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AmiKit on AtariVCS/Linux what distro to use? Possible to test first with older AmiKit versions?

 
 
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Author gheller
Partaker
#1 Posted: 22 Mar 2022 11:47 
Hello!

I'm considering purchasing the new AmiKit for use on my new AtariVCS (it's a PC compatible, but with no user-accessible drives). Never had an Amiga back in the day, but all my cool friends did. :P I'll be booting/running it off a USB thumb drive, so I'd like to use a light Linux distro, the same or similar to the one you use for the Raspberry Pi version. What distro do you use for the Raspberry Pi version? If it is not available for x64, what similar one would you recommend? Also, I'd first like to try out the older, free version of AmiKit to make sure it works before I purchase the new one, unless it is much harder to set up, in which case it's probably not worth the time. I've also had some trouble locating the download page for it. Is it still available, and if so, where? And is it much harder to set up?

I'm thinking of putting together a howto video if I can do this successfully. I already have a howto video on my channel for installing Ubuntu on the VCS, and I thought this might be a good subject for a further video as I've been using Ubuntu on the VCS for my various emulation needs.

--Gabe Heller

Author AmiKit
Admin
#2 Posted: 22 Mar 2022 15:48 
Hi Gabe, welcome to Forum and thanks for your question and interest!

Please consider the following first.

If you're completely new to Amiga world, and you would only like to play some Amiga games and nothing else, well, while that is certainly possible with AmiKit, there are probably more simple solutions (check Amiga Forever on Windows, for instance).

That is because AmiKit aims to provide a full AmigaOS experience and beyond. That involves enhanced operating system capabilities and features. And while we made everything as easy as possible (everything is pre-installed and pre-designed), some basic Amiga knowledge is required to fully enjoy (and appreciate) the AmiKit package.

Now, that being said, and to answer your question regarding hardware - I don't know AtariVCS specs so I don't really know. AmiKit is available for Windows, Mac, Linux and Raspberry Pi. The first three use WinUAE emulator running on Intel machines, the Raspberry Pi edition uses Amiberry emulator running on Raspberry's ARM CPU, obviously, and a customized 64-bit Manjaro XFCE system.

If your machine is able to run Ubuntu, then go and try the free «AmiKit X for Linux» on it: https://www.amikit.amiga.sk/x
The newer AmiKit XE for Linux is very similar, if not slightly easier, in terms of installation and setup, so if you're good with the X version, you will like the XE version too.

Hope it helps?

Ján, author of AmiKit

Author gheller
Partaker
#3 Posted: 4 Apr 2022 03:48 
Having watched the video on your website, I found the idea of a modern machine running AmigaOS very intriguing, a kind-of, what would Commodore be making if they were still around today, and might it not be a lot better than what we've become used to from Microsoft, Apple, Google, etcetera. I had an ATARI myself as a kid, but I was never impressed with any of their attempts at GUI machines. But that's why I ended up with the new ATARI VCS. But it mainly just emulates old ATARI games, though i have managed to make it boot Ubuntu from a jump drive, and I use it for my other emulation needs as well. But those emulators are very limited in their ability to take advantage of the VCS's hardware. So the thought of an emulator that would be able to take advantage of it is also appealing to me. And I thought it might be appealing enough to others that if I were to make an instructional video on how to install it (there always seems to be a couple gotchas when installing something on linux) it might steer some views to my ailing half-retro half-minecraft gaming channel.

So today, I tried installing the old free version. Five hours later I found myself staring at an entirely black WinUAE window not knowing whether I had done something wrong, or just needed to keep waiting. I have to say I am not impressed with that version of PlayOnLinux or WinUAE, and as such I am a lot more hesitant to pay money for even a newer better version of them. The video of the installation process on a Windows PC much older than the VCS and a raspberry PI seemed to promise a much quicker and less painful experience, but I am no longer sure this will be the case for the Linux version. Have you put much effort into streamlining or improving the Linux installation experience since then as it appears you have for the Windows version? Is WinUAE for linux still an Amiga emulator running on a Windows Emulator running on Linux rather than a native Linux Amiga emulator?

