Home > Articles

Amiga, R.I.P. (sort of)

Linux believers and any number of web startup companies brimming with good ideas may feel like life has only been unfair to them. The truth is that technology rarely fails due to failures in the idea. Much more often, efforts to coordinate technology, sales, marketing, and the rest of the world result in a failure to communicate.
Like this article? We recommend

We are gathered here today to discuss the demise not only of a fantastic operating system that still fits on a pair of floppies, but also the notion that given time, superior technology will win out in the end by nature of its superiority.

Now, before you succumb to the desire to click away, correct me about the continued existence of the Amiga operating system, or start some sort of flame war on Slashdot, let me digress. The Amiga, the Atari, even XDOS are not merely battered bones in the wake of a certain company's continued drive toward world domination. They exist as allegories that all technologists should heed.

The boundaries of technology extend far beyond the notion of "best tool for the job." Whether XDOS should be manipulating modern filesystems is no longer the issue—it isn't doing so. Nor does the Workbench grace many screens. In more current terms, the lack of widespread adoption of Linux on the desktop is a source of confusion only to Linux developers. Put another way, the fact that it has been successfully argued in court that a browser is an integral part of an operating system may be laughable, but it's also a sign of the times. Windows has not succeeded due to a faster file-seeking algorithm. It has succeeded by understanding the intrinsic need of people to not concern themselves with that which they don't understand—while continually being offered shinier and shinier objects to view.

This is not, however, a tale of woe. It's only a lesson, maybe even a bellwether. The age of technologists concerning themselves with only technology is almost completed. This is not to say that every programmer should take some accounting courses. Rather, it's a call to fellow thinkers to expand beyond building the best software and begin to contemplate the reasons that some organizations—whether the entire company or just the immediate division—succeed, while others whither and fail.

In academic circles, the struggle between time for study and money for continued existence is well known, the common phrase being "publish or perish." Many academics are left asking, "How can I conduct research to produce results when I need to constantly write proposals to obtain money to conduct my research?"

This vicious cycle also persists in politics. As often publicized, many politicians are more adept at raising funds (as required by their respective parties) than at conducting governmental matters at hand. Instead of sound policies based in careful consideration, test balloons of popularity are floated as distractions, while the man behind the curtain is rewarded for proper patronage.

Historically, technology concerns within companies have remained immune to such outside issues. Prior to the Internet boom-and-bust cycle, managers in such organizations either sprang from the ranks as they grew weary of day-to-day coding, or were technological illiterates who meddled less because they knew less. As long as deadlines were satisfied, so were they.

The web entrepreneur was introduced as an uneasy partnership, the joining of savvy creators of software at all levels—from HTML interface designers to programmers of high-speed network switches—to the world of the newly minted Harvard MBA who knew everything. This introduction brought with it the erosion of many time-tested understandings, not the least of which was the belief in each other's superiority.

The union was not all bad. A great deal of very well-considered software was created. A number of brand new business models were tested. Whether anyone could truly be considered a success at this early stage is debatable, but many have retreated to the more familiar territory of corporate IS. The biggest lesson to take away from this experience is that each side underestimated what the other brought to the table, often out of ignorance but also out of arrogance.

As anyone knows who has followed the plight of products such as the Amiga or Macintosh computer brands, it was rarely a failure of the technology. In spite of this fact, the business folks assumed in many cases that the creation of "cool" products would invariably draw enough of a following to propel their company to profitability, while the technology folks waited for the marketing efforts to distinguish their version of remote disk drive, personal address book, or whatever software to the level of sales.

And here we are. On the brink of the phoenix of second-generation web applications, rising from the ashes of first-generation exit strategies. This is a call. Don't keep quiet and wait for things to happen. The days of the isolated coder are numbered. Engineers learned this lesson the hard way, by losing respect and importance. If we don't expand our role into areas of the company most visibly responsible for making money, the same fate will befall us.

It's not even that technologists are unique. Ever since the days of the "man in the gray flannel suit," U.S. management styles have concealed and compartmentalized information. That can be keeping information from making it below the executive level, or it can be the flow between departments.

The unique position of the Dilberts of the world is that they fail to recognize their potential. Even if you don't work in a software company. Even if your company has existed longer than computers, the role of software is almost inescapable. If you understand the role of business process in shaping your work, you must begin to recognize that the reverse is also true. How many data tapes are still hand-carried between buildings simply because no one was ever asked to create an automated mechanism for the transfer?

In other words, learn how to communicate. The better you communicate, the more knowledge you'll receive. It's no simple cliché that knowledge is power. Removing the sarcasm for a moment, every type of employee has their set of language. Managers, marketers, and salespeople all insist on making a vocabulary and even co-opting words that you know and attaching new meanings.

Instead of dismissing people outside your line of work as ignorant or inferior (we've all done it), make an attempt to learn where the disconnect lies. I assure you, just expressing the interest in expanding your horizons will get you noticed. Once you get noticed, your ideas will receive an audience.

In short, instead of being frustrated by decisions, find out how and why they were made. If you can make contributions, maybe you can save the next Amiga.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020