Being true to what I said in my last column I reserved this Monday evening for spending some time with my AmigaOne SE and OS4.1. Not the entire evening but getting about one or two hours would be some achievement. After a Monday work day you just got to relax and what better way then calling upon the mighty Amiga with it’s sidekick OS4.1.
CodeBench is a Jack of all trades but I still always compiled my code from the shell. Even when you could do it, and with CodeBench is intended for, from within CodeBench I would still do it myself from the shell. But not any more. Now I also us CodeBench to compile my code and tell me about any errors and if there are none run it to see the end result.
I have a lot of Amiga plans I want to realize this year. One of them is starting something I will program and actually finish and during it write about it so you readers can learn some things. Like the Redhouse File Manager but actually continue and making it to the end. I wanted to start something new and something that I could get behind and finish. I will continue with Redhouse File Manager at some point but I am afraid that if I try to use that as a project now I would not get motivated enough to keep going. So I need something new and exciting. Besides a File Manager I always have had a soft spot for creating an editor. So that is what I will start with and slowly move forward and adding stuff to it and write about it. I am already writing a bit for the first article. Looking at what I have written so far here and that I am also working already on the first Amiga Editor article I really have a great Amiga start of this week.
Skipping forward to Friday evening. The start of the weekend and time to publish this column and start working on the Amiga Editor project. And of course play some classic Amiga games.
I have been using Aros (in the form of Icaros Desktop) for a while now and it is about time I write about my verdict on it. There is a bit of a dilemma for me in some weird way as I am a OS4.x fan boy. From the start I suppose to hate it, right? Some kind of wannabe Amiga OS on X86 hardware. How could I even consider thinking about it let alone install it? How wrong could I be? Well beyond my dreams because it was love on first sight.
It runs on my old x86 hardware that became absolute due to the fact Windows would not run on it anymore. It’s fine if you are happy to wait 5 minutes every time you move the mouse. That was a great start for Aros because I did not have to go out and buy new hardware for it. Imagine if it runs on old outdated hardware like this it will shine on new modern hardware.
If you got some spare hardware lying around you should really install Icaros to give it a try. You can also run it within Windows or even boot it as a Live DVD. Personally I would recommend to run it on real hardware to experience it to the max.
One program I am really missing on Aros is a syntax highlight C editor. I really can’t work without one anymore since I start using Cubic IDE and CodeBench on Amiga OS4.x. For now I will have to do without but as you start working with larger portions of code you start loosing the oversight and it becomes hard to get to grips with it. I really hope someone will create this because this is something I really need.
To my surprise Icaros contains VNC Server so I can sit downstairs with my Acer laptop and connect to my Icaros desktop upstairs. I use TightVNC Viewer in my Acer laptop to connect to my Icaros desktop and it works great.
With my upcoming holiday I will be able to use Icaros a lot more which is something I am really looking forward to. Mostly I will try to do some more programming and playing some games with the emulator. Of course I will be writing about it like I always do.
I really did not expect it would have arrived already since normally my wife usually contacts me and informs me my precious stuff has arrived. So I was really surprised when I got home and it was there. This was Thursday 12-4-2012. It was packed, just like my previous package from AmigaKit, really good which shows the package has been treated with all the possible care.
I did decide before that if it would arrive during the week I would wait till Friday evening before installing it. I did not want be up all night while I still had to go to work the next day. But you know very well that once it is there you just got to start with it right away. So I decided to install it after my wife and I would be back from shopping. Just before that I made sure I had backups of all my important files since I wanted to do a clean install. I did expect some issues to arise since with only very limited time on that Thursday evening so it had to be a perfect run without any obstacles. And arise it did since the installation screen did not come up at all. I tried it a few more times and at with some tries I also got some errors when trying to load from the disc which made me think it was the optical drive. The one I use is a very old one and I it did gave me some issues before when trying to read contents on a disc. I could not stop now so I quickly decided to open my wife’s desktop and take out the dvd drive swap it with the one that was in my Amiga A1SE. As it turned out this was a good decision since it loaded up the Amiga OS4.1 installation and I could run the installation. The first attempt did cause it to hang on 5% at the part of copying files to the hard drive but after starting it for the second time it installed perfectly. It was already passed midnight and getting close to 1:00am Friday morning so it was time to call it a day and continue exploring OS4.1 that Friday evening and the weekend.
