Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find answers to frequently asked questions. They are mostly focused on troubleshooting, but also include general hints. In order to read basic instructions on how to boot and install, please visit this page.

Email support


Please use the MorphOS mailing list for bug reports and other inquiries regarding MorphOS. To sign up, please send an email to the following address: morphos-subscribe@ml.morphos-team.net.

You will receive a confirmation email, and after replying to that, you can use morphos@ml.morphos-team.net to send an email to the mailing list. There is also an informational mailing list where news about MorphOS updates are announced. Signing up works the same as for the MorphOS mailing list, except the address to sign up is info-subscribe@ml.morphos-team.net. Only MorphOS team members can post to this mailing list.


Basic Information


What is MorphOS?

MorphOS is a lightweight, highly efficient and flexible desktop operating system. It includes primarily proprietary but also open-source components, most notably the Ambient desktop environment. Its many features range from a modern exceptionally customizable graphical user interface, which can utilize 3D hardware acceleration, to a high-performance Just-in-Time compiler which emulates the 68k family of processors and thereby allows to transparently execute legacy applications developed for the Commodore Ax00 series of computers.

Parts of MorphOS are based on work made for the AROS project.


What hardware do I need to run MorphOS?

MorphOS is currently focused on hardware systems based on the Power Architecture and includes special optimizations for the AltiVec instruction subset.

More specifically, it runs on Powerbook G4, iBook G4, Mac mini G4, eMac, Power Mac G5, and Power Mac as well as on computers and systems based on EFIKA, Pegasos I and Pegasos II mainboards. There exist also development ports to the Freescale MobileGT platform.

For a detailed list of the supported hardware, please visit this page.


Who is developing MorphOS?

You can find a list of developers and contributors on this page.


How do I obtain a MorphOS license?

Boot MorphOS and launch the included RegTool application (in the Tools drawer). Fill out the form and register. You will receive a validation email and after a successful validation, an email with PayPal link.


How much does it cost?

The price of a MorphOS hardware bound keyfile depends on your choice of target system. The prices are 111.11 EUR for one PowerBook G4 system, iBook G4 or Power Mac G5, 79 EUR for one eMac, Mac mini G4, Pegasos I, Pegasos II or PowerMac G4, and 49 EUR for one EfikaPPC system.

The unregistered version of MorphOS includes the full functionality, but slows down operation after a 30 minutes period until you choose to reboot your computer.


Can a license be transferred to a new machine?

No, a MorphOS keyfile is bound to the machine it was generated for. If you want to sell the hardware, you are free to sell the keyfile with it.


Does that mean that if the hardware dies, I will have to buy another license for a replacement computer?

No, in case of hardware failure we usually let the owner register a new machine and generate a free keyfile for it. In order to apply for a replacement, register the new machine and put "In place of a dead machine" in the Purpose field inside the RegTool application. Verify the link you will receive by email, but do not use the PayPal link. We will contact you using the provided email address. You will need to email us the keyfile generated for the dead hardware in order for us to validate your request and may be asked for some sort of proof that the machine is really dead. Be aware that the old keyfile will be invalidated for future MorphOS releases and it will not be possible to register that machine again.


I would like to contact the developers. How do I do that?

Our contact details can be found here. In case you need assistance with your MorphOS setup, we encourage that you sign up to our support mailing list and post any problems there before you contact us directly.

For urgent matters, please visit #morphos on the FreeNode network (irc.freenode.org) where you can talk to other MorphOS users and various core developers.


What are the key differences between MorphOS 3.x and the older MorphOS 1.4.5?

MorphOS 3.x is faster and features a more polished appearance. It also includes brand new as well as updated existing libraries, and an improved collection of bundled applications. It also introduces screen blankers, a new 64bit DOS, a state of the art memory system, and
much more...

For more detailed information, please read the MorphOS 2.0 release notes , MorphOS 2.1 release notes , MorphOS 2.2 release notes, MorphOS 2.3 release note, MorphOS 2.4 release notes, MorphOS 2.5 release notes, MorphOS 2.6 release notes, MorphOS 2.7 release notes, MorphOS 3.0 release notes, MorphOS 3.1 release notes, MorphOS 3.2 release notes, MorphOS 3.3 release notes, MorphOS 3.4 release notes, MorphOS 3.5 release notes and MorphOS 3.6 release notes.


