Just a picture!

HTML-Heaven

Quite nice set of utilities (shareware) which allow insertion of HTML codes into a document. Opens up gadgets onto any screen (in the registered version) and sends ARexx commands to ARexx text editors, such as GoldEd.

Configuration files available for many popular text editors, sufficient instructions provided to write your own configuration file if your are conversion with ARexx.

At least one Amiga word processors/desktop-publishers will output HTML files, namely Final Writer version 5. However, HTML-Heaven exemplifies the spirit of Amiga computing.

Available from the Aminet.

VNG Now - just a picture!

VoyagerNG

A great Amiga browser - quite cheap too! Supports frames, SSL and Javascript. Now at version 3. Not quite as stable as Aweb, below.

AWeb

AWeb

Perhaps the best Amiga Web browser currently available. It is in version 3.3, and is now commercially available. Many, many other Amiga web readers are currently in development.

Extremely stable, the old alpha versions hardly ever crashed on me, and the new version seems even more stable. It supports downloads, proxies and the newest version supports Javascript. It is the only Amiga browser I know that can access the Commonwealth Securities share trading site.Minor defects are lack of support for some HTML-3 commands, but these are cosmetic problems.

IBrowse

From the developers of AMosaic come their new browser, IBrowse. The most complete Mosaic implementation I know of. Now in commercial release. Supports proxies and forms, background images and displays progressive gifs while they are being downloaded.

Some bugs leading to occasional crashes still need to be ironed out. Multilink reveals that it opens up port after port without closing them properly. This kind of bug will eventually lead to a crash and burn! Uses Magic User Interface (MUI) 3.2 or better.

This reveals a slight weakness in Amiga development, in that standardized graphical user interfaces with font-size sensitivity etc. are still not part of the operating system, leading some programmers to use MUI which has yet to prove itself in the reliability stakes (although v 3.8 seems pretty good). Thankfully, every program on the Amiga which uses MUI uses a `common' copy i.e. only one MUI is running even if ten applications use it. Libraries have been a fantastic thing for the Amiga, although their use can sometimes confuses people installing new programs.

Available from the above Web site.

ShapeShifter

Just a picture! A shareware program allowing Macintosh (Motorola 68000 series processor) emulation on the Amiga. Reasonably stable, especially when I used MacOS 7.5.5 instead of 7.5.1!
Link to UOSSS

Once again, MacOS 7.5.1 was very unstable on my computer. Use MacOS 7.5.5 instead. You can find 7.5.5 on the Unofficial ShapeShifter Support Site.

Perhaps the main limiting factor is memory. ShapeShifter can only emulate a Macintosh with as much contiguous memory as your Amiga. To make matters somewhat worse, whereas the Amiga operating system might consume half a megabyte of RAM, the Mac operating system (v 7.5.1) consumes at least two megabytes of RAM. And you need to be running the Amiga operating system at the same time as the Mac operating system! Incidentally, the two systems happily run side by side, a miracle of Amiga architecture.

The headache is not yet over. You need to have access to Mac ROMs (by hook or crook, ShapeShifter provides a program which saves Mac ROMs to diskette). These MacROMS also need to be held in RAM. They start at 512K, the newer versions are one megabyte in size (admittedly the one megabyte ROMs are only of benefit if you have a 68040 or better)!

So, at the end of the day, my ten megabyte Amiga computer (two megabytes chip, eight megabytes fast) was reduced to a five megabyte Macintosh. The MacOS consumes a further two megabytes, leaving three megabytes of memory. Even some Amiga programs might find this amount of memory a tight squeeze. To make things worse, Mac programs seem to be more bulky than Amiga programs! I now have 64 megabytes on my computer, which is much better!

But for all the little problems, it is a boon to Newton users. It allows us to use our Amiga to communicate with our little personal digital assistants. Newton support, if you are a Macintosh user, is quite good. The Newton programs for Window users are only slowly released, and run quite slowly as well! Click here to read further rambling regarding using Newtons and Amigas.

I should mention that ShapeShifter runs very quickly. An Amiga running Shapeshifter runs about as fast (> 95%) as a Macintosh using the same processor. For bog-standard Amigas, this only applies if you are running in black and white mode, which is quite tolerable if you have a multisync monitor. Owners of graphic cards have successfully run DOOM-type games satisfactorily.

