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Location: GUIs > Amiga > MorphOS 3.1

MorphOS 3.1
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.

MorphOS 3.1 desktop
This is the default desktop. Although MorphOS is not directly based on AmigaOS, it heavily mimics the AmigaOS user interface and ways of doing things.

"Ambient" is the name of the desktop and file manager in MorphOS. "MUI" (Magic User Interface) is the name of the widget control library.

MorphOS 3.1 files and folders
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" icon.

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 files.

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.

MorphOS 3.1 My MorphOS
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.

MorhOS 3.1 application menu
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 help system.

MorphOS 3.1 windowing

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 details.

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.

MorphOS 3.1 save dialog
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.

MorphOS 3.1 control pannel
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.