back to article Commodore outs Linux-running Amiga Mini desktop

Commodore's Amiga OS was rapidly out-evolved by the Mac OS, and the latest Amiga hardware seems caught behind the Apple curve too. Enter the Commodore Amiga Mini, a squat, compact desktop PC that owes its looks to the Mac Mini - of three years ago. Like 2009's Mac Mini, its footprint is 197 x 197mm square, and it's 75mm tall …

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  1. RAMChYLD
    Boffin

    Core i7?

    No thanks. But slap a Power7 CPU on it, and I'll consider tho.

  2. RobbinMcDobbin
    Unhappy

    AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

    http://www.commodoreusa.net/CUSA_OS_Vision_Download.aspx

    You can get their amazing custom linux version from their

    Windows/IIS/.NET powered website.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

      Just out of curiosity, is that observation supported by some form of evidence beyond it serving .aspx pages, which can just as easily be done from a linux distro running the open source mono framework, or is it just an "it's not PHP so it's the devil's work" sort of statement?

      1. RobbinMcDobbin
        Meh

        Re: AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

        Was from the server headers.

        Server: Microsoft-IIS/7.5

        X-AspNet-Version: 4.0.30319

        X-Powered-By: ASP.NET

        I'm indifferent on the tech but they're not using Commodore OS

      2. CD001

        Re: AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

        http://uptime.netcraft.com/up/graph?site=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.commodoreusa.net

        According to Netcraft it's Windows Server 2008 running IIS 7.5 - so there you go.

    2. Captain Scarlet
      Childcatcher

      Re: AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

      Wow the website also has a retro feel to it, just look at the background and the logo's

      Sorry i aint buying a piece of metal with Amiga grinded into it.

    3. Jolyon Smith

      Re: AmigaOS now just a gnome theme

      No, Amiga OS is NOT "OS Vision". Sadly it's not Intel either.

      http://www.amigaos.net/

  3. Mint Sauce
    Facepalm

    Hmm

    It's small, square and has the word 'mini' in the name. I can hear them spooling up the legal teams as I type...

    1. Lamont Cranston

      Re: Hmm

      Rounded corners, man - Apple can't lose! While they're at it, they can sue the makers of my dining table.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Gave up reading at

    "Commodore's Amiga OS was rapidly out-evolved by the Mac OS"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Gave up reading at

      Surely he meant BeOS?

    2. Nuno trancoso
      FAIL

      Re: Gave up reading at

      Almost same here. Next time reviewer wants to take stabs at iconic things, at least get freaking facts straight.

      The last REAL Amiga is the A4000 circa 1992. Apple hardware of said time would have been a Quadra 900.

      As far as OS goes, comparing AOS3x to System 7, sigh, you'd have had to use both to understand how vastly inferior Apples junk was...

      As far as HW goes, Amiga did get 060's from 3rd party that made the 040's in Quadras look like snails on valium. That's why many a "Mac lover" back then bought Amigas and jammed Shapeshifter/Fusion on them. That was virtualization beeing done back in the days... Also cheaper to buy a fully kitted Amiga and a "dead Mac to nick ROM from" than to buy Apples overpriced stuff.

      So, get your facts straight. The junk you're reviewing is some PC of sorts, whether it's good or bad is of no relevance to the Amiga line. Just slapping the brand on a box makes not said box an Amiga...

      1. Giles Jones Gold badge

        Re: Gave up reading at

        Well, it was actually the 4000T that was probably the last design.

        68060 was pretty good, but they did have to remove some features from the silicon that had to be done in software. It wasn't a mass market chip either, no other desktops were using it that I know of. Everyone else was moving on to PPC.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Facepalm

      Re: Gave up reading at

      I've programmed under AmigaOS and stabbed my eyes out with System 7.

      AmigaOS wasn't the one with each program having it's own fixed memory size set with the file preferences. System 7 wouldn't know a DataType if one fell on its head. Guess which OS had co-operative multitasking. Etc etc...

    4. Giles Jones Gold badge

      Re: Gave up reading at

      Indeed. Amiga had pre-emptive multitasking and a micro kernel in 1985. It took Mac OS until 2001 to get something similar.

