Bootstrapping an Amiga (with BERR)

Here’s a recipe for getting software onto your Amiga if you have nothing (other than Kickstart, which is in ROM in the later Amigas):

Bootstrapping an Amiga without a bootable Amiga floppy


To get the machine to take input from the serial port, one needs a fault, so there’s a tip here for using a paperclip to provoke a Bus Error. The error handler in due course checks for a DEL character coming into the serial port, and so the tools presented on this page can send one and deal with the rest.

The overall aim is to gain control over the serial port, set up a program to receive a data and write it to floppy to make it bootable.

It was quite nostalgic for me to see “trackdisk.device” and I’m reminded of a bit of bootstrapping I did. At work I had access to the internet and the ability to write to DOS format disks on a sparcstation of some sort. With that, I could download gems from the Hensa archive or elsewhere. In particular, I wanted to download a driver to read DOS format disks… which gave me a bootstrapping problem.

As I recall, I printed out, at work, a hex dump of the driver I needed, possibly with some line-by-line checksum, and wrote a Basic program on the Amiga to accept hex input, check checksums, and write binary to disk. That might have been the only time I used Basic on the Amiga. It was enough, anyway: with this driver in place, my Amiga could read DOS format disks, and I could bring home lots of good software found on the internet.

via yellowplastic


I just saw a AMIGA archive, a few days ago with BCPL on it. Would that boot the bere metal?

1 Like