October 1995 MAGazine Volume 11 Number 9

Table Of Contents

The March General Meeting of the Memphis Amiga Group will be held Saturday October 14, from 1:00 pm until approximately 3:00 pm in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute of Memphis.

The newsletter is publishes monthly for distribution to the members of the Memphis Amiga Group. MAGazine contains meeting announcements, hardware and software reviews, video and book reviews, and other information of interest to Amiga and computer users in general. Contributions are welcome and may be submitted in hardcopy or via disk in ASCII format at any meeting or you can upload to Operator Headgap BBS - (901) 759-1542 V.32bis hi speed operating CNET PRO v3.05c software. Be sure to leave a note to the sysop.

From the President's CLI

by Scott Pitts

The meeting place is still at State Tech. We are talking with PC Users Group to see how they are utilizing the facilities at no charge, and so see if we can be a Special Interest Group (SIG) of them. We are currently still trying to get endorsements from employees of State Tech so that we can use the facilities at no charge. We do still have to pay for the facilities this month, but we are trying to stay at State Tech. We still can utilize the Bartlett library at no charge until the end of the year, but January thru April is totally booked. If anyone has any suggestions please offer them.

I would like to invite everyone out to the to the business meeting and lunch at Gridley's at 11 am Saturday before the meeting.

Scott Pitts, President


The Board Meeting was held at Gridleys, at around 11:30. The primary topic of discussion was the meeting place. Nothing new was determined about a new location, but several options were discussed. The conclusion was made that we would wait for the regular meeting and resume discussions.

The Group Meeting started at about 1:00, and a demo of FinalWriter IV was given. Bill Bowers had a demo of the disk of the month. As before, we are working on an alternate meeting place. If you have any suggestions, please contact one of the officers.

Keith Burns, Secretary

MAG Meetings

The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) holds general meetings the second Saturday of each month in the Farris Auditorium on the campus of State Technical Institute at Memphis (see map at left).

There will be a board of directors lunch meeting at Gridley's BarBQ beginning at 11:00 A.M., Saturday, October 14 (before the general meeting). For more information call Scott Pitts at (901) 854-1987.

Disk Sales & Video Rentals

MAG library and Fred FISH disk are $2 each.
($5 each for non-members)
Quality blank disks with labels are 65¢ each.
($1 each for non-members)
Rental of Amiga related videotapes is $3 per week.
(not available to non-members)
For all this and more contact club librarian
Bill Bowers (901) 360-0003

Full Page $20.00
1/2 Page $11.00
1/4 Page $7.50
1/8 Page (or business card) $3.00

(contact Terry Campbell at 601-393-4864)

Memphis Amiga Group Officers for 1995

Scott Pitts
(901) 854-1987

Vice President
Steve Echols
(901) 756-9261

Keith Burns
(901) 756-8514

Terry Campbell
(601) 393-4864

Bill Bowers
(901) 360-0003

MAGazine Editior
Paul Stokes
(901) 867-8417

MAGazine Printing & Distribution
Terry A. Campbell
(601) 393-4864


The Memphis Amiga Group (MAG) is a non-profit organization whose purpose is promoting and encourageing the use and understanding of the Commodore Amiga Computer. Memberships are open to all those who share a common interest in the Amiga computer and its many wonderful and unique features. Monthly meetings are open to the public and visitors are welcome.

Annual membership dues for new members are $25.00 with an annual renewal rate of $20.00. Associate memberships are available for $15.00 per year, renewable at the same rate, to those who must travel more than 45 miles one way to attend general meetings. All memberships are family memberships and dues are nonrefundable.

REVIEW: NetBSD Amiga 1.0


NetBSD-Amiga 1.0, official release version from November 1994.

[MODERATOR'S NOTE: This is an update to Markus's previous review of NetBSD, kernel version 635, found in our review archives in the file software/unix/NetBSD. - Dan]


Freely distributable Unix-alike operating system for Amiga computers.


