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History of the Amiga


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They have tons of software for everything... certainly all the stuff you do everyday, web browsing, media, email, IRC, IM...they have a central repository called Aminet - been there since the beginning - which must have pretty much every app in the history of Amiga.

Because the OS has a fully functional on the fly interpreter for native apps (Amigas now use PowerPCs, it used to be 68k), everything from yesteryear runs on the new machines, at a more responsive rate.

Plus the Amiga you saw in the recent vid are full sized, tower versions... you can get ones that fit the mini-ITX form factor boxes (e.g. Shuttle PCs), those ones run fanless. They're just motherboards that can run AmigaOS, you can build your own with the components you want like with any other computer.

If you do want to buy one, probably best to wait for this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sam460ex

though the current "Sams" are out and running AmigaOS just fine now.

Oh and to complicate things further, during the turbulent years a group of programmers split from supporting AmigaOS and made their own one, MorphOS - if you used MUI and NewIcons (add-on features that improved the original Workbench back in the day), then you'll be familiar with this one. MorphOS needs even less resources than AmigaOS, and can run on this:

http://www.vesalia.de/e_efika%5B6512%5D.htm

which you can put into a small shoebox. MorphOS can't do the screen slidy thing though.

Amigas would be great secondary machines to complement your main one.

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From the Sam460ex web site...

Price: the exact price will be announced when the board is available to the user (due the varying USD / EURO exchange rate) it will be in the range of Euro 600 - 650.

Only a few Amiga die-hards are going to fork out that for a ruddy motherboard!

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  • 2 weeks later...
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There are no specific uses for an Amiga nowadays that can't be outclassed by PCs, Macs and Linux boxes.

Even the guy in the above vid said it's aimed for Amiga and tech enthusiasts... those who have been with it since the Commodore days. It will remain a niche product.

It is however, a nippy little OS (the install CD is ~50MB!) that allows you to do general everyday tasks using fewer resources than other systems. Using modern apps on a 400mHz processor with 256MB RAM is impossible on other computers. The OS also handles several things differently that some will prefer over Windows and MacOS.

It's never going to get mainstream appeal again, so mobos will be at a premium as it will only being Amiga peeps who will buy it (though you can run Linux on it). Economies of scale etc.

What made the Amiga phenomenal at the time was that it put the ability to do pretty much anything on the fun/creative side of computing into everybody's hands - the low price point combined with the innovative hardware and software to make this so.

You could write music and create graphics to a high technical quality and produce impressive results, and play games that were streets ahead of any of the competition.

These days you would obviously have to add communications abilities to the list of functions - and media playing as well - but if someone created a machine that cost about £400 (more than consoles but a lot less than a gaming spec PC), and did everything else better than any other single machine on the market, then they will have created the "true" new Amiga.

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What made the Amiga phenomenal at the time was that it put the ability to do pretty much anything on the fun/creative side of computing into everybody's hands - the low price point combined with the innovative hardware and software to make this so.

You could write music and create graphics to a high technical quality and produce impressive results, and play games that were streets ahead of any of the competition.

These days you would obviously have to add communications abilities to the list of functions - and media playing as well - but if someone created a machine that cost about £400 (more than consoles but a lot less than a gaming spec PC), and did everything else better than any other single machine on the market, then they will have created the "true" new Amiga.

You can get a windows PC for not much more than that that'll match console performance for most games and on the productivity side you wouldn't be pushing against its limits the same way we used to on the Amiga. I would've killed for just a 5th extra hardware sound channel to play with in Protracker. I would probably have set fire to an orphanage for 16bit sound output!

Even entry level PCs these days are insanely powerful.

I'd love it if there were a machine that had the same sense of community that surrounded the Amiga but I guess it was a different time and it's just not practical anymore.

EDIT: a mass-market machine with that sense of community, I'm sure there's all sorts of cool, geeky proprietary formats floating around I've no idea about. :rolleyes:

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You can get a windows PC for not much more than that that'll match console performance for most games and on the productivity side you wouldn't be pushing against its limits the same way we used to on the Amiga. I would've killed for just a 5th extra hardware sound channel to play with in Protracker. I would probably have set fire to an orphanage for 16bit sound output!

Even entry level PCs these days are insanely powerful.

I'd love it if there were a machine that had the same sense of community that surrounded the Amiga but I guess it was a different time and it's just not practical anymore.

