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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 primary goals of the AROS project are to create an open source OS which:

  1. Is as compatible as possible with AmigaOS 3.1 where appropriate;
  2. Can be easily ported to different kinds of hardware architecture and processors, such as x86, PowerPC, Alpha, Sparc, HPPA;
  3. Is binary compatible on Amiga, and as source compatible as possible on other hardware;
  4. Can run as a stand-alone 'native' version, bootable directly from hard disk - or hosted, opening 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.

History

Back in the year 1993, the situation for the Amiga family of computers - a highly popular system at the time - was looking bleak due to bad management decisions by the then owners. A motly group of Amiga fans got together and discussed what could be done to save their beloved machine. As some saw it, an increase in acceptance was necessary, since 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 main plans was to fix bugs present in the original AmigaOS, another was to make it a 'modern' operating system. This eventually lead to the birth of the AOS project.

At the time of the Amiga's demise , it seemed feasible that it might be possible 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.

And so work on AROS began, and the rest is history...


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