--Gabe

Author AmiKit
Admin
#4 Posted: 4 Apr 2022 07:42 
Hello, yes, even newer AmiKit uses WinUAE which runs on Linux thanks to PlayOnLinux "wine" - which, by the way, stands for "Wine Is Not an Emulator".

It runs perfectly fine on a standard PC using a standard Linux distro. The same way it runs fine on macOS too.

If it doesn't run as expected on VCS, well, it was never tested on such HW. I read that it can boot Windows too so I would rather try that option for AmiKit.

Author gheller
Partaker
#5 Posted: 4 Apr 2022 10:55 
I'm not certain whether it runs on the VCS or not. I got as far as the step where I'm supposed to point the installation at an .iso containing the AmigaOS files. Having done so, I clicked on Start and a completely black WinUAE window came up. I let it sit there for about half an hour, but nothing seemed to be happening. But this wasn't the first time nothing seemed to be happening. The PlayOnLinux installation did a very similar thing, taking about 30 minutes to install the last 15 of which it seemed to be doing nothing at all, but eventually it completed. And then wine did the same thing when PlayOnLinux installed it. It took about 30 minutes to install, the last 15 of which was just the window sitting there with the progress bar full. I have tried to use wine many times in the last 15 years or so, usually in situations like this where it is grandfathered in to one project or another. Every time the person behind the project says it runs fine, but I can count on one finger the times I've actually gotten it working. That time was with Lutris, here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zFozHi8Bcvc

Installing windows on the AtariVCS is a pandoras box I have not opened, and am loathe to. I do not own a copy of windows more recent than XP. I could try to install XP on the AtariVCS, but I suspect I will run into driver difficulties. I have Windows 10 on my main laptop at the moment, but it came pre-installed. I do not have the ability to install it on any other machine. Likewise, I have an older laptop with Windows 7 pre-installed, but no way to install it on another machine.

--Gabe

Author gheller
Partaker
#6 Posted: 4 Apr 2022 11:01 
Fyi, here are the specs of the AtariVCS copied from wikipedia:

embedded 14 nm AMD Ryzen processor with Radeon Vega-based graphics and two Zen CPU cores. The new AMD processor supports native 4K video playback with modern HDCP, has built-in Ethernet and a secure framebuffer

I'm not an expert on any of that, but beyond an annoying bios password to protect the internal drives from user modification, it seems like a pretty standard PC, if maybe a couple years out of date, but again that video on the channel made me think it would be an ideal candidate for an AmiKit installation.

--Gabe

Author AmiKit
Admin
#7 Posted: 4 Apr 2022 21:02 
If PlayOnLinux is taking 30 minutes to complete, something is definitely wrong there. I am unable to troubleshoot a HW or distro I've never used or seen. I am sorry. If you want to experience AmiKit without any hassle, please consider running it on Windows. I developed AmiKit on such machine. Minimal requirement is Windows 7, though.

I am sorry for the inconvenience.

Author gheller
Partaker
#8 Posted: 5 Apr 2022 08:28 
You mention Ubuntu above. Does that mean Amikit has been tested on Ubuntu? If so, which release? (18, 20, etcetera?)

--Gabe

Author gheller
Partaker
#9 Posted: 5 Apr 2022 08:30 
So far my research has only involved installing Windows 10. It appears I can download installation media but that will not help as my copy is digitally signed and therefore I do not have a key which would allow me to install on up to about 5 other machines. I'll see what I can find out about installing windows 7.

--Gabe

Author gheller
Partaker
#10 Posted: 7 Apr 2022 04:46 
Against my better judgement (but you did insist) I've waded into the cesspool of installing Windows 10 on the Atari VCS. I've spent about 30 hours at it, and not been successful. It's just one blue screen after another. Are you sure there is no way you can make using your software easier for me? I'm' increasingly less interested in spending money on it.

