Kernel init string

Doing some more reading/researching and I found some nice information on the init string to launch Amithlon and including certain settings from the ‘startup-sequence’ in AmigaOS in the init string to potentially eliminate an additional OS restart.

First off, the init string….

Don’t change this one, it is needed for Amithlon to start

Set this to 4 (instead of 0), and the boing ball will no longer bounce, but rather sit in the top left corner, and you will get kernel and emulator messages during startup. Do this if things fail to start!

Leave this as it is. Amithlon needs it like this (kernel 4 uses ram1 instead)

Leave this as it is for ‘bigird.gz’ or use 2310 if using ‘smallird.gz’

Don”t reduce this number. You might want to increase it to give Amithlon more memory for disk caching (only read-caching, no write caching, so it’s safe!).
Each page stands for 4k; If you increase the number by 1024, you are adding 4MB of disk cache (but take 4MB away from the Amiga). Reducing the number below the values given will result in weird and hard to track hangs!

Only used if you are using the VESA driver for graphics support. In that case, this decides the one (and only) mode you will have available. See the following table for the meaning of the numbers. Installing amithlonupdate131 will give you screenmode choices in AmigaOS for additional VESA modes.

Resolution 640×480 800×600 1024×768 1280×1024
8bit 769 771 773 775
16bit 785 788 791 794
24bit 786 789 792 795

So an 8bit 800×600 screenmode would be vga=771

If you are using the setconfig options in your startup sequence (e.g. to set cachesize, or monitor frequencies), you can also put those onto the kernel command line. The advantage is that those options are available before AmigaOS starts up, and will thus not require a reboot to come into effect. To set, for example, the cachesize to 16384kB from the kernel command line, simply add the option “cachesize=16384” after the “leavepages=xxxx” entry. A word of warning, though — the various boot loaders all have limits on how long the kernel command line can be; So if it looks like your settings didn’t make it into Amithlon, check with “dumpconfig”… They might just have been truncated.

My init string for loadlin.exe is named tsmall and contains the following:

nvitel.gz init=/linuxrc console_level=0 root=/dev/ram1 initrd=smallird.gz ramdisk_size=2310 leavepages=7800 cachesize=65536 vesa_defaults=0 hsyncmin=24 hsyncmax=82 vsyncmin=48 vsyncmax=76 clockmax=300 asynchronous_io=1

So my autoexec.bat file reads
loadlin @tsmall

nvitel.gz is my compiled kernel for my nVidia cards and the IntelPro Nic. The rest set all the config options and the setconfig settings that were previously in my s:startup-sequence file. Since I can comment those out of the startup-sequence now, on boot the “setconfig reboot if changed” no longer forces a reboot. Running dumpconfig confirmed all my settings were still present (after a complete power cycle and restart).

Nothing to update currently…..

Nothing really going on currently for me and Amithlon.  I’d like to continue testing new(er) hardware, perhaps an early i7 motherboard (ICH10R chipset) and maybe a PCIe Soundblaster type card…..   However that will all need to wait until I have some spare funds.

I’ve been busy lately playing with Lightwave 3d 2015 on my Win10 PC, so much that I have barely touched anything AmigaOS related (A4000T, WinUAE, Amithlon….).   I was a Lightwave fan back in the ’90s on my A2000 and A4000D Toaster setups and I was curious to see how Lightwave had evolved over the years.

Make sure to leave any comments or questions on any previous posts as I always try to answer any questions and assist.  Or add posts to the Google+ Group, maybe some of the other members have something to add.


A few of the animations I’ve done in Lightwave 3d 2015 using only Lightwave 3d features.  All models downloaded from online sources.  Trench run was an .lws (scene file) with X-Wing model added and time scale doubled.

Star Wars (Falcon run)

Star Wars Trench run

Star Trek

MultiFileSystem (mfs21.lha)

Using the Catweasel and having mountlist for Amiga DD, Amiga HD, PC DD and PC HD, if all were mounted and you put in a floppy….you would have the disk icon for the mounted drive and also, if for example it was an Amiga HD disk, PD1:??, PH1:?? and TD1:?? icons showing.

