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Archive 03/2022

Hollywood forum

AmigaOS 4: Bugfixed Hollywood plugin hURL 1.2
In mid-November last year hURL 1.2 was released, the multiprotocol data transfer plugin for Hollywood with SSL support. As Andreas Falkenhahn reports in the Hollywood forum, the version for AmigaOS 4 had some debug outout, so he asks to download the plugin again. (dr)

[News message: 03. Mar. 2022, 09:18] [Comments: 0]
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aros exec

AROS: Shell command for AxRuntime
Krzysztof 'deadwood' Śmiechowicz' "AxRuntime" is a runtime environment for Linux which emulates the AmigaOS-API and therefore enables porting Amiga applications on Linux and developing applications which can be compiled for AmigaOS/MorphOS/AROS as well as Linux. Examples videos show the AROS desktop Wanderer (MP4) and gmPlayer (MP4) under Linux ( reported).

In a post on aros exec, the developer now reports on the latest progress:
"I'm sharing with you results of my latest developments! So far it was possible to build an Amiga application as a Linux executable with AxRuntime. I already recompiled MPLayer and WookieChat so time ago and I'm actively using AROS MPlayer under Linux Mint as my media application. What was so far not possible however is to run an executable from within AxRuntime program itself. Think Shell - it is a command line program that allows you to run other programs, write scripts that run other programs, pipe output of one program to another and so on. Now, with the latest developments I've made a step towards enabling this where a program that is compiled to work with AxRuntime can be started from Linux but at the same time can be started from AROS Shell.

We are not yet fully there, more work is needed but it is functional enough to provide first preview builds. Since this is work in progress build, there is no new AxRuntime release yet. The AROS-Shell archive (direct download) packages together AROS-Shell with runtime so that it is fully independent and can be started without installing additional dependencies.

I'm open to feedback and I'm always available to help out if you want to try to compile your Amiga application to run natively on Linux using AxRuntime." (dr)

[News message: 03. Mar. 2022, 07:27] [Comments: 0]
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Apple patents 'Computer in an Input Device'
Apple had already applied for a patent for a "computer in an input device" in mid-2020, which was now published a few days ago. The basic idea is reminiscent of the concepts of e.g. the Atari ST, C64 and Amiga.

The patent application describes the computer in bullet-point summary as follows:
  • computing device includes an input component positioned at the external surface
  • a processing unit and a memory can be disposed within the internal volume
  • computing device has a singular input/output port which can be configured to receive both data and power. The singular input/ output port can be configured to output data from the processing unit.
  • the singular input/output port can include a USB-C port, a Thunderbolt 3 port, or a Lightning port
  • the computing device can include a track pad coupled to the enclosure
  • the computing device can be foldable about an axis
As justification, the company states that unlike in the past, where large and/or bulky computer components traditionally required correspondingly large housings, the demand for portable computing devices has driven the miniaturization of once bulky components. Consequently, further adaptation of case designs, shapes and configurations is desirable. (dr)

[News message: 02. Mar. 2022, 07:13] [Comments: 0]
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Floppy disk images on PC and Mac: Greaseweazle Tools 0.39 / Firmware 1.1
Keir Fraser's "Greaseweazle" does - similar to Kryoflux - read the magnetic information on a floppy disk independently from the format used and saves as much information as possible to generate a so-called "Flux Level Image" in Supercard format (SCP), which enables reading and back-writing of copy-protected disks ( reported).

The adapter gets connected between a floppy disk drive - e.g. a standard 3.5" PC one - and a USB port of the PC or Mac. Since our last message, numerous changes have been made to the Greaseweazle tools. Starting with version 0.34, the firmware is also provided separately. A new version 1.1 was released a few days ago. The Greaseweazle is available from various retailers. (dr)

