- AmigaOS 4
A screenshot of AmigaOS 4.1 Update 2.
Company / developer Hyperion Entertainment Programmed in C OS family AmigaOS, Unix-like Working state Current Source model Closed source Latest stable release 4.1 Update 3 / August 29, 2011 Available language(s) Multi-lingual Available programming languages(s) C, C++, ARexx, Pascal, COBOL, BASIC, Python, PHP, Perl, E, Amiga E, Modula-2, C64 Basic, REBOL, Ruby, Java 1.4.1, Hollywood  Supported platforms PowerPC Kernel type A typical microkernel Default user interface Workbench License Proprietary Official website AmigaOS 4 Homepage
AmigaOS 4, (abbreviated as OS4 or AOS4), is a line of Amiga operating systems which runs on PowerPC microprocessors. It is mainly based on AmigaOS 3.1 source code, and partially on version 3.9 developed by Haage & Partner. "The Final Update" was released on 24 December 2006 (originally released in April 2004) after five years of development by the Belgian company Hyperion Entertainment under license from Amiga, Inc. for AmigaOne registered users.
During the five years of development, purchasers of AmigaOne machines could download Pre-Release versions of AmigaOS 4.0 from Hyperion's repository as long as these were made available.
On 20 December 2006, Amiga, Inc abruptly terminated the contract with Hyperion Entertainment to produce or sell AmigaOS 4. Nevertheless, AmigaOS 4.0 was released commercially for Amigas with PowerUP accelerator cards in November 2007 (having been available only to developers and beta-testers until then). The Italian computer company ACube Systems has announced Sam440ep and Sam440ep-flex motherboards, which are AmigaOS 4 compatible. Also, a third party bootloader, known as the "Moana", was released on torrent sites; it allows installation of the Sam440ep version of OS4 to Mac Mini G4's. However this is both unofficial and unsupported as of today, and very incomplete, especially regarding drivers. During the judicial procedure (between Hyperion and Amiga, Inc), OS4 was still being developed and distributed.
On 30 September 2009, Hyperion Entertainment and Amiga, Inc reached a settlement agreement where Hyperion is granted an exclusive right to AmigaOS 3.1 and market AmigaOS 4 and subsequent versions of AmigaOS (including AmigaOS 5 without limitation). Hyperion has assured the Amiga community that it will continue the development and the distribution of AmigaOS 4.x (and beyond), as it has done since November 2001.
The Workbench is the GUI of OS4, a graphical interface file manager and application launcher for the Operating System. It also includes some general purpose tools and utility programs such as a Notepad for typing text, MultiView for viewing images and Amigaguide documents, Unarc for unpacking Archives, a PDF reader, a number of small preferences programs for changing settings of the GUI and OS etc., etc.
The Kickstart contains many of the core components of the OS. Prior to version 4 of AmigaOS the Kickstart had been released mostly on a ROM (included with the computer). In OS4 the Kickstart is instead stored on the hard disk. It consists mainly of:
- Exec, a preemptive multitasking kernel.
- Intuition, a windowing system API.
- AmigaDOS and AmigaShell, the AmigaDOS is the disk operating system for the OS, whereas the Shell is the integrated Command Line Interface (CLI). The CLI and the GUI complement each other and share the same privileges.
- Petunia, a Motorola 68020 processor emulator with dynamic recompilation, also called just-in-time compilation (JIT compilation), for PowerPC based Amigas. It gives OS4 backward compatibility to some extent, it will only run system friendly (following the OS3.x API without communicating directly with the classic Amigas' custom chipset) AmigaOS 3.x programs. For the programs that Petunia can't handle, such as most "bang the hardware" (which uses legacy Amiga hardware directly) Amiga games and demos, UAE can be used which can emulate different Amiga chipsets (OCS, ECS, AGA) as well.
There have been many different versions of the AmigaOS operating system (OS) during its three decades of history.
Versions 1.0 to 1.3
The first AmigaOS was introduced in 1985 and developed by Commodore International. It was nicknamed Workbench from the name of its Graphical user interface (GUI), due to an error of Commodore Marketing and Sales Department, which labeled the OS disk just with the name "Workbench Disk" and not with the correct name "AmigaOS Disk (Workbench)". The first versions of AmigaOS (1.0 and up to 1.3) are here indicated with the name of their original disks to preserve original custom.
