Amiga software is computer software engineered to run on the Amiga personal computer. Amiga software covers many applications, including productivity, digital art, games, commercial, freeware and hobbyist products. The market was active in the late 1980s and early 1990s but then dwindled. Most Amiga products were originally created directly for the Amiga computer (most taking advantage of the platform's unique attributes and capabilities), and were not ported from other platforms.

During its lifetime, thousands of applications were produced with over 10,000 utilities[1] (collected into the Aminet repository). However, it was perceived as a games machine from outside its community of experienced and professional users.[citation needed] More than 12,000 games were available.[2][ 3][ 4] New applications for the three existing Amiga-like operating systems[5] are generally ported from the open source (mainly from Linux) software base.

Many Amiga software products or noteworthy programs during the timeline were ported to other platforms or inspired new programs, such as those aimed at 3D rendering or audio creations, e.g. LightWave 3D, Cinema 4D, and Blender (whose development started for the Amiga platform only). The first multimedia word processors for Amiga, such as TextCraft, Scribble!, Rashumon, and Wordworth, were the first on the market to implement full color WYSIWYG (with other platforms then only implementing black-and-white previews) and allowing the embedding of audio files.[citation needed]

History and characteristics

From the origins to 1988


Amiga software started its history with the 1985 Amiga 1000. Commodore International released the programming specifications and development computers to various software houses, prominently Electronic Arts, a software house that then offered Deluxe Paint, Deluxe Music and others. Electronic Arts also developed the Interchange File Format (IFF) file container, to store project files realized by Deluxe Paint and Deluxe Music. IFF became the de facto standard in AmigaOS. The first to be shown were digitizer software ProPaint (in early beta). Both were used by Andy Warhol to produce a black-and-white photo of Debbie Harry at the Launch Gala at Lincoln Center, New York City in July 1985[6]. In 1985 Commodore licensed the software called Transformer from Simile Research and put it on the market in January 1986, bundled with an external A1020 5.25-inch floppy drive. It emulated 8086 Intel-based PC-XT hardware. It could run MS-DOS and MS-DOS software such as Lotus 123 or WordStar. This provided early access to many applications, while waiting for native Amiga software to be developed[7]. In 1985, Deluxe Paint emerged with graphic features that had been available only on dedicated graphic computers. It was dubbed the first Amiga "Killer application".[citation needed]


Deluxe Paint II on floppy disk.

In 1986 (the year of the launch of Amiga 2000) Amiga software products contributed to the Amiga's success as a game and multimedia machine. AmigaBasic from Microsoft, VizaWrite, TextCraft (word processors), Pagesetter (Desktop Publishing), Analyze! (Spreadsheet), Superbase Personal (Database), MovieCraft (animation), Deluxe paint II, Deluxe Music, Instant Music (a composition music program for non musicians) from Electronic Arts, and GraphiCraft again from Commodore were released. GraphiCraft was used by computer artist Jim Sachs to produce Amiga software such as Defender of the Crown and Centurion: Defender of Rome from Cinemaware and the Amiga porting of Saucer Attack. Graphicraft was a predecessor of Aegis Images and AEGIS Animator[8][9], one of the first programs worldwide capable of creating animation videos and cartoons complete with audio stereo, featuring a cel animation working paradigm interface and outputting files based on delta-frame difference compression method which then were the lead for creating the ANIM file type standard. Byte-by-Byte Software Inc. released Sculpt-3D. It was the first rendering tool available for the first time to a vast audience of public, and in October of the same year, Impulse released TurboSilver.


In 1987 the Amiga 500 (A500) was released. The Amiga software market moved in favor of entertainment over professional software.

ProWrite (word processor), Maxiplan 500 (spreadsheet), and Aegis Sonix, a music program similar to Instant Music, were produced. [10].

In July, Wordperfect created an "Amiga/Atari Division" and started selling a version of its word processor for the Commodore platform for US$400[11]. It could load and save Wordperfect files created on any platform, such as IBM, Macintosh and Apple II.[12] Wordperfect 4.1 for the Amiga was the first word processor in the world capable of opening an unlimited number of documents (limited by RAM), each in a separate window.[13]

In 1987, Andrew Tanenbaum released Minix, a free version of Unix with complete source code.[citation needed]

At COMDEX NewTek showed for the first time a prototype of Video Toaster and Impulse released TurboSilver 2.0.


