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The Amiga Turns 25

kdawson posted more than 3 years ago | from the follow-the-bouncing-ball dept.

Amiga 289

retsamxaw reminds us that yesterday was the 25th anniversary of the Amiga. "[The Amiga] debuted to rave reviews and great expectations — heck, InfoWorld said it might be the 'third milestone' in personal computing after the Apple II and the IBM PC. ... Commodore was a famously parsimonious outfit, but it splurged on the Amiga's introduction. The highlight of that Lincoln Center product launch was a demo in which pop art legend Andy Warhol used an Amiga to 'paint' Blondie's Debbie Harry. The exercise didn't prove much of anything other than that Warhol was able to use the paint program's fill command, but it was heady stuff... Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings — most notably OS/2 and Linux... But Amiga nuts of the 1980s and early 1990s... remain the ultimate fanboys, even though it hadn't yet occurred to anyone to hurl that word at computer users."

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289 comments

I'll freely admit to it (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019214)

I'm a fanboy, still have my A500 an A1000 and an A2000HD - never have been able to get a SCSI cd-rom working in the 2000, unfortunately.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (3, Informative)

dotgain (630123) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019276)

They were good machines, but my A1200 was revolutionary (for me at least). Smaller than the A500, packing 2MB RAM standard and an internal hard drive. Since I could use the Power supply + monitor at my clients office, it was almost like a laptop for me. I used it to write the accounting system for a small business using HiSoft Basic, rendered my first 3D stuff on it, and even got on the net with SLIP, later PPP, and had my first experience with the web.

I thought at the time the web was unbearably slow with the speeds of the day being 14.4kbps, and Mosaic performing quite badly in only 2MB. These days I have 4GB RAM and 4Mbps downstream, and pages still seem to take forever to load.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019364)

600 - this one was almost like a laptop.

(hey, don't laugh; it was quite nice machine - and the price helped in some parts of the woods)

Re:I'll freely admit to it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019402)

I agree, I also feel that while niggers are above animals, they are also less than human. They perhaps do have feelings, but lack the intellect required to express them coherently. Therefore, I feel that they should primarily be used as a source of cheap labor.

I also don't understand why everybody is so grossed out by Goatse. Anal stretching is fun, give it a chance.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (1)

NiceGeek (126629) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019396)

Back in the day, I would have killed for an A1200, even now I'll consider maiming for one. My other machines (besides the A500) I've come across at garage sales, but I've never seen an A1200 in the wild.

ebay (1)

voss (52565) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019644)

They do sell Amiga 1200's on ebay. They sell even now for a couple hundred dollars.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (5, Interesting)

flatlinr (1858284) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019668)

Really? The A1200 was kind of...meh. Seriously, the Amiga 1000 was revolutionary when it came out in 1985! The Amiga 500 was revolutionary when it came out in 1987 because it made the Amiga affordable. After that? Nothing much. The Amiga 1200 came out in fall of 1992 and what kind of specs did it have?

Sure, the 68EC020 at 14MHz was of course an improvement over the 68000 at 7MHz, but c'mon! It's five years since Amiga 500!
Only 2MiB of chip RAM (and no fast RAM) - once again, it's been five years!
Graphics were kind of braindead, just adding two bitplanes and making a total mess of the color registers. Could have gone with a chunky mode instead.
Blitter is exactly the same as the old Amiga 1000 for goodness sake!
Sound is exactly the same as the old Amiga 1000...

Remember that in 1994, the Playstation came out. Compared to Amiga (and especially CD32 which came out a year earlier) now that is revolutionary again!

Yeah, of course I thought the A1200 was the shit at the time, but that's cause I was a blinded Amiga fanboy. Luckily, it wore off (even though I still actually have two A1200 and one A600 in my closet somewhere); for some people, it's chronic. Just go to amiga.org and watch some deluded people, not in jest or in irony, argue that the Amiga is, in 2010, a better computer than a PC. Oh, the humanity!

Re:I'll freely admit to it (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019434)

The A1000 is the one true Amiga - gotta love the tuck-away keyboard design (and the nice keyboard).

The A500 was an amateurish-looking waste of desk space. I'm sure that's partly what killed it off as a 'serious' computer. Put one of those side by side with an IBM PC (and model M keyboard) and see which one gets chosen for 'business'.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (1)

SeanMcGPA (530432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019454)

I sold my Amiga 1000 in the early 90's, and I am sooo sorry I did. Best computer ever.

Re:I'll freely admit to it (2, Insightful)

jazzmans (622827) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019658)

I loved my Amiga 2000, it was an amazing machine, light years ahead of apple macintosh....
It wasn't untill I installed OS/2 on a 486 that I had another truly multi-tasking machine.
Then Linus Torvalds came along.

Thank Bog!
jaz

Re:I'll freely admit to it (1)

dltaylor (7510) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019736)

Which version(s) of AmigaDOS?

Which drives have you tried?

Are you using an A2091, or something else?

I have a Toshiba/Sun 2X that works just fine, although finding the DB-25 to SCSI cable was a bit tricky.

Oh yeah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019216)

Poop dog. POOP oh yeah DOG BABY! Poop dog!

Re:Oh yeah! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019464)

Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch
Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch
Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch (unh)
Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch

Round two, what's next
Round two, what's next
Round two, what's next

All in favor kill that raunch
Dansk! What's that staunch
(Keep singin'!)

Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch
Poot slap,
Poot slap,
Dansk! What's that staunch

Dansk...

Singin'
Poot doggay, Poot doggay, Poot, doggay doggay doggay
Poot doggay, Poot doggay, Poot, doggay doggay doggay

Poot doggay, (poot doggay)
Dong
(Doggay doggay doggay)
Poot
Dong

IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019230)

The big, not-often-told truth is that IBM PCs sucked donkey ass, compared to the Amigas. I remember the huge hype that surrounded the IBM PC, so I wanted to have a look. I was spoiled on Amiga's full-fledged GUI (G for Graphical!) that permeated all the applications present on the Amiga. When I saw the apps on the IBM PC, I couldn't believe my eyes - in the most negative way possible: the poor ASCII graphics sported by the apps present on the IBM PC were a colossal turn-off. And the computers were considerably more expensive than the Amigas, even without soundcard and color graphics. And "colour" on the IBM PC meant 4 colours (CGA)! Of course, CGA cost you an arm and a leg.

