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 Imagine if it runs on old outdated hardware like this it will shine on new modern hardware.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.
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.