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The Commodore Amiga (Spanish amiga : 'girlfriend') was a computer that was widespread from the mid-1980s to the beginning / mid-1990s and was particularly popular as home computers in its entry-level models ( A500 and A1200 ) . For his time, he had strong multimedia capabilities and a powerful, preemptive multitasking - operating system . During his Commodore days he worked with processors from the Motorola 68000 family .

The first Amiga version: Amiga 1000 with typical software.
Amiga 500 with RGB monitor 1084S, mouse and an external, second floppy disk drive A1010. Workbench v1.3 can be seen on the screen .


Early logo for the Amiga (1985)

Jay Miner was the creator and spiritual father of the Amiga. He got out of Atari in 1981 , where he was a. a. was responsible for the development of the Atari 2600 game console and the Atari 400 and 800 home computers . Then he founded the company Hi Toro, which later became the Amiga Corporation. At the beginning Amiga supplied game modules and controllers for the Atari 2600 console, a little later an Amiga game console was planned. The game console became a computer in the minds of the developers.

Atari - at that time owned by Warner Communications and under the management of Ray Kassar - was a sponsor by agreement from July 1983 and wanted to bring the Amiga onto the market as the successor to the now outdated XL computer series. With the stock market scandal of December 1982 in the neck, Kassar had to resign in July 1983. The new CEO Morgan pursued the goal of bringing the Lorraine project , as the Amiga was called internally, to market maturity as the successor to the XL.

On July 2, 1984, Warner Communications sold the console and computer division of Atari to Jack Tramiel , the founder of Commodore, who had been dismissed at that time. Tramiel tried to buy Amiga for good and offered shareholders $ 0.98 per share. Shortly before the end of the 24-hour period, Commodore (under Irving Gould) finally offered 4.25 US dollars per share and was awarded the contract, according to which Commodore influenced the development direction of the Amiga more and more - according to critics, not always in the spirit of the inventor or to the advantage of the Amiga. Commodore almost got too excited about this takeover and the subsequent product launch and got into a serious financial crisis.

The first Amiga model - later called the Amiga 1000 - was presented on July 23, 1985 in New York as part of a big show in which the pop-art artist Andy Warhol created an image of the singer of the band Blondie , Deborah Harry , recolored on the Amiga while the audience was there live. In Germany, a similar event took place on May 21, 1986 in the Alte Oper in Frankfurt am Main , moderated by Frank Elstner . The developers also demonstrated the special features that set the Amiga apart from its contemporary competitors IBM PC , Macintosh and Atari ST :

  • Four-channel sample sound (in contrast to IBM PC, Macintosh, Atari)
  • Hardware support for graphic animation through the blitter
  • colored graphical surface (in contrast to the Macintosh)
  • preemptive multitasking and 32-bit hardware and software structure (in contrast to Atari, Macintosh, IBM PC)

In the opinion of the former Amiga developer Dave Haynie , the Amiga was the most significant influence of Commodore on the development of personal computers . The Amiga introduced the following innovations in the home computer sector in the 1980s:

  • Multitasking showed the way to today's multiprocessing
  • a graphic output that could display photos in low color depth
  • Sound reproduction via stereo samples
  • Effective relief of the CPU through intensive use of other chips via direct memory access (DMA) and seamless integration into the operating system (although the first PC also had a DMA controller, it was not used as efficiently)
  • automatic configuration of expansion cards (AutoConfig of the Zorro bus )

The potential IBM PC compatibility was highlighted as a purchase argument, initially in the form of a software emulation called Transformer, and later via the A1060 Sidecar . The sidecar enabled MS-DOS to run parallel to the Amiga operating system with the help of its specially designed Intel 8088 CPU . The sidecar was developed by Commodore's development department in Braunschweig.

A special feature of the Amiga 1000 was its so-called keyboard garage: the keyboard was designed to be a bit narrower, so it could be pushed under the computer case, which was specially designed with high legs. Later models did not do this again, especially so that a keyboard with (approximately) standard assignment could be used.

Model development

Amiga 500 and a young computer player with the game Turrican

While the A1000 was still an expensive mix of home and professional equipment that was unclear in terms of its area of ​​application (and therefore difficult to sell), the Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000 models were introduced in 1987 . The former was supposed to be a kind of successor to the legendary C64 home computer , the latter resembling professional PCs. The Amiga 500 became the most successful Amiga in terms of units sold and was considered a cult and computer for millions in the rapidly developing scene .

From A2000 and A500 the Amiga models offered parallel and serial interfaces corresponding to the IBM PC standard; on the A1000, however, the pin assignment and the gender of the respective socket were different.

In 1988, a computer called Amiga 2500 / UX was offered to professional users , on which a UNIX operating system ( AMIX ) was available in parallel . Technically speaking, the Amiga 2500 models were almost identical to the normal Amiga 2000. As with the Amiga 2000, they could be significantly accelerated by installing an additional processor board (with a 68020, 68030, 68040 or 68060 CPU).

As a link between the Amiga and the IBM PC world, the Amiga 2000 had both Amiga's own Zorro 2 slots and ISA sockets typical of IBM PCs . These could be activated with a bridge board (bridge card or PC emulator, the successor to the sidecar). This gave you a full-fledged IBM PC in the Amiga, which you could access from the Amiga side.

The Amiga 2000 was followed in 1990 by the Amiga 3000 in a desktop and tower version (Amiga 3000T), which for the first time brought a new operating system with a modern 3D look. The AmigaOS 2.0 operating system, which was first delivered with the A3000 , had numerous innovations and optimizations. The Amiga 3000 was - not least thanks to the advanced operating system - a success. Today it is comparatively rare, and enthusiasts pay significantly higher prices for it than, for example, for its successor, the Amiga 4000. There was also an A3000 / UX version of the A3000 , which was delivered with AMIX instead of AmigaOS.

With the Amiga 500 Plus a technically almost identical successor was created for the Amiga 500 in 1991, which in turn was replaced in 1992 by the mainly optically modified Amiga 600 . Both subsequent models were commercially unsuccessful, also because the original Amiga 500 models were still being offered at a lower price.

The Amiga 1200 , which was also introduced in 1992, was more successful - but not nearly like the 500 - which expanded the Amiga family. The Amiga 1200 was introduced as a low-cost variant of its big brother, the Amiga 4000 (as well as the Amiga 4000T tower variant). This in turn came on the market as the successor to the Amiga 3000. The main commonality between Amiga 1200 and Amiga 4000 is the use of the same Kickstart version, the same workbench and the AGA graphics chipset (in Germany "AA", see below). Otherwise the Amiga 4000 is technically superior to the A1200 because it had a 32 bit wide address bus (in contrast to the 24 bit of the Amiga 1200), through which Zorro slots could be expanded and usually the more powerful MC68040 processor, in cheaper versions still used a MC68EC030.