      Oh and it was colour, how many years was the Mac only available in mono?

    5. Kaitain

      Re: Gave up reading at

      Agreed. The journalist seems deeply ignorant about what happened in the 80s and early 90s. Commodore failed because of poor management and marketing, not because they were eclipsed technically. Indeed, the 1985 Amiga was streets ahead of the 1984 Macintosh - really on a different planet. It was the first true multimedia machine. Sadly the mainstream market wasn't really ready for it. In a world without easily-available content, no cheap digital cameras, poor network connectivity etc, many people struggled to understand what the machine was actually FOR. At that time most people used a computer either for business or for games, and that was pretty much it.

      Whilst Apple might have popularized the icon interface, Commodore and Atari were the companies that took that ball and ran with it. The Amiga is arguably the single most influential machine of the 80s. Its architecture - especially its custom chips and its fundamental multitasking and coprocessor approach - are the ancestors of the modern day PC and Macintosh much more than the Macs and PCs of that era are. I would say that the modern Macintosh is the descendant of the Amiga; it just happens to have an Apple logo on it.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    "Poor man's Mac Mini"?

    at $2495?

    More like poor choice of subtitle.

    1. Chad H.
      FAIL

      Re: "Poor man's Mac Mini"?

      You do realise prices start from $345 right?

  6. King Jack
    FAIL

    Commodore, let it die already. Or come out with something as ground breaking as your past machines.

  7. Paul Hayes 1

    amigaos

    proper AmigaOS is still under development:

    http://www.amigaos.net/

    And it's owned by a company who have nothing to do with this Commodore USA outfit.

    Commodore USA can't exactly be thought of as Commodore to me, it's just someone who has acquired the name and using it to sell what seem like massively overpriced x86 PCs. I have to say, their GUI does look quite funky.

    1. Flash_Penguin
      FAIL

      Re: amigaos

      Yes,

      But Amiga OS will be irrelevant till they bring it to the x86 architecture.

      And that is a crying shame

      1. Shonko Kid
        FAIL

        x86?!?!?

        they should just skip x86 and go straight to ARM. x86 is irrelevant.

        1. Flash_Penguin
          Go

          Re: x86?!?!?

          Ill take my fail and give you a thumbs up.

          I'm loving my cheap hannspad tablet with ICS on it.

          My boss has an ASUS transformer that I'm waiting for him to get bored of.

          A Desktop Linux on that and I'll be off.

          Hmmm ChampMan 01/02 in Wine on ARM to much to hope for?

          If Libreoffice do a good job of the ARM port that thing could be awesome.

          I'll always struggle for a projector though, until HDMi becomes standard on them.

  8. Flash_Penguin
    Go

    I'd buy it for a HTPC

    Would look good under the TV.

    And just to have something again with the Amiga logo, a piece of hardware I adored. Shame that we cant got the good bits of the Amiga OS back into a Linux flavour.

    I'll have a look at their version

    1. dogged
      Thumb Up

      Re: I'd buy it for a HTPC

      I agree. It's actually got room for a physical disc player. Throw in some networked tuners (I forget the name but there's a networked tuner-farm box available for not too much cash) and this could be great as an HTPC.

      I'd have considered buying and stripping the crapware OS off a Mac Mini for this had they not abandoned physical media but no, they were determined to make the damn thing effectively useless...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        It's a standard case

        The case is a Streacom F1C with extra bits of engraving. A clean one is usually about 70 quid. Add mini-itx mobo, psu etc. to taste.

        1. dogged

          Re: It's a standard case

          Brilliant. Thanks, AC.

  9. GitMeMyShootinIrons

    That's a pricey box...

    ... even though you aren't paying the M$ tax and are buying a Linux distro with a funky frontend.

    Hmmm. Expensive box with an open source OS with a pretty GUI. A bit like Apple's Mac range then.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's a pricey box...

      How clever, witty an insightful. That must have taken ages for you to think up.

      But you're so cool managing to slag off apple in a thread that has nothing to do with apple.

      I shall bow down to superior wit and intelligence. You troll

      1. emmanuel goldstein

        Re: That's a pricey box...

        yes, a lot cooler than your new iPad

  10. Mike Brown

    but can i play.....

    sensible soccer, or cannon fodder on it?

