Installing Amiga Workbench on Raspberry Pi with Amibian
To complete this project you’ll need the following:
- Raspberry Pi (preferably model 2 or 3)
- Power supply for the Raspberry Pi
- HDMI cable and a monitor
- USB keyboard and mouse
- USB gamepad or joystick is highly recommended
- Micro SD card that’s at least 4GB in size, although 8GB or larger would be preferable
- USB flash drive for transferring files between your PC and the Raspberry Pi after setup
To begin, you’ll need to download and install a few applications. The first is Win32DiskImager for Windows. If you don’t run Windows, you can use dd on Linux (if you’re running Linux you’ll know how to use that) or Disk Utility on macOS (OS X). Win32DiskImager is used to “burn” (for lack of better words) the .IMG file you’ll need to a micro SD card for use in the Raspberry Pi.
Download here: https://sourceforge.net/projects/win32diskimager/
Next, you’ll need to download the Amibian card image for the Raspberry Pi. The current version at the time of this writing is version 1.4. You can download that file image from this location:
Click the “Download” option in the menu on the left, and download the latest Amibian IMG file (typically the top option).
Once you have those two items downloaded, install Win32DiskImager on your Windows machine and insert your SD card. Take note of the drive letter than Windows assigns to your SD card when you insert it. Launch Win32DiskImager and use the little disk icon to browse and select the .img file for Amibian. Select the proper drive letter for your SD card and then click the “Write” button.
Warning: If you select the wrong drive (ie an external USB hard drive that you have plugged in) Win32DiskImager will overwrite it with the Amibian image. You have been warned. Pay attention here so you don’t nuke your data. In fact, it’s a good idea to remove all external drives prior to performing this step. I’m not responsible if you don’t pay attention here and wreck your stuff.
After that card image is written to the micro SD card, insert it in to the Raspberry Pi, and connect up your USB mouse and keyboard, and USB gamepad. Don’t boot the Pi yet though – we need to prepare an external USB drive with files you’ll need to install Amiga OS.
You’ll need to format your USB thumb drive as a FAT32 drive. In some versions of Windows this might not be possible depending on the size of your drive. If Windows will only allow you to format the drive as “exFAT,” that probably won’t work. In that case you may need to use a third party FAT32 formatting utility. I like to use “guiformat.” It works well, and I’ve provided a mirror of it here:
Next you’ll need the AMIGA files necessary to complete the install. Be aware that some of these files, although they are 30+ years old, still have copyright held by individuals or parties. If this applies to the country in which you reside, you can legally obtain the license to use these files (namely the kickstart images themselves) by purchasing a copy of the files. There are a couple ways to do this, the first is to purchase the “Amiga Forever Essentials” app from the Android App Store for $2.99 US, and the second of which is to purchase Amiga Forever Value Edition for $9.95 from http://www.amigaforever.com. The later will also give you access to a great Windows Amiga emulator.
Regardless of the path you choose, I have provided a download link for ease of install, given the fact that I have tested the below versions and know they work with Amibian 1.4.
Download the following ZIP file and extract its contents to the root of your USB drive.
Once those are extracted, you should have the following files in the root (top-most directory) of your USB flash drive:
Once you have gone through the above steps, insert the USB drive and the micro SD card in to your Raspberry Pi along with your USB mouse, keyboard, and joypad/joystick. From here on you’re ready to boot up the Raspberry Pi and continue setup. For the rest of the setup process, take a look at my YouTube video here:
If you enjoyed this tutorial and would like to see more, please feel free to share this article on social media, comment below letting me know what else you’d like to see, and follow me on Twitter @JROlmstead.