Versions 2.0 to 3.1
Workbench 2.0 improvements introduced a lot of major advances to the GUI of Amiga operating system. The blue and orange colour scheme was replaced with a grey and light blue with 3D aspect in the border of the windows. The Workbench was no longer tied to the 640×256 (PAL) or 640×200 (NTSC) display modes, and much of the system was improved with an eye to making future expansion easier. For the first time, a standardised "look and feel" was added. This was done by creating the Amiga Style Guide, and including libraries and software which assisted developers in making conformant software. Technologies included the GUI element creation library gadtools, the software installation scripting language Installer, and the AmigaGuide hypertext help system.
Versions 3.5 and 3.9
After the demise of Commodore, the later owners of the Amiga trademark granted a license to a German company called Haage & Partner to update the Amiga's operating system. Along with this update came a change in the way people referred to the Amiga's operating system. Rather than specifying "Kickstart" or "Workbench", the updates were most often referred to as simply "AmigaOS". Whereas all previous OS releases ran on vanilla Amiga 500 with 68000 and 512 kB RAM, release 3.5 onwards required a 68020 or better and at least 4 MB fast ram.
Versions 4.0 and 4.1
In 2001 Amiga Inc. signed a contract with Hyperion Entertainment to develop the PowerPC native AmigaOS 4 from their previous AmigaOS 3.1 release. Unlike the previous versions which were based on the Motorola 68k central processor, OS4 runs only on PowerPC computer systems. Amiga, Inc.'s (current Amiga trademark owners) distribution policies for AmigaOS 4.0 and any later versions required that OS4 must be bundled with all new third-party hardware "Amigas", with the sole exception of Amigas with Phase5 PowerPC accelerator boards, for which OS4 is sold separately. This requirement was overturned in the agreement reached between Amiga, Inc. and Hyperion in the settlement of a lawsuit over the ownership of AmigaOS 4.
AmigaOS 4 prominent features
Prominent features compared to other operating systems or previous versions of AmigaOS:
- Quick on: AmigaOS boots in less than a minute.
- Instant off / fast reboot: An oft-touted feature is that AmigaOS can be switched off in an instant by just hitting the off switch (if the filesystem is not writing to a disk, which could corrupt entire system).
- Multitasking: A pre-emptive multitasking scheduler ensures that important tasks will get a fair share of processing time.
- Screens: You can have as many different screens as you like for any purpose, each with its own application on it. Or you can open a "public screen" which several applications can share. Switching between different screens takes an instant, and you can come back to an application and find it exactly how you left it. It is even possible to drag the current screen down to reveal another screen behind it (even with a different screen resolution), so that you can view two screens simultaneously, or even drag and drop files and other content from one screen to another.
- Customisable GUI: Allows replacement of window gadgets with new designs, application of gradients or textures of your choice to virtually every graphical element in the interface. It is possible to alter the geometry of the window drawing to suit personal taste, change font usage throughout the interface, configure the appearance of menus and chose own 3D effects. Having a different look for each public screen is also feasible.
- Menuing: The menu bar appears at the top of the screen when pressed down the right mouse button, and disappears when it is not needed, thus reducing screen clutter and giving more room to work.
- Descriptive file structure: Operating system files are divided up into clearly labelled drawers (folders). For example, all libraries are stored in "Libs:" standard virtual device and absolute path finder for "Libs" directory, Fonts are all in "Fonts:" absolute locator, the files for language localization are all stored in "Locale:" and so on.
- RAM disk: A virtual hard drive, it acts like any other disk, and stores files and data in memory rather than on your actual hard drive. The RAM disk is dynamically resizable and takes up only as much of your memory as it needs to. It can be used as a temporary store for your own purposes or as a place for software installers to put temporary files, and is cleared out at reboot so you won't be cluttering up your computer with thousands of unnecessary files that bog down your system. Additionally there is an optional RAD disk, a recoverable version of the RAM disk, which preserves contents after a reboot.
