Saturday, 25 November 2017

Happy 12th Birthday AmiKit

Lets go back 12 years to see where it all began and take a look at AmiKit history in words, pictures and video.

AmiKit has been released! (26-Nov-2005)
To be brief, AmiKit is all you need if you want to experience a high-end Classic Amiga system on your PC.
AmiKit turns the default AmigaOS installation into a completely renewed and fresh environment.
More than 20.000 files are included and pre-configured for immediate use!
Exclusive features:
  • Directory Opus Magellan II used a Workbench replacement!!!
  • Special versions of AmiStart, GlobalTrash, ReqChange, ShowAmiga96 and FullPalette!
Major features:
  • User-friendly interface that helps you to manage all your files in an easy way!
  • Internet browsing, mailing, chatting and downloading using various programs like AWeb, IBrowse, YAM, SimpleMail, AmIRC, AmiTradeCenter, AmiGift.
  • Reading PDF, M$Word, RTF and other document formats with the help of APDF, EvenMore, Antiword.
  • Manage your time and account with the help of Daywatch and HomeBank.
  • Music software, net streaming, MP3 creating and sample editing software like AmigaAMP, AmiNetRadio, EaglePlayer, SymphoniePlayer, LAME, TheMPegEncGUI, SampleEditor.
  • Displaying (even in thumbnails) and editing pictures with the help of PicShow, Thumb, MysticView, FroggerNG, PerfectPaint... Or enjoy the fractal world through ZoneXplorer!
  • Easy handling of archives. They are opened like every other drawer. Or some external programs could be used instead (VooDoo-X, MUIUnArc, XPKatana).
  • Massive FTP support through OpusFTP module. It has a full GUI for the Address Book and operational parameters.
  • Software for burning and copying the CDs (MakeCD), for mounting virtual CDs (VirtualCD).
  • You can make your AmiKit password protected. Just don't forget your password
  • Pre-configured recognition and processing of many file formats (through the DOpus filetypes).
  • Various system tools like SysInspector, SnoopDos, Q-Device, ShowPatches.
  • Antivirus software effectively checks the system files, memory and archives for viruses.
  • Emulation software like ASp for retro ZX gaming.
  • Great taskbar software: AmiStart (for those who do not like the taskbars on Amiga, simply remove AmiStart from WBStartup. Easy!)
  • Most advanced Amiga "recycle bin" software: GlobalTrash.
  • Visual enchancers and system enchancers like VisualPrefs, Birdie, TitleShadow, BoingBall, MagicMenu, MCP.
  • Warp3D compatibility thanks to QuarkTex software.
  • Yes, some games are included as well
  • ...and much more!

AmiKit 1.01 update (06-Dec-2005):
  • ADDED: new Magic bootpicture for 1024x768.
  • UPDATED: asyncio.library 40.6
  • FIXED: bad replaying of sound modules due to incorrect frequency settings
  • FIXED: ASp audio problems with AHI6
  • FIXED: AF2005 Online Edition not recognized if Win C: partition has no additional name.

AmiKit 1.02 update (12-Dec-2005):
  • ADDED: excellent DirOpus4 configuration created for AmiKit by Pavel Pok
  • ADDED: GMPlay 1.3 + GMPlayMUI 1.2 + gmtones + MidiFiles
  • ADDED: XPK packing options to DirOpus5 User Menu
  • UPDATED: FlashPlayer 1.2
  • UPDATED: MCC_TextEditor 15.17
  • UPDATED: MMKeyboard enabled by default
  • UPDATED: AmiKit.exe warns you if the name of your Win partition is in conflict with AmiKit
  • UPDATED: handling of DirOpus5 XPK and XFD filetypes
  • FIXED: bad recognizing of DirOpus5 Sound Module filetype

AmiKit 1.03 update (24-Dec-2005):
  • ADDED: AmiKit Polish documentation, translated by Tomek!
  • ADDED: AmigaAMP-External68k engine, set as default engine now.
  • UPDATED: AmigaAMP 2.16
  • UPDATED: IBrowse Preferences 23.3
  • UPDATED: Jabberwocky 1.6
  • UPDATED: MakeCD 3.2d beta 11
  • UPDATED: WHDLoad 16.5 build 4021
  • UPDATED: WookieChat 1.9.2
  • UPDATED: YAM 2.4p1 + locale files

2006
AmiKit 1.04 update (24-Jan-2006)
  • ADDED: DigiConverter 1.2
  • ADDED: GuardAmy 1.2
  • ADDED: STFax 4.0
  • ADDED: Tree 1.785
  • UPDATED: akGIF.datatype 45.30
  • UPDATED: akJFIF.datatype 45.30
  • UPDATED: akPNG.datatype 45.30
  • UPDATED: akTIFF.datatype 45.30
  • UPDATED: console.device 44.10 patch
  • UPDATED: KingCON 1.7
  • UPDATED: LimpidClock 1.16 beta
  • UPDATED: MultiView 45.10 patch
  • UPDATED: NewString.mcc 16.17 beta
  • UPDATED: rexxsyslib.library 44.2
  • UPDTAED: PicShow 31.301 and Thumb 7.223
  • UPDATED: SimpleMail 0.28
  • UPDATED: TTEngine 7.2
  • UPDATED: WookieChat 1.9.3
  • FIXED: AmiKit Polish offline documentation links refered to internet
  • FIXED: AmiKit/Configurations moved to AmiKit/WinUAE/Configurations so the "Configure WinUAE" button shows the config entries now
  • FIXED: Double AmiKit install entries in "Add or Remove Programs"

AmiKit 1.1.0 in TrueType suite now! (28-Mar-2006)
  • AmiKit now supports antialiased TrueType fonts!
  • Loading speed of icons has been increased!
  • Quality of icon rendering has been improved!
  • WinUAE emulation software updated to version 1.2.0
  • AmiKit now contains the largest collection of AmigaOS3.9 patches.

AmiKit 1.1.1 update (07-Apr-2006) - updates your AmiKit v1.1.0 to version 1.1.1
  • FIXED: Some TrueType fonts were not copied to AmiKit during previous update. Therefore, eg. AWeb did not work correctly with TrueType fonts enabled.
  • FIXED: Latest "Install Patches" failed in specific circumstances.

AMIKIT 1.1.2 UPDATE (21-Apr-2006):
  • ADDED: AKCC 6.3 by Andreas R. Kleinert
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS 3.93.1
  • UPDATED: AWeb 3.5.08 beta
  • UPDATED: FileX 2.4
  • UPDATED: R (The GUI Generator) 2.18
  • UPDATED: Sudoku 1.4
  • UPDATED: Workbench.library 45.131

AMIKIT 1.1.3 UPDATE (16-May-2006):
  • ADDED: FryingPan 0.4c (DEMO) by Tomasz Wiszkowski
  • UPDATED: AKCC 6.4
  • UPDATED: ASp 0.87
  • UPDATED: Ken's browser navigation buttons
  • UPDATED: MCP 1.45
  • UPDATED: MMKeyboard 3.18
  • UPDATED: QuarkTex 0.53
  • UPDATED: ReqTools.library 39.3 rev2
  • UPDATED: TheMPegEncGUI 2.61
  • UPDATED: Tree 1.791 beta
  • UPDATED: WookieChat 2.1
  • FIXED: DOpusFuncs by Bernd Roesch. Window's "Lister & Open the Same" entry no longer crashes.
  • FIXED: MUIUnArc crashed if launched from right-mouse menu.
  • FIXED: PNG and GIF support was broken due to AfA_OS datatypes.

