Questions tagged [amiga]

For questions related to the Commodore Amiga family of personal computers.

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Why was the Kickstart 1.x "Insert floppy" graphic so bad?

Anyone who used an pre-Kickstart 2.0 Amiga will be very familiar with the "Insert Workbench floppy" image: I realise that this is subjective, but the image has always stuck me as ... well, a bit ugly....
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61 votes
2 answers
20k views

What is the "two-drive trick" that can read Amiga disks on a PC?

Standard belief is that the floppy disk controllers used on PCs are incapable of reading Amiga floppy disks, due to the PC disk controller expecting a very specific low-level format of disks, whilst ...
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61 votes
8 answers
8k views

Are there any modern compilers that can generate Amiga/m68k executables?

I would quite like to resurrect my openkick project. As I note on that project's README.md, it is stalled because GNU GCC is not fit for purpose. Sadly, there do not seem to be any other modern ...
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60 votes
6 answers
9k views

Reason for the Amiga clock speed

The Amiga used a CPU rated for 8 megahertz, but clocked at 7.14 megahertz. What was the reason for this number? I remember it was something to do with a multiple of the frequency of the video ...
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51 votes
10 answers
10k views

Why was preemptive multitasking so slow in coming to consumer OS's?

Preemptive (rather than cooperative) multitasking was a highly-touted feature for PC's in 1996, with its inclusion in Windows 95 for the first time. It was also highly-touted for 2001 Macs when ...
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35 votes
4 answers
8k views

Why didn't Apple sue Commodore over the Amiga's GUI?

Famously, in the late 1980's Apple sued Microsoft over the "look and feel" of Windows 2.x. The claim was that Windows breached Apple's copyright by being too similar to the Mac UI. Apple ultimately ...
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35 votes
3 answers
11k views

What modification is required from a PC floppy for use in Amiga?

Around the end of the time of Amiga popularity, obtaining a replacement Amiga floppy drive was a nuisance, while PC drives were ubiquitous and cheap. One could install a PC drive in Amiga after ...
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34 votes
5 answers
5k views

Was the Amiga ever used by any U.S. Government agency?

This is a long shot question, and I'm asking only because, well, I'm not entirely certain why I am asking... NBC Nightly news did a short piece on April 18th, 2022 talking about the IRS being ...
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34 votes
1 answer
2k views

How did the Amiga DCTV work

This is an unusual question since I'll answer it right away because it was a truly unique device and there is absolutely nothing about the technology it used on the internet. I spoke with the hardware ...
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33 votes
8 answers
36k views

How can you connect an Amiga 500/600/1000/2000 to a modern monitor?

I have an Amiga 500 that I'd like to get up and running again, but the 1084 monitor with which I used to use it has flyback transformer issues. What options are available to hook it up to a modern ...
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31 votes
5 answers
5k views

What were the differences in floppy disk formats between Amiga and IBM/PC compatible computers?

The capacity in Amiga Old File System format (OFS, OS version 1.x) was 840KB, with the Fast File System ("FFS" (!)) introduced for OS 2.x onwards able to store 880KB. The PC format stored 720KB on the ...
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31 votes
6 answers
14k views

Can I image Amiga floppy disks on a modern computer?

Is there any way of reading Amiga floppy disks to a PC hard drive? Can I use a standard floppy drive with a firmware program that will translate it? Do I need an external drive or a working Amiga ...
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31 votes
1 answer
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What are the Amiga 1200 timing fixes?

I have read that the Amiga 1200 may need certain "timing fixes" to be applied to the motherboard in order to use CPU accelerators. What are these timing fixes and why are they needed? Is there one ...
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29 votes
3 answers
3k views

How can I recover the contents from an Amiga HDD using modern Linux?

I have two Amiga 1200's in pieces. One of them has a 52mb HDD in it and on it is my dissertation from 1995 and all my essays. I want to retrieve the dissertation because it's the only surviving copy. ...
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29 votes
1 answer
2k views

How do Amiga 600 CPU accelerators work?

The Amiga 1200 has a trapdoor expansion for CPU accelerators. The Amiga 500 has a side expansion port and its CPU is socketed. But Amiga 600's expansion port is only useful for memory expansion ...
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28 votes
5 answers
4k views

Why is the Amiga ROM at a high memory location, and RAM in low memory?

When a 68000 CPU powers up, it reads a few words at memory location zero to get the initial stack pointer and program counter. That suggests to me that a computer system designer would put the system ...
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28 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why are the later revisions of the Motorola 68060 heavily sought after by Amiga fans?

