Amiga & AROS Archive

Package AmigaOS software for Linux and Windows with AxRuntime

This solution lets developers compile their Amiga API-based applications as Linux binaries. Once the features are implemented, tested and optimized using the runtime on Linux or Windows, developers re-compile their applications for their Amiga-like system of choice and perform final quality checking. Applications created with AxRuntime can be distributed to Linux or Windows communities, giving developers a much broader user base and a possibility to invite developers from outside general Amiga community to contribute to the application. ↫ AxRuntime website I had never considered this as an option, but with AmigaOS 3.x basically being frozen in time, it’s a relatively easy target for an effort such as this. It won’t surprise you to learnt hat AxRuntime is using code from AROS, which itself is fully compatible with AmigaOS 3.1. This should technically mean that any AmigaOS application that runs on AROS should be able to be made to run using this runtime, which is great news for Amiga developers. Why? Well, the cold, harsh truth is that the number of Amiga users is probably still dwindling as the sands of time cause people to, well, die, and the influx of new users, who also happen to possess the skillset to develop AmigaOS software, must be a very, very slow trickle, at best. This runtime will allow AmigaOS developer to package their software to run on Linux and Windows machines, getting a lot more eyes on the software in the process. Amiga devices are not exactly cheap or easy to come by, so this is a great alternative.

AmigaKit launches a new Amiga that’s not an Amiga at all

I try to keep tabs on a huge number of operating system projects out there – for obvious reasons – but long ago I learned that when it comes to the world of Amiga, it’s best to maintain distance and let any important news find its way out of the Amiga bubble, lest one loses their sanity. Keeping up with the Amiga world requires following every nook and cranny of various forums and websites with different allegiances to different (shell) companies, with often barely coherent screeching and arguments literally nobody cares about. It’s a mess is what I’m trying to say. Anyway, it seems one of the many small companies still somehow making a living in the Amiga world, AmigaKit, has recently released a new device, the A600GS. It’s a retrogaming-oriented Amiga computer, but it does come with something called AmiBench, that’s apparently a weird hybrid between bits of Amiga OS 4 and AROS, so it does also support running a proper desktop and associated applications, but only AmigaOS 3.x applications (I think? It’s a bit unclear). It has HDMI at up to 1080p, and even WiFi and Bluetooth support, which is pretty neat. Wait, Wifi and Bluetooth support? What are we really dealing with here? Once again the information is hard to find because AmigaKit is incredibly stingy with specifications – I had to read goddamn YouTube comments to get some hints – but it seems to be a custom board with an Orange Pi Zero 3 stuck on top doing most of the work. In other words, the meat of this thing is just an emulator, which in and of itself isn’t a bad thing, it’s just weird to me that they’re not upfront and direct about this. While this answers some questions, it also raises a whole bunch more. If this is running on low-end Allwinner ARM hardware from 2022, how is this AmiBench desktop environment (or operating system?) a “fork of OS4 with AROS code in it“? AmigaOS 4 is PowerPC-only, which may explain why AmigaKit only mentions AmigaOS 3.x and 68K compatibility, and not AmigaOS 4 compatibility. And what’s AROS doing in there? I mean, this is an interesting product in the sense that it’s a relatively cheap turnkey solution for classic Amiga enthusiasts, but a new Amiga this is definitely not. At about €130, this is not a bad deal, but other than hardcore fans of the classic 68K Amiga, I don’t see many people being interested in this. The Apollo Standalone V4+ piques my interest way more, but at €700-800, it’s also a lot more expensive, but at least they’re much clearer about what the Apollo is, what software it’s running, and that they’re giving back their work to AROS.