AmiKit 1.1.4 update (25-May-2006):
  • ADDED: tsgui - Track Saver 2.1 by Thomas Rapp
  • ADDED: Complete DOpus5 support for creating/extracting ADF, ADZ and DMS images!
  • UPDATED: akJFIF.datatype 45.50
  • UPDATED: ASp 0.87b
  • UPDATED: Meridian 2.21
  • UPDATED: MMKeyboard 3.20
  • UPDATED: R 2.19

AmiKit 1.2.0 Full and Update packages available (06-Sep-2006)
AmiKit: free preinstalled high-end classic Amiga environment for WinUAE has been updated! We've been working hard to bring you this major update. Besides many changes, AmiKit now supports a Live Update feature that automatically ensures your files are always up to date!

AmiKit 1.2.1 update (24-Sep-2006): The Pianeta Amiga update
  • UPDATED: AISS 3.1
  • UPDATED: akPNG Datatype 45.52
  • UPDATED: AmigaAMP 2.17
  • UPDATED: PlayOGG 4.8

AmiKit 1.2.2 update (03-Oct-2006):
  • ADDED: EaglePlayer replayers (Musicline 4/8V, NoiseTracker, Protracker, TFMX) by Wanted Team (Don Adan)
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS 3.94
  • UPDATED: AmiKit - Live Update 1.1
  • UPDATED: AmiKit - ScreenMode AmiKit 1.2
  • UPDATED: AmigAIM 0.9455
  • UPDATED: PlayOGG 5.1
  • FIXED: AmigaAMP 68k-Emu engine should work again

AmiKit 1.2.6 UPDATE available (14-Dec-2006)
We bring you a small Christmas update of the AmiKit package, which is a way to experience a high-end Classic AmigaOS on your Windows system.
The update (and a Christmas surprise) is delivered to you automatically thanks to AmiKit's Live Update feature.

2007
AmiKit 1.3.0 - Now with PNG, dual PNG & OS4 icon support! (21-Feb-2007)
We are very proud to announce the AmiKit now supports modern icon formats. This is the first time the OS3.x based environment is able to show and use PNG, dual PNG and OS4 icons. Moreover, Directory Opus Magellan II (included in AmiKit) is able to use them too, finally! Look at the screenshots!
This is a significant accomplishment since Magellan users haven't even been able to display PNG icons to this point. All this would not be possible without the magic work of Bernd Roesch and his excellent AfA_OS project. Also big thanks to Ken Lester, a devoted AfA & AmiKit beta tester, who painted dual PNG icons for AmiKit and gave it a more modern look.

AmiKit 1.3.1 LIVE update (12-Mar-2007):
  • ADDED: MakeCD free license key!
  • ADDED: New dual PNG icons by Ken Lester
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS 3.95
  • UPDATED: akPNG DataType 45.58
  • UPDATED: akSVG DataType 45.58
  • UPDATED: CD mountlists (decreased the MaxTransfer value)
  • UPDATED: FryingPan 1.2.2
  • UPDATED: HivelyTracker 1.3
  • UPDATED: MCC_BetterString 11.9
  • UPDATED: MCC_TheBar 21.3
  • UPDATED: MUIbase 2.2
  • UPDATED: playOGG 6.4
  • UPDATED: VICE 1.21
  • FIXED: Now holding down a Shift key during boot process loads Workbench instead of Magellan.

AmiKit 1.3.2 LIVE update (19-Mar-2007):
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS - faster icon_lib.exe
  • UPDATED: LimpidClock
  • UPDATED: Meridian 2.23 (1-Mar-2007)
  • UPDATED: microgolded 8 SP 8
  • UPDATED: MMKeyboard 3.24 (1-Mar-2007)
  • UPDATED: playOGG 6.4d

AmiKit 1.3.3 LIVE update (02-May-2007): So Long Fred, and thanks for all the Fish disks!
  • ADDED: Amijeweled 1.2 Demo (special AmiKit version) by Insane-Software!
  • ADDED: AWeb nav buttons by El Amigos
  • ADDED: EasyACCDA 1.9 by Allesandro Marinuzzi
  • ADDED: Leon 64k intro by Elcrew
  • ADDED: More DualPNG icons painted Ken Lester
  • ADDED: More French translations by Eric Luczyszyn
  • ADDED: Shiny theme created by fishy_fis
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS icon_lib.exe
  • UPDATED: akJFIF DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: akLJPG DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: akNAIL DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: akPNG DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: akSVG DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: akTIFF DataType 45.60
  • UPDATED: AmiKit LiveUpdate 1.3
  • UPDATED: AmiKit - MorpheuZ 1.3
  • UPDATED: EvenMore 0.64 + AISS ToolBar
  • UPDATED: FryingPan 1.2.3
  • UPDATED: LimpidClock 1.18 beta
  • UPDATED: microgolded 8 SP9
  • UPDATED: MMKeyboard 3.25
  • UPDATED: playOGG 6.6
  • UPDATED: Smart Filesystem 1.270

AmiKit 1.3.6 (04-Jul-2007)
The new AmiKit update provides you with 100 more DualPNG icons painted by Ken Lester. Thanks mate! We have also added a new frontend for WHDLoad and other games called iGame programmed by Emmanuel Vasilakis. Eric Luczyszyn has enriched the AmiKit with new French catalogs. Several software has been updated as well.


AmiKit 1.4.0 available (finally) (01-Nov-2007)
The packages able to update your previous AmiKit installation to the latest 1.4.0 version are available to download.
AmiKit is a free pre-configured compilation of more than 300 of the finest Amiga programs. It runs under emulation on your Windows system.
There are two different update archives:
  • A cumulative installer that updates any of the AmiKit 1.3.x version to AmiKit 1.4.0
  • An installer that updates your AmiKit 1.3.7 to AmiKit 1.4.0
  • CD version of AmiKit 1.4.0 is also available!

AmiKit 1.4.2 update: (17-Dec-2007)
  • ADDED: More French catalogs by Eric Luczyszyn
  • UPDATED: akJFIF-Datatype 45.81
  • UPDATED: akTIFF-Datatype 45.81
  • UPDATED: DigiConverter 1.4
  • UPDATED: iGame 1.4
  • UPDATED: JoinSplitter 1.32
  • UPDATED: LAME 3.97
  • UPDATED: playOGG 8.1
  • UPDATED: TheMPegEncGUI 2.65
  • UPDATED: TKPlayer 2.1
  • UPDATED: WookieChat 2.8
  • FIXED: Doubleclicking the ADF files works again.

