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AmigaOS Manual: AmigaDOS

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The Amiga line of personal computers offers a unique combination of versatility, computing power, and usability. The fast, multitasking Amiga operating system allows users at any level of experience to take advantage of their system's resources.

AmigaDOS its the Amiga Disk Operating System. A disk operating system is software that manages data manipulation and control on the computer, such as:

  • Providing a filing system that organizes the data that programs use and produce
  • Handling information storage and retrieval from floppy disks, hard, disks, and other storage media

Providing an interface to peripheral devices, such as printers and modems

AmigaDOS provides a Command Line Interface (CLI), which means that you work with it through typed commands. Some of these commands parallel familiar Workbench operations, such as Copy, Rename, and Format Disk. There are also advanced commands that allow you to create scripts for performing repetitive tasks, to monitor the use of memory, and to perform other tasks unavailable through the Workbench. The commands are entered through a special window, known as a Shell window. Shell windows open on the Workbench screen and are similar to other Workbench windows, except that Shell windows only display text.

Together AmigaDOS and the Amiga Shell offer you a powerful and flexible operating environment with these features.

Operating System Features

  • Complete control over all aspects of Amiga operation
  • Hierarchical file system
  • Filenames up to 256 characters, upper/lower case preserved without case-sensitivity
  • Configurable command search path
  • Pattern matching
  • Background command processing
  • Many commands internal, others can be made memory resident
  • Shared libraries
  • Multiple file systems supported, including CrossDOS (MS-DOS file system)

Shell Features

  • Multiple, independent Shell windows
  • Shell windows sizable, draggable, depth-adjustable
  • Configurable prompt, font, and text color and style
  • Command history and command line editing
  • Fast character-mapped display
  • Aliases
  • Local and global environment variables
  • Scripting
  • Command input and output redirection
  • Multiple directory assignment
  • Copy and paste text among console windows
  • ARexx support

Using this Manual

This manual, which should be used in conjunction with the Workbench User's Guide, describes the AmigaDOS software, its components, and how to use it. It assumes that you are familiar with Workbench, but have never worked with AmigaDOS. If this is the case, we recommend that you read through the entire manual to learn the concepts associated with the Amiga operating system before beginning to use it. After you have familiarized yourself with AmigaDOS, use this manual as a reference tool when executing commands or writing programs or scripts.

The following is a brief description of each chapter and appendix:

Chapter 1. Selecting an Interface This chapter gives information to help you determine when to use AmigaDOS rather than Workbench.

Chapter 2. Understanding the AmigaDOS Shell This chapter describes the AmigaDOS Shell in detail.

Chapter 3. Working with AmigaDOS This chapter describes the file management system, types of commands, and components of AmigaDOS commands.

Chapter 4. Using the Editors This chapter provides a full explanation for using the ED text editor and command listings for the MEmacs and EDIT text editors.

Chapter 5. Using Scripts This chapter describes AmigaDOS scripts and how to create them.

Chapter 6. AmigaDOS Command Reference This chapter describes each AmigaDOS command in detail.

Chapter 7. Workbench-Related Command Reference This chapter describes the Workbench-related commands usable from AmigaDOS.

Chapter 8. Command Examples This chapter provides examples of how to perform common tasks with AmigaDOS commands.

Appendix A. Error Messages This chapter contains a list of possible program problems and suggested solutions.

Appendix B. Additional Amiga Directories This chapter describes S:, DEVS:, L:, FONTS:, and other directories.

Appendix C: Using Floppy-Only-Systems: This chapter tells you how to make the most of your system if you only have one floppy drive and no hard drive. Obsolete and not available

Appendix D. Advanced AmigaDOS Features This chapter provides information on customizing AmigaDOS for advanced Amiga users.

AmigaDOS Glossary

Documentation Conventions

The following conventions are used in this manual:

Commands, their keywords, device names, and assigned directories are displayed in all upper case letters. File and directory names are displayed in initial caps. However, they do not need to be entered this way. The Amiga ignores case differences in commands and arguments.
Angle brackets enclose variable information that you must supply. In place of <n>, substitute the value, text, or option desired. Do not enter the angle brackets when entering the variable.
Text appearing in the Courier font represents information that you type in or text displayed in a window in response to a command.
Key1 + Key2
Key combinations displayed with a + (plus) sign connecting them indicate pressing the keys simultaneously. For example, Ctrl+C indicates that you hold down the Ctrl key and, while holding it down, press C.
Key1, Key2
Key combinations displayed with a comma separating them indicate pressing the keys in sequence. For example, Esc,O indicates that you press and release the Esc key, followed by the O key.
Directions to press the Return key indicate that you press the large odd shaped key on the right side of the keyboard above the right shift key.
Directions to "enter" something indicate that you type in the indicated information and press Return.
command line indentation
On command lines that are long enough to wrap to the next line, this manual shows the wrapped lines as indented for documentation purposes only. In practice, the wrapped lines align with the first character of the Shell prompt.

Related Documentation

AmigaDOS Quick Reference

Workbench User's Guide

ARexx User's Guide

In addition, the AmigaOS Developer Documentation provide technical documentation of AmigaDOS for programmers and developers.