Amiga & AROS Archive
A few months ago I watched "From Bedroom to Billions", it triggered some serious nostalgia and a lot of memories came flooding back. So on a whim, I decided to see if I could pick-up an Amiga on eBay to replay some of those old games that I loved as a child.
It turns out it's not too hard. There's a thriving community that still uses and loves the Amiga. There's also a fair number of people on eBay who refurbish and upgrade them with a 4GB memory card containing workbench and a bunch of software and games. This is very handy because, even if you did manage to buy the original games, there's no guarantee they will work due to the magnetic platters getting mouldy or damaged over the last 30 years. Yes, that's real life bit rot in action.
The market for older computers like these and associated modern expansion cards and add-ons to make using them a little less frustrating in modern times is actually a lot larger than most people seem to think, and anything from using SD cards as boot drives to things like ethernet and WiFi are often available as well. Even if you don't purchase these computers, it's still fun to browse sites like eBay to see what's on offer.
Speaking of Amiga, Mark Round has written a great blog post about running old AmigaOS 3.x software on AmigaOS 4, and the best ways to do so.
While I’ve been having a lot of fun with the new software written specifically for AmigaOS 4, the bulk of my software is still â€œclassicâ€ titles that used to run on my A1200. One of the first things I did when I set up my X5000 was to transfer my old Amiga’s hard drive over so I could continue running this library of software. I also wanted to set up an emulation of my A1200 so I can quickly launch a classic Workbench 3.9 session and pick up all my old projects and bits of code I’d written over the years.
Fortunately, the X5000 and AmigaOS 4 offers a variety of ways of running all your old software.
A brand new version of Icaros Desktop is now available to everyone. V2.2.4 includes new brilliant features and applications, small but important fixes and, for you Amiga lovers, a vintage GUI that can be selected after installation, which reproduces the plain old Amiga OS 3.1 interface.
Icaros Desktop is one of the easiest ways to experiences AROS, the open source Amiga-like operating system for x86.
The new, cleaned-up, polished Amiga operating system for your 68K machine fixes all the small annoyances that have piled up over the years. Originally intended as a bug-fix release, it also modernizes many system components previously upgraded in OS 3.9.
Contrary to its modest revision number, AmigaOS 3.1.4 is arguably as large an upgrade as OS 3.9 was, and surpasses it in stability and robustness. Over 320K of release notes cover almost every aspect of your favourite classic AmigaOS - from bootmenu to datatypes.
This is not AmigaOS 4 - just making that clear here - but an updated version of AmigaOS 3 for classic 68K-based Amigas.
C64 OS has one goal. Make a Commodore 64 feel fast and useful in today's modern world.
It's a very high bar. The C64 was introduced in 1982 and has an 8-bit, 1MHz, 6510 CPU with just 64 kilobytes of directly addressable memory. It has a screen resolution of 320x200 pixels, and a fixed palette of 16 colors. But, it is an incredibly versatile machine. And it enjoys an active userbase and a great variety of modern hardware expansions.
The C64 has had many operating systems written for it, So why write another?
Some of these projects were designed to be experimental, or to demonstrate a point, rather than to solve a problem or to make using the C64 better. Others had good intentions but pushed the machine in ways it wasn't designed for, compromising on speed and usability in the pursuit of features available on more powerful computers. The aim of C64 OS is to work with the limitations of the Commodore 64 and enable it to become useful.
It never ceases to amaze me how much functionality programmers can squeeze out of old micros.
These are some notes on how to run Amiga like OSes (like AROS, AmigaOS and MorphOS) on QEMU that I've written to have some up to date info on the status and help new users. All this emulation in QEMU comes without any support and it's not expected to be complete or do everything one may desire or dream about. It's not a commercial product with a roadmap or any goal and still a work in progress which may never get finished. I'm doing it for personal interest and in my (limited) free time, no donations are solicited or accepted. So don't expect it to be anything more than a curiosity at the moment and its future depends on what the open source community makes of it. Keep this in mind when trying this.
I'm giving this visibility so hopefully QEMU's PowerPC support for these Amiga-like operating systems can be improved.
Here's a heads up I am quite happy to be giving: today is going to be an Amiga/BeOS/Atari day on OSNews. Let's start with this story about converting an Amiga 600 to a FPGS-based emulation machine.
That said, a couple of months ago I ran across the MiSTer FPGA project spearheaded by sorgelig. This project is based on the Terasic DE10-Nano board which has a decent sized Altera Cyclone FPGA paired with a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 CPU. Sorgelig has designed a number of add-on boards that allow the DE10 to interface with additional devices. He also has ported (and improved) many cores for this board, including the Minimig-AGA core which provides a very nice recreation of the Amiga from a 500 to a 1200.