EDIT: a mass-market machine with that sense of community, I'm sure there's all sorts of cool, geeky proprietary formats floating around I've no idea about. :rolleyes:

Yes, but I think you slightly misunderstood, the strength of the Amiga wasn't the power of the machine, it was its versatility, and the innovation. Things like DPaint animation and protracker really captured people's imagination. You can probably download a freeware paint package that is better featured than DPaint these days in five minutes so a machine has to do something new (like animation was then) and do it in a very sophisticated but simple to understand way.

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Yes, but I think you slightly misunderstood, the strength of the Amiga wasn't the power of the machine, it was its versatility, and the innovation. Things like DPaint animation and protracker really captured people's imagination. You can probably download a freeware paint package that is better featured than DPaint these days in five minutes so a machine has to do something new (like animation was then) and do it in a very sophisticated but simple to understand way.

I get where you're coming from but that's also kind of my point - you can't really get more versatile than the PC these days, a modest machine is powerful enough to do literally everything. You can edit video, produce animation (2D and 3D), use them as samplers, sequencers, mixing desks and synthersisers (even with shitty onboard sound cards - they're a miracle), digital paint studios, DTP workstations... I'm not sure there's anything "new" left, computers now do pretty much everything.

Even the Amiga didn't really do anything new, it was just the most capable machine in that first wave of computers powerful enough to put sequencing / computer animation / video editing etc. in the hands of people who previously couldn't have afforded dedicated equipment. It would be nice to see more software as affordable and cannily put together as Dpaint, Protracker (well, that was free!), AMOS etc. but I don't think there's a need to invent a whole new format to run it on.

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Even the Amiga didn't really do anything new, it was just the most capable machine in that first wave of computers powerful enough to put sequencing / computer animation / video editing etc. in the hands of people who previously couldn't have afforded dedicated equipment.

What the.. I just choked on my cornflakes. Didn't really do anything new??! Like have a full GUI desktop whilst Microsoft were still working on Windows 1.0 (which wasnt even GUI arguably). Supported 4096 colours at resolutions the PC could only dream of (most were lucky if they had EGA in 16 colours). It also included 4 channel 8 bit stereo audio and had a genuine preemptive multitasking OS.

It still has features that arent common to any other OS, like the RAM disk (which I sorely missed when I migrated to Wintel computers), and the ability to simultaneously run multiple applications at different resolutions.

Other than that I agree with the points you're making. It was hugely versatile, and that arguably didnt help. I remember it first being aggressively marketed as a business computer before they finally buckled and realised there was a huge market for games. It was genuinely a jack of all trades, and could have mastered any of them, but .. ah. It was too far ahead for its time.

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What the.. I just choked on my cornflakes. Didn't really do anything new??! Like have a full GUI desktop whilst Microsoft were still working on Windows 1.0 (which wasnt even GUI arguably). Supported 4096 colours at resolutions the PC could only dream of (most were lucky if they had EGA in 16 colours). It also included 4 channel 8 bit stereo audio and had a genuine preemptive multitasking OS.

It still has features that arent common to any other OS, like the RAM disk (which I sorely missed when I migrated to Wintel computers), and the ability to simultaneously run multiple applications at different resolutions.

Other than that I agree with the points you're making. It was hugely versatile, and that arguably didnt help. I remember it first being aggressively marketed as a business computer before they finally buckled and realised there was a huge market for games. It was genuinely a jack of all trades, and could have mastered any of them, but .. ah. It was too far ahead for its time.

And all the updates after the A500 were bungled was one of the biggest problems - far too little in terms of advancement, and far too late.

I remember when the A1200 came out and I'd just got our first multimedia PC as well (which admittedly was four times the price). Even though Workbench was miles ahead of Windows 3.1 still, everything else looked stupidly outdated and it was being touted as cutting edge multimedia.

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What the.. I just choked on my cornflakes. Didn't really do anything new??! Like have a full GUI desktop whilst Microsoft were still working on Windows 1.0 (which wasnt even GUI arguably). Supported 4096 colours at resolutions the PC could only dream of (most were lucky if they had EGA in 16 colours). It also included 4 channel 8 bit stereo audio and had a genuine preemptive multitasking OS.

It still has features that arent common to any other OS, like the RAM disk (which I sorely missed when I migrated to Wintel computers), and the ability to simultaneously run multiple applications at different resolutions.

