To install AmigaOS XL to your hard drive you will require a QNX 6.1 CD. You can create one by downloading the QNX 6.1 ISO image hosted on the OpenQNX Community Portal and burning it to CD-R.
As with your Amithlon CD, if your hardware is fully supported, then it will be able to boot the QNX CD. Don't worry - it won't install anything or make any changes to your computer unless you ask it to.
My fully supported x86 Amiga OS platform is a 1GHz P3 machine with onboard AC97 sound support, 256MB PC133 SDRAM, nVidia GeForce2 MX400 64MB graphics card, 40GB EIDE hard drive and ATAPI 16x CD-ROM drive. However, my 1.8GHz P4 Windows XP machine won't boot either the QNX or Amithlon CDs. The QNX CD will auto-run when inserted into the DVD-ROM drive under Windows XP, but the installer will hang the machine until the Windows Task Manager is used to end the process.
As your hardware can boot the Amithlon CD, then it should be possible to install QNX 6.1 and Amiga OS XL on that machine either in an empty drive partition or in a hardfile under Windows 95/98/ME (I have not tried this method). QNX will not boot from an NTFS partition, so if you have Windows NT/2000/XP/Vista, you must use the partition install method.
The Windows install can be done by inserting the CD. It should auto-run and provide you with a menu option to install QNX. Follow the instructions to install QNX. If you choose this method, be sure to read the last minute notes on the QNX CD (readme.txt) Section 3 regarding changes the installer makes to your config.sys file to allow you to boot Windows or QNX when you boot your computer.
To install in an empty partition on your hard drive, boot the machine from the QNX CD and follow the prompts to install QNX. If you already have an operating system installed on your computer, you can choose to install a boot loader which supports booting from multiple partitions and/or multiple hard disks.
Towards the end of the installation, a default set of video driver settings will be loaded for your graphics card, and you will have the opportunity to adjust them to optimize the display. It will tell you here that QNX was designed for an optimal resolution of 1024x768 in 16-bit color, and you will probably find that these have been chosen as the default settings. It should be safe to run with whatever configuration is selected by default at this stage. You will get the opportunity later to optimize the display settings whenever you wish.
Accepting the default setup for the time being brings up the Login screen. Log in as 'root' (no password necessary), and the QNX Desktop is displayed.
Once you have successfully installed QNX and have it running, you can install the Amiga OS XL package by inserting the Amithlon CD and running the Installer (Launch button, Software submenu). Select the QNX CD-ROM Repository and click the 'View Repository' button. Double-click the 'Emulation' folder, and the AmigaOS_XL for x86 package will be revealed.
Double-click the 'AmigaOS_XL for x86' entry. Details of the package are shown in the right panel and the package is selected for installation. Click the 'Install' button. The package may, optionally, be saved to your hard drive, but this is pointless if you have the AmigaOS XL CD. Confirm that you wish to install the package and finally check the license agreement.
The AmigaOS XL package will be installed to your hard disk. When disk activity has finished, click 'Done' and close the Installer window.
The AmigaOS XL emulator is now available from the Launch button in the Utilities submenu. Launch the emulator by double-clicking the menu entry, and the AmigaOS XL Workbench screen is displayed.
While AmigaOS XL is running, switching between the Workbench and QNX screens is achieved with standard Amiga screen-switching (depth) gadgets. The default 16-bit display color-depth is sufficient to display the Amiga Workbench screen, but I found it necessary to select the 32-bit color-depth to display the QNX backdrop properly. Also, I had to disable the hardware cursor to prevent the mouse pointer from disappearing when returning from the Amiga Workbench to the QNX screen, and I pushed the refresh rate to 70Hz. Display Setup is accessed from the QNX Launch button in the Configure submenu.
You may find that the default Workbench ScreenMode of 800x600 results in underscan when you switch to the Workbench screen. If this happens, the depth gadget at the top right-hand corner of the screen may be positioned outside the displayed area. The mouse pointer can still be moved within this area to click on the depth gadget and return to the QNX screen, but if instead you choose a Workbench ScreenMode to match the QNX video driver setting, the screen will be properly displayed once more and switching between the Workbench and QNX screens should become seamless.
If at any time you happen to try settings which are not displayable, just wait a few seconds, after which your previously working settings will be restored.
For your guidance, these are the optimum display driver settings which I have found achieve seamless switching between the QNX and Workbench screens on my machine:
tnt Video Driver
32-Bit True Color / 16M Color Depth
70Hz Refresh Rate
Disable Hardware Cursor
AmigaOS XL System/Prefs/ScreenMode
AmigaXL: 1024x768 32bit BGR
AmigaOS XL emulation shutdown is accessed from the System disk System folder. Double-click the Shutdown icon, choose 'Quit AmigaXL' and click 'OK'. QNX shutdown is accessed from the Launch button.
You may find that the Launch button has almost disappeared when you return to the QNX screen after launching Amiga OS XL for the first time. It can still be used by clicking on what remains visible until the end of the session. It will be restored to its usual position when you next reboot.
The hardware support provided by QNX 6.1 was current when the Amithlon / AmigaOS XL package was launched in 2001, and it is getting difficult these days to find parts to build a system which is capable of running it to best advantage.
In an effort to bring the hardware support for AmigaOS XL more up to date, I have tried to install the package on QNX versions 6.2.1, 6.3 and 6.4 (the current version) with no success. It seems that backward compatibility is not one of QNX's strong points.
It seems that QNX 6.0 can be updated to 6.1, 6.2 can be updated to 6.2.1 and 6.3 can be updated to 6.3.2. No updates have yet been released for QNX 6.4.
The AmigaOS XL repository package is not compatible with the QNX 6.2.x or 6.3.x Software Installers, and no Software Installer application is provided with QNX 6.4.
I have a registered account with the Open QNX Community, and I'm trying to think of the best way of using their forums to ask for help with this. I need to study the threads there for a while first to make sure I'm not overlooking the obvious.
The trouble is, this is all new to me since the this thread was started. My AmigaOS XL system had been gathering dust for more than five years previously, and I'm not really interested in updated hardware support for it because it's just not possible to run it any better than my machine already does. I actually bought my Amithlon / AmigaOS XL package before I had a machine which would run it. I then built my 1GHz P3 box especially for that and I have never used it for anything else, so it's still in *very* good condition.
I really don't know how I got so involved with this thread when I stop to think about it!