Way Out of Here

A project log for Rämixx500 - Amiga 500+ Mainboard

Open Hardware Remake of this Commodore Masterpiece

SukkoPeraSukkoPera 06/20/2021 at 09:030 Comments

To be honest, I actually thing there are people out there who love the Amiga as much as I do and would like to help preserving its legacy. The problem is that they probably cannot figure out the best way to do so.

I feel one of the problems is that there is not enough knowledge and acceptance of Open-Source Hardware and of the ethics behind it in the retrogaming world. For a niche market as it is, it is probably the only way to guarantee the long-survivability of platforms. We are already seeing it today how hard it is for companies to produce large batches of retrogaming-related products as sales projections are relatively small. Think about the new Amiga cases, the keyboards or the Vampires: all of these have/had long waiting queues and some haven't even been delivered yet.

As the number of machines and people using them gets smaller, things will get worse. When the Vampire guys for instance will reach the point where their projected sales are only a few tens, they will just abandon the project and it will be gone for good. Nobody will be able to get fix or update one.

We can also see it with the original Commodore chips: they are long gone, but they are not open and nobody cannot make new ones.

OSHW does not have this risk: projects are fully open, anyone can pick them up, make, study and improve them at any time. This is why TerribleFires will outlive Vampires and why Raemixx500 is better than the other boards, even if it hasn't been proved to be functioning yet. I wish more people understood that and supported OSHW developers more.

And "support" actually means: do your part! OSHW projects should be released early in their development cycle, when they are still buggy or not working at all. At that point anybody, even without specific knowledge, can contribute, just by testing it. Or they can work on accessories, maybe a 3D-printable case. Other people can build and sell boards. More knowledgeable people can fix bugs or contribute new features. People with more finance-oriented minds could help raise funds.

See? With OSHW anybody can do a small part and the final result is bigger than the sum of the single contributions. I wish more people understood that.