In 1988, Photon Paint was released. It allowed digital painting using HAM graphics mode and the full 4096-color palette of Amiga on a single screen. Maxiplan 500 become Maxiplan 1.x, Electronic Arts showed DeLuxe Photo Lab (photo editing software), Newtek demonstrated DigiView 3.0 hardware and software image digitizing suite, and WordPerfect released the WordPerfect Library for the Amiga. At the summer Consumer Electronics Show (CES), the Pro Draw graphic tablet with mouse emulation software was also announced, as well as Flash-Back and Quarterback hard drive backup software. Superbase Personal became Superbase Professional, Micro Illusions started shipping Music-X audio software for the Amiga, and Lattice released its C++ preprocessor for the Amiga. Cygnus Editor ubiquitous text editor, one of the most versatile text editors and best seller on Amiga since then, was also released this year. It was one of the first Amiga programs featuring an AREXX port. Gold Disk released ComicSetter (comic creation) and MovieSetter (32-color cartoons with stereo sound animation software). In November, at the World of Commodore Show, ReadySoft demonstrated its Amax Macintosh emulator for the Amiga.

GfxBase released the X Windows System for the Amiga. Running under AmigaDos it used a custom screen to allow users access to X Window programs on other Amigas as well as non-Amiga systems on the local network. Also the 3 button Boing! optical mouse was available for Amiga users.


A short animation rendered with LightWave 3.5

In 1989, Rashumon was first launched. In 1990, AmigaDOS 2.0 was released. The interface of the Workbench GUI was changed to a fake 3D aspect using gray shades. For the first time, Commodore introduced a style guide for developers on AmigaOS; because of this, the majority of Amiga software developed for AmigaDOS 2.0 had a standardized GUI that improved usability. Programs such as Imagine 3D, Lightwave, ImageFX, and Scala continued using non-standard GUIs. AmigaVision was released and bundled free with any model of Amiga 3000. Directory Master, Directory Opus, TurboCalc, Photogenics, ImageFX, PC Task, Photogenics, Caligari, Final Calc, and Cinema 4D all belong to this period.

1994 to today

After 1994, Commodore's demise left Amiga to an uncertain future. Windows-based PCs became the standard in the home and the office. Many software houses either left the Amiga market or ran into financial troubles. In 1996, Aminet was created. Aminet was the first centralized Internet repository of all Amiga public domain software and documents. It was the first Internet experiment of a centralized software repository created and maintained by one community for the community itself. Amiga's browsers like AWeb, IBrowse and Voyager were enhanced.[citation needed] Voyager was the first browser to adopt tabbed browsing. Mailers like YAM are still used. In productivity software, programs like Candy Factory for image processing were still being developed, for VFX and animation programs like Wildfire by Andreas Maschke (ported by the author to Java later). other prominent graphic software include fxPAINT by IOSpirit, fxSCAN for OCR and scanning by IOSpirit, and SketchBlock painting program by Andy Broad for AmigaOS 4.x. Last but not least Tornado3D raytracing program by the Italian company Eyelight.


Amiga software presents a complete graphical interface, following Amiga WYSIWYG "desktop paradigm" and native AmigaOS interface guidelines; that is to say, the software is mouse-driven and presents also pull-down "menus" and "dialogue windows". AmigaOS maintained a text-based shell allowing software to present a text-based GUI, or a "command line".


The main software categories are

Productivity software

Main article: Amiga productivity software

Amiga created productivity software which covers graphics, video, design and CAD software; graphic utilities; vector graphics programs and converters; word processors; programmable text editors; database and spreadsheets; science, entertainment and special use programs: entertainment; fractals, virtual reality, artificial intelligence; route planning; personal Organizer, notebook, diary software; personal budgeting, home banking and accounting.

Support and maintenance utilities

Main article: Amiga support and maintenance software

Amiga created utilities for hard disk partitioning; diagnostic tools; VGA promoting tools for ancient Amiga software with TV resolution graphic screens; game loaders for storing and auto-loading from hard disks, auto-starting non-standard floppy disks; disk copiers; backup and recovery tools, archive and compression utilities; command line interfaces and text-based shells; graphical GUI interfaces with WIMP paradigm; advanced graphics systems; PostScript; fonts; font design; audio system; native, external, widely common used, and third-party filesystems; MultiView; MIME types; USB stacks; Firewire stacks (IEEE 1394); printer drivers; video digitizers; graphic tablets; scanner drivers; genlocks, chroma-key, signal video inverters; infrared devices and remote controls; WiFi and Bluetooth devices; and special devices.


