Monday, January 27, 2020

MorphOS 3.12 on X5000

One of the interesting features of the AmigaOne X5000 is the compatibility of MorphOS 3.12 with it.
Let's take a closer look at it.

I was very keen to try this out but I read there are some sacrifices to be made if you want to run MorphOS 3.12 on the X5000. I have to downgrade the included graphics card to a much lower spec graphics card compatible with MorphOS.

By doing this I then stop AmigaOS 4.1 Final Edition Update 1 booting due it's reliance on graphical features of the updated drivers that need the new graphics card to work.

The X5000 doesn't have two PCI-e 16x sockets and doesn't support dual displays to my knowledge, so only one card can be installed. The X5000 also can't use a PCI Radeon 9250 graphics card (with or without a PCI-e card installed) to boot from - I tried it...

So you have to choose one or the other. Shame really.

I decided to try out MorphOS by downgrading to a Radeon X1950 Pro card that I bought from Ebay.

You can click on the images to supersize them, and see the specific model I bought.

Here is the card installed in the X5000:

I took a spare 2TB SATA hard disk to use for MorphOS, and removed the AmigaOS 4.1FE hard disk from the X5000 system.

This is beause the X5000 only has two SATA ports onboard (and one is for the DVD drive), that means I can only use one hard disk.

My X1000 is more flexible in this regard with 4 SATA ports built-in. You can add SATA PCI/PCI-e cards to the X5000 if you want more ports. You could also in theory set up a multi boot partition setup with AmigaOS4 and MorphOS but I have not tried that, so I don't know if that works.

For now I will run the X5000 purely as a MorphOS system. I will continue running AmigaOS 4.1 FE on my X1000, which was my intention when I bought the X5000.

Below is the X5000 booting up into MorphOS 3.12, from the CD I burnt from the MorphOS 3.12 ISO.

To do this I needed to select the Boot MorphOS option from the early boot menu (Press Escape on the X5000 boot logo while spinning).

I hooked up a HP 19" 4:3 TFT screen with DVI inputs to the graphics card initially, as MorphOS is quite picky about DVI output and I wanted to make sure it displayed before trying anything else. I pleased to say it works with the 3.12 CD which is great:

I tested it again with a DVI to HDMI converter and one of my X1000 HDMI screens. It worked also, and the install MorphOS program appears once MorphOS 3.12 has completed booting!

I then tried my main 32" HDMI screen with the X5000 running MorphOS 3.12 from the CD and it worked fine too, so exciting!

So I got on with the installation of MorphOS on the X5000 2TB hard disk:

After setting the usual screen resolution, date/time and network settings for the installation, I turned my attention to the partition setup. Given I have a 2TB hard disk, the default partition size is a bit small...I raised it up a bit. Later on I'll deal with the remaining space:

The MorphOS installer then went ahead and installed a bunch of files. Time for a coffee.

The install completed successfully, reboot time:

I get the X5000 logo and MorphOS logo as the MorphOS 3.12 system boots from the hard disk for the first time:

I only got a second to photograph the boot logo as it seriously boots really fast on the X5000 - way faster than AmigaOS 4 on the same system does:

MorphOS 3.12 desktop on my X5000 after the first boot:

I downloaded the fonts for the Odyssey web browser next so I could get online:

That done, I launched Odyssey, which is updated for MorphOS v3.12:

I visited the new Australian Amiga forum website, started by the Amiga Retro Brisbane group members. I covered my December 2019 visit and presentation in the blog here.

I am glad to be part of a new forum focused on Amiga in Australia. If you are in Australia please sign up today!

My MorphOS 3.12 installation is still the demo version, limited to 30 minutes before it slows downs dramatically and requires a reboot to reset the 30 minute timer. I will register it now that I know it works well on the X5000:

To do this I run the RegTool in the System:Tools drawer, which packages my details and some of my X5000 details (as a MorphOS license is tied to the physical machine) to send to MorphOS team.

You need to be connected to the internet for this part, as it submits the details to MorphOS team to process the registration:

After filling in all the details and submitting, the registration tool (but not the registration itself) is successfully completed. You receive an email later with instructions on payment for the license using PayPal.

With the payment done, you receive a license file via email that removes the 30 minutes time limit for MorphOS and instructions on how to install it. I found that Gmail tends to treat it as spam mail so if you use Gmail check your spam folders for it!

With that done, I now have a full MorphOS 3.12 installation on my X5000!

