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Posts: 10
Registered: ‎02-14-2014
Location: Germany
Views: 5,133
Message 1 of 4

AROS - An operation system inside Android

A rather unkown operating system is AROS - the AROS Research Operating System. It is a free operating system based on AmigaOS 3.1 and is designed to be sourcecode-compatible to Amiga programs. It is available for many platforms, native ones (x86, PPC, ARM) and hosted versions which uses the drivers of the host operation system (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, Android).

The installation is very simple: Download the Android version of AROS, unpack the AROS folder to your SD-card or internal memory, and install the AROS.apk bootstrap. Open the App and the OS is loaded in a few seconds. The Android device has not to be rooted.

The idea is very good: You have a full window-based operating system, with unlimited virtual screens. It also has an awesome DOS and a special programming language, ARexx, which allows interaction between programs. Because it is a full operating system, it is not limited to restrictions which have to ge made in Apps, f.e. complex graphical interfaces which requires windows. It's also very leightweight, so it even works very fast on old smartphones. AROS runs idependent from Android, but it uses the system and the SD-card is shared, so it's easy to exchange data. Disk images like for virtual machines are unneccessary.

Unfortunately, the AROS scene is not too big, and the highest focus is on the x86 version. Icaros Desktop is a very big distribution now. So there are only a very programs for ARM/Android, and some of them are not very stable or not completely fixed to the Android environment. But maybe it'll be interesting for some people to work on an OS which would enhance Android more than every single-purpose-App. If there will be good software, it could make it more interesting for lots of Android users.

Some links are following later, the copy/paste function doesn't work so good on the tablet. On YouTube are some AROS / Android videos.

Greets, Naquaada.
What's DOS? Fun Fun Fun Fun! Smiley Wink
Former Employee
Posts: 44
Registered: ‎11-15-2013
Location: Morrisville,NC
Views: 5,088
Message 2 of 4

Re: AROS - An operation system inside Android

Naquaada: Thanks for sharing this information with us.  I personally wasn't familiar with AROS, so I went and did a little research on it...interesting concept.   So what's your experience been with this? Have you tried to code anything with it? Please also share the videos you have here as well; this forum allows you to post the embed code. 


Anybody else played with this OS? Let us hear from you. Manager
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎02-14-2014
Location: Germany
Views: 5,078
Message 3 of 4

Re: AROS - An operation system inside Android

Well, the main problem are the drivers.


I just made an Icaros Desktop 1.5.2 installation on my Thinkpad A31p, AC97 Audio, USB, Intel LAN, Atheros 5000 WLAN and Ultrabay Floppy are working. The weird ATI Mobility FireGL 7800 can only be used in VESA modes, so there's no 2D/3D acceleration, but this is not too neccessary. Ultrabay IDE is detected (f.e. LS-240) but can't be configured in HDToolBox. On my Thinkpad X61t Intel X3100 is supported native, but no 3D acceleration and no Intel HD sound, although the device is recognized properly.


AROS boots rather fast, about 20 seconds on the A31p. It uses GRUB 2 as bootloader, which makes it compatible to multiple OS types. Unlike Linux it has no read/write permissions, this makes it easy to make changes from the bootloader without root or else. And because it boots so fast, it's possible to make changes to the bootloader in less than a minute after powering on the A31p. It's also very easy to backup the bootloader: Make a copy of the boot/grub directory, if something wents wrong just boot from the Icaros Desktop Live DVD and replace the faulty one with the backup.


I'm not coding myself, today's programming methods are too complicated. First designing a GUI, preparing variables and labels, then maybe beginning with coding, after this a debugger, then compiler... it needs hours until you can test your program. I'm a classic programmer, Commodore BASIC, AmigaDOS scripts, ARexx, MS-DOS Batch and a bit AppleScript. I prefer a ?RETURN WITHOUT GOSUB ERROR IN 340 and manual searching for the error as waiting until the computer 'allows' me to start the program. AmigaDOS (which is also used in AROS and MorphOS) is extremely powerful, my Amiga 1200 booted in 26 seconds, including free selectable Bootpicture and Boot-MP3, only used by optimized AmigaDOS programming. And the A1200 has 50 MHz and a IDE controller with 3.5 MB/s !


Here are some Android hosted videos:


Hosted on the Raspberry Pi:


Sorry, there are no Lenovo tablets with AROS on YouTube yet. But it is far from working good at all, even the preferences programs are crashing sometimes. The x86 version is working best, and there's also a lot of software. It also exists a NTFS driver, although the writing-capatibility was disabled for safety reasons. The Webbbrowser OWB is very fast and fully ACID3-compliant. Of course, there's no Flash, so it would be interesting to focus on mobile websites. A lot of Open-Source-Software is already available for AROS. Unfortunately, there are only a very few coders, and the Android version wasn't more than a test.


