Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 26th Mar 2009 23:34 UTC
Amiga & AROS Despite the recent emergence of several new ways to actually run AmigaOS 4.0, the supply of machines is still extremely small, and not very future proof. As such, one of the most recurring questions within the Amiga community is why don't they port the darn thing to x86?
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RE: Is it special under the hood?
by SamuraiCrow on Fri 27th Mar 2009 02:21 UTC in reply to "Is it special under the hood?"
SamuraiCrow
Member since:
2005-11-19

Or is it the interface and programs that most people desire out of the AmigaOS?

I would really like to know.


It's the responsiveness of the OS that makes it popular. And, years ago, the custom graphics accelerator chips made it very well integrated. (Read that: No drivers necessary since the the hardware came from the same company as the operating system.)

Although I have a MicroA1-c that runs AmigaOS 4.1, the technology I'm watching is the Natami which promises to have an improved Amiga compatible multimedia chip set and 68030 compatible processor all in an FPGA. My only complaint about that design is that it will be running AmigaOS 3.9 since 4.0+ requires a PowerPC accelerator board.

@thread

As far as I'm concerned about AmigaOS on Intel architecture, Intel can go fly a kite. Multicore processor support isn't present in AmigaOS so that's out of the question. Intel used this wierd idea called "little endianness" which will reduce the performance of AmigaOS to the current PowerPC performance levels anyway due to all the BSWAP opcodes required to emulate big endianness on an x86.

If Hyperion Entertainment VOF was going to port to any new architecture at all, I'd recommend LLVM. It runs on either x86, PowerPC, or ARM with roughly equal efficiency. It's open source so any new architecture that comes out can be supported without requiring the entire source code of the OS (assuming they distribute it as LLVM bitcode-format rather than straight binary).

Reply Parent Score: 4

galvanash Member since:
2006-01-25

Intel used this wierd idea called "little endianness" which will reduce the performance of AmigaOS to the current PowerPC performance levels anyway due to all the BSWAP opcodes required to emulate big endianness on an x86.


Considering that the Intel 8080 is widely considered the first usable general purpose microprocessor, and that it and nearly all of the early CPUs (VAX, MOS 6502, Z80) with the exception of the 6800 were little endian - I find it odd you call it a "weird idea". PowerPC isn't big endian anyway, it can do either. There are pros and cons to both approaches imo.

Regardless, any competent port of Amiga OS to x86 would I would hope switch the implementation to little endian to avoid the issue entirely. It might make porting of some low level code a bit more difficult than it otherwise would be, but it would be better in the long run imo.

But still, if you think the comparatively minor overhead of byte order swapping would in any way negate the HUGE performance advantage modern x86 hardware has over the dinky PowerPC hardware currently available for AmigaOS your nuts.

Reply Parent Score: 4

SamuraiCrow Member since:
2005-11-19

Little-endian mode support was dropped from the PowerPC 970 series and therefore may be considered obsolete although the 970 series isn't supported by AmigaOS.

Regardless, any competent port of Amiga OS to x86 would I would hope switch the implementation to little endian to avoid the issue entirely. It might make porting of some low level code a bit more difficult than it otherwise would be, but it would be better in the long run imo.

Little-endianness would kill any backward compatibility that AmigaOS would have ever hoped to have had. Since every version prior to 4.0 was a white-box implementation meaning that the internal data structures were open for the applications to access, it is impossible to make a backwardly-compatible version of AmigaOS in little-endian mode or with full memory protection. If you want little-endian and memory protection join Anubis-OS.

But still, if you think the comparatively minor overhead of byte order swapping would in any way negate the HUGE performance advantage modern x86 hardware has over the dinky PowerPC hardware currently available for AmigaOS your nuts.


I think Intel chips are only faster because of more compact instruction set and therefore more efficient use of the cache. If AmigaOS is going to compete in any market, it would not be the desktop one so the only Intel processors that would compete in the Amiga marketplace are the Atom series which don't perform nearly as well as their desktop equivalents. Therefore the PowerPC 440 series found in the current platforms is competitive for the markets Hyperion Entertainment VOF are targeting.

(Furthermore, for the record, I DO have a mental disability known as paranoid schizophrenia and therefore I am nuts. Do you have a problem with that?)

Reply Parent Score: 2

FunkyELF Member since:
2006-07-26

If Hyperion Entertainment VOF was going to port to any new architecture at all, I'd recommend LLVM. It runs on either x86, PowerPC, or ARM with roughly equal efficiency.


Interesting. Are there currently any LLVM operating systems out there?

Reply Parent Score: 2

SamuraiCrow Member since:
2005-11-19

Interesting. Are there currently any LLVM operating systems out there?

I thought that Apple was working on something like an LLVM-based OS for the iPod Touch and iPhone but I may be mistaken. There was also a mention of a Linux version on http://www.llvm.org/ called LLVA that was going to be such a thing. I don't know how successful it was.

Amiga Inc. had something like that up on their website based on an early LLVM equivalent called AmigaDE but it was overpriced and delivered underrated performance. AmigaOS 5.0 was supposed to be cross-platform and I think that's the whole reason that Hyperion is fighting this.

Conceptually, you'd still need enough OS to bootstrap LLVM anyway even though it supports static compiling like a regular compiler, it would have to do the final code generation at install time.

Reply Parent Score: 3