There is a great resource on getting started with MorphOS, called the MorphOS library. I recommend new users to MorphOS read this as it will help you with getting started using it:

MorphOS Storage (WarmUp) is another great site for downloading MorphOS software - especially the Chrysalis pack for updating the base MorphOS 3.12 installation to include application, games, emulation and more, all setup out of the box:

I downloaded the Chrysalis pack iso, and opened it (mounted automatically) to start with:

It is recommended to read the Installation Guide before proceeding. You need a fresh installation of MorphOS. You should not install the Chrysalis pack on an install of MorphOS that has had other tools, application, games installed as that can cause issues for the installer.

As my MorphOS 3.12 install is indeed a fresh install, I stepped through the installer for Chrysalis:

A lot of files then get copied across:

With the installation complete, I rebooted the system to finish the installation.

With the Chrysalis pack now installed on my X5000, I can next use Grunch to check for any updates of programs installed on my MorphOS 3.12 system:

It will show version differences, and you can also install any other software that you may not yet have on your MorphOS installation.

In order to run AmigaOS4 specific titles under MorphOS (well, a only a handful work), you will need a program called os4emu - note that a lot of AmigaOS 4 stuff still doesn't work under MorphOS, even with this tool installed, but it can help for some older AmigaOS 4 software.

The legal status of this tool is somewhat dodgy, so I don't include any links here (Google is your friend) and I leave it to you to decide if you want it or not.

Next, I turn my attention to the hard disk partition setup. Right off the bat I have to say that the HDConfig tool for MorphOS is nowhere near as nice to work with as AmigaOS 4 HDToolbox.

That said, it is the tool we have to use under MorphOS 3.12, located in the System:Tools drawer:

With my current partition setup (setup when I installed MorphOS 3.12), HDConfig shows I have a 40GB FFS/LNFS system partition (DH0) and a 128GB SFS Work (DH1) partition. I still have a lot of free space!

Initially I thought I could just use SFS for the remaining space, and indeed HDConfig will happily allow you to set this configuration - I set up 4 partitions using SFS around 420GB each:

Here is an example partition setup, DH2 in this case:

I then went to format the new partitions in HDConfig:

It asks to confirm:

It then returns this error message, saying SFS partitions can't be larger than 128GB!

Why doesn't it tell you that when creating the partitions!! Anyway, I then tried FFS/LNFS instead of SFS as the partition type:

Because I already tried formatting in HDConfig, it confusingly displays DH2.0 and DH2, and the same for the other partitions I created...

The format then worked, and I formatted the other 3 partitions the same way, using FFS/LNFS - I can now see them under MorphOS desktop, ready for use:

I have covered a complete MorphOS 3.10 build before on this blog (Part 1 and Part 2), covered in lots of detail step by step if you want to see how to do that, without cheating with the chrysalis pack.

Because of that I don't plan to cover the installation build again here, as I would just be rehashing the same ground again.

I did establish YouTube works well(ish) on the new Odyssey version under the X5000, which is great to see.

Next up is getting E-UAE working. With the Chrysalis Pack installation, it includes an almost configured E-UAE setup for MorphOS, but you do need to supply the kickstart roms (available via Cloanto's Amiga Forever) into the Roms drawer under E-UAE, and then point to it from the configuration GUI called rhLaunch under MorphOS:

As you can see the kickstart rom folder is empty:

Having loaded some kickstart roms in (from my purchased Amiga forever software), I can now see them under the Roms tabs in rhLaunch:

I then need to change the Configurations one by one to use the correct kickstart rom file. You can use the search button to list the available roms to choose from:

Example after changing:

Don't forget the CD32 configuration needs the extra rom file specified:

You can set the location of your ADF files (Floppies section) as below in the Settings tab - I have them on a separate partition to the emulation as the ADF files use a lot of space:

What that done, rhLaunch will then scan the drawer (and sub-drawers) and list all ADF's to quick launch with a given configuration:

Next in rhLaunch is updating the hard disk locations for each configuration. 

