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.
The goal of the AROS project is it to create an OS which:
- Is as compatible as possible with AmigaOS 3.1;
- Can be ported to different kinds of hardware architectures and
processors, such as x86, PowerPC, Alpha, Sparc, HPPA and other;
- Is binary compatible on Amiga and source compatible on any
- 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;
- 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.
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
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,
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.