With Friday evening having arrived it was time to continue with the installation of the OS4.1 updates. There are 4 updates so far and I knew already that Update 4 required Update 3 and after some investigation I found out that I needed to install Update 1 first and after it Update 2 and so on till Update 4. I soon discovered that Update 1 is a ISO file that needs to be burned on a disc and you need to do a complete new installation. This information was not present in the OS4.1 package I bought. So the installation I made on that Thursday was pointless since I needed to do a complete new installation anyway with OS4.1 Update 1. Eventually, and I did, you will find out about the fact that you need to install Update 1 and forget about the installation disc that comes with the package but putting a note in the box informing users about this would be a must if you ask me.
Once I had the Update 1 installation disc ready I started the installation. Unfortunately it gave me a black screen after the Amiga OS4.1 splash screen. I created it on a DVD instead of a CD so I created also (the only one left) a installation CD but this also failed at the same part. Time to start paying a visit to the Amiga sites to find out what could be causing this. I discovered right away this had to do with the USB modules that are being loaded during the installation. I need to comment them out. In the Kickstart folder is a file called “Kicklayout” in which you can comment out those lines.
Sounds easy, right? Making the changes is easy but how to get it back on the disc? No matter what I tried each time I booted from the disc it failed to do so. That seems to be putting a hold on my OS4.1 dreams. I also read on the Hyperion forums that Tuxedo created a bootable partition and booted the installation from that partition. I posted on AmigaWorld.net about having two bootable partitions and also contacted Tuxedu by PM. Besides Tuxedo there was also tonyw who both gave me the information to have a go at it and actually succeed in booting the installation from the bootable partition.
The trick is to set the second bootable partition to a higher priority than the Workbench partition so the system will start from the installation partition. I had the Workbench set to 0 and the installation partition to 3. You should not not set bootable partitions to 5 or higher since cd’s are priority 5. You have to make sure that after the installation (so before the reboot) you set the Workbench partition to the highest priority. If you cannot get out of the installation and do this but only reboot you can start from the original OS4.1 disc and change the priorities. This worked really great for me. I will keep the partition with the installation files in case I need to install OS4.1 again. After OS4.1 Update 1 was installed the other updates installed perfectly. It would be great if Hyperion could make some kind of option to select what needs to be loaded in future updates so that A1Se owners can install it without any problems.
So what do I think? It is everything I thought and more. It is so much more stable and I actually can use it without having crashes every 5 minutes. I am really happy I purchased although I did started to fear I would never get it to install. I am still getting to learn all the new stuff and applications I can run now. But so far I have been using CodeBench the most which is one kick ass utility and a must have for every programmer. To round up my OS4.1 review and stealing McDonald’s slogan “I’m Lovin’ It“.
It certainly is one of those weekends I am going to remember for a long time to come. People that follow my columns might have already guessed it, OS4.1 arrived. I will write a more extensive article about it which I plan to post later this week. The package arrived on Thursday and I managed to get it all up and running this (time of writing) afternoon. You can imagine that this has been some journey. What I can say is that in the end I am really impressed. Part of this column is actually written on OS4.1 (Update 4) using OWB as a browser. Sadly with the weekend ending there won’t be much time during the week for me to play with OS4.1 and the many great applications I can try now.
What is so great about the Amiga, which showed again, is the community. I had to get some help in getting it all up and running and the people at AmigaWorld.NET showed their true value. So many people tried to help and in the end it was that help that got it all to work.
Of course I had to try CodeBench once I had it all up and running. I am really loving it. I have not done much with it yet but what I have seen really impressed me.