Logo of the Amiga CD³²

As early as the early 1990s, Commodore tried to position the Amiga as a multimedia platform with the CDTV (an Amiga in the design of a CD player with the combined functionality of both) and bring it into the living room. At this time the authoring system AmigaVision was created . Shortly before the downfall of Commodore, the CD³² followed in 1993 , which failed to make its big breakthrough despite extensive television advertising because Commodore could not produce and deliver the quantities ordered. The CD³² is based on the Amiga 1200 hardware, which was expanded to include a CD-ROM drive and a custom chip ( Akiko ). Keyboard, floppy and hard disk can be upgraded as an option.


The Amiga 500/600/1200 models were the inexpensive variants of the large Amiga desktop models (Amiga 2000/4000). Keyboard, floppy ( floppy disk drive ), expansion interface and the main board form a unit. The A600 and A1200 also have space for a 2.5 ″ ATA hard disk. With a little technical skill and a suitable adapter cable, a 3.5 ″ hard disk can be installed in the A1200. In addition, there were and are so-called accelerator cards for the Amiga 500, these contained a 32-bit processor, such as 68020, 68030, 68040, and sometimes an FPU . Since there were no internal slots for such cards, the processor was removed and the expansion card was inserted in its place. A simple way to make the A500 / A2000 a little faster was to replace the CPU 68000 with a 68010 chip. This is pin-compatible with the 68000, but requires fewer clock cycles for some instructions and has a 6-byte instruction cache. A second option for upgrading the A500 resulted from the expansion port on the left edge of the housing, here companies such as GVP offered expansions for hard disk controllers or with 68030 CPU in an attachable housing.

The Amiga 2000/3000/4000 models are expandable systems in which additional drives and expansion cards can be integrated. The 3000 and 4000 models were also offered as tower versions and were in the upper price segment - comparable to today's high-end computers.

The Amiga 3000/4000 were offered with different processors. The range extends from the 68020 to the 68040. There was even a custom-made Amiga 4000 with a 68060 processor, which was only temporarily delivered to the USA due to the bankruptcy of Amiga Technologies . However, this model was just an ordinary Amiga 4000T, which had been expanded by a QuikPak ​​4060 .

A2500, 3000 (T) and A4000T have an internal SCSI interface for connecting hard disks, while the Amiga 600, 1200 and 4000 have an ATA controller. Hard disk controllers were available as an extension for the remaining models - the most popular was SCSI, in the early days the ST506 interface was sometimes used. One reason for using the expensive SCSI standard is the low load on the processor during the loading process.

For practically all Amiga models there were plug-in cards in the form of so-called turbo cards with faster or completely different processor variants. For this purpose, the 68000 chip was removed from the early devices and replaced with a processor card. This then contained either a 68020 or a 68030 processor and often the corresponding RAM (32-bit data bus width). Later models had a CPU slot prepared for this . Most recently, variants were offered that contained PowerPC processors.

For the extension port of the Amiga 500/500 +, Commodore released the external CD-ROM drive A570. Basically it was the additional component that distinguished the Commodore CDTV from the Amiga 500. The A570 was able to play the special CDTV data carriers and offered the same CD player interface. In the absence of a direct connection to the Amiga 500's sound processor, the A570 had its own audio outputs. The CD drive was a single-speed device. In addition, the A570 offered the SCSI slot known from CDTV as well as a slot for memory expansion up to 2 MB.

For the first Amiga models with the original chip set (see below) the A2024 monitor was specially released, which should enable the professional use of computers in the office. For this purpose, he made a significantly higher image resolution available with considerable hardware expenditure - at the expense of the number of colors and display speed.

The personal touch

Especially in the early Amiga products, the developers immortalized themselves more or less openly outside the official framework. The so-called Guru Meditation was known . This describes the status of a serious program error caught by the Amiga operating system . It is comparable to the Blue Screen Of Death of the Windows NT- based systems or to the bomb bus error of the Atari ST . In addition to this one could call up an internal debugger with a right click of the mouse and look through the Amiga memory via another computer connected to the serial interface and thus determine exactly what had caused the error. Even if this error message was later replaced by a sober “Software Failure”, the term was colloquial. In addition, there are Easter eggs that can be called up by means of various actions and a number of hidden messages can only be found in the operating system ROM with a memory monitor .

Important components got their own names: Zorro, Big / Fat Agnus, Denise and Paula are some of them. The inside of the Amiga 1000 lid is adorned with the developers' signatures cast in the plastic and a paw print of the dog Mitchy by Jay Miner. The writing “B52 / ROCK LOBSTER” is also etched onto the circuit board of the Amiga 500, which is a homage to a song by the band The B-52s .

The developers also showed humor in the operating system software. If you processed a diskette with the Diskdoctor program and only parts of it could be restored, this diskette was named Lazarus .

It was precisely this personal touch that some users cited as a purchase argument in relation to the sterile IBM PCs.

Music and art

Musicians who made music with the Amiga became very well known (see also Chiptune ):

as well as artists who used the Amiga for computer graphics , video installations and pop art :

  • Rose station
  • Andy Warhol : He appeared together with Debbie Harry in 1985 at the press conference for the introduction of the Commodore Amiga computer , with which he graphically processed a photo of Harry he had just taken so that it looked like one of his silkscreen pictures.

The Amiga was also used as a prop in feature films and series of the 1980s. For example, in some episodes of Miami Vice you can see both an Amiga 1000 (replaced by an Amiga 2000 from the fourth season) and screenshots from the CLI interface. It was also used in some episodes of the German version of Sesame Street .

For the first feature film in the Jurassic Park series, Amigas was used to create the quick preliminary drafts for dinosaur animations before they were finally rendered with larger workstations .

The computer animations of the series seaQuest DSV and Babylon 5 were created and rendered on Amiga systems.



Motorola MC68000 CPU
Motorola 68030 microprocessor


In the days of Commodore , processors from the Motorola 68000 family were used throughout. It started with the 68000 , which can be viewed as a 16/32 bit system. Later the further developed members of the family like 68020 , 68030 , 68040 and 68060 were used, which made the Amiga a 32-bit system .

At the same time, CPUs from the PowerPC family (PPC) were used - initially on processor plug-in cards, and in the post-Commodore era also as main processors .

Amiga hardware structure with the special chipset


The most important characteristic of the classic Amiga hardware are the specialized custom chips . These represent independent co-processors that relieve the main processor of graphics operations, interrupt management, sound generation and various input / output operations, for which a total of 25 DMA channels are available. This custom chipset established the graphics and sound properties of the Amiga, which at the time were considered to be very advanced compared to other competing systems.

The chipset consists of the following custom chips:

  • Paula - responsible for sound and interrupt control; contains parts of the disk controller. The sound is output via four 8-bit PCM mono channels (two channels per stereo channel).
  • Denise ( OCS / ECS ) and Lisa ( AGA ) - responsible for the graphics. Contains the sprite logic, color registers and the bitmap graphics logic.
  • Agnus (OCS / ECS) or Alice (AGA) - the control center of the Amiga chipset . Controls a total of 25 DMA channels, is responsible for the entire system timing and contains a blitter (for quickly copying graphics, filling areas and drawing lines) and the so-called copper (coprocessor with limited instruction set for pixel-perfect changing of chip registers ).

