MUIMapparium on Amithlon

Just stumbled across this video on YouTube of an Amithlon user running the MUIMapparium program on his machine.

I’ve been meaning to look into this program for a while now.  Nice to see it working on Amithlon (one of my favorite flavors of Amiga).



Happy New Year Amiga users!

I hope all of you Amiga users have a great New Year!  I just noticed that someone is spreading a partial archive of the old OS 3.1 source code around but that its also the same one that was around over 15 years ago.  I guess torrents make it easier to spread these days.  Will something come of it?  Probably not.  Olaf Barthel talked about the years of work it took him to get a full archive (which isn’t even part of the leak) to build under common tools, as the old archives required many different compilers and assemblers to build.  Also, how much is in assembly?  Hyperion has been working for years to convert the old code to portable C. Anyway, it was interesting to hear about.

Anyway, I’ve also recently seen a sneak peak of the new AmigaOne x5000 running OS4.1 with some nice software demos:

I’ve revived my interest in Amithlon, in my opinion, the only way to run Classic Amiga if you don’t have real Amiga hardware. I’ve built a few machines this year, with various hardware, and varying results. I hope to one day build the ultimate Amithlon machine with a wicked-fast processor speeds and start porting code to it to take advantage of the x86 raw power. Maybe in 2016?

Anyway, I’ve seen several cool thing both in software and hardware that I have backlogged to post about, so hopefully, I’ll get to them soon too.

2015 was awesome, 2016 should be more so!

How to make an Amithlon Laptop

Okay, when do you a search on Google for “best laptop for Amithlon”, it’s really hard to find anything concrete.

Many people, if they wanted a laptop with an Amiga-OS on it, would probably just put some version of Windows on it, and then load up WinUAE. While that would work and would provide drivers for the underlying hardware, it’s just hard to feel like an Amiga, even if you do hide the telltale signs of Windows loading up and running.

Amithlon is a great choice as it just feels like real, classic (but fast) hardware. It boots up super fast as well.

Amithlon is an amazing bit of software, written in the early 2000’s that was an attempt to push AmigaOS more towards an x86 solution, long before AROS was in the working state it is today. A really smart and talented guy by the name of Bernie (who is responsible for the JIT- Just in Time compiler for WinUAE), decided to make this software.

His thinking was that if he just took the absolute, minimal Linux 2.4 Kernel, and put in a JIT 68k CPU emulator, plus some amiga-side interfaces to x86 drivers, he could do it. He did not build in full custom chipset emulation, as his logic said that it would mostly be game players that wanted that, and those game players probably had real Amiga hardware. This freed him up quite a bit to focus on OS compatibility.

Unfortunately, he made a deal with H&P to publish this along with their QNX+UAE emulator, right before a major legal battle ensued, causing him to drop the project and leave the Amiga community altogether.

However, he left behind enough so that others took up maintenance, with the most recent update to version 4 coming in 2010.

So, how do we use this to make a great Amiga/Amithlon laptop? Well, I spotted a few videos on youtube of someone who had taken a Dell C610 laptop and turned it into a great Amithlon laptop. It turns out that the video, audio, IDE, USB and ethernet hardware is fully supported in newer versions of Amithlon software.

You can routinely find these machines on Ebay for under $100USD. There are two main configurations, go for the better one: 14″ monitor and 1.2Ghz PIII CPU. Don’t go over 1GB of RAM, as Amithlon has a problem with that. The one I have is at 768MB of RAM to be safe. Don’t worry, for OS 3.9 (built into Amithlon), this is plenty!

So, get your Amithlon CD (they haven’t been sold in years, so don’t ask me how to get it), and then go to this thread to see the setup guide: It’s a long thread but VERY helpful. You can see the evolution this guide went through over the years.

I ended up not needing the latest version 4 of Amithlon kernel and drivers by Milanca. I found that version 3.10 by Gary Colville was just perfect!

My configuration ended up having 3 partitions: 1) 5GB for WindowsXP (needed for wireless setup, as well as other utilities barely needed anymore, and the Grub launcher, 2) a small Linux parition ( less than 500MB ) where the Amithlon basic kernel files are located (grub launches thes), 3) and the Amiga parition.

On the WindowsXP partition, beside the GRUB launcher, I have a utility (either Norton or Acronis) that allowed me to set the Amiga partition to type 0x76. I then used WinUAE to format that parition so that the Amithlon boot parition could see it. I then followed the Amithlon setup guide to get everyone installed and set up right.