I registered and I paid. How long does it take to get the key file?

Usually you should get it within a period of 24 to 48 hours. We would like to note that this process is handled manually. Please be patient and do not register a second time. If you think there is a problem, send an email to support@morphos-team.net instead.


I discovered a bug and would like to report it. What do I need to do?

When you are looking at the Ambient desktop, move your mouse pointer to the screen title bar and select the menu column labelled as "Ambient". Now, choose "About MorphOS" and view the "Support" tab. Read the on-screen instructions and fill out a report. Finally, press the "Generate report" button. Thank you.


I encountered a bug. After reporting it, I was asked to use the ramdebug boot parameter and send a debug log file. What do I need to do exactly?

Enter 'getramdebuglog ram:morphos.log' in a shell window and send the newly created file named morphos.log, which is to be found in your Ram Disk, to the developer.


What is MOSSYS: and SYS:MorphOS?

MOSSYS: is an assign pointing to SYS:MorphOS. The idea is that SYS:MorphOS is a private directory for the operating system and you do not need to touch anything in it. A system upgrade will be done by simply putting a new directory (old one can be renamed or so). If you want to change the way the system is started edit s:user-startup, nothing else.


I noticed that FXPaint Lite and Voyager are no longer included with MorphOS. Why are they missing?

Due to changes in licensing some applications are no longer included on the ISO.


When will XYZ work?

When it is ready. Please do not ask developers repeatedly when something is ready as it is hard to predict and is being worked on most of the time irregardless of your questions.


Somebody announced plans to release new PowerPC hardware. Will you port MorphOS to it?

The MorphOS development team cannot port MorphOS to hardware that does not exist. Furthermore, the developers do not make plans based on planned products. A product must exist and be for sale to be even considered for a port.

We strongly urge you to not buy or otherwise finance any hardware for the purpose of running MorphOS until you have read an announcement on this website that clearly states MorphOS will support it.



Booting on eMac, Mac mini G4, PowerBook G4, iBook G4, Power Mac G5 & Power Mac G4


How do I change the boot arguments ?

Mount the HFS Boot partition with Mounter application found in Tools. Open the bootinfo.txt in your favourite text editor and find the <boot-script> line. It should be something like: boot &device;:&partition;,\boot.img ramdebug

Now add your boot arguments after the ramdebug keyword and save the file. You need to call HFSSetMacBoot Boot:bootinfo.txt EACH TIME you
modify the bootinfo.txt or your Mac computer will not be able to boot MorphOS!


What does HFSSetMacBoot command do?

It marks files as bootable by OpenFirmware, making a partition appear as bootable in OSX and OpenFirmware's boot menu.


How to get to the OpenFirmware prompt ?

Press and hold Command + Option + O + F keys after you hear the chime sound.


How to eject a CD before booting anything ?

Enter the OpenFirmware prompt and type 'eject cd'. You can continue booting by typing 'boot' or reboot with 'bye' or 'reboot-all'.


Why do I need a HFS partition for the MorphOS boot.img file?

Your Mac computer's OpenFirmware can only read HFS or HFS+ partitions, so it would not be able to load the boot.img from a FFS or SFS partition. HFS is the only Mac filesystem with write support under MorphOS.



Booting on Efika & Pegasos


What boot arguments are there?

Using and understanding boot options requires a little knowledge about DOS pattern management. If you are just searching for examples, skip the following part and take a look at the examples listed below.

General Meaning:
The character case is not important. Just the boot image file name must be exact.
  • no / behind argument means that a textual argument is expected.

  • = means you can use one of these key word as argument. e.g. Fuh=Bar=Chicken/S allows to enable the same switch by using fuh, bar or chicken.

  • /S means no arguments needed. Just the keyword will enable option.

  • /N means a numeric argument is required.


Arguments:
To get all available arguments simply use
> boot boot.img "

(" is important here, as it makes it fail and shows a template.)

  • BM=BootMenu/S
    The boot menu can be opened by using F1 or pressing your left mouse button during the boot up, but this may be tricky due to issues of wireless devices or USB ones in general. This switch forces the boot menu to be opened without any additional key or button press.

  • BD=BootDevice
    If there is more than one partition marked with the boot flag, you can use this option to specify the name of the boot drive / partition from which you would like MorphOS to be loaded, e.g. bd dh0:

  • RD=RamDebug/S
    By default, debug output is routed though the serial port. This may slow down debugging or cause massive system slowdowns whenever applications with enabled debug
    or bugs are running. This option allows to redirect debug into a predefined memory section.

