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MorphOS logo
DeveloperThe MorphOS Development Team
Written inC, C++, Objective-C++, Pascal, Python, Perl, Amiga E, Ruby, Lua
OS familyAmigaOS-like
Working stateCurrent
Source modelClosed source (with open source[1] components)
Initial release0.1 / August 1, 2000; 23 years ago (2000-08-01)
Latest release3.18 / May 13, 2023; 14 months ago (2023-05-13)
Available in19 languages
PlatformsPegasos, some models of Amiga, Efika, Mac Mini G4, eMac, Power Mac G4, PowerBook G4, iBook G4, Power Mac G5, SAM 460, AmigaOne X5000
Kernel typeMicro/pico[2]
user interface
LicenseProprietary with GNU GPL Ambient user interface
Official websitewww.morphos-team.net

MorphOS is an AmigaOS-like computer operating system (OS). It is a mixed proprietary and open source OS produced for the Pegasos PowerPC (PPC) processor based computer, PowerUP accelerator equipped Amiga computers, and a series of Freescale development boards that use the Genesi firmware, including the Efika and mobileGT. Since MorphOS 2.4, Apple's Mac mini G4 is supported as well, and with the release of MorphOS 2.5 and MorphOS 2.6 the eMac and Power Mac G4 models are respectively supported. The release of MorphOS 3.2 added limited support for Power Mac G5. The core, based on the Quark microkernel, is proprietary, although several libraries and other parts are open source, such as the Ambient desktop.

Characteristics and versions[edit]

Developed for PowerPC CPUs from Freescale and IBM, it also supports the original AmigaOS Motorola 68000 series (68k, MC680x0) applications via proprietary task-based emulation, and most AmigaOS PPC applications via API wrappers. It is API compatible with AmigaOS 3.1 and has a GUI based on the Magic User Interface (MUI).

Besides the Pegasos version of MorphOS, there is a version for Amiga computers equipped with PowerUP accelerator cards produced by Phase5. This version is free, as is registration. If unregistered, it slows down after each two-hour session. PowerUP MorphOS was most recently updated on 23 February 2006; however, it does not exceed the feature set or advancement of the Pegasos release.[3][4]

A version of MorphOS for the Efika, a very small mainboard based on the ultra-low-power MPC5200B processor from Freescale, has been shown at exhibitions and user gatherings in Germany.[5] Current (since 2.0) release of MorphOS supports the Efika.


System architecture


ABox is an emulation sandbox featuring a PPC native AmigaOS API clone that is binary compatible with both 68k Amiga applications and both PowerUP and WarpOS formats of Amiga PPC executables. ABox is based in part on AROS Research Operating System. ABox includes Trance JIT code translator for 68k native Amiga applications.



Original author(s)David Gerber
Developer(s)Ambient Open Source Team
Initial release2005; 19 years ago (2005)[6]
Stable release
1.1599 / June 8, 2008; 16 years ago (2008-06-08)[7]
Written inC
Operating systemMorphOS
TypeDesktop environment
LicenseGNU General Public License

Ambient is the build-in MUI-based desktop environment for MorphOS,[8] the development was started in 2001 by David Gerber. Its main goals were that it should be fully asynchronous, simple and fast.[9] Ambient remotely resembles Workbench and Directory Opus Magellan trying to mix the best of both worlds.


Ambient does not strictly follow the Amiga Workbench interface paradigm but there are still many similarities: while programs are called tools, program attributes are called tooltypes, data files are projects and directories are drawers.

  • support for ARexx scripting language
  • default icon library for hundreds of fileformats
  • fully asynchronous, multi-threaded design
  • fast asynchronous file I/O functions and file notifications
  • support for PNG and other Amiga icon formats
  • built-in icon, workbench and wbstart libraries
  • built-in applications like disk formatting and commodities manager
  • panels which are used as program launchers

Ambient is localised for various languages and while it is an intrinsic part of MorphOS, it is also available separately. There are various visual effects in Ambient that take advantage of hardware accelerated visual effects within MorphOS.[10]

Desktop icons[edit]

The native icon format in Ambient is PNG, but there is built-in support for other Amiga icon formats. Ambient introduced a special icon format called DataType Icons where the icon is simply any image file renamed to include the .info extension. Those icons are read using the Amiga DataType system.

