Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Jack Tramiel - founder of Commodore - passed away

In 8th April Jack Tramiel, father of personal computing, at the age of 83, passed away.

Jack, born as Jacek Trzmiel in Łódź, Poland, had tough childhood. When he was ten, he with his family was imprisoned in a ghetto, then moved to Auschwitz and finally taken to a labor camp near Hannover, from where he was freed.

In 1947, he emigrated to the USA, where his bussiness career started and flourished. He soon joined US army, where his main job was repairing office hardware. From this experience came idea for establishing his first company, which he named Commodore Portable Typewriter. It was involved in repairing and importing typewriters. Due to competition from Japan he shifted his company's area of interest to digital calculators in the perfect for that time. Next great step was purchase of semiconductor manufacturer, which allowed Commodore to start producing computers.

First machine was, shown in 1977, Commodore PET. It achieved moderate success, especially in education sector thanks to its compactness. There was, however, need for quick upgreads, because other producers, such as Apple and Atari, were a constant threat. So next models came: VIC-20, which offered rendering of color image and, finally, the greatest hit, Commodore 64.

Commodore 64 (C64) contained 64 kb of RAM, microprocessor MOS Technology 6510 with clock frequency about 1 MHz, great sound chipsets and graphic unit, which could display 16 colors and had three modes:
1. text mode: 40 columns x 25 lines3
2. hi-res mode: resolution: 320x200 pixels with 1 bit per pixel
3. multicolor mode: 160x200 pixels with 2 bits per pixel

C64 was introduced in 1982 by Commodore International. Soon there will be 30th anniversary. Low price and good hardware made this machine most popular and best selling personal computer (PC) of all time with the number of more than 15 units sold, outclassing all competition by far.

Advertisements of C64:

Sadly, not much later, in 1984, due to quarrel with shareholders Jack Tamriel was forced to leave his company. A few months later he bought Atari and began war with corporation he had founded. There were no winners. Both Atari and Commodore went bancrupt in the middle of 90's.

Fun fact: Jack Tramiel considered buying Apple, but price set by Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple Computers, was too high.

Last image for those of you who had C64. I hope you'll get nostalgic.


  1. RIP-Commodore was a great invention

  2. That's upsetting, another great mind gone from this world. On another note, I saw a commodore 64 on sale at a pawn shop the other day.

  3. RIP Jack Tramiel, who helped fueled technology. I was born in the wrong time to witness the Commodore...