Bill Silvey gives his views on the Amiga market of 1998.
Surprisingly, many of the issues remain relevant in the 21st
century. Reprinted with permission.
From: Bill Silvey
Subject: ["New" Amigas] WHO DARES?!
Date: 30 November 1998 15:31
Way back in 1989, before the earth cooled, upon earning a 3.5
GPA my first semester in college, my dad bought me an A500. The
day we went into Chuck Joslin's Amiga store out by UCF, we
looked at all of the options - 500, 1000 or 2000. I distinctly
remember his wife trying to sell us a C-64 disk drive interface
cable and a C64 emulator for the A500. Her reasoning? "If you've
got a C64, you can still use all your old games and other
programs." or something to that effect. My dad thought this was
pretty sound reasoning. I thought it was bullshit.
I dragged him aside and had a hastily whispered conversation in
which I flatly told him that NO, I didn't want c64 emulation - why
in the hell would I want old C64 games on my sleek new Amiga? Why?!
So what I had a lot of software? This was the AMIGA! A computer I'd
wanted to get my hands on for four years! I wanted to explore the
AMIGA'S capabilities! Not live stuck in the past, playing Gunship
for the umpteenth time and writing letters and papers using
After a few frustrating months of using the AmigaDOS
shell-only, I slowly but surely started building up a software
library for that A500 and when it left my possession in 1993 (or
was it '94? Don't remember) it was the most tricked-out computer
I'd ever had the pleasure of owning. Fattest Agnus chip,
superDenise, 14mhz 68k, 3megs of FASTRAM...yep, it was a killa. I
never once "felt" the "loss" of GeoPaint et al. In fact, if nothing
else, using Deluxe Paint, Cinema4D and others I got a bigger,
better outlet for my creativity.
When I "gave up" the Amiga scene in 1995, and got a DX4-100 and
a tiny HD (this is back when HDs and RAM were still somewhat
expensive, mind you) I didn't freak out because I couldn't play
Turrican or use DeluxePaint-4(AGA) anymore. I found
different/better tools and used those, instead. Had someone told me
at that time that there was a working Amiga emulator (was UAE
working then?) and that I could still use Cinema4D 1.0 and Deluxe
Paint 2, I'd have scoffed at them. Why? I've moved on. I'm using
different tools now. Photoshop, VistaPro3.0 for Windows, Truespace,
Now, just as I can "no longer" run some of those older apps (DOS
or win3.1 only) I've found that -surprise- their successors are
BETTER by and large. Not only in terms of features, but in terms of
speed and flexibility! Who here would argue that Caligari Broadcast
is a better application than Truespace 3? (This is a bit of a joke
- they're fathered by the same people :) ) Seriously, though, it's
not as though each and every time an application is written the
programmers have blinders on and try to reinvent the wheel! They DO
look to the past - they DO keep functionality and DO add to it!
Imagine how badly Adobe Systems would've been lambasted in the
graphics community if they'd started from go and created a program
that was functionally no different from Vista 1.0 (not Vista PRO,
In about 18 or 24 months, Intel will release it's new processor
code-named Merced and they've flat-out told Microsoft NO X86
BACKWARDS COMPATIBILITY (so I've heard - I certainly hope that's
true). Merced will be powerful. Merced will kick some clock cycles.
And in all likelyhood, I will upgrade to the Merced chip and have a
great time. Now, if MS isn't there, but say Linux is...then I'll go
with Linux! Not "providing the applications are there" - if enough
people go Merced then the applications will be there. Alternately,
if AMD or <gak> Cyrix or <bigger GAK> IDT produce a
chip that's as functionally fast as the Merced and the apps all
appear THERE, then I'll be THERE. And, lest you all think this is
an X86ian spleen venting, if the Amiga-II has the applications,
I'll go THERE.
You see, folks, my creativity was never sealed in an MOS chip
that I HAD to emulate OR ELSE. It was never contained within the
ceramic confines of an upgunned 68000 chip. There's no
billscreativity.dll file under windows 95, a Bilscret.exe under
DOS. *I* am the brains behind the operation! Not the computer!
So to you amigans I say: DARE! DARE TO DO IT! DARE to support
Gateway and Amiga International! So you won't get another
"Workbench" upgrade. So?! I didn't get a new version of GEOS,
either! I didn't get a new version of Windows 3.x! Big deal!
I've had the courage to say "Okay! That's where the power is! So
there I go!" Either I was smart enough to know where the
applications were GOING or I could see where they already WERE. So
GW/AI isn't supporting your 030 boxes! So what?! C= didn't exactly
keep shoving VIC-20's out the door after the C64 was released, did
they? And surprise! There was no Vic20 emulation and NOBODY cared!
They wanted power! Functionality! They created the environment in
which the c64 could BE the C64 and it *rocked* for nearly a decade!
I hear people saying "Well, if they[Gateway/AI] don't release what
is essentially an A4000+ or an A4500, I'll give up on computers all
together," or "If it doesn't run my image-converting batch program
that's 5 years old and no longer supported, it isn't an Amiga."
Yeah, boy, that's the pioneering never-say-die spirit the Amiga was
Don't fall into this trap, Amigans. Remember your elderly (in
computer terms) Amigas fondly...but also remember what you brought
to the Amiga came in your head, not on a floppy, not in an OS and
not in some ROMs. So your color-changer for screendepth slides
left-to-right instead of up and down. Big deal! So you have to
double-click and hold instead of single clicking and dragging. So
what!? Remember, the computer was founded on the phrase: Amiga -
The computer for the creative *MIND*. M I N D. Not "the computer
for the OS that feels exactly the same way for 15 years"
 And I'll never forgive myself for it. He offered to buy me
an A2000 when they were about ... $2000. I didn't want him to
because that was too expensive.
...and if you're reading this, Chuck...you were a prick then
and you're probably still one now. If I'd known that day I would've
gone to another shop.
...because one of the first things I did was destroy my
workbench disks. I don't remember how, it just happened. It was
months before I was using WB...
 arguments about W95 and it's legacyness aside.