Name: The Regents of the University of California, Berkeley and many contributors.

Amiga port by Markus Wild of Zurich, Switzerland, with major contributions from Bryan Ford and Mike 'mykes' Schwartz.

Merge with NetBSD-1.0 and major reworks applied by Chris Hopps.


Freely distributable under the NetBSD disclaimer; see the COPYRIGHT NOTICE section, below.


NetBSD 1.0 is a final release, so all information below is static. New drivers and support for more peripherals is under development and is probably implemented in a new release of NetBSD-current.


An accelerated Amiga (68030, 68040) with a working MMU (memory management unit). This includes most accelerator boards (e.g., Commodore A2630), the Amiga 3000, and others. A working FPU is required. NetBSD does support the 68040 processor. NetBSD is untested on 68020 environments.

The stock A500, A1000, A2000, A1200, and A4000/030 computers have no MMU and so will not run NetBSD.

Requires at least 4 MB of contiguous Fast RAM. 8 MB or more of contiguous 32-bit RAM is recommended.

Requires at least 15 MB hard drive space for a minimal setup. 100 MB hard drive space needed for a full installation. Actual use of NetBSD may require much more space; for example, a serious developer may need 500 MB or more.


Amiga NetBSD supports the following hard-drive systems:

Currently NOT supported:

Any PIO adapter such as Oktagon and ALF.

Almost every SCSI hard drive is known to work with Amiga NetBSD. This includes the range of Quantum drives, Seagate, Wren, DEC, Fujitsu and IBM.

SCSI tape drives (QIC, DAT) and SCSI CD-ROM drives (ISO and Rockridge extension) are supported.



The bootstrap loader works with almost any version of AmigaDOS.


None - as far as your Amiga is running with it.



["TTY-fighters attacking!" Con Solo shouted.]

For your own interest: I may use technical words which are very common in Unix environments but meaningless to people who have never used such a system. Amiga NetBSD may help you to enter the world of Unix, but you will need third party help, such as Unix reference books and guidelines.

Amiga NetBSD-1.0 is the first freely distributable Unix for Amiga systems, and enables the user to run a fully qualified Unix environment on his own machine.

NetBSD takes over the Amiga, so it is not possible to run it concurrently with AmigaDOS. So in this review, you will see references to the "Amiga side" and the "NetBSD side" to indicate which operating system (UNIX or AmigaDOS) must be running to accomplish a particular task. In general, if a reference is missing, I am referring to the NetBSD side.


[Vitamin enriched for your reading pleasure!]

Amiga NetBSD is not intended to be installed by a novice in terms of hard drive systems on Amiga. You definitely need to know how to work with AmigaDOS HDToolBox.

But first, where to get Amiga NetBSD?

Before getting any of the archives, PLEASE get the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) List, which should reside at the same places as NetBSD itself. This list informs you how to install Amiga NetBSD, how much space is needed, how to set up your hard drives, and much more.

If you have Internet access, you can ftp the needed archives from ftp.uni-regensburg.de (the main site for Amiga NetBSD, there are mirrors all over the world) from the directory:


The site is also reachable via WWW:


Also, some of the Aminet ftp sites mirror the NetBSD archive. PLEASE DO CHECK your local mirror. NetBSD is *not* integrated in the AmiNet archive, and hopefully never will - for several reasons. All official NetBSD-1.0 mirrors should also distribute the Amiga binary distribution.

NetBSD is LARGE. You will need at least 10MB of "gzip-ed" archives to have a standard NetBSD environment... and even more if you intend to work on the kernel.

If you have no Internet access, then it is a LOT more difficult to get Amiga NetBSD. Maybe you should ask someone to help you on Usenet (comp.unix.amiga), either by sending you a tape or letting you copy it directly from his/her hard drive. It's worth the effort.

NetBSD-Amiga 1.0 is made available on the "Meeting Pearls Volume II" CD- ROM obtainable from your Amiga dealer.

