Ambient (desktop environment)

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Original author(s)David Gerber
Developer(s)Ambient Open Source Team
Initial release2005; 17 years ago (2005)[1]
Stable release
1.1599 / June 8, 2008; 14 years ago (2008-06-08)[2]
Written inC
Operating systemMorphOS
TypeDesktop environment
LicenseGNU General Public License

Ambient is a MUI-based desktop environment for MorphOS.[3] Its development was started in 2001 by David Gerber. Its main goals were that it should be fully asynchronous, simple and fast. Ambient remotely resembles Workbench and Directory Opus Magellan trying to mix the best of both worlds.


Ambient does not strictly follow the Amiga Workbench interface paradigm but there are still many similarities: while programs are called tools, program attributes are called tooltypes, data files are projects and directories are drawers.

  • support for ARexx scripting language
  • default icon library for hundreds of fileformats
  • fully asynchronous, multi-threaded design
  • fast asynchronous file I/O functions and file notifications
  • support for PNG and other Amiga icon formats
  • built-in icon, workbench and wbstart libraries
  • built-in applications like disk formatting and commodities manager
  • panels which are used as program launchers

Ambient is localized for various languages and while it is part of MorphOS, it is also available separately. There are various visual effects in Ambient which are taking an advantage of hardware accelerated visual effects in MorphOS.[4]

Desktop icons[edit]

The native icon format in Ambient is a PNG icon but there is built-in support for other Amiga icon formats. Ambient introduced special icon format called DataType Icons where the icon is simply any image file renamed to include .info extension. Those icons are read using Amiga DataType system.

Original Amiga icons MagicWB NewIcons GlowIcons GlowIcons32 DT Icons PNG DualPNG SVG
Colours 4 8 256 256 16M 16M 16M 16M 16M
Alpha blending No No No No Yes Yes Yes Yes Not sure
Icon size 36×40 46×46 46×46 128×128 128×128 128×128 128x128
Second state image Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No No Yes No
Embedded metadata Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes Not sure

Development status[edit]

In 2005, David Gerber released Ambient source code under GPL[1] and it is now developed by the Ambient development team.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Ambient". Retrieved 2008-11-21.
  2. ^ "Ambient Open Source Team - shorted ambient.notes".
  3. ^ Source code of MorphOS 3.11
  4. ^ "MorphOS: The Lightning OS". 2006-11-22. Archived from the original on 2011-07-25. Retrieved 2010-09-04.

External links[edit]