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Amiga fans speak out

technofile  by al fasoldt

Columns and commentaries in a life-long dance with technology

Simple gray rule

As the Amiga starts to fade, its fans speak out

By Al Fasoldt

Copyright © 1994, The Syracuse Newspapers

Amiga users aren't shy, and they don't beat around the keyboard. Or make that "bush," as in "bush league."

That was just one of the comments aimed my way after I wrote about the bankruptcy of Commodore, maker of the Amiga computer.

Others were less kind. Oddly, not one of the many letters and phone calls from angry Amigans seemed to recognize that it was Commodore that let them down, not the writer at the local newspaper. To all these upset Amiga users, I was doing everyone a disservice by telling it like it is.

And it is, indeed, a bleak time for lovers of the Amiga. Rumors insist that another company is going to ride to the rescue of Commodore just before the noose is pulled over its neck. But such a rescue is not likely to happen.

The Amiga is a wonderful computer, and it deserves to live forever, with new models coming out every so often. But the death of Commodore makes that highly unlikely, to say the least.

But individual Amigas aren't dead just because the company that made them has sunk. This is the message I'd like all Amiga users to comprehend. Their computers didn't suddenly stop working when Commodore closed its doors.

Dozens of manufacturers that make both hardware and software for the Amiga have already sent out word that they're not giving up. Amiga user groups around the country (and in other parts of the world) are still going strong.

At best, the demise of Commodore is merely an annoyance to Amiga users. At best, Amiga owners will be able to continue enjoying their computers without a single worry.

Things don't always work out "at best," but it's time to put the best light on what could have been a very dim situation. And it is even possible that those rumors hold some truth, and the "Ami," that wonderful nickname for an equally marvelous computer, will continue to be produced.

Finally, I've been criticized for giving too much attention to so-called IBM-compatible PCs in this column while ignoring the Amiga. It's true that I write for PC users most of the time, and the reason is simple: That's what most readers use.

But faithful readers know that many of the columns in these pages cover topics that all computer users can find helpful, such as my articles on hard drives, backups, video displays, printers and the use of memory.

PCs are where it's at these days. It's no secret that I wish it were otherwise. The PC is a ghastly device, and no amount of Windows dressing can cover up its problems. The world of personal computing would have been a lot friendlier and happier if most of us were using Amigas or Macs or Atari TTs instead of PCs.

If it does nothing else, the publicity over the bankruptcy of Commodore has at least called attention to the presence of non-PC computers in a PC universe. To that, Amiga fans can join with me in saying, "It's about time."

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