributions will either contain proprietary versions of the missing software (for instance, it is already known that an integrated TCP/IP stack already exists), or will explicitly point the inexperienced non-Amiga user towards external components.

Table of contents
  1. "Page 1"
  2. "Page 2"
  3. "Page 3"
  4. "Page 4"
  5. "Page 5"
  6. "Page 6"
e p (8)    56 Comment(s)

Technology White Papers

See More