History of Atari TOS

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Historical versions of Atari TOS
TOS stand for The Operating System

OS Vendor Version Machines Comments
TOS Atari 1 260/520ST Initial release. Fairly buggy; only used for compatibility with older programs. Desk accessories must be named DESKn.ACC. Loaded from disk, so also known as "RAM TOS" or "Disk TOS".
TOS Atari 1 520/1040ST First ROM release. Updated GEMDOS and AES. AKA "Old TOS", "ROM TOS".
TOS Atari 1.2 (later renumbered 1.02) 520/1040ST/STF/SFM/STFM, Mega ST 2 and 4 First ROM-only version. Bug fixes; support for DMA/Blitter and real-time clock chips. AKA "Blitter TOS", "Mega TOS".
TOS Atari 1.09 520/1040ST/STF/SFM/STFM, Mega ST 2 and 4 Incorrectly-reported number for UK version of 1.(0)2.
TOS Atari 1.4 (later 1.04) Stacey laptop (1st release); later on 520/1040STFM, Mega ST 1/2/4 Most common version of TOS; last version to run on pre-STe machines; most compatible with games. More bug fixes (e.g. archive attribute works); improved hard-disk handling and performance. Faster disk copy; file move function; copy preserves date/time stamps; folder renaming; auto-run of GEM apps at startup; larger screen support; file "fastload" flag for faster startup; improved file selector; DOS-compatible disk format; keyboard reset. AKA "Rainbow TOS" because of animated colour Atari "Fuji" logo in desktop "About" dialog box.
TOS Atari 1.6 1040STE As 1.(0)4 plus support for the enhanced STe. (Up to 4,096 colours; 8-bit stereo DMA sound; light-gun/paddle; external Genlock; hardware scrolling; 68030 processor; etc.) Mouse support in "show file to screen" function; 4-bit colour values; disk boot-up delay. Bug fixes. AKA "STE TOS".
TOS Atari 1.62 1040STE As 1.6 plus bug-fixes, including of 1.6's failure to save selection of medium resolution correctly in DESKTOP.INF.
TOS Atari 2.02, 2.05, 2.06 MegaSTE Last version of Atari TOS for the 68000 line. Many bug fixes. Atari logo display at boot-up; automatic cold boot memory test. Supports higher resolutions, 1.4MB diskettes, 6ms step rate, better media-change detection. Adds GTP program support (GEM-Takes-Parameters)
TOS Atari 2.07 Sparrow FX-1 Falcon prototype
TOS Atari 2.08 STbook Special version for 1992 notebook ST. ROM also contains some notebook-specific utilities: STTRANS (null-modem/ parallel-cable data transfer), power management tools, hard disk drive tools and drivers (AHDI, XHDI, BOOKINST and BOOKFMT) and a RAMdisk installer.
TOS Atari 3.01, 3.05, 3.06 TT TOS 3.0x was released (for the 68030-based TT) before 2.0x; TOS 2 was essentially a version of TOS 3 for older hardware. Feature parity was achieved with versions 2.05/3.05. Supports fast "TT RAM", special TT screen resolutions etc. ST-hardware-compatible "Line-A" API dropped for extended TT functionality, forcing programmers to use GEM-compliant VDI calls etc. and thus encouraging GEM-compatible (as opposed to ST-compatible) development. ROM size grows from 256KB to 512KB. AKA "TT TOS".
TOS Atari 4.00, 4.01, 4.02, 4.04 Falcon New version for the Falcon. 68030 only. Adds support for DSP, 16MHz blitter and video overlay. New v3.40 AES (last single-tasking version, but MiNT/MultiTOS-multitasking-aware) supports: and pop-up menus; 3D window and dialog objects (later modified to to use more compatible ob_state flags instead of extended type); 256-colour "animated" icons; soft-loaded fonts; inter-app drag&drop; background window manipulation; extensible filesystems. New CPX module for international localisation configuration. V4.04 was the last official Atari version of TOS. AKA "3D TOS".
TOS Milan 4.08 Milan clone Developed for Milan Atari clone with official TOS license
TOS none (developed by Atari) 4.92, 4.98 Never officially released; distribution illegal Bug-ridden internal developer version, but sometimes offered for download. Would have become TOS 5.0, "Falcon TOS".
MiNT [MiNT is Not (later, "Now") TOS] Atari 1.09 (last Atari version of MiNT) All STs and compatibles BSD Unix-based pre-emptive multitasking/multiuser kernel originally developed by Eric R. Smith. Replaces GEMDOS - provides process/memory management, filesystem I/O etc.; requires AES, VDI and desktop.
MultiTOS Atari 1.04 (1.08 in unreleased beta) Falcon (but runs on all STs and compatibles) Official Atari version. Extension to TOS 4: MiNT kernel + (very slow) multitasking v4.1 AES (AKA "MultiAES".) Runs on 68000, but requires 68030 for memory protection.
Kaos TOS Andreas Kromke 1.4.1 All STs and compatibles Early single-tasking TOS replacement, originally based on a large and complex patch set for Atari TOS 1.4. Supplied on ROM as "KAOS030" and as a disk-loaded version, complete with its own desktop, KaosDesk. Faster and less bug-ridden, but incompatible with TT and Falcon. Supplied with some 68030 accelerator boards. Development stopped after release of TOS 2.06. Some parts (such as MCMD CLI shell) reused in MagiC, developed by the same author.

This document is maintained by Liam Proven
Please submit any corrections, additions or comments to geminfo@lproven.cix.co.uk

My thanks to the following people, who were of inestimable assistance in preparing this.

  • Mark S. Baines (msbaines@cix.co.uk)
  • Joe Connor (jconnor@cix.co.uk)
  • Derryck Croker (derryck@cix.co.uk)
  • Andrew Giddings (gidds@cix.co.uk)
  • Paul Glover (stclub@cix.co.uk)
  • Matt Jaap (mjaap@atari-computer.de)
  • Ronald van der Kamp (atarist@xs4all.nl)
  • Johan Klockars (rand@cd.chalmers.se)
  • Ken Macdonald (macdonald@cfc.dnd.ca)
  • Eddy Morfan (eddy.morfan@mail.dotcom.fr)
  • Frank Naumann (fnaumann@prinz-atm.CS.Uni-Magdeburg.De)
  • Martin-ric Racin (q-funk@funkyware.atari.org)
  • Henk Robbers (H.Robbers@cable.A2000.nl)
  • Oliver Schildmann (Oliver_Schildmann@LU.maus.de)
  • John Stean (jstean@cix.co.uk)
  • John Whalley (john@whalley.demon.co.uk)
  • Michael White (michael@fastlane.net)
  • The members of the news:comp.sys.atari-st newsgroup
  • The members of the CIX atari.st conference

Version history

1 Original version
1.01 Information from Mark Baines' "The Atari A to Z" and other sources
1.02 (20 Oct 1999) Information on replacement desktops added
1.03 (24 Oct 1999) Information on GDOS added; re-ordered
1.04 (25 Oct 1999) SpeedoGDOS relegated to "historical"
1.05 (31 Jan 2001) Finally converted to HTML
1.xx (2010) Added some more versions for clones etc.

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