Amiga Explained

The Amiga is a family of personal computers marketed by Commodore in the 1980s and 1990s. The first model was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its graphical, audio and multi-tasking abilities. The Amiga provided a significant upgrade from 8-bit computers, such as the Commodore 64, and the platform quickly grew in popularity among computer enthusiasts. The best selling model, the Amiga 500, was introduced in 1987 and became the leading home computer of the late 1980s and early 1990s in much of Western Europe. In North America success was more modest. The Amiga went on to sell approximately six million units.[1] Second generation Amiga systems (the A1200 and the A4000) were released in 1992. However, poor marketing and failure to repeat the technological advances of the first systems meant that the Amiga quickly lost its market share to competing platforms, such as the fourth generation game consoles, Apple Macintosh and IBM PC compatibles.[1]

Based on the Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors, the machine sports a custom chipset with graphics and sound capabilities that were unprecedented for the price, and a pre-emptive multitasking operating system called AmigaOS.

Although early Commodore advertisements attempted to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer, with a wide range of games and creative software.[2] [3] It was also a less expensive alternative to the Apple Macintosh and IBM-PC as a general-purpose business or home computer. The platform became particularly popular for gaming and demoscene activities. It also found a prominent role in the desktop video, video production, and show control business, leading to affordable video editing systems such as the Video Toaster. The Amiga's native ability to simultaneously play back multiple digital sound samples made it a popular platform for early "tracker" music software. The relatively powerful processor and ability to access several megabytes of memory led to the development of several 3D rendering packages, including LightWave 3D and Aladdin 4D.

Since the demise of Commodore, various groups have marketed successors to the original Amiga line. Genesi sold PowerPC based hardware running AmigaOS compatible MorphOS. Eyetech sold PowerPC based hardware under the AmigaOne brand from 2002 to 2005, and Acube sells the AmigaOS 3 compatible Minimig systems with a MC68000 compatible CPU and AmigaOne compatible Sam440 and Sam460 systems with PowerPC processors. MorphOS is continued on Apple hardware and Commodore USA is releasing new x86 based Amiga. There is also open source successor, AROS for Amiga and x86 hardware.

History

See main article: History of the Amiga.

Development of the Amiga began in 1982 with Jay Miner as the principal hardware designer of Amiga Corporation. It was initially intended to be a next generation video game machine, but was redesigned as a general purpose computer after the North American video game crash of 1983.[4] [5] A prototype of the full computer was shown to the public for the first time at the Summer Consumer Electronics Show in 1984.[6] In order to bring the design to market Commodore International bought Amiga Corporation and funded development. The first model was released in 1985 as simply "The Amiga from Commodore", later to be retroactively dubbed the Amiga 1000. The following year the Amiga product line was expanded with the introduction of two new models; the Amiga 2000 for high-end graphics and business use, and the Amiga 500 for home use. Commodore later released other Amiga models, both for low-end gaming use and high-end productivity use.

In 1994, Commodore filed for bankruptcy and its assets were purchased by Escom, a German PC manufacturer, who created the subsidiary company Amiga Technologies. They re-released the A1200 and A4000T, and introduced a new 68060 version of the A4000T. However, Escom in turn went bankrupt in 1997. The Amiga brand was then sold to another PC manufacturer, Gateway 2000, which had announced grand plans for it. However, in 2000, Gateway sold the Amiga brand without having released any products. The current owner of the trademark, Amiga, Inc., licensed the rights to sell hardware using the Amiga or AmigaOne brand to computer vendors Commodore USA, Eyetech Group, Ltd. and A-Eon Technology CVBA. Unofficial AmigaOne clones were developed by Italian hardware company, Acube.

Hardware

At its core, the Amiga has a custom chipset consisting of several coprocessors, which handle audio, video and direct memory access independently of the Central Processing Unit (CPU). This architecture freed up the Amiga's processor for other tasks and gave the Amiga a performance edge over its competitors, particularly in terms of video-intensive applications and games.[7]

The general Amiga architecture uses two distinct bus subsystems, namely, the chipset bus and the CPU bus. The chipset bus allows the custom coprocessors and CPU to address "Chip RAM". The CPU bus provides addressing to other subsystems, such as conventional RAM, ROM and the Zorro II or Zorro III expansion subsystems. This architecture enables independent operation of the subsystems. CPU expansion boards may provide additional custom buses. Additionally, "busboards" or "bridgeboards" may provide ISA or PCI buses.[7]

Central processing unit

The Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors was used in all Amiga models from Commodore. While the 68000 family has a 32-bit design, the 68000 used in several early models is generally referred to as 16-bit.[8] [9] The 68000 has a 16-bit external data bus so must transfer 32 bits of data in two consecutive steps, a technique called multiplexing — all this is transparent to the software, which was 32-bit from the beginning. The 68000 could address 16 MB of physical memory. Later Amiga models featured full 32-bit CPUs with a larger address space and instruction pipeline facilities. Commodore's design choice to remain with the 68000 architecture ensured that code was backward-compatible across the Amiga line.