I mean, c'mon! IBM PCs and Amigas? No comparison. The only thing the IBM PC had going for it were the three magic letters.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Insightful)

piggydoggy (804252) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019262)

The first IBM PC was released several years before Amiga, in 1981. By 1985 the PC world had ATs with 80286 processors and EGA. No doubt Amiga was still massively superior at multimedia at the time, but in the end, open architecture and expandability won.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (4, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019314)

in the end, open architecture and expandability won

No, "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" won, just as "nobody ever got fired for buying Microsoft" tends to win today. It's really amazing to me how people continue to try to come up with technical justifications for behavior that's clearly driven by non-technical concerns.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (3, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019458)

That was even probably more general - "nobody got fired for buying non-toy computers" won. One of the problems of Amiga was probably how inexpensive they were ("it can't be good for that little!"), and in large part sold via toy shops...

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

scottgfx (68236) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019520)

That was true. I was friends with the local Southwest Florida Amiga dealer. He expressed that very issue to me almost 20 years ago.

It was a fascinating time though. I even got to meet Jay Miner once and later talked to him through his BBS called "The Mission"

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (2, Insightful)

(Score.5, Interestin (865513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019624)

One of the problems of Amiga was probably how inexpensive they were ("it can't be good for that little!"), and in large part sold via toy shops...

That was a killer weakness for the Amiga: You went to Computerland to buy an IBM, but you went to Toys-R-Us to buy an Amiga.

(The other killer weakness was Commodore, but that's a different rant).

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Insightful)

NotInTheBox (235496) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019468)

It was not openness that won. It's never openness that wins.

Very visible continuous progress is needed to become popular. Visible continuous progress is better then openness. Openness can be a way to obtain continuous progress, but openness is neither required nor sufficient.

Amiga was advanced, but it did not develop anywhere, it was so advanced but somehow no-one could be found to take it the next step forward. So it became stagnant while PC developed. We can see the same thing with Apple, a 1995 Mac was nearly identical to that of 1985. Only after Jobs came back, taking with him a whole team from NeXT, did the Mac go anywhere fresh. We even have seen this with Microsoft IE 6, which started out great, but then nothing No-one there to take the next step.

To many who want conserve what they have, and not enough who want to move progressively forward. To take the next step, especially with a successful, advanced product is scary and the results are uncertain. One needs to have amazing self-confidence to be able to take the next step again, and again, and again Most people's fear, uncertainty and doubt will prevent them from making the next step consistently, often waisting millions of dollars and many months on aimless research and development in the process. Sometimes even leading to products which are then canceled with in a few months.

The best strategy seems to be to take the next (often obvious) step with a product on a regular schedule (every few months, at most once a year). Occasionally this step should be a leap, but it does not have to be every time. If you are able to, it also seems to help to only talk about actual deliverable products and implemented features: Don't announce products which are not ready for production, don't talk about features not yet implemented (anyone remember Longhorn?). Any progress is better then no progress, even minimal progress is better then the disappointment of vaporware. So keep your plans private/secret until you are ready to deliver an actual product.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Interesting)

snuf23 (182335) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019746)

The innovations in the PC came mostly from external development outside of IBM to the open PC architecture. If you were there in the old days you would remember the competing video and audio standards, memory specifications etc. 3rd party hardware was instrumental in creating the PC we know today.
When Jobs came back he leveraged the established PC standards to move the the Mac forward. Apple used to be a company that used only internally developed hardware (stuff like Nubus and Appletalk). Jobs pushed the company to use standards such as USB and eventually transitioned Mac to commodity processors and busses (Intel and PCI/PCI express).
A single company can't compete with unique hardware vs commodity hardware, that's the story of the PC platforms domination and the transformation of Apple.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019476)

especially given how many buy from the fruit because of the "experience".

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

mcvos (645701) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019514)

Parent needs to be modded up sky high.

At home, it's often the person with the most technical know-how that makes the decisions, but in business, it's the people whose job it is to make business decisions, and those are usually not the people who understand or appreciate technical specs. But they do know who the business leader is, and tend to go for the safe choice, big name, with managers/sales people who talk the talk and know how to play golf (or something).

And once people got used to something at work, they like having the same machine at home. Except for the small group that's aware of the superior computer.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (3, Informative)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019660)

And the slightly less sceptical version of what you're saying is that there are other concerns with buying technology other than the performance and cost of the technology itself- support contracts, training costs, supplier relationships, interoperability concerns (real or imagined, technical or otherwise).

I'd love to see my business upgrade from XP to a Linux distro, for example, instead of Win7. But I can barely imagine the cost of retooling the entire company, retraining the whole staff, rehiring half the IT department with newly skilled sorts, and burning bridges with MS (who really do give a pretty VIP service to our company, being a pretty big buyer).

Calls of "switch to the better, cheaper products ffs!" from we on the lower ranks really don't account for the half of the corporate shenanigans that go on.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Insightful)

smallfries (601545) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019680)

Complete and utter rubbish.

The effect that you are refering to only happened in the business market, and the home market was where Commodore made most of their money and sales.

What killed the Amiga was stagnation. Sure it was way ahead of the competition when it was released, but it didn't improve enough, quickly enough. By the mid-90s the Amiga was competing against chunky 256-colour display and faster processors.

Doom killed the Amiga. Comanche killed the Amiga. Every step that the PC took towards being a commodity marketplace for hardware killed the Amiga.

And by the time the Voodoo was released it was already dead.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (2, Informative)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019318)

The Amiga was every bit as expandable as the IBM PC [wikipedia.org] and way more open. I think you are making a huge disservice to computer history, if you think IBM PC won because of "expandability and openness", and disregard the importance of the three magic letters.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019450)

Where were the clones?

