back to article Commodore 64 reincarnated as quad-core Ubuntu box

The Commodore 64 has been reincarnated as a 3GHz quad-core PC with 3D graphics, Gigabit Ethernet, a DVD-RW drive, and a 500GB hard disk. All that's left is the built-in keyboard. And the name. In this case, that 64 can only mean a 64-bit processor - not 64 kilobytes of memory. Memory's up to a decidedly un-1980s eight gigabytes …

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FAIL

Needs more chicken head

Poor effort on the keyboard design - they didn't even replace the Windows keys with the C= chicken heads. And what on earth is a touchpad doing on a desktop-based machine? If they insist on such a thing, couldn't they at least drop the keypad and put the touchpad in its place? The C64 had mouse support you know!

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FAIL

Just what I thought

Another happy C= 64 mouser here.

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Wizard of wor how I miss you.

And hey! Dig Dug; it's all good eh?

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i want one !

still have a working C64 brown case from 1982 , 1541 (floppy) drive .. 256kb memory expansion cartridge .. a pair of working later C64 white case ( though one of those has a dead joystick port )

I doubt the hundreds of floppies I have work .. but I might be surprised .. GEOS "OS" from about 1986 actually had and mentioned "windows" as I recall .. and Lords of Conquest was a great game, as was a rather advanced physics model in Arctic Fox by Dynamix

"We were told, basically, that Commodore decided to build a simpler, lower-cost, black-and-white machine without a lot of the pizazz of the Apple II."

Woz must be thinking Vic 20 or .. C64 was 16 color from the start and games that had action and joysicks, rather than the (mostly) text based games I remember from Apple II around the same time.

now .. where do I find a paper and a ribbon for my Okidata 80 column dot matrix printer ?

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JBH

Actually...

...he was referring to the Comodore PET:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commodore_pet

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This post has been deleted by its author

Hmmm

> now .. where do I find a paper and a ribbon for my Okidata 80 column dot matrix printer ?

At the local suplier of such things. I have 2 fresh ribbons for it and quite some paper. I hardly use printers but I must say dot matrix beats most anything these days.

cat plaintextfile > /dev/lp0 -> get printed text :)

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Anonymous Coward

Dot matrix

Yes, dot matrix is still alive and well. I work at a very dusty ceramics factory and the dot matrix printers, which are totally exposed to all the dust, just require a squirt of oil once in a while to keep them running.

Not much cop for printing your holiday snaps on, of course.

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Silver badge

cat...

Not on a C64, unless someone snuck in a 8-bit 6510 (6502 with the 'missing' instructions re-instated) UNIX port that I missed!!

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JBH

You mean Lunix?

http://hld.c64.org/poldi/lunix/lunix.html

:D

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Bronze badge

Looks Familiar

This PC in a keyboard looks just like an all-in-one zero-footprint PC from Cybernet.

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Dear CommodoreUSA Webmasters:

We, the viewers, feel that your OS Page needs larger OS clipart! Especially the Chrome one. Might not be completely visible from space.

(But your technical snippets on Chrome and Comodo would be pretty hard to enhance any further, I'll grant you that.) And bonus for referring to yourself in the first person on the OSX section. Class.

Is this site truly run by Croatia?

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Its actually this

http://www.cybernetman.com/en/products/zero-footprint-pc/

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Happy

Errrr.....

....yes. It is isn't it?

So, what exactly IS the point of this "new" C64? It's just a rebadge of an existing product.

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Silver badge

Better marketing, that's all.

As the first post points out, even the "Super" key has that weird, squiggly squares symbol on it.

It's probably just some money men (who know diddly about computers) bought the rights to the name, bought a license to distribute and now have this "new" Commodore.

Maybe it will be a success, maybe it won't.

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Silver badge

Having just gone to both sites...

...it seems they even use the same pages.

Something smells off about this.

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Heart

Waxing Nostalgic

Awesome! I still have my Datasette, 1541-II, and Action Replay and SID Symphony cartridges. Look me up on Q-Link!

*sniff* God, how I miss those days.

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Well, Q-Link is still around, sort of

Q-Link eventually became AOL.

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Anonymous Coward

Slipped disk

Will you still need me,

will you still feed me,

when I'm sixty-four?

Apparently so but you'll need to work a few more years for your pension....if your lucky.

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WTF?

Mystery Solved...

Area code is Broward County, Florida. (For those overseas, you may soak up the culture by watching old reruns of COPS.) Please send us your credit card information straight away...

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brings back memories

Back when you'd get a computer magazine and it would have the source code printed there for you to input into your own machine. Spend hours putting it in and then debugging it.

So Commodore had a good idea in cost reducing a PC, but then they went and put as much horsepower into the floppy drive! That sort of screwed up the cost advantage.

