History of Workbench and Amiga OS

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What is Workbench?

Workbench (or Amiga Workbench)(recently renamed Amiga OS for version 3.5 and newer), is the operating system software used by the Amiga range of computers. Some of the operating system is built in to the ROM (known as the Kickstart ROM) and some of it is on floppy disk (or CD for later versions). There were lots of different versions, some of which were quite basic and did very little (like 1.0), but all stuck to a similar design. Newer versions are backwardly compatible with older software, but poorly written software may fail on some later version due to software developers not sticking to the Workbench guidelines and coding directly to the system. Workbench can be run from floppy disks or installed to hard drive, either manually or by using the scripts and programs on the install disks.

Workbench versions summary

Workbench version Workbench revisions Kickstart version Required Distributed with Amiga models Media set Additional Information
1.0 30.00 1.0 A1000 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Very buggy early version of Workbench. No version information on files.
1.1 31.334 1.1 A1000 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Still quite buggy. You can drag drawers into drawers and mess up the files on the disk.
1.2 33.46
1.2 A1000, A500, A2000 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Some bugs fixed. Several releases, Addition of: SetMap, GraphicDump, Expansion drawer (& BindDrivers)
1.3 34.20 1.3 A1000, A500, A2000, some A1500s 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Popular version! Autoboot from any media, Addition of Shell and NEWCON: device
1.3.2 34.28 1.3 A1000, A500, A2000, some A1500s 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Available as an upgrade, but distributed with some Amigas.
1.3.3* 34.34 1.3 UPGRADE ONLY 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Only available as an upgrade! AmigaBASIC was dropped from the Extras disk.
1.3.4 34.?? 1.3 A1000, A500, A2000, some A1500s 2 disks
Workbench and Extras
Late rare version distributed with some Amigas. Some bug fixes, but documentation cannot be found to verify this
A2024* 34.1
1.3 A2024 monitors 2 disks
1.3 Jumpstart and Extras
Contains a utility RamKick which loads Kickstart and A2024 monitor driver. This release contained some 1.4 Beta code
2.0 36.68 2.0 Early A3000s 3 disks
Install, Workbench and Extras
New 3D look & feel, Early Startup Control added (hold both mouse buttons at boot), FFS, New style WB menus
2.04 37.67 2.0 A500 Plus, A2000, A3000, A1500, some A500s 5 disks
Install, Workbench, Extras, Fonts, A3000 Kickstart
Reliability improvements, ARexx, enhanced boot menu (both mouse buttons at boot), Outline Fonts
2.05 37.71
2.0 A600 and A600HD 4 disks
Install, Workbench, Extras, Fonts
Support for Internal IDE HD, Support for CC0: (PCMCIA Card Slot), Addition of PrepCard on Extras disk
2.1* 38.36 2.0 UPGRADE ONLY 5 disks
Install, Workbench, Extras, Fonts, Locale
Faster asl.library, New DEVS structure, CrossDOS, New Prefs editors, no Say utility
3.0 39.29 3.0 A1200, A1200HD, A4000, A4000T 6 disks
Install, Workbench, Extras, Fonts, Storage, Locale
AGA Support, Enhanced Early Startup Control (Enable/Disable CPU caches), Datatypes and Multiview added.
3.1 40.42 3.0 A1200, A1200HD, A4000, A4000T 6 disks
Install, Workbench, Extras, Fonts, Storage, Locale
Supports CD32's Akiko chip, bug fixes to 3.0
3.5* 44.2
3.1 UPGRADE ONLY 1 CD-ROM Internet/Network support added, Supports HDs larger than 4GB, PowerPC support, enhanced CD-ROM support, GlowIcons
3.9* 45.1
3.1 UPGRADE ONLY 1 CD-ROM Multimedia programs added (can now play MP3s), Integrated unpacker, Updated AWeb, Better Shell

* Only available as an upgrade to an existing Workbench version

Alpha and Beta versions

Commodore had an odd policy on Alphas and Betas. Although not for public release, developers could get these quite easily, and sometimes these beta versions ended up on hardware tucked away somewhere. Examples of this are the 0.7/0.9 files hidden away on the A1000 kickstart disks (usually hidden on 1.0 and 1.1 disks) and the 1.4 Alpha ROM on the A3000.

Workbench version Workbench revisions Kickstart version Required Media set Additional Information
0.7 beta
0.9 beta
1 disk
AmigaDOS 27.5 Beta
Contains some odd utilities used internally by Commodore Amiga. AmigaDOS only, no LoadWB or workbench.library
no default assignments (only SYS:), files can be recovered from some A1000 kickstart disks with DiskDoctor or DiskSalv.
1.4 alpha 36.1
1.4 alpha 4 disk
Workbench, Extras, Includes and Autodocs
An interim between 1.3 and 2.0. Later releases have SOME of the 3D look, but it is unfinished
1.4 is used on early A3000s as ROM and softkicked 1.3 or 2.0 from bootmenu. Icons now on left, Zoom gadget now added, Fuel-Gauge gone
Some of the Commodities from 2.0 are on the 1.4 extras disk!
2.0 - 2.03 36.00 2.0 4 disks
A3000 Kickstart, Install, Workbench, Extras
Used full 3D look, No outline fonts yet!, WBConfig in Prefs (replaced by ClickToFront utility and Backdrop menu item)
2.1  ? 2.0  ? New layout for Say utility with GadTools interface
Fonts editor has Bold, Italic & Underline for icon text
3.2 beta (43.1B)  ? Designed as ROM/Workbench for new Walker model but then abandoned.
CDFS completly revamped for Walker chipset and E-IDE interface, Removal of FFS 2GB partition limit, 1MB Kickstart ROM
Sometimes referred to 4.0 internally by developers.



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