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My Amithlon Journey

I’ll post the journey I’ve had with Amithlon, from hardware I’ve used, installing issues and tweaks and eventually to compiling the kernel based on Milan’s “Kernel 4” tree.   Make sure to visit http://amithlon.snkbitten.com/ for downloads of patches, kernels and miscellaneous files.  Lots of internet searches and hardware experimenting to make your journey easier 🙂 – SnkBitten

Requesting some feedback please…

This goes out to those using and those who in the past used Amithlon….
Those who use it:
Why do you use it compared to MorphOS or AROS?
What do you like about it?
What do you feel is missing?
Those who stopped using it:
What issues did you have with it to stop using it?
Moved to another OS (MorphOS, AROS) and what did they offer over Amithlon?
It seems there are some common standouts:
1) Hard to find compatible (new) hardware
2) Difficult to install
3) Legality of using it
I’m a huge fan of Amithlon.  I love the way it works and how it feels like a real Amiga.  The direct communication between AmigaOS and the hardware does give it a different feel than WinUAE (love that too).   If it’s possible to move it forward, we’d like to get a feel for what people would be interested in.
Again, looking for input on what makes Amithlon standout for you and/or what makes Amithlon not desirable for you.
The more feedback we get the better we can focus our efforts…..

Choosing a graphics card for Amithlon

There are a limited number of supported graphics cards for Amithlon.  NVidia, Matrox, ATI and even Voodoo.  Some better than others, though it still revolves around older linux 2.4 framebuffer support.   Going through the kernel and gathering what we can find, this is the support breakdown for acceleration with each card type.  This is information based on kernel 4.

Acceleration options defined in the kernel:
(1)FILL_RECT
(2)COPY_RECT
(3)BLIT_TEMP
(4)COPY_RECT_COMPLETE
(5)DRAW_LINE
nvidia:
(1)FILL_RECT
(2)COPY_RECT
(3)BLIT_TEMP
(4)COPY_RECT_COMPLETE
(5)DRAW_LINE
matrox:
(1)FILL_RECT
(2)COPY_RECT
(3)BLIT_TEMP
(5)COPY_RECT_COMPLETE
(5)DRAW_LINE
radeon:
(1)FILL_RECT
(2)COPY_RECT
(3)BLIT_TEMP
(4)COPY_RECT_COMPLETE
(5)DRAW_LINE
voodoo:
(1)FILL_RECT
(2)COPY_RECT
(3)BLIT_TEMP
(4)COPY_RECT_COMPLETE
(5)DRAW_LINE
We can definitely see that overall nVidia has the most enabled acceleration functions with the Matrox and Radeon cards each dropping a different function.  The Voodoo is the least supported and would be close to standard VESA framebuffer.   I’ve not had a functioning PCI Radeon card, I believe AGP cards are the ones that work in Amithlon (based off a few laptops with AGP Radeon cards known to work).  Matrox has both PCI and PCIe cards that work and nVidia has both AGP and PCI cards working.  I have no feedback from anyone using a Voodoo card with Amithlon.
Still working through what we can, hopefully gaining more insight in to how Amithlon functions with as much specifics/details as possible.

Working on a few updates

Current status is “work in progress” but we have patched Amithlon to remove the 4 MB limit on Matrox video cards.  Linux 2.4 Matrox framebuffer drivers had issues crossing a 4 MB barrier which results in Amithlon only seeing 4 MB on Matrox cards.  In testing with a  Two-headed 32 MB Matrox G550 PCI-e card, after the patch to Amithlon internal binaries we saw Matrox-1: at 16 MB and Matrox-2 at 4 MB.  This only works with Bernie’s new_emubox.gz kernel and Gary’s kernel 3.10.   Kernel 4 is incompatible with this mod and we are looking if any other incompatibilities are within Kernel 4.  With Kernel4 already requiring a switch from ram0 to ram1 in the init string, there may be some other issues undiscovered at this time.

