Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The story of the Commodore Amiga (updated: now with part 7)

Ars Technica has been writing a series of articles about the history of the Commodore Amiga. For those interested in computer history, this is a fascinating story. More interesting, in many respects, than the stories of Microsoft and Apple.

Here are links to what's been written so far:

I will update this article with additional parts, as they are written (and as I learn about them, of course.)

4 comments:

SCD said...

We HAD an Amiga. A great astrict in the lifetime of personal computers. It was quite excellent, and totally incompatable with everything else. Oh well.

Shamino said...

You can still buy Amigas. Sort of.

According to Wikipedia, when Commodore folded, the assets were bought by Escom, a German PC maker. They sold updated versions of the A1200 and A4000 and released a new model based on the Motorola 68060. Escom tanked in 1997, selling the Amiga assets to Gateway, who have themselves unloaded it.

Today, there is Amiga, Inc. which owns the tech. They have licensed a British computer company to make a PowerPC-based Amiga (the AmigaOne). They were sold in 2005, but it appears they can't be bought today.

Amiga OS version 4 exists and (I'm told) can be run on PCs and PowerPC Macs in addition to the AmigaOne platform. Version 5 is supposedly going to be unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week.

It's actually pretty cool (and a bit disturbing) to see how the fans have kept that platform alive over the last 15 years.

Shamino said...

I did a bit more research since that comment. It appears that the license to manufacture the AmigaOne ended in December 2006, which is why they're not sold today.

AmigaOS 4 appears to be PowerPC only, although I have heard of it running on PCs via Amiga emulators.

I'm still very curious about version 5. It is supposed to bring Amiga tech to a wide variety of hardware, ranging from cell phones and PDAs right up through powerful desktop systems.

Unfortunately, it appears there are currently a bunch of lawsuits going around, so there aren't any details to be found.

SCD said...

I read these articles and really enjoyed them. Thanks!