Preinstalled Workbench 3.X Files
Q: What is the latest operating system version preinstalled in the Amiga Forever 3.X environment? Is it "3.5", "3.9", or what else?
A: Internal Amiga version numbers use "library revision" (rather than product version) numbering. This numbering system starts from version 30 for version 1.0 of the operating system, and evolves to version 45 for the files included in the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9". This is the same numbering which is used when you enter "Version filename" in an Amiga Shell window to check for the version of a system library or other executable file.
Amiga Forever up to version 5.0 included Amiga operating systems up to version 40 ("Amiga OS 3.1", as published by Commodore-Amiga, Inc. and others) For Amiga Forever 6.0, Cloanto extended its licenses to include the software from Amiga operating system versions 44 (product known as "Amiga OS 3.5") and 45 (product known as "Amiga OS 3.9"). All three versions share the same underlying version 40 Amiga ROM, with some patches applied.
Amiga Forever 6.0 includes the latest version 44 operating system files, plus a selection of the latest, most important and most compatible version 45 and some later ROM and operating system patches and files. For the reasons outlined below, however, Cloanto specifically does not wish to claim to be distributing a product known as "Amiga OS 3.9".
When, during the development of Amiga Forever 6.0, it became aware of the fact that the legal status of certain files included in the original "Amiga OS 3.9" distribution was under challenge, Cloanto decided to additionally license certain third-party version 45 and later contributions not only from the publishers, but also directly from the respective developers and copyright holders (who never granted any exclusive licenses). While this may result in a best case scenario where some version 45 files are licensed not once but twice for use in Amiga Forever, in the worst case certain files would at least be covered by the licenses granted for Amiga Forever by the individual developers (plus the license which applies to the previous code of which the new version may be a derivative, e.g. Amiga code already licensed for Amiga Forever by the successors of Amiga Corporation, formerly Hi-Toro).
In consideration of the ongoing litigation between different parties involved in the release of the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9", Cloanto also considered it prudent to avoid altogether the use of the "Amiga OS 3.9" label in the context of Amiga Forever. Therefore, although duly licensed by multiple parties to include the latest version 45 system files, Amiga Forever continues to refer to this set of files using the generic "3.X" description, which Cloanto has been using ever since the release of Amiga Forever 1.0.
Amiga Forever 6.0 and higher therefore include a set of version 44 (as in "Amiga OS 3.5") files plus version 45 (or higher) files which may be either identical with, or newer than, certain (but not all) files which were also included in the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9". From a technical point of view, as in its tradition, Cloanto carefully evaluated each individual system file, verifying the latest version available (including files newer than those distributed in the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9") and paying great attention to factors such as compatibility and stability. Third-party application software was deliberately kept separate from the System partition, and is stored, as in previous versions of Amiga Forever (which already included under license software also bundled with the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9"), in the Work partition.
Certain third-party application items which were included in the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9", the use of which had been publicly disputed before the publication of Amiga Forever 6.0, such as for example the MP3 decoding technology (claimed to be covered by a patent portfolio of Fraunhofer Institut für Integrierte Schaltungen and Thomson Corporation), the GIF/LZW functionality (claimed to be covered by one or more patents by Unisys Corporation), and the TCP/IP software (claimed to be covered by copyrights of Network Solutions Development, Inc.), and other disputed items, were either licensed independently by Cloanto, or not included in Amiga Forever. For this reason, for example, the AmigaAMP player as included in Amiga Forever does not come with any MP3 decoding technology (as included in the product known as "Amiga OS 3.9"), as the license for commercial use was higher than could be afforded (nevertheless, the required free mpega.library can be downloaded separately from the original sources and their distribution sites).
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