Commodore USA: Revisiting history or rewriting it?
In the past couple of years, the developments in the computer world have been varied and widespread.
From GPU processing clusters, ARM platform dominance, small and low cost systems like the Raspberry Pi, and the return of Commodore.
The return of Commodore, you say? Yes. Well, not exactly.
In March 2010, a limited liability company named Commodore USA was founded in the United States by Barry S. Altman, specifically to market Commodore® branded all-in-one keyboard PCs and Amiga® branded PC compatible computers under license.
What that means in plain English is that Commodore USA is a new company that has a contract with the current trademark owners to produce, market and sell Commodore® and Amiga® branded computers.
While this is a perfectly legal and common practice, the company founded by Barry Altman is not the original Commodore Business Machines (later known as Commodore International Limited), as founded by Jack Tramiel. Nor is it affiliated with the original company that originally produced the legendary Commodore 64 and Amiga® computers in any way, shape or form.
In regards to Commodore USA, they typically use original design manufacturers (or ODMs) in Asia to supply them with their computer designs. Commodore USA’s licensed trademarks are simply applied to the existing product, and it is sold to the public as a Commodore® or Amiga® brand product. This is also a common practice within the computer industry, in many cases, manufacturers like Dell, HP and others do the exactly same thing.
However, what manufacturers like the aforementioned Dell and HP don’t do is misrepresent themselves as another company. Or claim they have a rich company legacy beyond their own. Unfortunately for Commodore USA, many aficionados of the original Commodore® brand have taken offense to that.
The reality of the matter is that Commodore USA licenses a few trademarks, applies those trademarks to products they don’t design, and sell them to the general public with “Commodore OS” products which are based on an existing free and open source Linux distribution.
There are no apparent laws being broken with these actions, but with a brand as historic and beloved as Commodore®, needless to say that some caution and forethought would be wise when representing such a precious history, even as a trademark licensee.
However, in business, there are no morals or reservations. Only the bottom line (profitability) counts in the business realm, and as long as Commodore USA operates within the boundaries or the law, there is unfortunately little recourse for fans of the original Commodore® and Amiga® machines.
But I (and others) believe that Commodore USA should be forthcoming with those who don’t know about the original magic of the Commodore® machines. When your company names its current models the same names of the original models by the original company, you inadvertently cause confusion and mislead those who are not aware of the history behind the original models.
So ten years from today, if a young adult refers to a Commodore 64 as „an Intel Atom based computer,“ then you’ll know the root of their ignorance.
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.
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!
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.
The AresOne 2012, just like its predecessors AresOne, AresOne 2010, and AresOne 2011, is a complete PC system specifically assembled to be used with AROS. The hardware components were selected to get the most out of the current AROS version, and to be ready for future improvements. The AresOne 2012 is suitable for Amiga enthusiasts, friends of light HTPC systems, and experienced users, it is not intended for the average Windows user (please keep in mind that AROS, albeit progressing nicely, is still in development).
The AROS Research Operating System is a lightweight, efficient and flexible desktop operating system, designed to help you make the most of your computer. It’s an independent, portable and free project, aiming at being compatible with Amiga OS at the API level, while improving on it in many areas.
Additionally to AROS, the AresOne can be pre-installed with Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu or Windows, if you wish.
(BUT WHY ? NOW WITH AEROS THERE IS NO NEED)
We also include a special OEM version of Amiga Forever with the package. The latter is useful for UAE since it contains the required Kickstart and Workbench images (1.3 and 3.x) for UAE plus 50 games and 50 demos. If you need more Amiga Forever, you can also purchase the full version at a reduced price. Every AresOne customer gets a licence for the AMC software package, the program is available for download on the AMC website
A portion of the AresOne profits will be used to fund AROS projects, especially driver development and licensed application software.
So the new system is still AROS native compatible.
So you will get AEROS + you AROS distribution of choice
We have decided to add a Geforce to the base system (please check configurator for more options). This way you can use 3D acceleration in AROS native and AEROS straight away.
Today, ACTA has fallen, so its time to celebrate. C=USA announces C=OS Fusion and some more „Amiga models… so lets roll to see what is behind …
First, we should hear C=USA mission statement, a mix up of everything out there.
Get ready …
With your help in spreading the word, your evangelism, your suggestions and your support, we hope to take the fight back to Apple, and to take on the ubiquitous PC vendors of the world, like Dell. It is time for a revolution against the ordinary. Think different, be different. Don’t follow the herd. Exclaim, I’m not a PC. I’m not a Mac. I’m a Commodore! I’m an AMIGA!
Who knows what will their next Amiga be? Lets vote
Meanwhile, there is a petition for you to sign, only if you like it
It has come to our attention that Commodore USA is about to launch a new line of „AMIGA(tm)“ branded computers using the classic Amiga(tm) naming convention. These new computers have absolutely nothing in common with the old Amiga(tm) computers other than the name.