Yes, I know it was, sort of, an oversight on the part of IBM - still it happened; probably would be much harder with the hardware of Amiga; and the OS wasn't from some 3rd party manufacturer happy to supply it to anybody.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

Gary Perkins (1518751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019542)

It wouldn't have been hard at all to clone an Amiga -- most of the hardware, as I understand it, is well documented. This is why the Commodore and Amiga series had such great games, software developers had direct access to the chipsets and could control the hardware however they liked. Most games were, in effect, their own OS's. The only non-open part was the kickstart, but I'm sure if someone had the bug up their ass to do it, could have developed a replacement. A small part of it was BIOS-like, but a good bit of the OS elements was in it was well... so, it probably wouldn't have been hard to reverse engineer a new kickstart containing a reverse engineered BIOS and alternate OS elements to boot into an alternate OS. The only reason you never saw cloned Amiga hardware was because there wasn't any demand for the Amiga compared to IBM compatible machines. Had the Amiga been made more IBM compatible (especially the floppy) from the start, CBM would probably still be in business today.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

u.hertlein (111825) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019602)

It wouldn't have been hard at all to clone an Amiga -- most of the hardware, as I understand it, is well documented.

Yes, the hardware interfaces was well documented. But since the Amiga was using custom chips (for sound and graphics, if not more) I doubt it would've been easy or cost effective to re-create those chips for a clone.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (2, Interesting)

hitmark (640295) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019492)

i wonder if the PC clones was one reason. That way, one could run a el-cheapo at home, using the same software and hardware as the official IBM, with whatever support agreement the workplace had with IBM and so on, at work. Heck, the managers may even look the other way on someone copying those programs, if it meant the person could work at home if "needed" (more like demanded).

basically, the hardware platform turned commodity. And thanks to microsofts deal with IBM, they where free to sell their software to anyone with compatible hardware. End result was a massive drop in hardware price, and a massive rise in customers for microsoft.

problem is, linux cant go the same way, as it may well be that dell and the rest are earning money on using windows, thanks to all kinds of trial bundles (enough of those, and it may offset whatever rebated price microsoft sells them windows for). And this also follows on to the brick and mortar stores where a clueless sales drone can push boxed media based on generic descriptions of "problems".

Only on Slashdot... (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019648)

Why do they mod (+3, Informative) a post with a link proving exactly the opposite of what the post says?

You say "The Amiga was every bit as expandable as the IBM PC and way more open"

Your wikipedia link says "One expansion port for add-ons (memory, SCSI adaptor, etc), electrically and physically identical to the Amiga 500 expansion port (though the Amiga 500's version is inverted)"

Excuse me, but my IBM-PC had seven expansion slots. And, much more important, I could go to any computer store and actually buy cards, both from IBM and from third party vendors, that I could plug into an IBM-PC ISA expansion slot.

It's interesting that IBM thought they had made a mistake in creating such an open architecture and tried to backtrack in the PS/2 version, where the ISA slots had been substituted by MCA slots. The result was that the PS/2 had even less market share than the Amiga. So much for the "magical three letters that sold anything" theory.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019346)

Towards the end of the Amiga's lifetime the PC had 386 CPUs, VGA graphics and Soundblasters whereas the Amiga had stood still. Even if you managed to attach a hard disk to the stupid edge connector it still needed a floppy disk to bootstrap it.

The Amiga could do fancy scrolling effects but at the end of the day it was really only 16 color graphics in a plasticky box with no real sign that it was evolving into anything better.

If you stood it side by side with a PC in 1987 it was obvious which of the two was going to 'win'.

It was fun to write 'demos' on them though...

(So long as you had an Atari ST at the side to edit/assemble the 68000 code - using AmigaOS for work was a nasty experience)

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (4, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019486)

Um, missing something here. Later Amigas had 68040s, a far better chip and chip design than the 386 (to Intel's credit, they're stuck with a horrendous backwards compatibility legacy they can't escape). Even later it migrated to PowerPc (though the popularity had seriously waned by then). That later Amiga had 256 indexed colors out of a 24-bit palette, and in 256K colors in HAM mode. Earlier Amigas were 32 or 16 color, but those colors were out of a large palette.

If you stuck the Amiga 1000 (ignoring the later models) next to an IBM of the time, it was obvious IBM would win because of those three letters. But if you looked at features and capabilities, the Amiga was better in almost every single aspect except for the amount of software available. It had poor expandability, but the Amiga 2000 was released shortly after that which matched and exceeded the IBM, and had plug and play long while the PC world.

And you didn't need an Atari ST... That was silly. Maybe first ever release of Amiga had some tools problems, but it shortly got very good. Yes many people booted off of floppy, but Amiga 2000 improved on that as well. Plus many Amiga developers continued booting off floppy instead of hard drive because it was faster for them; recoverable RAM disks made for a faster environment than PCs or STs.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019536)

Decent video quality counted for a lot, though, and there is much more to video quality than the size of the color palette. Graphics on the Amiga looked like C64 graphics but with more color. Text on the Amiga looked like C64 text, but with more color. Low-resolution, fuzzy NTSC-grade raster all the way. This was a bigger deal to more users than either Commodore or Atari appreciated.

Sure, CGA graphics on the IBM looked awful by comparison with the Amiga's color capability, but text was a different story altogether. IBM's text display was infinitely sharper, crisper, and generally more attractive than anyone else's, including the early Macintosh's.

Back then, most computer users who weren't playing games spent their days staring at a screen full of text. People who say the PC won because "Nobody ever got fired for buying IBM" or because "Bill Gates cheated" never actually tried using an Amiga for anything but gaming/multimedia work.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019628)

You're talking about differences between monitors and TV's. I bought a monitor for my Amiga and it made a huge difference. I may not still have my Amiga, but I have the Amiga->VGA monitor adapter still in my cable collection.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

dimethylxanthine (946092) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019834)

Brother, I bought gold and all sorts of accessories for my amiga and the bitch still left. Carajo!

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019592)

To be fair, hardly anybody was buying those 68040 models - what for, when much cheaper ones were constantly offered, even introduced, and vast majority of most important software was running on them just fine?...
PowerPC even moreso, it arrived when the Amiga was already dead; and even then the transition wasn't smooth, with the new chip acting sort of as a coprocessor for a long time.

Model M was worth something, in regards to hardware. Hell, it still is :P

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019498)

Wrong, Wrong, Wrong.