Original Amiga icons MagicWB NewIcons GlowIcons GlowIcons32 DT Icons PNG DualPNG SVG
Colours 4 8 256 256 16M 16M 16M 16M 16M
Alpha blending No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Not sure
Icon size 36×40 46×46 46×46 128×128 128×128 128×128 128×128
Second state image Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No
Embedded metadata Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Not sure

Development status[edit]

In 2005, David Gerber released Ambient source code under GPL[6] and it is now developed by the Ambient development team.

See also[edit]

MorphOS software[edit]

MorphOS can run any system friendly Amiga software written for 68k processors. Also it is possible to use 68k libraries or datatypes on PPC applications and vice versa. It also provides compatibility layer for PowerUP and WarpUP software written for PowerUP accelerator cards. The largest repository is Aminet with over 75,000 packages online with packages from all Amiga flavors including music, sound, and artwork. MorphOS-only software repositories are hosted at MorphOS software, MorphOS files and MorphOS Storage.

Bundled applications[edit]

MorphOS is delivered with several desktop applications in the form of pre-installed software.

Supported hardware[edit]



Genesi/bPlan GmbH[edit]


A-Eon Technology[edit]


Amiga family development tree

The project began in 1999, based on the Quark microkernel.[12] The earliest versions of MorphOS ran only via PPC accelerator cards on the Amiga computers, and required portions of AmigaOS to fully function.[13] A collaborative effort between the companies bPlan (of which the lead MorphOS developer is a partner) and Thendic-France in 2002 resulted in the first regular, non-prototype production of bPlan-engineered Pegasos computers capable of running MorphOS or Linux.[14][15] Thendic-France had financial problems and folded; however, the collaboration continued under the new banner of "Genesi".[16][17] A busy promotional year followed in 2003, with appearances at conventions and exhibitions in several places around the world, including the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.[18]

After some bitter disagreements within the MorphOS development team in 2003 and 2004, culminating with accusations by a MorphOS developer that he and others had not been paid,[19] the Ambient desktop interface was released under GPL[20][21] and is now actively developed by the Ambient development team. Subject to GPL rules, Ambient continues to be included in the commercial MorphOS product. An alternative MorphOS desktop system is Scalos.[22]

On April 1, 2008, the MorphOS team announced that MorphOS 2.0 would be released within Q2/2008. This promise was only kept by a few seconds, with the release of MorphOS 2.0 occurring on June 30, 2008 23:59 CET. MorphOS 3.11 is commercially available at a price of €79 per machine (€49 for the Efika PPC or Sam460 boards). A fully functional demo of MorphOS is available, but without a keyfile, its speed is decreased significantly after 30 minutes of use per session; rebooting the system allows for another 30 minutes of use.

Release history of 0.x/1.x series[edit]

Version Release date Notes
0.1 August 1, 2000 Amiga
0.2 October 17, 2000 Amiga
0.4 February 14, 2001 3rd Release[23]
0.5 May 1, 2001 Amiga
0.8 August 2001 Amiga, Pegasos I
0.9 2002 beta[24]
1.0 14 October 2002 Pegasos I
1.1 December 13, 2002 Pegasos I
1.2 February 9, 2003 Pegasos I
1.3 March 27, 2003 Pegasos I
1.4 August 7, 2003 Pegasos I
1.4.4 March 28, 2005 Pegasos I/II
1.4.5 April 30, 2005 Pegasos I/II
1.4.5 August 25, 2005 Amiga[25]

Release history of 2.x/3.x series[edit]