This is the reason why we wholeheartedly appeal to you to reconsider using the old classic Amiga numbering in your new line of Commodore Amigas.
Amigaworld.net is no longer associated as C=OS support at Distro Watch. Commodore-Amiga forum only.
Seen so many times, people get like their bosses. And he was a dally good fellow. Its not first time, Barron attacked on religious grounds (See Barry meets VoX) and they have attacked opossition on personal grounds before.
Aussie:Get a life.
Vox: Dont worry I have one
Get a decent job, really.
You don`t need all this stupidness.
Aussie:The only stupidness I get is from you!!! You, yes you, are the worst part of this job by far!!!! I suppose in some demented way that makes you happy!!! Do us all a favour and seek psychiatric help!!!
Professional opinion: To grow up, he needs to learn from own mistakes, admit em at list to himself and learn to communicate non-violently, professional burnout
Treatment: Psychoterapy and self-improvement, anger control and course in bussiness communication, going to vacation away from C=USA
—————VoX todays opinion ————————
But Leo, AMIGA (AmigaOne,AmigaOS) is as dead as you, no one gains from such relations with you (playing queen and phantasies of 55 milion customers) and no, you are not bringing anything back, just exploiting life and creativity for $$$. Not a good way to earn money. Will come back in karma. In despite of all your personal efforts, you gave it a bad shot.
Now back to how we reasoned inna Nov 1 2010
Re: Re: to BigBentheAussie
[quote]So sad another court case might be on the way.Just a little bit more of diplomacy and promises could make it different
– just contacting A-EON, Hyperion, Minimig and AresOne makers before
and some negotiations could make it better.For example, picking the same software pack and line of AROS support
as AresOne could make it be interesting AROS machine, alongside iMica and AresOne, but with better name and promotion. Granting exclusive
UAE and KS 1.3,3.1 and CD32 could make it out of box classic emulation possible.
Getting AmiKit software pack and licence to use OS 3.9 would make it superb.
Packing Amiga USB mouse and Kempston USB would make it even more like
the ex-Classic Amiga population that is your target. Large archive of ADF files is freely avail, like LemonAmiga.com Even grating all those „companies“ 1$ licence out of your product would be a benefit for both sides.There are frontends to boot to Amiga emulation directly
and could make feel even better,while you can always be an icon in your Linux.When you come with sane policies, for sure I will change my signature.
You promised AROS support in a sound announcement, and AROS community
expectations for sure were the highest. I understand that a programmer wants
estimaned value of driver non commercially, and it seems it`s good for AROS. Might be a exploit of situation too, but I understand is not too demanding for future worldseller.
If understand the web site and your words, now you are down to Linux, that is a nettop category. Next thing you will have to bundle Windows 7 Starter with it.
Also, opposing the existance of PowerPC AmigaOS`s just isn`t OK to its development history: they continue to develop in circumstances of Amiga company that died 1995 and PowerPC market, which is also shrinking. PowerPC chips aren`t that bad (just not cheap as x86), and software just need to develop.
But really having both Commodore and Amiga names you could think of better use for the good of existing (yes, fragmented and weak) AmigaOSs and communities.
Commodore Amiga name is now really part of the past, as well as Classic logo and case designs. So I really see you as nostalgia exploit, not way to future, as retro wave in movies, video games ….
Good luck with your PC product and your affiliation. To really lead to the future, make better use of the present
Thanks for your suggestions. Some of these things you mentioned are actually on our radar already, but I’m not about to announce anything. So stop thinking the worst.
However, there is what makes sense, and what doesn’t, what is possible, and what isn’t. There is a reason why things are the way they are….not all of these reasons are made public….but believe me there is a reason for everything from everyone. You see what we’re saying publicly, but you aren’t aware of the stuff going on behind the scenes or from other quarters so you’re seeing things out of context. It’s all political. We get attacked and we are forced to withhold our defense until some of our plans come through. We do have plans, we’re just not going to go announcing them until it’s all nicely tied up in a bow, because the community is ill-equipped to handle that it seems.
Hell, I learned a lot of things about A Inc and Hyperion from Bill the other day that knocked my socks off. If any of it is to be believed people would not have such an Hyperion love-fest. But it’s not my job to defend A Inc, and apart from a few e-mails I know nothing and care less.
Linux is a net-top category? Ummmm yeah. Hmmm… must be why all the Amiga OS flavours keep porting all their programs from it then. Obviously useless…. Yep Linux is useless for desktops, useless for netbooks, useless for tablets….useless for mobile phones no doubt…..I guess an Amiga machine running it would be useless too in your book…. Hmmmm. One of us must be living in an alternative universe. I seem to recall that Amigas were actually good for something….once.