Main article: Amiga music software

Music software includes sound design; audio synthesis; music; audio digitizing and sampling; hard disk recording; speech synthesis; audio trackers; MOD music module filetype.

Communications software

Solutions include modem software, Direct Connect, BBS managing, Fidonet, Packet Radio; Prestel, Videotel, Videotex, Minitel; Teletext, Televideo, Viewdata; FAX, answering machine and voice mail; ISDN; networking and Ethernet protocols; World Wide Web (TCP/IP stacks, browsers, E-mail programs, newsreaders, Internet Radio, proxy server support programs, PPP, Telnet, podcasting, RSS feed, Distributed Net, Google Services, Instant Messaging and chat, FTP and FTP server, weather casting news, Webcam supporting, clock synchronization, SMS Short Messages, Web development and HTTP server, Peer2Peer, VCast (online VCR), YouTube, Flash player, monitoring webpages, Remote Desktop, SSL, SSH, et cetera); communication protocols.

Modem, Direct Connect, BBS managing, Fidonet, packet radio

BTX, Prestel, Videotel, Videotex and Minitel

In some European countries, and especially in France, Minitel data transmitting services were popular before the Internet. Minitel had many consumer-level communication services, including chatting, email, railway and broadcast timetables and travel and hotel booking. Minitel used little terminals rented from telephone companies or computers with modems that accept Minitel transmission protocol speed. Amiga Minitel communication programs were written in France, Germany and Italy (Amiga Videotel).

Teletext, Televideo, and Viewdata

Teletext is an information retrieval service system based on transmitting data with normal TV broadcast signals without interfering with TV programs. Standalone programs for teletext included Amiga Teletext and the Videotex datatype.[1]

FAX, answering machine and voice mail


ISDN digital telephone and circuit-switched telephone network system were supported via the expansion cards ISDN Master and ISDN Master II, their drivers and related software.

Networking and Ethernet protocols

Amiga supported SANA-II and MNI drivers, Envoy protocols from IAM, AS225, AS225r2 TCP-IP from Commodore, DECnet, Novell NetWare through Amiga Client for Novell NetWare, Quicknet fast proprietary peer to peer protocol, AppleTalk through emulators. Other network protocols available were AmigaUUCP, DNET, Link-It and Enlan-DFS. Amiga also supports Samba and SMBFS.

SANA-II drivers
MNI drivers


Programs to access the Web are mostly available for newer Amiga platforms.

Communication protocols

Skypix is an Amiga communication protocol. It was one of the first interactive online graphics-and-sound protocols.[21] It was introduced in 1987 as part of the Skyline (Atredes) bulletin board system (BBS), running on the Skyline BBS and Skyterm terminal. Years before the World Wide Web, Skypix allowed rich interactive graphics and sound, as well as mouse control, to be a part of the online experience, which was until then limited to text and ANSI graphics. Skypix allowed users to write and integrate graphical programs, and included the first "authoring program", Skypaint. Skypix created enthusiastic game and online application writers years before the World Wide Web made such features a common part of the online experience. It was quickly abandoned as more advanced markup languages for BBS became available and due to the emerging of Internet phenomenon that marginalized the BBS system of communication.


Main article: Amiga programming languages

Despite the variety of programming languages and compilers, most development was done using C and C++, 680x0 assembler and various Basic dialects.


Drivers for multimedia devices and special input functions

Accessibility software

Optical media

Alternative filesystems included AsimCDFS, AmiCDROM, CDVDFS, Allegro CDFS and CacheCDFS.

BurnIt!, Frying Pan, MakeCD, AmiDVD, DVDRecord, DVDAuthor could burn CDs, DVDs and/or Blu-ray media.

MakeCD was the first Amiga program to support Disk At Once (DAO). Frying Pan was the first Amiga program capable to create DVDs. Frying Pan and BurnIt! are capable to handle DVD.

