Amiga Back for the Future - Software

OS3.1 - OS3.5 - OS5dev - OS5prod - Support - Screenshots

This web-page will try to describe how Amiga software will look like in the future. The emphasis of this page is on the new versions of the Amiga Operative Systems(OS), namely Amiga OS5dev and Amiga OS5prod. However, it is possible that this web-page will also include description of software that will be available on the new versions of operative systems. The first part of this page will cover the facts about Amiga Inc's plans for the Amiga OS. Next part will try to go beyond the plans that are released and describe rumors and speculations about the operative system.

Amiga OS 3.1

Today, most of Amiga users use Amiga OS 3.0 or 3.1. This version of the OS provided a lot of useful features when it came and still to day have many nice features that does not exist in other OS's (as Windows95, MacOS and Unix). The support for localization and datatypes are features that no other OS provide today. Although this is nice, Amiga OS 3.1 has not been update the last couple of years. This means that the user interface is not state-of-the-art anymore and support for external hardware and network services are not supported the way they are in Windows95 and MacOS. Other important features Amiga OS is lacking of is support for process control and virtual memory. Amiga OS 3.X and older is now defined as "Amiga Classic".

Amiga OS 3.5

First Amiga Inc said that no version 3.5 would be produced for Amiga classic machines, but this has changed recently. Now Amiga Inc will produce Amiga OS 3.5 together with a lot of sub-contractors. The OS 3.5 will bring the Classic Amiga to a noble end by providing full support for all the graphics, sound, and PowerPC co-processor expansions availeble. Amiga OS 3.5 will require at least a CD-ROM drive, a hard drive, 68020 or higher processor, Amiga 3.1 ROMs and 4 MB Fast RAM. The main features of Amiga OS 3.5 is: ReTargetable Graphics card support, ReTargetable Audio card support, Internet Enabled, Enhanced Printing, Enhanced File System, CD File System, Arexx Update, New Shell Features and Extended Commands, Improved Graphical User Interface, PowerPC Co-processor Support and better User Documentation. More information about Amiga OS 3.5 can be found on Amiga Inc's own Amiga OS 3.5 webpage.

Amiga OS5dev

The next version of Amiga OS will be Amiga OS5dev and it is planned that it will be released in November 1998. This new version of the OS will include features as memory protection, SMP, updated hardware support (PCI, AGP, DVD), updated GUI, advanced multimedia support, network support etc. Note that Amiga OS5dev is only transition version of the OS and will not be very useful for end-users. The main intention for Amiga OS5dev is to let developers gradually migrate software from Amiga OS3.1, MS Windows and MACOS to Amiga OS5dev. The kernel of the operative system will be based on both Amiga OS as well as possibly Linux, Java or BeOS. To be able to run old Amiga classic software there are two ways of doing this. The first solution is to simulate old Amiga hardware using UAE or similar emulators. This solution is rather slow but cheap way of doing it, but for a fast computer it should be sufficient. UAE's compability with old Amiga classic software is rather good and is improving day by day. The second solution to the backward compability problem is to use Siamese "Amiga on a PCI board". This is a hardware solution that is much faster but also more expencive. These two solutions should be sufficient to insure the backward compability with old Amiga software.
The picture to the right shows a possible Graphical User Interface for Amiga OS5dev (taken from here). Click on this image to see a larger version of it. A graphical presentation of a possible architecture for the new OS is shown in the figure below.

Note that this architecture is not Amiga Inc's official architecture. This is only a speculation of how a possible architecture for the next generation Amiga OS could look like!

The first level in the architecture is a layer which makes the OS hardware independent (can be ported on different types of hardware). This layer is based on Hardware Independent Device Drivers (HIDDs) as well as a Mach 3 Kernel (hardware independent operative system kernel). Note that in the hardware abstraction layer you will also have libraries well know from the Amiga OS.
The next layer is the OS layer which will consist of different interfaces for the applications. You will have a OS3.X compatible interface to ensure backwards compability, a Java interface, a new Amiga 4.0 interface as well as a Unix based application interface. The different application interfaces will make it easier to port application to Amiga OS4.0 (Unix applications, Amiga applications as well as Java applications).
The Amiga OS5dev will not run on current Amigas or PowerPC Amigas. The only way you can have an Amiga as well as run Amiga OS5dev is to buy a Siamese System. Amiga OS5dev will only run at PC hardware. This is because the simulator for the new Super chip the Amiga OS5prod is based on runs only on PC. Remember that Amiga OS5dev is only a temporary step to Amiga OS5prod.

