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I finally got around to checking out MorphOS. MorphOS is an operating system
that runs on Amigas with PowerPC accelerators, several specialized PPC
based machines, and also runs on certain PPC based Apple Macintoshes. It
is intended to be compatible with Amiga applications either through 68k
emulation or porting to native PPC code.
MorphOS is a commercial product that must be purchased for regular use.
The CD image is freely downloadble, but may only be used for 30 minutes
at a time until it is registered. The CD may be run as a live CD or installed
to a hard drive.
This is the default desktop. Although MorphOS is not directly based
on AmigaOS, it heavily mimics the AmigaOS user interface and ways of doing
"Ambient" is the name of the desktop and file manager in MorphOS. "MUI"
(Magic User Interface) is the name of the widget control library.
Icons appear on the desktop, but the desktop is not an actual folder.
This means you can not store files or folders directly on the desktop.
Instead the desktop can hold temporary "shortcuts" to a file. These
are created by dragging a file to the desktop and later removed by selecting
"Put Away" from the menu.
Drive icons appear on the desktop, but these are also "shortcuts" and
can be put away. Their actual location is in the "My MorphOS" folder.
Files and folders on the system are visibly accessible through a file
browser. It can view folders as a large icons or a detailed list. You can
copy files between folders using drag and drop, however there is no "trash"
Folders are also referred to as "drawers", but are visibly represented
by folders. Folders with older AmigaOS programs will likely use a drawer
image as its custom folder icon.
Programs are launched by browsing the file system. There is no central
program launcher or "Start" type menu. There is also no facility for creating
new documents, requiring you to launch applications first and then save
The information bar at the top doubles as a global menu. Oddly, but
like the original Amiga, the global menu only appears when you right-click
on on the menu bar.
The "My MorphOS" folder contains the actual locations of the drive
icons. New drive icons appear both here and on the desktop as new media
is connected or inserted. There must be some reason for it, but this folder
also includes aliases to various system folders.
An oddity of this file browser is that by default, folder and file icons
are not visible unless there is an "info" file associated with it. An "info"
file contains a custom icon and icon position information. This mimics
how AmigaOS handled file icon information, but the bundled applications
behave more like modern application and do not create extra "info" files.
The result is that to see your files you must repeatedly select to show
"all files" in each folder window.
This shows a paint program, a PDF viewer, and an editor running. Some
other applications are also running, but minimized to icons on the desktop.
With the default user interface settings, the application's menu appears
when right-clicking on the bar at the top of the screen.
Although some documentation files are included, there is no application
The default window management is a little different, and again mimics
the original AmigaOS.
The "X" button is a simple close button.
The "Popup" button contains a sub menu with windowing commands.
- "Iconify" minimizes the application window to an icon on the desktop.
- "Snapshot" tells MorphOS to remember the position and size of the
window and open it the same next time.
- "UnSnapshot" clears any snapshot setting.
- "Jump to Screen" moves the window to an alternate desktop if available.
- "MUI settings" open the preference window to change many user interface
The "Zoom" button toggles the window between a larger and smaller size,
but does not act like a "maximize" button.
The last button, the "Depth" button brings the window in to the foreground.
Clicking inside a window does not always bring it to the foreground, this
must be used instead. Which makes getting an exact ordering of overlapping
windows rather tricky.
You can drag windows around the screen by the title bar. MorphOS does
not permit moving any edge of a window beyond the edge of the screen.
This is an example of a typical Save/Open dialog. Like "My MorphOS",
its list of drives (volumes) is cluttered up with other non-drive items.
This is the MorphOS control panel.
Control panel applets open in the same window, but there is no "back"
button or navigation hierarchy.
The applets also differ from most UIs in that they have "Save", "Use",
and "Cancel" buttons. Settings are not saved when the window is closed
or the "Use" button is pressed, only when Save is explicitly clicked.
Although I didn't have anything to try it with off hand, MorphOS appears
to support printing to a number of different printers over serial, parallel,
USB, or LPR over TCP/IP.
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