[News message: 02. Mar. 2022, 06:25] [Comments: 0]
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RTG driver: P96 V3.2.4 released
Jens Schönfeld (individual Computers) schreibt:
"The new version addresses all issues that have been reported in our support forum - and a few more. As usual, the update is free for everyone who purchased a copy of P96 in the past 12 months. Just log in and re-download the file from your order history. Changes in release 3.2.4:
  • Displaying native modes like DblPAL or productivity was broken in V3.2.3 - fixed.
  • The S3Virge blitter has trouble with blits of a certain size that are avoided by this new version.
  • Removed the manual MMU hack. Any MMU table modifications require now the availability of the mmu.library.
  • The previous release broke the VBlank interrupt of graphics and might have loaded the VerticalTotal hardware register with nonsensical values.
  • The S3Virge blitter has a bug and "freaks out" if one attempts to perform blits of particular widths. The Virge driver now adds a workaround by avoiding problematic bitmap widths.
  • The S3Virge blitter can process at most 4064 bytes per row. Before, the limit was set to 4095 bytes, causing wrong blits on some large screens.
  • BltMaskBitMapRastPort() did not work correctly if the target screen did not have the full depth, i.e. if a chunky mode was opened with a depth smaller than 8. This was another old bug left over from the 2.x release series.
  • BltMaskBitMapRastPort() did not use the right modulo for the mask if the source bitmap was interleaved and planar and the destination bitmap was chunky or direct color. The mask was used correctly for interleaved or non-interleaved planar to planar blits.
  • Users of the oMNiBus card beware! The card driver may use the TsengET4000W32 chip driver, even with earlier releases of the Tseng chip that do not include a blitter. In such cases, attempting to blit will fail or hang the system. To prevent usage of the (then non-present) blitter, set the tooltype NOBLITTER=Yes in the monitor icon of the oMNiBus monitor. Note that this is not a new restriction.
  • Quite a number of improvements have been performed on the Merlin and TsengET4000w32 drivers as listed below, however please note that the Merlin card has a couple of serious hardware issues that cannot be worked around completely in software and that this card may hang or crash the system, despite our best attempts to avoid such problems. Even the Merlin board/GAL updates will not completely eliminate all of these issues. You should replace the Merlin card with a more robust design. We therefore recommend to NOT make Merlin support your buying decision for the P96 software package:

    • Fixed a MuForce hit in the Merlin card driver.
    • Due to bad routing, the clock generator of the Merlin card cannot feed clock rates higher than 80Mhz into the chip, even if this clock is later on divided down in the Tseng chip. Thus, the default setting of the card now disables all settings of the clock generator that generates pixel clocks beyond this limit. If you really want to try higher clock frequencies (on your own risk), set the tool type OVERCLOCK=YES in the monitor icon.
    • Due to hardware design issues, the TsengET4000w32 chip may see false data on write requests to its registers, causing hangs or blitting defects on its screen. The new Tseng driver is now extra careful to verify that the correct data has been written for some particularly critical registers, though not for all registers. A particularly critical phase are mode changes, which should be avoided if possible.
    • Due to hardware issues, previous Tseng chip drivers may have hung the system while waiting for the completion of a blitter operation. The new driver attempts to work around this problem as much as possible.
    • The Merlin and Tseng drivers now disable the display while modifying some of the chip registers. This helps to minimize hardware hangs of the chip, but does not eliminate them completely. Again, this is a hardware design issue, not a driver issue.
    • The Merlin card driver no longer indicates to use a more aggressive MMU table mapping; instead, the most conservative setting is now default. Do not attempt to "fix" this mapping as the Tseng chip can map its blitter registers into the VGA memory area, and those hardware registers may not tolerate write reordering as imposed by more aggressive MMU table settings.
    • The Merlin card driver did not indicate the maximum mode width for all modes correctly. Due to limited size of its hardware registers, Hi-color modes cannot be wider than 1024 pixels, true-color modes cannot be wider than 684 pixels and true-alpha modes cannot be wider than 512 pixels.
    • To limit stability issues, the hardware interrupt of the Merlin card can now be turned off by adding the "INTERRUPT=No" tool type into the Merlin monitor icon.
    • The Merlin card no longer provides its own functions to copy planar data from chip memory to VGA card memory as the default version of the rtg.library provides this function already by exactly the same algorithm.
    • Due to hardware limitations, the Sprite generated by the Merlin card (actually, the RAM DAC on the card) is limited to 32x32 pixels for high-res sprites, and 16x16 pixels for "big" sprites (i.e. BIGSPRITE=Yes in the monitor driver). Thus, tall pointer images may be clipped at the bottom. There is nothing the driver can do against this limitation.
    • The TsengET4000w32 chip offers a memory overlay feature which is now accessible through the P96 "Pip" (Picture-in-Picture) interface. However, as the Tseng chip does not have an intergrated RAM DAC, this memory window is rather limited. The RBGMode (pixel mode, pixel organization) within the memory window MUST be identical to the RGB Mode of the screen, and it cannot be planar. That is, you can only have "chunky" memory windows on "chunky" screens, "hi-color" overlays on "hi-color" screens and "true-color" overlays on "true-color" screens. The memory window neither supports opacity, thus the memory window only appears if it is topmost on the screen and not overlapped or clipped. Otherwise, the driver turns the memory window off. There is a PIP demo program on Aminet including sources. Note that this demo program attempts to create a "hi-color" overlay, which - according to the above restrictions - only operates on a hi-color screen.
    • If you see strange defects when rendering text or icons with the Merlin card, try adding SYSTEM2SCREENBLITS=No to the tool types of the Merlin monitor icon. This prevents blitter usage in those cases where the host CPU delivers data manually without a source buffer on the card. Since data transfers to the Merlin card are particularly flakey, this may prevent already some issues.
    • If you still see screen corruptions on rendering, you may have to disable the Merlin blitter altogether. For that, add the tooltype NOBLITTER=Yes to the Merlin monitor icon."

