Linux Format



We’re loving the Amiga, even if it is closed source, you’re loving making music and more LXF love!

In response to your reply to Ian Learmonth in LinuxForma­t 218 December 2016, “AmigaDOS... was and remains closed source, while as we all know far better options now exist for everyone.”

Commodore and Amiga hardware, in terms of Amiga branded PCs running proprietar­y designs, was certainly closed source. So was everybody, before largely IBM PC manufactur­ers began collaborat­ing on common standards for computers. And so was the firmware and software supplied by Commodore and later Gateway (briefly). Such items were rare then, and are rarer now, and to a certain extent there is a kind of nascent support, in that various gadgets and gizmos still get released for that hardware, like memory card interfaces and other bits.

However, to a certain extent, all of those early systems were open source, in that there was “free” software for them, in the form of “demo tapes and disks” et al. More importantl­y, Mac, Atari, and Amiga, to a large extent, pioneered concepts like “public domain”, “open source”, “freeware”, “shareware”, etc.

Also, on a separate matter, having your firmware on an EPROM, or a BIOS chip with an alarmed write protect, makes any computer impervious to BIOS hack attacks. The A3000 pioneered sideways RAM usage for ROM (firmware) developmen­t.

I also admit freely that the hardware supplied at the time varied from excellent to terrible, even in terms of the standards used at the time. Pat McDonald, ExTechnica­l Editor, Amiga Format 1990-91 Neil says: Oh, now come on! I loved the Amiga – even putting aside the warming glow of nostalgia – as much as the next Atari-owning schmuck loved their inferior grey boxes. But, there is no way you’re going sneak past me the idea that it was open source in any way! Sure there was plenty of sharing and that encouraged a generation of coders, but I’m sure if AmigaOS had been open sourced by Commodore at some point, the awful stagnation it ended up suffering wouldn’t have been anywhere near as bad.

Speculatio­n aside it was great for its time, but oddly an open hardware platform killed it off – ie, the IBM PC specificat­ion enabled any company to develop compatible hardware and sell it to an open market and it’s still going strong, even with consoles, tablets and phones attempting to make it a relic. Go and track down From Bedroom to Billions (it was on Netflix), 8-bitGenerat­ion and also Viva Amiga for a taste of the community and excitement the Amiga et al generated.

 ??  ?? Not one to cause any ruckus, but the Atari ST sucked!
Not one to cause any ruckus, but the Atari ST sucked!

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