Amiga software

Amiga software

Amiga software covers a wide range of software for the Amiga computer, both productivity and games, both commercial and hobbyist. The Amiga software market was particularly active in the late 1980s and early 1990s but has since the period 1996/1999 dwindled into almost only a hobbyist scene.

During its lifetime, the number of applications made available for the Amiga was in excess of 2,000, with over 10,000 utilitiesref num|Aminet_Statistics|1 (these utilities are almost all collected into Aminet major repository). However, it was perceived as a games machine from outside its community of experienced and professional users. In fact, there were also more than 2,000 games available for Amigaref num|Amiga_WHDLoad_Site|2.Fact|date=November 2007

Some Amiga programs were ported to other platforms or inspired new programs still used today, such as those aimed at 3D rendering or audio creations, e.g. Lightwave and Blender, whose development started for the Amiga platform only. The first multimedia word processors for Amiga, such as TextCraft, Scribble!, and Wordworth, were the first on the market to allow implement full-colour WYSIWYG (with other platforms still only implementing black and white previews) and even allowing the embedding of audio files.Fact|date=November 2007

Programs are still being developed for AmigaOS classic and AmigaOS 4.0 and related operating systems, MorphOS and AROS.

Productivity software

The article splitted section covers: Graphics, Video, Design and CAD Software, Graphic Utilities; Vector Graphics programs and converters; Amiga based Word Processors; some Amiga advanced Text Editors, with programming facilities and features for basic formatting of huge text files, lists of programs, advanced script programs; Amiga Database and Spreadsheets; Science, Entertainment and Special use programs: Entertainment for kids and adults; Fractals, Virtual Reality, Artificial Intelligence; Route Planning; Personal Organizer, Notebook, Diary software; Personal Budget, Home Banking, Accounts; Software for special purposes.

upport and Maintenance Utilities

The article splitted section covers: Commodities and Utilities; Hard Disk Partitioning; Diagnostic Tools; Vga Promoting Tools for ancient Amiga Software with TV resolution graphic screens; Game loaders for storing and autoloading from Hard Disks the original Amiga, autostarting non standard Floppy Disks; Disk Copiers; Backup and Recovery Tools, Archives and Compression Utilities; Command Line Interfaces and Text-Based Shells; Amiga graphical GUI interfaces with WIMP paradigm; Amiga Advanced Graphics Systems; PostScript; TrueType Fonts, Color Fonts and Anim Fonts; Font Designer Software; Amiga Advanced Audio System; native, external, widely common used, and third party Filesystems; Datatypes; MultiView; MIME types; USB stacks; Firewire stacks (IEEE 1394); Printer Drivers; Video digitizers; Graphic Tablets; Scanner Drivers; Genlocks, Chroma-Key, signal video inverters; InfraRed Devices and remote controls; WiFi and Bluetooth Devices; Special devices.


[Section to be developed]

Amiga Instant Music, DMCS (DeLuxe Music) 1 and 2, Music-X, TigerCub, Synthia, Dr. T's KCS, Dr. T's Midi Recording Studio, Bars and Pipes (from Blue Ribbon Soundworks, a firm which was bought from Microsoft and it is now part of its group. Bars and Pipes internal structure then inspired to create audio streaming data passing of DirectX libraries), AEGIS Audio Master, Pro Sound Designer, AEGIS Sonix, SoundFX (a.k.a. SFX), Audio Sculpture, Audition 4 from SunRize Industries, SuperJAM!, HD-Rec, Amiga Audio Evolution, RockBEAT drum machine. Amiga was worldwide famous for its .MOD files, that are for years a standard of reference for the computer music. These files started at 8bit audio quality, and are now available also at 16bit audio quality. Recent releases can deal with unlimited audio tracks. The programs that creates these files are called Trackers. We remember some: Ultimate Soundtracker, Noisetracker, ProTracker Octamed, Oktalyzer, Delitracker, Startrekker, AHX, Digibooster Pro and in the recent times Hively Tracker that is available for all Amiga platforms.

