Last changed 5 February 1998.
NB. Currently very much in a state of flux - quite a few things are on my
list as a reminder to myself to put in a link and to say something about
them. Also, I suppose, to let people know that they don't need to suggest
them for inclusion because they're already planned :-)
This list is getting longer than I'd originally intended it to. I'm not sure
what to do about this just yet. Please note that non-inclusion in this list
doesn't mean I think something is bad - on the whole I'm trying to mention
a way to achieve a given thing, not all possible ways of doing it. And
except where noted, I'm talking about the programs I use - there may well be
others of equal or better quality that I don't know about, or cases where
there's no point using more than one of a given program and I've chosen one for
my own purposes.
There are other utilities (ARP, Imploder, ...) that I used to use many years
ago, but anything that won't work on my 68060 machine with kickstart 3.1 is not
eligible for inclusion, and neither is stuff that was useful/necessary in
the old days but largely irrelevant now.
Since I no longer have a 1.3 or 2.x system, I don't know which modern utilities
would work on one. I'm also assuming you have at least, oh, 4 megs of memory and
some kind of hard disk. A floppy-only system or one with 1-2 megs of memory
really doesn't want most of this stuff.
I don't know anything about graphics, video titling or 3d modelling.
Basic use of the Amiga is explained on another page.
When I switched from using mainframe terminals to doing
stuff from home it took me quite a while to work out what was going on.
Here are some of the things I've found most useful from Aminet and elsewhere:
- This is probably the first thing you will need. Please note that the file
you'll get by clicking on this link is not LHA itself, it's a self-extracting
archive containing LHA and some documentation. Put LHA itself in c:.
the only self-extracting archive I remember seeing for the Amiga. Almost
everything available for Amigas is distributed in .lha form. type lha x
file.lha to unpack file.lha or just lha to see the other
options available. LHA also comes with a detailed manual, most of the contents
of which you will never need.
- Another absolute must-have. It's an official Commodore program that was
released on aminet. A lot of install scripts rely on this program being
somewhere in the command path. c: is as good a place as any.
- Absolutely the loveliest editor I have seen for the Amiga. I have tried
lots, but until I found GoldED I had somehow never felt the urge to
setenv editor to anything other than memacs... The docs suggest that
you need a relatively advanced machine to run it, but even on my old 3 meg 68000
system it worked wonderfully. You probably want at least a meg of chip ram,
though. Stop press: (Early Feb 1998) The author of Golded says his site will be
down for a while and will have a new home when it re-appears. You should be able
to find Golded material on Aminet in text/print. There's a lot of it, so I won't
put links in.
- Very handy library that is needed by all sorts of stuff. The
rexxreqtools add-on makes it fairly easy to add requesters to scripts,
- Very impressive suite of compression utilities and programs that treat
the compressed files as normal ones. I used to use powerpacker on all my
data files, but I now use xpk's NUKE. It's much faster than
crunch and has a similar compression ratio.
- Set of add-on libraries and so on used by a lot of other software to
provide graphical user interfaces. You will almost certainly need this sooner
- Another collection of graphical user interface libraries needed by some
- The best text reader I know of. Fullview is very nice as well, but
can't read XPK files.
- Beatifully easy to use and install TCP/IP suite. (I'm not saying there's
anything wrong with any of the others. This is just the one I happen to have.
- Bloody magic. Allows you to use normal terminal programs to do telnet,
assuming it's possible to change the serial device they use. This means you
can do zmodem downloads etc. over telnet connections. Yay!
set _pchar "|"
set _mchar "\"
in s:shell-startup to turn on "proper" pipes. This allows you to use
unix-style nameless pipes in your shell.
list | sort in: out: |
muchmore opens a muchmore screen with a sorted list of files, for
instance, and list #?.txt lformat="copy foo.info to %s.info" |
execute in: copies the foo icon to all your .txt files. More than anything
else, I use this feature to create some very handy aliases in my shell-startup
(well, I used to... actually after a HD crash last year I seem not to have
reinstated them), though even simple things like dir | muchmore are a
- Commodity which turns cycle gadgets into pop-up menus. I didn't
think it sounded that great until I tried it. It uses a tiny amount of memory
and can make life a lot easier. MCP also offers this feature but I've not
tried doing it that way yet.
- Another official Commodore program. You'll need this to read amigaguide
format files unless you have kickstart 3.x. Xpkguide on aminet is a good replacement.