2008
AmiKit 1.4.3 Live update (19-Jan-2008)
AmiKit, the high-end Amiga environment on your PC, has been updated. The package is available for download via automatic Live Update feature. Many applications have been updated, including the popular e-mail clients and others.


AmiKit 1.4.4 Live update (03-Feb-2008):
  • ADDED: amrss 5.57, the RSS reader by Alfonso Ranieri
  • ADDED: xad_7z by Chris Young
  • ADDED: HTMLview 12.6 by Allan Odgaard
  • UPDATED: akJFIF DataType 45.88
  • UPDATED: akPNG DataType 45.88
  • UPDATED: akSVG DataType 45.89
  • UPDATED: akTIFF DataType 45.88
  • UPDATED: FreeDB 13.8
  • UPDATED: MCC_MiniMailer 22.0
  • UPDATED: playOGG 8.7
  • FIXED: Missing DOpus4 config file

AmiKit 1.5.0 "Chat Noir" released! (08-Sep-2008)
  • A fresh new look
  • Support of new 24bit themes (11 included!)
  • Support of Amiga Forever 2008
  • Choice of two automatic installers for Linux platforms

AmiKit 1.5.1 Live update (04-Oct-2008)
AmiKit, the free high-end Amiga emulation package, has been updated. The update is performed automatically thanks to its sophisticated Live update program.
In addition there's a new Add-On called Theme Switcher. It lets you switch between the green (default) and blue (old) theme for AmiKit. This includes the default startup images, wallpapers and window patterns.

AmiKit 1.5.2 and new engine add-on (22-Nov-2008)
AmiKit, the free software package that turns your Windows or Linux system into the high-end Amiga environment, has been updated.
Highlight: The v1.5.2 version contains the new and yet publically unreleased AfA_OS 4.3 (AROS for Amiga) system which enriches the AmiKit OS3.x environment with up-to-date AROS features. The update is delivered to you automatically thanks to AmiKit's integrated Live Update feature. Here's what's new.
The AmiKit emulation engine (WinUAE) has also been updated. There's a new Add-On which, when installed, updates the emulation engine of your AmiKit automatically.

2009
AmiKit 1.5.5 released (01-Feb-2009)
AmiKit, the free software package that turns your Windows or Linux system into the high-end Amiga environment, has been updated. (Please click read more)

AmiKit 1.5.6 Live Update released (02-Mar-2009)
A month passed and the new Live update package is ready for your preconfigured high-end Amiga on your PC system called AmiKit:
  • UPDATED: AmigaAMP 2.20
  • UPDATED: bzip2 1.0.5
  • UPDATED: p7zip 4.65a (and Magellan's menu and 7z filetype)
  • UPDATED: SabreMSN 0.42
  • UPDATED: vorbistools 1.2.0e
  • UPDATED: WHDLoad 16.9
  • UPDATED: xad_7z 1.9

AmiKit 1.5.8 Live update (07-Apr-2009)
AmiKit, the free high-end Amiga on your PC, has been updated.
The installation is very easy. If you're new to AmiKit, simply download the latest full archive (for Windows or Linux) and the automatic Live Update mechanism takes care of the rest.

AmiKit Live Update 1.5.9 (24-May-2009)
The AmiKit package has been updated as well. The latest version is installed automatically via the built-in Live Update mechanism:
  • ADDED: ChaosPro 3.3.3 by Martin Pfingstl
  • ADDED: ffmpeg 0.5 (SVN-r18880), Amiga port by Piotr Bandurski
  • UPDATED: AfA_OS 4.4
  • UPDATED: AmigaAMP 2.21
  • UPDATED: ixemul library 61.1
  • UPDATED: playOGG 10.0c
  • UPDATED: PicShow 1.31 (build 31.438)
  • UPDATED: SabreMSN alpha 49
  • UPDATED: WookieChat 2.12 beta 3

2011
AmiKit 1.6.0: The biggest update ever! Now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. (25-Dec-2011)
We are proud to present the biggest AmiKit update ever. We spent countless hours, days and weeks working on this project so we could deliver a real high-quality product for the Amiga community out there. And we succeeded. This long awaited version introduces exciting new features and, in addition, comes on a luxury 4GB USB flash disk! (free public link will be available later). We hope you will enjoy AmiKit as much as we did during its development!
Main features:
  • Introducing new full version applications like AmIRC, FroggerNG and FryingPan.
  • Full video replaying support: simply doubleclick and play most of the modern video formats
  • New emulation engine (WinUAE 2.4.0 AmiKit preview)
  • New graphics artwork by Kenneth E. Lester, Jr.
  • New integrated software like NetSurf, ScummVM, AmiTwitter, OpenSSL, Wazp3D, etc.
  • Dozens of updated applications like AfA_OS, FlashPlayer, MCP, Scalos, WHDLoad, YAM, etc.
  • Enhanced compatibility with the latest Amiga Forever versions
  • Many improvements and fixes... and much more!
  • Plus one more thing... FULL & REGISTERED VERSION OF DIRECTORY OPUS MAGELLAN II (license granted by GPSoftware)

2012
AmiKit 1.6.1 LIVE update released (10-Feb-2012)
This update adds support for RAR archives, enhances video replaying capabilities as well as updates other components of AmiKit. Installation is automatic via Live Update feature. Enjoy! For more information, detailed change-log or free download visit AmiKit website.

AmiKit 1.6.2 update released (06-Sep-2012)

AmiKit 1.6.3 update released (20-Nov-2012)

AmiKit 1.6.4 LIVE update released (31-Dec-2012)
AmiKit, the high-end distribution of the best classic Amiga software running on Windows, Linux or Mac, has been updated.
The new 1.6.4 update contains recently released software updates and patches. Thanks for your support and Happy New Year!
Key features of AmiKit:
  • Full & exclusive applications included
  • Compact visual and functional design
  • Three different working environments: Magellan, Scalos, Workbench
  • Automatic Live Updates that keep your AmiKit always fresh and up to date!
  • True type fonts, DualPNG icons and 24bit visual themes
  • Easy and fully automated installation and un-installation
  • Various add-ons - games package, expert programs, etc.
  • And much more...

2013
AmiKit 1.6.5 released (08-May-2013)
We're proud to announce a new AmiKit version which increases icon loading speed by 15% - 20% thanks to PeterK's improved icon library. New AmiKit also updates programs like NetSurf, MUIbase, LAME etc. and several libraries. The update gets installed automatically via Live Update (and works with Real AmiKit too).
What is AmiKit?
AmiKit is the high-end distribution of the best classic Amiga software running on Windows, Linux or Mac (and recently on real Amiga too).
Key features of AmiKit:
  • Full & exclusive applications included
  • Compact visual and functional design
  • Three different working environments: Magellan, Scalos, Workbench
  • Automatic Live Updates that keep your AmiKit always fresh and up to date!
  • True type fonts, DualPNG icons and 24bit visual themes
  • Easy and fully automated installation and un-installation
  • Various add-ons - games package, expert programs, etc.
  • And much more...