Audio Digitizers Software

Together with the well known Dr. T's Midi Recording Studio, Pro Sound Designer, Sonix, SoundFX, Audition 4, HD-Rec, and Amiga Audio Evolution, there were also lots of Amiga software to pilot digitzers such as GVP DSS8 Plus 8bit audio sampler/digitizer for Amiga, Sunrize AD512 and AD516 professional 12 and 16-bit DSP sound cards for the Amiga that included Studio-16 as standard software, Soundstage professional 20-bit DSP expansion sound card for the Amiga, Aura 12-bit sound sampler which is connected to the PCMCIA port of Amiga A600 and Amiga A1200 models, and the Concierto 16-bit sound card optional module to be added to the Picasso IV graphic card, etcetera.

Mod music file format

Starting from 1987 with the release of a new generation of music programs like Soundtracker, Noisetracker, ProTracker and others such as Octamed and Oktalizer Amiga was enhanced with the creation of mod (module) audio file standard. The Mod audio standard is considered the audio format that started it all in the world of computer music.

In those times (and mainly in the period from 1987/88 to 1994/95) when Amiga audio was far superior than any other platform, PC compatible systems begun to be equipped with 8 bit audio cards inserted into 16 bit ISA bus slots. Soundtracker Module files were used in any PC computer and considered the only serious 8bit audio standard for creating music. The worldwide usage of these programs led to creation of the so-called MOD-scene which was considered part of the Demoscene. Later the PC world eventually evolved to 16 bit audio cards, and Mod files were slowly abandoned. Various Amiga and PC games such as Worms supported Mod as their internal standard for generating music and audio effects.

peech synthesis

The original Amiga was launched with speech synthesis software, developed by Softvoice, Inc. [] This could be broken into three main components: "narrator.device", which could enunciate phonemes expressed as Arpabet, "translator.library" which could translate English text to American English phonemes, and the "SPEAK:" handler, which command-line users could redirect output to, to have it spoken.

In the original 1.x AmigaOS releases, a "Say" program demo was included with AmigaBASIC programming examples. From the 2.05 release on, "narrator.device" and "translator.library" were no longer present in the operating system but could still be used if copied over from older disks.

The speak handler was not just a curiosity, or a gorgeous demonstration of capabilities of Amiga. In fact, the word processor ProWrite since its version 3.2 was able to read an entire document using the speech synthesizer for the benefit of blind users.


On Amiga there were created almost any kind of languages, and compilers for these languages. The standard programming languages of Amiga were C and C++, direct programming through Assembler, and in some situations even Basic (Blitz Basic) or development languages with the same syntax of Basic such as AMOS BASIC were used to create simple games.

Noteworthy to mention is the high speed in compiling, because on Amiga the CPU was free to perform heavy calculations while the DMA chipset controlled data memory transfer, the peripherals, and the graphics and sound. As all those annoying tasks were left to chipset, the processor was free for serious programs, or as described here, it was free for compiling programs reaching results available only on machines with higher number of clock speed. Often advertising on Amiga newspapers invited the users to test comparing directly the Amiga compilers with those used in MS-DOS otr other platforms. For example the advertising of High-Speed Pascal which was compatible with Turbo Pascal invited the programmers to compare its compilation made on Amiga clocked at only 7 MHz with Turbo Pascal compiler on Intel 80386 machines clocked at 16 or even 25 MHz.

Cross platform libraries and programming facilities

Cross platform libraries and facilities are available for Amiga also. The Amiga porting of wxWidgets is [ wxWidgets-AOS] . SDL libraries are widely used in all modern Amiga systems such as AmigaOS 4. and MorphOS. Cairo vector libraries and Anti-Grain Geometry libraries are also available on Amiga, etcetera. MUI and ReAction are Amiga standard Object Oriented systems for building graphical interfaces. [ CLib2] is a portable ISO 'C' (1994) runtime library for the Amiga.

Amiga in all those years lacked of a complete IDE (Integrated Development Environment). This fact changed in 2005/2006 with the creation of Cubic IDE, based on Amiga modular text editor GoldED.