My last amiga was the 1200. @mb of Ram was todays equivalent to 32gb. It was an endless expanse you could not understand how to use. The PC I bought was 4mb, and -75%- was taken up by a simple desktop (Win3.11, no net). By contrast, the amiga os, consumed a few percent at most of system resources. Maybe 250k tops, thought I think I had mine below 100kb. The 20gb hard disk was easier to consume, even with my external 20 from my last machine, however the OS took up, what 1-2% of the disk? By contrast the 200gb pc was half consumed by the default install. Sound was was -better- than the pc I bought afterwards. The PC I bought at 256 colours, the A1200 had 256,000 colours.

I downgraded from the a1200 to an PC. IT was a 486dx, 4mb of ram, 200gb hard disk sound blaster with a CDRom card hanging off the sound card (non ide). It took a few mins to get to a usable desktop, my amiga took all of 5 seconds (optimised startup script, it was only loadwb from memory).

The Amiga was a pleasure to use and I feel that only recently with the iMac have wee seen a truly 'better' machine (I'm an old MCSE from the 3.5 days, not much of an apple fanboy). The only reason I sold was that I hear on the news about the US parent company going in to receivership and had already being exposed to a dead end funvision system in the past. I sold it -above- retail in Sydney's trading post magazine on a sorrowful day. I miss it, mostly because it costed half the price of the dog I bought next.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019646)

Whilst I agree with everything you say, the Amiga OS was also an insecure hell. OK, as coders we got absolute control over everything, but had the Amiga 'won', the whole OS would have had to go through a total re-write to implement a whole lot of protection in order to prevent a gross malware bloom.

The Amiga died just around the time I developed an almost complete knowledge of its hardware and became fluent in 680x0 assembly. A state of coding Nirvana I have never been able to achieve on the PC, much to my dismay.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019678)

Something tells me you mean MB, not GB, for all those hard drive sizes..

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019572)

Towards the end of the Amiga's lifetime the PC had 386 CPUs, VGA graphics and Soundblasters whereas the Amiga had stood still. Even if you managed to attach a hard disk to the stupid edge connector it still needed a floppy disk to bootstrap it.

The Amiga could do fancy scrolling effects but at the end of the day it was really only 16 color graphics in a plasticky box with no real sign that it was evolving into anything better.

If you stood it side by side with a PC in 1987 it was obvious which of the two was going to 'win'.

You're not just a troll, you're a liar.

Floppy disk boot was required only with ancient rom versions.
Even the oldest Amiga, the A1000, was able to display 4096 colors simultaneously.

PC in 1987 was mostly CGA with some people using EGA. It used DOS, was expensive and its sound was worse than of a 8-bit computer.

It was fun to write 'demos' on them though...

(So long as you had an Atari ST at the side to edit/assemble the 68000 code - using AmigaOS for work was a nasty experience)

An Atari ST troll here? Go back to the 1980s, loser.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019630)

Amiga had 32 color palette and actually, depending on what you needed to do, you could make even the older Amiga systems do 4096 color graphics using hold-and-modify and extra-half-brite mode would give you 64 colors (32 plus 32 half-brite shades):

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hold-And-Modify [wikipedia.org]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extra_Half-Brite [wikipedia.org]

Systems with AGA could have up to 256 color palette or 18-bit in HAM mode.

My A500+ would easily toast my top-of-the-line 386 in just about every aspect of computing life from gaming to desktop applications. Amiga games would have smooth parallax scrolling, multiple hardware sprites, 4 channels of sampled sound mixed in hardware, and they'd be fast and responsive. PC gaming by comparison was using a terrible mode system where you basically traded color palette against resolution and at higher resolutions most adapters performed so poorly that you'd see games that scrolled redrawing. The Workbench environment had full graphical file system browsing, a nice shell, a really smart preferences system, preemptive multitasking and all this ran along with your applications in 1MB or 0.5MB of memory depending on your system. Heck, even trying to compare Windows 3.1 on a 486 to Amiga OS was a joke. Windows in these days regularly blew up if you ran two apps at once and it's "folders" consisted of virtual entries in .ini files - not even a real file system.

I think only on the very old system ROMs you needed a bootstrap to boot from HD, though sadly back in the day I couldn't afford a HD :)

Personally I would not say that it was clear who was going to win when it came to PC vs Amiga. Amiga was very badly mismanaged towards the end. As it eventually became clear that Commodore was falling apart I was dismayed by what I faced in the PC world by comparison at the time.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (2, Informative)

nogginthenog (582552) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019664)

"Even if you managed to attach a hard disk to the stupid edge connector it still needed a floppy disk to bootstrap it."
All Kickstart ROMs newer than 1.3 (released 1988) had the ability to boot from hard disk. It was one of the main differences between version 1.2.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019308)

Really? but in china IBM is the nearly the best apart from apple.:)

Welcome to my site: http://iibetter.com

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019398)

The only thing the IBM PC had going for it were the three magic letters.

Back in the day (okay, I was only in high school at the time), we used to say that IBM stood for "I've Been Mislead".

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019420)

Back in the day (okay, I was only in high school at the time), we used to say that IBM stood for "I've Been Mislead".

Yes, this captures quite accurately the disappointment that Amiga users felt when seeing the expensive and over-hyped IBM PC running in command line mode, and having ASCII graphics apps. I thought the world must have gone mad.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019446)

Back in the day (okay, I was only in high school at the time), we used to say that IBM stood for "I've Been Mislead".

Yes, this captures quite accurately the disappointment that Amiga users felt when seeing the expensive and over-hyped IBM PC running in command line mode, and having ASCII graphics apps. I thought the world must have gone mad.

And (at least in the early days of the Amiga), don't forget the sound. Then again, before soundblaster cards, the bleeps and bloops of a PC speaker couldn't compare to a C64, let alone the Amiga...

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019650)

And (at least in the early days of the Amiga), don't forget the sound. Then again, before soundblaster cards, the bleeps and bloops of a PC speaker couldn't compare to a C64, let alone the Amiga...

Even when Sound Blaster appeared it was really bad. I had a Sound Blaster Pro and its PCM output was very noisy.
Only when Sound Blaster 16 appeared it began to sound "right", and only with 16bit output (I guess the 8bit output had the same circutry as old Sound Blasters?).
Not to mention that PCM back then output drained a lot of CPU.

And even during Sound Blaster 16 era, those cheaper Sound Blaster-compatible cards people bought sound horrible.