First of all, every current Amiga related project you just mentioned is irrelevant. It’s a tough thing to realise or accept with your indoctrination, but the universe does not actually revolve around them. Maybe yours does, but not 99.9999 percent of what we consider our customers. What we’ll do we’ll take a lead on ourselves and don’t need to consult with anyone, thank you very much. You’re still thinking small-time….and that is why all these hobby companies aren’t getting anywhere. We’re going to re-invent what the Amiga is. A REBOOT!!! We’re looking to take the fight to the likes of Apple, not compete with the AmigaOne. I know that sounds incredibly delusional to you…..I get it….but you don’t know some of the stuff going on behind the scenes on our end. C64 is only the first step…We’ll see where it leads.
These entities you mentioned actually have more to gain by their involvement with us than the other way around. I know that may actually come as a surprise, but not everyone beats to the same drum as you. Most people not only don’t know who these Amiga-related entities are they don’t even know of their existence. I’d say a fair few people have heard of Commodore (possibly 50 million people owned them) and fair amount have even heard about the AMIGA (possibly 5 million people owned them). What they were is secondary to providing a competitive product.
Amiga is dead…maybe you acknowledge this or maybe you don’t… Sorry, but to all intents and purposes for the last 17 years or so, you and I have been living in some sort of zombie infested dreamland. I see dead people. I see dead OSes. WE, not Hyperion, not MorphOS, not AROS, not MiniMig, not Natami….WE… will be the ones taking all the risk in bringing the AMIGA back from the dead, thank you very much, for better or for worse….Everyone else has had their chance. Now, it’s our turn. WE will be the ones that define what an Amiga is, whether the community likes it or not.
Some time soon it is my hope that we’ll have our own community around our own products. Where useful things about all manner of computer oriented creative endeavours will be discussed. We’ll have a computer system where creative stuff gets done….a community that won’t be tearing itself apart from the insides, and won’t be constantly discussing irrelevant things about endianess and the PPC architecture all day. That is my dream. Our Amigas will be „Beautiful, High-Performance, Home Computers for Creativity and Entertainment“. And relax….they’ll be different. Not ready to share how yet. These sorts of things take time, negotiation, planning and money…..from your end I only ask patience……. I’m not asking you to buy a t-shirt or give a kidney, or even buy one of our AMIGAs if you don’t want to. M’kay? Just give us a break. We’ve only had the AMIGA trademark for two months, and right now it isn’t our priority. 2011 is the year things will start to develop for the new Amiga. I’m not expecting you or anyone actually to be as excited about that as I am. Let’s see how things go. We’ll give it a good shot at least.
And how do they respect MINT dem a steal, pirates and lowlifes!
They contacted us and we talked about a partnership initially. Then we didn’t hear from them anymore so we assumed they weren’t interested in doing anything with us.
We’re still happy to see our OS used by others and I don’t think there’s any problems in regards to licensing. It’s just a missed opportunity for them and for us to establish what would have been a very good partnership.
There has been much criticism of the company CUSA because of its hype and claims of creating a „new operating system for our computers“ and then simply skinning an existing linux distribution. Critics of CUSA and several linux experts have stated that COS development time has been less than 2 weeks time to write some scripts and replace standard mint graphics files with their own
Another episode in „Abuse someone elses work““, this time AROS Barron has previously spitted on.
Added C64 ROMs and AROS ROMs for Amiga emulation (The ROMs are not 100% compatibile but are close). The C64 and AMIGA emulation are now launched full screen. If clicking on a C64 game does not work you may need to tweak your emulator settings to enable either full screen or windowed playback.
Another point well taken: they will just abuse someone elses work and never countribute even by bounty. What they would do if there was no Debian, MINT and AROS? Make a Windows free software under Commodore Windows with blessings from M$?
And just to elaborate on my response. Cloanto just wanted to know if we were including their product in Commodore OS and wanted an explanation of what we were doing.
They were fine with it once they realised we weren’t including their product, and in fact were promoting their product to Commodore enthusiasts.
One day dem a partners with Cloanto, other day Amiga Inc can give dem ROMs, third day thieves and liars
And yes … InI forgot Leo`s stance on AROS
Sent: 1-Nov-2010 8:04:08
OK, you could donate 1$ or 10$, 100$ if your Commodore USA Amiga`s are going to use AudioHD since driver would benefit you too and you would have it in several months waiting for others to give their contrib (like AresOne does)
We are still on the fence regarding AROS because we are waiting to hear back from A Inc’s lawyers regarding Hyperion’s threats. They’re taking their time.
We won’t be releasing any Amigas until next year so we’re in no rush.
We are not going to spend a single cent until we know where we stand, what we can do, and what we can’t do.
