The latest article in our OSNews OS contest: Learn about MorphOS, the heir to the Amiga legacy. This article chronicles its bumpy history, its still-compelling features, and the current state of MorphOS development.
What is MorphOS?
I think this will be the most asked question among all readers of this article. It’s likely that you never heard this name – MorphOS – before in your life, but it is extremely likely that you heard another name: Amiga. In this introduction it is enough to say that MorphOS is currently an enhanced clone of the AmigaOS (the Historical Notes section explores the details of this connection).
Although a functional clone of the AmigaOS is a nice experiment, the real potential for MorphOS is found in its ability to provide for more advanced OS features not found in the AmigaOS. This is possible because MorphOS is built around a very flexible, powerful, and compact microkernel called Quark, whose structure is totally unrelated and independent from the Amiga and Linux kernels.
One distinctive feature of MorphOS is that it has a small “footprint”. A complete installation requires less than 15 Megabytes for the whole OS. Even less is needed if one desires to optimize one’s running environment and leave out unused and/or non-essential parts of the OS. Another distinctive feature of MorphOS is its speed. It is not certified as a RTOS, but in use, its responsiveness is very close to Real Time operation.
MorphOS runs exclusively on PowerPC processors. Two specific hardware platforms are currently supported: the PPC accelerator boards for Amiga computers (developed by Phase5 and known as CyberStorm and Blizzard) and PegasosPPC motherboards (distributed by Genesi and also used in a product called ODW, Open Desktop Workstation). PegasosPPC boards are initialized by the HAL/OF (Hardware Abstraction Layer / Open Firmware), a BIOS-like software created and maintained by Genesi for its PPC products (and available under license for every designer/manufacturer of PPC-based products). Potentially MorphOS can run with minor changes on any PPC board initialized by the HAL/OF: it is known, for instance, that this OS already runs on EFIKA 5K2 boards.
MorphOS is proprietary OS except for some parts that are open source. It is currently available for free only to owners of the above-mentioned Amiga/Pegasos hardware. After on-line registration, owners can connect to an FTP site where it is possible to download an ISO-image for burning a MorphOS boot CD. Also upgrade software is available on the FTP site.
The installation of most operating systems is usually a long operation, and may sometimes become a real nightmare if you are unlucky or unskilled. A small footprint OS like MorphOS shows its advantages even in the installation phase, both in terms of time and simplicity.
Put your MorphOS boot CD in the drive and select it as a boot device in the HAL/OF. MorphOS starts directly from the CD in a default configuration with minimal hardware requirements. This takes less than a minute. Now you should use the OS partition utility to create at least one boot partition on your hard disk, and the formatting utility to format this partition. Then you can launch an installation script that loads MorphOS therein (the script manages a number of circumstances and special cases, but basically it copies all the system files and directories, with default configuration files, from the CD to the hard disk).
Now, you should eject and remove the MorphOS boot CD from your drive, and reset the Pegasos/ODW (either pressing the reset button or with the key combination CTRL-WIN-WIN). After a few seconds you will return to the HAL/OF screen, where you should set an environment variable that stores what’s the boot partition and the relevant hard disk.
It’s done! (The user must perform slightly more complex actions with old versions of the HAL/OF, but newcomers can only get new versions…)
Total time required for all the previous operations: no more than 5 minutes! But you will have another surprise: let MorphOS start from your hard disk and count the time that is necessary to boot into the plain OS environment. You will find that this occurs in less than five seconds: welcome to the lightning OS!
The core of MorphOS is compressed and stored inside a boot.img file which must reside on some storage medium accessible by the HAL/OF. This file is loaded by the HAL/OF and starts up the Quark microkernel, as well as a number of other low-level basic components of the OS. The rest of the OS is formed by hard disk based files and runs on top of this software layer.
Amiga was characterized by advanced low-level software features provided by its microkernel, Exec, like pre-emptive multitasking, inter-process communication, etc., that were absent in any popular computer of the late 80s (early Macs and PCs, Atari computers, etc.). Of course all these features are provided in MorphOS by Quark, which is also able to support more modern features like memory protection, virtual memory, and so on. Quark is also able to provide a number of sandboxes where virtualized operating systems can run independently. Currently two sandboxes are implemented: QBox, which now is used for low-level processes only, and ABox, which provides a special API for programs and applications. Indeed this API is fully compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 (the last operating system created and distributed by Commodore for its Amiga computers) and, together with Trance, a JIT emulator for Amiga executables, guarantees a high degree of compatibility with the large set of Amiga legacy applications.
