UAE and Amiga in a Box

UAE is an acronym for the Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator, a cross-platform project allowing most modern computers to run the Amiga OS and programs. Several versions of UAE are available for Mac OS X, among them:

  • MaxUAE (Cocoa version)
  • E-UAE (SDL version by Richard Drummond. Configuration GUI requires X11.)

Amiga in a Box (AIAB) is a pre-configured distribution with packages for Internet apps, Audio apps, and much more. Together, Amiga in a Box and one of the UAE ports makes for a good Amiga experience on OS X. There are still issues with mouse tracking and sound, but they will likely be resolved with future revisions of the emulator ports. While this webpage gives information for installing AIAB with MacUAE, an Amiga emulator for the Classic Mac OS, I found little information for getting it installed on OS X. After an afternoon of reading documentation and tinkering with settings, I managed to get the AIAB setup (release 10c) running at 800 x 600 resolution with MaxUAE and E-AUE. For your convenience, I have posted the steps below (familiarity with the Terminal and some basic UNIX commands is a prerequisite).

First, here is a snapshot of the final setup using MaxUAE:

Here's what you'll need to get started:

  • Amiga emulator: MaxUAE or E-UAE (For E-UAE, make sure you obtain a version with config GUI support. At the time of this writing, version 0.8.25 has config GUI support. Note that you will require X11 to use the GUI.)
  • AIAB for Mac
  • UAE preferences file default.uaerc
  • Workbench 3.1 disk images and Kickstart 3.1 ROM file (due to copyright issues, I can't help you here, but the folks over at Amiga Forever can, or you might be able to give these other folks a try)

Then follow these steps:

  1. Expand the MaxUAE or E-UAE archive (whichever you downloaded). Note that the MaxUAE archive contains a standard application bundle named MaxUAE, while E-UAE contains a command-line binary named uae.
  2. Unstuff the MacAIAB.sit archive. The path to your Amiga in a Box folder should not contain any spaces. Hence, rename the folder AIAB for MacUAE to AIAB. As well, place the AIAB folder under a path that contains no spaces (for example, /Applications/AIAB is fine).
  3. Place the MaxUAE application or uae binary into the AIAB folder.
  4. Place the default.uaerc preferences file into the AIAB folder.
  5. Rename your Kickstart 3.1 ROM file to kick.rom. Place kick.rom into the AIAB folder.
  6. Open Terminal. Change directory to the AIAB folder and change permissions as follows:

    cd <path_to_AIAB>
    chmod -R 755 Harddrives

    All executable Amiga files must have their executable bits turned on in the OS X filesystem. This is why we recursively make everything in the Harddrives folder executable with the chmod command.
  7. Open default.uaerc in a text editor and pay attention to the last four lines. These lines mount folders on your hard drive as virtual drives within the Amiga emulator. Of these lines, the first three should refer to the corresponding Workbench, Applications, and HD-Games folders inside the Harddrives folder of your AIAB distribution. The last line indicates the path to a Documents folder where you can read and write your own files. Change the paths for these four lines to to suit your system.


  8. Launch MaxUAE or uae to begin the AIAB installation. MaxUAE can simply be launched by double-clicking, but E-UAE must be launched from the terminal as follows:

    ./uae use_gui

    In the UAE control window, unclick Pause to begin the emulation.
  9. When you are asked to insert your Workbench 3.1 disk, the procedure varies sllightly depending on the emulator you are using:
    • MaxUAE: From the menu, choose Select Disks -> DF0: [empty] and choose your WB31.ADF workbench disk.
    • E-UAE: Press F11-S to exit fullscreen mode (you must turn off F11's binding to Exposé in System Preferences) and click the Floppy disks tab in the UAE control window. Next to DF0, click Insert and choose your WB31.ADF workbench disk.

    Then switch back to the emulation window and hit enter to continue.
  10. Wait while the installation continues. When the Display Mode Preferences window appears, select your desired screen resolution and bit depth (eg. uaegfx: 800x600 15bit). Then click Save (do NOT click Use).
  11. When you are asked about mousewheel support, click Yes.
  12. When you are asked about your desired iconset, choose GlowIcons.
  13. Hit enter twice to finish the installation and reboot Amiga.
  14. Amiga will load to the Amiga in a Box desktop. If you chose a display mode other than 800x600 15bit, I suggest that you quit the emulator and relaunch it as in step <8>.

Currently E-UAE's fullscreen support is better than MaxUAE (MaxUAE's screen is not centered and some mouse tracking problems persist), but E-UAE is a bit more cumbersome to launch, having to go through the Terminal and requiring X11 for the configuration GUI. As well, E-UAE feels somewhat faster than MaxUAE.

You can still launch the Classic MacUAE application in the AIAB folder, and it will boot from the same Amiga installation. At the time of writing I find MacUAE runs 50 to 60% faster (subjective guess) than MaxUAE, so you may still want to hang onto the Classic version of the emulator. Of course, I'd be happy to hear about any settings I could change in default.uaerc to speed up MaxUAE.

Counter courtesy of bCentral