CPU upgrades were offered by both Commodore and third-party manufacturers. Most Amiga models can be upgraded either by direct CPU replacement or through expansion boards. Such boards often featured faster and higher capacity memory interfaces and hard disk controllers.

Towards the end of Commodore's time in charge of Amiga development there were suggestions that Commodore intended to move away from the 68000 series to higher performance RISC processors, such as the PA-RISC.[10] However, these ideas were never developed before Commodore filed for bankruptcy. Despite this, third-party manufacturers designed upgrades featuring a combination of 68000 series and PowerPC processors along with a PowerPC native micro-kernel and software.[11] Later Amiga clones featured PowerPC processors only.

Custom chipset

The custom chipset at the core of the Amiga design appeared in three distinct generations, with a large degree of backward-compatibility. The Original Chip Set (OCS) appeared with the launch of the A1000. OCS was eventually followed by the modestly improved Enhanced Chip Set (ECS) in 1990 and finally by the 32-bit Advanced Graphics Architecture (AGA) in 1992. Each chipset consists of several coprocessors which handle graphics acceleration, digital audio, direct memory access and communication between various peripherals (e.g., CPU, memory and floppy disks). In addition, some models featured auxiliary custom chips which performed tasks such as SCSI control and display de-interlacing.

Graphics

All Amiga systems can display full-screen animated graphics with 2, 4, 8, 16, 32, 64 (EHB Mode) or 4096 colors (HAM Mode). Models with the AGA chipset (A1200 and A4000) also have non-EHB 64, 128, 256 and 262144 (HAM Mode) color modes and a palette expanded from 4096 to 16.8 million colors.The Amiga chipset can genlock — adjust its own screen refresh timing to match an NTSC or PAL video signal. When combined with setting transparency, this allows an Amiga to overlay an external video source with graphics. This ability made the Amiga popular for many applications, and provides the ability to do character generation and CGI effects far more cheaply than earlier systems. Some frequent users of this ability included wedding videographers, TV stations and their weather forecasting divisions (for weather graphics and radar), advertising channels, music video production, and 'desktop video'. The NewTek Video Toaster was made possible by the genlock ability of the Amiga.

In 1988 the release of the Amiga A2024[12] fixed-frequency monochrome monitor with built-in framebuffer and flicker fixer hardware provided the Amiga with a choice of high-resolution graphic modes (1024×800 for NTSC and 1024×1024 for PAL).

Sound

The sound chip, named Paula, supports four sound channels (two for the left speaker and two for the right) with 8-bit resolution for each channel and a 6-bit volume control per channel. The analog output is connected to a low-pass filter, which filters out high-frequency aliases when the Amiga is using a lower sampling rate (see Nyquist limit). The brightness of the Amiga's power LED is used to indicate the status of the Amiga’s low-pass filter. The filter is active when the LED is at normal brightness, and deactivated when dimmed (or off on older A500 Amigas). On Amiga 1000 (and very first Amiga 500 and Amiga 2000 model), the power LED had no relation to the filter's status, a wire needed to be manually soldered between pins on the sound chip to disable the filter. Paula can read directly from the system's RAM, using direct memory access (DMA), making sound playback without CPU intervention possible.

Although the hardware is limited to four separate sound channels, software such as OctaMED uses software mixing to allow eight or more virtual channels, and it was possible for software to mix two hardware channels to achieve a single 14-bit resolution channel by playing with the volumes of the channels in such a way that one of the source channels contributes the most significant bits and the other the least.

The quality of the Amiga's sound output, and the fact that the hardware is ubiquitous and easily addressed by software, were standout features of Amiga hardware unavailable on PC platforms for years. Third-party sound cards exist that provide DSP functions, multi-track direct-to-disk recording, multiple hardware sound channels and 16-bit and beyond resolutions. A retargetable sound API called AHI was developed allowing these cards to be used transparently by the OS and software.

Kickstart firmware

See main article: Kickstart (Amiga). Kickstart is the bootstrap firmware. Its purpose is to initialize the Amiga hardware and core components of AmigaOS and then attempt to boot from a bootable volume, such as a floppy disk or hard disk drive. Most models come equipped with Kickstart on an embedded ROM chip.

Peripherals

The Amiga was one of the first home computers for which inexpensive sound sampling and video digitization accessories were available. As a result of this and the Amiga's audio and video capabilities the Amiga became a popular system for editing and producing both music and video.

Many expansion boards were produced for Amiga computers to improve the performance and capability of the hardware, such as memory expansions, SCSI controllers, CPU boards, and graphics boards. Other upgrades include genlocks, Ethernet cards, modems, sound cards and samplers, video digitizers, extra serial ports, and IDE controllers. Additions after the demise of Commodore company are USB cards.

The most popular upgrades were memory, SCSI controllers and CPU accelerator cards. These were sometimes combined into the one device.

Early CPU accelerator cards feature full 32-bit CPUs of the 68000 family such as the Motorola 68020 and Motorola 68030, almost always with 32-bit memory and usually with FPUs and MMUs or the facility to add them. Later designs feature the Motorola 68040 and Motorola 68060. Both CPUs feature integrated FPUs and MMUs. Many CPU accelerator cards also had integrated SCSI controllers.

Phase5 designed the PowerUP boards (Blizzard PPC and CyberStorm PPC) featuring both a 68k (a 68040 or 68060) and a PowerPC (603 or 604) CPU, which are able to run the two CPUs at the same time (and share the system memory). The PowerPC CPU on PowerUP boards is usually used as a coprocessor for heavy computations (a powerful CPU is needed to run MAME for example, but even decoding JPEG pictures and MP3 audio was considered heavy computation at the time). It is also possible to ignore the 68k CPU and run Linux on the PPC (project Linux APUS), but a PowerPC native AmigaOS promised by Amiga Technologies GmbH was not available when the PowerUP boards first appeared.[13]

24-bit graphics cards and video cards were also available. Graphics cards are designed primarily for 2D artwork production, workstation use, and later, gaming. Video cards are designed for inputting and outputting video signals, and processing and manipulating video.

Perhaps the most famous video card in the North American market was the NewTek Video Toaster. This was a powerful video effects board which turned the Amiga into an affordable video processing computer which found its way into many professional video environments. Due to its NTSC-only design it did not find a market in countries that used the PAL standard, such as in Europe. In PAL countries the OpalVision card was popular, although less featured and supported than the Video Toaster. Low-cost time base correctors (TBCs) specifically designed to work with the Toaster quickly came to market, most of which were designed as standard Amiga bus cards.

Various manufacturers started producing PCI busboards for the A1200 and A4000, allowing standard Amiga computers to use PCI cards such as Voodoo graphic cards, Sound Blaster sound cards, 10/100 Ethernet cards, and TV tuner cards. Other manufacturers produced hybrid boards which contained an Intel x86 series chip, allowing the Amiga to emulate a PC.

PowerPC upgrades with Wide SCSI controllers, PCI busboards with Ethernet, sound and 3D graphics cards, and tower cases allowed the A1200 and A4000 to survive well into the late nineties.

Expansion boards were made by Richmond Sound Design that allow their show control and sound design software to communicate with their custom hardware frames either by ribbon cable or fiber optic cable for long distances, allowing the Amiga to control up to eight million digitally controlled external audio, lighting, automation, relay and voltage control channels spread around a large theme park, for example. See Amiga software for more information on these applications.

Other popular devices:

Networking

Amiga had three networking interface APIs:

Different network media was used:

TypeSpeedExample
Ethernet10/100 Mbit/sA2065[22]
ARCNET2.5 Mbit/sA560,[23] A2060[24]
Floppy disk controller250 kbit/sAmitrix: Amiga-Link[25]
Serial port
Parallel port~1600 kbit/sVillage Tronic: Liana[26]
Token ring1.5 Mbit/sNine Tiles: AmigaLink (9 Tiles)[27]
AppleTalk / LocalTalkPPS-Doubletalk[28]

Models and variants

See main article: Amiga models and variants. The original Amiga models[29] were produced from 1985 to 1996. They are, in order of appearance: 1000, 2000, 500, 1500, 2500, 3000, 3000UX, 3000T, CDTV, 500+, 600, 4000, 1200, CD32, and 4000T. The PowerPC based AmigaOne was later produced from 2002 to 2005. Some companies have also released Amiga clones.

Commodore Amiga

The first Amiga model, the Amiga 1000, was launched in 1985 as a high-end home computer and became popular for its impressive graphics, video and audio capabilities. In 2006, PC World rated the Amiga 1000 as the seventh greatest PC of all time, stating "Years ahead of its time, the Amiga was the world's first multimedia, multitasking personal computer".[30]

Following the A1000, Commodore updated the desktop line of Amiga computers with the Amiga 2000 in 1987, the Amiga 3000 in 1990, and the Amiga 4000 in 1992, each offering improved capabilities and expansion options. However, the best selling models were the budget models, particularly the highly successful Amiga 500 (1987) and the Amiga 1200 (1992). The Amiga 500+ (1991) was the shortest lived model, replacing the Amiga 500 and lasting only six months until it was phased out and replaced with the Amiga 600 (1992), which in turn was also quickly replaced by the Amiga 1200.[31]

The CDTV, launched in 1991, was a CD-ROM based all-in-one multimedia system. It was an early attempt at a multi-purpose multimedia appliance in an era before multimedia consoles and CD-ROM drives were common. Unfortunately for Commodore, the system never achieved any real commercial success.

Commodore's last Amiga offering before filing for bankruptcy was an attempt to capture a portion of the highly competitive 1990s console market with the Amiga CD32 (1993), a 32-bit CD-ROM games console. Though discontinued after Commodore's demise it met with moderate commercial success in Europe.

Following purchase of Commodore's assets by Escom in 1995, the A1200 and A4000T continued to be sold in small quantities until 1996, though the ground lost since the initial launch and the prohibitive expense of these units meant that the Amiga line never regained any real popularity.

Several Amiga models contained references to songs by the rock band The B-52's. Early A500 units, at least, had the words "B52/ROCK LOBSTER"[32] silk-screen printed onto their printed circuit board, a reference to the popular song "Rock Lobster" The Amiga 600 referenced "JUNE BUG" (after the song "Junebug") and the Amiga 1200 had "CHANNEL Z" (after "Channel Z").[33]

Most original casing was made from ABS plastics which may become brown with time. This can be reversed by using the public domain chemical mix "Retr0bright".

AmigaOS 4 systems

See main article: AmigaOS 4.

AmigaOS 4 (OS4) is designed for PowerPC Amiga systems and currently runs on both Amigas equipped with CyberstormPPC or BlizzardPPC accelerator boards, and on the PPC Teron series based AmigaOne computers built by Eyetech under license by Amiga Inc. AmigaOS 4.0 had been available only in developer pre-releases for numerous years until it was officially released in December 2006. Due to the nature of some provisions of the contract between Amiga Inc. and Hyperion Entertainment (the Belgian company which is developing the OS), the commercial AmigaOS 4 had been available only to licensed buyers of AmigaOne motherboards.

AmigaOS 4.0 for Amigas equipped with PowerUP accelerator boards was released in November 2007. The most recent release AmigaOS is 4.1.[34]

Since the AmigaOne, Amiga hardware production has slowed; however Acube Systems has entered an agreement with Hyperion under which it has ported AmigaOS 4 to its Sam440ep and Sam460ex line of PowerPC-based motherboards.[35] In 2009 version for Pegasos II from Genesi/bPlan GmbH was released in co-operation with Acube Systems.[36]

In 2009/2010, A-Eon Technology announced the AmigaOne X1000.

25 January 2012, A-Eon Technology announce "First Contact" systems now shipping. The Amiga X1000 can be ordered from Amiga Kit

Amiga hardware clones

Long-time Amiga developer MacroSystem entered the Amiga-clone market with their DraCo nonlinear video edit system. It appears in two versions, initially a tower model and later a cube. DraCo expanded upon and combined a number of earlier expansion cards developed for Amiga (VLabMotion, Toccata, WarpEngine, RetinaIII) into a true Amiga-clone powered by Motorola's 68060 processor. The DraCo can run AmigaOS 3.1 up through AmigaOS 3.9. It is the only Amiga-based system to support FireWire for video I/O. DraCo also offers an Amiga-compatible ZORRO-II expansion bus and introduced a faster custom DraCoBus, capable of 30 MB/sec transfer rates (faster than Commodore's ZORRO-III). The technology was later used in the Casablanca system, a set-top-box also designed for non-linear video editing.

In 1998, Index Information released the Access, an Amiga-clone similar to the Amiga 1200, but on a motherboard which could fit into a standard 5¼" drive bay. It features either a 68020 or 68030 CPU, with a redesigned AGA chipset, and runs AmigaOS 3.1.

In 1998, former Amiga employees (John Smith, Peter Kittel, Dave Haynie and Andy Finkel to mention few) formed new company called PIOS. Their hardware platform, PIOS One, was aimed at Amiga, Atari and Macintosh users. The company was renamed to Met@box in 1999 until it folded.[37]

The NatAmi (short for Native Amiga) hardware project began in 2005 with the aim of designing and building an Amiga clone motherboard that is enhanced with modern features.[38] The NatAmi motherboard is a standard Mini-ITX-compatible form factor computer motherboard, powered by a Motorola/Freescale 68060 and its chipset. It is compatible with the original Amiga chipset, which has been inscribed on a programmable FPGA Altera chip on the board. The NatAmi is the second Amiga clone project after the Minimig motherboard, and its history is very similar to that of the C-One mainboard developed by Jeri Ellsworth and Jens Schönfeld. From a commercial point of view, Natami's circuitry and design are currently Closed Source. One goal of the NatAmi project is to design an Amiga-compatible motherboard that includes up-to-date features but that does not rely on emulation (as in WinUAE), modern PC Intel components, or a modern PowerPC mainboard. As such, NatAmi is not intended to become another evolutionary heir to classic Amigas (such as with AmigaOne or Pegasos computers). This "purist" philosophy essentially limits the resulting processor speed but puts the focus on bandwidth and low latencies. The developers also recreated the entire Amiga chipset, freeing it from Classic Amiga legacy limitations such as two megabytes of audio and video graphics RAM as in the AGA chipset, and rebuilt this new chipset by programming a modern FPGA Altera Cyclone IV chip. Later, the developers decided to create from scratch a new software-form processor chip, codenamed "N68050" that resides in the physical Altera FPGA programmable chip.[39]

In 2006, two new Amiga clones were announced, both using FPGA based hardware synthesis to replace the Amiga OCS custom chipset. The first, the Minimig, is a personal project of Dutch engineer Dennis van Weeren. Referred to as "new Amiga hardware",[40] the original model was built on a Xilinx Spartan-3 development board, but soon a dedicated board was developed. The minimig uses the FPGA to reproduce the custom Denise, Agnus, Paula and Gary chips as well as both 8520 CIAs and implements a simple version of Amber. The rest of the chips are an actual 68000 CPU, ram chips, and a PIC microcontroller for BIOS control.[40] The design for Minimig was released as open source on July 25, 2007. In February, 2008, an Italian company Acube Systems began selling Minimig boards. A third party upgrade replaces the PIC microcontroller with a more powerful ARM processor, providing more functionality such as write access and support for hard disk images. The minimig core is being ported to the FPGArcade "Replay" board. The Replay uses a larger FPGA which will support the AGA chipset and a 63030 soft core. The Replay board is designed to emulate many older computers and classic arcade machines.

The second is the Clone-A system announced by Individual Computers. As of mid 2007 it has been shown in its development form, with FPGA-based boards replacing the Amiga chipset and mounted on an Amiga 500 motherboard.[41]

In 2011 by ArcadeRetroGaming, called the Multiple Classic Computer, which emulates the Commodore 64. Support for Amiga software is planned.[42]

Emulation

See main article: Amiga emulation. Like many popular but discontinued platforms, the Amiga has been the target of various emulation projects so that software developed for the Amiga can be run on other computer platforms without the original hardware. Such emulators attempt to replicate the functionality of the Amiga architecture in software. As mentioned above, attempts have also been made to replicate the Amiga chipset in FPGA chips.[43]

One of the most challenging aspects of emulation is the design of the Amiga chipset, which relies on cycle-critical timings. As a result, early emulators did not always achieve the intended results though later emulator versions can now accurately reproduce the behavior of Amiga systems.

Operating systems

AmigaOS

See main article: AmigaOS.

AmigaOS is a single-user multitasking operating system. It was developed first by Commodore International, and initially introduced in 1985 with the Amiga 1000. Original versions run on the Motorola 68000 series of microprocessors, while AmigaOS 4 runs only on PowerPC microprocessors. At the time of release AmigaOS put an operating system that was well ahead of its time into the hands of the average consumer. It was one of the first commercially available consumer operating systems for personal computers to implement preemptive multitasking.

Another notable feature was the combined use of both a command-line interface and graphical user interface. AmigaDOS was the disk operating system and command line portion of the OS and Workbench the native graphical windowing, icons, menu and pointer environment for file management and launching applications. Notably, AmigaDOS allowed long filenames (up to 107 characters) with whitespace and did not require file extensions. The windowing system and user interface engine which handles all input events is called Intuition.[44]

The multi-tasking kernel was called Exec. It acts as a scheduler for tasks running on the system, providing pre-emptive multitasking with prioritised round-robin scheduling. It enabled true pre-emptive multitasking in as little as 256 kB of free memory.[45]

Like other operating systems of the time, the OS lacks memory protection. This was because the 68000 CPU does not include a memory management unit and therefore there is no way to enforce protection of memory.[46] Although this speeds and eases inter-process communication (programs can communicate by simply passing a pointer back and forth), the lack of memory protection made the AmigaOS more vulnerable to crashes from badly behaving programs, and fundamentally incapable of enforcing any form of security model since any program had full access to the system. A co-operational memory protection feature was implemented in AmigaOS 4 and could be retrofitted to old AmigaOS systems using Enforcer or CyberGuard tools.

The problem was somewhat exacerbated by Commodore's initial decision to release documentation relating not only to the OS's underlying software routines, but also to the hardware itself, enabling intrepid programmers who cut their teeth on the Commodore 64 to POKE the hardware directly, as was done on the older platform. While the decision to release the documentation was a popular one and allowed the creation of fast, sophisticated sound and graphics routines in games and demos, it also contributed to system instability as some programmers lacked the expertise to program at this level. For this reason, when the new AGA chipset was released, Commodore declined to release low-level documentation in an attempt to force developers into using the approved software routines.

Influence on other operating systems

AmigaOS directly or indirectly inspired the development of various operating systems. MorphOS and AROS clearly inherit heavily from the structure of AmigaOS as explained directly in articles regarding these two operating systems. AmigaOS also influenced BeOS, which featured a centralized system of Datatypes, similar to that present in AmigaOS. Likewise, DragonFlyBSD was also inspired by AmigaOS as stated by Dragonfly developer Matthew Dillon who is a former Amiga developer.[47] [48] WindowLab and amiwm are among several window managers for the X Window System seek to mimic the Workbench interface.

Unix and Unix-like systems

Commodore-Amiga produced Amiga Unix, informally known as Amix, based on AT&T SVR4. It supports the Amiga 2500 and Amiga 3000 and was included with the Amiga 3000UX. Among other unusual features of Amix is a hardware-accelerated windowing system which can scroll windows without copying data. Amix is not supported on the later Amiga systems based on 68040 or 68060 processors.

Other, still maintained, operating systems are available for the classic Amiga platform, including Linux and NetBSD. Both require a CPU with MMU such as the 68020 with 68851 or full versions of the 68030, 68040 or 68060. There is also a version of Linux for Amigas with PowerPC accelerator cards. Debian and Yellow Dog Linux can run on the AmigaOne.

There is an official, older version of OpenBSD. The last Amiga release is 3.2. Minix 1.5.10 also runs on Amiga.[49]

Emulating other systems

See main article: Emulation on the Amiga. The Amiga is able to emulate other computer platforms ranging from many 8-bit systems such as the Sinclair ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64, Nintendo Game Boy, Nintendo Entertainment System, Apple II and the TRS-80, up to platforms such as the IBM PC, Apple Macintosh and Atari ST. MAME (the arcade machine emulator) is also available for Amiga systems with PPC accelerator card upgrades.

Amiga software

See main article: Amiga software. In the late 1980s and early 1990s the platform became particularly popular for gaming, demoscene activities and creative software uses. During this time commercial developers marketed a wide range of games and creative software, often developing titles simultaneously for the Atari ST due to the similar hardware architecture. Popular creative software included, 3D rendering (ray-tracing) packages, bitmap graphics editors, desktop video software, software development packages and "tracker" music editors.

Until the late 1990s the Amiga remained a popular platform for non-commercial software, often developed by enthusiasts, and much of which was freely redistributable. An on-line archive, Aminet, was created in 1992 and until around 1996 was the largest public archive of software, art and documents for any platform.

Marketing

Name

The name Amiga was chosen by the developers specifically from the Spanish word for a female friend,[50] and because it occurred before Apple and Atari alphabetically. It also conveyed the message that the Amiga computer line was 'user friendly' as a pun or play on words.[51]

Logos

The first official Amiga logo was a rainbow-colored double checkmark. In later marketing material Commodore largely dropped the checkmark and used logos styled with various typefaces.

Though it was never adopted as a trademark by Commodore, the 'Boing Ball' has been synonymous with Amiga since its launch. It became an unofficial and enduring theme after a visually impressive animated demonstration at the 1984 Winter Consumer Electronics Show in January 1984 showing a checkered ball bouncing and rotating. Following Escom's purchase of Commodore in 1996, the Boing Ball theme was incorporated into a new logo.[52]

Advertising

Early Commodore advertisements attempted to cast the computer as an all-purpose business machine, though the Amiga was most commercially successful as a home computer.[2] [3] Throughout the 1980s and early 1990s Commodore primarily placed advertising in computer magazines and occasionally in national newspapers and on television.

Amiga community

After Commodore went bankrupt in 1994, there remained a very active Amiga community, which continued to support the platform long after mainstream commercial vendors abandoned it. The most popular Amiga magazine, Amiga Format, continued to publish editions until 2000, some six years after Commodore filed for bankruptcy. Another magazine, Amiga Active, was launched in 1999 and was published until 2001. Several magazines are in publication today, notably Amiga Future,[53] which is available in both English and German; Bitplane.it,[54] a bi-monthly magazine in Italian; and AmigaPower,[55] a long-running French magazine.

In spite of declining interest in the platform there was a bi-weekly specialist column in the UK weekly magazine Micro Mart. There is also a web site,[56] that has served as a community discussion and support resource since the 1994 bankruptcy. Other popular English-language fora also exist, particularly Amigaworld.net[57] and English Amiga Board.[58]

Notable historic uses

The Amiga series of computers found a place in early computer graphic design and television presentation. Below are some examples of notable uses and users:

In addition, many other celebrities and notable individuals have made use of the Amiga:[63]

See also

External links

Notes and References

  1. Web site: Total share: 30 years of personal computer market share figures. Jeremy Reimer. Ars Technica. 2008-04-21.
  2. http://youtube.com/watch?v=PsJ0ZZMuEQs YouTube.com
  3. http://youtube.com/watch?v=ludrX2s1ZuM YouTube.com
  4. Web site: Amiga Lorraine. Amiga History Guide. Gareth Knight. 2008-04-21.
  5. http://www.amigaforever.com/games/ AmigaForever.com
  6. Book: Amiga Demos Its New Machine.
  7. Book: Commodore-Amiga, Inc.. Amiga Hardware Reference Manual. Third. Amiga Technical Reference Series. 1991. Addison-Wesley. 0-201-56776-8.
  8. Web site: The One for 16-bit Games. 2007-07-17. Gareth. Knight. Amiga History Guide.
  9. Web site: Amiga Reviews: Zzap 16-Bit Gaming. 2008-05-23.
  10. Web site: CBM's Plans for the RISC-Chipset. Dave Haynie. 1995.01.24. The initial schedule of 18 months was for the Hombre game machine hardware. There's no real OS here, just a library of routines, including a 3D package, which would probably be licensed. The Amiga OS was not to have run on this system in any form.. Gareth Knight. 31 January 2010.
  11. The Big Book of Amiga Hardware AmigaHardware.MarioMisic.de, AmigaHardware.MarioMisic.de
  12. Web site: Commodore: A2024. Amiga-hardware.com. 2012-01-31.
  13. Web site: Amiga goes POWER PC (TM).
  14. Web site: Commodore A590. 090420 amiga-hardware.com
  15. Web site: Commodore A3070. 090420 amiga-hardware.com
  16. Web site: empty. 090426 amiga-hardware.com
  17. Web site: Amiga Hardware Database — Expansion cards. 090426 amiga.resource.cx
  18. Web site: Amiga Hardware Database - Photo Gallery of Ameristar Technologies A4066. 100701 hardware.amiga.hu
  19. Web site: Networking FAQ. 090426 amigahistory.co.uk
  20. Web site: Diskdrives used by Commodore. amiga-stuff.com. 2003-12-12. 2012-01-31.
  21. Web site: PCMCIA Network Card driver.
  22. Web site: Commodore: A2065. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  23. Web site: Commodore: A560. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  24. Web site: Commodore: A2060. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  25. Web site: Amitrix: Amiga-Link. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  26. Web site: Village Tronic: Liana. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  27. Web site: Nine Tiles: AmigaLink (9 Tiles). 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  28. Web site: PPS (Progressive Peripherals & Software): DoubleTalk. 090428 amiga-hardware.com
  29. Web site: Knight. Gareth. Amiga history guide. 1997–2003. 2007-09-29. .
  30. Web site: Editors. The. PC World, The 25 Greatest PCs of All Time. Pcworld.com. 1981-08-12. 2012-01-31.
  31. Web site: Gareth Knight. Commodore Amiga 500. Amigahistory.co.uk. 2004-07-01. 2012-01-31.
  32. Web site: RollerFink.de. 2012-01-31.
  33. Web site: Knight. Gareth. References to B52 songs on Amiga Motherboards. 1997–2006. 2008-05-20.
  34. http://arstechnica.com/articles/culture/amigaos41-ars.ars/5 It's alive!: Ars reviews AmigaOS 4.1
  35. http://www.acube-systems.biz/eng/news.php?id=35 OEM Version of AmigaOS 4.1 for Sam440ep imminent
  36. http://amigaworld.net/modules/news/article.php?storyid=4740 AmigaOS 4.1 for Pegasos II
  37. Web site: PIOS One.
  38. News: Выпущен прототип новой модели компьютеров Amiga (ФОТО). Feb 13, 2011. Российское информационное агентство «Новый Регион». Версия 2.0. Russian. 24 June 2011.
  39. Web site: 12 questions to... Natami Team - part 1. Polski Portal Amigowy. 2011-04-28. 2011-06-15.
  40. Web site: HetNet.nl. Home.hetnet.nl. 2012-01-31.
  41. Web site: SiliconSonic.de. SiliconSonic.de. 2012-01-31.
  42. Web site: Multiple Classic Computer (MCC) Plays Commodore 64 and More. 07-10-2011.
  43. Web site: "Minimig available" announcement by Acube Systems. . Acube-systems.biz. 2012-01-31.
  44. Book: Robert J.. Mical. Susan. Deyl. RJ Mical. Amiga Intuition Reference Manual. Amiga Technical Reference Series. 1987. Addison-Wesley Publishing Company, Inc.. 0-201-11076-8.
  45. Web site: Byte Magazine on the Amiga Exec. 2008-04-12. Holloway. Tim.
  46. Web site: Adding Memory Protection (MP) to the Amiga. groups.google.com. December 30, 2006.
  47. http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/kernel/2006-02/msg00087.html Re: User-Space Device Drivers
  48. http://leaf.dragonflybsd.org/mailarchive/kernel/2003-07/msg00049.html Re: You could do worse than Mach ports
  49. http://www.compwisdom.com/topics/Minix Minix
  50. Web site: The Twists and Turns of the Amiga Saga. Amiga History Guide. Gareth Knight. 2008-04-21.
  51. DeMaria and Wilson (2003) High Score!: The Illustrated History of Electronic Games p. 109 ISBN 0-07-223172-6
  52. News: Dr. Ryan Czerwinski of Merlancia Industries explains the origin of the Amiga Boing ball and checkmark. Ryan Czerwinski. December 31, 2001. Amiga Network News. 2010-11-21.
  53. Web site: Andreas Magerl. Amigafuture.de. Amigafuture.de. 2012-01-31.
  54. Web site: Bitplane.it. . Bitplane.it. 2012-01-31.
  55. Web site: Amigapower.free.fr. Amigapower.free.fr. 2012-01-31.
  56. Web site: Amiga.org. Amiga.org. 2010-07-28. 2012-01-31.
  57. Web site: AmigaWorld.net. AmigaWorld.net. 2012-01-31.
  58. Web site: EAB.abime.net. EAB.abime.net. 2012-01-31.
  59. Web site: The Lurker's Guide to Babylon 5. Midwinter.com. 1997-08-12. 2012-01-31.
  60. http://www.midwinter.com/lurk/making/thornton.html An Interview with Ron Thornton
  61. Web site: Interview with Matt Gorner. Newtek-europe.com. 2003-10-24. 2012-01-31.
  62. Web site: 'Max Headroom' on TechTV. G4tv.com. 2002-04-23. 2012-01-31.
  63. For other notable users see Famous Amiga Users at AmigaHistory.
  64. Web site: Amiga Andy article. Artnode online.
  65. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3oqUd8utr14 Andy Warhol paints Debbie Harry on an Amiga
  66. Web site: Artdaily article about the discovery and repair of "you are the one". Artdaily. 2007-01-07.
  67. Web site: Amiga World Magazine. Interview with Andy Warhol. 2007-01-07. PDF.
  68. Web site: Art Journal, Vol 49 No 3, Computers and Art: Issues of Content (Autumn, 1990) pp. 248-252. The Digital Revolution: Art in the Computer Age. Cynthia Goodman. 2007-01-07.
  69. http://www.artnode.org/text/andywarhol/index.html Amigaworld, January 1986
  70. Web site: Galleriiizu.com. Galleriiizu.com. 2007-07-07. 2012-01-31.
  71. Web site: Dick van Dyke at SIGGRAPH. 2007-01-07.
  72. News: Katie Hafner. The Return of a Desktop Cult Classic (No, Not the Mac). New York Times. 2000-06-22. 2007-01-07.
  73. Web site: Reportage: l'Amiga à la NASA. obligement.free.fr.
  74. Web site: Moebius. Wired.
  75. http://www.gamedev.net/columns/interviews/tomfulp.asp Tol Fulp interview
  76. Web site: Gareth Knight. CD32: The Hyper-Museum Project. Amigahistory.co.uk. 2012-01-31.
  77. UHF DVD commentary track
  78. Web site: Calvin Harris. 2007-06-06. 2008-08-10.
  79. Web site: Track Reviews on Cokemachineglow. cokemachineglow. 2007-06-06. 2008-11-29.
  80. Web site: YouTube - Bones S03E07 Amiga clip.
  81. Web site: American Laser Games Tech Center. Dragon's Lair Project. 2009-01-23.
  82. Web site: United States Patent Application 20070106157.