I have had trouble using ShapeShifter's printer. Despite using the recommended Chuck's printer driver, nothing seems to work on my BJ200ex. So I use PSPrinter by Adobe instead. In fact, the version at the Adobe site is called `Faxprinter'. Initially it will request Appletalk, but as long as you deny the request, and ask for printing to be `delayed', the actual postscript output will be sent to a file! You can then copy the postscript file to the Amiga, and use a Postscript interpreter, such as gs353, psprt and post (all available on the Aminet)

So, in summary, ShapeShifter is a good emulation. But I recommend that you have a lot of RAM, a multisync monitor and some space on your hard-drive to set aside a 'Mac' partition (or maybe just purchase a Zip drive!). For fast colour emulation, you will need an external graphic card that supports chunky modes. Speed depends on the speed of your Amiga. The speed with my 40MHz 68030 board was very acceptable, it is even better with my 50MHz 68060!

At some stage Christian Bauer may release 'SheepShaver', a PowerMac emulator for LinuxPPC. A well established LinuxPPC is already available for the Amiga, so this could be quite exciting!

Linux

The Amiga can now run modern up-to-date cutting-edge software...by running an 'alternative' operating system! Linux is available for both 680x0 series Amigas, as well as PPC-equipped Amigas. In fact, Linux is the main source of PowerPC software for the Amiga. The above link points to APUS, the PowerPC version of Linux available for the Amiga.

PowerPC Linux software is available from Debian and LinuxPPC. LinuxPPC is perhaps somewhat easier to install, and uses 'RedHat' style packages. Debian is more 'cutting edge', or perhaps that should be called 'bleeding edge'. My LinuxPPC 1999 Q3 setup quite happily compiles many sources from places like Freshmeat.

If you have a Pentium I can heartily recommend Linux Mandrake, currently version 7.2. Mandrake is based on 'RedHat' style packages. It does a very good job auto-detecting and auto-configuring hardware. It also is very good at managing user privileges (as far as I am concerned, I don't have to manage those details, which is good as I haven't much idea how to do it).

My Pentium hardware, which Mandrake auto-detected, is an ATI Rage Fury Pro graphics card, Soundblaster Live! soundcard, Advansys SCSI card, ACard SCSI card and a CNet Pro200WL ethernet card.

A word of warning for ATI Rage Fury Pro users. The chipset used by this card is NOT an ATI Rage 128, so do not select any ATI Rage 128 options!

Also, Mandrake's provided kernel does not auto-detect Amiga hard-drive partitions, unlike Debian potato (2.2). If you want this feature, you will need to re-compile Mandrake's kernel.

Amiga sites...

Aminet

The largest file collection in the world, with over 30,000 titles. Also one of the most well organized archives in the world, with regular RECENT file postings, search engines and CD-ROM productions (currently up to number 35).

Try the following sites de.aminet.net, src.doc.ic.ac.uk, us.aminet.net. Also accessible via...

Link to amiga.org

amiga.org

Another source of Amiga information and news.

Link to AUG

Amiga Users Group Inc.

An Amiga User Group which meets in Moorabbin, Victoria. They also produce a monthly newsletter.

Some of my own programs...

Here are some programs which I converted to the Amiga.

AmigaNPI - Transfer packages from the Amiga to the Newton.

PltoTF - A slight adaption of the Pascal program, compiled with PCQ-Pascal. Converts metric files for TeX! Not commonly used, but used by hbf2gf (see below).

hbf2gf - A compiled version of another TeX program! Part of the CJK package, which allows TeX users to print out Chinese, Japanese or Korean characters. Also allows the TeX user to print romanized Chinese i.e. Pinyin. As far as I know, this is the only way that Amiga users are able to print Chinese characters.

hbf2gf itself converts hbf (hanzi bitmap formats) to gf (a primitive TeX format, which is subsequently conveted to pk TeX formats). This is a straight compilation of the hbf2gf with gcc 2.7.0. Needs pltotf (see above), as well as ixemul.library (sorry), available from Aminet, under dev/gcc.

CJK is a TeX package which allows Chinese characters, Japanese characters (various types) and Korean characters to be used with TeX. As far as I know, this is the only way to print Chinese with the Amiga. There is another, non-TeX, package available for the Amiga on the Aminet to use Japanese. Version 2.5 is available on the Aminet under text/tex. The newest version is at least 3.0, I have not converted it yet!

TurboHockey is a two or four player game (using the four-joystick adaptor which attaches to the serial port), adapted from a two-player hockey game. Available on Aminet under game/misc/turbo.lha.

PSUtils is a port of Angus Duggan's program. Manipulates postscript file e.g. re-size, n-up, re-number, select odd or even pages and select page ranges. Found in Aminet under text/print.

When an Amos compiler again becomes available, I will hopefully make available a Morse code trainer I have written. Unlike the above programs, I actually wrote the whole darn thing myself. Unfortunately the old Amos compiler was unable to compile all Amos programs. I guess there is no guarantee that the Pro compiler is any better.

Just a picture!

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Last modified 1st March 2001