Note that the huge number of excellent games that made the Amiga famous in the late 80’s and early 90’s do not run directly in MorphOS environment. Amiga computers were equipped with custom chips for graphics and audio. Their operation is totally incompatible with a modern system like MorphOS, which is able to manage current 2D/3D GFX boards and on-board or PCI-board audio. If you want to play old games on a Pegasos/ODW, you can, but you need UAE (the Universal Amiga Emulator), which is also available for MorphOS and provides the required compatibility.
The native compatibility of MorphOS with Amiga legacy software, instead, has a different target. Users can run almost all the most recent and advanced Amiga applications, which are able to manage additional GFX and audio boards created for the latest Amiga computers. The relevant software layers, known as CGX (CyberGraphX) and AHI (Audio Hardware Interface), mask and manage the re-targetable hardware and are fully integrated in MorphOS.
Like the AmigaOS, MorphOS makes two very compact, efficient, and fully integrated interfaces available (Command Line Interface and Graphic User Interface) for shells and applications. Although this “built-in” CLI/GUI system can easily get the job done, many prefer significantly more advanced features and “eye-candy” in the GUI. To address this, MorphOS has adopted the more object-oriented software GUI layer called Magic User Interface. MUI not only provides the programmer with more sophisticated GUI interactions and layouts, but also allows users to more fully customize these GUIs to their individual tastes. Actually MUI is one of the most distinctive components of MorphOS, both in terms of features and aesthetics.
MorphOS shell is a Unix-like shell provided with all the features you expect from such a component: AmigaDOS commands (most of which are Unix-like), local and global variables, command substitution, command redirection, named and unnamed pipes, history, programmable menus, multiple shells in a window, ANSI compatibility, color selection, and so on. Of course the set of commands includes all the necessary commands for scripting. In conclusion: Command Line Interface users will not be disappointed…
Ambient is the MUI based, fully asynchronous, multi-threaded, default native desktop of MorphOS. Although open sourced, in practice Ambient is an exclusive component of MorphOS, because it is so strictly related to MUI and the OS that its porting to any other environment would be very difficult. Ambient provides program icon management, directory navigation, program launching, file handling, and everything needed for managing the system. Ambient is highly adaptable to the user’s taste: file management can be done in classic (spatial) mode or browser mode, using icon view or list view. Filetype recognition is done by means of direct file probing and/or mimetypes, and users have full control and editing capabilities on mimetypes for a fine-tuning of the related actions. Ambient allows the user to easily perform any type of activity with the built-in tools: file search utility, text viewer, picture viewer, sound player, system monitor, disk formatting utility, management of commodity utilities, and much more. From Ambient menus, users can control all the settings in their MorphOS environment, including MUI settings and the desktop itself.
Let me mention in passing that users are not necessarily forced to use Ambient. Other common desktop environments of the Amiga world can be run at the same time, or even as complete substitutes for Ambient, e.g. Directory Opus (also available for PC users as a substitute for Windows Explorer), Scalos, and even the classic Amiga Workbench (but this is reserved for crazy users which like some hacking).
The previous components of the OS are those that the user always sees and manipulates: their visual impact and easy handling have a high influence on user appreciation. Ambient users, for instance, can select distinct skins, changing on the fly the general aspect of all the windows, widgets, and other graphic elements of the desktop (some distinct skins are shown in the pictures). On the other hand, other system software runs invisibly and silently, but is equally important, because without it the computer will be unusable. A few examples are filesystems, USB management, printer drivers, advanced scripting systems, etc.. Of course all these components are present in MorphOS, but only short descriptions are given here, mostly concerning special features that adds to those that users automatically expect from this hidden software.
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.
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.
The 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).
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.
