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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 piggydoggy ( 804252 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @02:53AM (#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.
  • 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.

  • Why Amiga? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by should_be_linear ( 779431 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:33AM (#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:Sigh... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:46AM (#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.

  • by sznupi ( 719324 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @03:57AM (#33019458) Homepage

    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...

  • by NotInTheBox ( 235496 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:00AM (#33019468) Homepage

    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.

  • by (Score.5, Interestin ( 865513 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:49AM (#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).

  • by jazzmans ( 622827 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @04:58AM (#33019658) Journal

    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!

  • by smallfries ( 601545 ) on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:07AM (#33019680) Homepage

    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.

  • by DigitAl56K ( 805623 ) * on Sunday July 25, 2010 @05:10AM (#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.

  • A single company can't compete with unique hardware vs commodity hardware

    Yet all video game consoles of this generation use unique hardware.

Nothing ever becomes real till it is experienced -- even a proverb is no proverb to you till your life has illustrated it. -- John Keats