AmiKit 1.6.7 released (26-Dec-2013)
AmiKit extends the traditional AmigaOS and greatly improves its features. It consists of more than 340 programs which turn the default system into high-end Amiga experience.
The new version delivers the latest program updates. Enjoy!
Requirements:
  • Windows, Mac or Linux machine (or real Amiga too)
  • Original AmigaOS 3.5 or higher

2014
AmiKit 7 is now available for FREE download! (10-Jun-2014)
WHAT IS AMIKIT?
AmiKit turns your computer, tablet or phone into legendary Amiga computer. FOR FREE!
This pre-configured software package includes more than 350 of the finest Amiga programs! You can surf web, read emails and documents, listen to or create your own music, burn CD/DVDs, edit images, play games and much more - all in good old Amiga way! We've done all the hard work for you so that your high-end Amiga experience can begin right away.
AmiKit works on the following platforms:
  • Windows (XP, 7 and 8)
  • Mac OS X (Intel or PowerPC)
  • Linux (32bit or 64bit)
  • Android (v4.2+, ARM7 or x86 CPU)
  • Real Amiga (68030+AGA)

AmiKit 8 with MUI 4 released! (02-Dec-2014)
The legend returns: New AmiKit 8 with MUI 4 released!
The Classic Amiga community has a lot to celebrate today. Magic user interface 4 (MUI4) has been brought back to life. This upgrade, exclusively released for AmiKit, is a milestone for classic AmigaOS3 users!
The 8th major update of AmiKit delivers new software, graphics, improvements & fixes. Also MorpheuZ got new powers. Now you can control even more AmiKit features with this magic daemon. Check it out for yourself!
Tons of other software has been updated in this release too including system optimizations. Icons now load faster, alpha channel transparency is supported, windows performs more effectively, memory fragmentation has been decreased, etc.
AmiKit 8 is exclusively available on a bootable solid metal design flash disk. And you'll get AmiKit 8 download links after purchase. (Customers who bought the flash disk before have access to new downloads too. Simply enter the same download area as before.)
Free public download will be available soon. Stay tuned!
Thank you to all of you wonderful people using AmiKit. You, yes you, are the key to our motivation. Your interest and feedback mean the world to us. Come participate in our Forums or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter. We love hearing from you!

AmiKit 8.1 released! (24-Dec-2014)
Ready for the update? We are! AmiKit is now even better with a new version of MUI4 and other improvements. A few minor bugs from the previous version were squashed too in this release.

2015
AmiKit 8.2 with updated MUI4 released. (28-Jan-2015)
Solid metal design. Limited Edition.



AmiKit 8.3 updates (21-Feb-2015)
Magic User Interface (MUI4) and special edition of EvenMore text viewer to the latest versions.
Simply run AmiKit and the Live Update will update your installation automatically. Enjoy!


AmiKit 8.4 updated. Happy Easter! (05-Apr-2015)
AmiKit is a free project, powered by enthusiasm, that turns your computer, tablet or phone into legendary Amiga. It includes more than 350 of the finest apps.
We've updated several components in this 8.4 release.
MUI4 got new pointers - hover your mouse over a link or column separator to see what we are talking about. A number of custom classes have been updated to the latest versions too.
WHDLoad, the ultimate game loader, is now able to update itself! From now on, your old games will always get a fresh support :)
System libraries like OpenURL, CodeSet and IconLib have been updated too.
And last, but not least, we've improved Polish and Russian language support in AmiKit. There are more catalogs and better fonts now. Enjoy!

AmiKit 8.5 - Summer Adventure Update (12-Jul-2015)
Do you like adventures? Classic or Sci-Fi genre? In this new release you can become a pilot for hire in point-and-click adventure called Flight of the Amazon Queen or try to escape from future world Beneath a Steel Sky.
Or if you like to read instead, we've included complete and digitally remastered versions of Directory Opus 5 manuals in PDF format
That's not all. We have something special for you, as always. This AmiKit update introduces new NetSurf browser with JavaScript support!
MUI4 (Magical User Interface) has been updated to the latest version as well as EvenMore text viewer and IconLib. AISS (Amiga Image Storage System) got 2.500 new images.
Game engines like ScummVM & WHDLoad have been improved too. Enjoy the summer with AmiKit


WHAT IS AMIKIT?
AmiKit is a free project, powered by enthusiasm, that turns your computer, tablet or phone into legendary Amiga. It includes more than 350 of the finest applications.

AmiKit 8.5.1: Special Amiga 30 Years Edition! (15-Oct-2015)


The bootable solid metal USB Flash Disk MK2
This new 16GB edition now uses the WinUAE emulator running on a customized Linux distro called AmiPUP. This concept, paradoxly, is much more stable and actually faster than previous E-UAE edition.
The special AmiKit 8.5.1 on the Flash Disk now includes a feature called "Rabbit Hole" which enables you to launch Windows and Linux apps as well as open Amiga document files with them - all this from AmiKit!
This special portable edition was released for the Amiga 30th birthday party in Neuss, Germany.

2016
AmiKit X video preview (07-Mar-2016)
This is your last chance. After this, there is no turning back. You take the blue pill - the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe. You take the red pill - you stay in Wonderland, and I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes. Remember: all I'm offering is the truth. Nothing more. (-- Morpheus, The Matrix)
Have you ever wondered what the mysterious Rabbit Hole is about? Check out our video preview: https://youtu.be/CtZY5gVePFE
AmiKit X on A.L.I.C.E. laptop launches and runs Linux apps on Amiga desktop thanks to the feature called "Rabbit Hole".
What's A.L.I.C.E. ?
A.L.I.C.E. (A Laptop Incorporating a Classic Experience) utilizes ordinary PC Laptop hardware to achieve extraordinary results. Read more about A.L.I.C.E.
And what's AmiKit X?
AmiKit X (version 10) is a special version of AmiKit being developed for A.L.I.C.E. laptops. It will contain many enhancements compared to AmiKit 8.
Okay, what's AmiKit and how does it work?
AmiKit is a free project, powered by enthusiasm, that turns your computer into legendary Amiga. It includes more than 350 of the finest applications. AmiKit uses an emulator engine to run Amiga environment on a host system (on the A.L.I.C.E. laptop it's a Linux, which is completely hidden, but easily accessed if desired). Moreover AmiKit enriches the default Amiga Operating System (Workbench) with many exciting features and add-ons. We've done all the hard work for you so that your high-end Amiga experience can begin right away.
When the A.L.I.C.E. with AmiKit X is going to be released?
We're working hard to deliver the laptop soon. Stay tuned. Meanwhile join our Facebook fan page for the latest news and previews: https://www.facebook.com/AmiKit
Okay, you got my attention but I don't want to wait...
Download our AmiKit 8 which already is a fully evolved environment available for free for Windows, Linux and Mac. The portable version is even able to boot your computer to AmiKit from USB Flash Disk!

2017
AmiKit X released! (19-May-2017)
The 10th long-awaited version of a well-known emulation package has finally been released. Originally developed as the main operating system for A.L.I.C.E. (A Laptop Incorporating Classic Experience), it is now available for the broader audience of Windows and Mac users.
With tons of improvements and all the included programs (more than 380 now!), AmiKit X represents the most complete and up-to-date classic 68k Amiga world in a modern suit!