In the first phase of its history, MorphOS was a dream that slowly came true by means of a number of very talented young programmers. Then, when the hardware development by bPlan (that is now the hardware branch of Genesi) became closer and closer to finalization, and MorphOS was the unique OS able to use this hardware, the development was well supported and accelerated. In the last two years, MorphOS development slowed down again because Genesi concentrated most of its activities on the design of new hardware, on further development of very basic software like the HAL/OF, and on other operating systems like the various Linux distributions, which of course have a larger base of potential users.
Today, the current development of MorphOS goes on slowly but constantly with a number of simultaneous activities.
(1) The core internals of the boot.img are handled exclusively by the MorphOS Development Team. When improvements in this area have been tested enough by the team members and ready for user trials, a CD ISO image is released which also includes a complete MorphOS installation and establishes a baseline for a release.
Little is known about current improvements, but it is publicly known that the members of the MorphOS Development Team already use a new boot.img file where many components were strongly enhanced. For instance, Altivec (the floating point and integer SIMD – Single Instruction, Multiple Data – instruction set implemented in high-end PowerPC processors) is fully supported in all the components of the system software where it can be used for major speed gains.
(2) Other parts of MorphOS which reside outside the boot.img are updated and released in binary form that registered users can download and manually install. These releases are handled on an “as needed” basis to accommodate new features, or correct problems, or even offer a glimpse of what is to come (alpha and beta software).
For instance, this concerns version 4 of MUI, version 6 of AHI, version 3.3 of Poseidon, improved CGX 3D drivers, debugged versions of some high-level libraries, and so on.
(3) Development for MorphOS in the open source/third party arena is not only active but well appreciated and heavily discussed/debated. One special case is the Ambient desktop, which has become an open source effort where some MorphOS team members are actively involved.
Ambient evolves quickly and very visibly to the users, who can download and install nightly builds of this component of MorphOS.
(4) In an interesting move to focus third party developers’ attention, users have gotten together to provide a “bounty” system where users (and coders) can submit ideas for development and contribute money for their realization.
Several noticeable projects have emerged from this “bounty” system, including SFSDoctor and MOSNet (both mentioned in the previous sections), and MorphUp (a sophisticated package manager for automatic installation and upgrade of applications). The bounty system is being used even to speed up the development of parts of the OS that have a particular value for users. This requires the collaboration of members of the MorphOS Development Team, like in the case of the last missing native ARexx library (rexxsyslib.library).
What is the final goal of this somewhat anarchic development process? We know its probable name: MorphOS 1.5, and know that its scope is ambitious. This version of the OS should ultimately remove most needs for external program support, and will qualify MorphOS for its debut outside the Amiga community. Unfortunately nothing is known about its release date, though it does not seem to be very close. In a recent private communication, Frank Mariak, one of the leaders of the MorphOS Development Team, wrote me that MorphOS 1.5 is still a thing to come because “its feature set is not finally defined”.
One of the most important positive effects of the compatibility of MorphOS with Amiga programs is the fact that MorphOS users can still run almost all the commercial software they purchased for their Amiga, with great advantage in power and speed. The MorphOS/Pegasos computer platform does not start from scratch! Although the official death of Commodore is dated April 29, 1994, though many applications for the Amiga were developed for years and years after that date. And a number of important programs are still actively developed today, like, for instance, the extremely sophisticated Desktop Publishing program PageStream (which currently is available at the same time for Amiga, Linux, MacOS, and Windows platforms, as well as in native PPC code for MorphOS), the advanced editor GoldEd (that now is the core of Cubic IDE, an Integrated Development Environment that covers all the major programming languages and SDKs available for AmigaOS/MorphOS), the state-of-the-art presentation program Hollywood (that inherits the illustrious legacy of Scala, preserving full compatibility with that program, and adding all the features allowed by modern graphics systems), and so on.
Anyway, when a computer platform has a small user base, like MorphOS, the development of new software becomes difficult. The production of commercial software declines because of decreased likelihood of finding a sufficiently large number of purchasers. The production of open source and shareware software also declines because it does not find a sufficiently large base of coders: everyone is already concentrated on a number of projects and has no time for others. In such a case there is a solution that sometimes can drastically reduce the development time of an application: porting software from other platforms.