I installed MultiFileSystem and moved my TD1 and TH1 mountlist into the DF0 folder it created in Devs:DosDrivers.   A reboot brought up a few errors, nothing serious, and low and behold….putting an Amiga HD disk in popped up the icon for it and nothing else.  Doing an “info” showed the mounted volumes….and now it’s DF0: as the mounted name!  So any floppy inserted will show up as DF0:.

The errors I mentioned…..MultiFileSystem scans Devs:DosDrivers and there was a folder for AmigaXL with it’s CD0 mountlist…I just needed to drag that folder over to Storage/DosDrivers so it wouldn’t be mounted.  I had already moved the Amithlon CD0 mountlist to WBStartup as I perfer the CD icon to be mounted after my disk partitions, so the CD icon doesn’t push the partitions out of order if I leave a CD in the drive during boot/reboot.



Intel PRO-1000 PCIe card installed

Great news, the Intel PRO-1000 Desktop PCIe network card works with Amithlon, Kernel 4.  I pulled my PCI RTL8169 and installed the PCIe Intel Pro-1000 card.  I had already compiled the kernel with the Intel card embedded so booted my system and kept my fingers crossed hoping I’d have connectivity.  The system booted normally (a good sign as the Roadshow boot scripts should have slowed the boot process down as if it failed to connect) and I clicked the icon to launch the shortcut “mount” for my NAS storage box.  Both volumes popped up on my desktop….YES, We have success.  Another PCIe card we can use in Amithlon.  Overall this one seems to be substantially faster than the RTL8169 I was using (both are 10/100/1000 on a gigabit router).  Copying files from my NAS box, downloading files from the internet, all seemed to run faster.

Bad news, the ATI Radeon PCI card failed to work.  I tried 4 different cards with the same results.   I had planned to test both the ATI video and the Intel nic, luckily we have success with one.

Catweasel installed and it’s awesome.

The Catweasel is in and this thing is pretty freakin’ cool!

Unplugged the floppy cable from the motherboard and plugged the end into the black connector on the Catweasel.  I then Plugged the included white cable into my motherboard’s floppy connector and then into the white connector on the Catweasel. Plugged the Catweasel into an available PCI slot.   Using the standard PC floppy drive I already had in my Amithlon system.

With just openpci.library (2.1) in LIBS: and multidisk.device (3.65) in DEVS:, along with two mountlist created, TD1: (Amiga DD disks) and TH1: (Amiga HD disks), I can now read/write Amiga DD and Amiga HD formatted floppies 🙂

I have a few commercial software disk (Amiga DD) so I inserted one and the disk info appeared, double clicked and was able to access the content. I didn’t have any Amiga HD formatted floppies lying around so I grabbed an HD floppy, put it in my A4000T (which has an HD floppy drive) and formatted the floppy. I then moved it over to my Amithlon and it’s icon appeared. Opened it up, dragged file to it and when completed I put the disk back in my A4000T and was able to open the file.

Formats supported (and will require the appropriate mountlist and testing) are:

0 Amiga DD 880 Kbytes double-sided
1 Amiga HD 1760 Kbytes double-sided
2 MS-DOS DD 720 Kbytes double-sided
3 MS-DOS HD 1440 Kbytes double-sided
4 Atari 10 sector 800 Kbytes double-sided
5 Atari 11 sector 880 Kbytes double-sided
6 Commodore 1581 800 Kbytes double-sided
7 XTRA high density 2380 Kbytes double-sided
8 MS-DOS HD 20 sector 1600 Kbytes double-sided
9 Macintosh DD 800 Kbytes double-sided
10 Macintosh DD 400 Kbytes single-sided

The number on the left is the “flag” used in the mountlist to tell it what disk type you are using.

Using this named TH1:  (for HD disk)

/* multidisk filesystem entry
* This mounts a logical device on catweasel unit 0 for reading and
* writing Amiga HD Disks. Create mountlists for other units
* by changing the number behind ‘UNIT = ‘ to 0, 1 or 2.

Device = multidisk.device
Unit = 1
Flags = 1 /* format #1 = Amiga HD */
Surfaces = 2
BlocksPerTrack = 22
Reserved = 2
mask = 0x7ffffffc
MaxTransfer = 0x00200000
Interleave = 0
LowCyl = 0
HighCyl = 79
Buffers = 5
BufMemType = 1
StackSize = 4096
Priority = 5
GlobVec = -1

and this one called TD1: (for DD disk)

/* multidisk filesystem entry
* This mounts a logical device on catweasel unit 0 for reading and
* writing Amiga DD Disks. Create mountlists for other units
* by changing the number behind ‘UNIT = ‘ to 0, 1 or 2.