At the beginning of the 1990s, however, this fixation on the chipset on the part of the operating system had an increasingly negative effect on the flexibility of the architecture, since for a long time there was no way to use more powerful expansion cards such as B. to use graphics or sound cards in accordance with the system. In combination with the stagnating further development of the chipset, this led to the architecture becoming increasingly obsolete and technically obsolete by the mid-1990s at the latest.

In the course of time, three different versions of the chipset were developed: Amiga 1000, Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000 use the first version from 1985, which was later also referred to as the Original Chip Set (OCS). In HiRes mode , resolutions of 640 × 256 or 640 × 512 pixels can be displayed in interlaced mode ( PAL ) with a palette of a maximum of 16 out of 4096 possible colors. The LoRes mode is incomparably more flexible with a resolution of 320 × 256 or 320 × 512 pixels in the interlaced process (PAL), which not only offers the possibility of using a freely selectable palette of 32 colors, but also all of them in the so-called HAM6 mode 4096 colors can be displayed simultaneously (with certain restrictions). In addition, there is also the EHB mode ( extra half -bright mode ), which enables a palette of 64 colors, although only the first 32 can be freely selected and the rest of these are generated with half the brightness. This mode was not yet available in the first Amigas sold in the USA. By the overscan these resolutions can be adjusted slightly by the upper and side edges of the screen are eliminated, better use of the surface of the video monitor or television. With the Paula sound chip it is also possible to play four-part 8-bit sound (two voices per stereo channel), whereby samples with freely selectable sampling frequencies of up to 28 kilohertz (OCS) or 56 kilohertz (ECS, AGA) can be played .

The Enhanced Chip Set (ECS) from 1990 used in the Amiga 600, Amiga 500 Plus and Amiga 3000 was marginally expanded by a SuperHiRes mode with 1280 × 256 or 1280 × 512 pixels in interlaced mode (PAL) with a maximum of four colors and by more free programmable line frequencies, which also allow higher vertical resolutions without interlacing, and the possibility of addressing 2 MB chip RAM are added.

The last variant sold, the AGA chipset used in the Advanced Graphics Architecture (AGA) from 1992, was first used in the Amiga 4000 and later in the Amiga 1200. (In Germany it had to be called an AA chipset because there was a name collision with a graphics card from the early days of the IBM-compatible Commodore PCs.) AGA extends the color depth from 12 bits (4096 colors) to 24 bits (16.8 Million colors). With AGA, the color palettes can consist of 256 entries. The HAM mode has also been expanded so that several hundred thousand colors can be displayed at the same time. A maximum of 2 MB chip RAM is also possible with AGA.

The classic Amiga distinguishes between two different variants of the main memory (RAM): the so-called chip memory or chip RAM, which the processor and the custom chips can access, and the so-called fast memory or fast RAM , which is the only Processor is available and therefore works much faster. The chip memory roughly corresponds to the shared memory that is often used for onboard graphics cards in today's PCs and laptops. In contrast to this architecture, however, in the Amiga no fixed part of the chip RAM is declared as graphics memory, but the entire area can be used for graphics or generic data, depending on the current need. The main advantage of this concept with the Amiga is that there is no fixed separation, but the processor can write directly to the memory of the graphics chip.

Expansion bus

The Amiga bus system for expansion cards is the so-called Zorro bus with 24-bit (Zorro 2) or 32-bit address space (Zorro 3). The A500 and A1000 have an 86-pin connector on the side with a Zorro-2 bus, the A2000 has several 100-pin Zorro-2 slots internally (mechanically similar to PC plug-in cards). The A3000 and A4000 have internally several 100-pin slots with Zorro 3 bus. The 32-bit address width with Zorro 3 is achieved by multiplexing some signal lines. An adapter can be used to operate Zorro 3 cards on an Amiga 500/1000. Of course, all Zorro-2 cards still run on the Zorro-3 bus, as the bus automatically recognizes whether the card is a Zorro-2 or Zorro-3 card. Commercially available IBM-compatible 16-bit ISA plug -in cards can also be used with a PC emulator card or a bridge card .

The Amiga already has an auto-configuration system (similar to the later Plug and Play ), which enables the operating system to assign addresses and interrupts to the cards variably. Therefore there is far less potential for conflict than with the ISA slots of the IBM-compatible systems.

In addition to these expansion slots, many Amiga models have a CPU slot into which a new processor card can be inserted, the processor of which replaces the processor on the motherboard. This enabled these Amigas to be updated to newer, faster processors without having to buy a completely new computer.

One of the most common expansions for the internal Amiga 1200 expansion bus (a slimmed down Zorro 3 bus) was the Blizzard accelerator card with processors 68030 at 50 MHz, 68040 at 25 MHz or 68060 at 50 MHz.

Graphic extensions

The larger Amiga models A2000, A3000 and A4000 also offer a video slot into which a graphics expansion card can be inserted. Accordingly, the Amiga video signals are available on it to be processed further by such a card.

Another option of the classic Amiga that was outstanding at the time was the genlock capability. The synchronization to the video signal of an external source enables (chroma) keying, i.e. the replacement of a certain color in the video signal of the computer by the external signal, the title or complex fades. Therefore, the Amiga was often used for private or semi-professional video editing. Professional blue box applications were also available. Various broadcasters used the Amiga for a long time to display their logos in the current program or as a font generator for displaying e.g. B. of sports results and intermediate results.

Later, graphics cards (initially pure flicker fixers ) were offered for the Amiga , which were supposed to supplement the video capabilities of the original with a flicker-free (office-suitable, so to speak) display. At that time, however, the IBM PC-compatible computer, together with Microsoft Windows, had already made its triumphant advance into offices around the world.

Probably the best known hardware extension for the Amiga is, besides a 512 kB memory extension for the A500, the so-called Scandoubler (with integrated flicker fixer). The first models of the Amiga (1000, 500 and 2000) can only generate video signals according to the PAL or NTSC standard, which work with a line frequency of 15.625 kHz. Vertical resolutions higher than approx. 256 pixels are only possible by using an interlace method, which leads to violent flickering of the display. In order to still be able to control VGA monitors, the Scandoubler / Flickerfixer was developed, which doubles the line frequency of the PAL modes, merges the two fields output in the interlace resolutions into a single image and combines them with the double line frequency of 31 that is required for these monitors kHz outputs.

