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37-year-old Amiga platform gets updates to Linux kernel, AmigaOS SDK

Linux 6.0 as implemented in a Fienix distribution on a desktop.
Enlarge / Linux 6.0, implemented in a Fienix distribution on dedicated Amiga user xeno74’s desktop.

The last commercial Amiga computer available for sale was the AmigaOne X5000, a PowerPC-based revival machine released in 2017. The Amiga platform itself is 37 years old, but you’d better believe Amiga fans have the latest Linux kernel, 6.0, up and running on newer Amiga machines. The first true PC for creatives has a dedicated posse.

On the forums of Amiga OS developer Hyperion Entertainment, user Christian, aka xeno74, announced the availability of a final kernel 6.0 for AmigaOne X5000 and X1000 machines. The announcement featured the requisite images of 3D games like Cro-Mag Rally and Otto Mattic, along with system profile images to verify the up-to-date kernel. Work has already started on alpha builds of the 6.1 kernel further in the thread.

By itself, “Linux is available on quirky hardware” might not be that surprising, but there are other encouraging developments in the Amiga realms worth noting.

Hyperion announced the release of “a very substantial and comprehensive update” of the SDK for AmigaOS 4.1 54.16, for those who prefer to keep the mainline Amiga look and feel on their system. The update includes new options for gcc compiling, Simplegit and Subversion control tools, and general updates for many tools.

It’s also worth noting that “The Biggest Amiga Event” happened again this past weekend for the first time since the pandemic. The conference, Amiga37, held in Mönchengladbach, Germany, had nearly 50 exhibitors, talks, awards, and a performance by “The Fastloaders.” The conference website helpfully noted that the venue was “just beside ALDI SÜD.”

Amiga is unlikely to see a mainstream audience again, but the energy of its fanbase is heartening and perhaps a lesson for modern niche systems. As Jeremy Reimer wrote at the outset of his 12-part Amiga history, the people who give their time and energy to a system whose parent company went bankrupt in the late 1990s do so for a reason:

The Amiga computer was a dream given form: an inexpensive, fast, flexible multimedia computer that could do virtually anything. It handled graphics, sound, and video as easily as other computers of its time manipulated plain text. It was easily ten years ahead of its time. It was everything its designers imagined it could be, except for one crucial problem: the world was essentially unaware of its existence. …

To many people, (modern development) efforts seem futile, even foolish. But to those who understand, who were there and lived through the Amiga at the height of its powers, they do not seem foolish at all.

A hat tip to Slashdot for noting this convergence of latter-day Amiga-dom.

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