I have come across a few sources online in forums and on YouTube information related to using the Motorola 68060 in Amiga accelerators and the difficulty in sourcing genuine late revision parts. ...
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27 votes
2 answers
3k views

How to obtain 256 arbitrary colors with limitation of 64 per line in Amiga (ECS)?

The game Universe for Amiga boasted ability of use of 256 different Amiga colors available through the ECS chips, with only limitation of 64 colors in halfbrite palette (32 arbitrary + 32 at half ...
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26 votes
5 answers
3k views

Did any Amiga 500 games or programs (apart from paint programs) use more than 32 colours?

While the Original Chip Set (OCS) and Enhanced Chip Set (ECS) Amiga computers had the 32 x 2 colour EHB (Extra Half-Brite) and 4096 colour HAM (Hold And Mofify) screen modes, where these ever used ...
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25 votes
5 answers
3k views

Why did the stock Amigas not have a battery for keeping the time/date?

The Amiga computers were advanced machines meant to do all sorts of things, including file management. They had a GUI OS (Workbench) and everything right from the very start. They were not some games-...
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25 votes
1 answer
5k views

Why do all the Speech Synthesizers have that same Voice?

The first time I ever played with software speech synthesis on a microcomputer (not hardware synthesis, like in TI's Speak & Spell) was around 1983, using S.A.M for the Commodore 64. A year later,...
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25 votes
4 answers
2k views

What exactly was the Amiga Ranger?

Amiga's history includes something called "Ranger" that supposedly was either meant to be the next generation system to be released after the Amiga 1000 was released, or the codename for the next ...
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  • 3,596
25 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why are there two, different, Kickstart 1.3 ROMs with the same 34.5 version number?

The Kickstart 1.3 ROM file that is supplied with Cloanto's Amiga Forever (amiga-os-130.rom) is very slightly different to that which you'd get by dumping a real 1.3 ROM from an Amiga 500. ...
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24 votes
4 answers
4k views

Why does MP3 audio decoding overwhelm retro CPU's?

Many retrocomputers from the late 80s and early 90s had audio DAC hardware support. This includes the Amiga, Classic Macintosh, and PC's with SoundBlaster add-on cards. Despite the fact that the MP3 ...
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24 votes
10 answers
4k views

Why was hardware diversification an asset for the IBM PC ecosystem?

The IBM PC was cloned very early on, and many third parties made hardware peripherals. This required users to run an OS, install drivers, manage IRQs and hardware bus addresses, etc. Why was this a ...
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24 votes
3 answers
3k views

Why was it not possible to cost-reduce the Amiga 500?

According to 'Commodore: The Final Years' (whole trilogy highly recommended, BTW), page 129, 'Jeff Porter realized it would not be possible to significantly cost reduce the Amiga 500 to get it into ...
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24 votes
1 answer
2k views

Who ended up owning Commodore's semiconductor IP?

The question of ownership of Amiga-related intellectual property post-Commodore is famously difficult to answer. My question is: does anyone "own" Commodore's semiconductor IP now, and if so,...
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24 votes
3 answers
2k views

Was the MC680x0's TAS instruction forbidden on Amiga systems only when operating in CHIP memory?

(Note: a previous version of this question asked about the CAS instruction, that was added by Motorola from the MC68020; the original one is the TAS instruction). TAS is the acronym for Test And Set, ...
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23 votes
6 answers
2k views

Does the "Amiga Client for Novell NetWare" exist?

On page 139 of Brian Bagnall's book "Commodore: The Final Years", there is the statement that at CeBIT Hannover in March 1989, Commodore announced (amongst other things) "Novell Netware for Amiga". I ...
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23 votes
2 answers
6k views

How to convert Amiga DMS to ADF?

Our demoscene group managed to release only one demo before it fell apart, but these being the early days of the Internet in my country, and me getting lucky with obtaining access to it and creating ...
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22 votes
5 answers
5k views

Why were 3D games on the Amiga not faster than on similar 16 bit systems like the Atari ST

It seems that 3D games, especially simulations like Falcon, were not faster (fps) on the Amiga than on the Atari ST - even a bit slower due to the CPU clock. I was wondering why this is the case, ...
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22 votes
5 answers
11k views

How can I adapt a modern mouse for use with Amiga?

Death of the Amiga platform predated introduction of optical mice of reasonable quality by a couple years. The Amiga mouse was a box of problems, with non-ergonomic shape, crud-accumulating rollers ...
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22 votes
4 answers
2k views

How did programs/patches stopping Amiga idle floppy drive noise work?

