With modern computers we are used to have storage built into the device, sometimes even cloud-based storage. But back in 1985 when the Amiga was born, storage was usually on Floppy disks.

In this project we will explore how to build ourselves a Productivity setup on a standard Amiga 500, using the built-in floppy drive and if possible a 2nd, external floppy drive.

This is a Work-in-Progress. please check the changelog for further details

The Amiga 500 was born with a built-in 880 KB floppy drive. But sometimes that is just not enough. Thankfully you can boot on one floppy and then swap to a second floppy, and when AmigaOS needs a file on the first floppy It will ask you to reinsert the boot floppy. And worst case scenario you might have to keep swapping the two floppies multiple times.

The way to avoid the problem of disk-swapping would be to have a Harddisk or multiple floppy drives. These days most of us have a second disk drive be it either old style drive or a Gotek Virtual drive. In my case I have a real floppy drive internally and a Gotek in an external case.

This is part 1 of several (planned) parts. Here is an overview of the parts:

  • Part 1: Introduction (this part)
  • Workbench 2.1 Productivity setup - part 2: Preparing the Floppy Disks
  • Part 3: Optimising the boot floppy - what to include and what to leave out or move off the Workbench floppy?
  • Part 4: Selecting the applications
    • Part 5: Word processor
    • Part 6: Spreadsheet
    • Part 7: Database
  • Part 10: Development
    • Part 11: Assembly programming
    • Part 12: C and C++ programming

 As I currently do not have a Harddisk and would like to have a productivity setup, I want to explore a 2-drive setup for that purpose.

Having the Gotek as the external drive might be an advantage as it is a bit easier to swap floppies on that. Thus - if I need it - I can have multiple application floppies where each hold one or more applications. Swapping the floppies is done simply by pressing a few buttons on the Gotek drive.

I will need to make a decision where to put the content files; on the boot floppy, on the application floppy or on a separate save floppy?

This introduction article will explain my current setup and my design goals. These might change underway so I will try to document that. I will also try to keep an overview of the parts here below. Some might be added when they get planned. Others will be added to this list when they are published. If a part is listed here below but does not have a link, it is most likely not published.

Current setup:

  • Amiga 500, Rev 6a Motherboard.
  • OCS chipset with ECS Fat Agnus (possibility for 1 MB Chip),
  • 512 KB Chip RAM, 512KB Slow RAM.
  • Internal floppy drive and 1 external Gotek drive.
  • 3 different Kickstart ROMs
    • Kickstart 1.3 (V. 34.5)
    • Kickstart 2.04 (V. 37.175)
    • Kickstart 3.1.4 (V. 46.143)

Design Goals:

  • To be able to use a standard Amiga 500 with 1 MB of RAM and 2 floppy drives (possible 1 Gotek floppy Emulator) for Productivity and Development use.
  • To provide at least one Freeware/Public Domain option in each of the software categories.
  • Showcase "professional" software (i.e. software that is not Freeware/PD) whenever possible.

Please note that I might change design decisions under way as I learn more during the project. I will try document these changes and the reason for them to the best of my ability. 

Choosing AmigaOS

As mentioned above, I have 3 different Kickstart ROMs. Of the three Kickstart 2.04 is the more recent version that most people have. It is the most recent of the three that Commodore developed and released. Kickstart 3.1.4 is built upon the last Kickstart released by Commodore - Kickstart 3.1 - but has been updated by Hyperion Entertainmant, that currently holds the intellectual property rights to the AmigaOS operating system including the source codes. Kickstart 3.1.4 was released in September 2018.

I have chosen to build this project upon the Kickstart 2.04 and Workbench 2.1 as I have both the original Kickstart 2.04 ROM and Workbench 2.1 floppy disks. I do have a copy of Workbench 2.05 floppy disks and they would work on the Kickstart 2.04 ROM but 2.1 is more recent and introduced both a system-standard localization system and a hypertext markup language used for building manuals, guides, etc called AmigaGuide. Workbench 2.1 was a software-only release and thus there are no Kickstart 2.1 ROMs.

If you only have Workbench 2.04/2.05 it should be possible to follow the build with the exception of the two above features.

I might look at a similar setup based upon AmigaOS 3.1.4 at a later date.

Now lets get started - on to part 2: (To Be Continued) 

Changelog

Version Date  
1.01 2019-09-16 Updated with link to part 2
1.0 2019-09-09 First public version