ALADIN 2.1 by Guido Stumpe
A Short Test i.e. a little Explanation of the new ALADIN
Version 2.1 from Softpaquet.
Visiting this year's ATARI-fair in Düsseldorf, I found amongst
others a stall of Softpaquet from the Netherlands. There I saw
big-eyed the new version of ALADIN - for one thing it was running
Pagemaker 2.0 on a real huge screen, secondly it was playing
music! After giving it a lot of thought I bought it, not without
some difficulty. I wanted the ALADIN positively without the MAC-
ROMs, for I still had some (more about that later).
Said - done, so I searched some time for someome who spoke German
and was obviously from Profikomp themselves. The price for the
new ALADIN 2.1 was DM 598 including the ROMs and DM 398 without
the ROMs. I have to point out that this was a price for the Fair
only, normally it's DM 100 more.
Arriving home I proudly unpacked the ALADIN, fetched my old MAGIC
sac Mac-emulator and pulled out the ROMs. Following the good
instructions of ALADIN I installed them into the assigned sock-
ets. Closing the case I plugged the cartridge into the ROM-prot
of my MEGA ST2. - Those of you, who have a harddisk like the
ATARI SH205, take care and put something under the cartridge, to
keep it from hanging in the air, which saves the contacts of the
After switching on the computer, the ALADIN 2.1 shows up in it's
new look. Pushing the "c"-key, for configurate, I came to the
configuration-menu, to find the first novelty, the RAM-capacity
can be changed in 0.5 Mbyte steps up to 4 Mbytes.
Storing the configuration, you have to boot the machine again,
thus arriving in the alternative operating system (as the ALADIN
is called by Softpaquet). I inserted the system disk (system 2.0
and Finder 5.4 patched for ALADIN 1.3) and off I went. Again some
changes: no more MAC sign in the startup picture and the sentence
"Welcome to Macintosh" is replaced by a simple "Welcome" and a
winking eye as well as a copyright message by ALADIN itself.
It took some loading time to arrive in the ALADIN desktop, to
discover another change, the little apple is replaced by a magic
lamp. It seems that this are the results of the copyright
struggle between Apple and Profikomp/Softpaquet.
But here are the main efforts of the new ALADIN:
The operating system needs no patching anymore, ALADIN supports
the system versions 3.2/3.1 and 2.0, the belonging Finders can be
versions 5.3 up to 5.5, only 5.3 has to be patched (Minifinder-
patch!). I myself tried it with a real granny - Finder 1.1g! -
and found it running without complaints. It turned out to be
useful, that right beneath to Apple - oops I meant the magic lamp
- the writeprotect DAA is linked to the system automatically. The
disk accesses have once again been speeded up, i.e. directory
accesses are much faster than ALADIN 1.3. What I found very
positive is that this version at last supports the Mega STs
clock, simply reading and converting it to Mac format. You can
not set it up under the ALADIN, but I don't find that annoying.
Every ALADIN user will like this one - the automatic booting
from Superdisk has again been improved. Who leaves the ALADIN to
the ATARI desktop using >>Command Option Shift F10<< and starts
it once again, will be very happy to find the Superdisk as a
highly reset-resistent ramdisk available for booting.
What I couldn't check, is the changed memory management mentioned
in the on-disk document, that shall make Write-Now and MS-Excel
run without complications. Also all APPLE-TALK calls are said to
be completely filtered out and - what is most important for
professional use - postscript printerdrivers should run at last.
As a additional giveaway there are all transferprograms, patches
and text utilities in ALADIN format on the flipside of the
startup disk. One of the most important programs is the Gemload
2.1, that makes you read GEM/PC files and use them under ALADIN.
You also can read VIP-PROFESSIONAL files and transform them for
use with MS-Excel. Very interesting I found the >>keyboard.prg<<,
that allows to adjust your keyboard to different countries needs.
The default was for Dutch use, what makes the program rather
useless for Germans. Changes have also been made to the patches,
you need little patches nowadays. Standing fourth are the patches
for Pagemaker 2.0, MS Word 3.1 and the Switcher 5.1, which show
the professional scale the ALADIN is used in.
Here's a little ouch of ALADIN 2.1:
First there is no hard disk driver for the ALADIN up to now, huge
programs like Pagemaker 2.0 have to be divided onto some disks or
be started from a large Superdisk. It would be nice, if ALADIN
could format real 800k disks, at least to make this problem a bit
There are also problems with the sound, Aladin does emulate
system sound calls, but that was all for that, any program that
does music, also games, do regularly cause bombs. On the Fair I
did see a Aladin that did music fine, using the sounddriver from
ST Computer. But you do need a special assembler and Pro Sound
Designer for that. I do have the Pro Sound Designer, but have had
no possibility to get that special assembler up to now. At the
fair I was told that Profikomp or Softpaquet work on a sound
driver that uses the monitor speaker, but what time it is due to
be released is as to yet unknown.
Interesting would be a support for greater ROMs (Mac Plus Roms
(128 K)) so that such programs as Hypercard, Aldus Freehand,
ADOBE Illustrator would work on the ALADIN.
It would be nice to have a little utility do switch the ALADIN to
original Mac resolution. There are some programs, that do have
problems with the higher resolution.
The final words:
All in all, the new Aladin is really an alternative operating
system for the Atari ST-series. The compatibility rate is relati-
vely high and most programs work without any patching. You can
work with Aladin for hours without system failure and data loss.
Personally, I use Aladin nearly daily and I am satisfied for the
greater part. I have copied my Aldin onto my SH205 harddisk and
wrote a little startup program in GFA-Basic, that lets me boot
the Aladin from the Auto folder.
Finally, I have heard about a new Aladin due to be out in
november, there is a mystery about what it does more than Aladin
2.1, but I am looking forward to it. If there are any more
question, you can give me a call. For my address, look in the
colofon under ST NEWS Germany.