Apples were marginally more useful. An Apple II was still too expensive to buy for an incoming college student. I ended up with a C64 instead. The C64 almost did things. Almost.

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Heart

Re: brings back memories

Ah, those were the days, you and your friend sitting in front of the machine reading the code out loud:

"ten"

"space"

"R"

"E"

"M"

"space"

"Intergalactic space adventure"

"new line"

"20"

"space"

"D"

"I"

"M"

"space"

"SPACESHIPS"

"open bracket"

"5"

"close bracket"

...etc. You get the picture.

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Silver badge
Go

I want one

Having the entire computer inside the keyboard was a brilliant design decision, and one that I've long lamented the demise of. In the old days I had my C64 on my desk with the 1541 disk drive underneath the monitor and it took up bugger-all space. The Amiga 500 / 1200 wss even better because it had the drive built-in, it was was just that, mouse, and monitor. Even the 90s desktop format PCs were good because you could put the monitor on top of them, too.

And then along came this "tower/upright" bullshit design, where desk space normally allocated to coffee cups, Coke cans, coding notes and magazines now had to be given up for a bloody great upright box you couldn't put anything on top of, and cables snaking from hell to breakfast all over the desk to the monitor, mouse and keyboard instead of decently running under the desktop case.

Would have been nice the see the chicken head keys back, not to mention the keyboard graphics, but I suppose we can't have everything. Definitely interested in this one!

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Hmmmm...

I think I know what you need. It's called LAPTOP ;)

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Jobs Halo

or...

...a latest gen. imac, complete with bluetooth keyboard & mouse. Purchase cost not withstanding.

Runs Windows 7 64bit a treat too.

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@Steve Roper

Steve - you know the point of tower cases was to reclaim the desk space, right? Put it on the floor, under the desk - that's what it's designed for! It replaced the beige-sit-under-monitor-desktop for that very reason, people didn't want one on the desk.

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Stop

I call shenanigans.

Sounds from the website that they have no right to the name yet...

From their News Page:

"We are hard at work here trying to solve the problems of world hunger & global warming; not to mention finding a way to achieve international peace and the cure for all the horrible ailments that beset mankind.

On top of all this, we are diligently and fervently entrenched in the negotiations that will allow us to place this cute little logo nameplate on our all-in-one computer."

Until the website changes or a press release appears, I say "Meh."

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Big Brother

Now for the PET - Big Brother

I want a real business machine, not the toy machines produced for the masses.

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Stop

Toy machines

Back in the day, I had an argument with my computing teacher in school regarding the merits of various machines. He argued that the school's BBC Micro B computers with 32KB of RAM, 2MHz 6502, 8 colours, no sprites and basic TI (3-channel + noise) sound was a REAL computer, and my Commodore 64, with 64 KB of RAM, 1 MHz 6510, 16 colours, 8 sprites and SID (3-channel + digi) sound was just a toy. I said that the specs of each system were comparable; where the BBC had the faster CPU the C64 had more RAM, and each was effectively capable of solving the same computational problems. Just because the C64 was a third the price of the BBC didn't make it any less powerful a machine.

In later years, the Amiga would suffer the same stigma of being called a "games machine" despite it's vastly superior graphics, sound and computing power compared to the IBM PCs of the time. So to me this business of calling cheap mass-produced computers "toys" simply because they didn't have a 4-digit price tag smacked of techno-snobbery, a problem which ultimately brought about the failure of the Amiga and left us stuck with the cludgy and inefficient Intel x86 architecture we have to endure today, instead of Motorola's beautiful and truly multi-tasking 680x0 and PowerPC processors as the norm. How powerful would these processors have become by now, if the techno-snobs had just gotten over their elitist attitude and gone with Amiga technology, instead of just dismissing it as a toy? 3.4 GHz TRUE 64-bit Quad-core RISC anyone?

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Nice.

Wonder if it'll have the same screeching tape-noise when you load stuff?

Or is it going to have the more advanced microcassette drive as an option?

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JBH

No tape loading noise on the C64.

I think you must be confusing it with the ZX Spectrum!

:D

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Load by ear

Indeed. The ZX Spectrum was very good at providing aural feedback on the cassette interface. It was very easy to tell by ear whether a load was working or not. You could even tell when you needed to realign the tape heads because your source had been laid down on a dodgy recorder.

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Bronze badge

Well...

Actually, if you wired it all up wrong, you could get that squeal from virtually any cassette loading computer. I used to do that occasionally on purpose with my BBC if there was a problem with loading so that I could hear if there was anything wrong.

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Silver badge

Apple != Woz

It's worth pointing out that Apple only started building anything special when the chubby one left.

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Headmaster

Apple ate Woz

He may have left in person, but Apple still had the Integrated Woz Machine, reduced to a chip, in every computer.

