Commodore USA releases a new OS!

A couple of days ago, Commodore USA, best known for their PCs-in-a-Commodore-64-case products have released a free operating system called “Commodore OS Vision“.   The OS is Linux-based and its look is inspired by the Commodore 64 and original Commodore Amiga Workbench GUIs.
The GUI (Gnome 2.x) however comes with a modern spin, including several slick graphical effects intended in the first place to showcase the capabilities of their new Commodore machines (the C64x Ultimate has a Dual Core 525 Atom processor and an nVidia ION2 graphics chipset and the C64x Extreme comes with a second generation Intel Sandybridge Core i7 capable of reaching speeds of 3.3Ghz).

But even if you don’t have one of these C64x (or one of their VIC/Amiga series PCs), you can still give the new OS a spin.  As it is beta software you’re on your own to try it out as it has been primarily created to run on Commodore USA’s hardware.  Note also that it is only available in 64-bit.

To download it, you’ll need a torrent-client and both ISO’s are roughly 4GB in size, but for this, you get a lot of software and goodies in return.  Here’s the list (taken from the ISO’s readme-file).

E-mail and Chat
Chat with friends and colleagues through Pidgin which integrates Yahoo, Google Talk, MSN, AIM and many more.
Evolution gives you e-mail, an address book and a calendar and works well with colleagues and friends using MS Outlook.
Use Skype to video chat with friends.

Upload photos from your camera or phone to Picasa which can view, manage, tag, share and sort your photos.
You can also upload your photos easily to your favourite social network or photo-sharing sites including Flickr, Facebook, Picasa and many more.

Office Applications
Create professional documents, spreadsheets and presentations with LibreOffice.  LibreOffice is compatible with most office applications including Microsoft Office.  You can also create databases, draw flowcharts and design logos.
GnuCash is financial accounting software perfect for personal and small business use.

Get the Most out of the Internet
Mozilla Firefox and Chromium(based on Google Chrome) browsers are included with useful add-ons.
Share content with the world using qBittorent.
Filezilla is the FTP client of choice for transferring files across the internet.  Connect to remote machines with a terminal server client.
Google Earth allows you to explore and search the planet.

Music and Videos
Use Rhythmbox to download, store, buy and play music.  Share playlists with your friends.
Access directly through Rhythmbox to stream your favorite music.
Stream and play video from YouTube, BBC and others.  Use SMPlayer or VLC to play practically every video format in existence.
XMBC is a Media Center program that helps you organise and view your video and music collection as well as stream online content. Commodore OS Vision provides the option to boot into XMBC automatically to simplify access in your living room.

Create Graphics
GIMP(Graphical Image Manipulation Program) is an advanced image editor similar to Photoshop.
Simple Paint programs are provided including an Amiga Deluxe Paint clone called GrafX2.  Inkspace can create and edit Scalable Vector Graphics images perfect for corporate logos.
Scribus is a Desktop Publisher providing professional layout and publishing features as well as PDF creation.  Software is also provided to scan documents and input photos from iPods and iPhones.
Blender is an advanced 3D ray tracer that can be used to create 3D models and animations.
Sweet Home 3D provides a fun way to interior design your dream home and view previews in 3D.

Make Movies
Openshot is a flexible and simple to use video editor which includes numerous transitions and effects.
Export your film to DVD, YouTube, Vimeo and many other common video formats.  Cinelerra-cv is an advanced non-linear video editor and compositor for professional use.

Make Music
The Linux MultiMedia Studio(LMMS) allows you to create melodies and beats, synthesize and mix sounds and arrange samples. You can even use your MIDI-keyboard for input.
Have fun creating beats with the Hydrogen Drum Machine.

Edit Sound
Audacity is a simple to use sound file editor and recorder that can work with many popular formats.  Ardour is a multi-channel digital audio workstation that delivers professional quality sound manipulation tools.
Software is also provided to help you convert between various popular sound formats.

Play Games
Commodore OS Vision comes with many dozens of the best games available in the free open source world, too numerous to mention, covering all popular genres, such as Action, Arcade, First Person Shooters, Platorm, Shoot’em’up, Racing, Simulation, Adventure, Flight Sim, Sports and Strategy.

Options to run Windows software
Commodore OS Vision installs a graphical boot menu allowing you to select which operating system you would like to load.
If you install Windows it will be on the OS selection menu, allowing you to access the strengths of each particular operating system you install.
Commodore OS Vision also comes with WINE, which is a Windows compatibility layer capable of running some Windows software directly.
They also include virtualization software called VirtualBox which allows you to install and run Microsoft Windows within Commodore OS Vision. A seamless mode even merges Windows software with the Commodore OS Vision desktop, making it look as though Commodore OS Vision was running this software directly.