The Amiga 500 Plus, 600 and 3000 were able to handle different line frequencies due to their extended ECS chipset. However, due to the lack of memory bandwidth, compromises have to be made with regard to the selection of the displayable colors. In order to be able to use the Amiga 3000 also in office environments, a scandoubler / flicker fixer was already installed ex works. The Scandoubler / Flickerfixer was also a popular extension for the newer Amiga 1200 and 4000 models. Due to the AGA chipset, which was once again expanded, these computers were able to display VGA-like screen modes, but due to the lack of a flicker fixer, the interlace modes flickered heavily, which made professional work practically impossible, and numerous games that ran directly on the AGA Chipset, forced the Amiga into a 15.625 kHz PAL mode.

Primarily in the USA , film studios and television broadcasters used the Amiga together with a hardware extension called a video toaster for their daily work e.g. B. for displaying logos. The video toaster , however, was only designed for NTSC operation and could not be developed for PAL operation due to specific hardware features.

The television series Babylon 5 is well-known , the special effects of which were awarded an Emmy , some of which were created with Amiga computers and the Lightwave 3D program, as well as with the SeaQuest DSV television series .

Hard drives

The first hard disks for the Amiga were ST506 , later SCSI and ATA hard disks.

With fast Amigas problems can occur with some internal ATA hard disks: After a reset, the Amiga asks the hardware before the hard disk can answer the computer because it is not yet ready. Therefore, the hard drive is not recognized by the system. Some users remedy the situation with a trick: The reset line to the hard disk is cut. If the other pins remain undamaged, the hard disk automatically performs a power-on reset after switching on, but not when pressing both Amiga buttons and the Ctrl button. If you then perform a keyboard reset after switching on the Amiga after a short waiting time (one second is sufficient), the hard disk will be recognized. Depending on the hard disk, cutting through is not necessary, as some hard disks only need a longer time to set up their interface after switching on, but are ready sooner after a reset signal from the computer.


Technically, the Amiga was ahead of many computers of its time. In addition to the outstanding technical properties (e.g. plug and play in the form of the auto-config mechanism ), the operating system already supports preemptive multitasking in the prioritized round robin method .

AmigaOS operating system

AmigaOS 3.5

The operating system of the Amiga, the AmigaOS, has a modular structure and is Unix- like in some aspects . AmigaOS has dynamically reloadable device drivers (suffix: .device) as well as shared libraries (suffix: .library) and already supports many concepts of modern operating systems (streams, pipelining, signals, message queues etc.). The command line interpreter (CLI, Command Line Interface ) was later renamed, after various extensions, to the common Unix term shell . From the beginning, AmigaOS was a 32-bit-compatible operating system, although the initial hardware was more of a 16/32-bit system.

The entire operating system of the Amiga initially fit on two floppy disks , the Kickstart and the Workbench disk. When the kickstart was stabilized to such an extent that it could be relocated to a ROM, a single diskette with a capacity of 880 kilobytes was sufficient. AmigaOS offers a colored graphic surface with multitasking and relatively short reaction times e.g. B. on user input. Due to the CPU architecture, there is no memory protection , i. H. the processes are not isolated from one another, and any program can crash the entire system in the event of a serious error. On the other hand, the simple memory model enables fast interprocess communication by simply passing pointers without copying data. The speed of the operating system has been increased through various improvements over the years.

The AmigaOS has been offering a dynamic RAM disk since 1986 , which as RAM: can be addressed like a normal drive. With the RAM disk, file operations can be accelerated enormously, since slow access to floppy disks or hard disks is no longer necessary. The AmigaOS uses the RAM disk by default for the temporary directory, for environment variables and as a clipboard, otherwise it can be used freely. Starting with Kickstart 1.3 there is the possibility of integrating a reset-proof RAM disk RAD: which is not dynamic, i.e. has a fixed size, is bootable and is available after a restart with all previously saved data. Out of memory provided can RAD: z. B. exactly the size of a floppy disk.

The Amiga can use different file systems. The Amiga File System was originally used (later OFS with O from old or original ). With version 1.3 of the operating system an improved version called Fast File System (FFS) was delivered. Both are considered very robust. Because the operating system is modular, it is easy to add support for additional file systems; In addition to a driver for the FAT system used by MS-DOS , other file systems have been developed by others, particularly for use with hard disks. In the case of floppy disks, not only was the insertion and removal recognized automatically, but also the file system used. Floppy disks and any other drive can be addressed by the name of the data carrier. Another advantage of multitasking was that you could format up to four floppy disks at the same time.

When hard drives were very expensive and rather were the exception, data was mainly 3.5-inch DD - Discs recorded with a storage capacity of 880 kilobytes. The FFS can also be used to write to HD floppy disks with twice the capacity. However, the original controller requires special drives that drive HD floppy disks at half the speed, as it does not support the double data rate normally associated with HD floppy disks.

With the library translator.library and the driver narrator.device the possibility has been integrated to realize speech output from higher programming languages. The Amiga was one of the first computers to come standard with speech synthesis software . This became possible because the audio output of the Amiga is based on Pulse Code Modulation (PCM) and can therefore (apart from the output quality), like today's PCs, output any sound - most other computers of the time only offered synthesizers, if at all Chips that were limited to certain sounds.

Later, the consistent use of so-called DataTypes was groundbreaking  - these are codecs that offer a uniform interface for loading and saving all common file formats . When developing a new file format, the corresponding data type only needs to be made known to the operating system. All programs that support the Datatypes interface can then read or write this file format.

Graphical user interface

The graphical user interface (GUI) of the AmigaOS was characterized by a - for the conditions at the time - very intuitive operation.

In particular, the GUI extension Magic User Interface (MUI) from the public domain scene was popular; with it, gadgets based on the object-oriented BOOPSI system (corresponds to: widget ) were available. That made all elements of the surface including the lettering z. B. scalable in any size, so automatically adapting to every graphics card resolution.

The 8-bit ISO 8859-1 character set was chosen as the basic text character set , which enabled international use and at least partial compatibility with Windows. Other fonts could be supported through other loadable fonts .


Screenshot of a freeware magazine 1997

In the early stages of the Amiga in particular, many programs were sold via swap exchanges or Amiga magazines. One man in particular, Fred Fish , has made a great contribution to his regular AmigaLibDisks , commonly known as Fish-Disks .

Notable software for the Amiga is among others:

The basic interpreter ABASIC from MetaComCo was also supplied with AmigaOS 1.0, which was not released in Germany . With AmigaOS 1.1 to 1.3 AmigaBASIC was delivered, the only program that Microsoft ever developed for the Amiga. Under later system versions it partially failed the service.

As intrinsic scripting language is REXX used (since AmigaOS 2.0 part of the Amiga operating system). The Amiga version of this script language called ARexx offers, among other things, the possibility of controlling programs externally via ARexx scripts. For example, you can use a script to specify the sequence of certain functions of a program and thus assign new functions to the program, as happened with the Eagleplayer .

Networking ( LAN ) and Internet (TCP / IP stacks) were introduced on the Amiga very early on . The first web browser for the Amiga was AMosaic, a port of the well-known Mosaic web browser . AMosaic was later renamed IBrowse . Voyager came onto the market as the second browser, also sold by Amiga Technologies together with the Amiga 1200 in the so-called Surfer Bundle as Mindwalker . Finally, AWeb appeared as the third browser .

Apart from playing games (which was more the case with the Amiga 500/1200), the Amiga was mainly used for editing videos. The MovieShop editing program has been a quasi-standard for a long time. B. offered at the Munich Academy of Fine Arts . Other important applications were 3D animation (see below), music ( trackers such as The Ultimate Soundtracker , FutureComposer and the like still enjoy cult status today ). Applications such as authoring have also been added in recent years . Best-known representatives: AmigaVision, an authoring software for creating interactive CDs, for playing laser discs and for karaoke applications and Scala, the most powerful version of which, Info Channel, is still used today in cable television systems.

The 3D graphics software Maxon Cinema 4D and LightWave 3D as well as the audio program Samplitude (and many others), which are still successful today (on Windows and MacOS ), had their origins on the Amiga.

Especially with the graphics applications mentioned, it turned out to be an advantage that Amiga had defined an overarching standard for document files early on in cooperation with the Electronic Arts company , the Interchange File Format , or IFF for short. With it, not only graphic data, but also audio, text or complex multimedia data could be saved in a logical and meaningfully structured way. The advantages of the format were so obvious that hardly any software manufacturer took a different route and did not use it. When graphics animation became more and more important a few years after the appearance of the Amiga, the standard was organically expanded to include corresponding content. Later versions of the AmigaOS also included support for processing this format so that programmers could rely on a solid foundation.


Image montage of an Amiga 500 u. a. with Joystick Competition Pro . The game Leander can be seen on the screen .
Racing simulation Vroom by the publisher Lankhor (1991)

Over the years, over 3000 commercial games and hundreds of public domain games have appeared for the Amiga platform . Above all, the most popular of all Amiga variants, the Amiga 500, was considered the ultimate game computer.

Mindwalker is often called the first game because it was included with the first Amiga 1000. However, u. a. Text adventures by Infocom for the Amiga. In 1986, Defender of the Crown was released, a game with outstanding graphics that made use of the system's capabilities for the first time. In 1987, versions of the popular adventure games King's Quest , Police Quest and Space Quest from the company Sierra On-Line appeared, which were so successful that they each resulted in many sequels. The Great Giana Sisters from the German game developer Rainbow Arts was on the shelves of the shops for no longer than a week in 1988 because of a legal dispute due to its similarity to Super Mario Bros. from Nintendo , making it the shortest game available on the Amiga market. In the same year, the benchmark flight simulator Falcon and David Brabens cult classic from the BBC, Elite, were released . In 1989, Shadow of the Beast raised the bar again with smoothly moving graphics on several levels (so-called parallax scrolling ), but was not able to convince in terms of play. The conversion of the cult adventure Maniac Mansion by Lucasfilm Games and the soccer game Kick Off ensured both fun and high sales. The number of games that were first developed for the Amiga continued to decrease in the years that followed. In the 1990s, complex productions in particular were almost always first published for MS-DOS or Microsoft Windows and were then converted to the Amiga at best.

Lemmings in particular stood for an innovative game concept in 1990 , and the racing game Lotus Esprit Turbo Challenge and Speedball 2 also received hymns of praise . Groundbreaking in 1991 were the conversion of the IBM PC adventure The Secret of Monkey Island and the action game Turrican II ; In addition, the German software house Software 2000 brought out the Bundesliga Manager Professional, a game that sold over 100,000 times. The soccer game Sensible Soccer , the graphic adventure Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge as well as the two very successful pinball simulations Pinball Dreams and Pinball Fantasies , which all appeared in 1992, are still regarded as outstanding examples of fun and were followed by several sequels - also for other platforms . In addition, in the same year the conversion of the PC hit Wing Commander , which had previously been considered technically impossible, was released , but which was not playable on the popular Amiga 500 because of the strong jerking. From 1993 onwards, graphically improved versions of the Amiga models A1200 and A4000 with AGA chipset, which had been newly added a year earlier, appeared. This year, the innovative expansion game The Settlers , the action games Desert Strike: Return to the Gulf and The Chaos Engine as well as the hit adventure Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis received top ratings from the trade press and sold accordingly. The latter was - also because of the black copy problem - the last game by LucasArts for the Amiga. In 1994, Sensible World of Soccer , Theme Park and SimCity 2000 were the last big hit games. Biing! appeared in 1995 on 19 floppy disks (in the AGA version) because CD drives were still not widely used at the time - the installation program for the game itself contained a small game to make the waiting time bearable. In the same year, Alien Breed 3D and Gloom, two games that wanted to profit from the success of the PC first- person shooter Doom , as well as the successful racing game Super Skidmarks and the action game Virocop by developer legend Andrew Braybrook were released . As of 1996, most of the well-known software houses had turned away from the Amiga and developed exclusively for PC and consoles. Even high-quality games that have been praised by the trade press such as the puzzle platformer The Humans III, the Beat 'em Up Fightin' Spirit, the business simulation Mag !!! , the soccer game Sensible World of Soccer 96/97 and the pinball simulation Slamtilt could only be sold in small numbers, especially because of the sustained triumph of Sony's PlayStation . Until the end of the 1990s, there were still a few commercial games by smaller developers, but only for AGA Amigas, especially for example. B. from the publisher Vulcan Software and the Canadian company clickBOOM. The latter ported the well-known PC games Quake and Myst for AGA Amiga computers (1200 and 4000) or Amiga computers with a graphics card.

A list of other popular game titles can be found in the category: Amiga game .

Weaknesses of the Amiga

The Commodore Amiga was ahead of its time, especially with the first models 1000, 2000 and 500, in terms of graphics , sound and multitasking - but it could never prevail against the PC in the office.

At the latest with the market launch of the Amiga 500, the Amiga received the reputation of being primarily a computer suitable for games. It became very popular among young people who played a lot with the Amiga, but rarely paid for the software. The inadmissible exchange of copies from hand to hand, e.g. B. in schoolyards, experienced a boom at that time. For more serious users, this picture burdened the Amiga in general; he never really got rid of it despite several attempts at correction; the Amiga 2000 parallel model, intended for professional use, did little to change this. At that time, many users of the PC appreciated the advantages, but kept their distance from the Amiga. The rather weak marketing from Commodore did the rest.

The comparatively simple creation of impermissible copies led not only to image problems, but in particular to a decreasing number of game publications. Game manufacturers were able to sell significantly more games with console versions for the Mega Drive and the SNES , since private copying was practically impossible. In the mid-1990s, even converting a console game to the Amiga was only worthwhile in individual cases due to insufficient sales.

In addition, the Amiga was only really fast in the area of ​​combined graphics. In the classic tasks in the office world, computing speed counted more than graphic skills. Here the Amiga could keep up well (e.g. compared to the Intel 80286), but was not that much faster to justify a change. Much standard software was not available for the Amiga or was available too late. Even in the area of ​​graphics B. the area of ​​construction difficult, because the high resolution required for this purpose could initially only be displayed by interlacing.

