3 posts / 0 new
Last post
The future of Commodore computers

Hi all,
my first post here, so please allow me to introduce myself (woo-woo)... I'm Giovanni, from Italy, but I live in Brazil, actually.
I got my first computer in the 1984, a VIC-20, when I was 15; later I got a C128. Thanks to Commodore, I found my way and now I'm formerly a computer programmer in the database management area, and I have a small collection of C= computers.
Talking about my collection, until now I managed to fix every issue I got, usually due to faulty components. I still have some VIC and VIC II and other proprietary ICs for both VIC-20 and C64 and so on, but of course things will last forever and, in example, I have no TED, or 8501 (and few 6510 as replacement for it), or any specific chip for the C128, so I can only cross fingers and hope the other computers won't break.
I'm sure many of you are experiencing the same problem. So the question is:
Do you think in a close future somebody will find a way to make a modern replacement for that chips, like 6560/1, 6567/9, etc.? I've seen somebody is building a replacement for the 6567 and it seems it's quite close to finish it, but it seems such a big board to replace a single chip.

It will be possible to build replacement for a convenient price and keep our C= computers running for many years yet?

There are always resourceful

There are always resourceful people.  I have heard of some chips and processes that are cloned.  Some people have a list of Commodore patents and they are waiting for the patents to run out.  I would never say never but its been like 38 years or so.  The problem is not knowing who owns the I.P. for a lot of this equipment.  There are clones of the C-64 and maybe other Commodore computers.  The Raspberry Pi and Teensy have Commodore emulators and there is VICE.
My first Commodore was a Commodore 64.  I have no disrespect but we have to look at reality.  It was a great computer for its time but it is nostalgia and other computer companies make the most powerful software and hardware in the world.
I admire the talent and values of Commodore.  The Commodore 64 was easy to program, easy to draw with the built in bit mapped graphics and easy to manipulate Sprites with some basic and machine language.  There were people who were able to work with memory constraints.
One of the local Ivy League colleges use to do more with Computer science but they moved on into other areas because it takes billions of dollars to compete with the computer companies that are left.  Launching an internet browser does not necessarily get you market share.  Look at some of the losers.  Sun Microsystems gave their software away for free.  Mozilla became Firefox.  Gateway bought the Commodore assets for a while from another company just for the intellectual property or Patents.
There are other people making a successor to the Commodore C-64 and 128.  The Phoenix is a possible successor but you have to look at the cost of the Commodore 64 clone that is commercially available on the market and the cost of the C-65 and the cost of the Phoenix.  These people are great but they can't do everything like mass produce products to make them affordable to most consumers and the inflation on a Commodore 64 was something like $1,400 ten years ago.
The way forward may be existing products like the Mensch computer because Western Design Center still sells the 6502 and the family chip line like the W65C816S and there is a seperate website for their line of Microcontroller or single board computers.
Electronics and Microcontrollers are basically a college course because colleges require a seperate math course in community college just to take that field.  The idea that you can go online and learn stuff is hard because there is a learning curve.  It requires several disciplines like electronics, circuit board design, machine language, programming, 3D printing skills, and it requires someone good at part finding.  It costs a lot of money and it takes a lot of time for people to learn.  Online sites sell microcontrollers and are great but I often tell the people in the forum, I can't do their homework for them.  A lot of the learning is scattered and unorganized and I can't always find the learning that I want.  The learning online is basically a lot of teaching people how to wire something.  My mind got blown when I learned that the creators of the Commodore 64 knew how to use transistors as resistors.  I took the test for a Ham license and I learned some about electrical theory and schematics and there is more to know about electronics than people know or or willing or able to teach you today.  Unless you have a background in it, I wouldn't know where to start.
The culture of General Electric wanted people who knew something about amplifiers.  Some people moved up and others never moved up.
When I was in high school, my teachers said that companies like Hewlett Packard were only hiring people with Doctorate degrees and some in math.  That is the level of competition these days.  Most people involved in electronics have to read a new book every couple of years.  Computers only are relevant for 2 or 3 years before they are replaced by something newer.  The life cycle of computer operating systems come and go.  Remember Dos?  Windows 3.0?  Windows 95?  Windows XP?  Windows 7?  Windows 10?  They are all going to be less relevent today and I'm also suprised at people on the college level who keep their floppy disks and don't throw anything out.
Development is a rat race and it is work and you don't get anywhere without working.
I decided long ago I don't want to be a consumer.  I want to be a producer.  There is a difference.  You end up collecting things.  Then you run out of room.  Then you get married and there is less room.  What is important in your life?  Does it make you any money?  If not, what good is it?

Yahoo was a successful

Yahoo was a successful internet company but because of all of the competition and people involved, it was Google that won out and the rest is history.
It also turns out that my computer science instructor at college was right.  Its companies with government contracts and business customers that win out.  Its not always about quality or fun.  Its about speed and quantity over quality.  Sure, Commodore gave them a run for their money and IBM took losses in the PC industry.
My college computer science professors showed me computer magazines and I forget their names back then but its probably equivalent to PC Mag today.  He said this is the Bible (in computers).  Its where all of the money is made.  Commodore started out being sold in Toys R Us, K-Mart and later Sears and mail order.  It is true that the Commodore Pet made it into schools but schools went with Apple and I don't really know the reason but Apple had 80 columns and Apple found a way using a law to sell computers to schools and it comes down to price and service.  The Apple II had CP/M and they were successful.
The point I'm trying to make is regardless of the quality, price and service, the market that has money to sustain a company is the business and government markets.  Where I work, they basically print money because they have repeat customers.  Its not the same as Sears or Kmart where people want something low cost for their kids and then the child loses interest and goes outside to play.  We're talking about computers used in business and business needs means the computer is being used for longer periods of time and demands more support and software so an industry is being built around that.  Commodore had needs and I felt that they goughed the customer in order to pay for things that businesses may have paid for if they were Commodore's customers.
70% of olive oil in America is fake.  Why?  The producers cut it with soybean or high corn fructose to make it cheaper because when people go to the supermarket, it is a low price that sells.  Is it good for you?  No.  You have to pay more for it to be good for you.
From an industry point of view, IBM pc's had math co processors to make them faster and it is speed and meeting deadlines that eventually won out and I remember when computers madearound 30 or 33 Mhz clock speed.  Before that they had 6 Mhz and 10 Mhz.  It was research and development that won out.  The buffering speed on an Amiga 500 and an IBM 386 PC doesn't come close because the screen speed was much faster and some things just worked better on a different platform.
Without computers, you would basically have a person running a file room and you would have file cabinets.  Many companies have file cabinets today but the computer eliminates a lot of that where you would have a file clerk and someone going alphabetically and sequentially through file cabinets to find something so capacity, 80 columns and speed matter.  Its quantity over quality because inspiration does not always happen and inspiration does not drive the market place.

Log in or register to post comments