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AmigaOS 4.0 - Amiga File Systems

Historical background

What we know as "the" Amiga File System is part of a disk operating system that was ported to the original AmigaOS way back in 1985 when the plans for implementing an in-house solution fell through. That disk operating system was called "Tripos", a commercial version of an experimental operating system developed at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, England.

Surprisingly, "Tripos" shares some traits with Unix in that it was devised to be a portable operating system with pre-emptive multitasking capabilities, implemented in a portable programming language (BCPL). In fact, that portable programming language later became a precursor of 'C' (by simplifying BCPL, the language 'B' was created, and from 'B' development eventually progressed to 'C', the language in which Unix was implemented.

Contrary to what many seem to think, Tripos is still around today, and an article entitled "Software practice and experience" by Dr. Mike Richardson published in 1979 is frequently referenced in study texts although it doesn't seem to be available online at present. Dr. Mike Richardson was awarded the IEEE Computer Society's "Computer Pioneer Award" in 2003 for "pioneering system software portability through the programming language BCPL" which can be downloaded from his site along with Cintpos, an interpretive implementation of the Tripos Portable Operating System.

Some people still believe that at the core, the Amiga operating system uses Tripos code. This is not true. All that was "borrowed" from Tripos was the file system layer and the functionality on top of it, such as the API, the shell and its standard commands (which are actually programs). The portable Tripos kernel was adapted for the Amiga by Dr. Tim King, who brought the rights to turn the operating system into a commercial product with him to Metacomco, Ltd., a now defunct software company based in Bristol, England.

Disclaimer: Amiga Auckland have prepared the above information for the use of its members based on our experiences and as such is subject to revision at any time. Amiga Auckland cannot guarantee any of the information and cannot be held accountable for any issues that may result from using it.


Copyright 2005 Amiga Auckland Inc. All rights reserved.
Revised: October 20, 2005.