[News message: 02. Mar. 2022, 05:44] [Comments: 0]
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David Brunet (ANF)

New article on Obligement website
The articles below have been added to the website of the french Amiga/MorphOS magazine Obligement during the last two months. All translations are welcome. Please contact David 'Daff' Brunet for more information.
  • January/February 2022 news.
  • Old articles from Joystick 37 to 40:
    • News: Journey to Mr MicroProse,
    • Interview with Martin Kenwright
    • Syndicate review
    • B-17 Flying Fortress review
    • News: Core Design already two years old and already big
    • Interview with Brett Sperry
    • A-Train review
    • Goal! review
    • News: The future successes of 1993 (part four)
    • Networking games
    • Trolls (AGA) review
    • News: Virgin Games still supports the Amiga
    • Interview with Brett Sperry
    • Interview with Tim Chaney
    • Body Blows review
    • Chuck Rock 2: Son Of Chuck review
    • etc.
  • Interview with Alain Fontanin (author of Amiga Source Editor).
  • Interview with Fabio Capone (founder of NAPS Team).
  • Classic Reflections - What happened to Scala, Inc. ?
  • Memory operation on Amiga OCS/ECS.
  • Official Amiga and commercialized clones (update)
  • Amiga Games List (update).
  • Hardware: Vampire 1200 V2.
  • DIY: Development of the Arduino Amiga floppy drive, aka DrawBridge (update).
  • Tutorial: How to build an AmigaOS4 cross compiler (Binutils 2.23.2 & GCC 8.3.0) on Cygwin.
  • Tutorial: Installation and use of MorphOS 3.x on QEMU 6.00.
  • Special quiz on the year 2021 on Amiga.

[News message: 02. Mar. 2022, 00:15] [Comments: 0]
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Robert Smith

Amiga disks on PC: DrawBridge 2.8.7 / FloppyBridge 1.1
Robert Smith's project "DrawBridge" (Disk Reader and Writer Bridge) uses like the similar ADF Drive a microcontroller - in this case an Arduino board - to read and write Amiga floppies with a connected standard PC floppy drive. By means of the plugin FloppyBridge, WinUAE is also officially supported since version 4.9.0.

DrawBridge has been updated to version 2.8.7 and uses a new algorithm for reading the hard disk, which ensures better compatibility with games under WinUAE. FloppyBridge version 1.1 also improves compatibility due to changes in PLL and "Rotation Extractor" handling. Robert Smith encourages retesting games that have not previously booted. Prior installation of DrawBridge firmware 1.9.24 is required. (dr)

[News message: 01. Mar. 2022, 10:00] [Comments: 0]
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Developer tools: vasm 1.9 and vlink 0.17
Frank Wille hat released updates for portable and retargetable assembler vasm and the corresponding portable linker vlink. AmigaOS 3, 4 and MorphOS are supported. A list of the changes can be found on the respective websites. (dr)

[News message: 01. Mar. 2022, 07:09] [Comments: 0]
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Compiler: vbcc 0.9h
vbcc is a highly optimizing portable and retargetable ISO C compiler written by Volker Barthelmann (compiler core) and Frank Wille (Amiga specific code). It supports ISO C according to ISO/IEC 9899:1989 and a subset of the new standard ISO/IEC 9899:1999 (C99).

