AROS Research Operating System (AROS – pronounced "AR-OS") is a free and open source multi media centric implementation of the AmigaOS 3.1 APIs. Designed to be portable and flexible, ports are currently available for x86-based and PowerPC-based PCs in native and hosted flavors, with other architectures in development. AROS, in a show of full circle, was also ported to the m68k-based Amiga 1200, and the Raspberry Pi series.
AROS originally stood for Amiga Research Operating System, but to avoid any trademark issues with the Amiga name, it was changed to the recursive acronym AROS Research Operating System.
The mascot of AROS is Kitty created by Eric Schwartz and officially adopted by the AROS Team in December 2, 2002.
Used in the core AROS About and installer tools, it was also adopted by several AROS community sites and early distributions.
Other AROS identifiable symbols and logos are used around the cat shape, such as IcAROS logo which is stylised cat Eye, or AFA (Aros for Amiga).
The project, started in 1995, has over the years become an almost "feature complete" implementation of AmigaOS – with currently (as of October 2008) only a few lacking areas of functionality. This was achieved by the efforts of a small team of developers.
It can currently be installed on most IBM PC compatibles, and features native graphics drivers for video cards such as the GeForce range made by Nvidia. As of May 2007 USB keyboards and mice are also supported. AROS has been ported to the Sam440ep PowerPC board and is also planned to run on Efika.
While the OS is still lacking in applications, a few have been ported, including E-UAE, an emulation program that allows 68k-native AmigaOS applications to run. Some AROS-specific applications have also been written. AROS has TCP/IP networking support, and has available an experimental version of AMosaic web browser, for test purposes, among other Internet-related applications. The Poseidon USB stack has been ported to AROS.
AROS is designed to be source-compatible with AmigaOS. On 68000 Amiga Hardware it is also binary-compatible, so binaries already compiled for AmigaOS 3 can be run on AROS. On x86 32-bit platforms Janus-UAE, an enhanced E-UAE, integrates Amiga emulation directly into AROS to run AmigaOS 68000 binaries nearly transparent to the user. Currently (as of August 2011) original AmigaOS 3 operating system files are required for the emulation.
The aim of AROS is to remain aloof of the legal and political spats that have plagued other AmigaOS implementations by being independent both of hardware and of any central control. The de facto motto of AROS, "No schedule and rocking" both lampoons the infamous words "On Schedule and Rockin'" from Amiga, Inc. CEO Bill McEwen, and declares a lack of the formal deadlines.
A workable AmigaOS Kickstart clone for the Motorola 68000 processor was released on March 31, 2011 as part of a programming bounty. The memory requirement is 2 MB Chip and 1 MB Fast RAM. This software is a complete free open-source alternative to AmigaOS.
The main AROS system files can be downloaded in many flavors from the project website. These files are compiled straight from the SVN source tree at night time, and are available as nightly builds. Nightlies also include some third party applications to allow people using the system to perform some very basic tasks.
For final/average user, like Linux, there are several distributions available:
Since April 2009, the name VMWAros has been changed into "Icaros Desktop" to avoid ambiguities with any existing copyrighted Virtual Machine of any kind. Amiga 68K emulation integration, 3D acceleration for Nvidia cards and latest updates of applications can be found there. The latest version of Icaros Desktop is version 2.1 (released March 13, 2016).
Broadway is a distribution of AROS started late 2009. The goal has been to provide a simple and complete introduction to what AROS has to offer. On top of that, commercial software like a media center, a cloud storage service and an appstore was added. Last version is 1.0 preview 5, released April 16, 2016.
AspireOS is a distribution, started in 2011, by Nikos Tomatsidis, which is focused on Acer Aspire One computers. Latest version is 1.98, codenamed "Xenon", released July 2013.
AROS Vision is a native m68k distribution, which can run on both real hardware or in emulators like UAE.
Haage & Partner used little pieces of AROS source code for AmigaOS 3.5 and 3.9. Large parts of MorphOS (DOS, Intuition and more) have been ported from AROS.CPU, newer than Intel 80486 @ > 700 MHz
Floating Point Unit (FPU)
256 MB RAM