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AmigaOS4 Final Update - My impressions (Released: 24-Dec-2006)
Written on by - 29738 views so far.

Hyperion once again gives us a new christmas gift by releasing the long awaited final update for AmigaOS 4.0 to all AmigaOne owners.

This update comes as usual as ISO image (~45MB) and can be burned with Nero or similar tools (I have no CD burner on my A1 so have to burn on windows). This CD is as usual bootable and can be used als stand-alone Installation-CD, no need to have any of the previous Update releases installed before using the Final Update.


The README clearly states that this is no update installation and should be best installed on a clean partition. This makes sense as some of the previous libraries like newlib.library i.e. are now kernel modules and therefor to avoid conflicts one should really install this Release on an empty partition.

I wanted to follow this advise and made a complete backup of my machine with Diavolo 2000, and also made an 1:1 copy of the complete SYS: partition so I can easily restore my settings after installation by copying all files back from this backup skipping existing files.


Next step was to boot from the installation CD. To achive this I had to select the CD Rom from the U-Boot Boot menu and enter the "boota" command on the u-boot console. This command starts booting from CD.
After booting was complete I've quick-formatted my old Sys: partition just as suggested to have a clean partition available for installation.

The installation of OS4 is as usual very straight-forward, it asks basic setup things (see my other post about the first pre-release) like keyboard layout and language, asks for destination drive and starts copying all required files on the destination disk.

The whole installation took about 10 minutes and ends with the question which screen resolution you want to use. After a reboot OS4 took about 10-12 seconds for a warmstart and presented the default desktop with pre-configured AmiDock. The AmiDock config is changed compared to previous releases and comes now with the following tools configured:

- NotePad
- Multiview
- Shell
- UnArc
- AmiPDF
- PlayCD
- IBrowse
- DVPlayer

The first thing I've noticed after the system was rebooted are the really nice icons, they really look amazing! An example screenshot from these icons can be viewed on my homepage.


Next new thing is the addition of DVPlayer and IBrowse, both as OEM versions with some limitations but useable. I found IBrowse a bit unstable (random DSI errors) but it is working so far, and thanks to Roadshow (TCP/IP stack
of OS4) you are able to go online just right after installation of OS4, which I personally think is really good to have!
DVPlayer seems to do it's job good so far, for video formats not known to DVPlayer an additional installation of MPlayer is useful, both programs cover the majority of video formats out there.

Another change is the missing "Tools" drawer on the System partition, all programs that where located here are now split in the "Utilities" and the "System" drawer. For me personally this is only logical and useful, so thumbs
up for this decision ;)

OS4 now also comes with a new screenblanker system which supports external plugins as new blanker modules. There are already a number of additional plugins available on os4depot.net and I'm sure that more will follow in the
future.

Other new tools I've discovered on OS4 Final:

- "RawDisk" to write on floppy discs similar to transdisk

- "PartitionWizard" to inspect, repair and optimize FFS2 formatted harddrives.

- "PrefsObjectEditor" to edit global preferences from other tools, however
  it seems to be not used yet from other tools.

- "Timezone" prefs tool to configure your timezone.

- "Compatibility" prefs tool to blacklist 68k programs that have trouble
  with the build-in JIT.

- "BiosUpdater" to update the U-Boot firmware from Workbench.

- "DumpDebugBuffer" to dump out debug-informations. These infos remain in memory even after a reset so this tool is very useful to analyze crashes after a reboot.

Everything else seems to be the same as in previous pre-releases, at least I did not find any other major differences.

After some days of working with OS4 final it seems to be working fine and also stable, however some 68k programs seems to crash more often now compared to previous pre-releases, and I assume that the new memory system of OS4 does not forgive anymore illegal memory accesses and therefor more crashes occuring now, but I'm not sure if this is really the case.


When working with OS4 I always have the Amiga feeling back, sometimes I have the feeling that I'm working on my good old A4000, only muuch faster and muuch better looking ;) Mainly my standard tools like CygnusEd 5.3, DOpus 4.18 or YAM 2.5 are working pretty fine and most of the time stable, but also older 68k Tools like AmTelnet or Diavolo2000 are working fine.


Diavolo2000 is now unbelievable fast, I already achieved backup speeds from 60-80MB/s when a backup was made from a HD and written on a HD, nice one!

My final conclusion is not 100% positive, but tends more in the positive direction. The OS is lighting fast and gives you the good old Amiga feeling, however the fact that a buggy program is still able to bring down the whole system is not acceptable in these days anymore. I can only hope that Hyperion continue developing their memory protection system in such a way that newer OS4 native tools are fully protected in the future so that this problem is gone, at least for native tools.

I also miss a lot of documentation and some system tools are currently not localized and run only in english.
However most missing part for me personally is the lack of a decent browser. This is the main reason I have to switch back to my Windows PC because many sites are not correctly rendered on both IBrowse and AWeb, and both programs are also not very stable here.


Regardless of these issues AmigaOS is still the way to go for me when it comes to C-Coding, it is simply fun for me to code in that language on AmigaOS.

Now we can only hope that the hardware situation will soon change and new hardware will be available. This would give other users the opportunity to take a look on OS4 and check it out on new (and hopefully better hardware
than the AmigaOne) hardware. If this will happen nobody knows for sure, we can only wait and see what
happens. For me personally the AmigaOne/OS4 will be a hobby that makes a lot of fun and will last hopefully for next few years.

So have fun with AmigaOS4!



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