- Datatypes: Recognises and handles file types: displaying a picture, playing a music file, decoding a video file, rendering a web page etc. Any application can access Datatypes transparently, and thus have the ability to use any file that you have a Datatype for.
- Icon handling: A file can have a default icon representing the type of file or a custom icon specific to the individual file. Additionally icons can store extra commands and metadata about the associated file — which program to open it in, for example.
- Assigning devices: Instead of assigning drives (devices) a letter or fixed label, each drive can be given a name. Drives can be given more than one name so the system always knows where things are, if it is the system boot drive it is also known as "Sys:". Areas of hard drive can be assigned a label as if they were a virtual disk. For example, it is possible to mount MP3 players as "MP3:" and external networked resources as logical devices.
- Live CD: The OS4 installation CD can be used as a Live CD.
- Dockies: It is a fully configurable docking bar for icons, allowing quick access to most used applications. These dock bar icons, "Dockies", are fully dynamic, which means they can show real-time content and act as useful micro tools. A Docky might act as a magnifying glass, display the time, or show you the latest weather forecast or stock market information direct from the Internet.
- Scripting: Implemented scripting as a fundamental feature. Using the AREXX scripting language and Python it is possible to automate, integrate and remote control almost every application and function of the computer. Function sets and tools from several applications can be brought together into a single, integrated interface to allow the most complex jobs to be performed with the utmost simplicity.
- The Grim Reaper: The "Guru Meditation" is replaced by "The Grim Reaper", a crash handling system that attempts to catch crashes and attempts to stop them from getting out of control. It can provide complete information about the crash and optionally kill the offending task and free some of the resources it was using.
- AmiUpdate: Is an updating system designed purely for the latest incarnation of the AmigaOS 4. It is capable to update OS files and also all Amiga programs which are registered to use the same update program that is standard for Amiga. Updating AmigaOS requires only few libraries to be put in standard OS location "Libs:", "Fonts:" etc. This leaves Amiga users with a minimal knowledge of the system almost free to perform by hand the update of the system files.
Released for Amigas:
- Blizzard PPC equipped Amiga 1200
- Blizzard 2604e (prototype card) equipped Amiga 2000
- CyberStorm PPC equipped Amiga 3000 or Amiga 4000
Released for AmigaOne motherboards:
- AmigaOne-SE (A1-SE)
- AmigaOne-XE (A1-XE)
- Micro-AmigaOne (Micro-A1)
- AmigaOne X1000 (A1X1K), a new AmigaOne computer has been announced by a company called A-Eon. The board will be available before the end of year 2011.
- AmigaOne 500, an AmigaOne computer based upon Sam460ex board introduced by Acube Systems.
Released for Pegasos systems:
- Pegasos II
Released for Sam440 systems:
Mac Mini G4
Unofficial port using Moana Bootloader. Can boot and run limited applications under 4.0.
AmigaOS 4.0 (Developer Pre-release)
The developer pre-release version was a snapshot of AmigaOS 4.0 for AmigaOne. It contained HTML installation guide in English, German, French and Italian and the AmigaOS 4.0 SDK.
AmigaOS 4.0 (Developer Pre-release Update)
AmigaOS 4.0 Developer Pre-release Update came in the form of a full ISO image (≈33 MB) which needed to be burned on CD-R(W) by the user and was intended to replace the original AmigaOS 4.0 Developer Pre-release CD for installation and for rescue purposes.
Release date: 10 October 2004.
Among the features:
- AltiVec support
- Improved compatibility and speed of 68k emulation (JIT not included yet)
- PowerPC-native Picasso96 graphics system
- PowerPC-native MUI
- USB support for input devices
- Drivers for AmigaOne serial and parallel ports
- Drivers for the SiI0680 IDE adaptor
- Printing support
- Improved audio hardware support, including new drivers
- Comprehensive bug fixes, speed improvements, added features and functionality across all system components
AmigaOS 4.0 (Developer Pre-release Update 2)
AmigaOS 4.0 Developer Pre-release Update came in the form of a free download for registered users. The update featured a USB stack update (i.e. mass storage support) and numerous bug fixes and enhancements to core components of the system.
Release date: 27 December 2004.