    1. CD001

      Re: but can i play.....

      Or Project-X, Xenon 2, Agony, Elf, Legend, Civilisation, Megalomania, B-17 Flying Fortress, Moonstone (complete with bugs)... 'appy dayz

      1. Sandtitz Silver badge
        Happy

        You sure can!

        - I've played Xenon 2, Sensible Soccer, and Cannon Fodder with a PC, because all of them were ported way back then to DOS, and Civilization originated from DOS. Sorry to blow your fantasy.

        Actually I still play Civ for Windows (from 1993) on my Win7 laptop - natively. Another beautiful example of Microsoft's vision in creating long lasting API's and compatibility.

  11. John 48
    Happy

    The VIC slim on the other hand

    ...is quite a nice take on the "all in the keyboard" theme. Infinitely better than the "all in the monitor" designs that seem to be common elsewhere.

  12. Gordon 10 Silver badge

    Oh ffs

    Wtf are they playing at? That looks like a trashy far eastern oem mac-mini clone with some Amiga and commodore labels slapped on it.

    If you are going to rip off a mac mini at least make it something better than I could pick up online myself.

  13. richard 7
    Thumb Down

    I can se a possible punchup from other quarters here

    I may be wrong but...

    When it all went south. Commodore went to Tulip and after some wrangling Amiga ended up with Escom/GW2k. Commodore languished in obscurity while Amiga actually went of for some time.

    I'm not sure who Amiga is with now, I suspect its H&P, certainly AmigaOS is and they have been vicious about trademark issues in the past. I'm expecting/hoping this is a licenced product but if not there may be fireworks.

    Lot of people forget that Commodore != Amiga for a LONG time.

    And to be fair, Amiga was until CBM shagged it up headed for greatness. The 4000 range were closer to the workstations of the day than the personal computers, and the 4000 was half the machine is should have been given Haynie was looking at SMP systems for the machine that was dumbed down to make the 4000. On top of that in some markets they were starting to supplant PCs, Auz being one of them. I'd go so far to say that its an excellent demonstration of what happens when clueless suits are allowed to make technical decisions.

    Also think its time to let it die already. Amiga stood for innovation not 'me too' and they need to be looking at other avenues. Given the monay available and the player you are against you'll need to do something really special to even get back to being a niche system.

    Amiga OS still exists, as does AROS and MorphOS, but again, all also-ran products now.

    Tis a nice looking box mind.

    1. richard 7

      Re: I can se a possible punchup from other quarters here

      Having a look about I spotted: Amiga® trademark used under exclusive worldwide license by Commodore USA, LLC for its line of AIO (All-In-One) keyboard, desktop and HTPC computers, and is the trademark of Amiga Inc., registered in the United States and other countries.

      SO nix the first part of my comment.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Headmaster

    Could have had it all

    Agree with the previous poster. The Amiga was making serious inroads in TV production and certain graphics applications. Even Nasa were using them (and I believe still had some running until a few years back). This was at a time where Linux was only used by men with beards and personal hygiene problems and the Mac was only being taken seriously in the DTP environment.

    I'm not saying things would have ended up differently but I hope the suits that took Commodore down kick themselves when they look at how much money Apple now has.

    1. richard 7

      Re: Could have had it all

      I beleive NASA had a number of 2000's that drove the wall displays at Kennedy or somewhere like that.

      I kinda maintain a half interest in it and from time to time you'll see a batch of machines pop up, all same spec, same price, same age and its normally something like this. There were a shedload of CD32's and CDTVs a while back from the transport museum. Less and less of them now though, hell 500s are now worth money

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Holmes

        Re: Could have had it all

        "I beleive NASA had a number of 2000's that drove the wall displays at Kennedy or somewhere like that."

        More than that. I read an absolutely fascinating article on a website that I now can't locate that interviewed a Nasa engineer who had a whole department kitted out with Amigas that were used for receiving and processing data from certain satellites/shuttle missions.

