Hacky Nix-based AmigaOS build environment
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Nix AmigaOS environment

This package contains a function for the Nix package manager that automatically builds AmigaOS software packages using Geek Gadgets, a GNU build tool chain ported to AmigaOS, and an Amiga emulator (either the "vanilla" UAE or FS-UAE).

With this Nix function, one can easily build software for AmigaOS (e.g. for porting) the same way as ordinary packages are built by using the Nix package manager for modern platforms such as Linux.

Furthermore, this package includes several example cases demonstrating its use.


In order to use this Nix function, a basic Amiga Workbench installation is required. Furthermore, we must relax some of Nix purity restrictions.

Installing the Amiga Workbench

To make this function work we require a minimal Amiga Workbench installation. Unfortunately, this process cannot be automated for two reasons.

First, the Amiga kickstart ROMs and workbench discs cannot be freely distributed. The legal way to obtain these files is by ordering one of the Cloanto's Amiga Forever discs.

The second reason is that a Workbench installation requires running an installation wizard.

To make this happen, UAE must be instructed to mount a directory of the host filesystem as a hard disk device. On this hard disk device, the Amiga Workbench must be installed. Consult UAE or FS-UAE's documentation for more information.

The Workbench can be installed on the hard drive by simply running its installation wizard. No special settings are required -- a novice installation process suffices.

Relaxing Nix's purity restrictions

To make the Nix builds work, we must "cheat" a bit by breaking Nix's purity features. First, ensure that the sandboxing setting has been disabled or set to relaxed, by editing the /etc/nix/nix.conf file add adding the following property:

build-use-sandbox = relaxed

in NixOS, we can relax the sandboxing settings with the following configuration property:

nix.useSandbox = "relaxed";

Finally, we must ensure that external processes can connect to an X server. Use xhost to authorize any process to connect:

$ xhost +


A Nix expression that builds AmigaOS software may look like this:

{amigaosenv, dependency}:

amigaosenv.mkDerivation {
  name = "mypackage-0.1";
  src = /path/to/source.tar.gz; # Or perhaps function invocation to fetchurl
  buildInputs = [ dependency ];
  # Package build instructions
  buildCommand = ''
    tar xfvz $src
    cd mypackage-0.1
    ./configure --prefix=/OUT # All packages must be installed in the OUT: assignment
    make install
  kickstartROMFile = /home/sander/kick.rom; # Path to the AmigaOS 3.1 Kickstart ROM file
  baseDiskImage = /home/sander/amigabaseimage; # Path to an UAE mount containing a clean Workbench 3.1 installation
  uaeUAE = true; # true means use the vanilla UAE, false implies using FS-UAE

Of course, as with ordinary Nix expressions, this expression must also be composed by invoking it with its required function arguments. More details and some concrete examples can be found in the examples/ directory.


This package includes several example cases:

  • GNU Hello, the trivial example case from the GNU project
  • hello-intuition, a very trivial native AmigaOS application opening an intuition window displaying a friendly greeting
  • wavepak, is a freeware utility, which can encode and decode 8SVX samples using a fibonacci or exponential-delta method

The top-level expression of these examples can be found in examples/deployment/default.nix in this package. For example, GNU Hello can be built by opening the examples/deployment directory and by running:

$ nix-build \
  --arg kickstartROMFile /home/sander/kick.rom \
  --arg baseDiskImage /home/sander/amigabaseimage \
  -A hello

By default, the AmigaOS build function uses the vanilla UAE to execute builds. Alternatively, FS-UAE, a more advanced and newer version of UAE can be used. Its only drawback compared to the vanilla UAE is that it carries out builds much slower.

$ nix-build --arg useUAE false \
  --arg kickstartROMFile /home/sander/kick.rom \
  --arg baseDiskImage /home/sander/amigabaseimage \
  -A hello