The Amiga computers would by default automatically detect a disk being inserted and respond by reading from it and displaying its icon. Polling the drive(s) for a new disk would produce a clicking ...
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22 votes
4 answers
5k views

How did the Amiga 500 left-side expansion port work?

On the Amiga 500 there is an expansion port How did the expansion port work?
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  • 2,723
22 votes
1 answer
2k views

Why do Amiga Libraries have negative entry points?

As described in these answers, the jump table offsets to functions contained in an AmigaOS library are always negative values. The reason for this is not intuitive to me, but I suspect Carl Sassenrath ...
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21 votes
5 answers
6k views

Were the custom chips in the Amiga exploited for their hardware bugs like the ones in the C64 and Atari 8 bit computers were?

Here we are some decades on from the C64, and other 8 bit computers. New ideas that resulted in some new graphics effect or mode seem to happen, though we may be near the end of all that. Took a ...
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21 votes
7 answers
3k views

Was Amiga the last of the home retrocomputers sold?

The Commodore-Amiga was offered for sale to home users from 1985 (original A1000 in North America) until 1996, when Escom stopped selling the A1200. By 1996, Apple was selling PowerPC-based Macs for ...
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21 votes
5 answers
2k views

How and why did Intel make the PCI bus "CPU Agnostic"?

Intel invented the original 32/64-bit PCI bus in the early 1990s to replace the decade old ISA bus used in PC's. It was immediately popular (in comparison to Micro Channel or EISA), being both faster ...
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20 votes
6 answers
9k views

How did early computers handle mice?

Early computer mice worked by sending a series of pulses; the more rapid the movement, the higher the frequency. How was this handled at the computer end? At one level, it sounds easy: just run a loop,...
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20 votes
2 answers
2k views

How are Amiga libraries structured?

In this Crash course to Amiga assembly programming, the author loads A6 with a constant, and then regularly jumps to offsets from that constant. He explains: All functions within that library can be ...
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20 votes
2 answers
1k views

How was 8-channel audio achieved on Amiga?

Oktalyzer was a Tracker style program for Amiga, that allowed composing and playing music with 8 channels instead of the "hardware-natural" 4. So far I learned it achieved that by splitting the 4 8-...
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20 votes
1 answer
3k views

Change Amiga Shell keyboard layout in Workbench 1.3

I'm using Workbench 1.3 in Amiga 500. I managed to change the Spanish keyboard in "SetMap", as shown in the following figure: And I can write text with special spanish characters (ñ,ç,ó,á,...) from ...
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  • 365
20 votes
1 answer
2k views

What size screws were used in the Amiga desktop cases?

On the Amiga 500, 500+, 600, and 1200, what size screws were used to hold the chassis together? Is it the same size screw for all, different screws per machine, different screws front and rear, or ...
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19 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do drives occupy memory on Amigas

I was reading this question, and it sparked an old memory. I had an Amiga 600 a long time ago. And I used to play Secrets of Monkey Island on it, great game. But then I upgraded the computer and ...
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19 votes
3 answers
2k views

What was the role of Commodore-West Germany?

Most of the history of Commodore in personal computers took place while East and West Germany were divided, and Commodore maintained a significant corporate presence in West Germany. While I believe ...
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18 votes
3 answers
2k views

Which retro system controllers are compatible with Amiga out of the box

I read an article that people were using various means of user input in their Amiga 500 computers as an alternative to joystick. Most notable, Sega Mega Drive, Sega Master System, CD32 / Competition ...
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18 votes
2 answers
2k views

What made the Amiga "Genlock-able"?

Right at the moment the original Amiga A1000 was being introduced, Commodore was already advertising its ability to use a Genlock peripheral, and promising that Commodore's own Amiga 1300 Genlock ...
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18 votes
3 answers
1k views

Where are the blueprints of MOS chips?

Atari historians have been able to find documents and tapes of chips and hardware developed at Atari. E.g. http://atariage.com/forums/topic/154479-new-gtia-chips/ . Nothing like this is happening for ...
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18 votes
1 answer
2k views

Was it possible to get more than 8 sprites per scanline on an Amiga with the copper list?

I've read in the past that it was possible to overcome the 8 sprites per scanline on the Amiga (OCS) using the copper list. However, I can't seem to find any actual references to what may have used ...
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  • 7,991
17 votes
7 answers
3k views

Were all Amigas except for A1000 un-upgradeable OS-wise?

In his latest video, "The 8-Bit Guy" on YouTube talks about the original Amiga 1000: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kjapiUQOi2s One of the things he mentions is that, unlike all later ...
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