NetBSD-1.0, the official release, contains a binary and source distribution for the Amiga, as well as the official INSTALL text. So any CD-ROM containing the official NetBSD-1.0 distribution should contain the Amiga distribution as well.

You do not need a tape drive, but this is recommended, as it eases the process of installing NetBSD. If you have either Ethernet or PPP access, you probably will want to get only the basic kit at first. This includes tools for Ethernet and PPP running TCP/IP; thus, you can get the rest of NetBSD using a (local) network.

Also, the basic kit contains a Kermit transfer program, so it is possible to get the required archives via modem or a null-modem cable.

You need an 15MB partition for the root filesystem which is created under NetBSD using a floppy disk as installation filesystem. This way the installation is way easier than previous releases.

If you are careful, and if everything runs fine, you can start the kernel using the supplied "loadbsd" tool.

You will hopefully see the Copyright information, and then some numbers about your system memory. Then the kernel's built-in 'autoconfig' logic detects the installed boards, such as graphics boards and SCSI host adapters. Finally, the root filesystem should be detected and the system boots into single-user mode.

You are running Unix on your Amiga now!

Now you need to play system administrator on your very own system. You need to format the other disk partitions and copy the /usr tree from the distributed archives.

Once you have done the initial installation, the rest is easy to do. Get the ksrc archive if you intend to compile the kernel yourself. A generic kernel and the sources for it are supplied, too.


The review is split into two parts: technical discussion and general overview.


NetBSD-1.0 is based on the last public release of BSD 4.4-Lite (the networking-2 release) by the University of Berkeley, as well as integrating some ideas from 386BSD. The Amiga port is largely based on the initial HP300 code distributed with 4.3BSD-NET2, and has become part of the official NetBSD-1.0 source tree. Further NetBSD ports in the line will include support for Mac, Sun3 and Sparc, DEC and other.

This port was done by Markus Wild in June 1993, and is based upon the original HP port. As Markus Wild has a great deal of knowledge of Unix systems, his first efforts were to compile the basic tools needed for the Unix environment. This was done on the AmigaDOS side with GCC 2.4.3, which he ported himself to AmigaDOS some time ago. His famous ixemul.library finally found a successor.

After doing the initial port of the kernel (the basic operating system of Unix environments), the next problems were the basic root filesystem and hard drive support. Here, Markus was aided by the Amiga Mach port, worked on by many other people, which had a working SCSI driver but no freely distributable Unix server.

All in all, this was a lucky constellation, and Amiga NetBSD was ported in less than a month!

Having compiled the entire root filesystem, followed soon by an easy port of GCC 2.4.5 was very easy, the kernel could then be compiled under NetBSD itself, along with the rest of the environment. Amiga NetBSD has been published and distributed over the Internet to interested developers and supporters. A mailing list was created, and bugs, features and wishes have been discussed. Amiga NetBSD has a living future.

At the time writing this, NetBSD-Amiga has been fully incorporated and merged with the NetBSD-current source tree for the kernel. This yields into a stable and even commonly supported kernel with many more features.

Current maintainer of the Amiga part of the NetBSD-current tree is Chris Hopps. Major development is done by Michael Hitch, Niklas Halquist and Markus Wild. Many others do contribute their work.


You may wonder why a Unix environment is needed for the Amiga. Well, this is a serious question, but there is no real answer. The users and developers of Amiga NetBSD have various uses for it: interest in doing the port, use of Unix programs at home, easy support and easy access to University resources, etc. They share their love of pure Unix environments.

Currently, Amiga NetBSD takes over the Amiga, so it is not possible to run AmigaDOS programs under NetBSD using all the resources of Intuition and Exec. This may change.

It is possible to mount (read-only) Unix File System (UFS) partitions on the AmigaDOS side. This helps you to copy files from NetBSD to AmigaDOS. You can also mount (read-only) AmigaDOS filesystems on the NetBSD side. This allows the two sides to share common resources (i.e., TeX fonts, compiler include files, and much more).