Oh, and when installing the sound card you had to set up the IRQs correctly, otherwise the PC would lock up while playing sounds.
I remember that each single PC game came with its own "sound setup" you had to configure. That was nightmarish, but PC users were used to that and found that "normal".

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (5, Insightful)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019686)

The sound blaster wasn't just bad because it was noisy. The Amiga could mix 4 sound channels in hardware, whereas all the early sound-blasters had only 1-2 channels and so the PC was mixing in software. That sounds trivial today, but churning through multiple samples with decent sample rates and bit depths on old CPUs took time. So while your PC was busy rendering audio, the Amiga was running your game/app code.

The design of the PCs of the time, compared to what you got out of the box with an Amiga really was pretty poor. Almost everything the Amiga's hardware could do in terms of sound and graphics would chew CPU time on the PC.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019864)

The Amiga could mix 4 sound channels in hardware,

Kind of. The Amiga had four channels with two physically connected to each audio output channel, without any panning effects. You might say that the Amiga had four half-channels.

The design of the PCs of the time, compared to what you got out of the box with an Amiga really was pretty poor. Almost everything the Amiga's hardware could do in terms of sound and graphics would chew CPU time on the PC.

Sure, but the Amiga also made some wicked tradeoffs to accomplish this that limited the hardware. If you got an upgraded video card so you could actually have decent graphics (was there ever an Amiga with more than 8MB chip?) then you basically stopped using the custom chips, and all their video-related functions had to be reimplemented on the video card or in the driver and then patched around in the OS. Before long, buying a video card for the Amiga cost more than buying an entire PC as PC prices fell and Amiga hardware prices remained fairly constant. I know because I was one of the Amigans lusting after upgraded graphics. Eventually the PC got so much CPU as to make the Amiga irrelevant. The moral here is that custom hardware doesn't work for commodity PCs, and that the Amiga's design was cool for game consoles but didn't scale well enough to keep them in the PC market. Of course, Amiga was trying to bring out new hardware, and Haynie had allegedly actually prototyped the whole next system, but C= had CEOFAIL and AFAIK that's the real reason they're gone.

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1, Offtopic)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019510)

...having ASCII graphics apps...

Hey, such could be the necessity to get roguelikes really going. And without them, where would we be?

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019430)

But in the end, open architecture of PCs proved beneficial, also / especially to us. It was at least good enough in some areas at the beginning, and vastly improved in the meantime. Even MS wasn't so bad - for all their faults, they mostly succeeded in commoditizing the hardware; that made OSS easier, too.
Amiga...well, for a long time now its zombie focuses on outrageously milking what's left of their fans.

Not saying they weren't great in their time; and really affordable, also in places where PCs would prove out of reach still for almost a decade; gave us real media editing. Even where Blender started. And if it was good for Babylon 5 or [obligement.free.fr] NASA [upchug.com]...
(and apparently for Scotty, too - supposedly the crew of Star Trek IV wanted an Amiga; but Commodore wouldn't provide it just like that, on notice; what could have been...)

Re:IBM PCs compared extremely poorly with Amigas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019638)

The only thing the IBM PC had going for it were the three magic letters.

What, you mean the " PC"? It's still there and the PC is doing great.

Sigh... (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019252)

I miss my old A500. Can't believe I gave it away.

Re:Sigh... (1)

Phrogman (80473) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019258)

I sold mine and bought an IBM 286, the difference was staggering. The only good side of the IBM PC was that it had a HD.

Re:Sigh... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019428)

me too but I sold mine to purchase a 486SX, I even waited to finish Indiana Jones Fate of Atlantis on my new (used) PC because I could not take the constant Floppy swapping anymore.
It took me forever to save the money for my PC but when I finally had it, I loved it.

Re:Sigh... (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019698)

I had two external floppy drives for my A500. Great for games that were smart enough to check all drives for the next disk.

Moved up to an A600 that I bought off a friend for £30, then eventually my parents got me an A1200 with 68030EC, 16MB RAM and a 200MB HDD. Those were the days :) I really wanted a 680x0 processor with an FPU, or a PPC board, but I couldn't afford it and we eventually ended somehow up with a 486 (which I guess I loved simply because I could play Quake on it), then a PIII.. with Windows.. bleh.

Its worth mentioning AROS.... (4, Informative)

3seas (184403) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019270)

Given the persistent failure of Official Management of the remains of the Amiga, Its OS, there are those who decided they can do without such management...
The Status page [sourceforge.net] and News page [sourceforge.net] of the open source project AROS [sourceforge.net]

Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry (2, Interesting)

ChipMonk (711367) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019272)

It's on YouTube here [youtube.com]. The raw history of the occasion makes up for the downbeat aspect.

And just a month and a half ago, I came into possession of an Amiga 2000, with all the parts and manuals. Unfortunately, it seems not to be in working order, as nothing appears on the screen after a power-on. Ah, someday, maybe...

Re:Andy Warhol and Debbie Harry (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019712)

And just a month and a half ago, I came into possession of an Amiga 2000, with all the parts and manuals. Unfortunately, it seems not to be in working order, as nothing appears on the screen after a power-on. Ah, someday, maybe...

Check the battery on the motherboard: it was not so uncommon that with time passing it leaked acid and eroded the circuits below. At least, that was a tipical problem on A3000.

Interesting (2, Informative)

jkeelsnc (1102563) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019274)

Actually the Amiga was quite an advanced machine at the time. It is too bad that Commodore did not market it aggressively enough over time. Someone mentioned how poor PC programs looked compared to the Amiga. This is true. But I don't think the "three magic letters" are what made PC's so popular but rather the fact that PC's at the time already had all of the popular and "killer" business applications of the day. It also had M$'s monopolostic marketing and sales strategies which are exactly the strategies that Commodore should have used and actually were used when Tramiel was at the helm. Well, nothing is perfect in this world. Commodore made some of the most innovative computer products of the 80's and early 90's. It is a shame they have faded into relative computing obscurity. The Amiga OS itself was amazing for the time.

Re:Interesting (0)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019416)

Commodore wanted it to be a 'serious' machine but it never stood a chance against IBM (eg. adding a hard disk to an Amiga and getting it to boot from it was a joke).