AmiKit X is also bringing new updates to 'killer' Amiga programs like AfA_OS, MCP, AmiStart and others. An important milestone is that new Magic User Interface 5 (MUI) is now included with a keyfile, which makes it a full version enabling all MUI apps to look beautiful in AmiKit, especially in HD or FullHD resolutions which are now supported. Dropbox and Google drive are also supported.
Overall design of AmiKit was refreshed, including new visual themes, icons and other graphics from artist Ken Lester.




For those who loved classic Amiga games (who didn't?) there is a gem included: the legendary Another World! If you prefer shoot 'em up style games instead, you will like an exclusive port of Tyrian DOS game for sure.







The development of this edition took almost 2 years. We've done all the hard work for you so you can instantly enjoy AmigaOS3.x world at its best.
If you cannot or simply do not wish to support it by purchasing it, you can always download AmiKit 8.5 FOREVER FREE (which represents more than 10 years of development), and is available for Windows, Linux, Android and as a Portable version too.
If you purchased AmiKit 9 for Mac on 19th March or later, or if you donated to AmiKit project in the past, you're entitled to a discount.
As was traditional for good old Aminet CDs, if your software is included with AmiKit X, you are entitled to a free copy.



AmiKit 10.2 update + Linux version (11-Aug-2017)
Hope you're having a great summer! (or winter in Australia & New Zealand)
To make it even better for you, we've released a free update for all AmiKit X users.
Simply boot your AmiKit and the integrated Live Update will take care of the rest.
We deliver the latest program updates, such as MUI 5, NetSurf, WHDLoad and many others, as well as some bugfixes. A new game called MiniSlug is included too!
Oh, and we released AmiKit X for Linux too!
For details please visit www.amikit.amiga.sk
What is AmiKit X?
It's the 10th long-awaited version of a well-known emulation package of more than 380 Classic AmigaOS3.x programs. We've done all the hard work for you. Everything is pre-installed, well configured and designed.
AmiKit X, now available for Windows, Mac and Linux users, was originally developed as the main operating system for A.L.I.C.E. (A Laptop Incorporating Classic Experience by A-Eon Technology Ltd, read more in their press release).
With tons of improvements and all the included programs, AmiKit X represents the most complete and up-to-date classic 68k Amiga world in a modern suit!
AmiKit X REVIEWS
Amiga User Magazine (online/printed, English/Polish) - "This is just beautiful!"
Moj Mac Magazyn (online, Polish) - "5 out of 5 points!"
Epsilon's Amiga Blog (online, English) - "In summary, AmiKit X offers a hell of a lot of features and inclusions, and the pre-built environment is wonderful and saves us all a huge amount of time. To build the very basic AmigaOS 3.1 or 3.9 environment into something even remotely close to what has been achieved here would likely take weeks of effort. Time most of us don't have anymore! For that significant work alone, AmiKit X is worth the outlay!"
Amiga Future 127 (printed, English/German) - "Those who have already played classic Turrican will know this feeling: as a man made of flesh and blood is thrust into a state-of-the-art combat suit that makes you stronger, faster and invincible, say super human. The chrome gleams on the breast shield and on the phaser cannons, you can jump higher, faster and further and don't need to hide from anything or anyone. If you don't have Turrican at hand you can also get this feeling with AmiKit X"
BlitterWolf Amiga magazine (online, English) or Amiga Future 127 (printed, English/German) - interesting interviews with Jan Zahurancik, the founder & designer of AmiKit


What do you need to run AmiKit?
  • First of all, you need Windows, Mac or Linux system (other platforms like Raspberry Pi or Vampire will be supported in future)
  • AmiKit already includes 380 Amiga programs, but it does NOT include the Amiga Operating System required to run them. Therefore, for AmiKit to work, you still need AmigaOS & ROM files.


AmiKit X 10.2.1 (19-Aug-2017)
We've just released a small maintenance update for AmiKit X. It's delivered automatically via Live Update. Simply boot your AmiKit and it will be updated to the latest version 10.2.1



AmiKit X 10.3 Live Update has been released (02-Sep-2017)


AmiKit X is the most complete and up-to-date Classic Amiga world in a modern suit. Now it includes more than 390 pre-configured AmigaOS3.x programs running on your Windows, Mac or Linux.


AmiKit X 10.3.1 (26-Sep-2017)
New bits and bytes coming your way through Live Update Superhighway! We've fixed some bugs to keep your Modern Retro Experience sparkling:



AmiKit 10.4 (15-Oct-2017)
Long time no hear? The October Live Update is ready! :) AmiKit 10.4


AmiKit Maintenance Update (07-Nov-2017)
AmiKit X 10.4.1 Maintenance Update has been released. The Scalos now works again! Use MorpheuZ & Desktop Replacement to switch between DOpus, Scalos and Workbench freely.



--------------------------------

Thought a history lesson would help Amigans realise just how hard the community works to bring us the best of the best.

A lot of people should say "Thank You" to Jan for all the hard work he puts into AmiKit.

Michael Holmes

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Hollywood - Happy Birthday

Happy birthday Hollywood, from Airsoft Softwair - the hardest working men in code business, a great big thank you from all the developers out there that have used you to create some amazing software.


We at Blitterwolf would like to salute you for all the amazing work you have put in and are continuing to put in as is proven by the new Malibu 1.4 release.

I myself have used Hollywood for many years, helping in the production of my InTune program.


With the ability of Hollywood to run on many platforms and also the ability to compile software or use on many platforms.

With Hollywood 7: Eternity having its release this year as well 2017 is turning out to be a great year for Amiga developers everywhere.

From all us here at Blitterwolf, have a great birthday and carry on doing what you do best.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Amiga Laptop E.M.M.A. Part 5: New Look

I've been working on the look and feel of my emulation and wanted an OS4.x feel which meant, for me, the place to start was with the icons and the obvious choice was Mason Icons of which there are a huge selection of OS4.x icons from ADPro to YAD and a lot in between, however there are gaps that need filling so I downloaded Icons Reworked and cha05e90 Icons. Using the all the releases from all three gave me most of the icons I needed, from system icons to software icons.


Loads of Icons and Many More Besides

For an OS3.x machine to be able to display OS4.x icons properly an updated version of icon.library is needed or else the icons appear corrupt.


Changing the icons  and adding a more colourful wallpaper allowed me to take E.M.M.A. from...


Initial Workbench 3.9 Before Tinkering

to...


Updated Workbench 3.9 After Tinkering

As you can see I have made it a little more colourful. I have used the Fire Ice Planet wallpaper, amended the dock to incorporate OS4.x icons, removed some of the apps I will use least, installed NoWinED and dock icon as my text editor of choice and even replaced AWeb with iBrowse, browser of choice, mainly due to the fact that I'm not keen on AWeb and I couldn't get Netsurf working.

