Tom Wright`s C=USA in Conclusion


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I was honestly on the fence about CUSA in the beginning. When they released the C64x, I had some real faith in them because the breadbox was very cool looking. Even though it didn’t run anything „Amiga“ OS-wise, it didn’t bother me because it looked like a C64. When they came out stating that these were going to be Linux specific machines, I was actually a bit excited because honestly, I’m a big Linux fan. I pictured something like System 76 who is loved and embrassed by the Linux community and often gives back with Open-Source drivers and such.

As of recently however, and after really looking at this Amiga Mini thing and their A1000 (sorta clone), and also after seeing how Barry responds to his customers on his own forum (blasting them and then kicking them off), I see no hope for this company. I actually feel sorry for Leo because I think his heart is in the right place… hell maybe Barry’s is also but he’s just so brash and angry toward customers and potential customers that it makes him incredibly unlikable.

…but the point of this post is to talk about why they fail so miserably as a computer company.

Operating System:
Again, I’m a huge Linux fan, so CUSA choosing Linux as an OS seemed like a great idea to me. Linux today very much reminds me of Amiga in 1990. It’s a great OS that runs circles around Windows in almost every way and the Open Source movement is just amazing. From Makerbots to Ubuntu and Blender, I truely believe that Open Source is the future of technology because we don’t have to rely on giant, multi-billion dollar companies to make product and software decisions for us anymore (but that’s another soapbox).

So CUSA release „Commodore OS“. What? You made your own distro? How bold! How exciting! How…. wait a second, this is Linux Mint.. not only is this Linux Mint but it’s a really crappy version of Linux Mint. There is a reason we have a software Package Manager in Mint… it’s because if you add all the software in the distro, it becomes crazy unruly in size and install and people won’t use 90% of the software anyway. Also, adding ALL the bells and whistles in Compiz is just obnoxious. What makes distros like Mint so cool is that you get to customize it to your workflow. All the COS distro does it take Linux Mint with Compiz and turns on all the fluff (which most adults tend to avoid).

It would be much better to use Mint or Ubuntu as they are but with support… real support like System 76 does. Make drivers and software to support your hardware and of course, make it Open Source. That’s the power of that community. If you don’t support Open Source then don’t even bother using Linux…. you’ll just be seen as someone taking advantage of the „Free“ part which is not the point of Open Source. It’s „Free“ as in Freedom!

Commodore-Amiga.org
Once again, I’m going to talk about freedom. Claiming to be a supporter of Open Source software and then having an extremely censored forum to post on goes against everything that Open Source stands for. Commodore-Amiga.org is the China of open forums. It is regulated with an iron fist. Any post questioning the decision of CUSA tends to be quickly locked or deleted and people involved tend to just „disappear“ from the forum.

There is something else that bothers me about the forum. It is the least active Amiga forum that I visit (by far)… which makes me seriously question the user stats (the number of online people there). Are they making those numbers up? I bet there aren’t 3 posts a day on that forum yet it shows hundreds of onlookers. Is this accurate? I have no idea but it is strange and this company has been known to fudge things in the past.

One of the craziest things about the forum is reading Barry’s replies to customers. I don’t think he understands that these people are the people that are going to make or break his business because he treats them with a kind of distain I’ve never seen from a business owner before. Does Barry think that having a Steve Jobs personality is going to make him a successful business owner? I’m not sure but it’s quite disturbing.

Commodore Amiga Mini
I don’t even know what to say about this product. It feels like CUSA believes that any product with the name „Commodore Amiga“ will sell well no matter what it is or how much it will cost. Don’t they read the posts people make in the news forums? How can they see this as a successful venture? I just don’t understand.

CUSA Self Image
CUSA tries so hard to make themselves look legitimate that they end up looking foolish. We’ve seen this MANY times now. Why try and make yourselves out to be something you are not unless you are purposely trying to mislead customers. Is this in fact what they are attempting to do or is this Barry saying „I’m big and important“? I don’t understand the need to be perceived as a large corporation. There is nothing wrong with being small… it’s actually very popular to be small and hip in the tech industry right now. The only result of their attempt to deceive is to be seen as deceptive.

Chances of Survival
At current course, not a snowball’s chance in hell. I can see no way that this company will be embrassed by anyone other than the incredibly niave. Unless they make drastic changes to their business plan (and quickly), I predict that they will be completely gone within 5 years.

I realize that people have been talking about CUSA for awhile now but I tend to not read those threads because people get emotional about anything Amiga and I wanted to come to my own conclusion about this particular company… so I’m sorry if this is a repeat of what others have said. I am non-partial to any Amiga camp at the moment (I do not consider CUSA as an Amiga Camp by the way… only AOS, MOS and Aros). I actually feel that all the current Amiga camps act with great poise and professionalism when it comes to business and customers. I’m very impressed with them.

Published with a permission of author

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