|Developer: Haage & Partner
First demonstration: July 2001
Launch date: October 2001
AmigaOS XL caused a stir in the Amiga market,
being the first x86 emulator to outperform an actual Amiga. The emulator
was first revealed in the August 2001 edition of Amiga Active, but the
magazine were unable to reveal the emulators name or who had written it.
It was only when Haage & Partner advertised the product in the September
edition that Amiga users discovered where the new emulator had come from.
As a side note, the advert caused some confusion
seemingly indicating that the emulator would provide a web browser with
Java, Flash, and RealAudio support - much anticipated features for Amiga
browsers. A deceptive statement, it was indicated later that these features
would be provided through the QNX web browser.
Unlike the slow versions of WinUAE and WinUAE
JiT, AmigaOS XL forgoes on the chipset emulation, using the extra processing
cycles to emulate the processor. The result is an Amiga emulator capable
of running 68k applications between 5 - 10 times faster than a 68060 system.
According to SysInfo (an Amiga benchmark utility), a 1 GHz AMD Athlon emulates
an Amiga equivalent to a 450 MHz 68040. The benchmark was supported by
Kermit Woodall of Nova Design, who tested one of their applications:
"We installed ImageFX on AmigaXL during
a private meeting in St.Louis and the speed was amazing.
It was like having ImageFX completely native
on a fast PowerPC machine!!"
Kermit Woodall, Nova Design
Unlike Amithlon, AmigaOS XL has been developed for the
QNX x86 operating system, allowing the Amiga environment to take advantage of
the lightweight OS footprint, drivers, and applications available. This allows
the Amiga environment to use USB devices, sound and graphics cards (through
AHI and Picasso96), local and network drives, and virtual memory that
are available to the host operating system. The emulation is also able to directly
access QNX/Windows/Linux-partitions and Amiga-formatted hard disks. This allows
the possibility for users to copy their existing setup to the emulation environment
and immediately take advantage of the extra speed provided. When compared
to Amithlon, AmigaOS XL offers improved compatibility with several Amiga applications
through a partial implementation of the custom chipset emulation. However, this
sacrifice's speed as a result, making it the slowest of the two.
It is uncertain if AmigaOS XL has a definite future. When the product was announced
there were plans for a QNX PPC version that would offer improved performance
over the x86 version by removing the need for Big Endian-Little
Endian translation that is performed when an x86 CPU emulates a 68k.
However, the reaction to Amithlon was unexpected. Due to its ability to directly
boot into an AmigaOS without user intervention, Amithlon gained significant
mindshare in the market. Public reaction to the treatment of Bernie Meyer suggest
a further release would be ignored by many users, who have stated their refusal
to purchase software from Haage & Partner.
Read the AmigaOS XL for x86 press release
(10th September 2001)
Hyperion blasts x86 AMIthlon
View AmigaOS XL advert (156k)
Last Update: 5/1/2003