Current setup

Reading through the posts I noticed my system had changed slightly since the last time I posted, so a little updating…

 

System configuration:

Gigabyte Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard

Intel Core2Duo @ 4.00 Ghz (e8600 @ 3.33 GHz)

(2) 512 MB ram modules (1 GB total)

64 MB nVidia 5200 PCI graphics card

32 MB Matrox G550 PCIe graphics card

Catweasel MKIV PCI card

Soundblaster Live 5.1 PCI

Realtek 8169 10/100/1000 Network card (PCI)

Intel Pro-1000 10/100/1000 Desktop Network card (PCIe)

Motherboard 10/100/1000 Realtek  RTL8111 chipset

8x DVD-RW(-/+) Slot loading drive

20 GB SATA dos boot drive (freedos)

256 GB SATA AmigaOS drive

Multi-card USB reader

3.5″ PC Floppy (Catweasel allows for r/w of Amiga DD/HD and PC DD/HD disks)

New kernel4 module for RTL8111 based cards

Nothing spectacular but for those of you with the common RTL-8111 motherboard NIC (10/100/1000) this is a very nice addition.

Doing some linux investigating we’ve found a 2.4 kernel module for the RTL8111 series chips, common on motherboards (10/100/1000 nic).

I have a new module file for the following network chips  used on motherboards, it doesn’t build with the kernel so had to be manipulated a little to get it to ‘make’ for kernel4.

RTL8111B/RTL8168B/RTL8111/RTL8168
RTL8111C/RTL8111CP/RTL8111D(L)
RTL8168C/RTL8111DP/RTL8111E
RTL8168E/RTL8111F/RTL8411
RTL8111G/RTL8111GUS/RTL8411B(N)
RTL8118AS

It’s based  on version 1.07, no changes to the driver just modified the make file.
http://www.realtek.com.tw/Downloads/…3&SortByDesc=1

Download this for your Amithlon system.
http://amithlon.snkbitten.com/files/…rtl8111nic.lha

Extract the files to ram: then copy the r1000.o file to your devs: pcidrivers/net/ folder and copy the other three files to your S: directory.

It will overwrite your pci_modules, vendors.txt and vendors_pci.txt files in S: so you may want to back those up. The new ones were updated and should give more useful info as well when doing a pcilist  or pciscan command (much less “unknown device”).

I can remove the Intel Pro 1000 Nic from my system now and use the motherboard built-in Nic.

Kickstart….

I replaced the kickstart in Amithlon with a stock A500/A2000 3.1 kickstart.  The system booted just fine and runs with no issues that I’ve noticed so far.  It looks like only exec is different between the two.  I’m going to experiment with how much the shape.rom can be patched without creating any issues.

Soon, new kernel compiling guide based on Ubuntu

I’m working on a new guide for compiling the kernel using an older Ubuntu distro, though it’s newer than the previous guide using a really old Centos distro.

It seems to be a quicker and easier setup as well and I hope to have it posted/hosted over the weekend.

This doesn’t add anything new though it does make the process easier and hopefully help some start rolling their own kernels.

Amithlon install guides posted to Aminet

I feel the installation guides have reached a point of being complete, at least as much as I’ve been able to make them.    So I exported them as PDFs and archived them together and posted the archive to Aminet.

http://aminet.net/package/docs/help/Amithlon-Guides

I’ve started a new ‘Miscellaneous Notes’ of items that I’ve found useful or information I’ve found that doesn’t really involve the installation process.  Once that has a bit more info in it, I’ll host it as a live Google Doc like I’ve been doing with the installation guides.

Let’s see what 2018 brings….

Honestly there isn’t a lot I have going on with Amithlon (or Amiga) at this time.  I’m getting more involved in Lightwave 2018 (and 2015.3) these days but I’m hoping to do some more hardware testing this year if funds permit.  Still wanting to build up an i7 based system, just need to find (and purchase) the right motherboard/CPU and use the best combination of PCI and PCIe cards I’ve tested.