A screenshot of AmigaOS 4.1 Update 2
|Source model||Closed source|
|Latest release||4.1 Final Edition Update 1 / December 31, 2016|
|Kernel type||Atypical microkernel|
|Default user interface||Workbench|
AmigaOS 4 (abbreviated as OS4 or AOS4) is a line of Amiga operating systems which runs on PowerPC microprocessors. It is mainly based on AmigaOS 3.1 source code developed by Commodore, and partially on version 3.9 developed by Haage & Partner. "The Final Update" (for OS version 4.0) was released on 24 December 2006 (originally released in April 2004) after five years of development by the Belgian company Hyperion Entertainment under license from Amiga, Inc. for AmigaOne registered users.
During the five years of development, purchasers of AmigaOne machines could download pre-release versions of AmigaOS 4.0 from Hyperion's repository as long as these were made available.
On 20 December 2006, Amiga, Inc. terminated the contract with Hyperion Entertainment to produce or sell AmigaOS 4. Nevertheless, AmigaOS 4.0 was released commercially for Amigas with PowerUP accelerator cards in November 2007 (having been available only to developers and beta-testers until then). The Italian computer company ACube Systems has announced Sam440ep and Sam440ep-flex motherboards, which are AmigaOS 4 compatible. Also, a third party bootloader, known as the "Moana", was released by Acube on torrent sites; it allows installation of the Sam440ep version of OS4 to Mac Mini G4's. However this is both unofficial and unsupported as of today, and very incomplete, especially regarding drivers. During the judicial procedure (between Hyperion and Amiga, Inc), OS4 was still being developed and distributed.
On 30 September 2009, Hyperion Entertainment and Amiga, Inc. reached a settlement agreement where Hyperion is granted an exclusive right to AmigaOS 3.1 and market AmigaOS 4 and subsequent versions of AmigaOS (including AmigaOS 5 without limitation). Hyperion has assured the Amiga community that it will continue the development and the distribution of AmigaOS 4.x (and beyond), as it has done since November 2001.
The Workbench is the GUI of OS4, a graphical interface file manager and application launcher for the Operating System. It also includes some general purpose tools and utility programs such as a Notepad for typing text, MultiView for viewing images and Amigaguide documents, Unarc for unpacking Archives, a PDF reader, a number of small preferences programs for changing settings of the GUI and OS, among other programs.
The Kickstart contains many of the core components of the OS. Prior to version 4 of AmigaOS the Kickstart had been released mostly on a ROM (hardware included with the computer). In OS4 the Kickstart is instead stored on the hard disk. It consists mainly of:
There have been many different versions of the AmigaOS operating system (OS) during its three decades of history.
The first AmigaOS was introduced in 1985 and developed by Commodore International. It was nicknamed Workbench from the name of its Graphical user interface (GUI), due to an error of Commodore Marketing and Sales Department, which labeled the OS disk just with the name "Workbench Disk" and not with the correct name "AmigaOS Disk (Workbench)". The first versions of AmigaOS (1.0 and up to 1.3) are here indicated with the name of their original disks to preserve original custom.
Workbench 2.0 improvements introduced a lot of major advances to the GUI of Amiga operating system. The blue and orange colour scheme was replaced with a grey and light blue with 3D aspect in the border of the windows. The Workbench was no longer tied to the 640×256 (PAL) or 640×200 (NTSC) display modes, and much of the system was improved with an eye to making future expansion easier. For the first time, a standardised "look and feel" was added. This was done by creating the Amiga Style Guide, and including libraries and software which assisted developers in making conformant software. Technologies included the GUI element creation library gadtools, the software installation scripting language Installer, and the AmigaGuide hypertext help system.
After the demise of Commodore, the later owners of the Amiga trademark granted a license to a German company called Haage & Partner to update the Amiga's operating system. Along with this update came a change in the way people referred to the Amiga's operating system. Rather than specifying "Kickstart" or "Workbench", the updates were most often referred to as simply "AmigaOS". Whereas all previous OS releases ran on vanilla Amiga 500 with 68000 and 512 kB RAM, release 3.5 onwards required a 68020 or better and at least 4 MB fast ram.