Screen presentation not suitable for the office

The models with the so-called OCS (Original Chip Set) - the basic models 1000, 500 and 2000 - only achieved refresh rates of up to 50 Hz, as they were specially designed for use with standard monitors that work according to the PAL standard. The maximum resolution of 640 × 512 pixels would have been sufficient at that time, but the number of lines of 512 was only a theoretical figure. It required the image structure using alternating fields ( line skip or interlace), so - as with television - the even and odd lines were displayed alternately in order to achieve the necessary frequency of 50 Hz. The interlacing was particularly noticeable in the case of high-contrast horizontal lines, as they often occur on program interfaces, which is why long screen work was extremely strenuous and tiring. Therefore, the surfaces of professional tools were adapted accordingly, i. H. High-contrast image areas and controls were largely dispensed with.

The numbers for the American models are slightly different ( NTSC standard). The maximum resolution was 640 × 400 or 200 pixels, the maximum refresh rate at 60 Hz.

Because of the line frequency of only 15.6 kHz, VGA standard monitors could not be connected without additional devices. This could be achieved with a scandoubler (which was combined with a flicker fixer on most devices available ), which doubled the line frequency. Alternatively, the more expensive Multisync or Multiscan monitors could be used.

Commodore was aware of the shortcomings in office use and therefore developed a special so-called Hedley monitor ( A2024 ), which built up a high-resolution grayscale image from four (or six) individual video images of the Amiga using a digitizer, internal framebuffer and a special monitor driver. Because of the comparatively high price and the limited usability (no color), this monitor was not widely used.

Problems with the A1200

A drawback of the Amiga 1200 at the time was that it only had a DD floppy disk drive for 880 kilobyte floppy disks, which was not adequate for the storage space requirements of games at the time.

Around every second Amiga 500 game at that time was about 2 to 3 floppy disks, many more that have to be changed at some point during the game. Installation on a hard drive was the exception. The favored Amiga HD floppy disk with 1.76 MB capacity would evolutionarily have fallen into exactly this niche and was expected by many; less the optional CD-ROM drive or even PCMCIA memory cards, which at the time still seemed revolutionary. CD-ROMs also have the disadvantage that they can only be read, which would have made saving games difficult.

The necessary universal floppy controller, which supports at least the 1.76 MB format (also at a higher speed), which could have solved the problem, only appeared later in the form of the additional hardware Catweasel MK2 with a full Amiga 3½ ″ -880 / 1760 kB support up to Catweasel Extra 3½ ″ 1160/2380 kB. However, these third-party replacement solutions were never bootable and only work via the workbench. Commodore itself had only planned the use of 4 MB raw disks (2.88 MB IBM-formatted) for the AAA , the successor chipset of the AGA.

The downward compatibility of the A1200 with the A500 is established via a boot menu that starts when both mouse buttons are pressed at the same time when the computer is booting. However, full compatibility is not given and some of the old Amiga 500 programs therefore did not run on it. Resourceful hackers made incompatible A500 games compatible with the A1200 through patches , the so-called AGA fixes.

Another problem was the only 2 MB chip RAM; This was a quadrupling of the Amiga 500 memory, but not enough to start the AmigaOS and an installed game and keep them in the RAM. The subsequent installation of games only works smoothly with WHDLoad , for which 8 MB, better 16 MB FastRAM is recommended.

Economic problems

In the end, the main reason for the failure of the Amiga was due to errors in the Commodore management. The high profits that Commodore made with the Amiga for a while were not reinvested in promising new developments.

This resulted in developments that passed the market, such as the Amiga 500+ and the Amiga 600, both of which did not differ technically enough from the previous models to be able to continue the success of the Amiga 500. The development of CDTV was innovative, but not thought through to the end and also technically too weak. In addition, it came too late to steal market shares from the already established consoles. These misjudgments by those responsible cost a lot of capital and market share. The technically better models A1200 and A4000 were introduced at a time when many customers had already turned their backs on the Amiga. Lost market share and the high development costs for new devices ultimately resulted in a crisis.

Another problem for the Amiga was the increasing spread of the IBM-compatible PC in private households. The (planned) use of office software was usually no longer a sales argument for the Amiga. In addition to computing, the graphics and sound capabilities of DOS PCs also developed significantly faster than those of the Amiga family. With VGA graphics and Sound Blaster sound at the latest , IBM-compatible PCs came very close to the Amiga in terms of gaming properties, but also offered suitable resolutions and refresh rates for word processing and Office. While strategy games and simulations were often first published for the Amiga in the heyday of the Amiga, in the 1990s they increasingly appeared first for the DOS PC.

The Amiga today

Further development from 1994

PowerPC 604e, 200 MHz

Although the parent company Commodore was liquidated in 1994, the development of the Amiga was never completely finished.

The new company Amiga Technologies was founded as a GmbH in Bensheim by the rights holder following on from Commodore, the German ESCOM AG , a PC retail chain from Heppenheim , which re-launched and sold the Amiga 1200 and Amiga 4000T models. The planned successor model Walker (unofficially also called Amiga 1300), which was already presented at CeBIT 1996, has not been released any more; ESCOM went bankrupt. The planned Advanced Amiga Architecture Chip Set (AAA or Triple-A Chip Set) is therefore only legendary.

An attempt to take over VisCorp - under the direction of today's Genesis CEO Bill Buck  - failed after lengthy efforts.

In 1997 the direct PC sender Gateway 2000 took over the Amiga rights and continued to sell the existing hardware through its newly founded subsidiary Amiga International in Germany. Up until its presentation at the World of Amiga '99 in London , the model of a new Amiga computer, the Amiga MCC (Amiga Multimedia Convergence Computer) , was developed under the leadership of Amiga International President Jim Collas . The plan was a computer with ATX - motherboard , which with a Transmeta be equipped CPU and should be expandable with standard hardware. The AmigaOS was to be replaced by an AmigaOE (Amiga Operating Environment) developed by the company QNX , before the decision was made in July 1999 to use Linux instead. QNX then made the technology behind the newly developed operating system available to Amiga developers. The case of the Amiga MCC was designed by the American design company Pentagram, which had also worked for Apple , the Coca-Cola Company and Disney, among others . Suddenly, at the end of September 1999, the open letters to the Amiga community that Collas had regularly published on the Amiga website were removed. At almost the same time, the email addresses of the American employees disappeared from the website and all discussion forums were closed. Shortly afterwards, Amiga International announced that Collas had resigned from his position as president of the company for personal reasons.

In 2000, Amiga, with the exception of the rights to the ideas for the Amiga MCC and the Amiga Objects as well as the patents, was sold to a company of former Gateway employees called Amino Development , which was then renamed Amiga Inc. (in USA).