Author gromit337
Partaker
#11 Posted: 15 Apr 2022 22:34 
gheller
Not what you were hoping to hear, but here goes.

The problem isn't Amikit, Linux or MS Windows. You have bought a 'console' that uses pc parts, but isn't configured as a regular pc. It is a non standard machine. Much like the original XBox was essentially «just» a 'PC' with customised firmware, and wouldn't run PC software, the new VCS is broadly similar. The fact it won't even let you install Windows without problems makes that very obvious. The VCS manufacturers have locked the machine down. You will undoubtedly have problems doing anything with the VCS that the designers didn't intend.

As you already have a Windows laptop, you can try installing the free version of Amikit on that. Or just buy an old, cheap PC/Mac (or a Raspberry Pi) to run other emulators etc, and just use the VCS to do what it was designed to do.

Windows 10, both 32 and 64 bit versions, are still freely downloadable from Microsoft, and still run perfectly without entering any registration key. I downloaded and installed it on two old Netbooks last week. Unregistered, the only thing it won't allow is customising the user interface with themes and wallpapers etc.

Gromit

Author gheller
Partaker
#12 Posted: 20 Apr 2022 03:34 
Well, I have now managed to successfully install Windows 10 to boot on the VCS using a jump drive. The problem was not the VCS or Windows. It was the jump drives I was using. They were so slow Windows thought it had failed to boot because it took so long. Also WinToUSB is really REALLY picky. This took me weeks.

Finally finding a faster one, I was able to make this video on how to install Windows 10 on the Atari VCS:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2q_bevEQJeo

I was able to install the old version of AmiKit on it and use it, but videos on how to install AmiKit on Windows are already out there, no point in me making another one.

After getting the old «free» version of AmiKit to work on the VCS under windows, I then proceeded to try to get it to work under Ubuntu 18. Which turned out not to be much harder.

On the strength of that, and knowing that the new pay version similarly used PlayOnLinux and wine, I went ahead and bought the new Linux version.

I should not have been so confident. The version of playonlinux and wine that worked with the old one do not work with the new one. Both need to be updated. I've updated PlayOnLinux successfully, but the installation of Wine 6.10 keeps failing. I've been recording this video for 7 hours now and it's still not working. If you want to know what errors I'm getting, I can't even tell. Things just grind to a halt and I can't click anywhere or do anything. I hear there is a native Linux version of UAE. Could I perhaps suggest that it is a bad idea to require such giant, lumbering packages as wine and playonlinux for a relatively lightweight and nimble Amiga emulation package, when such a thing exists?

Author gheller
Partaker
#13 Posted: 20 Apr 2022 03:37 
It would also be very helpful to know if wine mono, or any of the windows fonts are required for AmiKit to work. Installing them adds hours to an already really slow installation.

Author gheller
Partaker
#14 Posted: 20 Apr 2022 03:44 
Also one of the errors that flashed by at one point involved wine not finding the vulkan libraries. Does the new version of AmiKit require vulkan?

Author gheller
Partaker
#15 Posted: 20 Apr 2022 03:58 
I mean, when Ubuntu runs reasonably fine off a USB drive, and old versions of Amikit based on wine 2.0.2 run fine on it off a USB drive, it's pretty clear the bottleneck here is the new version of Wine. Having to upgrade to an SSD to run AmiKit just because of Wine makes Wine seem like a pretty bad thing to me. It's like the time I had to upgrade my entire computer to run a particular minecraft mod. And all that mod did was add maps to Minecraft. But damned if it would run without an entire machine upgrade. I will never voluntarily use JourneyMaps again. And if I had my druthers, I'd never use Wine again either.

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 AmiKit on AtariVCS/Linux what distro to use? Possible to test first with older AmiKit versions?

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