My Run the Gauntlet game review should also be posted this coming week. I needed some info from Hall of Light but it was down for a couple of days so that caused a bit of a delay. Let’s hope I can free myself from OS4.1 for this.
A lot of people would love to program on the Amiga but won’t, or try but quit right away because it “seems” to be difficult. It certainly is not difficult but it can be made looking difficult. I have read plenty of tutorials and seen so called example code which made me run away and throw in the towel. But after reading and studying them over and over again I started to understand some bits and pieces. It was not me that just did not get it but the way it was explained or presented. If done differently I would have understood it much earlier. Another issue I always come across is that how come my code to do a certain task is looking differently compared to someone else’s code? There are “1000 ways” of doing a certain task and you just have to pick the one you feel comfortable with. I have been trying to get it exactly like the other(s) programmer(s) for too long. Even changing my code after I created it to look more like theirs. But now I stick to my way even if my code is different. But sometimes you actually pick up some new ideas by looking at other code so certainly don’t stop looking at other code.
Why am I writing these tutorials? By writing it I hope people start getting back into programming after giving up at first. Or maybe you always wanted to start but never did. Make sure you don’t get stuck at hurdles I had a lot of trouble getting by and which might make you want to stop. Also the fact that there is a serious lack of programming information out there. Remember to never give up if you hit a rough spot in your programming journey. Just step away from it for short moment and dive back in it again and you will see you will get by that hurdle. Another valuable asset is having a mentor. Someone you can contact when you just don’t get a certain part and who can explain it to you in a simple way and make you understand and continue with your journey. There is no greater feeling when you suddenly start to understand a topic you never could before. I still experience this often and many more will come.
If you have suggestions or need help please let me know. I would love to get feedback on my tutorials or if you have some suggestions regarding topics I could discuss please let me know. If you are an experienced Amiga programmer and happen to read the tutorials and see errors or have a better suggestion on how to do certain tasks please let me also know. I am also still learning so I am always open for feedback. Some topics I might discuss would also be new to me so I am bound to make an error or two somewhere down the line.
For starters I suggest you have a look at “Start programming – The totally free way” at OS4 Coding
It is an introduction to programming on OS4 emphasizing on the “free” part. It talks about Codebench as the (free) integrated development environment (IDE). Unfortunately Codebench needs AmigaOS 4.1 Update 1 or later and since I have OS4 running I am unable to use this.
Another free editor with syntax highlighting is Annotate. It works on AmigaOS 3.x, AmigaOS 4.x, MorphOS 1.x and AROS.
I use Cubic IDE from Dietmar Eilert myself. It is not free and currently it costs Euro 49,90. There are special discount sales often which allows you to buy it at a discounted price. Usually around Easter and Christmas Dietmar sells it at a discount price. I am really happy with Cubic IDE and also the support from Dietmar. Every time I needed some help he was really quick to reply with the solution.
You would have to do some extra work to get the Amiga OS4 SDK to work with Cubic IDE. Trixie wrote a tutorial on how to get the latest OS4 SDK to work with Cubic IDE. SDK stands for Software Development Kit. The Amiga OS4 SDK contains everything developers need to take advantage of all the new AmigaOS 4.1 features including updated includes and autodocs.
To sum it up you will need the below to start programming on Amiga Os4:
– The Amiga OS4 SDK (Software Development Kit)
– Editor which can be a simple text editor with or without syntax highlighting or a IDE package (Integrated Development Environment) which contains a editor and various other tools
In this series of tutorials I am not going to teach the basics of the language C. There are other sources that are doing a great job on teaching you this. So instead of teaching the basics of C we start right away with programming on OS4. For me one of the best books that taught me programming in C is Sams’ Teach Yourself C in 24 hours from Tony Zhang. I would suggest you also check out the Amiga C Programming Tutorial from Michael Ness. I should say this is a must that you read this tutorial. Some of my first information can also be found in Mike’s tutorial but we will dive further into OS4. Till next time when I show you how deep the rabbit hole goes.