- There are several "do-everything" commodities. I've tried most of them,
and this is the one I've stuck with. There's nothing wrong with the others,
of course. Please note that playing around with MCP settings you don't
understand can cause big problems. On the whole, though, using MCP is a very
good way to take a large number of single-use programs out of Wbstartup
- Unix-style task scheduling. Automatically lowers priority of cpu-intensive tasks
so that others get fair share of CPU time and the system feels more responsive.
Whatever has input focus is excluded from this treatment, as are tasks with positive
- Very nice combined mail/news reader. Until I found this, I used elm and
- Absolutely magic FTP client. Vapor's other products are all pretty solid
- Lovely utility which improves menu functionality in a big way.
- Patch which stops you from having multiple ?? icons for each floppy drive
if you have installed e.g PC and diskspare format floppies as well as normal
ones. With mfs installed, you get at most one icon per drive.
- Re-jigs the whole icon system so icons use shared pens like everything else.
Lovely. Comes with a set of icons, but of course you can replace them with
others if you prefer. You could even use magicwb icons using the newicons
technique if you wanted, and change your palette as you wished. Also includes
deficons, a program which provides a much wider range of default icons for
files so that Show All Files in Workbench becomes a more informative
- Makes icon tooltypes etc. much easier to work with.
- Rather nice toolbar/menu/appicon program.
- Makes the Amiga shell even nicer than it already was. Filename completion,
- Makes booting faster, by making Workbench open whilst Wbstartup is
processed rather than afterwards.
- Lovely to have if you use a Blizzard accelerator card. Probably not much
use otherwise. (Though aminet will have stuff with names like fastexec to do the
same sort of job).
- Program which allows you to add extra menus to the Workbench screen. Very
- Speeds up booting, and saves memory, by (i) using a hard disk, instead of
ram:, for env:, and (ii) only copying things from envarc: to env: if it's
- Utterly lovely terminal program. Together with telser, can be used
for telnet. Get it from aminet - you need quite a few separate archives to
- format double density disks to hold 984k, and high density to twice that,
if you can read them at all.
- makes the cpu help out the blitter, speeding up graphics operations
- makes workbench windows update automatically if icons are created or
destoyed by shell operations
- allows you to save the values of any or all of the 256 colours you might
have in your palette.
- tweaks the look of workbench
- another 68060-speeder
- graphics speeder-upper
- graphics editing program. see gfx/conv on aminet.
- Just in case you need to open or create zip files. LHA is available for
unix, ms-dos and the Mac, but is not well-known.
- vastly improves font requester speed
- very nice tool for poking around in the internals of your system
- lets you know what is going on. invaluable when trying to find out why
something isn't working - if you see that a given program is looking for a
particular font, directory or library and not finding it, you know what to do
- Black's Editor
- I've never used this, but I understand it's another very good
- another compression program it could be useful to have
- compression program you may need to have if you're unlucky enough
to have to deal with .dms archives
- makes multiassigns work more like you might expect them to
- workbench replacement
- workbench replacement
- a bit like wbstartup+prefs, but works on devs: and sys:storage
- TeX implementation for amiga
- Geek Gadgets
- lots of gnu tools, ported to the amiga
- replacement for something called in s:startup-sequence
- another blitter helper
- generates random numbers for use in scripts
- Official canon printer drivers
- high-quality printing package
- alternative high-quality printing package
- postscript viewer/printer
- sound player
- word processor
- web browser
- C compilers
- Um. I suppose I'll list several of these
- icon editor - understands NewIcons
- structured drawing program
- hisoft basic
- nice Basic
NB I will add links to the things that lack them, and make the descriptions more
informative, as soon as I can. the newbie page is getting more attention at the
As you will notice, a lot of the above stuff comes from
Aminet. This is a family of amiga
ftp sites. See the main site for a list of mirrors. It's well worth subscribing
to the aminet updates mailing list, so you can maintain your own copy of the
Aminet index. There are various programs on aminet which allow you to merge the
mailing list messages with your local index file. I use
but there are plenty of alternatives.
Amftp, mentioned above, has a special aminet download mode in which it only
shows you files on aminet which have appeared there since your last visit. This
is very handy. There is also a web interface for Aminet.
Other on-line stuff
The Amiga Web Directory
is the canonical starting point when looking for amiga stuff on the web.
I won't bother listing any other web pages, since the AWD does a better
job of it than I could ever hope to manage.
There are a number of amiga newsgroups, mostly in comp.sys.amiga.*
Some programs have their own mailing lists. Check program home pages.