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Amiga OS 3.2

by Eric Schwartz
From the AmiTech Gazette
Dayton, Ohio, June 2021

Well, it’s taken over a year, but we’re starting to see the light at the end of the pandemic tunnel, at least in this country. At this point we may be looking into the prospect of meeting at the library again sooner rather than later. Still, for this month at least, we will again have our meeting at Prez. Mike Barclay’s place. I hope to see at least some of you there. I will be sure to provide a small dog for the entertainment of the membership.

In what’s probably the most high-profile bit of Amiga news, Hyperion’s Amiga OS 3.2 is available for purchase from several Amiga dealers. It apparently fixes a lot of bugs, adds and updates many new features and refinements to attempt to give the classic AOS a more modern feel. Some of the enhancements are things that were available previously as add-on software, but is now seamlessly integrated into the OS. The Reaction GUI engine (AKA the GUI kit that isn’t MUI, but you’ll probably need to have MUI libraries installed anyway if you want to run any programs that use it) is more universally integrated. Datatypes are enhanced and easier to use. The shell and help systems are overhauled. Now ADF disk image files are able to be mounted simply by doubleclicking on them.

The Workbench itself is also enhanced and more customizable, including what seems to be the big hype of many video reviewers I’ve seen—the ability to move windows partially off the edge of the screen, or resize them from any edge or corner, not just the designated button. Perhaps not the biggest deal, but something that puts its ease of use a bit more in line with the desktops of other operating systems. Personally, I wasn’t particularly excited by Hyperion’s OS 3.1.4, feeling much of it was reinventing the wheel for those who were already using Amiga 3.5 or 3.9 systems. Version 3.2 seems like it’s pulling out from that shadow however, offering more useful features and options, and things undoubtedly valuable to some of the more casual Amiga hobbyists who might be more used to other operating systems, or want to make use of it via emulation or newer hardware without a floppy or CD-ROM drive.

I haven’t done so yet, but I’m thinking I will probably end up purchasing the ‘physical media’ CD release, maybe more in support of the project’s continuation if not much else, as I’m not certain at the moment exactly where I would actually make use of it. My A4000 is an old collection of software all held in a chaotic balance, and I’m a little concerned that a major OS update, no matter how well made, might break more than it fixes. My MorphOS machine is obviously in business for itself, and the Vampire V4 is currently using an AROS kickstart successfully. I’ll have to investigate to options there, and see how successful others have been with 3.2 on Vampire systems. Thankfully, changing things out can be as simple as swapping an SD card, so it will be worth checking.

Perhaps the best candidate might be my Vampirized Amiga 600, which may be taking over duties from the A4000 that my other systems can’t (such as driving a SCSI scanner). The options are there, and worth some effort to look into, so I may pick up the new OS before the window of availability closes.

I’ll see you all at the next meeting, and I shall leave you with a handful of recent Amiga-related video links of interest.

Retro Man Cave:
USB PC floppy drive to read and write Amiga disks.

The Guru Meditation:
13 Hot new features of Amiga OS 3.2

10MARC:
2021 Amiga Art Contest announcement