i686be-amithlon-ahiusr Audio working

Finally, i686be-amithlon-ahiusr.lha installed and functioning. I just wanted to get it working vs. the m68k-amigaos-ahiusr.lha version.   More of a challenge I guess since I kept hearing it was much more difficult to do than the 68k version.

Bernie stated there really isn’t much of a difference, the i686 will be ever so slightly faster, but use it for bragging rights or something 

You need run_elf in your user-startup to let it interpret the x86 binary.

run <>NIL: run_elf GUARD PATCH

I’ll add the note to my guides and include run_elf 1.8c.tar.gz file.

You’ll need both run_elf and run_elf86 copied to C: or C:amithlonc/

After numerous attempts, finally finding the right components to make it work feels good.

Amithlon system reinstall

This weekend I formatted my system volume and installed Amithlon again.  Leaving all my other partitions alone provided access quickly to most of my installed software, just needed to spend time setting up my Workbench and patching/updating.  I also had a copy of my Sys: partition on my DATA: volume in a folder so I could easily pull patch files, libraries, review my startup-sequence, etc… as I was setting up my new install.

This time I skipped doing any Genesis install and I went straight for RoadShow for the TCP/IP stack.  Everything is mostly working, I have a few software packages to install but before I continue I may do another fresh install.  I want to get Amithlon installed, all the proper updates/patches (AOSXL_update1, Boing Bag2, AmithlonUpdate131) installed, USB and networking configured and Picasso96 installed and configured, then make a full backup of this configuration.  Experimental patches and software installs come later as this way I can have a full configured base system (AmigaOS and hardware) to restore if something happens and I can re-evaluate what additional patches and/or software to install from that base.

Roadshow TCP/IP stack

I use Roadshow on my A4000T and enjoy the DHCP aspect (even though I reserve IP’s for my systems so they always have the same one), I enjoyed the “in the background” aspect it offered in that it launched at boot (during the user-startup) and was just there, doing it’s thing…providing TCP/IP to my system.   On my Amithlon system I had been using Genesis, and while nice, it doesn’t offer DHCP, it doesn’t really run in the background and it hasn’t been updated, or continues to be updated, like Roadshow.

I had configured Genesis to not show it’s GUI on launch and added the startup commands to my S:user-startup file to make it appear seamless like Roadshow, however if I ever attempted to change a screenmode, it would not allow me to do so until I had launched the Genesis GUI and exited out of it.   A minor inconvenience but still an inconvenience.

I had attempted to configure Roadshow on my Amithlon system previously and had a single issue that prevented me from using it……my machine would lock/freeze on boot….basically when trying to run the script s:network-startup that is added to your s:user-startup file.  I’m not positive what my issue was but I believe I have found what it was during my latest attempt.   The Amithon Installation Guide Pt. 2  is being updated and already contains the following information:

 

Networking (Roadshow)

You could instead use Roadshow if you have purchased this.  Installation is done via an Installer but configuration changes are made editing text files that Roadshow uses.  These will need to be edited after installing to reflect your network card, network addresses, name servers, hosts and routes.

Install Roadshow using the installer, once installation is complete, browse to your DEVS:Storage/NetInterfaces folder and make a copy of the RTL8139 text file and name it AmithlonNET, then copy it to DEVS:NetInterfaces/ .   Edit this file to use the device driver of your Amithlon system, most likely the same as used for Genesis, the amithlon1_net.device.  I had issues with it obtaining an IP address via dhcp so I commented out the line for dhcp and uncommented the lines for address and subnet and modified those for my network.  You may also want to change these two lines:

#iprequests=32

#writerequests=32

to

iprequests=64

writerequests=64

As it will improve the performance of the network interface (faster transfers)

Next you’ll edit the ‘name_resoltuion’ file under DEVS:Internet changing the line:

#nameserver 192.168.0.1

Removing the “#” to uncomment it and modifying the address to match that of your router which is typically the name server you use.  You can add additional name servers by uncommenting the other lines and modifying those if you also point to Google’ DNS servers, etc..