The company PIOS Computer AG was founded by former development engineers and managers of Amiga Technologies , which was later renamed Metabox AG . Initially, PIOS-Metabox pursued the idea of ​​PowerPC-based computers or Powermac clones based on CHRP . This idea failed because of Apple's changed licensing policy , so that later only turbo cards were manufactured for Mac computers. Inspired by phase5 , which from 1996 also developed PPC accelerator cards for Powermacs and Amiga computers, Metabox started its own efforts with the AmiJoe (based on the joeCard ). Later attempts were made to enter the set-top box market, which ended in a fiasco for Metabox and its developers. However, the software development that had already started was partially incorporated into MorphOS - the open source AmigaOS clone AROS is one of the links here.

The PowerPC efforts phase5 indeed ended with the bankruptcy of the company - the cards were but after that for a time of DCE produced and sold. The Cyberstorm and Blizzard processor cards already sold can be operated with a wide variety of operating systems. In addition to OS3.9, which supports this hybrid, there was the power-up system, which was developed by Phase5 for precisely these cards (a kind of system plug-in into the existing AmigaOS 3.x). Despite the better memory management, this could not prevail against the emerging WarpOS from Haage & Partner . Adjusted were u. a. also AmigaOS4, NetBSD, Linux, Morphos.

The company Amiga, Inc. initially concentrated on the development of the AmigaDE (Digital Environment) based on TAO / Intent and the associated SDK for Windows and Unix / Linux computers. This was followed by AmigaAnywhere for pocket PC- based PDA systems, among other things . In order to meet the unbroken interest in the continuation of the product line now called Classic Amiga , Amiga, Inc. looked for partners for a revitalization of the Amiga platform: Eyetech and Hyperion Entertainment .

In 2003 the hardware of an official successor finally appeared - the AmigaOne from Eyetech - which contains modern PowerPC CPUs instead of the outdated 680x0 CPUs from Motorola . Initially, only Linux / PPC was available for this computer - the first public version of the new AmigaOS 4.0 developed by Hyperion Entertainment was only delivered to previous buyers later, in June 2004, as a developer pre-release. The Pegasos computer from Genesi - also CHRP-based - has established itself as an unofficial competitor to the AmigaOne, although it is more in the tradition of phase5 and VisCorp.

In mid-2003 the rights to the Amiga operating system were bought by the company KMOS , in July 2004 Amiga, Inc. was also taken over by KMOS.

On December 24th, 2006 the company Hyperion completed AmigaOS 4.0 after five years of development. This operating system version runs natively on PowerPC systems.

In May 2007 Amiga Inc. announced two new computers. The entry-level model should cost US $ 489, the large computer $ 1,498. The sale should take place from winter 2007. However, this did not happen.

AmigaOne X1000 with AmigaOS 4.1

In August 2008 Hyperion Entertainment released AmigaOS 4.1, which is the first version of AmigaOS that requires pure PPC hardware and thus no longer runs on classic Amigas with PowerUP extensions. For the time being, version 4.1 could only be used with AmigaOne hardware, although this was no longer available at the time of publication.

A few months later the companies Acube Systems and Hyperion announced that AmigaOS 4.1 can run on computers with an updated version of the SAM440 motherboard from Acube. Since the rights of the Amiga brand are owned by Amiga, Inc. and the support for the SAM440 hardware from AmigaOS 4.1 was only a result of the successful collaboration between Hyperion and ACUBE, there are doubts as to whether this solution is legal. Amiga, Inc. announced several times that it would have new Amiga hardware produced by other manufacturers without implementing this announcement, so that Hyperion, as the manufacturer of the operating system, independently looked for a supplier of suitable hardware for its operating system. In the meantime (December 2009) Hyperion has won a lawsuit against Amiga, Inc. and thus has full rights of use to AmigaOS 3.1, as well as the self-developed versions 4.0 and subsequent systems, as well as to the use of the names Amiga and AmigaOS, as well as the Boingball logo. In January 2010, Hyperion announced that it would build a new computer called the AmigaOne X1000 through the newly founded subsidiary A.Eon. This new computer has a programmable XCore chip XMOS XS1-L1 128 SDS called Xena as a coprocessor, as well as a processor from the PowerPC family . At the beginning of 2012 the first copies of the AmigaOne X1000 were delivered. In 2017, another A.Eon model appeared on the market with the AmigaOne X5000. Acube, on the other hand, presented in September 2011 with the AmigaOne 500, a complete system based on the SAM460ex mainboard and AmigaOS 4.1.

Since it can happen that the original floppy disk drives break, hobbyists have created conversion instructions for various PC drives.

Since 2014 there has also been an Amiga based on emulation on an ARM system, called Armiga. Depending on the model, it has a built-in 3.5-inch floppy disk drive and can emulate an Amiga 500 and an Amiga 1200. The 1.3 kickstart roms included are officially licensed.

Alternative FPGA Amigas

Minimig board in revision 1.0

On the basis of freely reprogrammable FPGAs there are also repeated attempts by hobby programmers to reproduce Amiga computers as far as possible in hardware. An offshoot of these attempts is z. B. the Minimig by Dennis van Weeren, which is offered today for around 150 €. This is a MC68SEC000 clocked at 7.09 MHz (switchable to 49.63 MHz via OSD) with 2 MB or optionally 4 MB S-RAM, whereby all additional chips of the Amiga 500 are in a 400 Kgate Spartan-3 (XC3S400) -FPGA were modeled. An MMC / SD flash card reader serves as the drive. In addition, the Minimig has a post-programmed Scandoubler (Amber chip from the Amiga 3000) and is therefore optionally suitable for VGA 31 kHz and PAL 15 kHz. Most TFT monitors can display the 31 kHz signal cleanly.

In conjunction with an additional ARM miniboard, the Minimig now also supports up to four virtual drives, which can optionally be operated at multiple speeds, a turbo mode with 4 kB CPU cache and accelerated blitter and a maximum of 2 MB chip and 1.5 MB slow RAM. The compatibility has been improved with each new version (freely available), it is currently being further developed (as of 2013).

The current Minimig firmware offers support for Hard Drive Files (HDF) and the ECS-Agnus + Denise .

With the help of FPGAs, the C64 in the C-One or the MSX in the One Chip MSX have already been reissued. With the FPGA extender, the current C-One has also formed the basis for a more powerful Minimig since 2008, which no longer needs an ARM chip for the Amiga replica and instead has a 68k soft core, the TG68 from Tobias Gubener in a larger one Cyclone 3 FPGA, which also achieves higher performance than the original 68000.

A project based on Minimig is the FPGA Arcade or MikeJ's Replay FPGA Board, with which an attempt is also made to compatibly simulate the original AGA chipset of the Amiga 1200 in addition to the Minimig Core. A TG68 softcore is also used for this , which despite still missing Commands of the original 68020 almost twice the MIPS performance of the A1200. Minimig and Minimig AGA can also run on the MIST FPGA (for aMIga and atari ST) board. The midi connections of the Atari ST are also supported in the current MIST 1.3 Plus. The MIST is available in numerous online shops and is currently the reference among Amiga FPGA computers. The cores are developed on GitHub.