Device = multidisk.device
Unit = 1
Flags = 0 /* format #0 = Amiga DD */
Surfaces = 2
BlocksPerTrack = 11
Reserved = 2
mask = 0x7ffffffc
MaxTransfer = 0x00200000
Interleave = 0
LowCyl = 0
HighCyl = 79
Buffers =
BufMemType = 0
StackSize = 4096
Priority = 5
GlobVec = -1


A PCIe video card successfully tested

I read that Pedro Cotter was using a PCIe Matro G550 card in his Amithlon system so I decided to test one out.  I had removed all the additional framebuffer drivers from my kernel so I did a quick compile of a new one re-adding the Matrox framebuffer and ATI Radeon framebuffer (that one will be tested next).  I removed the nVidia FX 5200 64MB PCI card and installed the Matrox G550 32MB PCIe card.   Powered on (I had already swapped out the kernel on my DOS boot partition and edited the “small” file to reference it), and it booted just fine to my Workbench.  Went in to Picasso96Mode prefs and selected the Matrox-1 card as the board in Picasso96Mode.  Rebooted and all continued to work though I lost a few hi-res hi-color modes, 1650×1080 @ 32 bit and 1280×1024 @ 32 bit, leaving on the 8 bit and 16 bit modes of those resolutions.  I use my own defined 1280×720 @ 32bit so no worries.   The reason is the lower amount of available memory the Matrox framebuffer allows, only 4 MB versus the 16 MB you get out of an nVidia card.  I had to recreate a 320×240 mode as the one I created for my nVidia card threw an “input signal out of sync” on my monitor(s).  Did some regular use testing and didn’t feel much difference, and did some benchmark testing which showed a significant reduction in most test.  A few scored higher, but on average most were slower, some significantly slower.  I attribute this to those functions being tested were not hardware assisted.  I believe nVidia has the highest amount of hardware accelerated functions enabled which gives it a performance advantage.

In real use I’m not sure it’s something you’ll notice that much if at all.  Windows still open and move without feeling different, games still are fast enough.  Simple Quake timedemo demo1 showed less framerate than the nVidia card, but it was still smooth and above 30 fps at 1024 x 768 @ 16bit.

This opens up a PCI slot for the Catweasel (yay) and gives more options for new(er) motherboard choices with supported chipsets, as a lot of the latest ones typically only had two PCI slots (Video and Networking or Video and Audio) and a few PCIe slots.   Now you can have PCI Audio and Networking and PCIe Hardware Accelerated Video.

I plan to run benchmarks in SysSpeed for each video card and save the results as a module and make them available for download as well as displaying the overall results.

My Amithlon System

For grins, here’s my Amithlon system, from power on to running AmigaOS (video) and a picture of my Workbench and SysInfo v4 speed test.

My Amithlon’s Workbench
My Amithlon running SysInfo v4

System configuration:

Gigabyte Gigabyte GA-P35-DS3L motherboard

Intel Core2Duo @ 4.00 Ghz

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

256 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)

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

20 GB SATA dos boot drive (freedos)

256 GB SATA AmigaOS drive

Multi-card USB reader

Catweasel Mk4 PCI

Picking up a Catweasel Mk4 PCI card, hoping this will work well with Amithlon allowing me to read/write Amiga formatted floppies. The device allows reading/writing Amiga DD/HD, PC DD/HD and Mac formatted disk with a standard PC floppy drive.

The fun part…I’m out of PCI slots. So I need to see if my PCI-e to PCI adapter for my motherboard works or perhaps try a PCI-e network card in place of the PCI one I’m using.

This will be interesting….


The Catweasel is installed! Multidisk.device copied to devs: and I created two mountlist, one for Amiga DD disk and one for Amiga HD disk. Double clicked the DD one and then inserted an Amiga DD disk and its icon popped up on my Workbench. Double clicked it and it opened the contents of the disk. I removed the floppy and the disk icon went away……only to be replaced by that familiar Amiga disk drive clicking.