Version Release date Notes
2.0 June 30, 2008 Added support for Efika 5200B platform; native TCP/IP stack, an updated Sputnik release, AltiVec support, alpha compositing 3D layers for the graphical user interface, new USB components (including USB 2.0 support), new screenblankers, and Reggae, a new, modular, streaming multimedia framework[26]
2.1 September 6, 2008 Support for the Efika's audio[27]
2.2 December 20, 2008 TrueCrypt-compatible disk encryption suite[28]
2.3 August 6, 2009 Origyn Web Browser as the default browser, read only HFS+ file system support[29]
2.4 October 12, 2009 Added support for Mac mini G4; write support for Mac HFS disks, new charsets.library to provide better multilingual application support[30]
2.5 June 4, 2010 Added support for eMac G4; drivers for SiI3x1x based 2-port Serial ATA PCI cards[31]
2.6 October 10, 2010 Added support for Power Mac G4; 2D drivers for Rage 128 Pro graphics cards; Released at precisely 10.10.10 10:10[32]
2.7 December 2, 2010 Improving support for Power Mac G4 platforms[33]
3.0 June 8, 2012 Added support for PowerBook G4; performance improvements[34]
3.1 July 8, 2012 Bug-fix release[35]
3.2 May 27, 2013 Added support for further PowerBook G4 models, iBook G4 and Power Mac G5 model A1047; 3D drivers for Radeon R300 based cards, wireless networking via Atheros chipset, major overhaul of TCP/IP stack ("NetStack") – improving networking performance[36]
3.3 September 18, 2013 Fixes support for some iBook G4 models[37]
3.4 December 14, 2013 Improved R300 3D and G5 video playback performance, support for non-native display resolutions on various PowerBook models[38]
3.5 February 15, 2014 Support for PowerMac7,2 Power Mac G5 models[39]
3.6 June 27, 2014 Broadcom Wi-Fi support, AMD R400 support, SMBFS file system, VNC server and a Synergy client[40]
3.7 August 3, 2014 Bug-fix release[41]
3.8 May 15, 2015 Support for Sam 460 series of mainboards; basic drivers for Radeon HD series graphics cards, 4K displays in native resolution[42]
3.9 June 19, 2015 Bug-fix release[43]
3.10 March 25, 2018 Extended hardware support (AmigaOne X5000 mainboard; new SATA controllers, network controllers, scanners and graphics cards), Flow Studio IDE with built-in debugger, support for time zones, new fonts, new themes, vector graphics, including SVG icons, overall bug fixes and performance improvements[44]
3.11 July 6, 2018 Bug-fix release[45]
3.12 October 2, 2019 Dual monitor support for select hardware, improved thermal management for select hardware, new FireWire stack, support for more printers and scanners, upgraded Odyssey browser with HTTP/2 and TLS 1.3 and spell checking support, substantial upgrades and new features to Flow Studio IDE, UTF-8 support in MUI, ObjFW runtime with Automatic Reference Counting[46]
3.13 February 7, 2020 Bug-fix release[47]
3.14 October 4, 2020 Kernel improvements for threading, improved TCP/IP network stack threading support, improved unix emulation layer, Magic User Interface improvements, improved ObjectiveC framework, improved translations for various languages, updated open source components for various libraries and classes, numerous bug fixes. Introduces ScoutNG system monitoring application[48]
3.15 December 31, 2020 Bug-fix release[49]
3.16 March 9, 2022 Added notification system and email client, replaced Odyssey web browser with Wayfarer web browser, added new application switcher. Improvements for Synergy client, added shared openSSL 3 library. Includes hundreds of bug fixes[50]
3.17 May 1, 2022 Bug-fix release[51]
3.18 May 13, 2023 New features: Scriptable Hex/RAM/Disk editor, ArchiveIt archiver/unarchiver application, better cooling information display via Thermals application, Samba2/3 support, including integration with Ambient desktop. Extensive improvements to Radeon drivers and improvements to Realtek 8168 driver support. Issues in USB support for CyrusPlus 5040 systems has been corrected. Many system components and libraries have been bugfixed and improved, including MUI, Netstack and Filesysbox.[52]

MorphOS 2 includes a native TCP/IP stack ("Netstack") and a Web browser, Sputnik or Origyn Web Browser.[53] Sputnik was begun under a user community bounty system[54] that also resulted in MOSNet, a free, separate TCP/IP stack for MorphOS 1 users. Sputnik is a port of the KHTML rendering engine, on which WebKit is also based. Sputnik is no longer being developed and was removed from later MorphOS 2 releases.