BlueHD from German programmer Carsten Siegner is a MorphOS program capable of authoring and burning HD-DVDs in these formats:

Disk images and ISO files management

(A complete list of ISO managements and converters is available on Aminet.)


AmiDock creates application launching docks on the desktop. It became popular in 1989–1990, due to the NeXT computer, that used the same 68030 processor as Amiga 3000) and that it also had the Acorn Archimedes RISC OS docking station utility. In Great Britain, Archimedes computers were adopted in schools. Young Amiga users (there were 1,500,000 Amigas sold in the United Kingdom) spotted docks on Archimedes at school and asked for it on Amiga also. Various launch bars or docking utilities were born as third-party hobby utilities (many examples of early docking software for Amiga like the ToolManager are still hosted in the Aminet repository of all Amiga free software, in the "Utility" directory) and then Amidock was officially integrated in AmigaOS with version 3.9.

Directory Opus was a file utility program. When this software was released, Amiga magazines[clarification needed] proclaimed that it was the most important software ever released for the Amiga and "should be built into the operating system". Directory Opus went on to create a "replacement OS" for Workbench which overlaid itself upon the system. It started as a file manager, and then became a complete desktop replacement and an alternative to the official Workbench. The utility was later ported to Windows and remains widely used.

HyperCache (written by Dave Plummer) was the first commercial disk caching software. Significant in that the base operating system lacked this ability, the addition of caching significantly improved the performance of both floppy and hard discs.[37]

SysSpeed was a shareware benchmarking program for Amigas equipped with Motorola 68k and PowerPC CPUs.[38]

Much shareware and free software was written for the Amiga and could be obtained via the Fred Fish disk series or from the Aminet software archive.

Because the custom chipset shares RAM (and therefore the memory bus) with the CPU, throughput increases measurably if the display is disabled. Some processor-intensive software, such as 3D renderers, disable the display during calculation to gain speed.[citation needed]


Main article: Emulation on the Amiga


Medusa (Atari ST emulator), Fusion (Macintosh Emulator), AMax and AMax II, (Macintosh), GO64 (first Commodore C64 emulator), Transformer and PCTask (it was an Intel 8088 emulator, all software based, capable to emulate Intel PC based platforms ranging from PC XT 4,7 and 7 MHz on Amiga 500, up to 80486 running at 12 MHz on Amiga 4000 and other accelerated Amigas), A64 Package (C64), Amiga BBC Emulator (Acorn BBC emulator)


Atari ST Emulator (AtariST), Hatari (Atari ST and STE), Basilisk II (Macintosh) classic, Frodo (C64), PSXE (Sony PlayStation), Hu-Go! (PC Engine, TurboGrafx-16),[39] FunnyMu (Creativision, Funvision, Wizzard), AmiArcadia (Arcadia 2001 and VC 4000, TVGC).

VICE emulator is modular and emulates all 8-bit machines made by Commodore: C64 (a patch of VICE supports C64dtv), C128, PET including CBM II version (but excluding "non-standard" features of SuperPET 9000), Plus4 and VIC-20.


Main article: Amiga games

Thousands of games were produced. At the time it was common for games to be produced for multiple formats. Since the Amiga hardware was the most advanced, games were usually developed on an Amiga, and the Amiga version would be the "gold standard" of the bunch.[citation needed]


Main article: Amiga demos

The Amiga was a focal point for the "demo scene". The Amiga thrived on public domain, freeware and other not-for-profit development. The demo scene spearheaded development in multimedia programming techniques for the Amiga, such that it was de rigueur for the latest visual tricks, soundtrackers and 3D algorithms from the demo scene to end up being used in computer game development.


Because Amiga was one of the first game-oriented computers to feature a built-in floppy disk drive, it simplified software piracy. Many of the arguments pertaining to software copying, intellectual property rights in software, the open-source movement by the early 1990s.[clarification needed] It was not unusual for demo groups to be openly involved in software piracy.[citation needed]

Anti-piracy measures included the practice of distributing software on disks that contained secret "keys" on high-numbered tracks that were officially unused. The Amiga disk drive officially supported tracks 0–79 from a double-density disk, but could actually read tracks 80 through 82. Standard disk-imaging software ignored these tracks, so that a duplicate of a boxed disk would not contain the key and the software would not work. A similar technique involved writing to normally-unused sectors of the disk. Copy software called "nibble" copiers appeared that could exactly reproduce such disks.