Crossed wires I think - I didn't mean the features of the hardware or OS, more what you could do with it.

Everything you could do with the Amiga you could already do on specialist equipment. The Amiga was just the first time you could do stuff digitally on a consumer aimed computer at a fraction of the cost - that's what made it special.

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Like have a full GUI desktop whilst Microsoft were still working on Windows 1.0 (which wasnt even GUI arguably).

Not new. Systems with "full gui desktop" previous to the Amiga:

Atari ST

Apple Mac

Apple Lisa

Sony Hit-Bit F700

Epson Taxi

Xerox Star

Xerox 6085

Xerox Alto (the originator)

etc.

Supported 4096 colours at resolutions the PC could only dream of

Systems previous to the Amiga supporting 4096 colors:

MO5 NR

Sony SMC 777 - 777C

Dec Rainbow 1000

DEC 380 Pro

etc.

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Systems previous to the Amiga supporting 4096 colors:

MO5 NR

Sony SMC 777 - 777C

Dec Rainbow 1000

DEC 380 Pro

etc.

I dare say most of these supported 4096 colours but couldn't display them all at once, plus learn to spell colours. :)

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plus learn to spell colours. :hat:

How about you don't make assumptions as to where I'm from? And learn that British English spellings are used....well in the UK? And out in the big wide world....that's how we spell it in the US and most of the rest of the English speaking world.

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/color :)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Color :)

http://www.w3schools.com/html/html_colornames.asp :lol:

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Anyway marty your such an atari fanboy that your input in an Amiga thread isn't really warranted.

LOL, I'm a professional industry historian, researcher, and archiver. Hardly a "fanboy" of any one brand, and sorry but Amiga's early history is intimately tied to Atari Inc., and RJ's little video rant is completely fabricated as stated. Next? :lol:

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From reading your posts though it does come across as pretty one-sided.

Anyway have gone off topic so i'll leave it there.

How so? That would assume I hadn't done any proper (re neutral) research on the subject. I'm not taking offense at it, please elaborate. And discussion of Amiga history is the topic of the thread. :lol:

Everything I posted is based off of the actual court case records, including copies of the original contracts between Atari Inc. and Amiga, as well as direct court testimony by people on both sides including Amiga co-founder and CEO Dave Morse. My research partner literally paid to get copies of the records from the Santa Clara (California) Federal Court system. Likewise the internal documents regarding the Mickey project and the members of the Mickey team we managed to track down. We even interviewed people from the Commodore side (pre purchase). Everything I posted before is based directly off all the above. I go by facts, not by stories and not by any singular source. I (along with my partner) spent a lot of time and expense digging this material up, crosschecking, cross referencing, and so on to get to the point we're at now.

RJ was a GUI guy, he wasn't involved in anything on the business level (i.e. negotiations) and not involved in any of these proceedings. And as he's directly stated before, when it comes to between the facts and a good story he'll choose a good story. He loves telling a good story and working a crowd, as evidenced by the video.

Likewise, that other older Ars Technica article series on the history of Amiga (not the one given in this thread) was very poorly researched when it came to the early material.

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You can't release a PC tower and call it an Amiga, that's just not on.

Huh? <Looks down to his what-now-might-be-considered-PC-style-Amiga-1500-but-which-was-released-in-1990-before-PCs-had-style> I think you'll find they've been around a long time - the original 1000 was "PC style". :o

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If they can't cram it all into a slightly oversized keyboard then it's just not the same.

It's a shame the Amiga 1200 was released in this way, really.

Yes, I know it was obviously built to a price, but the machine was so expandable/moddable, that the case was too small.

I remember mine had a 50mhz 030 card with 6 megs of expansion RAM in the trapdoor slot, and an 80 meg hard drive crammed inside the machine. There was so little room for the drive that the instructions for installing the thing recommended removing the metal shielding protecting the main PCB and instead replacing it with the cardboard from a cereal packet! I kid you not!

Also connected was a Zappo CD ROM drive, which I had plugged in the PCMCIA port.

To get the Amiga to turn on I had to use a Goliath power supply, as the supplied PSU didn't supply enough juice.

Anyway, I had a nice fast Amiga, but the stability was terrible. It kept overheating and resetting. I learned a few tricks to avoid invalidated hard drives (as writing to the disk when the Amiga rebooted would 9 times out of 10 invalidate the disk) - which involved writing to the RAM disk during heavy disk work, and saving VERY often - something I still do on Macs and PCs today.

