My first personal computer was Commodore VIC-20, or as a geek I should say my first love. With 5KB of RAM (3.5KB for the user) I had to learn Assembly to do a serious game programming. These were the happy 80’s, the 8-bit computer era. From VIC-20 I moved to the Commodore 64 and then to the Commodore 128 (My first dual CPU machine ). In My final electronic project at high-school I built an electrical circuit based on Analog to Digital converter chip. I developed a Sound Sampling application (using Assembly language) that was able to record 12 seconds of voice filling the 2 64KB banks of the Commodore 128 memory (It was before the days that you could connect a Microphone to a PC). My next computer was the amazing Commodore Amiga 500. Amiga was a revolution. The first time I turned it on, I had to go to the manual and read how to use the mouse and how to open and close Windows. Programming the Amiga was a totally different story comparing to the Commodore 64/128. The Amiga had a real multi-tasking OS, with advanced libraries for graphics, sound, file-system and multi-tasking. I’ve learn C/C++ and system programming using the Amiga. When I compiled code, I had to switch the compiler diskette and the target diskette several times. To make my life easier I had to buy another 3.5 floppy disk. Later came my first 20MB hard disk and then I bought the Amiga 3000. I also upgrade my Amiga 3000 to the extreme Motorola 68060 processor. I ran NetBSD on the Amiga 3000 and also Mac OS using emulation. To do my university exercises I used either the NetBSD (for Unix based courses) and a PC emulation (PC-Task).
Now Commodore is coming back, what does this mean?
To my understanding it means a new set of machines targeting the enthusiastic home audience with Commodore look & feel. It also should mean an emphasize in graphics, productivity and creativity. The new Commodore family is based on Intel CPUs, running Ubuntu 10.04 LTS. According to the site a Commodore OS 1.0, along with emulation functionality and classic game package, will be mailed in the future.
Commodore OS 1.0 is a Linux based distribution just like Apple Mac OS X (& iOS) is based on Darwin (Unix-like OS) and Google Android (modified Linux Kernel). They did not take the old Amiga OS and upgrade it to be a more modern OS. It means that currently the new Commodore Company is mostly branding & marketing. Maybe we will see some extension to the underlined Linux as we see in the case of iOS and Android. They say that old Commodore applications will run, probably by using existing Commodore/Amiga emulation software. I might be able to run again (on a real machine) some of the games I developed that can still be found on the web. I wonder if I can get a dollar for each download from a new Commodore marketplace.
This is another company that plays in the current changing market, an interesting times, like it used to be back in the 80’s.