In the same folder (DEVS:Internet) edit the file ‘routes’ and change the line:

#default localhost to remove the “#” and change “localhost” to your router’s IP address (again this is a typical configuration).

If you have any devices you communicate with on your local LAN, it would be a good idea to add those to the ‘hosts’ file.  Ad the bottom of the file, just add your devices IP and what you call them.  I have a NAS box for storage so I add it’s IP address, press tab and then add the name MyNAS.   This allows me to reference MyNAS instead of the IP when using SMBFS or FTP, etc..

Reboot and your Amithlon should start up with networking enabled and running.  I will look into the DHCP issue I was having and see if it can be easily resolved.  I use DHCP (with an IP reservation on my A4000T so I expect it should work just as well on my Amithlon system.

When using DHCP you should only edit the AmithlonNET file to uncomment the ‘iprequest’ and ‘writerequest’ and bump them to 64 and edit the ‘name-resolution’ file to add your router’s IP address as the nameserver.   If you have local devices you want to reference by name, editing the ‘hosts’ file is still needed.

Make sure to also update to the latest version, Roadshow v1.13.

E-UAE – Full Amiga chipset emulation

I’ve been playing with E-UAE lately on my Amithlon system.  I was having serious issues with launching it and it, 99.9% of the time, immediately hard-locking my system.  It was extremely annoying and frustrating to constantly have to reach over and hit the reset button and wait for the BIOS boot, then the small DOS partition to boot and then Amithlon booting into AmigaOS.  I was using the latest version, E-UAE-0.8.29-WIP4 with all these issues so I decided to try an earlier version.  I found E-UAE-0.8.28-RC2 on Aminet.net and gave it a run.  Perfect.   Launched successfully every time, regardless of opening a window on the Workbench screen or opening it’s own screen.  3.1 ROMs, 1.3 ROMs……it worked.  I did notice that it is slightly slower than the latest version (of that .1% times it launched and let me run SysInfo v4.0).  However, it still runs the emulated setup faster than an A500 and an A1200 which should cover most games.   I was able to get FA 18 Interceptor (one of my favorites) to launch and play, both on a stock A500 setup and on a memory added A1200 setup.  I’m still trying to figure out WHDLoad and the E-UAELoad install so far now I have just configured two setups, an A500 (ecs_agnus) and boot floppies (.adfs) and an A1200 (aga) with 8 MB ram and boot HD (.hdf).

So nice to have an extremely fast AmigaOS system (Amithlon) that can now run some of the custom chipset software as well.

A run of SysInfo below….(E-UAE and A1200)

So with very inexpensive parts from the CPU, MB, RAM and old PCI cards (graphics, sound and network), I a very capable system running AmigaOS, and then E-UAE to handle the occasional custom chipset requiring pieces of software.

Updates to the Installation guide

Doing my install I used my own guides to follow along to make sure I had everything.  I bypassed some as my 20 GB drive had been used in another Amithlon test machine so had the DOS bootable OS plus the Amithlon files, I just needed to copy my lastest kernel to the drive.  I started installing Amithlon and noticed a few things I need to add to the guide but I thought I’d post this here while I’m still updating them (though they are live updated if you view the linked documents from my site http://amithlon.snkbitten.com/ ).

Installed and patched I noticed I was still using the built-in screenmodes and realized I had nothing in the installation guide for updating P96 to a more recent version than what comes pre-installed in Amithlon.  So here it is…..

*Picasso96Install

I realized I never covered updating the built-in installation of Picasso96 until doing a new Amithlon install recently and this is a key piece regardless of a hardware accelerated supported video card or not.