About 5 years ago I moved all of this into a Power Tower, and whilst stability has improved, it certainly doesn't look as nice as that lovely wedge shaped all-in-one keyboard.

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Huh? <Looks down to his what-now-might-be-considered-PC-style-Amiga-1500-but-which-was-released-in-1990-before-PCs-had-style> I think you'll find they've been around a long time - the original 1000 was "PC style". :(

I knew some geek would mention that :D

It's a shame the Amiga 1200 was released in this way, really.

Yes, I know it was obviously built to a price, but the machine was so expandable/moddable, that the case was too small.

I remember mine had a 50mhz 030 card with 6 megs of expansion RAM in the trapdoor slot, and an 80 meg hard drive crammed inside the machine. There was so little room for the drive that the instructions for installing the thing recommended removing the metal shielding protecting the main PCB and instead replacing it with the cardboard from a cereal packet! I kid you not!

Also connected was a Zappo CD ROM drive, which I had plugged in the PCMCIA port.

To get the Amiga to turn on I had to use a Goliath power supply, as the supplied PSU didn't supply enough juice.

Anyway, I had a nice fast Amiga, but the stability was terrible. It kept overheating and resetting. I learned a few tricks to avoid invalidated hard drives (as writing to the disk when the Amiga rebooted would 9 times out of 10 invalidate the disk) - which involved writing to the RAM disk during heavy disk work, and saving VERY often - something I still do on Macs and PCs today.

About 5 years ago I moved all of this into a Power Tower, and whilst stability has improved, it certainly doesn't look as nice as that lovely wedge shaped all-in-one keyboard.

Interesting stuff - was the cereal packet supplied with the hard drive? :lol:

Was the Amiga originally designed to be CPU upgradeable, or was that a later thing from the community? I thought it was only really supposed to support 'obvious' upgrades like extra RAM, hard disks, CD ROM drives etc.

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Hehe, got me. :)

Still, to add ram to an A1000 you had to plug a huge metal thing into the side externally, just like on an A500. Still, i love the A1000 case, awesome little keyboard you could store underneath the (for it's time) tiny case. Looks sleek and relatively modern even today.

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I knew some geek would mention that :)

Interesting stuff - was the cereal packet supplied with the hard drive? :)

Was the Amiga originally designed to be CPU upgradeable, or was that a later thing from the community? I thought it was only really supposed to support 'obvious' upgrades like extra RAM, hard disks, CD ROM drives etc.

*laughs* No, I had to supply the front of a Frosties box myself.

You're probably right about the CPU upgrade. The Motorola 68k chips generated far too much heat to work properly in the standard wedge case.

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Still, to add ram to an A1000 you had to plug a huge metal thing into the side externally, just like on an A500. Still, i love the A1000 case, awesome little keyboard you could store underneath the (for it's time) tiny case. Looks sleek and relatively modern even today.

It is indeed. I rescued an early one that has 256k RAM onboard, 256k add-on RAM. I've never had it boot properly, as I've never found a physical Kickstart 1.0 (!) disk, but I don't care on account of the beauty of the thing (and the amazingness of the case inscriptions, which I didn't know about when I first opened it up).

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It is indeed. I rescued an early one that has 256k RAM onboard, 256k add-on RAM. I've never had it boot properly, as I've never found a physical Kickstart 1.0 (!) disk, but I don't care on account of the beauty of the thing (and the amazingness of the case inscriptions, which I didn't know about when I first opened it up).

what's even more amazing is that a lot of the games actually work on 256K ram!

i just used a 1.3 kickstart disk, works just fine.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I remember mine had a 50mhz 030 card with 6 megs of expansion RAM in the trapdoor slot, and an 80 meg hard drive crammed inside the machine. There was so little room for the drive that the instructions for installing the thing recommended removing the metal shielding protecting the main PCB and instead replacing it with the cardboard from a cereal packet! I kid you not!

Those were good days! I bought a 68040 running at 25mHz (apparently better than the 030/50 mHz), I left the trapdoor open and had to install little paper stilts to raise the whole thing to allow adequate airflow.

I also eventually moved it all into a Power Tower, that was my first time taking apart and assembling a "PC"...was good trainig for later on. Those fishlights were something though, eh?

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