All TCP/IP stacks
All TCP/IP stacks

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "MorphOS - Source Code Releases".
  2. ^ "Basic Kernel Information". MorphOS Home Page. Archived from the original on 2007-07-09. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  3. ^ Piru (February 23, 2006). "Announcements: Updated MorphOS for PowerUP Users". Amiga.org. Archived from the original on 2007-03-14. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  4. ^ Holwerda, Thom (August 24, 2005). "MorphOS 1.4.5 Released for Classic Amiga". OSNews. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  5. ^ Holwerda, Thom (October 17, 2006). "MorphOS 1.5 Running on Efika to Be Shown". OSNews. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  6. ^ a b "Ambient". Retrieved 2008-11-21.
  7. ^ "Ambient Open Source Team - shorted ambient.notes". morphosambient.sourceforge.net.
  8. ^ http://morphos.de/files/src/3.11//ambient.tar.bz2 Source code of MorphOS 3.11
  9. ^ Linux: o guia definitivo (in Brazilian Portuguese). jideon francisco marques. 2023-09-08.
  10. ^ "MorphOS: The Lightning OS". 2006-11-22. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-04.
  11. ^ Frank Mariak (December 25, 2013). "MorphOS on Apple G4 Cube?". Archived from the original on December 27, 2013. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
  12. ^ "Nový projekt OS: MorphOS". Amiga Review (in Czech). No. 52. Atlantida Publishing. January 2000. p. 7. ISSN 1211-1465.
  13. ^ "MorphOS? What's that, then?". Amiga Active. No. 10. Pinprint Publishing. July 2000. pp. 14–17. ISSN 1467-3533.
  14. ^ Schröder, Carsten (July 2002). "Pegasos-Verfügbarkeit steht möglicherweise kurz bevor". Amiga Future (in German). No. 37. APC&TCP. pp. 4–5.
  15. ^ Dvorak, John C. (2004-04-06). "Inside Track". PC Magazine. Vol. 23, no. 6. Ziff Davis. p. 53. ISSN 0888-8507.
  16. ^ "MorphOS Update & Pegasos" (PDF). Total Amiga. No. 14. South Essex Amiga Link. Spring 2003. p. 8.
  17. ^ "bplan and Thendic merge to GENESI (update)". Amiga-News.de. November 22, 2002. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  18. ^ "Weitere Bilder von der CES 2003" (in German). Amiga-News.de. February 4, 2003. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  19. ^ "Unklarheiten bezüglich der Veröffentlichung von MorphOS 1.5 für den Pegasos" (in German). Amiga-News.de. November 15, 2004. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  20. ^ "Ambient source code under GPL released". Amiga-News.de. January 22, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  21. ^ Gerber, David (2005-01-22). "Ambient, the MorphOS desktop, becomes free". OSNews. Retrieved 2024-05-30.
  22. ^ Haynes, Chris (March 21, 2007). "Scalos: The Amiga Desktop Replacement". Archived from the original on 2018-09-22. Retrieved 2007-03-21.
  23. ^ "New MorphOS 0.4 Release". ann.lu. February 15, 2001. Archived from the original on March 8, 2016. Retrieved 2016-11-22. Alt URL
  24. ^ MorphOS 0.9 video
  25. ^ "MorphOS Change Log". morphos-team.net. June 6, 2006. Retrieved 2016-11-22.
  26. ^ MorphOS 2.0 release notes
  27. ^ MorphOS 2.1 release notes
  28. ^ MorphOS 2.2 release notes
  29. ^ MorphOS 2.3 release notes
  30. ^ MorphOS 2.4 release notes
  31. ^ MorphOS 2.5 release notes
  32. ^ MorphOS 2.6 release notes
  33. ^ MorphOS 2.7 release notes
  34. ^ MorphOS 3.0 release notes
  35. ^ MorphOS 3.1 release notes
  36. ^ MorphOS 3.2 release notes
  37. ^ MorphOS 3.3 release notes
  38. ^ MorphOS 3.4 release notes
  39. ^ MorphOS 3.5 release notes
  40. ^ MorphOS 3.6 release notes
  41. ^ MorphOS 3.7 release notes
  42. ^ MorphOS 3.8 release notes
  43. ^ MorphOS 3.9 release notes
  44. ^ MorphOS 3.10 release notes
  45. ^ MorphOS 3.11 release notes
  46. ^ MorphOS 3.12 release notes
  47. ^ MorphOS 3.13 release notes
  48. ^ MorphOS 3.14 release notes
  49. ^ MorphOS 3.15 release notes
  50. ^ MorphOS 3.16 release notes
  51. ^ MorphOS 3.17 release notes
  52. ^ MorphOS 3.18 release notes
  53. ^ "MorphOS 2.0". Retrieved 2010-06-19.
  54. ^ "Morph Bounties". MorphZone. Archived from the original on 2007-03-06. Retrieved 2007-03-12.

External links[edit]