My first computer – and the product which helped set me down the career path I now enjoy was a Commodore 64. Truth be told I was fascinated by electronic calculators at age 11 and then Pong and Space Invaders captivated me and this love of technology culminated with my parents being nice enough to get me one of these computers at around age 15. I remember spending hours in front of the TV with this thing plugged in as I wrote my own video games – trying to emulate what I would play in the arcade.
Long story short – around the same time as I learned how to program this computer, a consultant came to TMC where at the time I ran the mail-room. He installed a computer system but never came back to program it. I gave it a shot, computerized what was my father’s company and outsourced my mail-room job to the printer. Good times.
Fast forward to today – the Commodore 64 lives and more importantly it is new and improved sporting a dual-core 525 Atom processor and Nvidia graphics, Ubunto Linux and Commodore OS 1.0 (seems ironic – if the company didn’t get put out of business by IBM we’d be on version 128 or so by now). Oh and by the way, all of these models look eerily similar to the original models.
As you may recall, I first wrote about the come-back of Commodore in December of 2005 – and its great to see the company finally fulfilled its vision – but boy did it take a long time.
The company says you can run all Commodore-compatible software, regardless if it happens to be of the 8-bit, 16-bit or 32-bit variety.
One important point from the company’s FAQ is they sadly can’t repair the vintage Commodore computer from your youth.
Here is more on the company’s new OS:
Our new Commodore operating system, will be a unique Commodore and AMIGA centric Linux distribution, that will grow over time into something far greater. Commodore OS will not be your run of the mill Linux distribution. Every consideration will be given to retaining the look and feel of the classic Workbench environment, however there are limits to what is possible at this time, and we do not seek to re-invent the wheel. Our sights are set on creating an operating system environment competitive with the likes of those offered by Microsoft and Apple. An operating system that is inviting and accessible to new and old Commodore owners featuring modern day paradigms. With the inclusion of a plethora of the best open source games and applications, we intend to champion the open source movement and show the world what open source is capable of.
I am the perfect candidate for this computer – in theory, I would pick one up and find those floppies from way back when (yeah right) and finish my program writing from where I left off. But why? I would no more want one of these computers than I would want a Model-T to drive around on a daily basis. Sure there is nostalgia and potential collectability value here but I would be just as happy with a Commodore emulator on a tablet or PC – if I even needed such a thing at all.
So here is an awesome product which brought me back about 30 years with no raison d’etre. Its sad really as I expect history to repeat itself sometime soon. So if you want one, act fast.