Originally Posted by prowler
Good question, wobbly.
That just about sums it up. I could really do with some answers too!
AROS isn't an emulator, nor is it an Amiga clone
Like your PC running Windows (or Linux, if that's your bag), the Amiga runs an operating system called AmigaOS. Applications written for the Amiga, for the most part, called parts of the OS to do stuff like read and write from the drives, draw windows, manage screens etc. It was, without a shadow of a doubt, the nicest OS in existence at the time.
AROS is a new operating system. You could replace windows with it (though that's not recommended as yet - there's a lot of work to be done with it). It reproduces not only the look and feel of AmigaOS, but also allows applications to make the same calls to the OS to draw windows and manage I/O etc. The end result is basically a Workbench on your PC. Unlike an emulator, it's all native code and so is very fast. It's not terribly bloated, like Windows is.
Applications written in an OS-friendly manner for AmigaOS could, in theory, be compiled with very little modification under AROS.
Where you may be confused is the VMWare/VirtualPC editions of AROS - they run on an emulated PC, but AROS is still not an emulator - you're emulating a PC that is running AROS.