In 2001 Amiga Inc. signed a contract with Hyperion Entertainment to develop the PowerPC native AmigaOS 4 from their previous AmigaOS 3.1 release. Unlike the previous versions which were based on the Motorola 68k central processor, OS4 runs only on PowerPC computer systems. Amiga, Inc.'s (current Amiga trademark owners) distribution policies for AmigaOS 4.0 and any later versions required that OS4 must be bundled with all new third-party hardware "Amigas", with the sole exception of Amigas with Phase5 PowerPC accelerator boards, for which OS4 is sold separately. This requirement was overturned in the agreement reached between Amiga, Inc. and Hyperion in the settlement of a lawsuit over the ownership of AmigaOS 4. In 2014 Hyperion introduced AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition incorporating all previous downloadable updates and some new features like unified graphics library with RTG support and support for more than 2 GB RAM.
In May 2012 Hyperion announced that they were working on AmigaOS 4.2. It would introduce hardware accelerated 3D support, multi-core support, a vastly improved file system API and many other features.
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Prominent features compared to other operating systems or previous versions of AmigaOS:
Released for Amigas equipped with third party PPC add-on boards:
Released for AmigaOne motherboards:
Released for Pegasos systems:
Released for Sam440 systems:
|Version||Release Date||Introduced Features|
|4.0||Developer Pre-release||April 2004||First public release|
|4.0||Developer Pre-release Update||10 October 2004||AltiVec support, PowerPC-native Picasso96 and MUI, USB support for input devices|
|Developer Pre-release Update 2||27 December 2004||Mass Storage Support for USB|
|Developer Pre-release Update 3||14 June 2005||PowerPC native Warp3D drivers for Voodoo 3 (Avenger), Voodoo 4/5 (Napalm) and the Radeon 7x00 series of graphics cards; WarpOS support|
|Developer Pre-release Update 4||8 February 2006||Petunia just-in-time 68k emulator; Warp3D with support for Voodoo 3/4/5 and ATI Radeon models 7000, 7200, 7500, 9000, 9200 and 9250; Intuition supports screen dragging|
|4.0||The Final Update||24 December 2006||Virtualized memory and faster memory allocation system (Slab allocator); new icon theme (Mason icons)|
|4.0||July 2007 Update||18 July 2007||Support for Shared objects; Python 2.5.1; merge of Tools and Utilities drawers|
|for Classic Amiga||November 2007||July 2007 Update baseline|
|February 2008 update for CyberStormPPC and BlizzardPPC||23 February 2008||Addressed some issues and compatibility problems|
|4.1||AmigaOS 4.1||17 September 2008||Memory paging; JXFS filesystem; Hardware compositing engine; Cairo device-independent 2D rendering library|
|4.1||Quick Fix||21 June 2009||Addressed some issues (Warp 3D drivers, IDE drivers, JXFS)|
|Update 1||14 January 2010||Improved compositing effects (fading and drop shadows); New notification system Ringhio; DDC support; AppDir: handler and URLopen; new Startup preferences; new icon set; MiniGL V2.2|
|Update 2||30 April 2010||Updated Python; Cairo 1.8.10 (partial hardware acceleration); AmiDock supports icon scaling|
|Update 3||29 August 2011||USB 2.0 (EHCI) support; Updated MUI (for easier porting of MUI 4 applications)|
|Update 4||22 December 2011||Emulation drawer with AmigaOS 3.x ROMs and Workbench files; RunInUAE contribution|
|Update 5||28 January 2012, 16 August 2012||First public release for AmigaOne X1000, later for other platforms. Improved Warp3D and IDE drivers; optimized DMA copy support for Sam440ep and Sam460ex systems; improved Classic compatibility (support for Catweasel)|
|Update 6||30 November 2012||Auto-update of system components through AmiUpdate|
|Update 7||Internal update, not released for end users, features unknown|
|Final Edition (Update 8)||18 December 2014||Support for more than 2 GB RAM; new unified graphics library with RTG support; improved console; new Intuition and Workbench features; updated Python port; improved DOS; updated context menus; new menus system with unlimited menus and sub menus; thumbnail previews of photos, images in menus; stand alone product, does not require previous releases and does not work as an upgrade over 4.1 Update 6|
|Final Edition Update 1||31 December 2016||Support for Z3 RAM as regular Fast RAM; support for disks larger than 2 TB; numerous bug fixes|
For the AmigaOS 4.2, Hyperion Entertainment planned the following updates: