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AROS at AmiWest 2012

Author:Jason McMullan
Date:2012-11-02

At AmiWest 2012, Samuel Crow and Jason McMullan demonstrated AROS v1 running on the Sam460ex from ACube, the FPGA Arcade Replay from FPGA Arcade, and the Raspberry PI from the Raspberry PI Foundation.

Jason McMullan gave a 20 minute presentation on the origins and current development of AROS, and was a member of the banquet discussion panel on the current state and future of the AmigaOS family of operating systems.

At the show, DVDs of Icaros (pc-i386, ABI v0) and AROS Vision (amiga-m68k) were given away to all comers.

Another (non-calendar-aligned) Year in Review

Author:Neil Cafferkey
Date:2012-10-21

Another year gone by, another year of coding instead of news-writing, another selection of highlights.

New web browser

AROS's usability has made a huge leap with the porting of the modern and standards-compliant Odyssey web browser. Based on the WebKit engine, Odyssey includes a JIT Javascript compiler, and supports tabbed browsing, HTML5, CSS, SVG and SSL. It is also highly configurable, with a GUI allowing management of bookmarks, cookies, content blocking, history, passwords and more.

Platforms

Support for the ARM architecture has continued to mature and diversify, with nightly builds for Linux-hosted AROS versions now available. There is particular interest among users in running AROS on the ARM-based Raspberry Pi, albeit in Linux-hosted form for now.

There has been further development on other AROS platforms too. The Windows-hosted version has seen numerous bug-fixes, and is now a lot more stable, while the compatibility of the original Amiga version with legacy software continues to improve.

Networking

Wireless networking support has matured, with the addition of two new WPA-capable drivers: one is for Realtek RTL8187B-based USB devices, and the other is an updated version of the Prism-II driver that first brought wireless networking to AROS in 2005. A GUI utility to dynamically scan for and connect to wireless networks has also been introduced.

Mobile broadband is now much easier to set up, and additional USB devices and phones are also supported. And AROS can now mount SMB share drives, although this capability is currently limited to older versions of Windows, as well as Linux and standalone NAS devices.

Other improvements

Initial printing support has been introduced to AROS. Components of the new framework include a preferences GUI, a PostScript printer driver and several traditional utilities such as PrintFiles and GraphicDump. Output can be directed to USB, parallel or serial ports, or to a file.

Our Intel GMA driver has gained 3D support for certain chip revisions. Although the GMA hardware has more limited 3D capabilities than recent nVidia and AMD cards, many older games (of which many have been ported in recent times) still run well. We also gained an OpenGL driver for Linux-hosted 3D graphics, and an updated nVidia driver.

The selection of audio drivers available for AROS has improved, with new drivers becoming available for ES137x and CMI8738 sound chips. The former is significant in that it provides audio output under VMWare. Our HDAudio driver has also gained wider compatibility in both playback and recording modes.

There have been improvements in accessing disks from AROS. We now have an AHCI driver that provides native SATA support on many modern machines. In addition, standard Windows partitions can now be read using an early version of an NTFS filesystem handler, and write speeds to FAT partitions have been improved. The newly open-sourced version of the Frying Pan CD-writing software is also now a standard AROS component.

Last but not least, our Papercuts initiative led to many small but annoying bugs being fixed throughout AROS.

Wider developments

AROS now has its first distribution for the original (MC680x0) Amiga platform, AROS Vision. As well as AROS itself, AROS Vision includes many freely distributable third-party AmigaOS system components and applications.

Another new AROS distribution is AEROS, which aims to combine the best features of AROS and Linux by integrating them into a seamless environment. There are currently versions for x86 and ARM systems.


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