Happy Birthday Amiga!

An Amiga seascape It's hard to believe 20 years have passed since the Amiga 1000 was introduced. I'm no artist, but here's an image I put together on the A1000 back in the early 90s using NewTek's DigiView demo images and digi-paint.

Here are some of my favorite A1000 features. Even after 20 years, some of these still haven't made it into common desktop computers!

  • Keyboard garage (keyboard slid under A1000 to free up desk space)
  • Pre-emptive multitasking (This is the main reasons I didn't a Wintel computer until after Windows 95. Even with no MMU, once you're used to being able to run multiple applications, you can never go back!)
  • 12 bit (4096) color graphics. As you can see from this picture, Hold And Modify (HAM) mode looked a little fuzzy, but it was much better than the ASCII art which was common on other desktop computers!
  • When you want to turn it off, you just turn it off. No start-shutdown, no wait, just switch it off. I'm not sure how they accomplished this.
  • Case retaining Long filenames. (P.S. Yes I know windows enventually kludged around the 8.3 rule, but try this on a Windows XP box:) Start->Run and type "Command" to get a DOS prompt C:\\cd "Program Files" Too many parameters - Files In command.com, XP retains a limit that the VIC-20 overcame back in 1980, for backwards compatibility?
  • Forward<->Backward linked list file block allocation. Forget FAT, if something goes wrong with an AmigaDOS file, you have a chance of recovering.
  • IFF. IFF was a good container for the multimedia file types of that time. The anim compression was clever in being able to run full frame animation off a floppy at a reasonable frame rate on a 7 Mhz processor.
  • Slideable virtual screens It seemed intuitive to be able to grab the title bar and slide the entire screen down to reveal another screen, and another....
  • Hardware mouse graphics. Somehow it felt like I had more control over the mouse when drawing or painting because even if the processor couldn't keep up, the mouse would not stutter.
  • Unix like filesystem layout. Devs:, Fonts: and Libs: each lived in an appropriate directories. There was a also a startup file for the system and a startup for each shell. I still remember the BYTE magazine review where the AMIGA was criticized for not having an "AUTOEXEC.BAT." Some people just don't get it!
I hope some of the best features of the Amiga eventually make it onto a more modern hardware. Until then, you can always try UAE.

Comments:

We're still here after all these years, DPaint'ing darkness away :) Nice article, Dude pX

Posted by pX on December 06, 2005 at 09:15 AM GMT+00:00 #

I know exactly what you mean with the mouse control...

I've drawn with a mouse in many, many paint programs amongst many different hardware platforms. A good test is to try to write my signature with the mouse, to see how much control I have. After just recently getting an Amiga 2000, and using DPaint...it's the only time that what I put on the screen, actually looked like my real signature.

Posted by iconoclaST on February 12, 2009 at 10:13 PM GMT+00:00 #

iconoclaST, I never thought of that 'signature test' but it sounds like it would reveal what I was talking about. I wonder if anyone has ever kludged an optical mouse onto an Amiga. That could be the ultimate 2D mouse control device.

Posted by bnitz on February 13, 2009 at 01:54 AM GMT+00:00 #

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