AmigaOS 4.0 - the fourth pre-release update

The new version of the Intuition

Massimo Tantignone is the author of this part of the new Amiga Operating System and it has to be pointed out that he is excellent in his job. Since previous update he enriched all ReAction classes with the new capabilities. Consequently, they can demonstrate themselves in the new noninterlaced refreshing mode (the option "redraw without clear" in GUI preferences). All of them work so well that we are impressed. What is more, they are even better than those in MUI. At last, it is possible to scale windows with their content having beatific impressions. However, the most significant alterations were made to the intuition.library.

Dragging of the screens (watch this on the short movie) Now it is possible to drag the screen in whatever direction and moment, no matter if it is the frontmost screen in given moment or not. Obviously, the screen may be "taken" by the uppermost bar. Moreover, it is also possible to "catch" the screen in whatever place, having pressed a key chosen in preferences. The screen is not going to return to its last position when the keys are released - in effect it is possible to manipulate with the screens as with the windows. Additionaly, the user may bind the functionality of bringing the screen to the top with the middle button of the mouse. This binding may be set up in the FKey commodity. There are two userdefined ways of dragging the screens, normal and alternative with special key sequence. The user is allowed to establish constraints of the movement for each of them. Just to recall: in former versions of AmigaOS the movement of the screens was restricted only to the top-down direction. They were not able to be moved horizontally. It was possible to drag the screen only beyond the bottom edge. Nowadays, the user is capable to set constraints on the screen movement in a much wider range. For example, the screen may be restricted to be moved only beyond the left edge or beyond all of them. It may be set up in such way that the standard behaviour of the screens is similar to the one of the windows. It means the screens can be dragged around horizontally and vertically. After pressing the key sequence of [Amiga+A] (new in the AmigaOS) or having holded both shift key and middle button of the mouse for a short while, the screens becomes restricted not to pass left and top edges. Such alternative setup lets us to even them easily.

Dropping the icons between the screens. This new feature of the Intuition is particularly functional to the users manipulating with the files on the Workbench screen and paralelly working with the editor or paint program on the other. Icons may be dragged & dropped between windows opened not only on the Workbench screen but also on the other screens. During such operation the mouse pointer changes its shape (the arrow pointed down when icon dropping is possible and the 'X' mark when it is not possible).

The upper non-blocking menu of the system. Try to start the clock with the second hand in AmigaOS 3.x and then pull down the upper menu for a short while - the clock freezes, and continues indicating the time with second hand jumping forth to the exact value. It is no more the case in AmigaOS 4.0 starting from the update 4. There is the option "Don't block" in the GUI/Menu preferences which allows the users to avoid such not wanted behaviour. Due to this option we may show you the look of the upper menu on the screenshots (example configs with the AmiXP and YellowBabel themes), at last. The new Intuition has got another interesting capabilities which may be utilized by a programmer developing the software. One of them called toolbox windows will be mentioned below in the article while describing the new version of the KeyShow.


Joypad destined for games to be
executed through PSX emulator,
conventional joystick indispensable
in the Sensible World of Soccer
and the analogue joystick of
Freespace fan's dreams.

The overview of Gaming-API for AmigaOS 4 has been described by Steffen Haeuser in the Club Amiga Magazine #3 (Polish translation may be found on the PPA). The new shared libraries corresponding to aforementioned API, AmigaInput.library and lowlevel.library, a bunch of drivers for many different devices and the new version of the AmigaInput preferences have been included in pre-release update 4. The user is allowed to connect joysticks to the A1 / micro A1 in three ways: through USB port, GamePort located on the mainboard or port located on the SBLive sound card. A number of devices work with standard USB driver: joypads, joysticks, and another more sophisticated levers that conforms to HID (Human Interface Devices) class being the part of the USB stack. The drivers for "GamePort" and SBLive let the user to control analogue joysticks (from many producers) and joypads (from the Hornet company). The list of tested devices is presented here. General usage rule: plug your preferred gaming lever to the computer, run AmigaInput preferences, do some calibration and save settings. From this moment on, the device is accessible for the all applications calling the new Gaming-API.

However, a lot of old games call old lowlevel.library. In Amiga OS 4 these old calls are directed to the AmigaInput. In the Lowlevel tab of the preferences program, the user is allowed to remap new device to the ports of the old Amiga handled previously by lowlevel.library:

In order to utilize new devices in the old games the user has to remap them as the mouse, keyboard, joypad or joystick, and then configure them. Owing to that operations, joypad connected through USB port may be treated for example in the Wipeout2097 game as original CD32's joypad.

AmiSSL v3

SSL is the protocol that provides endpoint authentication and communications privacy between client/server applications over the Internet using cryptography. Actually, version 3 of the SSL is de facto standard in the Internet and that version have been included in pre-release update 4 as well. The AmiSSL v3 consists of following elements: libraries (main - amisslmaster.library and amissl_v097g.library), certificates that conform to x.509 standard and the tool OpenSSL. Such programs as Epistula, RDesktop and IBrowse 2.4 (not available as yet) have already taken advantage of the AmiSSL v3 implemented in AmigaOS 4.0. The authors of AmiSSL and also developers of Amiga OS 4.0 Andrija Antonijevic and Stefan Burstroem are encouraging other programmers to use the new SSL in their products. The authors are doing that by granting access to the software development package with example codes included. The old programs need previous versions of AmiSSL which may be downloaded from here.

Polish localization

Polish division of the ATO leaded by Mariusz Danilewicz is preparing localization of the AmigaOS 4 for Polish language. The files of this localization have been included in pre-release update 4, first time in AmigaOS 4.0. The picture alongside presents this localization. Unfortunately there is lack of locale files for all preferences programs. The reason probably are continuous changes of this part of the system by developers.

Another news

Workbench preferences - one small change dealing with upper bar may be noticed. The new option automatic has emerged. It allows the user to have Workbench bar hidden until pointed by mouse pointer. So the user is capable to choose between three option: one for hiding the bar permanently, one for showing it continously and one for showing it on demand. The traditionalists not willing to use context menus may welcome the information that state of the bar being hidden does not affect the functionality of the upper menu at all.

UBoot - as everybody knows, the U-Boot appears on the screen after switching on the Amiga One or micro Amiga One. For sure that semblance in black&white shade is not going to bring to our mind the Amiga. Developers of Amiga OS 4.0 decided to remedy this and starting from update 4 the user is allowed to give colour to U-Boot by choosing from 16 colours for text and 8 colours for background. Staying closely to U-Boot it is worth to mention the new tool BIOSUpdater, which provides the user with possibility to do U-Boot upgrades from the system and additionally to save copy of the U-Boot image on the hard drive (the file uses about 220 kB).

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