View Full Version : Atari vs Commodre post by Dave Haynie

29th March 2012, 11:57
I was reading on wired, and came over a post by Dave Haynie. Which would be a pretty good source in any case. Gave some elements about commodore vs atari which clarified a bit for me. so I share it here if anyone else have interest (probably well known for many too). I knew the atari vs commodore switch, but not about the cp/m and atari.

source: http://www.wired.com/wiredenterprise/2012/03/ms-patent/

The Atari STwas years after Steve Jobs had any dealings with Atari. In fact, it didn't originate at all within Atari. In 1984, Jack Tramiel, CEO of Commodore, left after a power struggle over the company's future. Along with him went a group of Commodore Engineers.. in fact a skunk works group that had been looking at taking the company's Commodore 900 architecture to the 68000.
Jack wasn't ready to give up the PC biz, and the old Atari was dying fast. Tramiel became part of the drama, Atari was split it two, with the gaming going one way (to Warner Bros), the computers going to the Tramiels.
In a curious turn-about, this lead Atari to Amiga, Inc.... as small computing startup. Under Jack, Atari was trying to let them default on a loan, which would have left Jack in control of the 80s most innovative computer platform. But Commodore came in, last minute, and bought Amiga, Inc.
That left Atari to finish up the project they swiped from Commodore, a simplified C900 using the 68K instead of the Z8000, in an Atari/Commodore style CPU + keyboard -- the ST. Atari had no ability to put out their own OS + GUI, but they were able to more or less buy off-the-shelf from Digital Research. Yup, the CP/M guys, who missed the boat on the IBM PC a few years before. They had written a graphical shell for MS-DOS, called GEM. Which is why the ST doesn't run CPM-68K, but a thing called GEMDOS.
See since GEM ran on MS-DOS, not any version of CP/M, and in the usual tail-wagging-dog fashion of these GUIs, DRI found it easier to rewrite CP/M as an MS-DOS clone.. at least enough of a clone to run GEM. Including use of the FAT filesystem and most other everyday MS-DOS-isms.
So yeah... makes no sense to say Amigas were involved, AmigaOS was no more related to MS-DOS than Unix or MacOS. But the Atari ST was basically a 68K PC, just with standard UI, much as Windows eventually worked.

29th March 2012, 15:51
That's a good post to clarify that time in history. I would agree that there is probably no better source available to get the real story from.

It makes you wonder how things may have turned out if Atari had gotten the Amiga instead of Commodore. May have been worse, but, it may have been better too I guess. Both the original Atari and Commodore seemed incapable of properly managing their businesses during that time.

Interesting stuff.

30th March 2012, 10:25
I agree, there are so many "What if?"s in the Amiga history /sigh

30th March 2012, 15:10
Ah, thanx for the pointer, a fascinating read!! :thumbsup:

30th March 2012, 16:54
I never even thought about Atari till I read commodore A company on the edge then I found out Jack Tramiel bought Atari then I just had to see
what they were about and now I have a 600XL,800XL,130XE,1040STE..

I have to say the 1040 was the easiest to get up and running and I see
why the Amiga Vs. Atari ST line debate..