Thursday, March 22, 2012

Commodore Amiga is back ... well, not really



    Today I read an interesting article that peaked my interest. It seems that Commodore USA, LLC is producing a new line of Commodore and Amiga branded computers. As a former Amiga user, I was initially wary of the news. You see, the death throws that costumed the original Commodore company took a very long time. For years no one was certain if there would be support or not. That is until the company was liquidated and sold for spare parts. Until now ... sort of ...

    Amiga computers had a very fanatical fan base. More so even than modern Apple Fanboys. The cost/benefit ratio couldn't be beat, that was of course in the late 80's. It had modern graphics, a stable OS, and a host of features just not found on PC's or Mac's of the time. For what it was, what is used to be, it truly was a great computer to have and a joy to use.

Leached from uber-leet.com

    As you can see from the above graphic, it was ahead of its time, and in many ways. It had true multitasking and a very nice UI, for the time. Today it may seem clunky at best, but in the 80's, it was a grand design.

    Fast forward to March 2012, nearly 30 years later, and you get this:



    The above is a screen shot borrowed from the User Forums. The Forum itself was hidden under "software support" on the site, but I digress. Look very carefully at the picture above. Notice anything?

    That's right, its just plain 'ol Linux with a Commodore Logo in the top left. In fact, it doesn't do anything that can't be done with any other linux distribution. Their selling point is "pre-installed software". This includes some 30+ games, that I for one will probably never play. I am fairly certain this practice is still called installing "bloatware". In fact, the install ISO images (thats right, plural) total 7.67 gigs just to install the "base" system. That is before any updates are run, and their are updates.

    Now, I have no problems with Linux. In fact I use Linux (Ubuntu actually) everyday. I don't even have a problem with an Amiga emulator or even an Amiga "theme" for Gnome. In all reality thats all you get with this. A theme and build package that is still in beta and requires multiple restarts to get the desktop anything close to decent.

    This is not just an affront to the Linux community, or the Amiga fans that they are taking advantage of, this is an affront to history.

    Is there any saving grace to this so-called operating system? No.

    Is there any way to save it? Yes actually, there is. Here's how:

    First, stop what you are doing. Up to this point you have sullied the name Amiga for all time. Stop it.

    Next, you can still use Linux as a base. Apple and Google both did it. You can too.

    Bring something "New"to the table. This is was what made Amiga computers great. It was new, different, exciting and it set the tech world on fire as major companies struggled to keep up. Truly build a new OS, don't just skin an old one. If you polish a turd all you get is a shiny turd.

    Plan for the future. The world of technology is changing at an ever increasing rate. The world is going mobile and if your not ready, you will be left in the dust. Just as the original Amiga was some 30 years ago.

    For now though, all this is merely a "theme", and not a very good one at that. In fact, its less than that, its marketing. There is still a loyal fan base who hold out hope of a return to the glory days. This is not the answer they seek, nor is it anything new. It actually reminds me of the original Commodore company of yesteryear. Make as much as you can as fast as you can, and let the dust settle where it may.

    I for one, am truly disappointed.

    Until next time...