Aminet CD-ROM 6/93
A CD-ROM snapshot of the entire Aminet Collection of freely
distributable software from the Internet. It also contains the final
snapshot of the AB20 Amiga archive as well as the Usenet comp.sources.amiga
and comp.binaries.amiga archives. Future editions of this disc will
contain only the Aminet Collection.
Name: Walnut Creek CD-ROM
Address: 1547 Palos Verdes
Walnut Creek, CA 94596
Telephone: (800) 786-9907
FAX: (510) 674-0821
SPECIAL HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS
You'll need a CD-ROM drive as well as a suitable filesystem (Asimware
AsimCDFS, CPR CDFS, Xetec CDFS, Babel CDFS...) to access the data on the
Since most of the files on this CD are stored as archives (for
example, in "lha" format), you might need an external storage medium for
decompressing the files. The necessary software to do this is supplied on
the CD-ROM. Some of the programs contained in the archive might require
special hardware/software to run.
MACHINE USED FOR TESTING
Testing was done on an A2500/030 running OS 2.04, using a GVP
Series II host adapter, a NEC CDR 74 CD-ROM drive, and Asimware's
AsimCDFS. The machine features 1 MB of Chip, 4 MB of 32 and 2 MB of 16
I have not tested this disc on a CDTV or CD32 personally. Jack
Velte of Walnut Creek CD-ROM has assured me that this title is CDTV
Getting a CD-ROM full of interesting software for the Amiga has become
much easier over the last few months. Almathera Software in the UK
continued to cater to the needs of the CDTV users, and now Walnut Creek has
finally come up with the long promised Aminet CD-ROM.
Aminet is actually the name for a network of several FTP sites that
stock Amiga Software. Uploads to one Aminet site get (at least
theoretically) forwarded to all other sites in the network, providing
multiple access points to the same software base. Ever since the demise of
the well-known "AB20" ftp site (ab20.larc.nasa.gov), Aminet has been a
valuable repository for Amiga software, so it really makes sense to have a
CD-ROM snapshot of that site. On Aminet, you can find many things that
make your Amiga more powerful, easier to use, and best of all, more fun to
If you've ever been to an Aminet site, you know what to expect on the
CD-ROM, since Walnut Creek has replicated the original directory structure
of the site in the /AMINET subdirectory. The top level directories are a
rough classification, and subdirectories elaborate on that description.
The files themselves are usually accompanied by "Readme" files containing
more or less terse descriptions.
The files are usually archived with one of the more popular archivers
like LhA or LhArc. Some files, especially demos using a dedicated track
loader, have been treated with the Disk Masher. This means that you can't
run programs directly off the CD-ROM, but it also gives you the opportunity
to use the Aminet CD in your mailbox. To this end, each directory contains
directory listings in "FILES.BBS", "WILDCAT.TXT" and "00_INDEX.TXT" files.
This should insure compatibility to most mayor BBS systems.
To unpack archived files, you could use any of the programs provided in
the /TOOLS directory, if you don't have them already installed somewhere on
your system. Using a file utility like SID or DirOpus greatly facilitates
browsing and unarchiving.
Actually, browsing through the files on the Aminet CD can be lots of
fun. Even if you're a regular user of Aminet, you'll discover many
fascinating items you've never noticed before. For instance, you could
take a look at some of the people who started and support Aminet, since
their portraits are available in PIX/IRC. Or you could listen to some of
the songs that are archived in the MOD directory. Even if the
possibilities are limited, you'll take a lot of time to sample them all.
As a pack-in bonus, this first release of the Aminet CD-ROM also
contains the old AB20 collection witch such diverse goodies as a lot of
Eric Schwartz animations, and such. Since Aminet can be expected to grow
quite a bit in the near future, this archive will not be included in
The disc is mastered in ISO-9660 Mode 2 format, which means that the
original UNIX filenames of the archives had to be to converted to
all-uppercase. Still, this is much better than having to resort to Mode 1
with it's MS-DOS style "8.3" filenames.
The Aminet CD-ROM booklet contains just the barest minimum information
about the contents of the disc. While a text file in the top level
directory points out that most of the data on the disc is in compressed
format, there are no detailed instructions given of how to use these files.
Amiga novices (i.e., the intended CDTV clientele) might need help using the
The individual archives on the CD-ROM are accompanied by "readme" files
detailing their contents. Depending on who uploaded the file to Aminet,
this might be a full description, or only one line.
LIKES AND DISLIKES
One improvement I would suggest to the makers of the Aminet CD is that
they include some file management utility on the disc, thus facilitating
the access to the data for novice users.
Another thing I'd like to see would be the inclusion of fully installed
preconfigured software. One likely candidate for such a treatment would be
PasTeX (an Amiga implementation of TeX). You could have binaries and
computed fonts on the CD, and thus save some megabytes of HD space.
COMPARISON TO OTHER SIMILAR PRODUCTS
As an Amiga archive CD-ROM, I can only compare this disc to Almathera's
17 Bit collection. Apart from the differences in content, I prefer the
organisation of the Aminet CD over that of the latter. If you want
something particular, you usually know where to search for it. Also, since
most of the files in the Aminet archives are compressed using file
compressors, you can unpack directly to RAM: or a hard drive. The 17 Bit
CD stores all files in DMS format, so you can only unpack to floppy disks.
Also, you have to use their proprietary file selection menu to find a
particular archive. While this "disk creator" might be an interesting
feature for novices, I really hate being forced to take a detour to get at
the data I want.
Walnut Creek have announced quarterly updates of the disc, selling
for $19.95/quarter plus postage and handling
The company operates an Internet FTP site, ftp.cdrom.com. It has
lots of interesting information concerning CD-ROMs, as well as index files
of all their CD-ROMs.
My personal experience with Walnut Creek has been very good. If you
have any questions or suggestions, you can always contact them via email.
Walnut Creek offer full guarantee, so that you can return the CD-ROM
for a full refund if you are dissatisfied with it for any reason.
I'm very happy with my very own Aminet archives at home. Now I can
play and test with all those files I was always too lazy to download
directly. :-) Also, the proposed quarterly updates will always keep my
collection up to date.
I would rate the Aminet CD-ROM 4.5 out of 5 stars.
Copyright 1993 Thomas Bätzler. All rights reserved.
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