Hard disk files are not supplied as installed by Chrysalis Pack, so I needed to copy my hard disk backups used on my X5000/X1000 for use on this machine - for the A1200 I use my A4000 backup and add the Work partition from MorphOS as it contains my WHDLoad games, demos and music (the all important modules!):

With that work done, I then launch the emulation - normally it launches in full screen, but you can change the amiga_screen_type field from Custom to Public, and it will then run in a window, as below - make sure you check the height and width fields fit the window size:

Running on the MorphOS 3.12 Ambient desktop, the A1200/040 emulated system runs very well:

Thanks to the E-UAE JIT setup (similar as under AmigaOS 4), the 060 AGA demos run perfectly on the X5000 under MorphOS:

Feeling a bit ambitious to test the limits, I ran three E-UAE sessions simultaneously on the X5000 on the MorphOS Ambient Desktop:

I am happy to report they all work perfectly well on the X5000 simultaneously, although having three sets of audio at the same time is not so great!

Here I am running Battle Squadron, Red Sector's Cebit 90 demo and Sanity's Digital Innovation demo in three separate E-UAE instances under MorphOS on the X5000! Cool!

Here is some more information about the GFX card I have installed on the X5000, courtesy of the Graphics Board program under MorphOS:

I started copying across a backup of my MorphOS games from my Powerbook G4 system, which I had archived into one 2.0GB archive to make it easier to transfer. The transfer speed was around 20.6MB/s on the X5000.

I went back to Odyssey to see some real world examples of Web browsers with NG Amiga MorphOS 3.12 so people can know what to expect (and to keep your expectations in check!)

Accessing Facebook, I found it logged in ok, but the main page didn't display right - it was missing the content! I could see Odyssey was spoofing itself as an iPad from the way the Facebook screen was displayed:

I changed it to spoof Safari (MacOS) and things started working better and more compatible with Facebook. (no live Messenger though)

I use ProtonMail, and as expected with it's encryption requirements, after authenticating my account login, it gets no further.

Gmail works well, but only in backwards compatibility view mode - it doesn't use the modern mail web appearance.

Using YouTube in Odyssey, it plays video at 360p mostly ok, with some glitches. I suspect some optimisation of Mplayer settings is needed here:

If I manually select 720p in the settings for playback it is unwatchable in Odyssey:

The Australian ABC News website renders well, but can't playback video content:

The same applies to the BBC news website:

As you would expect, Amiga focused websites render well in Odyssey:

I tried to use Microsoft Outlook 365/Office365 - which only seems to make progress past the login page if I select to Spoof as Safari (Mac) in the Odyssey options:

Outlook 365 (Hotmail) works ok in Odyssey:

Things don't go so well when trying to use Word Online in Odyssey - CSS keeps trying to save as a download rather than being rendered in Odyssey:

Ultimately Microsoft Word online gives up and makes you exit:

The point of showing these rendering issues is to show how much progress is still needed on web browser development on NG Amigas. The same issues apply to AmigaOS 4 as well, which uses an older version of Odyssey than what runs on MorphOS 3.12.

A lot of progress has been made which is great, but there is still a lot more to do!

I hope all the remaining Amiga browser developers can unify their efforts under Odyssey and make it work with modern web applications and standards, really needed in 2020!

Next, I listened to some modules using Schismtracker for MorphOS.

I then tried out some of the MorphOS games from my Powerbook G4. Some work fine, some don't.

Gigalomania worked fine:

Voxelnoid worked ok for the most part:

Some other games that worked ok included Fruit'y, Giana Sisters Return, Open Tyrian, and more:

I was disappointed that Return To Castle Wolfenstein, GL Quake and some other 3D games either didn't run at all, or didn't render properly, like Neverball. These run perfectly on the Powerbook G4, so clearly the MorphOS 3.12 Graphics card 3D support for the X1950 card is likely the issue here. I had problems with many MorphOS demos too, likely for the same reason.

That said, many 3D games do run fine on the X5000 with the Radeon X1950 installed, so hopefully it can be fixed in a future release.

I have a lot more work to do on the MorphOS 3.12 build on my X5000 like setting up Iris email, applications, etc. However, at this point, with a working installation with music, games and classic Amiga emulation working seems to be a good point to end this blog post.

I plan to cover more about MorphOS 3.12 on the X5000 later on so stay tuned!


  1. Thanks for the look at MorphOS on the X5000. I'm wondering if AltiVec is the key
    to making things work better? A shootout between a G5 and the X5000 would be revealing as well...

  2. Isn't that a second PCI-e x16 slot or is it something else?

  3. I installed the same graphicscard on my X5000,
    but it doesn't show anything.
    I bought an Sapphire X1950pro on ebay.
    Maybe it's defective. But I don't know where to get a new one. My ebay-account is locked for some reason. Do you have any advice for me?