back to article 20 years to get Amiga Workbench 3.1 update, and only a fortnight to get first patch

After 20 years, Workbench, the graphical file manager for AmigaOS, received its first update earlier this month, and it's only taken a fortnight to get its first bugfix too. The updates arrived for Workbench 3.1 and Kickstart 3.1 earlier this month, and can be purchased for €9.95 (including VAT). They have been re-built from …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    No way back for me

    When I last used one of my Amigas, I had it set on an unusual video configuration to make use of a monitor (Iiyama) I picked up for free after the lab instrument it had been connected to had been binned.

    Since monitor now gone, suspect plugging in anything else (even if it did boot) would leave me staring at a hideously distorted and multi-layered screen with me struggling to remember how to change settings back!

    1. BillG
      IT Angle

      Re: No way back for me

      Ah, yes, the Amiga...

      Superior hardware. Inferior marketing.

      1. morwen

        Re: No way back for me

        I am still using my 1200 as my main device every day.

        And it might indeed be running 3.1.

        Ages since I checked, cos it just keeps running no probs.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: No way back for me

      Hold both mouse buttons down at power on then choose default NTCS or PAL and ignoire the startup boot script IIRC. Mustr be 15 years or more since I last had to remember that so use at your own risk, no liability accepted, IANAAmigaDev etc etc etc ;)

    3. akeane

      Re: No way back for me

      There's no cause for Iiyama!!!

  2. Philip Storry

    In other news, Samsung looked on and frantically scribbled notes in a folder marked "Android Update Policy"...

    1. Adam 1

      Why all the hate? Updating your Samsung to the latest critical fix is really easy online. Simply visit Amazon or your favoured electronics retailer's website and order the new model. Once it arrives, simply dispose of the old one in accordance with your local electronic waste disposal guidelines.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Workbench ass

    aka Looking Ways To Milk The Current Amiga Community, no f reason to buy this rip off , when you have 3.9 + boingbags

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Workbench ass

      Yeah, cor, they must be RAKING it in with their update racket.

      From both customers.

    2. RNixon

      Re: Workbench ass

      No original Amiga, as shipped, can run AmigaOS 3.9. And these days, getting a hardware upgrade for them can be a pain in the ass. So there's at least some value in an updated 3.1.

      I'm not sure how MUCH value there is, but they're not asking much.

      They also sell it in a bundle with a set of Kickstart ROMs, which makes for a handy way to get a legal emulation environment without buying Amiga Forever if you don't like Cloanto for whatever reason.

      They probably did the work for the Amiga Classic emulation environment built into AmigaOS 4.1FE. It would be nice if they'd released it for free, but Hyperion is operating on a serious shoestring, so 'sell it cheapish' isn't a surprise.

  4. Chewi

    Haha wow. I'm not really sure what to make of this. My 1200 is gathering dust on top of the wardrobe but when I last fired it up about 6 years ago, it was running 3.9. I did debate whether 3.1 was actually better for speed and reliability though. I'm not sure if I'll fire it up again any time soon (Linux stole my soul) but this is still nice to see.

  5. Christian Berger

    We should take bets...

    ... what will be maintained longer, Workbench or Windows.

    1. Terry Barnes

      Re: We should take bets...

      Windows, Christian. It has kind of a larger user base.

      1. Trevor_Pott Gold badge

        Re: We should take bets...

        Windows has hostages.

        Amiga has users.

  6. Sloppy Crapmonster

    I just got rid of a 4000 on fleabay. It's a shame; I'd always wanted one, then got that thing, and it sat in my basement doing nothing for a decade. I'm glad someone who wanted it got it after me.

    1. Alistair


      The purchaser of your dust attractor is admiring the device as it acquires dust.

      < mind you, friend of mine was running a BBS on one up till about a year ago >

      1. J. R. Hartley

        Re: @Sloppy

        I sold my Amiga stuff 2 years ago for big money. Started from the bottom again last year. Should never have sold my stuff. I am an idiot -_-

        1. PunkTiger

          Re: @Sloppy

          I still have my Amigas, but I sold off my ICD Trifecta hard drive got my A500 shortly after I got an A4000/040 (1994 or so). It was the really good version, it could use both SCSI and IDE drives simultaneously. Managed to get it up to the full 8 Megs ram with those accursed ZIPP chips.

          I miss that device.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      Went to look at mine not so long ago to find the battery inside had exploded like John Hurt's chest and left nasty goo all over the motherboard. Needless to say it didn't wake up :(

      1. Michael Strorm Silver badge

        Re: A4000

        The A500 Plus has the same problem; it had a battery-backed clock built-in (#), and when I checked mine around 18 months ago the NiCd cell had leaked all over the motherboard and cause enough damage that the computer greenscreened when it was turned on. :'-(

        Fortunately, it's apparently possible to fix A500 motherboards since- unlike more modern ones- they don't have multiple embedded layers (and much finer traces). Still haven't risked doing that myself yet, however.