Brief List of Languages available on Amiga

Amiga Basic from Microsoft, Kick-Pascal, ABasic, AC Basic Compiler, GFA Basic, ASM-One Macro Assembler, High Speed Pascal, HiSoft C++, HiSoft Basic, JForth, Amiga Logo, Aztec C, Amiga Pascal, Oberon, AMOS BASIC (derived from STOS), Blitz Basic, Devpac Assembler, DICE C, VBCC, Lattice C, SAS/C, Storm C (StormC3), Perl, Ruby, Amiga E, FALSE, Python, REBOL, ARexx, Amiga GNU C++, Amiga Installer standard program is a LISP interpreter, Free Pascal, Modula-2, etc.

Descriptions of some Languages

AmigaBasic (not to be confused with ABasic, which was a 3rd party Basic for the Amiga) was the only programming language (and the only tool) made by Microsoft for the Amiga computer. Its best feature was the lack of numbering lines of code, which was the first attempt in 1985/1986 to create a new kind of approach in programming. Microsoft then added this feature to all its development language tools.

Amiga Basic was released for free with any Amiga, it has its own disk, a complete manual, and a vast number of example demos.

As being released for free with any Amiga it was the most common used language on Amiga, and legions of developers learned to program with AmigaBasic.

Because Commodore wanted to save money, there was never made an AmigaBasic update, and due to AmigaBasic's vast number of known bugs and limitations (it could handle only NTSC resolution screens and not PAL screens common in Europe TV standard), for the fact it couldn't be used with profit on VGA resolution screens, and finally due to the fact it was generally badly written and caused many machine hang-ups, it was immediately discarded by professional Amiga developers in favour of other programming languages such as GFA BASIC, Aztec C, Lattice C, and then AMOS.

Devpac Assembler was a professional assembler program that became the de facto standard for assembly programming. It was also able to be used to program for any other Motorola 68k-based device, such as the Atari ST. It was common for programs to be jointly written for the Amiga and Atari using Devpac on the Amiga. However, since the Atari ST was closest to the "lowest common denominator" of the two machines, programs would be tested on and built primarily for the ST.

Application Building Tools

Some Amiga programs were not languages, but complete application tools. Among these we remember: CanDO, Amiga Vision, Shoot'Em-Up Construction Kit also known as SEUCK, 3D Construction Kit, 3D Construction Kit II and in some degree The Director (BASIC-like language aimed at multimedia, presentations and animations) and AMOS itself could be considered application building tools, more than simple programming languages (even if SEUCK was aimed at games, 3D Construction series, could handle also some sort of 3D VRML). Other tools that can build independent applications or "self loading projects" were Scala Multimedia and actually Hollywood Designer.

CanDO was one the first application building tools, capable of create programs for Amiga that were totally independent (compiled or full binary). It is based on a visual interface, after the style of modern "visual programming" approach to programming which became famous with Visual C and Visual Basic from Microsoft. Although CanDO has nothing in common with Visual C and Visual Basic, it is a program mouse driven with an icon approach, and its internal programming is really like an interactive flow chart of functions, just like VISUAL programming tools from Microsoft.

Like CanDO on Amiga, there is Amiga Vision. It is a VISUAL "application building" tool made by Commodore itself in the times of the launch of Amiga A3000, and it was released for free to all those who bought an Amiga A3000.

The Vision is more than a language aimed at multimedia, all icon driven, and the flow chart of the functions was realized all graphically, on a page in which the user could arrange visually all the icons each one representing a program function. Vision saved files (projects) could not be used as pure binaries. From this point of view, the Amiga Vision "application building" tool was an interpreted language.

The AmigaBasic created by Microsoft, CanDO, and then Amiga Vision inspired Microsoft itself to an approach to Visual programming with their line of Visual programming languages, such as Visual Basic and others.


[Section to be developed]
*Movie Players: Amiga Frogger Player, MooVID player, mPlayer, MysticView, VLC (actually only for MorphOS).
*Internet Radio: AmiAMP (similar to WinAMP), Ami NetRadio.
*Music: Kaya Player, Hippo Player, CD Player, PlayOGG, HivelyPlay, Play16
*Special players and music modules players: XMP Module player, ADPlay for AdLib modules
*Midi players: TiMidity, DG Midi Player
*Image viewers: Multiview, Showgirls, SView5, ImageMagick Open Source set of image utilities, MiniShowPicture, PicShow, SimpleView
*Image Cataloguers: PhotoAlbum
*Flash SWF file editing: SWFTools Open Source set of flash .swf files utilities
*Encoding video: Amiga 3ivx, Amiga FFmpeg, Mpeg2Enc, Mpeg2vidcodec, Mencoder
*Encoding audio: Amiga LAME, FLAC
*PowerPoint ".PPT" files: PointRider
*Adobe ".PDF" files: APDF
*Digital cameras: Canon toolbox for Canon photocameras, PtpDigCam, SimpleCam, AmiCaMedia, DigiCam
*TV cards players: Amithlon TV, Visionary, AmiTV and [ VailantVision] that is an evolution of Amihlon TV.
*Java: It exists only old versions of Kaffe Java, from Amiga Geek Gadgets project. It worked under X11 graphical engine but without AWT, or with very pre-release alpha versions of abstraction windows toolkits. Other ports such as AmJay, [ Daytona] , MOca and Merapi were dismissed before reaching a working status. Actually there is Jamiga and Amiga Java CACAO being developed. Amiga web browsers use their internal version of Javascript, that loads Javascript code of web pages, but obviously can't load real Java applets.

Drivers for Multimedia Devices and Special Input Functions

*Multimedia Keyboards [ MMKeyboard]
*Hand-write recognition [ Meridian] . Meridian is a program that performs Handwriting recognition input function using a stylus like those equipping any tablet computer, emulating the stylus by mouse.

oftware for people suffering of diseases and limitations in movements

* [ JakeBoard] input software and hardware system emulating keyboard and mouse to be used by persons with physical limitations and/or problems of movements. Software and hardware schemes are actually freely downloadable at BlackBeltSystems Amiga Software page on their [ site] .
* [ Talkboard] similar to jakeboard, is a speech-generation system for persons with severe handicaps of movements and being dumb. It is also freely downloadable.

CD Filesystem


CD and DVD Burning Programs

BurnIt!, Frying Pan, MakeCD, AmiDVD, DVDRecord, DVDAuthor

MakeCD is the first Amiga program to support DAO, (Disk At Once). Frying Pan is the first Amiga program capable to create DVDs. Now both FryingPAN and BurnIt! are capable to handle DVD.

Disk Images and ISO files Management

*ISO-o-Matic software is an Amiga CD Image converting software and supports: b5i, bin, cdi, img (normal/CloneCD), mdf (Alcohol 120%), nrg (Nero Burning ROM), pdi and uif.
*ISOMount mounts CD ISOs, PC floppy disk images and Amiga diskimages. Supports: Amiga (ADF) 880KB ether OFS and FFS), MS-DOS (IMG) from 360KB up to 2.88MB (Fat12), Atari ST 800KB (Fat12), MAC GS (file image of Mac has no extensions) 800KB (MFM encoded), CD (ISO) - every size, including floppy specific.
*MountVirtual and DiskImage programs for AmigaOS and MorphOS that mount CD ISO images as standard Amiga devices. Supports CD ISO images and Amiga diskimages such as ADF, DMS, IFS. MountVirtual requires DiskImage.
*VirtualCD uses ISOs and CD-Images as virtual drives
*mkisofs and Amkisofs are Amiga portings of MaKeISOFileSystem

(A complete list of Amiga ISO managements and converters is available on Aminet official Amiga repository)

Data Streaming

Most famous used Data streaming control program into Amiga it is Reggae for MorphOS system.

