[rescue] fwd: Linux Foundation Prepares For Microsoft's Legal Action

Charles Shannon Hendrix shannon at widomaker.com
Sat May 19 15:48:32 CDT 2007

Phil Stracchino wrote:
> Charles Shannon Hendrix wrote:
>> The original GEM tested on the Atari was better than the version that
>> was ultimately released, and better than the DOS version.
>> It had some advantages over Apple's OS too.
>> However, Apple threatened to sue Atari, and Tramiels ordered GEM
>> stripped bare.
>> It would take years before third parties put all the missing pieces back
>> in, by which time it was too late.
>> The irony is that the Atari was faster than the Mac, and would even run
>> Mac software faster than a Mac would.
> Irony?  That was probably half the *problem*.

No, not really.  Mac emulation sales were not really that high.  Most ST users
ran native software.

I was just pointing out that the Atari hardware was better than the Mac hardware.

Whereas the Mac was typical Apple: put all the work on the CPU, the Atari was
partially co-processed and had more functions offloaded.

In fact, the original ST was supposed to have been a lot more co-processed,
but that was yet another area where Tramiel cut corners.

Here is real irony for you:

The Commodore Amiga was not a Commodore machine.  It was an Atari.  Atari paid
for its funding, and Jay Miner, creator of the 6502 Atari systems, created the
Amiga as the next generation Atari.

It was typical Atari design and ideas.

But then Tramiel bought Atari, and one of his first acts was to cut Amiga
loose.  Warner had already been iffy on funding, and Tramiel saw no value in
the Amiga.

Then Commodore buys failing Amiga and the rest is history.

However, it is painfully obvious when you look at the butchered design of
later Amiga systems, that Commodore had no idea how to maintain and extend the
design of the Amiga.  It ended up in later years as a hacked up mess.

It had a lot of neat features of course, but mostly that was the little OS and
the core Jay Miner designed hardware.  The rest was an awful mess of poorly
designed busses and memory systems, and hardware designed by people who
couldn't decide what the machine was supposed to be.

Then look at the Atari ST: it was a lot more like a Mac than an Atari, lacking
the 6502 series co-processing design and graphics.  It was *supposed* to have
been better, but Tramiel cut corners, and released the machine with low ROM
and RAM capacity, removed the expansion bus, and dumbed down the
co-processors.  Shiraz had seen the Amiga chipset, but Tramiel ruined that and
so the ST was released crippled.

In fact, not all of the reason behind dumbing GEM down as the Apple threat: a
lot of it was saving ROM space.  Fortunately they mostly left CP/M 68K intact,
but even there they removed some good bits.

The problem was, IMHO, Tramiel.  He looked at Amiga and basically said, "I
want your chipset, but the hell with your people.", which didn't fly too well
with them.

Atari had a contract with Amiga to deliver the Lorraine by July 1984, and
Amiga staff knew that this would mean Tramiel would fire all of them and just
take the hardware.  Not only that, but the rumor was that Atari would gut
the Lorraine and use the chipset in Project Mickey, which was supposed to be a
68000 based Atari system also using custom chips like the 8-bit series.

When he got to Atari, he fired all of the Atari people and replaced them with
his own, and really, only Shivaz was that much of an engineer like Miner and I
don't think he was near as good.

This was just Jack Tramiel's way of peeing on things to make them his, or at
least that's how he seemed to operate from the outside.

When Commodore approached Amiga, they were probably a lot more willing to sell
out to them.

I'd say that's pretty much the greatest irony in the microcomputer business.

Ultimately, the decisions by Warner and then Tramiel doomed both Commodore and
Atari.  Each ended up with a machine that they didn't understand and never
knew how to maintain, extend, and support.


I've always wondered... what would have happened if somehow Steve Wozniak and
Jay Miner had gotten together?

Imagine a 6502 system with Woz's expandable design, and Jay Miner's
co-processors and extensive use of DMA.

The world will never know...

shannon           | An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto
                  | one blade of grass and not fall off the face of the earth.

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