        Just had a Google and can't find the precise article but this is close enough:

        http://obligement.free.fr/articles_traduction/amiganasa_en.php

    2. Christian Berger

      Re: Could have had it all

      Well the main problem was that they refused to implement networking. So it was _very_ hard to get onto the Internet with an Amiga. They did have a multitasking unixoid operating system so it should have been fairly simple, but they just refused to do so. That was probably their downfall. They could have entered into the workstation/graphical market that way.

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        Re: Could have had it all

        Although I'm still awaiting publication of the follow-up to Commodore: A Company on the Edge, my feeling was that the Amiga was killed because Commodore decided to market it entirely in the computers-that-connect-to-the-television category so it became known as a high-end games machine and then the consoles became an easier way to play high-end games.

        It's not that a properly supported Amiga would inevitably lose to Windows on the desktop so much as that Commodore never let it compete.

    3. Tankboy
      Pint

      Re: Could have had it all

      As late as 2000, the US Army was still using the Commodore for weapons training (Weaponeer). The kids didn't know what to make of having to put a cartridge in the back...

    4. Kaitain

      Re: Could have had it all

      Yes, if Commodore had survived and continued to develop the Amiga, it might have thrived in the internet era. They were just sadly ahead of their time - creating the world's best multimedia machine at a time where there was no large demand for one.

  15. Eponymous Cowherd
    Thumb Down

    Barest of bare bones

    Looking at the spec for the Bare bones option for $345

    You get a case and BD drive. That's it. No motherboard, HDD, memory, cpu.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Barest of bare bones

      I considered the BareBones option of the C64x, at least then I could source and spec my own components, and have a nice retro media centre PC.

      However the barebones Amiga just reminds me of this - http://www.ebay.com/itm/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=150767990772&_trksid=p2992.m753

      Considering selling my Mac Mini G4 gathering dust to some Amiga fans to put MorphOS on.

  16. Lars Silver badge
    Pint

    I must admit

    The Amiga was a stunning experience then, long ago, and I don't think I have seen anything since then the same way. Age may have affected me but it's really hard to find anything really new to day.

  17. John Stirling

    Death of Commodore/Amiga

    I vaguely remember Commodore proudly announcing the appointment of the man behind the PCJr to head up their commercial proposition shortly before they destroyed their market by cost cutting all their best new products into uselessness.

    He single handedly destroyed IBM in the PC world for years, and then destroyed Commodore completely. I can only assume he interviewed well.

    I can't remember his name, but I do remember being rather annoyed at the time, as I was a proper Amiga fanboi - long before these apple fanbois, or fandroids got going. The real war was Amiga/Amstrad or C64/Spectrum before that.

    These modern fanbois don't know they're born....

    Somewhere I probably still have reams of 'C' containing the entire Amiga OS. Well the GUI part anyway.

    And this product (to provide some vague justification for a rambling rant)?

    Nah, don't think I'll bother thanks, but good luck to them if they can get some money out of punters.

  18. HFoster

    Well that case gives me an idea...

    Does anyone produce mini ITX PPC motherboards? Because sod buying the full unit when you could potentially build your own PPC-powered mini Amiga clone, whack AmigaOS4 on it and have fun.

  19. This post has been deleted by its author

  20. SpaMster

    How Much?!?

    Thought this was pretty cool until I saw the price tag, seriously how the hell are they justifying that price?!? I'll stick to my 1200 thanks

  21. Frank Bitterlich
    Coffee/keyboard

    Priced like a high-end machine...

    ... and looking like some cheap Chinese knock-off Mac mini clone.

    And the website looks like a flashback to the 1980s. Was half expecting the "Best viewed with Netscape Navigator and at least 256 colors" badge.

  22. PKS
    Happy

    NASA did use an A2000 farm to process telemetry data.

    I did an article on NASA in the early 90's on their use of the Amiga for the Dutch Amiga Magazine and can confirm said use.

    NASA had a lab of Amiga 2000 units fitted out with 2 types of NASA made custom Zorro II boards that received raw telemetry data from rocket launches and shuttle payloads. The A2000's would process that data, format it and pipe it to the screens in mission control for use there. (Not just the main screens but also the consoles)

    They loved the setup as it had no problems with handling the data load and the time were considering upgrading to the A4000. Unfortunately, Commodore's demise put a damper on that.