        (#) Unlike the original A500 which didn't and where IIRC it was typically added as part of a combined RAM expansion and clock board

  7. stu 4

    Vampire 2

    For old amiga owners like me, you might find the Vampire 2 interesting - I was watching some videos on youtube about it - PGA add on card out now for the A600 which increases it's speed by around 160x (yup - 160) and adds HDMI, sdcard, etc.

    I know it's all mental and pointless. But that doesn't mean it's not fun.

    1. Uncle Slacky Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Vampire 2

      I've been wondering what to do with the 600 I picked up at the dump about 12 years ago for a fiver - I'll have to look into this!

      1. J. R. Hartley

        Re: Vampire 2

        I'm holding out for the A1200 version.

        1. chordonblue

          Re: Vampire 2

          If they complete the new core, you'll have AGA and all the benefits of the A1200 on the A600. The Vampire is just amazing!

    2. Wilseus

      Re: Vampire 2

      I've just been looking on the Vampire website. It says fitting is very simple, but how so, when the A600's 68000 chip appears to be surface mounted?

      1. Børge Nøst

        Re: Vampire 2

        >I've just been looking on the Vampire website. It says fitting is very simple, but how so, when the >A600's 68000 chip appears to be surface mounted?

        Have you ever seen an old vampire connector for ethernet - it just bit into the cable.

        (AFAIK) The card has an upside-down 68000 size socket that you push down over the SMD cpu and it connects to all the pins. Then it just needs to set a few pins high or low so that the motherboard cpu is forever in limbo and the FPGA can drive the other pins without interference.

  8. Terry Barnes

    The screenshot is of Workbench 1.3

    There are newer versions of Amiga OS but they're not all compatible with original hardware.

    The latest version for classic Amigas is 3.9, and the latest version for newer kit is 4.1

    Confusingly, different versions are owned by different businesses - sometimes company 'x' owns one version, 'y' the next and then 'x' the one after. This is mostly down the the fairly chaotic management and dispersal of Commodore's IP after bankruptcy.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      El Reg should not have use that illustration .... depression gathering ...

    2. Charles 9

      As I recall, those 4.x Amigas were post-Commodore and used PowerPC chips and more modern hardware architectures (like PCI slots), thus why two codebases.

  9. J. R. Hartley

    Workbench 3.5

    Workbench 3.5 was out in 1999. So 3.1 got an update after 5 years, not 20.

    Tut tut tut....

  10. dancecat

    Gave up the Amiga...

    ...just to stop being told that Atari is better because it has MIDI.

    1. Chewi

      Re: Gave up the Amiga...

      The CDTV has in/out MIDI ports. Lord knows if anyone actually used them though.

    2. AbelSoul

      Re: Atari is better because it has MIDI

      Ah, that takes me back. I got a 1200 in 1993 and started mucking around with OctaMED and 8-bit samples. Pretty soon I wanted MIDI but it was too late/expensive to switch to Atari by then.

      So.... I started acquiring more and more Amiga audio and MIDI accessories as my music hobby refused to die. Still have loads of this, now redundant, Amiga audio gear, gathering dust.

      Alas, for the last decade or so, I have pursued this hobby without having to switch on an Amiga.

      Nonetheless, I still own two A1200s, an Amiga1 and a Pegasos1 (PPC Amiga clone).

      One day, when I have time, etc, etc........

      1. William Towle

        Re: Atari is better because it has MIDI

        > Ah, that takes me back. I got a 1200 in 1993 and started mucking around with OctaMED and 8-bit samples.

        I ended up with an A500 (and A1200 eventually) for the same reason. These days I have all my "albums" on my phone as mp3s, courtesy of uade. At various stages in my career I have done audio-related work and converted/ported the original data and a simple hand-coded sample dump/playback tool for testing purposes.

        // ...and just have again, coincidentally :)

      2. J. R. Hartley

        Re: Atari is better because it has MIDI


        I'll relieve you of that Amiga gear if you like?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I too sold all my everyday Amiga stuff when it was clear that it was going to be an uphill battle with little or no support from anyone but hobbyists. I think the final straw was seeing aWeb alongside the then-new IE6 and realising how the web was going to take off and leave Amigas behind.

    I tried. I upgraded - An A1200, PowerPC card, SCSI HDD/CDRW/Zip, sound card (that Ateo never released the drivers for), a horrifically expensive graphics card (£234 I recall) which turned out to be an ISA card for a PC with a custom ROM all jammed into a desktop case. I homebuilt the first A1200T in the country before that. I spent thousands on that kit, and flogged the lot for about £300 in 2002.

    I think the glory days for Amiga was long before then..... an A500, with an Action Replay MkIII, ripping MODs from games or poking around in 68k. Simple times. By the time the A1200 arrived, the simplistic nature had gone and suddenly upgrades were being pushed from every direction.

