Amiga Badmouthing

by Eric Schwartz
from the AmiTech Gazette, August 2012

Like a lot of Amiga enthusiasts, I periodically visit websites like Amiga-dot-org, though it's frequently an annoying, if not outright frustrating procedure. It's not the sites themselves, but the users. There are the argumentative and the trollish, and a few just plain jerks. That's nothing out of the ordinary, and easily found pretty much anywhere on the Internet. What I find more bothersome personally is the shift in attitudes regarding Amigas by the site posters -- at least taken as an average. I find frequent bad-mouthing of the Amiga platform, classic and recent, blue or red, seemingly regardless of variation. There's nothing wrong with criticism and realism -- I know as well as any that even the most modern Amiga-based operating systems don't reach the same capacity and software support of Windows. Mac, and Linux machines, but I don't go belittling those who use "lesser" systems for whatever reasons they want (at least not any more). This is an increasingly common practice on the websites though. Anyone who talks or asks about using Amiga/Morph/AROS for any kind of "serious" usage is subject to criticism, even insults, for bothering to do so by those who imply pointlessness to the endeavor, and the platform itself.

I struggle to grasp exactly why so many take this attitude when they are supposedly Amiga users and fans themselves. Assuming they are not just trolls trying to stir the pot, my best guess for this phenomenon is an increase in the percentage of site posters whose Amiga usage is primarily retro and gaming based, or primarily emulation as opposed to hardware usage. An Amiga interest limited to very specific areas can produce a similarly limited view of the platform. I know it's an easy attitude to develop -- I've had the same sort of thing myself on occasion. I used to look down my nose at those people who worked to graft things such as USB support or Internet browsing to old 8-bit Commodore and Atari systems. I wondered why they bothered when easier options were available, just as others undoubtedly wonder the same about anyone who might use an Amiga or clone system when a Windows machine would be easier in a "keeping up with the world" sense. Being on both sides have helped me to understand it's a matter of preference and finding enjoyment in what you do and what you use, and if someone is satisfied with what they have it's not my place to tell them they're wrong.

There are more and more people out there as computer platforms lose their identity to commodity status who might never understand, and that's a pity in itself. So if you have to deal with some on-line presence who spouts that Amiga (or any platform for that matter) is crap because it doesn't run some flavor-of-the-month game or application or web page, feel free to pity their inability to appreciate the bare­bones muscle car experience while they tool around in their smooth, soulless sedan with the touch-screen in the dashboard. Or something like that.