Is it possible to make Classic AmigaOS 3.2.1 even more modern? Yes, it is. Just take a look at all the tools that you can find. Together with Powericons and the remarkable dock addon WBDock 2 for AmigaOS. You can even make AmigaOS 3.2.1 to display crystal clear TrueType fonts, and you don’t even need to be a scientist to make it work either.

In this article, I want to share with you how is to use TTF fonts in AmigaOS and how to make your desktop shine even more.

Topaz is Awesome but Bitstream is Good Looking

The Freetype2 package that is available on Aminet can update the entire feeling using AmigaOS.

You need a 68020 or higher. It works on OCS, ECS, AGA, and RTG. But to make the look shine, you need an RTG card. I am using my Warp1260 which can show up to 1920x1080x32. I use 1280x720x32 for shots so more details can be seen for everyone. Freetype2 lib package is something for everyone that wants a Good Looking AmigaOS! Period.

I love the Topaz font that comes standard with AmigaOS, but this takes the OS to next level. Just look how it makes text much more readable in 1280x720x32 Picasso96 mode.

In my view, the Freetype2 lib should be bundled with AmigaOS! I mean it. This upgrade for Classic Amiga is this good in my view. It makes all text areas of the OS look very beautiful. Yes, even the AmigaOS menus. They look so much better with a TrueType font selected. You can see this in all of the screenshots that I’ve added to this article. It makes a difference as TTF fonts can be rendered much better in higher resolution screenmodes.

Installing TrueType Fonts capable Engine to AmigaOS

By default, the Freetype2 engine supports:

  • TrueType fonts (TTF) and TrueType collections (TTC)
  • CFF fonts
  • WOFF fonts
  • OpenType fonts (OTF, both TrueType and CFF variants) and OpenType collections (OTC)
  • Type 1 fonts (PFA and PFB)
  • CID-keyed Type 1 fonts
  • SFNT-based bitmap fonts, including color Emoji
  • X11 PCF fonts
  • Windows FNT fonts
  • BDF fonts (including anti-aliased ones)
  • PFR fonts
  • Type 42 fonts (limited support)

The freetype2.library that is included in this package is developed by Georg Steger and packaged (uploaded by) Andreas Falkenhahn is a font engine for the bullet API defined by Commodore. This means that all Classic Amiga programs which can handle bullet API compatible font engines are now also magically able to handle true type fonts.

You can add and remove fonts to the system by using the FTManager ala FreeType Font Manager program which is included in this package. In this application, you can adjust the fonts as you wish.

Installing Freetype2 Engine Step by Step Guide

  • Download the Freetype2 Engine
  • Unpack using LHA (lha x freetype2.lha in RAM Disk etc)
  • Copy all in Fonts folder including the TrueType folder of the LHA archive to Workbench:Fonts
  • Copy the freetype2.library in the Libs folder of the LHA archive to Workbench:Libs
  • Copy all in System folder of the LHA archive to Workbench:System
  • Reboot

Included with this package, you get Bitstream fonts such as VeraSans, VeraMono, and VeraSerif. You can add these fonts to Workbench and MUI applications without any issues.

AmigaOS handles the new TTF fonts pretty well using the Freetype2 engine and this is why I question why this isn’t included with AmigaOS Classic releases? AmigaOS doesn’t need to be rebooted when changing to the new fonts. The change happens instantly. The TTF fonts also work on Amiga custom screens but on RTG TTF fonts shine.

If you need more TTF fonts then the FontsAddict site helps a lot. Now Classic AmigaOS is on the level of Nextgen Amiga and that’s pretty awesome!

MUImapparium with Freetype2 Engine installed

All of the text on the AmigaOS desktop will improve. You can adjust this as you want. This is just my first-time configuration for now. I will look much more into other types of fonts and see how far it is possible to make AmigaOS even better looking.

Please note that this font system is also named ‘FreeType’ today. However, the old, deprecated ‘FreeType 1’ library, a predecessor no longer maintained and supported. That’s why FreeType2 is also seen as FreeType today. All patents related to the TrueType bytecode interpreter expired in May 2010 so it is free to use today and AmigaOS can take advantage of it even though the AmigaOS 3.x code is from 1992.

I must say a big thanks to the flexibility of AmigaOS that Commodore devs gave and to Georg for making this package for Classic Amiga. It’s been on Aminet for a long time and it is way too underrated I think.