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Short introduction to AROS

Introduction
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The AROS Research Operating System is a lightweight, efficient, and flexible desktop operating system, designed to help you make the most of your computer. It's an independent, portable and free project, aiming at being compatible with AmigaOS at the API level (like Wine, unlike UAE), while improving on it in many areas. The source code is available under an open source license, which allows anyone to freely improve upon it.

Goal

The goal of the AROS project is it to create an OS which:

  1. Is as compatible as possible with AmigaOS 3.1;
  2. Can be ported to different kinds of hardware architectures and processors, such as x86, PowerPC, Alpha, Sparc, HPPA and other;
  3. Is binary compatible on Amiga and source compatible on any other hardware;
  4. Can run as a stand-alone version which boots directly from hard disk and as an emulation which opens a window on an existing OS to develop software and run Amiga and native applications at the same time;
  5. Improves upon the functionality of AmigaOS.

To reach this goal, we use a number of techniques. First of all, we make heavy use of the Internet. You can participate in our project even if you can write only one single OS function. The most current version of the source is accessible 24 hours per day and patches can be merged into it at any time. A small database with open tasks makes sure work is not duplicated.

History

Some time back in the year 1993, the situation for the Amiga looked somewhat worse than usual and some Amiga fans got together and discussed what should be done to save their beloved machine. As some saw it, an increase in acceptance was necessary, for the main reason for the missing success of the Amiga seemed clear to them: it was propagation, or rather the lack thereof. The Amiga needed a more widespread basis to make it more attractive for everyone to use and to develop for. So plans were made to reach this goal. One of the plans was to fix the bugs of the AmigaOS, another was to make it a modern operating system. These were some of the reasons that created the AOS project.

With the demise of the Amiga, at the time it seemed feasible to acquire the AmigaOS sources. Until this happened, the scope of the intended work had to be determined more precisely: Which, exactly, were the bugs? What would be the best way to fix them? What were the features a so-called modern OS had to have? And how should they be implemented for the AmigaOS?

Two years later, people were still arguing about this, and since the sources to the AmigaOS had not been obtained yet, not a single line of code had been added to them. Discussions were still continuing, often repeating previous discussion or turning into mere claims that things were, or weren't, impossible.

In the winter of 1995, Aaron Digulla, who was fed up with this situation, posted an RFC (request for comments) to the AOS mailing list in which he asked what the minimal common ground might be. Several options were given and the conclusion was that almost everyone would like to see an open OS which was compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 (Kickstart 40.68) on which further discussions could be based, to see what was possible and what was not.

So the work on AROS began.


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