Alternative Operating Systems - Part 3

I know the question on everyones lips these day is So what ever happened to the AmigaOS?

It's been a long time since my last column and I apologize sincerely.


My duties over at the swedish DVD-site have been stepped up considerably and has swamped me for many months.


But now I'm back...


When Commodore folded they also fumbled greatly with their Amiga technology, it seems like only yesterday when I saw the Amiga 1000 with its wonderful graphics and sound capabilities and its crazy operating system. Ofcourse at that time I was firmly entrenched in PC-land and would have nothing of it and could hardly figure out why such things as "multitasking" would be of any use to anyone (yes, these were the good old days of DOS Version 2.x and 3.x...).


The pile of smoke that was Commodore when they folded retained the rights to the Amiga technology and held on to it for years trying to auction it off and announcing several bogus buyers. Finally Gateway, a producer of PCs, stepped up and bought it and announced new plans. Plans which, sadly, never materialized and they sold it on to... Amiga! I know I have simplified the story a bit but this is in brode stroakes what happened.


So where is the Amiga today? What became of the OS? The hardware?


Interestingly as the Amigas were becoming scarcer people started making PowerPC-based addon boards to keep the paltform alive technologywise. The latest incarnation of Amiga OS, 3.9, supports the classic Amiga machines and as they put it "support for all the excellent graphics, sound, and PowerPC co-processor hardware that's out there."


Ok, so what has this got to do with you? Amiga is also branching out into Java land with the Amiga Digital Environment, a new version, or if you will breed, of Amiga OS. It can run hosted on Linux, Embedded Linux, Windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, CE and QNX4. The Software Development Kit to make this possible today runs on RedHat Linux 6.1 and Windows 95B, 98, NT WS 4.0 (SP3), 2000 and ME for a mere $99.


They have very big plans for the product and will, according to their website, change the world as we know it by embedding Amiga Digital Environment (ADE) into every appliance you can imagine. However, as that field is becoming more and more crowded with Embedded Linux stealing a LOT of attention these days, maybe you shouldn't expect the revolution to happen just yet...


So what of the hardware? Well, it seems Amiga has the answer to everything, they are launching a new platform specification, called Zico, that hardware manufacturers are welcome to adopt.


Here's the spec:

  • One AmigaDE friendly host processor (PPC, x86, Arm, SH4, MIPS)
  • 64MB+ memory
  • Next Generation Matrox graphics card
  • Creative EMU10K1 based audio card
  • 10GB+ hard drive
  • CD & DVD capable drive
  • USB 1.0
  • Firewire
  • 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
  • 56k modem
  • 2 spare PCI slots for expandability


There are other ways of keeping up with Amiga though... One of the ways is AROS, the Amiga Research Operating System whose goal it is to be as compatible as possible to AmigaOS 3.1, be portable to different architectures, binary compatible on Amiga and source compatible on other hardware, ability to run standalone.


Right now not all of those goals have been reached but they do have the Amiga Workbench up and running on Linux/m68k.


Another interesting project is MorphOS, they aim to develop an OS layer on top of a microkernel they call Quark. The OS layer will "run most amiga(TM) applications as efficiently as possible in a box enviroment without having old amiga(TM) custom chips available.

They haven't reached the finishline either but development is ongoing.


If you don't have an old Amiga machine lying around you don't need to be left out in the cold, UAE, the Unix Amiga Emulator is available for a lot of platforms, including OS/2. This enables you to run most of the old Amiga programs, including demos and games! There's a heavy penalty though, even on my monstermachine performance is not always good, demos can be especially problematic.




Who's Online

We have 158 guests and one member online

  • martini


OS/2 Distro & Version

Which OS/2 based OS do you have installed and use frequently ? (VM or Real hardware)

ArcaOS 5.0.x
eComStation 2.x
OS/2 Warp 4.5x (Client and/or Server)
OS/2 Warp 4.0 (Client and/or Server)
eComStation 1.x
Add a new response!
» Go to poll »
3 Votes left

jVS by

Social Media

Follow us also at:

Facebook  Twitter  LinkedIn

 Google Plus-  github icon


Like Us

Artie v1 0