  • RDS=RamDebugSize/N
    Normally the size of ram debug memory is 4MB on the Pegasos and 256kB on the Efika. This may not be enough for several debug purposes, so this option allows to increase the amount of memory to the desired size. Using the size of 0 disables ramdebug and enables default (serial) debug.

  • RDO=RamDebugOffset/N
    This option allows to move the used memory area which is usually at the beginning of the memory block. As Open Firmware overwrites the first kB of the memory it may be useful to move the ram debug cache beyond that area.


Examples:
Please note that boot.img and ide:0 need to be adjusted depending on your hardware and partition layout.

Optimal arguments for using MorphOS on Efika & Pegasos:
> boot ide:0 boot.img rd rds 0

Optimal arguments for running MorphOS with basic debug functionality being enabled.
> boot ide:0 boot.img ed invzeropage

This will boot MorphOS from a device/partition named SDH2.
> boot ide:0 boot.img BootDevice SDH2


How do I setup or modify the auto-boot feature? (Open Firmware)

First make sure its working when typing the commands by performing a test boot. Then, define a boot file and set options. Boot command and boot device will be added by using the Open Firmware.
> setenv boot-file boot.img ramdebug

There are alias names available if you did not remove them, so this /pci/ stuff can be replaced by a simple ide:0.
> setenv boot-device /pci/ide/disk@...

Now, we set the auto boot delay. By default the Open Firmware counts down from 5 before starting auto boot. This would be a 5 second delay. It is possible to set up lower or higher numbers. It is recommended to refrain from using values below 1000, because it may be very hard to re-enter the Open Firmware command line interface again otherwise. The optimal values are between 3000 and 10000. (4000 equals 4 seconds, 1000 equals 1 second, and so on.)
> setenv auto-boot-timeout 3000

You may skip this for now. Using "boot" command without any argument will use the configuration specified above. If its working fine you finally can enable automatic booting using those set-ups.
> setenv auto-boot? true


I was told one can have an Open Firmware boot menu by typing some obscure commands. How do I do that?

We strongly urge that you DO NOT try to mess around with Open Firmware startup scripts or you might end up with a machine that does not boot at all.

There is a GRUB port done by Marcin Kurek available at http://tbs-software.com/morgoth/projects.html



Installation


How do I format a disk?

Ambient has a Format menu.


I cannot see my unformatted disks on the desktop! What is wrong?

You will see them in the Format menu.


I cannot configure the hard disk, nothing is written to it, I get weird errors. What is wrong?

Always use 80 pin IDE cables for everything. 40 pin cables are not supported.


Is the latest Open Firmware version required to install MorphOS 3.x on a Pegasos-based computer?

No, it should work with any version of OpenFirmware. However, some features like Gigabit Ethernet and SFS boot may not be available.


I installed MorphOS 3.x on top of my old MorphOS 1.4 installation, now something is broken. What did I do wrong?

As stated in the installation tool, upgrades are not supported. They should work, but after 4 years of development many things changed and because of the pressing release schedule updating old installations was not tested / verified to work at all. Theoretically, it should work, but in case you run into any problems please try a clean installation first before reporting bugs to the MorphOS development team.


I noticed a bug on a clean install, where do I report it?

The preferred way is to report the issue on the mailing list (see MorphOS.readme how to subscribe) or use the Bug Report feature in the 'About MorphOS' requester you can find in the Ambient menu.


I am trying to start IWizard or Regtool, but Ambient says 'no hexview'?

You must boot from MorphOS 3.x to use MorphOS 3.x components. MorphOS 3.x components cannot be started from MorphOS 2.x or MorphOS 1.4.


I want to set-up a SFS partition, but its not available in HDConfig and iWizard. How is this working?

The problem is that you selected MBR as partition table which is not very flexible and no even contains a real checksum. The solution is to change the boot block type to RDB. This can be done by using right mouse button above the hard drive image. In the newly appeared context menu you can select RDB. After this is done, SFS can easily be chosen via the GUI.

On a Mac system, always use the MAC partition layout.



Post-Installation


How can I get rid of this mixer icon on desktop?

Double click on Mixer icon and choose MUI from menu item. In Mixers MUI settings select window from list and disable the "icon on desktop" check mark.