Company behind Amiga OS 4 seems to be either going or is in fact bankrupt

So, I won’t be wasting too many words on this – partially because I’m not into cheap soap operas, and partially because there’s no way to know what’s going on with this nonsense without dedicating a year’s worth of detailed study into the subject. So it seems that the company Hyperion, which develops and owns the rights to Amiga OS 4 and Amiga OS 3.2 has gone into bankruptcy proceedings. The main shareholder of Hyperion, someone named Ben Hermans, has apparently set up several shell companies (or something?), and they might now own the rights to the two variants of Amiga OS, or they might not? And those shell companies have also gone into bankruptcy proceedings? Hyperion has been managed by a receiver since last week (Update)“Ben Hermans BV” (hereinafter: BHBV) is a private company with limited liability owned by Ben Hermans, which has held 97% of the shares in Hyperion since 2019 and acts as a ‘director’ of Hyperion on paper. In March, bankruptcy proceedings were initiated against BHBV for the second time. In the same month, Ben Hermans had already initiated the founding of a new company with the same name. As BHBV has not published any statutory annual reports since 2021, it is currently unclear whether the company still holds the majority of shares in Hyperion. Ben Hermans has not responded to an inquiry from amiga-news.de; the appointed liquidator Charlotte Piers tells us she’ll get back to us in the next few days with “a more detailed response”. ↫ Amiga-news.de I stopped trying to keep track of this stuff years and years ago, but bits and bobs I’ve picked up since is that there’s been countless lawsuits flying back and forth, questions of rights ownership, and all sorts of other drama you can only keep track of by following the various different Amiga websites and forums in great detail on a daily basis. As is Amiga tradition. Amiga OS 4 is an interesting operating system that I spent some fun time with for an OSNews review way back in 2009, but at this point, if you’re truly hooked on the Amiga OS way of doing things, just stick to AROS. There’s technically also MorphOS, which is pretty great actually, but unless they sort out their own mess of being stuck to dying PowerPC Macs and move to x86 or ARM, they’re basically on borrowed time, too.

Well-known secrets of AmigaDOS

In keeping with the Commodore tradition of cost cutting, most consumer models of their Amiga line of computers came with severely watered down documentation. The Amiga 500 was an exception from this rule, but owners of later machines – such as the A1200 – may not have gotten any documentation for the command line part of AmigaOS at all. And, of course, even if this documentation had shipped with the machines, it wouldn’t have revealed features that were hidden to anyone without access to official developer documentation or even left completely undocumented or unfinished. This is a quick look at a few of these interesting features, some more obscure than others, but all of them decidedly useful. Most of them only apply to versions 2.x and/or 3.x of the OS. With that said, let’s dive right in! ↫ Carl Svensson Exactly what it says on the tin.

Grind: a first person shooter for the Amiga 500

‘Dread’ has been featured many times on Indie Retro News, as with every new update the Amiga 500 version looked better than ever with fabulous new textures and new zones to visit. Well if you’re looking for more gaming news on this upcoming first person shooter, we have not only been informed that a new demo has been made available, but the latest footage and detailed press release shows that John is true to his word in bringing a Doom-like experience to the Amiga as the holy-grail of Amiga gaming! So without further-ado, here’s the latest blurb about this incredible looking game. I can’t believe they manage to squeeze this out of an A1200, let alone an A500. This is some serious wizardry.

Amiga systems programming in 2023

I’ve always loved building tools and platforms, and have long been fascinated with the world of operating systems. Apart from reading through the source code (where that’s legally available, of course…) I think there’s no better way to explore and understand a system – and the mindset that produced it – than to develop for it. What follows is a brain-dump of what I’ve learned about developing for the AmigaOS, both on classic 68k-powered hardware to modern PowerPC systems like the X5000. I’ll cover development environments, modern workflows like CI builds on containerised infrastructure, distribution of packages and even a look back in time before C existed, thanks to AmigaDOS’s odd heritage. If you want to develop for Amiga OS – and you should, because the more people develop for alternative and classic platforms, even if only as an occassional side project, the better – this is a great place to start.

Making Amiga IFF thumbnails work in Linux

I was having an email conversation with Stoo Cambridge, and he mentioned that he was having trouble making his Linux machine display thumbnails of Amiga IFF/ILBM files. It turns out I have a solution for him, so I am sharing it here to help anyone else. The number of people to whom this is relevant must be minute, but that’s exactly what why it’s perfect OSNews material.

Update 2 of AmigaOS 3.2 released

Hyperion Entertainment has released another update for AmigaOS 3.2 for classic Amigas, coming with a number of improvements and bug fixes. I’m not entirely sure what to make of all this, though, since the drama around the ownership of the Amiga operating system, the trademarks, and more, as well as continuous accusations of Hyperion not paying any of its developers, have reached a fever pitch, as documented in this elaborate piece. As much as I would want to dive into all this and properly vet every single source in that article, for the sake of my sanity, I am just not going to. The soap opera around the Amiga has been going on for so long, and has jumped the shark so many times, I just don’t know where to start. I’ll leave you all with the detailed piece and its sources, and let you decide for yourself what to make of it all. I ain’t got the patience for this.

AmigaOS 3.2.1 released

AmigaOS 3.2.1 fixes several bugs and additionally comes with new features. The team of developers and testers have worked ever since the release of AmigaOS 3.2 fixing bugs and implementing new features. They have read social platforms for user anecdotes, videos and reviews, and are excited by the positive reception and feedback. The Amiga will never die.