The drivers therefore ARE NO BENEFIT to us until we are 100% sure we’re not going to be sued.
On top of that, given the the many months of negotiation regarding this driver with Stephen, where he attempted to play us, and then brag to everyone that he nearly did, and you can see that we have less than zero intention of bowing to his ransom demands. Demanding us to spend our money on a community that has shown such open hostility towards us is not the way for you or the community to get what they want.
This is political, and I guess it is something you cannot recognise from your armchair analysis of the situation.
Look at it from the eyes of a company that is attempting to be more than a backyard operation and you will see that there must be absolute certainty regarding all things because the stakes are too high.
This amount was a drop in the bucket of what we were prepared to spend to attempt to raise the status of AROS to that of a mainstream OS.
The reaction because we didn’t jump when the self appointed kings of AROS demanded we should does not exactly instill us with confidence in investing in AROS.
We don’t like the direction these people are pushing AROS nor the IP issues they are hell-bent on creating in future.
And based on their behavior to date and the various threats they have made we certainly don’t want to work with them.
Maybe you haven’t seen the nonsense we’ve had to put up with both publicly and in private.
Our will to try and accommodate the community regarding AROS is steadily declining.
The community doesn’t buy anything anyway, and is so fragmented it’s a lost cause.
The AROS community should be trying to gain our support rather than just annoying us, because our support would have been FTW!!!
They’ve looked a gift horse in the mouth.
Also even C=OS is today beta 9 (almost two years after launch date) they wanted it to have 5.o name since Workbench 5 should be ahead of current AmigaOS Workbench 4.1 – trying to present isetlf fasely as AmigaOS ahead of AmigaOS
„In response to an overwhelming demand from Amiga users worldwide, Commodore USA’s CTO Leo Nigro announced today that their new Amiga branded computers will be fully AROS compatible, and that they will be supporting the AROS open source community in every way possible. Mr. Nigro states “With the monumental strides that AROS has recently achieved, we realize the importance of accelerating this progress with funding that will enable this project to rapidly move forward and take it’s rightful place at the forefront of desktop operating systems”. With the recent announcement of their newly updated Commodore C64 model, and the acquisition of the Amiga brand exclusive trademark license, Commodore USA has once again catapulted the Commodore and Amiga namesake to the forefront of consumer electronics brand recognition.
Commodore USA was not set up as charity to support the development of AROS. It holds less than nothing of interest or importance to me, or 99.999999% of our intended market. It is a product that I or any other company could not use at all, as it has NO commercial value now, as is. So why are you all so concerned??
Our support was to help the group move ahead, and be part of a niche hobby group that seemed initially to be fun. I was wrong. Although some members expressed calm, sane, accurate and positive and open viewpoints, far too many exhibit behavior that is truly reprehensible. What is most amazing is the behavior and comments of the ‘Moderators“ UNREAL!! Aros is not a commercial product; it is not even close to a beta functional OS that has any use at this point in it’s development. Why some of you oppose the ONLY viable source of support is beyond me. Never has AROS received any promotion or publicity that comes remotely close to that that was gotten since my intended involvement. Talk about looking a gift horse in the mouth. Why some of you find every facet of my life of interest is really sad. Don’t you have lives to live?
I’ll address some comments in particular. This is business, not nursery school. You know how much was spent and paid for the Commodore and Amiga IP over the last 15 years. Do your homework…we are talking close to 100 million dollars cumulative over all these years and by all the corporate entities that played the game. Price of entry is steep, and so is execution. Iggy has tons of more info that for some reason he chose not to share with you all.
As far as using abandoned artwork, no problem here. Marko Hirv cannot be reached. Period. I tried. No luck. And yes, I did email the company he is at now….again no reply. Find him…I’ll deal with him, or anyone else that falls into that category. Ever hear of an Iphone, boys and girls? Guess what…Jobs used it, took it, made it his own…knowing all the time it was the IP of Cisco. Ever hear of iTV, another recent product of the Apple guys. Also, no ownership…take it …use it…and then buy it if you must. Lawyers make a ton and the company gets what it wants, and the IP holder is paid. All good, no? That’s just a small example of how business is. I am not saying it is right, just giving you a lesson in reality.
Oh…..ONE MORE THING !!!! All you self righteous self appointed moral compasses out there with the huge mouths and not much else. JUST WHO LICENSED AMIGA.ORG THE AMIGA TRADEMARK PROPERTY APPEARING ON YOUR BANNER MASTHEAD??? NO ONE!!
Any comments on that flagrant violation of trademark law? I’ll be most interested in a reply to that one. Very interested.
So, enjoy your little clubhouse, I wish you well, and am sorry my leap into your little pond caused such an uproar. I never knew such muddy pond could even exist.