How do I configure the screen mode?

MorphOS 3.x should automatically recognize your monitor and generate the best configuration for it. In case you want to edit the monitor settings by hand, go to 'Monitors', chose a proper monitor in the monitor list or create one if you do not find it. Create some new screen modes, press 'Save'. Reboot. Go to 'Screens' and select them in the list view. You may also have a look at the file ModeEdit.pdf inside the Docs drawer.


How do I activate screen bars objects?

Right click on the screen depth button (the button in right/top edge of screen) and select the module from the menu.


Where do I put my 3rd party MUI custom classes?

In SYS:Classes/MUI


Is it safe to install any third-party components to MOSSYS:?

As a general rule, no. It might work, but we do not support these type of MorphOS setups in any way. Possible bug reports or other forms of help requests caused by related problems will most likely be ignored. Only the MorphOS development team can make sure that all components of MorphOS fit together well and work in harmony. We encourage that you do not risk system stability in favor of adding unofficial software components to MOSSYS:


Can the ramdebug be made reset resident?

You can use the additional boot arguments rds (ramdebugsize) and rdo (ramdebugoffset) to modify internal settings. Ramdebug does not survive a reset when
it is located in the first 32MB of ram (i.e. it will be overwritten by the firmware)

Example:
> boot boot.img ramdebug rdo=33555456

If you type the above, this will result in the Ramdebug log surviving a reset on Pegasos computers by moving its buffer outside the first 32MB of RAM. Of course, this implies that sufficient memory is available to do so.


I would like to replace some MorphOS components with software made by third parties. How do I do that?

First of all, we do not support such configurations. Once you start to replace system stuff you are on your own. That said, if you want to replace a library, for example MOSSYS:Libs/foobar.library, put your 3rd party foobar.library into libs: (which is SYS:Libs) and *rename* MOSSYS:Libs/foobar.library to MOSSYS:Libs/foobar.library_ (you can use any name but appending '_' is handy). The system will then fallback to LIBS:foobar.library. But you should really refrain from doing that as MorphOS libraries are heavily improved and extended compared to 3rd party stuff.


Networking

How do I connect to a wireless access point?

In order to use a wireless Internet connection, plug in a supported PCMCIA or PCI card and start the machine or reboot. Do note that MorphOS does not support hotplug for PCMCIA cards, so if you plug one in once MorphOS is already running, you will have to reboot for the card to be detected.

Select System... from the Ambient's Settings menu to open the Network settings. You should see the wireless network interface wl0 at the top of the list. Once you enable the interface, a list of available Access Points should appear shortly. In order to connect to a selected network, double click the item and type in the password if requested. Wait for the led next to the network name to turn green and press the Save button.

You should be online now!

Please note that while the passwords are saved, you will have to manually switch to a new network when moving around. This will be changed at a later date. In case you are connected to a wireless network (signalled by the green led in the Network settings), but the connection does not seem to work, it is likely that the DHCP service has failed. Try rebooting the machine - you will be reconnected automatically when booting MorphOS.


Troubleshooting & useful informations for PowerBook G4 and iBook G4 users


Which models does MorphOS run on?

MorphOS will run on any Apple PowerBook Aluminum with a Radeon graphics chip and any Apple iBook G4.


Why are other models not supported? What about 12'' PowerBooks?

The 12 inch Powerbook models include an NVIDIA graphics chip which is unlikely to ever be supported.


I would like to buy a PowerBook, is there anything I should be aware of before purchasing?

We recommend that everyone reads "Buying a PowerBook" article before buying a PowerBook - it is available in English, Polski and Deutsch.


What features of the PowerBooks are supported by MorphOS?

MorphOS handles most of the hardware found in PowerBooks, namely:
  • CPU throttling (DFS2, currently only for 1.67GHz models)

  • Temperature and fan control

  • Screen backlight control

  • Keyboard backlight

  • Touchpad

  • Cardbus

  • Battery control

  • Lid sensor

  • Sound output with hardware volume control

  • And all the obvious things like USB, IDE, Ethernet controllers


And what about the unsupported hardware modules?

Support for built-in wireless networking, DVI/TV output, sudden motion sensor, and sound input is planned for future releases. Modem support is not planned.


How long will MorphOS run on battery power?