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Stop

Excuse me?!

The Apple II was what got Apple on the road to their millions! Woz designed the thing from the ground up using pen and paper, it was running businesses for years and years after production stopped. The Apple III was complete pants compared to the Apple II.

Get yourself a copy of the book "iWoz", Woz's autobiography and you will genuinely appreciate what a genius the guy is and how much of an influence he had on the IT biz.

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Pint

CIV 1

But will it run Sid Meier's Civilization?

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Hasn't this form factor been done before?

OK, so this one has "Commodore" on it. But hasn't this form factor been done a few times before? You know, computer-in-a-keyboard format?

Yeah, I started on a school's PET 2001N, and then I bought my VIC-20, and then a Commodore 128 and I upgraded its video memory. Ah, those were the days. Whip open the case, unsolder the old memory, solder in the new memory. I had four drives hanging off of it.

Too bad CBM executives were chicken heads. The Amiga was good, but it needed business-type graphics for it. There is only so far you can go targeting the video industry.

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Computer in a keyboard

Um, yeah, like how many pre-PCs were like this? Beeb, Electron, Oric, Dragon, Vic20... you name 'em.

In more recent times, the Amigas, the Acorn A3000/A3010 too.

I'm not sure I agree with a return to a computer-in-a-keyboard, because it is rarely the case when the thing is the size of just a keyboard. That said, I certainly agree with the poster who thinks tower cases are horrible. I don't like them either. The monitor of my older PC is sitting atop the RiscPC. The PC itself... uh... stuffed in the corner on top of the clunky old VCR. I mean, what the hell can you do to make a tower case fit into the aesthetic of your desk? It's the wrong size for everything.

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Silver badge

Towers...

...a good for cooling. And. Err. Umm. Yeah.

One of these "PC in keyboard" things with some kind of wireless connection to a TV/monitor would be good. You could then hide that tower in the closet and have it do all the heavy-lifting (transcoding, broadcast recording, media serving etc).

I want more money so I can buy more toys...

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Silver badge

Cooling, holding lots of drives,

providing additional horizontal storage space, and looking really, really cool with the glow neon lights thingies shining through the cases.

I still use the homemade computer desk I made for my c64 way back in the day. Drilled holes in it to help cool the sucker. I loved the computer part but hated the power supplies. I was always replacing them because they'd burn out. Haven't owned a desktop style case since then. Towers are great for cooling and over-sized power supplies that don't burn out. And I still have memories of using that first 150 bps modem to connect to Compuserve.

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Isn't this just....

A laptop with the screen torn off ?

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Silver badge
FAIL

Screenless laptop?

Yes. Yes it is.

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Eric the half-a-laptop

Half a PC, philosophically, must ipso facto half not be. But half the PC has got to be, vis-à-vis its entity - d'you see? But can a PC be said to be or not to be an entire PC when half the PC is not a PC, due to some ancient history?

Sinclair tried this too, about 22 years ago with the ill-fated PC200. At least this new Commodore's specs aren't obsolete 5 years before it launches (assuming it's not vapor)

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Dead Vulture

"And now someone is intent on resurrecting the thing."

Someone is resurrecting the PET?

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Happy

Like in "Pet Cemetary"?

Ressurecting the PET? Easy, watch the video course named "Pet Cemetary".

Anyway, computer-in-the-keyboard design sucks. It makes the keyboard too high to be comfortable, and too hot, too.

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it's the OS silly

Hang on,

it doesn't run the OS and doesn't even have the retro keyboard.

So how is is this a Commodore?

Reminds me of when Rover in the UK decided to stick an MG badge on a mini-metro with fat wheels. What a travesty.

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Unhappy

Rover

Or when Rover decided to stick an MG badge on an already badge engineered Honda Domani....

Keeping the car analogy:

This is like BMW's effort at ruining the Mini.

An original part from the original mini wont fit on it. It doesn't run the same engines. It doesn't even have the retro rubber suspension. It is as big as a Maxi and less well packaged.

Like this C64, the only thing they have similar are keeping the badge at a cynical attempt at appealing to trendy retro twenty-somethings.

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Its not the old C64

But still not a bad choice for a design. I can imagine these things being useful for office PC's nice and compact.

The touchpad is indeed unnessecary in my opinion. Its gonna be a desktop machine so you're going to plug in a mouse anyway.

Still, depending on the price I can see these machines being used at the workplace or in classrooms.

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Erm, it's a computer in a keyboard...

... so this company is just cashing in on the name and producing something that resembles a commodore 64 in the same way that a pair of converse resembles a pair of DM's.

Now if someone actually *modded* an old commodore 64 and managed to squeeze modern processing power inside, with the same retro outside *plus* commodore 64 emulation mode - then I'd be impressed.

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