AmigaOS 4.0 (Developer Pre-release Update 3)
The third pre-release update required at least AmigaOS 4.0 (update 1).
Release date: 14 June 2005. The following is a non-exhaustive list of the features of update #3:
- New kernel. The new kernel includes numerous enhancements, fixes and new features. It can now run a special variety of ixemul.library and thus run ixemul software.
- New IDE devices. IDE drivers are included for the VIA 686B on-board and Silicon Images 0680 parallel ATA controllers, and the Silicon Images SiI3112, SiI3512 and SiI3114 Serial ATA controllers.
- New Picasso96 graphics and monitor drivers. Limited gamma support is available in the Voodoo driver.
- PowerPC native Warp3D including new drivers for the Voodoo 3 (Avenger), Voodoo 4/5 (Napalm) and the Radeon 7x00 series of graphics cards. New drivers include single-cycle multitexture support (two simultaneous units on the Voodoos, three on the Radeon) with simplified and extended combiner modes, interleaved vertex arrays, up to 8-bit stencil buffer support (where supported by hardware), and more.
- WarpUp support. The new 3rd party powerpc.library emulates loading and execution of WarpUp binaries.
- New Shell and updated shell commands
- Updated ReAction GUI classes and new Intuition
- New Roadshow TCP/IP stack and updated eth3com.device
- All new version of the Sirion USB stack and usbprinter.device
- Updated datatypes and localization
- Updated Preferences programs
AmigaOS 4.0 (Developer Pre-release Update 4)
The most prominent features of the fourth AmigaOS 4.0 Developer Pre-release Update were the return of the screen dragging ability and the Petunia just-in-time 68k emulator.
Release date: 8 February 2006.
The new features in this pre-release include:
- New Warp3D with support for Voodoo 3/4/5 and ATI Radeon models 7000, 7200, 7500, 9000, 9200 and 9250.
- Petunia just-in-time 68k emulator.
- New Intuition with advanced features like flicker-free window redraw and new screen dragging features (among other things, screens can be dragged freely in any direction and will reveal other screens beneath even if dragged sideways)
- Updated ExecSG kernel and most of the system components
- New Input System allows the use of mouse wheels and the use of multimedia keyboards (with keys like volume control, play/pause etc.)
AmigaOS 4.0 (The Final Update)
AmigaOS 4.0 Final Update introduced a new memory system based on a slab allocator.
Features of AmigaOS 4.0, among others:
- Fully skinnable GUI
- Improved 680x0 emulator
- Implemented JIT and improved compatibility
- Optimized, 10% to 50% faster
- Screenblanker system which supports external plug-ins as new blanker modules
- Removed TRIPOS (BCPL) legacy support
- Improved TCP/IP stack, including firewall capabilities
- Virtualized memory
- Co-operative memory protection
- CD–DVD writer support, including Mt. Rainier
- Integrated debugger
- Integrated viewer for PDF and other document formats
- Enhanced shared library model
- Improved input device support
- Support for modern hardware devices[clarification needed]
- New USB stack
- New PCI stack[clarification needed]
- Co-operative resource tracking
- Faster memory allocation system, similar to what is used on Solaris
- Support for files larger than 2 GB
- New version of AmiDock with plug-in support
- New CDFilesystem with Joliet and HFS support, DVDRW support
- HDToolbox replacement and new HD recovery tool
- Added support for Truetype and Postscript fonts, with optional anti-aliasing
AmigaOS 4.0 (July 2007 Update)
Release date: 18 July 2007.
Improvements of AmigaOS 4.0 July 2007 Update are:
- New ExecSG kernel. The new kernel includes, among other things:
- Guard page protected stacks. Stacks will have guard pages at their bottoms preventing stack underflow
- A new semaphore type called Mutex
- Support for the new pthreads module
- A new library that supports most of the POSIX threads (pthreads) API
- A new ELF library that implements UN*X-type shared objects and dynamic linking. Shared objects are files that are loaded during runtime of a program and become part of the program's memory image. They have access to symbols and procedures of the main program as well as any other shared object loaded.
- Python 2.5.1.
