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Welcome to AmigaOS

AmigaOS is an operating system pretty easy to understand. Of course you need to learn some basic concepts. This documentation will provide these and your imagination will do the rest.

AmigaOS exists since 1985. At this time it was an operating system ahead of all others i.e. it could do what others could only dream of. It was the first system that could display animations while playing music and while doing this it could still read data from disks, all at the same time. This is why many people/organisation used this great system. Some of them are famous: Andy Warhol, Sir Arthur C. Clarke, the NASA, the Hollywood and the TV broadcasting industries and many others that thought only Amiga makes it possible.

Today many people still think AmigaOS has something special that makes it more interesting than other systems. A system that allows the user to control its computer, not the other way around. A system you fully understand, easier and more flexible to use, in other words more fun.

AmigaOS: The flexible operating system

AmigaOS is an operating system - a collection of efficient programs written to start the computer, let the user control the computer and to present feedback to the user.

AmigaOS is designed with ease of use and flexibility in mind. To begin with, AmigaOS provides a clear view of your computer, your applications and files. A number of methods are available to let your computer serve you - whether it is graphically with a mouse, by using the "Shell" command line or by some other means the user configures.

AmigaOS strives to avoid stupid limitations that can be found on other systems. An AmigaOS user can organise their files the way they like. There are few limits on file hierarchy, locations and file names - drives don't have to named with a letter or cryptic names (C:, sda1), your files don't have to reside in your "Documents" folder and your hard drives aren't hidden from you. If you're not writing to drives and you want "shut down", why do you have to wait for the OS to allow you? With AmigaOS, just hit the power switch.

An Amiga does not start with pre-installed applications serving some sales conglomerate, marketing organization or their big brother. AmigaOS does not do actions behind the user's back. As unique as it is today, the AmigaOS computer serves the user and not the other way around. With one of the largest proportions of user-programmers around, the trustworthy AmigaOS ethic is mirrored in AmigaOS applications

Since the first versions twenty-five years ago, AmigaOS has also been designed to serve efficiently. Developers of this operating system and programs have always strived to optimize their applications. The result is an operating system and applications that take less space on your hard drives, waste less time loading, consume less memory, require less processing power and respond quickly to the user.

Every update of AmigaOS doesn't demand you must buy newer, more powerful hardware. AmigaOS currently runs on twenty year old 200MHz computers or brand new dual core 1,800MHz computers - it's the user's choice how they want to enjoy AmigaOS.

Some AmigaOS features

Here are some of the features of AmigaOS that make easy to control your computer. Some of these concepts were copied by other operating systems which tend to show they are the correct way of doing things.

  • Small footprint: AmigaOS can work with 64 MB of memory. On disk, a default installation takes around 200 MB only. The smaller footprint translates into a more responsive user experience given any hardware.
  • Straightforward operating system design: With a clear layout and easy to understand names (Classes, Libs, Fonts, Prefs, Storage...etc.) you can easily understand what everything in AmigaOS is and what it does for you. Nothing is hidden from the user and the user is not restricted by AmigaOS.
  • User configurable graphic interface: Using the provided "preferences editors" the user can dramatically reconfigure how AmigaOS looks, sounds, runs and responds to every user whim.
  • File recognition based on their content: You can name a file whatever you want, even without an extension. Examples: "my file" or "picture of Jay in Santa Clara". There is no need to add an extension to explain what the file is, like ".txt" or ".jpg". AmigaOS really examines the file content to recognise what type of file it is.
  • Logical assignments: Easily set and use logical names names for directories located anywhere on your system. For example, "Auto:" can point to your directory car show pictures buried on your media drive.
  • Ram disk concept: On AmigaOS there is a special disk called the Ram disk which represents a part of your computer memory. This area is not fixed. It automatically grows whenever you store files in it.
  • Command line and graphic interfaces: Both the the graphical user interface (GUI) and command line interface (where you type commands with the keyboard) can be used to manage AmigaOS, its programs and files. Both interfaces are intergated with each other so you can easily use command lines from the GUI or open graphical elements from a command line.
  • ARexx Ports: Throughout AmigaOS and third party programs, "ARexx" message ports let one application to talk with others and for apps work together to serve the user. AmigaOS also provides the lightweight ARexx and modern Python programming languages that can control AmigaOS and those applications with their ARexx ports.
  • Resident Commands: Commands can be made resident i.e. they are kept in memory so that they can be reused with no loading time.
  • Restart only the operating system: if you feel the need to restart the system, you can do so restarting only the operating system and not the whole computer.

AmigaOS platform targets

While the original versions of AmigaOS would run on computers of the eighties on the Motorola 68k series CPU chips, the current AmigaOS runs on computers using the PowerPC processor chips hardware. These can be the older Amiga computers (also called "Classic Amigas") with PPC "accelerator cards" or the new generation Amiga PPC computers.

In this guide, we will concentrate on the current AmigaOS running on the supported hardware.

How do you use AmigaOS?

AmigaOS is a collection of components that oversee the computer hardware & data and provide the user with easy, understandable tools to manage and use them.

In the following Introduction to AmigaOS pages we will discuss the basic concepts:

  • how to use AmigaOS
  • what the AmigaOS GUI is composed of
  • what interfaces AmigaOS provides, including the Workbench and Shell.
  • how files and data are stored

From the introduction page, you can continue with more detailed pages on the Workbench and the AmigaDOS manual . Now let's start with this Introduction to AmigaOS.

How does AmigaOS work?

In this page we will discuss how AmigaOS works:

  • the underlying DOS system
  • how files and data are stored
  • ...
  • Amiga OS components
  • how AmigaOS is booted on your Amiga computer
  • AmigaOS tools and utilities
  • ...