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Gareth Knight
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Amiga OS 4.0 Logo
"AmigaOS is now a key part of our strategy, now that we have decided it will form the basis for our home server, whereas before it was independent from our DE strategy, so this is what makes it so important."
- Fleecy Moss, Amiga Inc, April 2001.

Developer: Amiga Inc/Hyperion
Announced:  April 1st, 2001
Development began: 2001
Release: Late 2002

The announcement in April 2001 that Amiga Inc. would be developing an AmigaOS PPC-native port came as a shock to the Amiga market. After years of announcements that the 'Classic' OS was dead, Amiga Inc. reversed this trend, blurring the distinction between the Classic and Next generation Amiga. The resurrection of the operating system and the obvious turnaround in their previous announcement provide a glimpse of the internal battle within Amiga Inc. During 2000, company representatives indicated that memory protection was not required for a desktop OS, provoking outrage among the existing Amiga users, who had expected the new OS to provide modern features. The AmigaOS 4.x announcement suggests it was proving difficult, if not impossible, to implement MP into the Elate OS. Instead, these features will be provided by the host operating system. During the first three months of 2001, Amiga Inc. contacted two developers that are currently developing an Amiga-compatible operating system - the MorphOS (bPlan) and AROS team. Their intention was to unify these disparate groups and focus their development upon the AmigaOne. This would reduce the amount of time required to develop AmigaOS4.x and possibly eliminate unwanted competition.

In a statement on the AmigaOne mailing list, Fleecy Moss remarked that AmigaOS4.0 was an important part of their new strategy:

"Since we already have the AmigaOS, are moving forwards with AmigaOS compatible new hardware, and have a vast legion of people who still want to use, develop for and purchase, the AmigaOS, we have decided that instead of bringing out a standalone AmigaDE for this market, we will take the best of the new and integrate it with the best of the old." (Fleecy Moss, April 2001)

Since the announcement several things have changed - Haage & Partner fell out of favour over the illegal selling of Amiga licenses in AmigaOS XL, the original AmigaOne board was scrapped and an improved version was licensed, and bPlan cancelled their agreement with Amiga Inc. In an airtight contract Hyperion took over the development, allowing Amiga Inc. the option to buy the rights when the project is complete. This ensures that development will continue in the event that one of the major players (Hyperion, Eyetech, or Amiga Inc.) enter liquidation. Amiga Inc. has gone on record as stating that the AmigaOne platform will form the basis of a home server that will coordinate Amiga DE-based devices throughout the household.

Specifications

The initial OS4.0 release is planned to run on the AmigaOne and Classic Amigas fitted with a PPC board.

AmigaOS 4.0 Feature List

On August 7th, 2002, Amiga Inc. released the following feature list relating to AmigaOS 4.0 modules:

Exec Second Generation (Exec SG)

Exec is the AmigaOS kernel and was written in 68K assembly for AmigaOS 3.1. It has been rewritten in C, as ExecSG, for AmigaOS 4.

  • Hardware abstraction layer (HAL)
  • Virtual addressing (for automatic stack enlargement etc.)
  • Page-based memory handling (less fragmentation and more efficient)
  • Virtual memory
  • New library interface
  • Resource tracking and management
  • Optional memory protection
  • WarpOS backwards compatibility
Drivers, libraries and devices
  • PPC native GUI system (Intuition and Reaction)
  • SCSI drivers for onboard (UW) SCSI controllers
  • AmigaInput API (for multimedia controller devices)
  • USB stack (already adapted for the Highway and Subway hardware)
  • PPC native rewrite of DOS library
  • PPC native devices
  • Generic PPC native PCI library
Retargetable graphics & sound
  • PPC native RTG system
  • Picasso 96 V3
  • PPC native arithmetically optimised version of layers.library
  • Warp3D (3D driver system)
  • OpenGL 1.3 support (Mesa 4.0)
  • PPC native RTA system based on AHI (with Soundblaster Live! Driver)
File Systems
  • Re-implementation of the Amiga file system (FFS2) for PPC
  • PPC native CD Filesystem with limited Mount Rainier support (use your CDRW as a floppy)
Connectivity
  • PPC native TCP/IP stack & PPP drivers (fastest on the platform)
Applications
  • PPC native shell
  • PPC native version of "Amidock"
  • Just in Time (JIT) 68K emulation
  • PPC native utility for archiving and de-archiving
  • Recovery and Salvage tools for FFS2 and SFS
  • PPC native CD back-up tool
  • OS 4 will include a simple tool which allows the user to back-up files by burning them to an ISO 9660 CD which also allows for exchanging data between systems)
  • PPC native datatypes
  • New HDToolbox ("Media Toolbox")
  • Support for TrueType/OpenType fonts
  • Web-browser (Ibrowse 2.3)
  • MUI PPC (for legacy applications)
  • Reading/printing of PDF files
  • PPC native movieplayer ("Action" with DivX and MPEG4 support)

Related Pages
AmigaOS 4.0 Progress report (February 13, 2002)
AmigaOS 4.0 Progress report (September 9th, 2002)
The original OS4 & OS5 roadmap.
OS4 Preview shots
Bootlogs for the OS4 ExecSG beta

Amiga Inc. are not the first company to announce an upgrade with the OS version 4.0. The number first made an appearance in 1992, when Commodore announced that it would feature Retargetable graphics and DSP support. For more information, take a look at AmigaOS 4.0 - the Impossible Dream

BACK

Last Update: 16/12/2002

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Latest updates to the Amiga History Guide. (more)


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· Amiga Hardware
· Amiga History.de
· Amiga Magazine Rack
· Amiga-news(en)(de)
· Amiga.org
· Amiga World
· AmigaOS 4.0
· Amiga University
· Commodore Retrobits
· Dave Haynie archive
· Lemon Amiga
· MorphOS Support
· morphos-news.de

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