AmigaOS 4.0 for Classic Amiga (with PPC accelerator card)
AmigaOS 4.0 for Amiga 1200, Amiga 3000(T) and Amiga 4000(T) series of computers equipped with Phase5 PowerUP PowerPC accelerator cards was put on sale in November 2007. The feature set was equal to the July 2007 update with drivers for Amiga expansion cards and devices and some minor improvements (e.g. AmigaInput).
AmigaOS 4.0 February 2008 update for CyberStormPPC and BlizzardPPC
Update of AmigaOS 4.0 for classic Amiga computers addressed some issues and compatibility problems.
Release date: 23 February 2008.
- A new kernel that fixes outstanding issues with the Mediator 1200/Voodoo combination as well as some other minor bug fixes
- Support for all Mediator models, including the new Mediator 1200 TX
- Updated Intuition and Layers modules that fix a rare occurrence of graphics trashing
- Fixed queue-handler
- Two AREXX libraries that had been missing in the original release
- Updated RealTek 8029 network driver that fixes a lockup problem.
- A new version of DvPlayer SE.
AmigaOS 4.1 was presented to the public on 11 July 2008, and was put on sale in September 2008.
This is a new version and not just a simple update as it features, among others:
- Memory paging with software virtual memory scheme
- JXFS filesystem with the support for drives and partitions of multiple terabyte size
- New and improved DOS functionality (full 64-bit support, universal notification support, automatic expunge and reload of updated disk resources)
- Improved 3D hardware-accelerated screen dragging
- Hardware compositing engine (Radeon R1xx and R2xx family)
- Implementation of the Cairo device-independent 2D rendering library
- Improved Workbench functionality
- Reworked Warp3D Radeon drivers with new functionality
- Reworked AmiDock with true transparency
AmigaOS 4.1 Quick Fix
On 21 June 2009, Hyperion Entertainment announced the immediate availability of a "Quick Fix" package for AmigaOne, SAM/SAM Flex and Pegasos II.
- Improved overall system stability
- Fixed shared object handling
- Fixed Radeon Warp3D graphics drivers
- Increased performance of IDE drivers
- Fixed JXFileSystem issues with file scanning
- Fixed Sam440ep Ethernet driver to work with hubs and Envoy.
AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1
On 14 January 2010, Hyperion Entertainment announced the immediate availability of AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1, the first full update to AmigaOS 4.1. Its features include upgrades to the following:
- Kernel – Offers more stability on Sam440, a more reliable and efficient memory management system and improved memory paging to and from hard disk.
- DOS – A new mechanism for launching preset programs for specific tasks, such as email clients and web-browsers (URLopen). Application tracking for ease of program location (AppDir: handler). Improved shared object support with significantly decreased loading times.
- Intuition – Improved window support, fading and rendering – including drop shadows. Reduced video memory consumption due to improved screen handling. New internal methods for better system "theme" support.
- System – Updated ASL requesters and imagery for a fresh new look. New notification system. Enhanced automatic detection of installed hardware (including DDC support). Improved support for external USB devices. Updated sound.datatype and wav.datatype. New screenblankers. Improved calculator with extended mode.
- Workbench – The new Startup preferences means no more copying files to WBStartup. A brand new icon set to complement higher screen resolutions. New window themes offering enhanced visual feedback. Scalable icons. Workbench auto-update feature.
- Python – Tested with the regression suite. Enhanced distutils module for easy installation of Python packages. New Amiga modules including catalog and icon. New OS module methods.
- MiniGL V2.2
AmigaOS 4.1 Update 2
On 30 April 2010, Hyperion Entertainment announced the immediate availability of Update 2 for AmigaOS 4.1 for AmigaOne, SAM440EP and Pegasos II for registered users.
- Updated Python.
- New Cairo 1.8.10 with partial hardware acceleration.
- Updated Ringhio notification system.
- New version of AmiDock with icon scaling.
- Several fixed system libraries.
- New version of the Python-scriptable installation utility.
- Some updated shared object files compiled and linked with the new V2 SObjs ABI.
On 17 May 2011, AmigaOS 4.1 for Commodore Amigas with PowerUP accelerators was released.
