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The Amiga Turns 25 289

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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The Amiga Turns 25

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  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:42AM (#33019230) Journal

    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.

  • by 3seas ( 184403 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:54AM (#33019270) Homepage Journal

    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 [] and News page [] of the open source project AROS []

  • Interesting (Score:2, Informative)

    by jkeelsnc ( 1102563 ) <<jkeelsnc> <at> <>> on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:54AM (#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.
  • by dotgain ( 630123 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:55AM (#33019276) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by blind biker ( 1066130 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:11AM (#33019318) Journal

    The Amiga was every bit as expandable as the IBM PC [] 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.

  • by Patch86 ( 1465427 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:01AM (#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.

  • by nogginthenog ( 582552 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:03AM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:19AM (#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.

  • by hitmark ( 640295 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @06:09AM (#33019852) Journal

    try the A2000, launched at the same time. []

    5 zorro 2 slots, 2 16-bit isa, 2 8-bit isa. Sadly, it was sold only by way of specialist retailers, and so had less exposure then the A500.

  • by snuf23 ( 182335 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @07:46AM (#33020228)

    It's impressive to find a post with so much BS in it.

    "Even if you managed to attach a hard disk to the stupid edge connector it still needed a floppy disk to bootstrap it"

    You didn't need a floppy to boot off a hard drive with an Amiga. I had a Amiga 500 that booted straight off the HD attached. I also had a 2000 that did the same. This is with 1.3 of the ROM not 2.0 or higher.

    Graphic modes in 320x200 (320x256 PAL) were 32 color base, 64 color with ECS due to half bright mode. And there was HAM (up to 4096) for (mostly) static graphic scans. 16 color was for the 640x200 (640x256 PAL). And yes you could interlace the modes for 320x400 or 640x400. There would be flicker however unless you had a flicker fixer.

    The ST by comparison had 16 colors in 320x200 mode out of a palette of 512 instead of 4096.

    A good PC in '87 had EGA graphics. Animation on PCs at the time as poor vs the Amiga's blitter.

    The only way in '87 you could call the PC as being superior to the Amiga was in terms of business market penetration.

  • by Jeremy Erwin ( 2054 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @12:24PM (#33021572) Journal

    The first mac to come with PCI slots were the Powermacs 7200, 7500,8500, and 9500 (all introduced in August 1995). Apple purchased Next (and the services of Steve Jobs) on December 20, 1996. Besides, Nubus was developed outside of Apple []

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