Installing software

From MorphOS Library

This tutorial follows on from the article First_Steps_Using_MorphOS, and may assume familiarity with the topics covered therein.


Installing additional software

Whilst MorphOS is a farily comprehensive operating system, including many useful utilities and programs, every user will want to install some additional software at some point.

This guide explains installing software, and takes you through the process of downloading and installing two pieces of software: Grunch, and MPlayer.

This simple process demonstrates the general case which is applicable to the installation of all native MorphOS and Amiga software.

Where to install applications

Applications can be installed in any location, although should always be installed onto a MorphOS native filesystem (such as SFS, PFS, IceFS). Filesystems originating from other sytems such as NTFS, HFS+ or ext2/3/4 do not support Amiga file protection bits (Jargon alert) which can cause problems when trying to running applications stored on them.

In this guide it is assumed that the user is installing software into the applications folder on the System volume (sys:applications).


Notes:

  • Many users prefer to keep the MorphOS volume free from third-party software. It is not uncommon to install software into an applications folder on the work: volume (work:applications).

Installing Applications Manually

Finding MorphOS Software

There are several useful repositories for MorphOS software worth bookmarking:

  • MorphOS Files (http://morphos-files.net) is exclusively focused on MorphOS compatible software. This well presented and frequently updated site provides a comprehensive index of software available for MorphOS, offers a very user-friendly interface and search, and is frequently updated.
  • Aminet (http://aminet.net) is a vast repository of software for all Amiga-compatible platforms: Amiga, AROS, MorphOS, and AmigaOS4. Many MorphOS sofware developers host their software here, and this is also the primary source for Amiga (68K) software.
  • LukySoft (http://morphos.lukysoft.cz/) offers some MorphOS software not available on either of the above, but appears to be less frequently updated.

Many other developers also keep their own websites on which additional software can also be found.


Notes:

  • Using popular search engines such as Google to find MorphOS software can be frustrating, since most search results tend to be for Windows, OSX or Linux software. A useful strategy is to include "&MorphOS" in the search terms, which instructs the search engine to return results with your search terms AND the word "MorphOS".


Software archives

Most MorphOS and Amiga software can be downloaded in the form of a .lha archive (analogous to how applications are often distributed on other operating systems, such as the .zip archive on windows, or the .dmg image on OSX).

Double-clicking on a .lha archive launches Ambient's browser window allowing you to access the contents of the archive. From here files can be viewed, installed, copied to another location, or in many cases even run from within the archive. Note that the contents of the archive become inaccessible again once the browser window is closed, so the browser window must remain open until any file-copy or installation process has completed.


Installation scripts

Where software requires files to be copied to specific locations, or needs configuration changes (such as adding assigns at boot time) to be made, an installation script will usually be included.

Installation scripts make use of MorphOS included Installer tool to automate all file copying, configuration changes, etc and prompt the user for an installation location, and to make any other choices or provide information as required.

Notes:

  • When running installation scripts from older Amiga software, it can be useful to use the 68K Amiga "installer" tool available from Aminet.

Installing without an installation script

Where an application does not use an installation script, there will usually be a text file included which describes the installation process. This process may be as simple as copying the application from the archive to your MorphOS:applications directory.

Readme files and guides are two of the most common types of documentation you can expect to find with MorphOS and Amiga software, and are always worth reading. They are generally found in the main directory of the archive. Both can be viewed by double-clicking the icon.

A Readme or Guide may contain installation instructions, system requirements, usage instructions, FAQs, changelogs, copyright notice or even witty comments about how no-one ever reads the readme.

Some developers prefer to include separate files for installation instructions, user guides, changelogs, and readmes, others will put it all in one, some may even not include anything but the program. There are no rules: it's anarchy out there!

Please always read the readme and the guide before asking for help. There will be a test.

User action:

  • Open MorphOS:MorphOS.readme.
  • Read.


Manual Installation Example: Installing a Package Manager

Firstly, we need find a Package Manager, download it, and then manually install it.

User actions:

  • Open OWB by single-clicking on the panel icon;
  • Navigate to www.morphos-files.net;
  • Search for "Package Manager" using the fast-find box. Of the two available, the most recently updated one is "Grunch";
  • Download Grunch by clicking on the link in the search results. Odyssey's opens a window to show the progress of the download;
  • Once the download completes, click on the 'Finished' tab in Odyssey's 'Downloads' window, and double-click the entry for Grunch. Ambient's browser opens displaying the contents of the archive;
  • Double-click on the grunch.install icon to run the installation script which guides you through the installation process;
  • Accept all default options and click 'next' on each page, then click install;
  • Close the .lha archive browser window and navigate to MorphOS:applications/grunch;
  • Add Grunch to the panel on the desktop, and close the browser window.

Installing applications using a Package Manager

Grunch

Grunch is a package manager.

Grunch is a relatively recent addition to MorphOS software base, and its database is continually growing. Its philosophy is to limit its offerings to stable, high quality software rather than trying to provide everything regardless of quality.

Grunch is also donationware, so please consider Geit when composing your Christmas card list.

Grunch automates software installation, updates and dependencies such that finding, downloading and installing an application becomes a single-click operation.

Package Manager Installation Example: Installing a Media Player using Grunch

We can use Grunch to find and install the type of application we need.

User action:

  • Click the Grunch panel icon;
  • Once Grunch has run its initial checks, activate the 'search' box and search for "Media player";
  • Select the entry for 'MPlayer' and click 'install';
  • Once Grunch has downloaded and installed MPlayer, close Grunch;
  • Navigate to MorphOS:applications/mplayer;
  • Read the readme :) ;
  • Double click the application icon to launch mplayer (or add the icon to the panel on the desktop, or create a shortcut, etc);


Notes:

  • Read MPlayer's readme with regards to making the native GUI available by default. You may want to do this before adding MPlayer's icon to the panel.