Blog » Amiga OS 4.1 Announced

Amiga OS 4.1 Announced

 A screenshot of Amiga OS 4.1 (obtained from the official announcement).

Amiga OS users got a pleasant surprise last Friday with the announcement of Amiga OS 4.1. Scheduled for release in Q3, 2008 (i.e., within a month or two), this Amiga OS release builds upon Amiga OS 4.0. This new release includes new functionality such as 3D graphics hardware based compositing, facilitating various effects, such as transparency and zooming/scaling with no noticeable slowdown of the system. A new file-system promising faster and more robust disk access is also included, as is a smart virtual memory pager that only swaps memory to hard-disk when absolutely necessary. For more features, see the original announcement.

 The new composition engine in action (obtained from the official announcement).

One neat trick with the new OS, is being able to dynamically zoom into parts of the screen. A small window provides a scaled-down view of the whole screen, and a zoom region can be selected within that scaled-down view. This is best seen in video form. Please note that the video was taken by a phone, so it is not the best quality.

Overall, this upgrade looks very promising. As an Amiga OS 4.0 user, I am looking forward to buying, and trying out this upgrade.

Still no New Hardware

There is one snag with this announcement: there are still no signs that new hardware will be available. Thus, this upgrade will only be available to existing Amigaone owners. The problem is predominantly caused by the OS developer, Hyperion Entertainment, and the Amiga OS owner, Amiga Inc., being at each others throats in court. For those who have not been following the Amiga scene for the last few years. Amiga Inc. originally contracted Hyperion Entertainment to develop Amiga OS 4.0 while they focused on their own project, Amiga Anywhere. At some point, the relationship deteriorated between the two companies, resulting in Amiga Inc. cancelling Hyperion Entertainment's license, and suing them in court. Now there is a legal battle between the two companies with both blaming the other for not fulfilling their part of the agreement.

Meanwhile, the Amiga community just wishes that they could have Amiga OS 4 and hardware to run it on. According to the license, Hyperion Entertainment can only sell Amiga OS 4 with machines that are sold as Amigas. The original hardware, for Amiga OS 4.0 the Amigaone, was made by a British company called Eyetech. Unfortunately, there were problems with the chipset, and as a result, they are no longer available. Since then, no hardware manufacturer has succeeded in obtaining a license from Amiga Inc. to sell their motherboards as Amiga computers. With the two companies locked in court, they are unlikely to do so until the court proceedings are over. 

Many, including myself, are hoping that they settle out of court, and make new hardware available. Either that, or a quick resolution to the court proceedings, with a verdict that would allow Hyperion Entertainment to continue developing Amiga OS 4.x. With the legal action over, they could easily port Amiga OS 4.x to the PowerPC Macintosh machines, which would provide a large number of already available machines for new users to try the OS out on. More PowerPC hardware could be licensed and used over time.

Blog » Amiga OS 4.1 Announced

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Blog » Amiga OS 4.1 Announced