Any noclick tools work with multidisk.device? – Yes, the Multidisk prefs program from the Catweasel 2 software.  No click enabled….. no clicking.  Bonus, the Catweasel 2 software also included a patch for CrossDOSFileSystem that makes it work with multidisk.device and supports disk changes (no diskchange ph0: or ph1:).

Kernel compiling, what’s really needed?

If you’ve followed my guide for compiling a kernel and have spent any amount of time looking at the .config file…..I’m curious if anyone has experimented with what’s really needed or not?  I launched VirtualBox the other day, booted my Centos setup for compiling the Amithlon kernel and dumped one out and tested on my actual system.  I made very few changes, mostly removing all the modules [m] options since I don’t use any modules.  I’m more curious if some of the modules are expected to be loaded (depending on hardware) that I could be missing that would be better off compiled in to the kernel ([*] instead of [m]).  Honestly the only things I remember ever using modules for were network drivers, audio drivers and/or network drivers.  A lot of character/keyboard/serial selections are designated at modules in Milan’s .config file.

After booting and testing the first one I went back to Centos and stripped out all the IDE drivers, just leaving generic and Intel (my motherboard uses an Intel SouthBridge and NorthBridge) IDE, enabling SATA support and adding the drivers for a possible SCSI card (I have) if I feel like giving it a try.  My kernel wasn’t much smaller than the one I compiled and have been using.   I’d like to strip out more unneeded tags or drivers.

I have to admit, I was trying to make a more generic kernel while being specific at the same time…one I can use in VirtualBox as well as on my hardware system.  Adding NIC and Sound drivers for options VB presents and such.  I could strip those out to be leaner I suppose.

Anyone else compiling their own Amithlon kernel and discovering what can be left out and what is absolutely required?

Slight update to my Amithlon system

I’ve been using a slim DVD drive that fits in a 5.25″ bracket that holds the slim drive and a 3.5″ device in my A4000T and really liked the look.  I thought about adding one to my Amithlon but didn’t know what I’d put in the 3.5″ area (it can remain empty or contain a device you don’t need access if you leave the 3.5″ cover attached (it’s a break off piece)).  I use a CF Card reader in my A4000T in that spot.  I also have a 3.5″ USB multi-card reader in my A4000T so I figured adding one of these would be beneficial to my Amithlon setup as well.    I actually replaced the tray-loading slim drive in my A4000T with a slot-loading one so I decided to do the same here.  Slot-loading slim DVD-RW, 3.5″ Multi-card USB reader, both in a 5.25″ bracket, replaced the 5.25″ DVD-RW drive that had been there.  I had an open USB header on the motherboard so connected the multi-card reader to it, attached the IDE cable to the slim to IDE adapter that was attached to the drive and booted up.  I had to add the additional ports in Poseidon (AmithlonUSB.device 4 and 5) and all was good.

I had installed BB3&4 package earlier and felt everything was good until I tried to launch Shapeshifter….which caused and immediate “emulator crash…” reboot of Amithlon.  It’s either something being loaded as a module to replace the kickstart modules or something in the ‘Amiga OS ROM update” file that the  BB3&4 skips.  I also didn’t see any advantage BB3&4 was adding to my system so I wiped it once more and started the install again from a blank HD.  This time I installed with the intent of getting a good base setup that I can restore if needed.   So, I installed Amithlon’s OS 3.9 (which includes BB1), AOSXLUpdate1, BB2, AmithlonUpdate131, MUI 3.8, Poseidon/Arakattack, Picasso96 2.1e, Roadshow and icon.library and layers.library + loadmodule.  With this all functioning I copied the contents to another partition I created named Backups:   I’ll hide this with the Workbench prefs program which only hides the device to Workbench, you still have access from the shell.   If something goes crazy from either me experimenting with software patches or libraries, etc…I can easily wipe and copy my “backup” back to the SYS: volume in seconds.

So, new slot loading DVD-RW drive with a Multi-card USB reader, all functioning with a backup made to quickly and easily setup again if I screw things up.

*Shapeshifter now has a real Macintosh feel, you drag the disc icon over the trash and it pops the disc out instead of opening the disc tray.  A small bonus with the slot-load drive 🙂