Remote Desktop on your Amiga

One amazing feature of the A314 - the trapdoor expansion with a Raspberry Pi co-processor for A500/+ - is the Remote Desktop, or Remote WorkBench (RemoteWB), as it's called on the Amiga.

Although the RemoteWB has some limitations, I think it is quite useful in some cases. For instance, if you write a blog post and need a screenshot of your WorkBench (WB), it is very nice to capture the Amiga screen from your PC with relative ease. In my opinion, this is probably the closest thing to a "native" capture of your Amiga WB you will get, without too much hustle that is. Of course, you could always use UAE if you want to capture a screenshot or grab a video of your favorite game - but that would be cheating, wouldn't it! 🙂

Requirements

For the RemoteWB to work, you will - as you have probably guessed - need an A314 expansion card with a Raspberry Pi. You also need to have at least 512 KB of shared chip ram between the A314 and the Amiga.

For now it only works with the WB screen, and it needs to be set to 640x254x3 -  a resolution of 640x256 with 3 bit planes (8 simultaneous colors). If you use an older WB that only supports 4 colors natively, like WB1.2 or WB1.3, you can install WBplane. This program will add a bitplane so that you can get the 8 colors needed.

Nevertheless, it might theoretically be possible to remote to another screen, e.g. the one Directory Opus opens. On the other hand, it is most likely not possible to capture the screen of a game or other programs that does not use Intuition (Amiga native windowing system and user interface).

If you have a rev. 5 Amiga with an Agnus 8370 or 8371, you can disable the on-board chip ram by cutting the trace between the two lower pads for JP3 and solder a 10K pull-up resistor from the middle pad of JP3 to VCC. See image below:

You will also need to set the jumpers on A314 as follows:
JMP2 - Set (1), and JMP3 - Set (1).
By doing so you will "move" the 512kB chip RAM to the A314, and thus turn it into the shared memory needed for RemoteWB.

If you have a rev. 6a motherboard, you have to perform the chip mod to get an extra 512 KB of chip ram. If you have a rev. 8a motherboard with an Agnus 8375 you will get 1 MB of extra chip ram, no need to do any modifactions on your Amiga. Take a look at the section for Setting up your Hardware, regarding jumper settings for rev. 6a and 8a on the A314.

Setting up your Raspberry Pi

Basically all you need to do here is to install websockets, as long as you have done the initial set-up for the A314.
Open your Raspberry Pi terminal, preferably via SSH, and write:
        pip3 install websockets

Setting up your Client

To be able to connect to your html-client, you need to change the IP address to your Pi's IP. To get the IP of your Pi, write:
        hostname -I

Copy the text in remotewb_client.html and paste it into a empty text file, replace the IP on line 29 with your Pi’s IP, do not change the port.
        var websocket = new WebSocket("ws://192.168.1.144:6789/");

Save the file as remotewb_client.html. If you have done the editing on your Pi, copy it to your PC when you are done.

Setting up your Amiga

For easy launch of the remotewb service on your Raspberry Pi, add the Alias sremote by editing your Shell-Startup:
        Alias sremote pi python3 /opt/a314/remotewb.py

Make sure that you have copied the remotewb to your Amiga C: folder. If you have missed this, the file can be found in /a314/Software/bin/ in your Pi's home directory.

Before you can start RemoteWB, you have to make sure that the Amiga ScreenMode is set to 640x256x3. If you run WB 2.0 or greater, this can easily be done via the Prefs folder and the ScreenMode preferences. Otherwise, use above mentioned WBplane.

In AmigaShell, start remotewb service on the Pi by using your new Alias:
        sremote

Open a new shell and start remotewb:
       remotewb

Open the remotewb_client.html in a browser on your PC – have fun!

Please stay tuned for more tips and trix! 🙂

Meanwhile check out these links:
Take a look at my other posts regarding A314 @CrowStudio
Join the A314 discussion @discord
A314 @GitHub
A314 - The RPi co-processor Official thread @EAB
Pre-order/buy A314 @AmiBay

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