    The lab was tucked away on the military side of KSC in one of the hangars. I forget which one.

    The freeware SystemInfo app for Amiga correctly identified these NASA boards.

    NASA had approached Apple first but they were apparently unwilling to provide the spsc on amongst others their bus architecture. So Commodore was the next step. CBM was more than willing to help out with specs and set them up with full developer access.

    I miss the Amiga, that system was so far ahead of it's time. I enjoyed my ZX Speccy but when I bought an A1000 it was like a new world opened up. That machine awoke my creatiivity. I later upgraded to an A2000 and subsequently an A4000. I had that until a few years ago, even though it had a 220V PSU and I was never able to find a 110V for it. Way back the A2000 and A4000 were hooked up with the Zorro-II ethernet card and AmiTCP. I can still remember surfing with AWeb and making webpages with CygnusEd and HTMLHelper.

    To talk to Dave Haynie and have him recant how they'd get the snowplows to remove the speedbumps on the parkinglot by piling snow on top of them was priceless...

  23. Keep Refrigerated

    "Enter the Commodore Amiga Mini, a squat, compact desktop PC that owes its looks to the Mac Mini..."

    I feel a great disturbance in the force, as if millions of lawyers suddenly cried out in joy...

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Meh

    It's the hardware, stupid!

    The thing that made the Amiga great was the hardware: when PCs were doing good to have simple FM synthesis, or *maybe* 8 bit PCM, the Amiga had multiple channels of variable-rate PCM, with envelope modulation. At a time when PCs had dumb frame buffer graphics, or *maybe* simple line drawing hardware, Amigas had hardware accelerated 2D blitting and sprites, and the ability to switch video pages and modes on a scanline by scanline basis. At a time when PCs had very SMALL framebuffer memories (tens of kilobytes to maybe hundreds of kilobytes), Amigas had megabytes of chipRAM that could be used a frame buffer.

    Yes, the Amiga OS was multitasking, etc. But it was the hardware that allowed a 7.9MHz 68K to whup up on X86 CPUs, even after years had passed and the X86s were an order of magnitude faster.

    Now-a-days, what do you get? The same video and audio hardware I can get in my PC.

    If *anybody* wants to build "the Amiga for the 21st century" they are going to have to do something special at the hardware level (and that will mean it won't be commodity hardware, and thus not cheap). The PS3 "coulda been a contenda" had Sony truly wanted to be in the home computer market, not the video game market, but... they didn't. If somebody did something special - maybe hardware accelerated IO (offload everything from Ethernet to USB to Firewire to SATA to an ancillary processing system), maybe a display system where every window is a polygon in a 3D engine, with hardware video decode for everything, maybe something the rest of us are so hidebound by our current experience we cannot image - that somebody would be building "the Amiga of the 21st century".

    But as it is, this is Yet Another Linux Box (which is still infinitely preferable to YAWindowsB).

    So, meh.

    1. HFoster
      Thumb Up

      Re: It's the hardware, stupid!

      Your custom hardware description was borderline pornographic. In a good way.

      By Jove do I want a 22nd* Century Amiga with real Big Thinking hardware design.

      *because the Amiga was 21st Century in the 20th.

  25. Smithson
    Facepalm

    I'd love a new Amiga, but that's not one - it's a cheap Mac Mini clone case with some logos Photoshopped on by someone who doesn't care enough to get the perspective right.

  26. CmdrX3
    FAIL

    As far as I recall..

    and I could be wrong but didn't the Commodore brand and the Amiga brand & OS part company quite some time ago. I don't know what this bastardisation of a machine is, but it's certainly not a Commodore. It might have the name, but it doesn't have the heart or the passion of our old beloved machines (excluding Amiga CD32 of course)..... Oh and it's stupidly overpriced as well as being butt fugly.

  27. B Candler
    Meh

    Where's the yawn icon?

    I have a 2-year-old Dell Zino HD which looks rather like this but shinier. Mine came with 3GB RAM and a dual-core CPU, a copy of Windows 7 (which I don't use) and I think it cost £329 inc VAT. Unfortunately Dell have stopped making it.

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