Yesterday, version 0.9h was released, which contains numerous changes. Detailed documentation is available in the form of a pdf file on the homepage, as are the binaries for the individual target platforms.
  • New features

    • Compiler defaults to C99, use -c89 to forbid C99 extensions.
    • Several improved warnings/error messages.
    • New option -sec-per-obj puts all code functions and data objects in their own section, which may be removed by linker section garbage collection.
    • Simple implementation of -merge-strings.
    • Added -warnings-as-errors option.
    • Define macros __OPTSPEED__/__OPTSIZE__ depending on options.
    • Recognize builtin functions with __asm_ prefix.
    • Added -depobj option.
    • Added -force-statics and -prefer-statics.
    • New backends for 6502 and 6809.
    • Support for charset conversions (8-bit targets).
    • Code compressor (currently only for 6502).
    • Better out-of-the-box support for non-8-bit-based types.
    • Several improvements regarding the backend interface.
    • m68k: defines macro __SMALL_DATA__ with -sd option
    • m68k: added -vbcccall/__vbccargs
    • vc: new option -rmcfg-* to disable options from a config file
    • vc: frontend does Unix-path conversion also for -o
    • vclib: New 6502 targets: Atari, BBC, C64, Mega65, NES, Simulator, X16
    • vclib: New 6809 targets: OS-9, Simulator
    • vclib: __gmtoffset and __dstflag may be overwritten separately
    • vclib: strftime() supports ISO-8601 date format through %F
    • vclib: added strtof()
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos based on NDK 3.2
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos supports Roadshow additions and
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos adds reaction.lib for ReAction GUI support
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos UTC offset is automatically initialized when possible
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos configs use -amiga-softfloat (inlines) by default
    • vclib: m68k-atari small-data support and libraries
    • vclib: ppc-morphos support for (sysv,base)-ABI libraries
    • vclib: ppc-amigaos adapted to new SDK

  • Performance improvements

    • Improved function inlining / cross-module inlining.
    • Several improvements in register allocation.
    • Improved constant propagation.
    • New peephole optimizations.
    • New optimization and tuning options for constant initializations.
    • Improved recalculation of stack slots.
    • Slightly improved common subexpression elimination.
    • Range-optimizations and induction variable shortening.
    • Allow strength reduction for constant left-shifts.
    • Handling of volatile is improved.
    • Compile-time calculations of constant pointer values.
    • m68k: improved register allocation
    • m68k: improved Fastcall-ABI support
    • m68k: improved builtin libcalls
    • m68k: improved copying of (long) doubles in memory with the FPU
    • m68k: better use of scaled addressing modes
    • m68k: some FPU code improvements
    • m68k: fixed performance regression of internal memcpy
    • vclib: reworked assembler inlines

  • Bug fixes:

    • Lots of fixes in the compiler core and backends. Thanks for your reports!
    • vclib: bad assert.h in 0.9g: it must be possible to include the assert-macro multiple times (with and without NDEBUG defined)
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos protos declare device library bases with struct Device*.
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos ReAction classes must not be automatically opened with auto.lib but with reaction.lib.
    • vclib: m68k-amigaos adds missing InvertString() for amiga.lib
    • vclib: PPC 64-bit signed modulo fixed
    • vclib: fixed mktime(), tm_mday is 1-based, and recognize gmtoffset
    • vclib: fgetpos() has to return 0 on success

[News message: 01. Mar. 2022, 06:55] [Comments: 0]
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AmigaOS 4: Blog summary of February
The blog Gaming on AmigaOS 4 has published a richly illustrated summary of the developments and releases from the areas of hardware and software for AmigaOS 4 in the month of February. (dr)

[News message: 01. Mar. 2022, 05:41] [Comments: 0]
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