Amiga NetBSD is a true multitasking and multiuser operating system and allows system sharing in an intelligent way. Running in conjunction with existing Unix environments (i.e., at a university), it is possible to connect the Amiga running NetBSD to networks via Ethernet and PPP using a true TCP/IP stack protocol.

The X11 window system is available in a version of X11R6. It uses shared libraries (yielding smaller binaries). X11 on Amiga NetBSD requires a third party graphics board such as the Retina or cirrus based boards like Picasso II, Piccolo and Spectrum, but a monochrome version would be feasible for the standard Amiga display. A color X server for ECS or AGA is currently not implemented.

Amiga NetBSD is binary compatible with some other UNIX system. Even more, future NetBSD versions will support various third-party binaries, such as SunOS, HP-UX and possibly Amiga Unix executables.

Supported drivers are: (list not complete!)

Currently not supported:

Experimental drivers are available for:


The documentation which is needed to install Amiga NetBSD is the above- mentioned Amiga NetBSD INSTALL text. The official INSTALL guideline is provided with every NetBSD-1.0 distribution.

There is no documentation but the standard man pages. These online manual pages help you to use the basic tools, such as the shell or formatting disks. The problem is that you need to have NetBSD running first.

As Amiga NetBSD is a full flavored and full grown Unix system, you need third party documentation to provide help for system administration and basics.


The installation process has been eased quite a lot. A floppy serves as initial filesystem to boot. Slightly automated, the binary distribution can be installed from almost any media - even network and AmigaDOS partitions.

I like the very incredible fact that Amiga NetBSD is STABLE. My Amiga runs Amiga NetBSD-1.0 for months now, and I have not had any kernel panics.

And as it is FREE, there seem to be many more productive users and developers than ever for an Amiga Unix system.

At one of the last Amiga events in Germany, the Amiga Internet and Usenet Meeting '95 in Karlsruhe, Amiga NetBSD was used on 10 of the attended 150 machines. During the meeting, the Ethernet driver for Ariadne was introduced, and the networking tools, such as ftp, telnet and even IRC were used at the meeting itself (with about 70 machines connected to the local network).

I like the fact that I can compile almost every neat UNIX tool such as gnuplot, tcsh, emacs, TeX with almost NO effort. Mostly there is even no change in the Makefile needed -- just compile it!

What I also like is the fact that I can learn to administrate a Unix System of my own. This is harder than one might expect.


I dislike the fact that the developers are spread round the world - but alas, this is *Net*-BSD :-)


I have been using Unix environments for more than 7 years now: mostly as a standard user, but also as software developer and system administrator. This was mostly at my University and a company I worked for some years ago.

Comparing Amiga NetBSD to any other Unix platform is an interesting problem. Let's start with the Unix systems available for the Amiga: Amiga Unix and Amiga Minix. Unfortunately I must say, I have not worked with either of these systems enough to do a full comparison.

Amiga Unix is a the best SYSTEM V R4 port I have ever seen before the Solaris OS for Sun Sparcstations was shipped. It is a commercial product and comes with printed manuals. It has many advantages to Amiga NetBSD as yet, because it is older and has been used for a long time now. It is stable but has its problems. The current situation of the Commodore Inc. yields to the conclusion that AMIX is no longer supported.

Amiga Unix has switchable consoles and supports multi-serial cards, X11, and audio features. It does not support SCSI host adapters other than A3091 and A2091 (a GVP driver seems to be available though). Sources to important parts of the kernel are missing, so it is almost impossible to add CD-ROM support.

Amiga Minix is a very good port of Minix based upon the theory of Prof. Tanenbaum. I don't know if one can actually compare Minix to NetBSD: I believe one shouldn't. Minix was developed to show how to make an operating system.