If they'd sold it on it's strengths it might have done better - ie. sell it to hacker types and compete with Atari/Nintendo's closed systems instead of taking on IBM.

I'm still not sure how Commodore managed to go from selling 50 million machines to bankruptcy in a couple of years.

Re:Interesting (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019500)

It booted very well from hard disk! Stop thinking the Amiga 1000 was the only one ever made.

Re:Interesting (1)

scottgfx (68236) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019574)

There were hard drive interfaces for the Amiga 1000 as well. I have one called a FastTrak from Xetec.

Electronically, the Amiga 1000's side port was identical to the Amiga 500. It was physically flipped upside down.

Re:Interesting (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019670)

Commodore wanted it to be a 'serious' machine but it never stood a chance against IBM (eg. adding a hard disk to an Amiga and getting it to boot from it was a joke).

Yeah, it was to easy to setup it was a joke.
I remember installing the OS in A1200: boot the OS from floppy, click " install". Really hard.
Same thing with old hardware: A590 (hard disk + ram expansion) in an A500, same as above.

If they'd sold it on it's strengths it might have done better - ie. sell it to hacker types and compete with Atari/Nintendo's closed systems instead of taking on IBM.

I'm still not sure how Commodore managed to go from selling 50 million machines to bankruptcy in a couple of years.

Despite Commodore utter incompetence, it sold well because it was an excellent machine, expansible, with stereo sound, excellent video and a multitasking graphic OS.

Re:Interesting (5, Interesting)

Skuld-Chan (302449) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019552)

Having been there (still have a bunch of Amiga's - that I never use anymore sadly - including an A4000 with a Phase 5 233 MHz PPC board and video toaster/flyer) I don't think it was a marketing issue until the early to mid 90's when Commodore started to face serious problems.

In the early days of the Amiga I recall 4 or 5 magazines, one official one, TV ads, ads in 3rd party magazines (I remember vividly seeing ads for the machines in various video/multimedia trade journals). IDG - with Amigaworld shows you how big it was really - this is the same company that publishes Macworld and Infoworld to this day (and consequently I knew the writing was on the wall when one of the editors for Amigaworld - now writes for Macworld).

I think the problem was a bit more deep sadly - one of mindshare more than anything. When I started working in video part time with a friend - this was in 91-92 when the A4000 came to market many of our colleagues used to think it was hilarious we took the machines seriously. Never mind we were the first shop in town to do editing via disk, (5.25" Quantum SCSI disks :)), and the only shop in town that could do 3D graphics for a long time (long before the flyer we used the DPS Personal Animation Recorder - it rocked). The 3d animations from the demo reel we worked on back then still looks pretty nice today (despite being only on VHS). It was a serious computer developed by some really smart and talented software and hardware engineers, but people didn't see it that way.

At the local computer club most ms-dos/mac users used to decry Amiga users with statements like who needs multi-tasking (the claim back then was "I'm far more productive doing one task at a time thank you very much"), and oh all those wonderful animations and graphics/sound we could do too with the right hardware.

Sadly Amiga met the same fate as NEXT, SGI, Apollo and almost Apple (yes if Steve didn't come back - they would be a topic in some history book right now).

Also I should mention - out of all the companies who have bought Amiga - Commodore was the only company to actually release marketable hardware and advertise said hardware. I think while they mismanaged their entire business down the toilet - they certainly did a much better job than most have (managing the Amiga that is).

The Amiga was a blast to program (5, Interesting)

dougsha (247714) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019284)

Here's a playthrough of my bestselling Amiga game The King of Chicago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17xQQ-PMPBs [youtube.com] It sold 50k copies for Cinemaware - not bad for 1987. Some reviews: http://channelzilch.com/doug/kocblurbs.htm [channelzilch.com] I'm still proud of it.

Re:The Amiga was a blast to program (1)

Mattpw (1777544) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019362)

Thanks for the good times mate ;) I hope amiga.com would open again, I bought a bunch of their Cimemaware pc converted amiga games 6 months ago off the site but I see its down or gone now. Lots of good memories.

Software patents and the death of the Amiga (5, Interesting)

mccalli (323026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019292)

Digg are currently running this story, and there's a post on there leading to this:
Software Patent ended CD32 and Commodore Amiga [xcssa.org]

It describes how Commodore lost a software patent fight over, believe it or not, blinking a cursor using XOR. They owed $10m as a result, and were also prohibited from bringing CD32 into the US. Since Commodore had bet large on the CD32, this was a fatal blow.

Read it, it's interesting. I didn't realise this and've read more about Commodore than many. If you're interested in the history of Commodore, and it is interesting, try "On The Edge [variantpress.com]", which describes it very well. The book is sold out in many places but I imagine it will be possible to locate copies.

Cheers,
Ian

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019380)

I'm not so sure since my local Amiga retailer had CD32 machines for sale among the A3000, A4000, and A1200 machines.

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019626)

The CD32 was the wrong move by Commodore (did they still own the Amiga by then?). The Amiga had long since lost its way by the time of the CD32. Commodore should have bundled hard drives as standard with the machines long before (e.g. by end of the '80s). Perhaps if the Amiga had got a foothold into business, companies like Microsoft would have developed their apps for it? I used to a have a hard drive for a 1200 but the computer would crash frequently with it.

PCs had moved onto Windows 3.1, and killer apps such as Word 2. The Amiga had missed its chance and become stuck in a rut.

The Amiga was undoubtedly far superior to PCs, but their reliability was suspect. I went through quite a few A500s due to disk drive faults (probably not helped by anti-copy loading techniques). The shop owner I purchased it from was sick of the sight of me.

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019682)

It describes how Commodore lost a software patent fight over, believe it or not, blinking a cursor using XOR. They owed $10m as a result, and were also prohibited from bringing CD32 into the US. Since Commodore had bet large on the CD32, this was a fatal blow.

First time I hear that.
Any confirmation from an ex-Commodore engineer?

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (1)

lmnfrs (829146) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019744)

If you can't find the book but still want some Amiga history, Ars had a good series [arstechnica.com] a few years ago.