I have nine application available on the dock:

1. iBrowse
iBrowse 2.4

2. Personal Paint
Personal Paint 7.2.1

3. AmigaAmp
AmigaAmp 2.11

4. Amiga Shell
Amiga Shell

5. DOpus
DOpus 4.17 pre 20

6. LhA-RAM
LhA-RAM

7. ScreenMode Prefs
ScreenMode Preferences

8. Input Prefs
Input Preferences

9. NoWinED
NoWinED 0.83

I can now turn on my laptop, E.M.M.A., on and it boots straight into a full screen, 1366x768 Workbench, omitting having to see Windows entirely. Unfortunately the boot time is quite excessive, over 1 minute, even having disabled most of the Windows software that used to start on bootup.

I have added some up to date datatypes and libraries and would like to make it look a lot more like my Sam440ep but I am unable to install the DeJaVu font which I use as my default workbench font and I also use it in my InTune program.

I can open Hollywood v7.0 and work on InTune, my music player, allowing me to get on and enjoy programming the Amiga way. I will hopefully, also, take a fresh look at my Star Trek database. 


Hollywood Running Just Fine


Showing My InTune Program Running

As you can see InTune is nowhere near complete. There's no playlist, not all MP3s load, seems to have some error when reading ID3 tags for artist on some MP3s.

I have to admit no matter how time consuming it is to do all I have done to get this far with E.M.M.A. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute.

The World's Fastest Endian

Introduction

The modern computing world is dominated by a particular binary data format where certain bytes are arranged in a particular order. This affects reading and writing of data quantities that are larger than a byte. Intel dominates with this particular byte order. It is called Little Endian and it is the world's fastest endian. Not only on the desktop but also in the mobile space where it has grown rapidly in recent tears. What is an Endian? The term Endian is said to be coined by engineer Danny Cohen from his paper "On Holy Wars and a Plea for Peace" where it referenced endian from the story Gulliver's Travels. Where war broke out from an argument over whether the big or little end of a boiled egg was the right one to crack. Although only a story, it still sounds silly. But this is where the computing terms Big Endian and Little Endian get their naming from.

So Endian in this context refers to the order of bytes used in storage of larger data types. The smallest unit is a bit, four bits make a nibble and 8 bits form a byte. Data larger than a byte will be stored in a particular endian, that is a particular byte order. In quantities such as 16-bit, 32-bit, 64-bit and beyond. Translated into bytes that would be two bytes, four bytes, eight bytes and so on. Or a short word, long word and long long word. As you can tell, whoever came up with these terms was obsessed by food or was a big talker! :-D


Big Beginnings and Little Endians

The two most commonly known are Big Endian and Little Endian. Also written as Motorola and Intel. Motorola uses big endan. Intel uses little endian. Within data the number as a whole has what's considered to be the most significant bit down to the least significant bit. And complimenting that, the most significant byte to the least significant byte. That is, the most significant digit is the highest digit for that number, and the least significant digit the lowest digit for that number, as represented on the computer. Although for a computer it needs the complete number as a whole to work at all, or it can crash, the quantity is divided into the most significant and least significant portion of that whole amount.

An endian sets the order that these bytes are arranged in what ever quantity there is. For big endian the most significant byte (or MSB) is stored first, following to the least. For little endian the least significant byte (or LSB) is stored first, following to the most. This is all very well but how about an example? Starting simple, suppose we have the number 1, in 16-bit form, in memory. This is how it would look:

Big:    00,01
Little: 01,00

As you can see with big endian it is stored, in relative terms, in human or forward order. And with little endian it is stored backwards. But what about 32-bit? For big endian this is straightforward enough. But for little endian, well, in effect, not only are bytes reversed but here 16-bit words must be reversed as well. Confusing? It gets worse for 64-bit! But let's just see how $A1B2C3D4 (hexadecimal notation) would be written in 32-bit:

Big:    A1,B2,C3,D4
Little: D4,C3,B2,A1

As you can see I've been joking with you and the result is totally reversed. Haha. :-D  So the order it is stored in is simple enough. Big endian is forward. Little endian is backward. However, there are also hybrid endians, such as the PDP-11 computer, where only the top and bottom 16-bit words in a 32-bit value are stored in little endian: Like so:

PDP-11: B2,A1,D4,C3

You may have experience with reading or writing code on your Commodore 64 or similar computer. And come across the terms low byte and high byte. This is exactly the same deal. 16-bit memory locations on the Commodore 64, with the MOS 6510 (and also on 6502 for that matter), were stored as little endian. So the 8-bit Commodore Computers were little endian. As a comparison, when Commodore dropped their 8-bit line in favour of the Amiga, the new 16-bit generation, they also changed endian. Since Motorola meant big endian.

Order of bits in a byte can also be big endian or little endian. That is forward or reversed. Usually bits can be isolated and combined to form the needed amount singly so this hasn't been as much of a deal as byte ordering. Computers can easily shift and rotate bits left or right in data and mask it out.

At one stage I thought all the bytes reversed on an Intel CPU would mess up this bit shifting and the result would be a little endian byte mess! But no, as it happens, the byte order really only affects reading from and writing to memory. As far as the programmer is concerned, the data inside an Intel CPU once it is read in, can be considered big endian. Since it works with it as a whole. A whole binary number in what ever quantity.

But an interesting observation here, is that even the bits in a byte on little endian Intel systems, are ordered in big endian order. Inside a byte, the most significant bit is stored first and the least significant bit is stored last, looking from left to right.  This is fairly standard across the board and if bit order differed it would have caused deeper issues than a simple byte ordering. Data between computers would have been incompatible at the atomic level inside bytes and even simple data structures would have needed mass conversion.


The Little Endian That Could

But where did this choice of endian come from? What is the history? How did Motorola and Intel chose the endian that would affect computers all over the earth?

It may surprise you that the root of the x86 architecture as a whole and the PC as we know it did not start at Intel alone. In 1969 Computer Terminal Corporation (CTC), who later became Datapoint, were working on a computer terminal which would also happen to be a standalone computer system. CTC had already designed the basis of the CPU intended for their computer with the instruction set and associated machine code executing the instructions. Similar to the early Amiga chip set prototypes, they could do it with separate electronic components, by combining TTL (transistor-transistor logic) circuits. But they wanted this to be manufactured as a stand alone chip. As an MPU, a micro processing unit. A computer CPU (central processing unit) already existed in the form of combining TTL chips on different circuit boards but an MPU reduced this to one chip containing a simplified CPU core.  So they commissioned two companies to do the job under contract. Intel and Texas Instruments. Intel were mostly known then for their memory chips at the time. And TI for their TTL and IC (integrated circuit) chips. As it so happened, it took too long for Intel to produce the CPU design on silicon. And the chips TI did produce, were too unreliable. So CTC ended up putting the "CPU" together themselves using the TTL components (in IC chips) they sought to avoid. They let Intel keep the design and they dropped TI. Intel eventually made this design into a CPU reality. And it became the Intel 8008. This spawned the 8080 and later the 8086. (Then also the 8088.) The basis of x86.  The significance here and the big point I'm making here is the original design by CTC for the CPU was little endian. And since Intel became a major player in the CPU market, they kept making little endian processors. The ISA (instruction set architecture) for what become the 8008 was developed at CTC by Victor Poor and Harry Pyle with TTL design handled by Gary Asbell. The original design was based on a serial processing configuration where internally one bit was processed at a time on 8-bit data. The Intel implementation used parallel processing so 8-bit data was processed all at once. Despite this, the serial CTC processor was still faster than the Intel parallel processor.