Amiga Linux is still under construction. The group around Hamish MacDonald has some minor advantages over the NetBSD community, but only recently the networking code and more important the graphic support has been implemented. They also have to deal with the "strange" features of the original Intel 386-based kernel code - Linux is developing more and more a horizontal layer for more platforms. I wish them good luck: we can use the competition.

It is not possible for the NetBSD community to make use of any of the Linux code due to their use of the GNU copyleft. NetBSD is distributed under the Berkeley copyright (see end of article for a copy), which essentially allows free use of sources, as long as the University and its contributors are granted proper credit in any documentation and/or advertisements. So the consequence of this is that the Linux groups can use NetBSD code if they want to, but not vice-versa. Amiga Unix sources can't be used, as they're copyrighted by Commodore, although they would be quite useful to get support for the multiport serial board, for example.

Amiga Mach seems to have died due to the lack of a freely distributable Unix server. As CMU has had problems distributing their own server, Amiga Mach never had a working environment. Luckily the work made for Amiga Mach could be used for NetBSD. Also, it looks like the entire Amiga Mach group has switched to NetBSD; anyway, Niklas Halquist still intends to port the Hurd Unix server.

This leads us to compare Amiga NetBSD with other Unix platforms, such as Sun OS, Ultrix MacUX and AIX. This is a very difficult task, and I don't really want to do this. Simply let's say that NetBSD is as easy to handle as Sun OS (for Sun3) and more simple to use than Ultrix (Digital). It is funny to see that Amiga NetBSD is more stable than IBM's AIX ever was, but AIX is by far more complex of course.

I should at least say that Sun3's are the platforms to which NetBSD actually can compare best. Both are based upon Motorola M68K CPUs, and both do not require very special hardware. Of course, Sun OS is older and wiser. A Sun3/60 or Sun3/80 has almost the same amount of RAM and speed as a normal A3000.

Why I don't want to compare those Unix implementations? The machines they run on are some 100 times faster than any Amiga. These other Unix implementations are enhanced to deal with very specific hardware and are intended to run for several users at the same time without problems.


A project like NetBSD has bugs. I reported all my bugs to the NetBSD community and even tried to fix some myself.


No such support.

You need to have Usenet access at least, if you want to stay in contact with NetBSD developers. If you persuade your favorite Amiga magazine to publish more articles about NetBSD-Amiga, it would sure help us!


None. Absolutely none. Even if you destroy your hardware. You have been warned. Warning also applies if you get addicted on NetBSD :-)


The product offers a fair way to turn your Amiga system to a real Unix workstation: a true multitasking and multiuser system for a cheap price.

Professionals might consider this product as a big advantage for their needs. And as it is freely distributable, it has to be compared to the original Amiga Unix, of course.

On a scale of 0 to 5 stars, I give Amiga NetBSD 4 stars.

This is the original disclaimer under which NetBSD and especially Amiga NetBSD is distributed:

Copyright (c) 1990 The Regents of the University of California. * All rights reserved.

Redistribution and use in source and binary forms, with or without modification, are permitted provided that the following conditions are met:

  1. Redistributions of source code must retain the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer.
  2. Redistributions in binary form must reproduce the above copyright notice, this list of conditions and the following disclaimer in the documentation and/or other materials provided with the distribution.
  3. All advertising materials mentioning features or use of this software must display the following acknowledgement: This product includes software developed by the University of California, Berkeley and its contributors.
  4. Neither the name of the University nor the names of its contributors may be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.


This review represents my honest opinion. Your mileage may vary, so tell me about it! If you use this review in any way - republishing for example, the author requests at least a copy of the used media. Special thanks to the disk magazine 'Amiga Gadget' who did so in the past.

Copyright 1995 Markus Illenseer. All rights reserved.