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019828)

XOR? They patented XOR? PRIOR ART! I suppose the guy who was running Commodore at the time was a dim wit (apparently he had managed a clothes manufacturing plant) and didn't have the slightest fig of an idea about software. XOR is used (heavily) in cryptography and basically every cryptographic algorithm out there (every last one) uses XOR to decrypt. You still need the pass keys and the algorithm (and the math), but xor un-fuddles what was originally fuddled. With algorithms going back to well before world war 2, any one of them could be used as prior art. Something so stupid bringing something so advanced down, and yet because of the bucket-heads running Commodore at the time (of the 10,000 things they did after the launch of the Amiga, was there at least 1 that made a positive impact on sales? Surely there must have been 1!), this simple, stupid thing brought them down, and if they had only one person in charge with a clue...

Re:Software patents and the death of the Amiga (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019844)

Digg are currently running this story, and there's a post on there leading to this:

That post seems to be nonsense, because you could buy a NTSC CD32 in various shops in the USA. But betting large on the CD32 would have been a failure no matter how you sliced it because there were not enough titles to sell as a games console, and the system was too expensive anyway. But maybe someone could corroborate it.

"Other platforms"... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019316)

Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings most notably OS/2 and Linux

Most who remember an Amiga as their favorite computer think of the OS and Hardware as one beast. It's more like C64 and original Macintosh fans.

Disclaimer: I'm guilty as hell. The Amiga 1000 with Workbench 1.3 is still my sentimental favorite by far. I started in '78 with the Commodore PET, so there's been a lot of boxes to compare with. CP/M, Apple, and x86, and none of it remembered so fondly as the Amiga days. (Dang... now I want to fire up Silent Service and Fighter Duel Pro.)

For the afflicted, check out this incredibly clean A1000 a chap picked up last year, with the box. Amazing Flickr set.
http://www.flickr.com/photos/blakespot/sets/72157621596272210/ [flickr.com]

Wrong (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019330)

Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings — most notably OS/2 and Linux

More revisionist bullshit on Slashdot. To set the record straight, Amiga users are nothing like Linux users. We weren't huge assholes. We were not obsessed with Free Software. We knew the shell was useful, but also knew a solid GUI was the future. We were in love with the hardware, not just the software.

Re:Wrong (1)

keeboo (724305) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019710)

Other platforms and tech products would inspire similarly fanatical followings — most notably OS/2 and Linux

More revisionist bullshit on Slashdot. To set the record straight, Amiga users are nothing like Linux users. We weren't huge assholes. We were not obsessed with Free Software. We knew the shell was useful, but also knew a solid GUI was the future. We were in love with the hardware, not just the software.

Nah, let's be fair: fanatics of Amiga and OS/2 were really terrible.
Linux fanatics are manageable. I find Apple and BSD fanatics way more annoying.

BTW I've had Amigas up to an expanded A1200, PC with OS/2 2.0/2.1/3.0 and I've been using Linux as my main OS for years.

Re:Wrong (1)

(Score.5, Interestin (865513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019812)

Nah, let's be fair: fanatics of Amiga and OS/2 were really terrible.

While I agree that pretty much nothing comes close to a true Amigahole, I never thought the OS/2 fanatics were that bad. Mind you since there were only three of them maybe it was just that people barely noticed them.

Linux fanatics are manageable. I find Apple and BSD fanatics way more annoying.

The Linux fanboys have become somewhat less annoying over time, and I don't find the Apple fans that annoying. I think it's because of the following categorization:

  • Amiga fanatic: Will quote footnotes in the appendix of the Amiga Hardware Reference Manual at you in support of their platform.
  • Linux fanboy: Stallmanesque rants about why OSS is better, and everything should be free, and the world owes them a living.
  • Apple fanatics: They just *know* their platform is better, and there's no need to back that up with a supporting argument. Why would anyone question that?

So for Apple fans you can either ignore them or use some technical facts which will instantly baffle them, the fanboys are mostly just ranting, it's the Amigaholes who are the problem because they're often prepared to continue arguing technical trivia (interspersed with personal abuse) until the sun goes out. At least the Apple crowd are polite. Smugly polite, perhaps, but polite.

One megabyte of Chip Memory (1)

kriston (7886) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019352)

One megabyte of "Chip" Memory made me fall in love. Custom chips and the Blitter were decades ahead of everyone else.

Why Amiga? (2, Insightful)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019388)

On Amiga, it was possible to create what we call today "flash games" and "flash animations" which used some 0.1% performance of todays desktop PC (because that was available). Yet, today with similar animation/games computers are easily eating whole CPU and even sometimes newest CPU cannot keep pace with animation. Today, you get close to "feeling" of Amiga programming only if you make shader programs.

Re:Why Amiga? (2, Interesting)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019742)

I call bullshit. Even some of the most simple Flash games would be impossible to re-create on a (then) mid-range Amiga.

The Amiga would struggle even with a 'match-3' game where any case arose that the grid full of symbols all had to fall down at the same time. You've got to remember that the Amiga didn't have enough graphical horsepower to move even a 16-colour 320x256 screen full of objects around at 50 or 60fps. Oh, it could move the entire screen around as one object, but the Blitter couldn't shift actual pixels around that fast.

Now try doing Warzone Tower Defense, or *any* of the physics-based games where graphic objects undergo rotation. The Amiga had no built-in support for rotating graphics. It could be kludged but it was usually limited to demoscene stuff. Brian The Lion was the only commercial game to implement full-speed rotating graphics. Well, Turrican 3 I think might have (on small objects), but I may be mis-remembering.

The game Rotox was based entirely on a top-down rotating vector playfield, but framerate was fairly poor.

The only area the PC falls down when dealing with 2D gaming is that there is absolutely no hardware support for detecting per-pixel collisions between objects. You either iterate through the objects pixel-by-pixel using the CPU, or you do bounding-box, bounding-circle or ever more complex bounding-polygon stuff.

video production..... (2, Interesting)

ushere (1015833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019414)

there was nothing (other than extremely expensive, dedicated equipment) that could integrate so well into a 'low budget' on line edit suite in the 80's and early 90's.

with bt2 (broadcast titler 2) i could knock out graphics that made some of the broadcasted titles of the day look like they came from some fisher-price toy.

by the early 90's (?) i was producing corporate and tv material first on highband, then betacam, then betacamsp, and mastering to 1". all my graphics were sync'd through the amiga (i do remember using some card or other (?)), and using it was a joy.

unfortunately my business grew to the point where the amiga just couldn't keep up (not it's fault, more the pressure of work), and it gave way to pc's running matrox illuminator cards.

i had my amigas in storage till just a few years ago, and fired them up before giving them to the local youth centre (where i believe their still in use with the younger kids for games).

