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Old 02 August 2002, 15:52   #5
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The "Kickstart 3.5" ROM image that has been floating around the Internet (named by TOSEC as "Kickstart 3.5 (40.071) (OS3.5) (Commodore) (1996)") is not only a fake, but a rather poorly done one. It would appear that the source of the author's work was most likely yet another altered ROM (named by TOSEC as "Kickstart 3.1 (40.070) (A4000T) (Commodore) (1993)"), which in and of itself is neither from an A4000T (as it contains workbench.library) or original (as the Workbench titlebar reads "AmigaOS 3.1" instead of "Amiga Workbench"). Further, it is entirely possible that the original base work of both efforts wasn't even revision 40.070, although I have not confirmed this.

The checksum of the fake 3.5 Kickstart ROM is 5AE7AE2A (easily seen from 0x7FFE8-0x7FFEB, starting 24 bytes from the end of the ROM data) and has been altered from the "original" (see disclaimer above) in the following manner (offsets provided):

0000000F: Changed minor revision from 70 to 71
0000001A-0000001D: Changed "AMIGA" to "Amiga"
00000020: Changed "ROM" to "RAM"
00000056: Changed "1993" to "1996"
00000059-0000006D: Changed "Commodore-Amiga, Inc." to "Amiga Technologies "
00000087: Changed "3.1" to "3.5"
000000A4: Changed minor revision from 10 to 11 (exec.library)
000000A8: Changed day from 15 to 11
000000AA: Changed month from 7 to 1
000000AD: Changed year from 93 to 96
00003740-0000374F: Changed "Software Failure" to "Guru Meditation "
00003755-0000375F: Changed "Recoverable" to "Small Sins "
0000376B-00003777: Changed "Press left mouse" to "Meditate and use"
00018CF1: Changed "AmigaDOS" to "Amiga OS"
0007FFE8-0007FFEB: Changed ROM checksum to 5AE7AE2A

Not only is this a ROM hack, it's not even a clever one -- it is merely a simple exercise in text replacement. While I am mildly amused by the use of "Small Sins Alert" and directing the user to meditate on software failures, I am greatly disappointed that the Amiga community at large has managed to be so taken in by this for so long. To me, the general Amiga community has always stood for pride and integrity. The fact that people who should know better (who did not create the hack) continue to perpetuate this folly as genuine strikes a deep nerve with me. Regardless, the "ugly truth" is now out and obvious for all to see.

I will no longer respond to any claims of legitimacy of a post-3.1 Kickstart ROM. I am aware of exactly one such actual ROM, based on Kickstart 3.1 and used in the Walker prototypes, that has been dumped but is in absolutely no case publicly available in any form. It can be clearly distinguished by the rather unique Kickstart screen that differs greatly from any Commodore-Amiga release. I can virtually guarantee that you don't have it, and even if you did, you wouldn't be able to use it, as it will only operate in the Walker environment (so there is no point in hoping that it may someday work in an Amiga emulator such as UAE).

Please don't waste your time and mine by trying to "un-hack" parts of the text in any Kickstart ROM image and pass it off as the "real" 40.071 (or any other revision, for that matter).

Permission is expressly granted for this article to be republished in any medium, electronic or print, as long as it remains unaltered in its entirety and credit is given to me.

Rodney Hester
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