Install Poseidon from Aminet, as well as ARAKAttack to get the USB ports working. Install all the boing bag updates, 1-4, and you’ll be ready to go. The Amithlon setup guide

Then, to get wireless working on the laptop, see my previous post about the Vonets cheap wirless bridge. I’ve installed the free version of Miami for TCP access, although the one that comes with AmigaOS3.9 should be adequate too. If I ever take the laptop somewhere to a different wifi network, I can reboot into WinXP, run the Vonets configuration utility, then reboot back into AmigaOS.

Here are a few pictures of my finished laptop, running Amiga OS3.9 with BB1&2: (click each for larger image)

Picture 1: Case closed with Amiga Boing Ball sticker (from Zazzle), fits perfectly over the old Dell label

Picture 2 & 3: The GRUB boot options (WinXP, normal Amithlon install, emergency Amithlon boot)

Picture 4: Workbench loaded up, more CPU speed, RTG speed, faster response and higher memory than any real Amiga classic hardware than I’ve ever had before:

Hope you have as much fun making a powerful, portable and inexpensive Amithlon laptop!

So, one became four… the fracturing of Amiga

When I left the Amiga-scene in 1998, there was only a single OS that we used: Classic 68k Amiga OS. Sure, proDad tried to make pOS. I remember the pre-release, but it seemed to be highly dependent upon the kickstart ROMs.

I kept an eye out on AROS, then later, I read that 3.5 and then 3.9 were coming out. I played with UAE from it’s first PC version even when it was really “Unusable”.

Well, now we have:

  • Classic Amiga OS (currently sitting at 3.9 with 2 official boing bag expansions and 2 unofficial ones)
  • AROS in many flavors (I prefer Icaros which is at 1.5.x) for many architectures, primarily x86 for super-speed
  • MorphOS (currently 3.4) for classic Amigas with PPC accelerators, bPlan’s Pegasos 1 and 2 and lots of ppc mac’s
  • Amiga OS4 (currently 4.1r6), supporting classic PPC accelerators, bPlans’s Peg 2, SAM 440/460 and A-Eon x1000

    (It’s worth noting that various distro’s of AROS support ARM (raspberry Pi, classic AGA Amigas, and maybe a few other platforms, but I’m focusing on x86 as it appears to be most mature).

    Classic Amiga OS does seem to not only have a life on original Classic Amigas, the the expansions that are available are limited. Besides some accelerators that top out at MIPS ratings that are a decade behind current PC/Mac hardware, a few amiga-specific hardware as well as PCI adapters, the future of classic Amiga can be found in either emulation or related technologies.

    I’ve used WinUAE and it makes for amazingly fast Amiga systems, but it’s hard not to know it’s running on top of Windows. Back in the early 2000’s, there was a pathway to lead to migration to x86 hardware via Amithlon, but the litigious nature of Amiga-land let to that becoming derailed. I have an old laptop running Amithlon and it “feels” more like a real amiga than any emulation. I’ll make a post on that machine soon.

    AROS is probably a great, long-term path for Amiga users, and will probably be the first to have multi-processor support, as well as the power to handle ports of high-end games and apps from other systems. However, it’s slow to advance. AROS has been in the works since the mid 90’s and is only recently feeling like a good, working system. Maybe I need to spend more time testing it.

    MorphOS is a great alternative and, apart from AROS, is the most easy to get started with. Whereas AROS involves nearly any old PC hardware and a burned ISO, MorphOS can be run on cheap, used mac hardware, which can be found on ebay for less than $100 USD. It’s fully working for 30 minutes at a time, is very much structured like classic Amiga OS and supports newer tech like USB and even the fastest PPC Apple machines made, and also runs classic 68k software natively and can even run WarpOS games made for Amiga PPC accelerators. It also sports the most advanced webbrowser right now in the Amiga world.

    Amiga OS4.x is limited to hard-to-find and expensive hardware and appears to be maturing slowly. However, they recently implemented over-the-internet live updates, have ports of QT, X11 servers, a new Amiga Java client, and many more software packages that make life a little easier. No downloadable demos of their OS though.

    I think it was a mistake for Hyperion not to try to get wider distribution by supporting older apple hardware like MorphOS but I’m sure they have their reasons.

    It’s hard to tell now which OS will come out on top or if we start seeing some merging or some dropping out. However, there are lots of available paths to take, depending on your needs and your means. Personally, I have a classic machine (a 1200 tower in progress), an amithlon laptop, a PowerBook G4 (MorphOS) and 2 AmigaOne machines (AmigaOS4.0 and 4.1). I hope to make an older tower into a dual-boot Amithlon/AROS machine and start whittling down my collection.

    Which path did you follow?