Atari ST in daily use since 1985

This Atari 1040ST is still in use after 36 years! Frans Bos bought this Atari in 1985 to run his camp site (Camping Böhmerwald). He wrote his own software over the years to manage his camp site, as well as reservations and the registration of the guests. He really likes the speed of the machine compared to newer computers. And 6 months every year the machine is on day and night.

Personal computing on an Amiga in 2021

Solène created a week-long personal computing challenge around old computers. I chose to use an Amiga for the week. In this issue I write about my experience, and what modern computing lost when Commodore died. I also want to show some of the things you can do with an Amiga or even an emulator if you’d like to try. I’ve tried to get into the Amiga-like operating systems – MorphOS, AROS, Amiga OS 4 – but the platform just doesn’t suit me. I find them convoluted, incomprehensible, and frustratingly difficult to use. Not that it matters – I’m not here to ruin the Amiga community’s party – but if they want to sustain that community instead of having it die out as their user numbers dwindle due to old age, they might want to consider making their operating systems a little less… Obtuse.

How the Commodore Amiga powered your cable system in the ’90s

If you subscribed to cable television in the ’90s, you most likely saw Video Toaster in action on the cable dial. But the most notable use of the Amiga in cable television didn’t actually rely on Video Toaster at all. That was the Prevue Guide, which may not have gotten the attention of the MTV, TBS, or Nickelodeon in those days, but served an important purpose: It was the channel you watched to see what was on those channels. The Amiga was used in a number of projects that required on-screen graphics on TV.

AmigaOS 3.2 for all classic Amigas released

AmigaOS 3.2 comes packed with well over 100 new features, dozens of updates that cover nearly all AmigaOS components and a battery of bugfixes that will undoubtedly solidify the user experience. This is a large overhaul of Amiga 3.x for 68k-based Amigas developed by Hyperion Entertainment. There’s a very long changelog available on Hyperion’s site, but one very interesting addition is built-in ADF management which greatly simplifies dealing with floppy disk images.

AmiSSL 4.9 released

This is version 4.9 of the open-source based AmiSSL library for Amiga based operating systems. Version 4.x is a new major release which comes with full compatibility to the OpenSSL 1.1.x line which includes important security related fixes, TLSv1.3 and comes with new encryption ciphers which are required nowadays to connect to modern SSL-based services (e.g. HTTPS). This may seem like a small update to an insignificant package, but it’s hugely important for smaller operating systems like Amiga OS to remain usable in this day and age.

Update 2 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition released

Hyperion Entertainment is proud to announce the immediate release of update 2 for AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition. Update 2 is by far the largest update ever released for AmigaOS and includes more than 200 updated components with hundreds of bug fixes, improvements and new features and six completely new OS components. The update is the combined effort of four years of AmigaOS development and will bring AmigaOS4.1 Final Edition to a completely new level of stability and usability. This seems like a very large bug-fix and stability release, but since AmigaOS 4 is so hard to find proper hardware for, it’s difficult to keep up with the state of the platform. ACube did announce a new batch of Sam460cr boards that can run Amiga OS 4, but I doubt it will be many, and the pricing is, as with everything Amiga OS 4, not exactly cheap. I understand ACube is a small manufacturer, and I’m not at all saying they have much of a choice, but almost €500 to be able to run Amiga OS 4 is a lot to ask of newcomers.

Icaros Desktop 23 released

A brand new version of Icaros Desktop is finally ready for everyone. What you have under your eyes is the result of a very long work of analysis and revision, which covers different aspects of the distribution, in its native soul and in the hosted one. We wondered what users would love and how we could make Icaros Desktop more useful and, thanks to the work of third-party application programmers, today we can offer you an operating environment that’s more useful and more beautiful than ever. The novelties to talk about are many: from the Leu spreadsheet to the SilkRAW image reader, from the incredible RNOPublisher DTP to new games, but, above all, the hosted version of Icaros Desktop is the one which has taken a decisive step forward, both for Linux and Windows. The news are so many that, this time, we will list them in different sections. Icaros Desktop is effectively an AROS distribution, and AROS is the Amiga Research Operating System, an open source reimplementation of the Amiga operating system, version 3.x.

Little things that made Amiga great

In a time when home PC’s were single tasking DOS boxes with 8 character file names and Ataris and Macs were single tasking GUI boxes, hampering any hacker with their glaring lack of a CLI, the Amiga was a champion of both worlds: It combined the CLI and GUI, leveraging both their strengths. But there was more to it than that, something that’s hard to convey in so many words. A long list of little things that the author believes made the Amiga great. There’s some interesting touches in there, but personally, the Amiga OS and its derivatives just do not click with me – and I’ve extensively used all of them. Not that it matters, though – there’s more than enough love for the Amiga to go around.