Given these were primarily 8-bit based CPUs the little endian choice made sense. Since they worked in a byte wise fashion and mainly processed with 8-bit precision the LSB (least significant byte) of data was where they started from. So by itself a byte could be thought of as being a LSB, even if a solo byte contains the quality of being both a MSB and LSB. By treating it as a LSB, they had a starting point, and if any more precision was required, they simply read in another byte for the next significant. Also, because of this, when doing math in quantities greater than 8-bit precision, the LSB is processed first. The result is carried over to the next byte up and calculated until it reaches the top MSB (most significant byte). Similar to how we would add numbers by adding the right most digits and carrying the one to the next digits on the left, when those digits added up to form two digits. This would also explain how the Commodore 64 with a simple 8-bit CPU can do math with numbers of greater quantity than 8-bit including floating point math. It also affects memory locations. The first 256 bytes of memory otherwise known as page zero fits in an index byte that would specify LSB with the MSB being zero. For a 16-bit location it reads in the low order byte then the high order byte. Thus low byte then high byte.

The history for Motorola seems to be less well known. Although the first Motorola CPU, the 6800 is 8-bit like it's rivals and similar in operation, with 64KB memory space and accumulators for math operations, it is big endian. This looks likely to be influenced by mainframes such as those made by IBM. Which in effect worked in big endian. This choice was carried over to the 68000 series which was internally 32-bit. To the successor to the 68000, the ColdFire. And of course, with the combination of Apple, IBM and Motorola (the AIM alliance), the PowerPC.

There has also been a big vs. little endian debate waging war throughout the years with an almost religious virtuosity. Historically the choice would usually be made for technical or other reasons. But each has their supporters. Like the Holden vs. Ford car battle in my native Australia it was Motorola against Intel. And like any Amiga fan I classified myself as a Motorola person. Each endian has advantages and disadvantages, or rather, a particular feature above another. Big endian gives you the number sign in the first byte and you can test how large it is from that first point. Little endian tells you if a number is odd or even in the first byte and you can read any multiple sized quantity from that first point on.


The Big Endian That Would

A lot of the early big computers such as minicomputers and mainframes made by IBM are big endian. Like the IBM Series/1 minicomputer. The IBM System/360, System/370 and ESA/390 mainframes. And the more recent IBM z/Architecture mainframe. The DEC PDP-10 also supported big endian.

It was also common for RISC based CPUs to be big endian. The HP PA-RISC was big endian. As was the Sun SPARC. There is also the Microsoft Xbox 360 using Xenon processor, Nintendo GameCube, Wii, Wii U and Sony PlayStation 3 using the Cell CPU. All consoles using a CPU based on the Power architecture. And all big endian.

Known current CPUs with big endian architecture are the (Motorola 68000 based) Freescale ColdFire, Xilinx Microblaze (FPGA), Hitachi SuperH, IBM z/Architecture and Atmel AVR32.

Other CPUs supporting big endian by being bi-endian now would be SPARC, Power Architecture and derivative PowerPC, which were originally big. ARM architecture was exclusively little-endian but became bi-endian with ARM 3. MIPS, HP PA-RISC, Hitachi  SuperH SH-4 and Intel Itanium IA-64 are also bi-endian. Intel x86 has had implicit big endian support with BSWAP instruction to swap bytes since 80486 series. And since Core series has specific big endian support with MOVEBE instruction to read and write memory data in big endian format. 

As a side note, the IA-64 is derivative of the PA-RISC as well since Intel collaborated with HP to produce a modern 64-bit RISC CPU architecture without the old constraints of x86. Since Commodore were looking at the PA-RISC, had an Amiga reboot happened, it might have had an Intel Inside. But at least it still wouldn't have been a PC! LOL :-D

As well as hardware supporting big endian we also find software and file formats supporting big endian. There are data encoders in big endian. Such as LZMA compression algorithm using it in some data types. The XDR External Data Representation Standard. And Java byte code has data encoded in big endian. For internet data structures, the data for IP addresses also has to appear in a certain endian, even though the dotted quad has referenced four bytes as separate units. This is called network order. And it's big endian. :-) Text strings are by their nature non-endian or endian agnostic since they are byte based. But are stringed together relatively in big endian order in the sense they are stored in forward order. This also has the effect that on a big endian system it can read a string from memory in blocks of sizes like 32-bits and the end result is exactly as it looks in memory. So it can optimise code checking for an exact four letter sequence of characters. There is also BCD, binary coded decimal, as used in the 6502 series. Here decimal digits are stored in each nibble, so a bit different to byte based storage, yet the nibbles are stored as big endian. 

Encoding binary data in big endian can also make sense regardless of CPU used for decoding. For example, say there is a program that is compressing a data stream, complimented by another program to decompress it. Because of the nature of the encoding, binary data bits of varying lengths would be packed together and likely would be cached inside a CPU register for proper optimised code, before it is written as a small block to memory. The binary stream could also be packed in left to right order so that it can be read in and decoded as if it is one large stream, which it would be over all, with binary codes from the left affecting the interpretation of binary codes read later on the right. And with our big endian CPU the data is stored exactly as it is encoded. On little endian this encoding and decoding is not so easy. Say we optimised the data for a little endian CPU. Now, let's consider the data stream being encoded on a 32-bit CPU, but being decoded on a 64-bit CPU. Here we have a problem, the encoding 32-bit CPU code wants to write the data in blocks of four bytes reversed (32-bits wide), but the decoding 64-bit CPU code wants to read in blocks of 8 bytes (64-bits wide). So it is forced to inefficiently read in blocks of four bytes or the end result is every pair of 32-bit data words will be reversed. And the same would happen for 32-bit CPU code decoding a stream written from 64-bit CPU code, unless it compensated by reading ahead four bytes before reading back, in 32-bit blocks. As you can see, with differing word sizes, little endian data is not interoperable. On big endian, with multiple word sizes, data is interoperable. So encoding and decoding a stream here as big endian makes sense.


The following is a list of file formats using big endian coding and some are surprising.

  • Adobe Photoshop
  • IMG (GEM Raster) 
  • JPEG
  • MacPaint 
  • SGI (Silicon Graphics) 
  • Sun Raster
  • WPG (WordPerfect Graphics Metafile) (From the PC!)


The following is a list of file formats with bi-endian coding.

  • DXF (AutoCad)
  • Microsoft RIFF (.WAV & .AVI)
  • TIFF
  • XWD (X Window Dump) 


This one added for interest. A little endian format from a big endian Mac! :-)

  • QTM (Quicktime Movies)


Big Trouble in Little Endian

With the dominance of x86 in the desktop and server market little endian rules the roost. And not even Intel themselves with the more modern IA64 architecture design has managed to break this stride. This signals that people just don't want change even if the alternative is modern and/or better. Of course AMD didn't help by extending x86 to 64-bit and getting a hit on the pop charts where Intel were forced to follow the trend. And as ARM picked up in the mobile space it too followed on the Intel lead and promoted little endian as the endian of choice. 