After buying a DE10 and getting the Minimig-AGA core running on it, I was immediately infatuated with the quality of "emulation" on this thing. It felt much more complete than the UAE4ARM and Amiberry emulators and the video quality looked much nicer. Not to mention, the near-instant power on (and off) felt more like a real Amiga. Following in the footsteps of my previous Raspberry Pi conversions, I decided to convert an Amiga 600 to FPGA as the 600 case fits so nicely on my desk.
As the author notes, this is not a simple or straightforward mod, as there's 3D printing involved. Still, it's a fascinating process to document.
Toni Wilen has released a massive new update of WinUAE. This major new release hosts a wealth of new features and bugfixes. Also check out Worthy's release trailer, a new commercial game by Pixelglass for the Amiga 500, which is also available as digital download for use in UAE.
If you want to write Assembly programs for the Amiga you can either work directly on a real system or use a cross-compiler. I prefer to work on my Linux system because, as much as I like retro architectures, I also like the power of a good Unix system and a modern editor.
Cross-compiling is a very simple concept: instead of compiling source code and creating binaries for the architecture you are running the compiler on, you create binaries for a different architecture. In this case the host architecture is Linux/amd64 and the target architecture is Amiga.
As this is not the only project I am following at the moment, I created a directory to host everything I need for the Amiga development: compiler, documentation, scripts.
After porting ObjFW (and at the same time Objective-C) to MorphOS and starting to port it to AmigaOS 4, I thought: It's nice to have Objective-C on a modern Amiga-like operating system. But what if we could have it on the real thing? And thus, I ported it to AmigaOS 3 today.
These are cool developments for the Amiga world.
Trevor Dickinson of A-EON Technology compares the performance of the newly released game Tower57 on various AmigaOne configurations running AmigaOS 4.1 and PowerPC Macs running MorphOS:
It's probably no surprise that the AmigaOne X5000/20 comes out on top by quite a margin. The AmigaOne X1000 was no slowcoach either and pushed the G5 PowerMac into third place in my tests. It was also really good to see the AmigaOne A1222 giving the 2.5 Ghz PowerMac a run for its money. However, the really good news is that all of the Amiga Next-generation machines compared favourably with the commercial Steam release and were all very playable.
I'm quite surprised by the performance of MorphOS 3.10 on my PowerBook G4 1.33Ghz - even on its paltry 512MB RAM (upgraded yesterday to 2GB). The browser is quite worrisome due to WebKit not being built anymore for PowerPC/big endian so it's quite slow, but everything else is quite smooth. I'm planning on upgrading the mechanical hard drive to an SSD for an additional little boost, but it's nice to see that such old machines can be revived with something other than a custom Linux installation.
Ars Technica's long-running series on the history of the Amiga continues, with part 12 published today. As always - required reading.
The year 2000, which once seemed so impossibly futuristic, had finally arrived. Bill McEwen, president of the new Amiga Inc., celebrated with a press release telling the world why he had bought the subsidiary from Gateway Computers.
"Gateway purchased Amiga because of Patents; we purchased Amiga because of the People." It was a bold statement, the first of many that would come from the fledgling company. Amiga Inc. now owned the name, trademark, logos, all existing inventory (there were still a few Escom-era A1200s and A4000s left), the Amiga OS, and a permanent license to all Amiga-related patents. They had also inherited Jim Collas' dream of a revolutionary new Amiga device, but none of the talent and resources that Gateway had been able to bring to bear.
The Amiga world is one of the strangest subcultures in technology. I can't believe it's still going sort-of strong, and in various flavours even.
The following article is a historical look at the era that spawned the first raytracers for home computers, a predecessor to Blender among them. It's possible thanks to the fact, that, for the first time, the program and source code of said predecessor are publicly available.
Today Blender is one of the industry leaders, but it started quite small, three decades ago. If you ever wondered when and where some of the most iconic Blender conventions like "right-click select" or 3D cursor originated, it's then, in the Amiga era, even before Blender was born.
There exists a global community, a loosely knit consciousness of individuals that crosses boundaries of language and artistic disciplines. It resides in both the online and physical space, its followers are dedicated, if not fervent. The object and to some extent, philosophy that unites these adherents, is a computer system called the Commodore Amiga. So why does a machine made by a company that went bankrupt in 1994 have a cult like following? Throughout this essay I will present to you, the reader, a study of qualitative data that has been collected at community events, social gatherings and conversations. The resulting narrative is intended to illuminate the origins of the community, how it is structured and how members participate in it. Game industry professionals, such as the person interviewed during the research for this paper, will attest to the properties, characteristics and creative application of the machine, and how this creativity plays a role in the sphere of their community. I will examine the bonds of the society, to determine if the creative linage of the computer plays a role in community interactions.
The Amiga community is probably one of the most fascinating technology subcommunity out there. Lots of infighting, various competing Amiga operating systems, incredibly expensive but still outdated hardware, dubious ownership situations - it's all there. Yet, they keep going, they keep pushing out new software and new hardware, and they're in no danger of falling apart.