You can contact the author at:

Markus Illenseer
Kurt Schumacherstr. 16
33615 Bielefeld

[Will our crew find the distress signal? Will Amix ever be released? Is "Max Toy" his real name? Stay tune for the second installment of AmigaTrek-The Next de-Generation]
-- AmigaTrek3.1 Usenet 1988 by Mike Smithwick

Markus Illenseer


If your name is underlined check your renewal date.

If you have a change of address or phone, please notify; Terry Campbell (601) 393-4864

1. Akey Brian L. Memphis TN 38111 OCT 95
2. Andrews Freddie L. Memphis TN 38128 JAN 96
3. Bernard Jack Memphis TN 38127 DEC 95
4. Bowers William Memphis TN 38118 MAY 96
5. Brockway Dennis M. Memphis TN 38107 SEP 95
6. Brownlow John G. Germantown TN 38138 AUG 96
7. Bruns Keith Cordova TN 38018 NOV 95
8. Campbell Terry A. Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 95
9. Chiego John & Sara Memphis TN 38119 DEC 95
10. Cobbins Gerald Memphis TN 38109 Jan 96
11. Cumby Rick D. Bartlett TN 38134 AUG 95
12. Crockett Robert Horn Lake MS 38637 DEC 95
13. Dobbins Chris Memphis TN 38152 NOV 95
14. Echols Steve Memphis TN 38125 DEC 95
15. Ferguson David W. Pontotoc MS 38863 MAR 96
16. Gates Terrence A. Memphis TN 38115 MAY 96
17. Ingerson Steve Memphis TN 38118 SEP 96
18. Knight Bill L. Memphis TN 38118 NOV 95
19. McCalla Ron & Audrey Jackson TN 38305 DEC 99
20. Montgomery Ronald Memphis TN 38108 JUL 95
21. Norman Joe R. Dyersburg TN 38024 JAN 96
22. Nunn Bob & Cheryn Memphis TN 38125 AUG 96
23. Photo Grafix (Jim) Memphis TN 38112 MAY 96
24. Pitts Scott Collierville TN 38017 NOV 96
25. Robertson Eric S. Memphis TN 38111 MAY 96
26. Sanders Joe Memphis TN 38134 JAN 96
27. Seidl Steve & Linda Memphis TN 38128 JUN 95
28. Smith (Allen) Aubrey A. Memphis TN 38120 Feb 96
29. Smith David S. Memphis TN 38115 DEC 95
30. Stokes Paul Eads TN 38028 DEC 95
31. Swope Sara Beth Braden TN 38010 APR 96
32. Torrence Samuel Tupelo MS 38801 OCT 95
33. Vineyard Charles W. Memphis TN 38118 AUG 95
34. Walker Jim Memphis TN 38128 JAN 96
35. Walp Len Memphis TN 38128 DEC 94
36. Waters Robert Memphis TN 38116 OCT 94
37. Weatherall Broadus Memphis TN 38111 JAN 96
38. Williams Charles Wilson AR 72395 DEC 95
39. Winfield Kenneth Barlett TN 38135 OCT 94
40. Wirth Charles Memphis TN 38128 FEB 96

August Financial Report

DISK SALES $ 30.00
Mag ADD $
Dues $ 40.00
New Members $
Months Receipts $ 70.00
Bank Charge $ 10.00
Postage $ 32.00
Mag Printing $ 35.19
State Tec. Rent $ 120.00
Months Debits $ 197.19
Bank Balance
Cash ON Hand $ 151.78
Ballance $ 254.06
Deposits $
Checks Out $ 107.18
New Ballance $ 156.88
Total Assets $ 308.66

September Financial Report

DISK SALES $ 12.00
Mag ADD $
Dues $
New Members $
Months Receipts $ 12.00
Bank Charge $ 10.00
Postage $
Mag Printing $
State Tec. Rent $ 80.00
Months Debits $ 90.00
Bank Balance
Cash ON Hand $ 47.78
Ballance $ 96.88
Deposits $ 110.00
Checks Out $
New Ballance $ 206.88
Total Assets $ 254.66