Internet and communications

This section splitted article covers: Modem software, Direct Connect, BBS managing, Fidonet, Packet Radio; Prestel, Videotel, Videotex, Minitel; Teletext, Televideo, Viewdata; FAX, Answering Machine and Voice Mail; ISDN; Networking and Ethernet protocols; World Wide Web (TCP/IP Stacks, Browsers, E-mail programs, Newsreaders, Internet Radio, Proxy server support programs, PPP, Telnet, Podcasting, Amiga RSS Feed, Distributed Net, Google Services, Amiga Instant Messaging and Chat, FTP and FTP Server, Weather casting news, Webcam supporting, Clock Synchronization, SMS Short Messages, Web development & HTTP Server, Peer2Peer, VCast (Online VCR), Youtube, Flash player, Monitoring webpages, Remote Desktop, SSL, SSH, etcetera.); Communication Protocols.

Various Utilities

"AmiDOCK" is an Amiga utility that creates Application Launching Docks on the desktop. Amiga users begun to appreciate the Docking station at the age of the NeXT computer, and then due to Acorn Archimedes Risc OS docking station. Archimedes computers were popular in Great Britain because they were adopted in Schools of all grades. Young Amiga users (there were one million and 500,000 Amigas in United Kingdom) spotted docks on Archimedes at school and asked for it on Amiga also. Various docking stations were born as 3rd party hobby utilities and then officially integrated in AmigaOS classic since version 3.9.

"Directory Opus" was a file utility program. When this software was released, the popular Amiga magazines proclaimed that it was the most important software ever released for the Amiga and "should be built into the operating system". Directory Opus went on to create a "replacement OS" for Workbench which overlaid itself upon the system.It started as a file manager, and then became a complete GUI replacement for AmigaOS alternative to official Workbench.

Much shareware and free software was written for the Amiga and could be obtained via the Fred Fish disk series or from the Aminet software archive.

Because the custom chipset shares RAM (and therefore the memory bus) with the CPU, the CPU's throughput increases measurably if the display is disabled. Some processor-intensive software, such as 3D renderers, would disable the display during calculation in order to gain speed.


During the years, Amiga was able to emulate other platforms or game machines, or to run directly a vast range of other Operating Systems than AmigaOS. Noteworthy are:

Medusa (Atari ST emulator), Fusion (Macintosh Emulator), AMax and AMax II, (Macintosh), GO64 (Commodore C64 emulator), Transformer and PCTask (it was an Intel 8088 emulator, all software based, capable to emulate Intel pc based platforms ranging from PC XT 4,7 and 7 MHz on Amiga500, up to 80486 running at maximum of 14MHz on A4000 and other accelerated Amigas), A64 Package (C64), Amiga BBC Emulator Acorn BBC emulator, Atari ST Emulator (AtariST), Hatari (Atari ST and STE), Basilisk II (Macintosh) classic, Frodo (C64), PSXE (Sony Playstation), [ Hu-Go!] (PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16), FunnyMu (Creativision, Funvision, Wizzard), AmiArcadia (Arcadia 2001, Interton VC 4000, TVGC), etcetera.

VICE emulator it is modular based and capable to emulate all 8-bit machines made by Commodore: C64 (a patch of VICE it is capable to emulate also C64dtv, C128,PET including CBM II version (but excluding "non-standard" features of SuperPET 9000), Plus4,VIC-20, etcetera.


Games were an obvious application for the Amiga hardware, and thousands of games were produced. It was common for games to be produced for multiple formats in the days of the Amiga. For example, a game might be produced simultaneously for Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, and so on. Since the Amiga hardware was the most advanced of all, the games were usually developed on an Amiga, and the Amiga version would be the "gold standard" of the bunch.


The Amiga was a focal point for the "demo scene". The Amiga thrived on public domain, freeware and other not-for-profit development. The demo scene spearheaded development in multimedia programming techniques for the Amiga, such that it was "de rigueur" for the latest visual tricks, soundtrackers and 3D algorithms from the demo scene to end up being used in computer game development.


Because the Amiga was one of the first game-oriented computers to feature a built-in floppy disk drive, which allowed for easy copying, it was also the scene of much software piracy. Many of the arguments pertaining to software piracy, intellectual property rights in software, the open-source movement, and so on, were well-developed in the Amiga scene by the early 1990s. It was not unusual for a demo group to be openly involved in software piracy.

