User avatar
Seattle, WA, USA

Posted Thu Aug 11, 2022 9:09 am

NetBSD is a free and open-source Unix-like operating system based on the Berkeley Software Distribution (BSD). Its initial release was way back in 1993 and is still actively developed. The project's motto is "Of course it runs NetBSD" as it has been ported to a large number of 32- and 64-bit architectures.

NetBSD version 9.3, which was announced on August 4, 2022, brought about a eyebrow-raising update: improved support for the Commodore Amiga.
Aside from many bug fixes, 9.3 includes backported improvements to suspend and resume support, various minor additions of new hardware to existing device drivers, compatibility with UDF file systems created on Windows 10, enhanced support for newer Intel Gigabit Ethernet chipsets, better support for new Intel and AMD Zen 3 chipsets, support for configuring connections to Wi-Fi networks using the installer sysinst(8), support for wsfb-based X11 servers on the Commodore Amiga, and minor performance improvements for the Xen hypervisor.
In particular, the improvements are directed wsfb-based X11 servers on the Commodore Amiga.

Obviously NetBSD won't be for everyone. But the very fact the Amiga is still being supported is breath-taking.
Image of NetBSD running on an Amiga 3000 / 060. Image by "Gentoo" via Reddit.

There is a caveat (well, a few):
Development activity on NetBSD/amiga continues at a speed dependent on people's spare time. Currently, NetBSD/amiga runs on any Amiga [1] that has a Motorola 68020 or better CPU with some form of MMU, and on 68060 DraCos. For 68020 and 68030 systems, a FPU is recommended but not required. 68LC040, 68040V and 68LC060 systems don't work correctly at the moment.

Due to the MMU requirement, it will not run on A500, A600, A1000, A1200, A2000, A4000/EC030, CDTV or CD32 out of the box. You must install a CPU board on them to run NetBSD.

The minimum RAM requirement is about 24 MB FASTMEM, the minimum hard disk space needed is about 250 MB, depending on how many system components you install.
In other words, you need a beefed up and expanded system to run this. That being said, if you check the installation notes the list of supported hardware devices is impressive.

For the advanced power users among us, one can imagine quite a few NetBSD Amigas firing up this summer with this release.

Return to “Software”