Publishers turned to other methods. Hardware dongles were occasionally used for high-end software. AmigaHASP protected Rashumon and was sold by HarmonySoft to Aladdin Systems. Some software manufacturers asked users to type a word from a particular page number and line number of the manual, meaning that successfully copying software included photocopying a large quantity of text. Sometimes the text was designed so that photocopiers would produce illegible copies, meaning that pirates had to manually add the text.

Pirates responded with "cracking" software that altered the code to bypass copy protection completely. Every protection scheme was eventually broken. One near exception was the scheme on Dragon's Lair, which became the "holy grail" of crackers worldwide, but it was also broken.[citation needed]


A single frame of a typical decrunching screen

The Amiga's floppy disk drive allowed 880 kilobytes on a single disk, comparable to the RAM of most Amigas (512 kilobytes to 1 megabyte). To increase capacity, Amiga used data compression. The disk drive had a slow transfer rate, such that using processor-based decompression could actually reduce loading times versus loading uncompressed data. Early implementations wrote to a video display register, causing it to break into multiple segments of colorful noise, which would become finer as the decrunching continued. This effect was psychedelic and very easy to implement, so it stuck; it was pioneered on the Commodore 64.


TransADF is a program that transfers the contents of a floppy disk or a similar block device to a file.[40][41] This program can compress the disk image using the popular deflate algorithm, as utilized by PKZip and gzip, amongst others.[42]


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  2. ^ "AmigaAmp". Retrieved February 24, 2023.
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  4. ^ "Index of /". Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  5. ^ Matthias Muench. "Jabberwocky - A Jabber Client for Amiga Computer". Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  6. ^ "Epistula". Archived from the original on August 25, 2007. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  7. ^ SabreMSN Archived April 2, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "MiniQ homepage". Archived from the original on November 6, 2013. Retrieved April 27, 2013.
  9. ^ "Gadami".
  10. ^ WookieChat Archived July 21, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  11. ^ "Getting Started with AmiTwitter". Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  12. ^ "Wet: Weather on Amiga Workbench". Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  13. ^ "#AmigaZeux proudly presents: Wetter".
  14. ^ "Aminet - comm/tcp/WebCam.lha". Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "Sonix". Archived from the original on May 23, 2011. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  16. ^ "FACTS: Time Synchronisation". Retrieved April 6, 2016.
  17. ^ "OS4Depot - Your one stop for AmigaOS4 files". Archived from the original on April 27, 2016. Retrieved June 8, 2023.
  18. ^ "PGP 2.6.3i for Amiga". Archived from the original on November 6, 2015. Retrieved April 6, 2016.
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  1. ^ Aminet tree, Aminet Statistics
  2. ^ WHDload site download section reports that this program supports actually 1991 games (and it is far from creating a complete list of all Amiga games).
  3. ^ Lemon Amiga (a program that adds MAMElike interface to WinUAE Amiga emulator) reports in its statistics window section 3453 known Amiga games.
  4. ^ Obligement France reported in January 2009 a list of 13,528 known Amiga games, as divided in 12,416 original games, 953 games extensions or data disks for original games, 125 level editors or game editors for existing games, 34 loaders to let Amiga run some games created on other platforms.
  5. ^ Ars Technica: A history of the Amiga, part 4: Enter Commodore, By Jeremy Reimer. October 21, 2007
  6. ^ Existing Amiga-like operating system are AmigaOS, AROS, and MorphOS
  7. ^ Transformer Emulation Software article page at Brantford Personal Computer Museum online site
  8. ^ Interview by Jim Sachs in March 2009, from Amiga Polish Portal (Polskim Portalu Amigowym)
  9. ^ Jim Sachs presents himself on site of SereneScreen Aquarium screensaver program
  10. ^ Review of ProWrite on Compute! Magazine, issue 88, September 1987
  11. ^ Chronology of Amiga Computers at
  12. ^ Advertising from Wordperfect on InfoWorld Magazine, issue 30, January 21, 1987, page 34 (retrieved from Brief history of Wordperfect at Cunningham & Cunningham Inc., object-oriented programming consultancy firm based in Portland, Oregon, USA, members of Wordperfect Universe User Group)