When AmigaOS was designed, a number of structures and features were inspired by Unix, and of course this reflects in the ABox API of MorphOS. So the porting of small commands, utilities, programs, and games from Unix, and now from Linux, to MorphOS is sometimes not difficult. Two specific system libraries (ixemul.library and ixnet.library) make a number of porting efforts easier that require special Linux-like routines. Even large and complex applications like MPlayer, MEncoder, MLDonkey, E-UAE, MAME, and Blender have been ported to MorphOS.
The main obstacles for code porting are the absence of the fork() function in AmigaOS and the ABox of MorphOS, the fact that AmigaOS/MorphOS are not fully POSIX-compliant, and the extreme difficulty of GUI porting. Linux GUIs are based on windowing systems which are usually parts of larger desktop environments, and are not integrated in the OS. Besides a very early port of X-Windows, no Linux windowing system has ever been ported to AmigaOS/MorphOS. There is no real advantage in doing such a port, because the effort would be very hard, and the smallest windowing system for Linux is at least five times larger than MorphOS as a whole. Easy GUI porting would require the complete loss of the small footprint character of MorphOS, and would transform it into a useless new Linux-like OS.
So, unlike other platforms, AmigaOS/MorphOS never had a port of very large and important applications like Mozilla and OpenOffice. The absence of programs like these, that are fundamental for normal users who want to interface their computers with the whole cyberworld without compatibility problems, is the biggest obstacle for a larger adoption of MorphOS in the desktop computer market.
Once people recognized the uselessness of porting large pieces of Linux distributions to MorphOS, a better idea emerged: the creation of wrappers that relate all the calls to certain basic structures of one system to their equivalents in the other system. The first attempt in this direction involves KHTML, the HTML layout engine created by the KDE project. A giant wrapper that relates KHTML to MUI is in the works (most likely it will be ready within the end of the year). The success of this effort will have a strong influence on the future of the MorphOS/Pegasos platform. MorphOS users will have a state-of-the-art browser (current native browsers are not up-to-date), possible new users will be less reluctant, and the success in this field will encourage similar efforts in other directions (Open Office porting).
Who needs MorphOS?
The previous arguments suggest that the use of MorphOS as a main desktop OS has a number of limitations that currently prevent its adoption for large-scope professional purposes. But MorphOS is already usable for strict-scope professional purposes, and is very well suited for semi-professional and hobbyist purposes. Of course, its current limitations are irrelevant in the embedded market, where only its small footprint and fast responsiveness are the really characterizing features.
Well, although you may judge the following sentence like a paradox, let me say that those that appear as limitations in a professional environment, are actually perceived as advantages by current users. In fact, these advanced users are able to compensate for almost any deficiency of the software available for MorphOS by means of free, shareware, and commercial software that already exists for the Amiga platform or is in the development phase for MorphOS. They already use MorphOS at its best, obtaining a responsiveness unparalleled on every other platform; and their environment is totally immune from any virus, worm, trojan, spyware, adware and similar beasts coming from the net. They can install Linux and MacOSX (using MacOnLinux) on their Pegasos, just to use FireFox and Office when it is necessary; or else can use the RDesktop tool within MorphOS environment and control a remote PC.
Other potential users of MorphOS may be people that want to be “free” from the oppression of a monolithic authoritarian environment like Windows, and/or do not want to be “menaced” by the unfathomable depths of Unix-like systems, that are fully manageable only by Linux geeks. And of course MorphOS is the best choice for nostalgic Amiga users who want the speed of the real new thing instead of the slower synthetic environment provided by UAE. This list of people does not exhaust all potential users of MorphOS. If this OS will be used on PowerPC boards for the embedded market, another group of special users will join the others: the developers of embedded applications. They will need a comfortable desktop environment for their work, and will also discover the usefulness of the dialogue with a community where 30% of the members are skilled programmers ready to help whenever they are asked for.
The evolution of the system should remove current limitations and provide for a larger base of users: less biased people who will be able to open new horizons and enlarge the current niche.
This article has tried to show that MorphOS is a vital work in slow but constant progress. The small footprint and speed make MorphOS a viable candidate for a desktop OS, but these features really shine if one considers the embedded market, where the absence of hard disks, the need for small amounts of RAM, and the use of low-end processors are very common requirements. Try to imagine the possibilities offered by a very fast operating system entirely stored on a small flashrom…
MorphOS expects people who recognize and try to use its special features and interesting potentialities. This may be the trigger that will start a new, fast, well-supported development phase. Among the readers of this article, there could be new users attracted by the efficiency, flexibility, or esoteric aspect of MorphOS. And maybe this article will be read even by VIPs who could see an occasion for the profit of their companies, and will help to construct a brilliant future for this OS.