Maybe it'll be interesting for Lenovo, creating an additional operating system for Android tablets which is not fixed on Apps. AROS is not dependent from Microsoft or Google, it also hasn't to care about Linux kernel versions. The system is also virus-free and rather proof against hacking because it's not internet-dependent like all other todays's operation systems. The idea may sound weird, but Android is also just available since 2008 and started from zero. An Android-hosted version of AROS would have from the start a platform of millions of devices. It'll only be useful to supply software, so all AROS-x86 coded software has to be transferred to ARM processors. Because AROS was designed to be sourcecode-compatible to AmigaOS 3, it should be possible to get more software.


Some Links:


The AROS forum is available here:


Icaros Desktop is the biggest distribution for x86 CPUs (>2 GB):


Software for AROS, mostly for x86:


What's DOS? Fun Fun Fun Fun! Smiley Wink
Posts: 10
Registered: ‎02-14-2014
Location: Germany
Views: 5,072
Message 4 of 4

Re: AROS - An operation system inside Android

If I should post some more infos about the OS functions of AROS/AmigaOS here, let me know it. A lot of people don't know the names, but they'll recognize a lot of functions which were introduced years ago before it was on the PC. Examples would be:


1985: Hardware system error detection during startup by colored screens or keyboard 'Caps Lock LED' blinking

1985: Up to 8 MB memory limited by 68000 (no 640K border with XMS and EMS)

1985: Different memory types with priortity (use for best speed performance)

1985: 32bit-capable operation system Workbench 1.0 and AmigaDOS

1985: Preemtive multitasking (in less than 256K RAM)

1985: Dynamic-sized RAM Disk (RAM: )

1985: Dynamic used fuction libraries (similar to .dll) and device handlers

1985: Unlimited virtual screens in different resolutions

1985: Genlock capability

1985: Software speech synthesis with phoneme capability

1985: Software emulation of a PC-XT (on a computer with 7 MHz)

1985: Ability to mount storages devices by hardware attributes, different filesystems possible

1986: Auto-configuration of hardware (Plug'n'Play)

1986: Zorro II 16 bit-Bus, shared with PC ISA 16 bit sockets*

1986: 24bit-RAM on accelerator cards

1986: Introduction of the harddisk block RDB (Rigid Disk Block) with unlimited partitions**

1986: Support for SCSI controller with Autoboot-capability

1986: Fixed-sized reset-proof RAM Disk (RAD: )

1990: 32bit Amiga 3000 with onboard SCSI controller, VGA output, 32bit Zorro III bus and CPU card connector

1990: 32bit-RAM possible on Zorro III Bus which also includes new video port. ISA still available

1990: AmigaOS 2.0 with new functions and 3D look

1990: ARexx scripting language, able to connect programs using an 'ARexx-Port'

1990: Official Release of AT&T UNIX System V, Version 4 for the Amiga 2500UX and Amiga 3000UX

1991: AmigaOS 2.1: Full localization of Software using 'locale' text files

1991: Hypertext format 'AmigaGuide', similar to online help formats

1991: First HTPC 'CDTV' with CD-ROM (caddy) and infrared control in a HiFi-sized case

1992: First 32bit game console CD32

1992: Codecs called 'Datatypes', every program which supported datatypes could use the file format

1993: AAA chipset 'Advanced Amiga Architecture' with 32/64 bit bus - never released


* Using a Brideboard card (available from XT 8088 to Pentium I) it was possible to use PC software with the Amiga's graphics hardware, I/O and storage. It is also possible to use an industrial SBC (Single Board Computer) with ISA connector in an Amiga, a Soundblaster or else in another ISA port on the Amiga board will be detected. But it there's no data exchange between SBC and Amiga, they're two independent systems. A possible method to exchange data would be an SCSI network.


** The RDB disk block allows unlimited partitions, all can be bootable with a different boot priority (selectable since Kickstart 2.0) and all can have a different filesystem and special information. The device name is not limited to C: or D:, it can be fully flexible with a length of 30 characters. In AROS-x86, a RDB can be created in an primary MBR partition.


Functions like a full font-sensitive GUI (icons with 100 pixel text size are no problem), animated icons or pixel-exact position saving of windows or icons are still not available in the most common operation systems.


This is a photo of an Amiga 4000T with 68060/50 CPU and the original AGA chipset (would be today 2 MB shared memory), on an Eizo L997 monitor. This monitor allows rotation even if the graphics card doesn't support it.


The image shows 7 virtual screens and the desktop (Workbench 3.1) in resolutions from 320x200 to 640x960 pixels, all can use different fonts and font sizes. Every virtual screen can be dragged with the mouse to a position needed and put to front and/or back. That's much more advanced in comparison to the Linux four desktops or OS X 'Spaces' function. It doesn't use blown-up graphical stuff, but this isn't neccessary.


What's DOS? Fun Fun Fun Fun! Smiley Wink

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