  12. gregthecanuck

    A small glimmer of hope

    There is a bit of a revival in progress on the "Classic" (680x0-based) Amiga scene. One of the reasons for the Amiga's demise was Motorola's end-of-the-line and quite expensive 68060. It was reasonably competitive with Intel chips at the time but was soon eclipsed. Amiga had lost the performance edge.

    To me the most exciting part of this revival is the emerging development of a new "Apollo" next-generation 680x0 core currently in FPGA. This is being developed by a brilliant (yes brilliant!) team of designers who have spent years quietly working on a true successor to the 68K lineage. They have chosen the "68080" name and it does make sense.

    There is another project in the works (Amiga Reloaded) that is another FPGA-based attempt at updating the Amiga hardware platform. Unfortunately I know less about that one but it also looks promising.

    The Apollo 68080 core is being provided on a series of "Vampire" accelerator cards for classic Amiga models. The first version out is the for the Amiga 600. Upcoming versions will cover more of the classic Amiga models. Also coming in the near future is a stand-alone model. These are also ongoing discussions with the Atari community.

    With all this new 68K-based hardware coming out Hyperion has appeared to realize there is a potential market for an updated "Classic" Amiga OS 3 distribution. They have taken their first baby-steps with this first update to the 3.1 system.

    Some may criticize Hyperion for some historic odd behaviour but I believe we are seeing a more humble and open Hyperion. These have been some recent management changes and hopefully they result in a more logical organization.

    Here are some links for more information on the Apollo core and Vampire accelerators:



    1. Terry Barnes

      Re: A small glimmer of hope

      You always run into the problem of timing though - the Amiga's unique architecture is dependant on timing interplay between the CPU and the custom chips. If you go very much faster you break compatibility - and if you're going to do that, why not just move to a newer platform? If you don't do that, then what benefit is there to all the FPGA work?

      Commodore literally blew a fortune trying to update and market the Amiga - a few diehard enthusiasts will not do better. All the new starts have been false dawns because the remaining market is absolutely minute - Natami, Tina, all have come and gone.

      I loved my Amigas and learnt about comms, multitasking, sampling, networking and so on with them, but they're part of history now. Sometimes I lark about with an emulator, playing with software interpretations of machines I could never afford, but I will never buy new hardware and neither will anyone but a handful of people. Most people developing new hardware realise this sooner or later and give up.

      1. Terry Barnes

        Re: A small glimmer of hope

        I forgot to add;

        You also run into the insurmountable problem of the machine having no memory management and letting individual co-processors run unsigned code and change the contents of any RAM. How could you let something like that anywhere near a network?

        People have foolishly let emulators have access to their PC's real, physical drives instead of a virtual sandbox and have seen their systems wiped by thirty year old viruses.

      2. gregthecanuck

        Re: A small glimmer of hope

        Hi Terry -

        The Vampire compatibility is very good. FYI the pre-order queue for the Vampire 600 has now exceeded 1000 units! Look here: For their next model (the Vampire 500) they are planning to ship 200+ units per month. The demand is there.

        For some programs there is a compatibility issue. This will happen when the CPU is literally hundreds of times faster than the original. ;) The next release (Gold 2) will introduce a new "turtle mode" to work with this badly written software. In addition some other software didn't wait for the blitter correctly. This issue is being solved in hardware. Any properly written software works fine.

        I definitely understand your position but this new Apollo core is something special. The team building this product also works inside IBM on their Power systems so they know what they are doing.

        Be patient, sit back and watch this project mature. It's a definite step in the right direction for classic Amiga fans.


  13. Børge Nøst

    So now there are _two_ entitiies dealing 3.x versions (not including the ones behind 3.5 and 3.9), presumably both declaring all rights to both name, source and executable.

    I'm not sure the legal trail will hold up to every bit of scrutiny, or, even if you can backtrack all the way to C=, if you are connecting with the part that actually held the right rights (the C= company structure was ...interesting and more suited for the owners to get away with everything and anything than to sell off).

    1. gregthecanuck

      There is no evidence of any legal wrangling between Cloanto and Hyperion. I expect none in future. In fact it makes no sense.

      Cloanto's business appears to be selling and supporting Amiga Forever and its components/ROMs. I don't believe they have any intention of actually doing software development. They do a great job with Amiga Forever as many can attest.

      Now Hyperion appears to be testing the waters on updating OS 3.1. Awesome. What I would expect is Cloanto to somehow sub-license some future worthy version of 3.1 to distribute with updated Amiga Forever packages.

      So what's the big deal? Win-win as far as I'm concerned.



  14. Zmodem

    i had a A600, peice of crap, lasted a few months, then the floppy drive died, and you had to phone up all the rubbish adverts in the back of magazines, and it costed more to fix then the A600 itself

    1. Zmodem

      the only real good thing about it, is you could stick it in any rucksack and carry it about

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