Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box
'Let's fall in love again'
The Commodore 64 has been reincarnated as a 3GHz quad-core PC with 3D graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, a DVD-RW drive, and a 500GB hard disk. All that's left is the built-in keyboard. And the name.
In this case, that 64 can only mean a 64-bit processor - not 64 kilobytes of memory. Memory's up to a decidedly un-1980s eight gigabytes.
A new American company, Commodore USA, has apparently licensed the old Commodore name, and it intends to launch an updated incarnation of the long lost Commodore 64 this summer, according to the company's website.
"We were in love then," the site says. "Let's fall in love again."
The company's phone lines don't appear to be working, and it hasn't responded to emails requesting additional info. But its website says the reborn Commodore 64 will be available from the web beginning June 1.
Commodore 64 Reincarnate
The 17.5-inch wide by 2-inch tall machine will support Intel Core 2 Duo, Intel Core 2 Quad, Pentium D, and Celeron D processors, running Ubuntu, Windows, or, well, Mac OS X. It will also run Amiga - the late 80s Commodore OS - but only with emulation help. If you'd prefer an 8-bit processor and the old Commodore "kernal," you're out of luck.
When it debuted in August 1982 from Commodore International, the all-in-one Commodore 64 sold for $595, and that already dirt-cheap price soon dropped to a mere $199. "We made machines for the masses," Commodore International founder Jack Tramiel said on the machine's 25th anniversary, before motioning to the lumpen figure of Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak parked on the dais beside him. "They made machines for the classes."
According to Tramiel, the company sold almost half a million Commodore 64s each month before his departure from the company in 1984, and he guessed that between 22 and 30 million C64s were sold before the machine was discontinued in the mid 90s.
Wozniak was unmoved such statistics - or the C64's ultra-low price tag. "[The Apple II] sold for three times as much as the Commodore, but we wanted to build a company that would be around for awhile," he said, without a smile.
But Woz did acknowledge the C64's importance in the brief history of personal computers. And he confirmed that he and Steve Jobs once tried to pimp themselves to Tramiel and company. As soon as they had an Apple II prototype, they showed it to Tramiel lieutenant Chuck Peddle.
"Steve started saying 'All we want to do is offer this to you for like $200,000 and we'll get jobs at Commodore and we'll get stock and we'll be in charge of the whole program,'" Wozniak recalled. "And we got got turned down. We were told, basically, that Commodore decided to build a simpler, lower-cost, black-and-white machine without a lot of the pizazz of the Apple II."
That's what they did. And now someone is intent on resurrecting the thing.
Commodore International declared bankruptcy in 1994, and the brand was soon bought by German retailer Escom, before bouncing from one Dutch firm to another. Eventually, it landed with an outfit dubbed Commodore Gaming, and apparently, they have licensed the Commodore 64 name to its latest foster parent.
Whatever Steve Wozniak may say, it's clear that Commodore has been around for quite a while indeed. ®
A tip of the hat to IDG News Service.
Ah, the memories
Every time I see another Commodore article, I remember how things were, and how they could have been. It takes some real skill at knuckleheadedness to piss a company up the wall the way Commodore did. You start off with the biggest-selling and best-quality 8-bit micro (C64). You move on to the biggest-selling and best-quality 32-bit micro (Amiga), which is a full decade ahead of anything that IBM PCs and Apple Macs can give you in terms of performance, the business software is state-of-the-art too, and it's the best games machine in the world. There's a half-dozen magazines devoted solely to your products. How bad does your business sense have to be, if you can't capitalise on that kind of advantage?
Back in the day, I had an argument with my computing teacher in school regarding the merits of various machines. He argued that the school's BBC Micro B computers with 32KB of RAM, 2MHz 6502, 8 colours, no sprites and basic TI (3-channel + noise) sound was a REAL computer, and my Commodore 64, with 64 KB of RAM, 1 MHz 6510, 16 colours, 8 sprites and SID (3-channel + digi) sound was just a toy. I said that the specs of each system were comparable; where the BBC had the faster CPU the C64 had more RAM, and each was effectively capable of solving the same computational problems. Just because the C64 was a third the price of the BBC didn't make it any less powerful a machine.
In later years, the Amiga would suffer the same stigma of being called a "games machine" despite it's vastly superior graphics, sound and computing power compared to the IBM PCs of the time. So to me this business of calling cheap mass-produced computers "toys" simply because they didn't have a 4-digit price tag smacked of techno-snobbery, a problem which ultimately brought about the failure of the Amiga and left us stuck with the cludgy and inefficient Intel x86 architecture we have to endure today, instead of Motorola's beautiful and truly multi-tasking 680x0 and PowerPC processors as the norm. How powerful would these processors have become by now, if the techno-snobs had just gotten over their elitist attitude and gone with Amiga technology, instead of just dismissing it as a toy? 3.4 GHz TRUE 64-bit Quad-core RISC anyone?
"They're even linking to information about EFI, which allows a normal PC to run OSX **ILLEGALLY** on non-Apple hardware."
The same way that a DVD RW allows me to copy films **ILLEGALLY**.
EFI is an Intel Technology - NOTHING to do with Apple. It's used in Itanium systems I believe. So what's wrong with including EFI with a machine? Not's Apple's tech...
"How will OSX work - it's not Apple hardware"
OSX runs on commodity x86 hardware. Couse it will work. People have it running on standard PC's, on netbooks, servers etc. Get over yourself - OS X is nothing special or unique. (Unless you count Apple's marketing dept. which I realy admire as it's their biggest asset)
"You cannot legally buy and run OSX on non-Apple hardware"
I can legally buy OSX if I want. Their EULA says I shouldn't install it on non-Apple hardware, but the clue is in the title... EU stands for End-User. Unless the hardware reseller installs it for them it's not a problem...
Yes. Yes it is.
Isn't this just....
A laptop with the screen torn off ?