Amiga OS5prod

The Amiga OS Version 5.0 will be the big release of Amiga OS to the end-users. The Amiga 5.0 will run on new and super fast Amiga hardware that is under planning and development. The new Amiga hardware is based on a new power chip that should be 5-10 times faster than the fastest Pentium processor today and have incredible powers when it comes to multimedia, 3D and graphics processing. The planned date for releasing Amiga OS version 5.0 and the new hardware is late 1999. It will not be possible to run Amiga OS5prod on existing Amigas when it is released, but Amiga INC has said that is is possible that Amiga OS5prod can be ported to PPC/680X0. If the hardware of the new Amiga is many times as powerful and not to expensive, I guess most of us will buy a new computer anyway...
The target for Amiga OS5prod is not only for personal computers, but also for other electronical devices as network computer, video-games, set-top devices etc.

Features that will be provided in Amiga OS Version 5.0:

  • Linux kernal
  • Java support
  • Datatype system (known from Amiga OS3.X)
  • Internationalization support (catalogues). This feature will be improved in the new version of the OS.
  • Arexx type of scripting language
  • Internet support (TCP/IP stack, web-browser etc...)
  • OpenGL graphical support
  • CORBA elements will be included in the OS (at least a nano-ORB).
  • Support for audio formats as RealAudio, RealVideo, MPEG, Quicktime, AVI etc.
  • Support for all kinds of external hardware (printers, scanners, monitors etc...)
  • New better looking Graphical User Interface. Possibly modular user interface that makes it possible to have different modules for set-top boxes, game-machines, ordinary Amiga's etc. It should also be possible to add your own modules and to choose what module you want to use (also third-party).
  • Better support for scalable fonts
  • Completely configurable
  • Hardware independant
  • Relatively system independent API
  • Software support for multiple processors
  • The OS will include libraries (known as libs), devices (known as devs), and resources
  • Software for the new OS

    This section will list the software that will come for Amiga NG OE 5.0. In general, all software that runs on Linux and Java will also run on Amiga OE.

  • Sabrina Offline - 3D platform, shoot-em-up, point-and-click puzzles game(Digital Images)
  • Worms Armageddon (Team17)
  • Destitution - RPG/Action/Sci-fi (Delsyd Software)
  • Digital Soccer - 3D soccer game (Digital Images)
  • D.P.Tennis - tennis game (Delsyd Software)
  • D.P.Kart - 4 player go-kart racing game (Delsyd Software)
  • Explorer 2260 - 1st person 3D space trade/simulation game (World Foundry)
  • Kijitsu Warriors - 3D beat'em up (Digital Images)
  • I-40 Cross Country Rally (Delsyd Software)
  • Lambda - 3D space game (no final commitment yet for Amiga NG version
  • Speedball exclusive to the Amiga NG (unconfirmed rumor)
  • The Adventures of D.P.Dog - 3D point-and click adventure (Delsyd Software)
  • The Last Patriot - Puzzle/action (Delsyd Software)

  • Personal Paint 8.0 (Cloanto)
  • Tornado3D and MAGE (from Eylight)

  • Netscape for Amiga OS5
  • Opera web-browser (from Opera software)
  • Rebol software (from Rebol Technologies)

  • Corel office (confirmed)

  • UPS monitoring software, CheckUPS II v3.3 (Best Power)

  • KIDS:
  • KiDSuite - Innovative suite of software for children
  • (confirmed)

    Possible screenshots of the Next Generation Workbench

    The version of the Amiga OS, will have a graphical user interface(GUI) that is modular. This means that it is possible to tailor and use different styles of user interfaces for different purposes. For instance, it is possible to use one GUI-style for games, one for internet related devices etc. The screenshots below shows possible GUI-styles for the new Amiga operating system: (the images are courtesy of Amiga Inc.

    Personalized user interface Internet related user interface

    What Amiga Inc used to call Amiga OS 4.0 is now called Amiga OS5dev and Amiga OS 5.0 is now called Amiga OS5prod.

    This webpage was written by
    Alf Inge Wang
    Last modified: Mon Aug 2 15:24:36 MET DST 1999