Because of this, even with high level languages being common in the mainstream, code has become very dependant on little endian hardware. In reality, high level code should be portable, but in the real world we live in this is simply not the case. It's doubtful code would be checked for real portability and the unwritten rule would be if it works on Intel (or anything little endian) then it works. A side effect of this would be in web browsers which are also becoming rooted in little endian and having the effect of rooting browsers running on big endian! Things such as tables generated by web page scripts have become dependant on little endian even though by their very nature scriptural data should be endian agnostic. And this is causing problems for those porting an updated browser engine to OS4. Even though we still don't have Flash or full video support, the problems there pale to the ones we have now where sites will stop working correctly or crash the browser because the whole rendering engine is dependant on little endian.

I've seen code myself that assumes the hardware works in a certain way when reading memory. A simple case would be looking for an ID (such as a text ID) and comparing it with the reverse of what it really wants. At this point the code has gone below the high level it should be at and entered the low level. It is also unnecessary since simple macros can be created and do exist to deal with these types of values that are both readable and portable. Yet, they don't do that. And prefer to, it seems, write more confusing cryptic code that is tied to one particular hardware architecture. In lots of cases it would be a four character string ID so technically incorrect to treat as one quantity and it is just a cheat. But on the opposite side, if done on big endian, it works as intended and is readable in a WYSIWYG way. Still, in what ever method is used, I think the simple portable way would be best and a subset of endian problems wouldn't appear.

Windows has helped to push this little endian dependant coding style since it is dominant on computers and little endian. Just as Linux has become now and furthers the push. And when Apple dropped PPC just after they went to PPC64 in favour of Intel, they didn't help here either, since that caused an immediate decline in big endian on the desktop. And further pushed little endian into the already existing market place. So big endian architectures have been struggling for support. We see this in the AmigaOne machines. The first model was relatively reasonable in price due in part to Apple still using and promoting PowerPC on the desktop. But since PowerPC hasn't been available as a standard desktop CPU for purchase has meant that later AmigaOne machines must find an alternate source for PowerPC and that is lacking in both hardware and software support.

It is even affecting the big and powerful IBM POWER machines and servers. Where IBM made the decision to run the main OS in little endian mode to alleviate the porting and compiling of software written to work on x86 architectures. This just looks like they are selling out and bowing down to commercial pressure. Rather than coders fixing the problem where it should be fixed in the source code so it is portable. These days I would have expected high level compilers to support specific endians of data types or be able to support WYSIWYG so portability can be controlled at the compiler level instead of forcing the coder to kludge it in or take the lazy approach. This is also affecting PowerPC downstream in other main Linux distros. Although official PowerPC desktop release builds were dropped leaving x86 only builds there were still community supported PowerPC ports. So now 32-bit PowerPC builds are dropped. But 32-bit i386 is still officially supported. I wonder why they keep supporting i386 when now days nobody should be running anything under x86-64. 64-bit PowerPC little endian is the only build now with a supported port. They called it ppc64el. Yes a bit of a geeky joke there. But what could be more to the point, if you rearrange it another way, is it really ppc64intel? Aside from a slight pun it also rhymes. ;-)

We also see this in hardware such as in the Radeon GPU which has dropped support for big endian packed pixel formats since the Southern Islands series. This has affected some OS4 applications. For true-colour ARGB values this is understandable as working with BGRA is workable in byte units, even if the RGB array is reversed. But with hi-colour this doesn't make sense as a 15-bit hi-colour value splits the 5-bit sized colour bits unevenly across two bytes. The isolated 5-bit values are also in big endian bit format. So this is one example where what was practical and logical has been replaced by something impractical and illogical with the respect to the data it contains because of market pressure. For what is popular. Optimising for the host CPU here is irrelevant as they already support big endian operations natively and in most cases the code should not deal with it directly but pass it to the GPU for processing.

Other hardware such as USB, PCI and sound cards expect and use data structures in little endian. This hasn't been much of a problem. And working with this hardware has been possible with relative ease. Even on the Amiga the CIA chip addresses were split into low, mid and high bytes for 24-bit and 16-bit counters derivative of the C64 6526 little endian CIA. But in that case any endian implied didn't matter as each counter had to be accessed byte wise due to memory layout. In some ways it was like the methods used in classic 8-bit CBM BASIC, where memory pointers and other 16-bit values were POKEd into memory one byte at a time, by isolating the low byte and high byte separately.


Big Losers and Little Winners?

So, is that it for us? Big endian and little endian battled it out in the market place and the big endian lost? We could look at it the way we look at the Amiga and PC, CD and MP3, or Beta and VHS. One is obviously superior over the other, but it isn't always the best man that wins. It can be the most popular that simply wins out. We could look at it as little endian winning the battle given that is the most common endian in the hands of the consumer, and most popular in that respect. But big endian is still out there in the world as demonstrated above. Of course, we are interested in the Amiga world, so what matters to us is what is relevant to us. And when what matters to us is irrelevant to the rest of computing society, then we have a problem, because it filters down to us. And right now we have a problem.

The Endian

What's the future of big endian? It's hard to say. We could easily prophesy that it is looking bleak and it might be an accurate prediction. After all, if you are not part of the common populace, you tend to be left behind. But big endian is not a dead endian. It's still in use in various markets around the world. It's just that it isn't used in common consumer computers worldwide so this has mounted the pressure against big endian. There has been talk of porting AmigaOS to x86 for decades now. AROS was there at the start. And there are rumours that's where MorphOS will transition to next. Will OS4 be forced to kneel down and also worship in the church of the little endian? It's possible! Though a full blown port to x86/64 is still unlikely now, it could gradually transition to be endian agnostic and little endian compatible. PowerPC is bi-endian, so a litle endian port of OS4 can still run on PowerPC, and that could be a start. It's been said that OS4 running in little endian would alleviate many problems we are having now. Such as software ports, hardware structures and interoperable data like audio and graphic formats.

But, it would also mean the entire software library we have now, as well as OS4 system software in current form, would be instantly incompatible. Unless there was some compatibility layer built in or a special loader that could patch code at runtime. Next to the obvious solution of recompiling every piece of software we have including the OS, mass testing aside. Another option is porting to another CPU, such as ARM, but retaining big endian. Where we can have access to more affordable CPU hardware of evenly matched power. Or even, a hybrid solution of sorts, such as using x86 [ :-O ] but coding it to specifically use big endian instructions only. This would likely require a custom compiler. The easiest in the meantime might be to mark data as little endian, since on certain PowerPC models, pages can be marked as a specific endian. This would also require support from the compiler as well as all the variables and data blocks able to be marked as little endian and respecting data type size.


Well that's it for my article. I think I've said enough. And hope you have learned as much as I have when researching this as you have been reading it. The discussion certainly won't end here. Feel free to continue the discussion in the comments. Big words or small words. All endians, great and small. For now. The Endian. :-P