A follow-up project to the MISTer , on the other hand, uses an FPGA that is approximately four times stronger than an Intel (ex-Altera) Cyclone V with 110K LEs (MIST: Cyclone III with 25K LEs) where the MIST ran out of power, e.g. B. in the replica of the Atari Falcon, X68000 and also Super Nintendo etc. The standard for this is a normal FPGA developer board, a Terasic DE10-nano.

With FPGAs, there is now a large playing field to reproduce many original functions and maintain downward compatibility, for additional functions and speed increases e.g. B. also the 68080 Core and Super AGA (SAGA chipset) developed by Apollo for Amiga accelerator cards. A standalone version of the Apollo accelerator card was introduced in October 2018. This currently has the top performance even before the MIST / MISTer, since the FPGA also has a new type of 68080 code available here, in simplified terms a 68040/60 high-end Amiga with additional MMX optimizations, with the AGA and CD32 also ports from previous PC games such as B. Doom or Quake from Aminet run smoothly on the Amiga for the first time. The well-known benchmark SysInfo shows the Vampire card about 4.04 to 6.61 times the performance of an Amiga 4000 with 25 MHz.

There is also a certain competition here with the MISTer with the question of software or hardware emulation. While Apollo is relying more on the further development of its 68080 code as well as CoffinOS and the emulators for it with the vampire card, e.g. B. PC-Task, GnNEO for Neo Geo, ScummVM RTG for DOS games, etc., the MISTer, on the other hand, uses more the option of only switching the FPGA between the different original hardware configurations. For pure retro emulation, the MISTer can show advantages here, but it does not bring the environment of a modern OS with browser Netsurf and WHDLoad etc. as an open pure FPGA platform.

Reverse engineering , the free kickstart alternative AROS as well as open source hardware compared to the original 68000 family save the acquisition of the original licenses and rights. Depending on the objective, simple low-cost FPGAs can also be quickly pushed to their limits, which increases the optimization effort.

Alternative operating systems

In addition to the standard AmigaOS, there are also a number of alternative operating systems for the Amiga:

  • AROS (open source operating system compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 source code, including for x86 hardware)
  • AMIX (see Amiga 2500 / UX)
  • Coffin (AmigaOS 3.9 compatible operating system for Apollo Vampire accelerator cards with the 68080 FPGA core)
  • Linux68k (for older Amigas with Motorola 680x0 processor)
  • Linux / PPC (for more modern Amigas with PowerPC processor)
  • MorphOS (via 68k emulation is binary compatible with software written for AmigaOS 3.1)
  • NetBSD / Amiga (for Amigas with Motorola 68020-60 processor)
  • NetBSD / AmigaPPC (for Amigas that are equipped with a PowerPC CPU expansion board )

Note on MorphOS and the conflict behind it:

The companies Genesi and bplan have launched the Pegasos mainboards, for which the MorphOS operating system is supplied. MorphOS is an Amiga-like PowerPC operating system on a microkernel basis. In addition to MorphOS-specific new functions, it provides most of the AmigaOS3 API and is therefore largely source code compatible and - as far as the new hardware allows - binary compatible with AmigaOS 3 and AmigaOS 3 applications (for AmigaOS 4 PPC applications have limited binary compatibility over the old AmigaOS PPC kernel extensions such as PowerUP and the os4emu API emulation). MorphOS was originally planned as the successor to AmigaOS 3, as an official further development did not seem certain for a while. The negotiations with Amiga, Inc. about the use of MorphOS as the new PPC AmigaOS failed, however, and Amiga, Inc. decided to let Hyperion Entertainment port AmigaOS 3 to the PowerPC platform .

DragonFly BSD

With DragonFly BSD is a derivative of existing FreeBSD , that of a former guru of the Amiga community, Matthew Dillon is developed. According to Dillon, the Hammer file system was originally inspired by the AmigaOS Smart File System . Variant (context-sensitive) symlinks are functionally comparable to assignments in AmigaDOS, i.e. the assignment of drive letters to file paths, and the messaging capabilities of the kernel would theoretically be well suited to implement AmigaOS / AROS subsystems in the kernel or user mode -Processes to send messages into the kernel. AROS and DragonFly BSD would theoretically be an excellent match, but commercialization would not be unproblematic in terms of licensing law.


The Classic Amiga series is reproduced as correctly as possible using emulators .

Amiga models from third-party manufacturers

The delivered Amiga models were treated in the history above. A complete list with links to the detailed individual items can be found in the Commodore product overview . Only models with PPC CPUs from third-party manufacturers or successors are listed here:

  • AmigaOne : originally from Eyetech , should represent the official successor of the legendary Amiga computer series.
  • Sam440ep: In September 2008 AmigaOS 4.1 was presented for the PPC mainboards of the SAM440 series from ACUBE Systems, which are the successors to the AmigaOne. This series was expanded in October 2010 by SAM460 mainboards.
  • Pegasos : The company Genesi has launched the Pegasos hardware platform, for which the MorphOS operating system is supplied.
  • EFIKA : The Efika embedded board from Genesi also runs with MorphOS .

See also


  • Brian Bagnall: People's Computer - Rise and Fall of the Computer Pioneer Commodore . Ed .: Winnie Forster. Gameplan, Utting am Ammersee 2011, ISBN 978-3-00-023848-2 (American English: On the Edge: the Spectacular Rise and Fall of Commodore . Winnipeg 2005. Translated by Boris Kretzinger).
  • Boris Kretzinger: Commodore. The rise and fall of a computer giant. A short foray into the company's history with data, facts and the reasons why the computer pioneer failed in the end . Scriptorium-Verlag, Morschen 2005, ISBN 3-938199-04-0 ( Edition Retrobooks 1).
  • Michael Kukafka: Amiga - Quo vadis? The development of a cult computer. Scriptorium Verlag, Morschen 2007, ISBN 978-3-938199-15-2 ( Edition “Retrobooks” - reading material for real computer freaks! ).
  • Volker Mohr: The Amiga, the story of a computer legend. Scriptorium Verlag, Morschen 2007, ISBN 978-3-938199-12-1 ( Edition “Retrobooks” - reading material for real computer freaks! ).
  • Frank Riemenschneider : Amiga - programming in machine language. A modular programming course with the Devpac assembler. Markt & Technik Verlag, Haar near Munich 1989, ISBN 3-89090-712-1 ( Commodore non-fiction book ).
  • Jimmi Maher: The Future Was Here. The Commodore Amiga. MIT Press, Cambridge 2012, ISBN 978-0-262-01720-6 .

Broadcast reports and presentations

Web links

Commons : Amiga  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Amiga  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

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  13. a b Amiga chooses Linux as the new kernel . In: amigaOS - the specialist magazine for amiga users, issue 08.1999, p. 26
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