Amiga OS 4.1 Update 3
On August 29 2011 Hyperion Entertainment made availabile  Update 3 for AmigaOS 4.1 for AmigaOne, SAM440EP, SAM 460, Classic Amigas with PPC cards and Pegasos II for registered users Final bugfixes and updates for AmigaOS 4.1, new features are reserved for OS 4.2
- Updated Installer
- Updated PATA and SATA drivers.
- Improved DOS stability and speed.
- Fixed shared object handling.
- Support for AmigaOne keyboards
- Updated Intuition and GUI components.
- Updated Finnish keyboard support.
- Updated AmiSSL certificates.
- Updated USB stack with USB 2.0 (EHCI) support.
- Improved Sam460ex support[clarification needed] including sound driver.
- I2C support for the Sam440ep and Sam460ex platforms.
- Updated and improved Warp3D.
- Faster 2D graphics.
- Kernel fixes to increase stability.
- Updated MUI with many new features to make porting MUI 4 applications easier.
- Improved notifications support.[clarification needed]
For the future beyond the recent update to AmigaOS 4.1, Hyperion Entertainment will be working on improving USB support and on improving tools such as the Shell. Some of these new features and improvements will become available in further updates once testing is complete. Such ongoing improvements will continue alongside specific working goals linked to the recently revealed AmigaOne X1000 project, which Hyperion Entertainment has undertaken in partnership with A-Eon Technology. These goals include the introduction of a multiprocessing solution to make full use of the X1000's dual core processor, and may include special support for the Xena customisable co-processor. Other goals in the long term include Java support and improvements to the graphics subsystem to overcome documented limitations in the AmigaOS and its 3D capabilities.
Discussions at AmiWest 2010
- Multiple core support (SMP)
- New Exec scheduler
- Selectable policy for scheduling (may include per task)
- Scheduling of task groups with internal scheduling of tasks within that group
- Scheduling of tasks across multiple CPU cores (may include core affinity)
- Support for real-time scheduling
- Graphics and Gallium3D
- USB 2 support
- Support for more than 2 GB of RAM
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- ^ "AmigaOS 4.0 February 2008 update for CyberStormPPC and BlizzardPPC available". Hyperion-entertainment.biz. http://www.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=61:amigaos-40-february-2008-update-for-cyberstormppc-and-blizzardppc-available&catid=36:amigaos-4x&Itemid=18. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ Hyperion Entertainment announces AmigaOS 4.1.
- ^ "New AmigaOS 4.1 Quick Fix available". Hyperion-entertainment.biz. 2009-06-21. http://www.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=132:new-amigaos-41-quick-fix-available&catid=36:amigaos-4x&Itemid=18. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ "Update 1 of AmigaOS 4.1 available for immediate download". Hyperion-entertainment.biz. 2010-01-14. http://www.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=135:update-1-of-amigaos-41-available-for-immediate-download&catid=36:amigaos-4x&Itemid=18. Retrieved 2010-01-31.
- ^ "Update 2 of AmigaOS 4.1 available". Hyperion-entertainment.biz. 2010-04-30. http://www.hyperion-entertainment.biz/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=138:update-2-of-amigaos-41-available-for-immediate-download&catid=36:amigaos-4x&Itemid=18. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- ^ "AmigaOS 4.1 Classic Available To Buy". AmigaKit. 2011-05-17. http://amigaworld.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5939&start=0. Retrieved 2011-05-18.
- ^ 
- ^ "Report: 2010 AmiWest (new Shell etc)". Obligement. October 2010. http://obligement.free.fr/articles/amiwest2010.php. Retrieved 2010-11-05.
- ^ a b "AmigaOS 4.1 discussions at AmiWest 2010". Hyperion Entertainment. 2010-11-03. http://amigaworld.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=5703. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- Review of Micro-AmigaOne and AmigaOS 4 Developer Prerelease
- Ars Technica reviews AmigaOS 4.0
- Ars Technica reviews AmigaOS 4.1
- A history of the Amiga, part 1
- AmigaOS 4.0 - the fourth pre-release update
Compatible hardware OS4 software OS4 games Technologies Related and historical AmigaOS Amiga technologies Amiga GUIs File systems OS versions Software packsAmiga Forever • AmiKit Other software Influenced
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