MorphOS community sites:
The center around which everything turns is MorphZone; other important sites are:
Pegasos.org; Obligement; #amigazeux; Amiga Impact.
News sites and Forums:
MorphOS-News; Amiga-News; ANN; Amiga.org; Moo bunny.
MorphOS development sites:
MorphOS-Team; Ambient Desktop; MorphOS Developer Connection.
Hardware related sites:
Genesi; PegasosPPC; MorphOSPPC; Freescale MobileGT Platform.
Software related sites:
Aminet; MorphOS-news; MorphZone.
Amiga history guide; The history of the Pegasos.
Manuals (PDF format):
Le livre du Pegasos; and its translations: The Pegasos Book, etc..
Reviews and FAQs:
Ultra-condensed classic Amiga history:
Probably you know that Amiga was considered an extraordinary game machine that gained a large user base in the late 80’s and early 90’s. But if you think it was only a game console masked as a computer, you are completely in error. It had 4096 colours when PC screens were black and green, it had sound and voice when PC’s were dumb, it had preemptive multitasking when PCs ran one program at a time. So Amiga also collected a community of advanced users, who adopted it for professional uses. After the demise of Commodore in 1994, the Amiga people slowly dispersed. Gamers migrated towards PCs and super-consoles; and most software houses and professional programmers converted their programs and migrated towards PC and Mac platforms. However many hardcore people did not migrate. Some software houses and hardware producers, a few professional programmers, together with many non-professional programmers, hobbyists, amateurs, and advanced users unified themselves into an extremely argumentative (thus vital!) community strongly glued together via the Internet.
Ultra-condensed Pegasos/MorphOS history:
For a number of years the Amiga trademark passed from hand to hand without any real evolution, mostly used just as a brand for advertising. In the meanwhile, some extraordinary members of the Amiga community slowly emerged and were able to create something that no other nostalgic community of retro PC amateurs has ever been able to do. They created from scratch a new PowerPC-based hardware platform and a new operating system that were able to collect the Amiga legacy and revive the residual community of hardcore users. The hardware wizards are the guys of bPlan/Genesi, while the software wizards that started everything (Ralph Schmidt, creator of Quark, and Frank Mariak, creator of CGX) are the leaders of the MorphOS Development Team.
Ultra-condensed AmigaOne/AmigaOS4 history:
Another PowerPC-based community emerged in the new century. The penultimate owners of the Amiga trademark, mostly interested to use the brand in another market, outsourced the hardware/software design/production of desktop computers and AmigaOS. This originated the AmigaOne/AmigaOS4 PowerPC platform. While AmigaOS4 is still in development, the hardware is now missing because it originated from a developer board that is no longer produced. That half of the Amiga community is now stuck in the difficult search for new hardware, complicated by a penalizing licensing scheme.
The author would like to thank Gunne Steen and Stefan Blixth for providing almost all the pictures, and Ed Vishoot and Frank Mariak for careful reading of the manuscript and important suggestions for its improvement.
About the author
Fulvio Peruggi, Professor of Physics – Department of Physics, “Federico II” University – Naples, Italy.
Mr. Peruggi has used computers since 1977, when he started his research activity in Theoretical Physics (field: Statistical Mechanics). His life with computers started on an IBM mainframe programmed via punch cards. Then he used PDP and VAX workstations, early Apple and IBM-compatible PCs, Macintosh computers, and so on up to the most modern PCs. At home he worked on an Amiga 2000 since 1988 (with the ABSoft Fortran compiler, AmigaTeX compiler/previewer, and an editor for writing programs and articles), then he used an Amiga 4000 (adding the Maple 5 package for symbolic mathematics), and now has a PegasosII (where AmigaTeX and Maple V still run at very high speed). Having used extensively Unix, VMS, CP\M, MS-DOS, Windows, MacOS, and Linux on the computers available at the university, he still largely prefers MorphOS at home.
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