Real-life tests indicate that a new, fully charged battery provides 3 to 4 hours of lifetime under MorphOS, depending on the PowerBook model. A1138 will last the longest.



Troubleshooting for Mac mini G4, eMac, Power Mac G5 & Power Mac G4 users


My Mac mini does not boot, all I get is a gray Stop sign. What to do?

This may mean that the selected boot.img file or the filesystem Mac mini boots from is corrupt. Boot MorphOS from the CD, mount the HFS Boot partition with Mounter, format it using Ambient´s Format menu (remember to name it Boot) and copy files found in mac_ppc32 directory on the CD to the freshly formatted Boot: partition. Now open a shell and type 'HFSSetMacBoot Boot:bootinfo.txt'. Finally, eject the CD and reboot.


My Mac mini does not boot, all I get is a blinking disc icon. What do I need to do?

It may be that the HDD was not detected or that its partition table is damaged. In case you have your data backed up, the best way would be to try reinstalling MorphOS. You may also want to run HDConfig from Tools to see if the HDD is detected and has the proper partition layout.


My Mac mini does not boot, all I get is a black screen / my monitor does not power on. What are my options?

Try to erase the nvram. This is done by holding Command + Option + P + R keys after hearing the chime sound after you power on the mini. You should keep the keys pressed until you hear the Mac reboot itself again. Even if the chime sound was previously muted, you should hear one now.


I tried erasing nvram, but it does not help. What else can I do?

You may try the same key combination, but this time power the mini off, hold the Command + Option + P + R keys and press and hold the power
button with your third hand. Keep all keys and the power button pressed until you hear the Mac mini reboot again.
If this does not help, you should probably send the machine to your local service center.


My Apple USB keyboard does not appear to work. Why is that?

We have successfully tested Apple´s A1048 and M7803 keyboards but discovered compatibility issues with the A1242 and A1243 models. These issues have been fixed since the release of MorphOS 2.5. Please upgrade your operating system.



Troubleshooting for Pegasos & Efika users


My hard disks or CD/DVD drive is not being recognized. What do I need to do?

Please make sure that you are using IDE cables with 80 conductors. Cables with only 40 conductors are not supported!


The right boot file is in place and used, but it still fails to fully boot. How come?

You may have forgotten to enable the boot flags in IWizard or HDConfig for the partition you installed MorphOS 3.x on.

Reboot CD again and use the HDConfig tool in tools drawer to set the boot flags for that partition.


I have a difficult time trying to boot MorphOS 3.x from CD. Do you have any suggestions?

You cannot just insert the CD and boot as you might do with a MorphOS 1.4.5 CD. The reason is that the old MorphOS 1.4.x boot.img on your hard drive is being used when you boot from CD unless you specifically tell your computer to not do so.

Type the following line to boot your Pegasos 2 via CD only.

> boot cd boot.img

On a Pegasos 1, please type
> boot cd bootpeg1.img

After making a proper installation, you can now boot any MorphOS 3.x CD without the need to type this again.


When I play around with the 3D screen blankers my system may become very instable. What is the reason?

Make sure you use MorphOS 2.3 or higher.


MorphOS 3.x and MorphOS 1.4.x are both installed on my computer. After running MorphOS 3.x or MorphOS 2.x, I cannot successfully start MorphOS 1.4.5 unless I do a cold reboot. Why?

This problem has been investigated and is related to the USB stack. Unfortunately, we cannot provide any information on if this might be solved. It should be only a comparably minor inconvenience, however.


After the installation finished, the boot process stops right after the quark message. Why might this happen?

It seems your prior installation used a separate boot partition for boot images. During installation the boot file didn't get replaced. Boot from CD again and copy the boot.img file from your MorphOS 3.x partition over to your boot image partition and overwrite the old file. Now booting from hard drive should be possible.


Everything is in place. I set the boot flag, yet booting aborts. What to do?

This may be a serious problem. It is known that some SCSI and USB cards or card revisions may cause trouble with MorphOS 3.x and MorphOS 2.x. Try removing those cards and file a bug report with a proper description of the used card.


Third-Party Software


I cannot see 15/16/24 bits modes in screen mode requester of Candy Factory or some other application. How come?

The application in question depends on buggy behaviour of original asl.library: the width/height/depth limits can be bypassed. You can enable the original behaviour with 'setenv save asl/MODEREQ_EMULATEBUGS 1'.