Introduction to AROS

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If you are a Free Pascal programmer that landed here but never heard of AROS before, then you might have a few questions. Although the answers to those questions can be found (scattered around), this page tries to answer some of those questions in a somewhat organized matter.

What is AROS ?

Besides literally being an acronym that stands for AROS Research Operating System, AROS is also a modern open-source implementation based on the classic Amiga 3.x operating system.

What is the relation between AROS and Amiga ?

The API of AROS is source-compatible with classic Amiga OS and its M68k implementation is also ABI compatible. The latter circumvents the requirement of having to need copyrighted ROMs (better known as kickstart) in order to be able to run Amiga OS 3.x or AROS on classic hardware (or emulator).

Why was AROS created ?

To secure the legacy and future of the classic Amiga operating system. More about that can also be read on the introduction page of the AROS website.

Besides that, programming an OS and programming on/for AROS is just pure fun.

What license does AROS use ?

AROS is published under the APL license. The full text of the license can be read here.

What hardware does AROS support ?

AROS runs on modern computer hardware (i386, X86, ARM, PPC) either native, hosted, emulated or in a Virtual Machine.

AROS currently supports the following platforms:

Processor AROS runs
on this hardware
AROS runs
on these operating systems.
Free Pascal support
ARM (v6 + VPF) Raspberry Pi Android, Linux Yes, At least Pi linux hosted is proven to work
i386 PC 32-bit Darwin / MacOS X, Linux, Windows Yes (ABIv0)
M68k Amiga-68k N/A Use classic amiga target
PowerPC Efika-chrp
Darwin / MacOS X, Linux No (ABIv1)
X86 PC 64-bit Darwin / MacOS X, Linux, Windows Experimental, requires FPC from trunk (ABIv1)

The main supported target of which is pc-i386 (e.g. other supported platforms might lack behind in features/support).

A special note concerns the M68k version of AROS. Besides being capable of running on real classic Amiga hardware, AROS also runs in the amiga emulators WinUAE and FS-UAE. (unmodified UAE/E-UAE is not capable of running AROS).

Where can I find/download AROS ?

The AROS website can be found here. More interesting information about AROS can also be read in the AROS wikibook.

On the AROS website, the nightly downloads are available on the download page. These downloads are nightly downloads only, and are not full distributions showing the full potential of AROS. Please use a distribution for that.

Which AROS distributions are there ?

AROS' main flagship distribution is called Icaros Desktop and runs native on modern i386 compatible PC's. It is advisable to at least test your software on this distribution, as it is the most commonly used distribution. This distribution also contains Free Pascal, FP-IDE, and other necessary tools when the development package is installed during installation.

Besides Icaros Desktop there are several other distributions available, some running native while others use a hybrid solution with providing some Linux distribution as host OS running AROS (the latter could even be done using an emulator like E-UAE or FS-UAE for AROS 68K).

List of current available AROS distributions:

Name Type Platform Maintainer
AEROS Linux Hosted
X86, ARM Pascal “phoenixkonsole” Parpara
AROS Vision Native Classic M68k Amiga Olaf Schönweiß (OlafS3)
AspireOS Native i386 Niko “nikolaos” Tomatsidis netbooks / programmers
Icaros Desktop Native i386 Paolo Besser (paolone) flagship