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Amiga Forever Workbench 3.1 Improvements

 

TOPIC

Q: What are the differences between Cloanto's 3.1 Workbench disks as used in Amiga Forever and its Classic Support line, and the original versions by Commodore and ESCOM? Do you have any tips for hard disk installation?

 

DISCUSSION

Overview

Workbench 3.1 was the last Amiga OS version released by Commodore/Amiga, and the release by Cloanto aims to celebrate this version trying to be as true to the original as possible without compromising functionality. This is unlike the Workbench 3.X environment, which intentionally added several recognizable post-Commodore/Amiga features.

Amiga Forever always included Workbench 3.1 as a set of six floppy disk images and a preinstalled hardfile (e.g. as set by default to boot the A-1200 and A-4000 systems). By popular demand, a "Classic Support" scenario was explicitly outlined in a Coexistence Agreement between Amiga, Inc. and Cloanto, for use also outside of emulated Amiga systems. Thus, Workbench 3.1 became available as sets of physical floppy disks (e.g. for customers who purchased a used Amiga computer, but were missing the disks), preinstalled on CompactFlash and SD cards, and in other formats. A license key is always included, to make it possible to additionally download a copy to update or restore the original.

System Requirements

Workbench 3.1 requires a 3.0 or 3.1 Amiga ROM ("Kickstart") version, and is additionally compatible with 3.X ROMs as used in Amiga Forever.

Shared Improvements

In a careful balance of preservation, restoration and innovation, features of all Amiga Forever Classic Support editions of Workbench 3.1 include:

  • Dates were preserved, while file attributes and comments were restored (relative to the distribution by ESCOM and Village Tronic)
  • Updated C/Version command (Y2K patch)
  • Addition of Libs/workbench.library (for A-4000T 3.1 ROMs and 3.X ROMs)
  • Updated S/Startup-Sequence (conditional SetPatch, for 3.X ROMs)
  • Increased MultiView stack to 32768
  • Installer script improvements
  • Updated Installer (43.3 or 44.10, depending on CPU) and FastFileSystem 45.9 (to support larger disks)
  • Installer itself is now part of the system installation (inside the Utilities directory)

Floppy Disk Set

The Amiga Forever Classic Support floppy disk (image) set consists of six disks, and features the same improvements of the hard disk version. Additionally, the installer script was modified to support the changes, and with some other enhancements (e.g. to avoid "disk full" errors on large disks and to fix some typos). All disks were carefully tuned and defragmented for maximum performance.

The floppy disk set can be used alone (to boot and use the system), or to create a new hard disk installation, equivalent to the Amiga Forever Classic Support hard disk image. Enhancements include the installation of workbench.library, Installer 43.3 (on 68000 or 68010 CPUs) or 44.10 (on 68020+ CPUs), and FastFileSystem 45.9.

Hard Disk Image

The Amiga Forever Classic Support hard disk image is the result of a full installation from the floppy disk set.

As part of this, the appropriate Installer program is copied to the Utilities directory, which is part of the system search paths and which was also the location chosen by Commodore/Amiga in many of its own installations.

Depending on the desired video modes, one or more monitor files may need to be copied manually from "Storage/Monitors" to "Devs/Monitors".

Support for Disks Larger than 4 GB

The installer script included on Amiga Forever Classic Support media was improved to support installation to hard disks larger than 4 GB regardless of the Installer, FastFileSystem and ROM version.

Full runtime support for disks larger than 4 GB requires several elements, of which FastFileSystem 45.9 and Installer 44.10 are included in the Workbench 3.1 distribution, whereas lower-level components such as scsi.device come from a ROM update, such as the 3.X ROM (supported, but not included).

For maximum compatibility, the Amiga boot partition should be the first partition of a disk, and it should not be larger than 4 GB. In order to remain compatible with older software that uses 32-bit values to measure disk capacity, a maximum partition size of 2 GB is recommended.

The FastFileSystem component itself may be included in different locations: the Amiga system ROM, the Amiga disk RDB, and as a file (FastFileSystem, inside the "L" directory of the system disk). Based on the available versions, the system determines which version to load.

For large disk support, confirm that the destination disk RDB has an official NSD-compatible FastFileSystem 43.20 or 45.9 or higher (e.g. use "Version DH0: FULL").

To update the FastFileSystem stored in the disk RDB, run Tools/HDToolBox, select Partition Drive with [x] Advanced Options, then Add/Update..., select FastFileSystem, then Update using the FastFileSystem as provided in the Amiga Classic Support Workbench 3.1 distribution.

Emulation-Specific Changes

Workbench 3.1 versions that are included in the emulation environment of Amiga Forever include the above modifications which are shared with the Classic Support series, plus some emulation-specific changes which are not part of the Classic Support series:

  • Added C/Shutdown command (for shutting down the session)
  • Added C/GetHostVar command (for passing data from host to guest)
  • Restored licensed speech-synthesis files to Devs, L, Libs, Utilities
  • Added Devs/DOSDrivers/Speak
  • Added UAE RTG files to Libs, Storage
  • Set default printer to EpsonQ (emulation has emulated EpsonQ printer)
  • Updated S/Startup-Sequence to bind in several utilities (NewIcons, FullPalette, LhA, etc.) from Amiga Forever Work partition, if present
  • Updated S/Startup-Sequence to support Cloanto S/AFShared-Startup
  • Updated S/Shell-Startup to support Cloanto UXCLI
  • Edited SCSI_DEVICE_NAME in Tools/HDToolBox.info ("scsi.device" replaced with "uaehf.device")

Slightly different hard disk image file names are used to differentiate between the Classic Support ("workbench-310.hdf") and the emulation-enhanced ("workbench-311.hdf") versions.

For more details on "uaehf.device" vs. "uaescsi.device" and other emulation-specific changes see:

Online Support

Each Classic Support set comes with a license key that can be used to download the same set again for recovery or update purposes. To register for support, please refer to cloanto.com/genuine.

Additional Enhancements

Workbench 3.1 remains true to the look and feel and the feature set of the last Workbench by Commodore/Amiga, including support for 3.0 ROMs and the ability to boot from floppy disks. For maximum compatibility, no new ROM functionality is provided in the disk set.

For additional enhancements, Amiga Forever includes a 3.X ROM and an environment named Workbench 3.X. Workbench 3.1 as discussed here is compatible with 3.X ROMs.

Related Links

 

Article Information
Article ID: 16-120
Platform: All
Products: Amiga Forever Classic Support
Additional Keywords: Compact Flash, CF, SD
Last Update: 2015-02-02
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