Still cruisin' after all of these years (2, Interesting)

LoadWB (592248) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019422)

I came late to the Amiga party. Eh, just before Commodore tanked and I began my migration from BBSs to the Internet. I am still rockin' and rollin' 18 years later (holy shit, it really HAS been that long?!) Even my nick/handle/alias is homage. Got my trusty A4000D and several "classic" companions, and a recently-acquired MacMini running MorphOS 2.5. Good times had then, and still yet to be had.

I am sure a lot of people know by now, what with Google and all, but there are a good number of Amiga sites and enthusiast groups, as well as MANUFACTURERS (yes, we get new, modern hardware, too!) amiga.org is a good place to start, though there are many other sites. And let us not forget AmiWest (maybe I will finally make it this year...)

Re:Still cruisin' after all of these years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019798)

There is no modern Amiga hardware. We're going to have to agree to disagree about the word "modern"

Best emulation for Mac? (1)

SeanMcGPA (530432) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019506)

I'd love to run some of my old Amiga 1000 stuff on my Mac - any decent Mac emulator available?

Re:Best emulation for Mac? (1)

mccalli (323026) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019700)

I use E-UAE [rcdrummond.net], in combination with the licensed Kickstart/Workbench and key files from Amiga Forever [amigaforever.com] and Hi Toro [pimley.net] as a GUI (can't seem to link to Hi-Toro directly - just click the tab after following that link). Great for those days when it just has to be a game of Paradroid 90...

Cheers,
Ian

Good ol miggy ... (1)

MxMatrix (1303567) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019554)

Yeah they were the best you could get for just anything. Not only games but DTP, music and of course video. Allthough i still own a beefed up A2000 (Cvb64-3d/BlzrdA2040/Ariadne) it is in my storage room, boxed en waiting for ..... I don't know. Is there still m68k linux around ?

What it could have been... (1)

Zubinix (572981) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019580)

I still remember the look on a PC clone owning friend when I showed him my Amiga 3000 running 3 operating systems at the same time. Namely, MSDOS via PC-Task running Turbo C, Mac OS via shapeshifter running MATLAB and browsing the Internet on the Amiga side with the iBrowse browser. Oh and those huge virtual screens and screen dragging so I could see all OSes at once. That was 1992. Imagine what it would be like today if had continued development?

Re:What it could have been... (1)

VinylPusher (856712) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019800)

What-if futures are the dreams of many ex-Amiga owners. Personally, I consider the issue entirely moot. We have Cray supercomputer performance from mobile phones, these days. Any amount of progress, whether it stemmed from our timeline of IBM-PC clones winning out as the dominating force, or the alternate timeline of Amiga OS based computing being the leader, we would still be in a mostly similar position today.

The only real difference is the GUI. Hardware would have been the same, though maybe Power CPU's instead of Intel may dominate. Graphics cards would be the same, hard drives, RAM, motherboards... the whole top-to-bottom of the PC tech industry would be doing very similar things, no matter what. Convergent evolution.

We would still have our Java's, our Flash, our legacy features still present in our CPU's and BIOS. Malware would still exploit the same weaknesses and the internet would still use the same protocols and run at the same speeds.

The question you should really ask is: What would things be like today if Amiga coding ethic was now the main driving focus of software development?

Wow, I had no idea... (0, Troll)

(Score.5, Interestin (865513) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019652)

... there was still such an active Amigahole community still around. Takes me right back to 1980s flamewars on bulletin boards.

(Moderation suggestions: Troll, Flamebait, etc).

My old A1000 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019716)

I still have my old A1000 somewhere around here (if it didn't get thrown out, I haven't even touched it in years). I still have a genlock and video toaster. The graphics were matched by PCs and Macs about 10 years later. Sound and video were matched by PC's about 15 years later. I reminisced about Amigas quite a few years ago, after reading about the death of Jay Miner. It brought back memories and melancholy. I read the article at least 10 years ago, and it was at least 4 or 5 years old then... Still, it was a great machine. I liked it. It was a Unixy machine. Too bad it didn't have memory protection. It never caught on, which is too bad. The computing landscape is still richer because of it. The first proto version of what became Blender [blender.org] was written on the Amiga. In many ways, the work at Xerox PARC flowed more directly to Amigas than it did to Apples or PCs. It was just more advanced than most people wanted at the time. Pity.

Whatever happened to Bill McEwen? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019732)

That guy is a walking train wreck, I worked with him long ago.

I can't believe anybody would do business with him. There must be a lot of gullible fools out there.

I hadamigas for 16 years (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33019758)

And only gave them up when I emigrated.

Heres to the amiga and the people who made it great, like Jay Miner and Carl sassenrath.

Special metions to Fred Fish and Urban Mueller for making the freely distributable software easily accessible

Proud Amiga user since 1993. (4, Interesting)

drHirudo (1830056) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019768)

The Amiga turned 25 and I am extensively using Amigas since 1993. That's seventeen years. Things changed a lot since the early 1990-ies. First it was the BBSes, where an Amiga with modem more than fine. Then the Internet era came, where I was connecting to the Internet and downloading games and scene demo off Aminet and enjoying them. Then the 68000 line of processors was getting old and slow, but hopefully the PowerPC accelerators came to give the old machines an enormous speed boost. Then new machines appeared based on faster, more powerful and newer processors. And now in 2010 we have more new Amiga machines coming - the Sam 460 and the Amiga X1000. My Amiga history and experience is excellent, so I have no reasons to move to other platforms. Cheers

Useful? (1)

FranTaylor (164577) | more than 3 years ago | (#33019856)

Sure they are cool and retro and all that, but what are/were they actually good for? I mean activities that one might actually get paid for.

The only time I ever saw an Amiga actually doing something useful was at a live show, where an Amiga was used to generate the (admittedly cool looking) video images projected behind the performers. Everything else seems to be just games and standard applications available on any normal computer.

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