It’s not exactly bliss and angels in the Amiga world. AmigaOS 4.0, while done, released, and updated, is hard to come by because you either need a supported classic Amiga, or one of the three Amiga Ones ever sold. With a lawsuit underway nobody really understands, and no interest whatsoever from any hardware vendor, the future looks rather grim. On the MorphOS side the grass isn’t exactly a whole lot greener. MorphOS 2.0 has been released, but again, nobody is producing any decent hardware for the operating system to run on. Genesi sells the Efika-based OpenClient, but this device lacks the graphical chipset to power the new 3D features of MorphOS 2.0. In addition, MorphOS 2.0 has a hefty price tag of EUR 150. There is a third option, which has been making steady progress for years now: AROS.
AROS originally stood for the ‘Amiga Research Operating System’. Not wishing to be associated with the mess that is Amiga and Amiga Inc., the open source project decided to simply change their name to the AROS Research Operating System. The project has made a few interesting strides lately, one of which is the port of AROS to the sam440ep board, which is now fully operational. The company behind the sam440ep, ACube Systems, has decided to ship AROS along with the board, making AROS the second officially supported operating system for the board (after Linux). Irony has it that the sam440ep board was once marked as possible new hardware for AmigaOS 4.0. As the AROS webpage details:
Michal Schulz has completed his port of native AROS to the SAM440EP “Samantha” motherboard. For the first time, a non-X86 mainboard is completely supported, making AROS “the” operating system of choice of a whole platform, along with Linux. ACube Systems, producer and vendor of the SAM440EP board is now bundling an AROS Live CD with their flagship product.
People who habe already bought the board can download the port from Schulz’s webpage.
On a related note, Krzysztof Smiechowicz (I used copy/paste for that one, I must admit) has reviewed AROS status when it comes to compatibility with the original AmigaOS 3.1 API, and AROs scores 89%. Compatibility with AmigaOS 3.1 is one of the prime goals of AROS. You can continue to monitor the status here.
The progress made by the AROS project shows once again that while AROS may advance at a smaller pace than MorphOS and AmigaOS, its commitment to being open source and portable is starting to pay off. While AmigaOS and MorphOS are hostages of their own situations, situations they called upon themselves, AROS is moving forward in a way we can all benefit from – Amiga One owner or not.