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WinUAE (or UAE "UNIX Amiga Emulator") is a free software designed to run software written for the Amiga range of computers. Originally it was called the Unusable Amiga Emulator, due to it not even being able to boot, but that definition has since become obsolete. Ports to non-Unix operating systems often use the backronym Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator.

UAE has been ported to many host operating systems, including Linux, Mac OS, FreeBSD, DOS, Windows, RISC OS, BeOS, the Xbox console, and even AmigaOS. Because it runs on non-Unix platforms, it is sometimes called the Ubiquitous Amiga Emulator or the Ultimate Amiga Emulator to preserve the acronym.

UAE is considered by many a milestone in computer emulation, because it was possibly the first program that attempted to emulate an architecture that relies on complex coprocessors for many tasks. There have been many threads in the past on USENET and other public forums where people argued about the possibility of writing an Amiga emulator. When UAE finally was released, many were amazed by something they previously thought impossible, and some were skeptical about it because they believed that it would never become fast enough to be usable.

Despite the skepticism, however, UAE is quite usable today, thanks partly to the effort taken to develop it and partly to the big improvements in technology that brought us computers many times faster than those UAE was initially run on. Many Amiga games and applications could run smoothly on a Pentium II-era system. The realization that an useful Amiga emulator could be written contributed to an enthusiasm about emulation, which started or speeded efforts to write emulators of the most various, obscure and complicated architectures.

There are currently two forks of the original tree:

  • WinUAE, designed to run on Windows
  • E-UAE, an experimental tree which ports back some stuff from WinUAE

Also worth of mention is another Amiga emulator, Fellow, which was released not too long after the first usable versions of UAE, and generated competition beneficial to both projects.


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