Several anti-piracy measures were introduced during the Amiga's reign. One was the practise of distributing software on disks that contained secret "keys" on high-numbered tracks, which were officially unused. The Amiga disk drive officially only read tracks 0-79 from a double-density disk, but in reality it could easily read tracks 80 through 82. Official disk-imaging software would ignore these tracks, so that a duplicate of a boxed disk would not contain the key and the software would not work. A similar technique involved writing to sectors of the disk that would not normally be used. However, special copy software called "nibble" copiers appeared, which could exactly reproduce any disk an Amiga could read.

Publishers therefore turned to other methods. Hardware dongles were occasionally used for high-end software. Some software manufacturers would force a user to type a word from a particular page number and line number of the manual, meaning that successfully pirating software included photocopying a large quantity of text. Sometimes the text from which the key was chosen was designed so that photocopiers would produce illegible copies, meaning that pirates had to retype or handwrite the text, or else give up.

These and other schemes lead to pirates "cracking" software by altering a copy of the code bypassing the copy protection completely. There was not a protection scheme that was not eventually broken. One almost exception was the scheme on the Amiga version of Dragon's Lair which became the "holy grail" of crackers Worldwide. Eventually it was released in a modified format that circumvented the copy protection.

Piracy has been cited as a reason for the death of the Amiga, however, piracy was just as prolific on other platforms. For example many games for the ZX Spectrum could be copied using nothing more than an ordinary cassette recorder, leading to a massive culture of playground game trading - that machine however lived a long and fruitful life nonetheless. The same happened with C64 again with cassettes, or with PC software copied on floppy disks by organized piracy, or finally, in more recent ages, it happened with Playstation I and the enormous success it had due to the diffusion of pirated CD games even diffused as ISO images on early pirate sites on internet together with PC software. There was a vast amount of Amiga software available in the marketplace and Commodore's mis-marketing of the machine is well documented as the reason for its own demise.


The Amiga's floppy disk drive allowed 880 kilobytes on a single disk, which was comparable to the memory of most Amigas (usually 512 kilobytes, often 1 megabyte). In order to increase the yield, the Amiga was one of the first computers to feature the widespread use of compression/decompression techniques. Also, the disk drive had a slow transfer rate, such that using processor-based decompression could actually lead to faster loading times than loading uncompressed data from disk. Early implementations of decompression code would write rapidly varying values to a video display register, causing the screen's scanlines to break into multiple segments of colourful noise, which would become finer as the decrunching neared the end. This effect was psychedelic, very easy to implement, so it stuck; it was pioneered on the Commodore 64. The use of "decrunching" became so ubiquitous that the effect was a standard. The effect was commonly seen in pirated games or demos.

Reference notes:

# [ Aminet tree] , [ Aminet Statistics]
# [ Amiga WHDload site] download section reports that this program supports actually 1937 games (and it is far from creating a complete list of all Amiga games).

External links

* [ List of websites where Amiga game software can be downloaded legally and free of charge] .
* [ Aminet] biggest repository of all public domain software for the Amiga Platform.
* [ Amiga SourceForge] Home of various programs such as: LAME and FLAC encoders, SWF Tools, Image Magick, Amiga 7-Zip, cURL, Anubis, OpenSSH, unRAR, WGet, PlayOGG and many other Amiga portings.
* [ List of Amiga Programs] , ancient list of Amiga programs.
* [ Obligement page of Amiga Links] French site of the Amiga Online Magazine "Obligement".
* [ Amiga Review] Slovak site of all software for Amiga reviewed online.
* [ Chronology of Amiga starting from 1982] Site maintained by private user Ken Polsson.
* [ Productivity software for Amiga] Italian site of all important Productivity software, and maintained by Amiga user Massimo Tantignone.
* [ AmiWorld list of Amiga software] Italian site reporting a list of all known productivity programs for Amiga.
* [ NovaDesign Graphics Software for Amiga] ImageFX Studio & Aladdin 4D
* [,com_jreviews/Itemid,172/ The classicamiga Software Directory] An Amiga directory project aiming to catalogue all known Amiga software.

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