It is very specific in what to install so don’t rush through and follow exactly.  I’m using Picasso96 2.1eso download it and extract it to RAM:  Run the Setup from the Picasso96Install folder and make sure to choose “Update an installed version”, then make sure to choose “Expert User” as we want to specifically pick what is being installed.  Choose ONLY the following selections:

Libraries

24bit picture.datatype

Picasso96Mode

Picasso96 Variable Setter (PVS)

Continue installing until completed then browse to the Picasso96Install/Devs/Monitors/ folder and copy the ‘powerfb’ monitor file to your SYS:Devs/Monitors/ folder overwriting the one currently there.  Reboot AmigaOS and then go to Prefs and launch Picasso96Mode.  From the menus you can select the  “attach settings to” option, and if your graphics card is supported, select your card, mine is “nVidia-1” as I’m using an NVidia FX5500 PCI card which is supported in the kernel.  You’ll have to tweak the settings and that is covered in Part 2 of the Installation Guide.  If your card is not listed it will most likely show “powerfb” as the current board and “VESA-1” as a choice.  I’m not sure if you should try to manipulate the settings if using powerfb or VESA-1.  I have only made changes for nVidia-1 and my monitor’s sync/refresh rates.  

I realized as well that I had never before copied the powerfb monitor file over the original one.

Rebuild has begun

My Amithlon system rebuild is underway, lots of little issues, mostly from me being disorganized with software scattered over many many unlabeled DVDR and CDR disc and starting around 10:30 pm and having to be up at 5:30am for work.    Old 3.5″ SATA drives removed (320 GB boot drive with a Win7 and a DOS partition with a boot menu to choose between the two) and an 80 GB drive that held AmigaOS.  In went two 2.5″ SATA drives (a 20 GB DOS boot drive and a 256 GB SSD drive for AmigaOS) and installation has reached booting Amithlon and 90% patched.  The 20 GB drive actually came out of an Xbox 360 when I upgraded it to a 250 GB drive.

I decided to rebuild because it’s been a while since I set this machine up and I’ve learned a few things about AmigaOS and Amithlon since that time and also after one of the Win7 updates Win7 stopped booting.  It was annoying having the boot menu for Amithlon or Win7 knowing Win7 didn’t boot (or run very well either…), I wanted a fresh clean install of Amithlon and I wanted to use the 256 GB SSD drive I had sitting on my desk.

I’ll continue, noting things I need to add to the installations guides that I had either left out or wasn’t an issue when installing under the Virtualbox environment which I had used to build the structure of the install guides.

Wishful musings…..

Lately I’ve been playing with original Amiga hardware (A4000T).  While it’s fun and brings back a lot of very fond memories…..every time I boot my Amithlon system I am saddened that this product didn’t get the attention and development it deserved.  From my readings, it was intended primarily to get AmigaOS on to the  x86 CPU and that in turn would encourage actually porting the code to x86 vs. running in emulation.

Amithlon is still the fastest AmigaOS “emulation” around and had it continued it’s course it could have made AmigaOS a viable OS in my opinion.  Amithlon (October 2001)  w/AmigaOS 3.9 was released and both Windows XP  (August 2001) and MacOS X (March 2001) had only recently launched.   Amithlon could have been very competitive against those at this time as an alternative.  It’s speed and real multitasking, along with low cost x86 hardware, could have allowed for more advanced features to be developed/added to the OS to remain competitive.  Slow processes on 68k/PPC Amiga’s zip along on Amithlon.   Continued development and moving forward on x86 hardware, instead of the ridiculously expensive and slow PPC hardware direction AmigaOS 4 headed,  and AmigaOS could have been a legitimate player in the OS field.

Imagine more hardware choices for RTG video cards, AHI sound cards, network cards, other hardware devices, etc… being available from the larger pool of inexpensive PCI devices, as well as easily upgrading your “Amiga” as newer and faster CPUs and more advanced chipsets/motherboards were coming to market.  No more direct ties to 1980’s hardware, cheap RTG video and sound cards, heck perhaps even the possibility of using NewTek’s VT for PC (the PC version of the Video Toaster and if NewTek would provide AmigaOS software/drivers).  Of course it would have depended on Amithlon being further developed and moving more and more towards direct x86 coding.  Buy a decent case, drop in an x86 motherboard/cpu with the latest video card and have an extremely fast AmigaOS system.  Newer video cards come out….replace your card and gain the advantages it offers.  Same with CPU’s, drives, sound cards, etc…

AmigaOS had a stepping stone to remaining relevant in the early 2000’s….at least in my opinion.