Commodore OS Vision aims to provide the best programming tools for an array of programming languages, with options for beginners all they way up to IT professionals.
Several integrated development environments are included as Commodore OS Vision Extras allowing you to program in BASIC, Java, C/C++, PHP, Perl, VB.NET, C#, Python and HTML. There are also an array of web technologies and frameworks available.

That Retro Feeling
Aimed at Commodore enthusiasts, Commodore OS Vision bundles remakes of classic Commodore software.  Compose music the Amiga way with MilkyTracker which works with the much loved MODs music format.
Edit graphics the Amiga way with GrafX2, a Deluxe Paint clone, which can work with popular Amiga formats.
Manage files the Amiga way with a Dopus-like 2-pane filemanager.
Chat with fellow Commodore users through an IRC(Internet Relay Chat) client with a retro feel.
Even a Ram Disk is included and integrated.

Classic Commodore
Feeling nostalgic? A goal of Commodore OS Vision is to simplify classic Commodore compatibility, with integrated features to launch classic 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit era software via emulation.  As Commodore OS Vision continues to develop, they will continue to improve this feature through updates, that further allow PET, VIC-20, CBM-II, C16, C64, C128 and Commodore AMIGA software to be launched effortlessly.
Commodore OS Vision even has an option to boot directly into full screen C64 emulation with the READY prompt.

For sure, it is not the vintage Commodore experience you’re getting here, but who knows, if the old Commodore would still be around today, this might well be the OS you’d be seeing on their machines as well.

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9 Responses to Commodore USA releases a new OS!

  1. This is stupid. You’re writing all this just because the PC case looks like a C64?

    It’s a PC, it runs Linux, nothing more to add. It’s an insult to the C64’s memory.

  2. Robby "The C= guy"

    Hi Joel,
    I understand what you’re saying and as I stated some time ago:
    Whether or not it is a good thing, this “re-release” of the C64 is a hot discussion topic on the web. Many feel that it has nothing to do with the old classic and that it is merely a commercial undertaking, tapping into the sentiment of many people that have grown up with the classic Commodore. I take their point that apart from the “look”, it bares basically no resemblance to the machine that shaped computing in the 80s. The fact that they decided to include an emulator that you can immediately boot into is a good thing, but like many “old school” computer fans, nothing beats playing games or running classic applications on the old models themselves.
    It will remain a discussion topic for many months to come, of that I’m sure!”

    The thing is, there are old Commodore enthusiast that like these C64x machines, simply because they do need a PC and having one that at least resembles the old C64, turns an otherwise ugly PC case into a nice object.

  3. Hey Robby, hope all is good in your neck of the woods. I for one love the Commodore OS Vision, Linux geeks love to hate the new UI or as they call it bloated Linux OS. I for one Own many original Commodore computers as yu well know. But, running the new COSV is so much fun and is really an all in one OS run Dos, Windows and virtual systems all with-in the new Commodore OS. I’m writing to this post from it right now. ;) Thanks for the write up, it’s always appreciated my retro brother. No matter what anyone says negatively. Keep It Retro

  4. You do understand its just moded Linux Mint 10 and not a new OS like you claim, as well as CommodoreUSA is not CBM?

  5. Robby "The C= guy"

    Yes, they’re not CBM and indeed, it is a moded Linux. I think thats’s also what I wrote “The OS is Linux-based and its look is inspired by the Commodore 64 and original Commodore Amiga Workbench GUIs.”

  6. And you do understand its not a really new OS just a bit modded MINT without MINT authors approval?

  7. Robby "The C= guy"

    Well yes, it is a modded version of Linux. I read you are very much anti-CUSA and that is perfectly OK, but again, that is not the aim of the article, being pro or con. As I wrote in a previous article (, things like this, regardless of the fact wether it is modded Linux or it has or has not had permission to be used will always remain a hot discussion topic. I prefer the old classic myself as that is “retro”. The new C64x is indeed “just” a PC in an old case, but still, some people will like it.

  8. It is an interesting toy but not a real C64 as others have said. My software synthesizer, for the C64 , FASTFINGERS, for an example is perfectly IN TUNE on a real C64 but not in tune on any emulator that I have tried.


  9. Robbie,
    The website is down and I would like to get the disks and load them on a Dell Inspiron N5050. Do you have any idea where I can purchase them. I have tried a number of the links to download, and the torrents with no luck. Any help you can give, will be greatly appreciated.

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