Personal computing pioneer looks back at his Amiga

Long before geeks were cool and rich a group of engineers had to build the machines that would ignite the PC revolution and ultimately change how people communicate, play and do business. In an interview with Computerworld, Adam Chowaniec, chairman of Ottawa-based supercomputer maker Liquid Computing Corp. and one of those pioneers, talked about his role in developing the Amiga PC, and what he calls the innovation rut in the industry today.

What was it like joining Commodore International so soon after the Commodore 64, which may be the best- selling PC ever, was released 25 years ago? It was a bigger challenge than it sounds. The Commodore 64 was the end of an era. The 64 was based on the 6500 processor, and it was the end of the line for that. We were starting fresh.

Was there a challenge that really stands out for you now? The biggest challenge for the Amiga was to get the application developers to develop the software. We never got the mainstream application players to do that, [so] the Amiga became more of a niche machine.

Is the industry as innovative today as 25 years ago? I dont think so. In many ways, computers have remained unchanged for the past decade except for a faster proc­essor and more memory. Theres less innovation than back in the 80s. The industry consolidated [and is] dominated by a [few] very large companies. As companies get bigger, innovation gets slower.

Will things improve? Its cyclical [in] nature. You go through periods of huge change. Then you get periods of stability, and then it happens all over again. [Another change] is imminent. Technology never stands still.

Copyright © 2007 IDG Communications, Inc.

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