Commodore founder Jack Tramiel dead at 83

“Jack Tramiel, founder of Commodore International and crucial figure in the early history of personal computing, passed away surrounded by his family on Sunday, his family confirms,” Dave Their reports for Forbes. “He was 83 years old.”

“Tramiel was born in Poland to a Jewish family in 1928,” Their reports. “During World War II, he and his family were sent to Auschwitz, after which he and his father were sent to a labor camp called Ahlem, near Hannover. Tramiel was rescued in April 1945 and emigrated to the United States in 1947.”

Their reports, “In America, Tramiel started a typewriter repair business. Staying in the forefront of technology, his typewriters morphed into calculators, and later computers. In 1982, Commodore International launched the Commodore 64, which went on to the best-selling personal computer of all time. In 1984, after being forced to leave the company he founded, Jack bought the crumbling Atari Inc.’s Consumer Division and formed Atari Corporation.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: A true pioneer. Rest in peace, Mr. Tramiel.

In addition to our Macs, we owned Commodore-64 units with which, among other things, we attempted to wear holes through our Jumpman floppy disks and later used Commodore Amigas for broadcast television character generation (CG).


  1. My first computer was a Commodore 128 with a 1571 disk drive. With the Commodore memory expansion unit I was able to boost the ram to 640k. With Geos 128, the machine was nearly a Macintosh, yet it could also run C-64 programs, and CPM programs. Wish I had never sold it.

    In a lot of ways I miss Commodore. Commodore pushed the industry because they were willing to push the technological boundaries yet keep prices low.

    Apple’s OSX is many ways reminds me of the Amiga operating system. Just much more refined. Here is hoping that Mountain Lion will correct the irritants in Lion and be the operating system that I first dimly imagined in the late 1980’s when I purchased my first Amiga 500.

    RIP Jack Tramiel

  2. RIP Jack. My first computer was a Commodore Vic-20. Later I got a Commodore 64. I started writing games and marketing them. Eventually, I licensed an adventure game and a stock market simulator game to a nationally known company. I should resurrect those games. Their ability to run in limited memory space and the graphics involved would be perfect for the iPhone or iPad.

  3. Still have both Atari ST monitors ( Color/BW) An Ataril 1040 ( upped to 4MB ) Orginal ST Hard drive and a developers kit.

    Bet most don’t remember David Smalls small adapter if you put in a set of Mac ROM chips. You had a Mac with the Atari ST!

    A sad day like last fall hearing about Jobs passing…

  4. My first computer was a C64 and then an Amiga, of which I still have one to this day. Never really liked Macs much at that time because I found them limiting after the flexible multitasking of the Amiga, not to mention well out of my price range. Even in the late 90’s when I was working in a campus computer store I wasn’t particularly fond of Macs, though the drool-worthy Powerbook Duo was something I was considering.

    But then OS X came along and I haven’t looked back.

    Regardless, sad news about Jack. RIP.


  5. Oh the C-64’s were awesome! I also had my Beta-Max video out going to the video-input on the monitor.. the picture quality coupled with Beta-goodness was beyond words, best colour too!
    I sure do miss the programming!
    10 CLS
    20 Input A$ = ….

  6. I met Jack a number of times, he was a nice guy. My companies Comp-U-Save and Pulsar were at times Commodore’s largest dealer of C64, C128 and Amiga’s. It’s too bad he did not get the chance to really get the Amiga off the ground, it’s was a great machine. I used to booths at all the commodore and Apple shows to sell products. Both Jack and Steve Jobs would pop over and say hi. We had a strange way of selling. We had rubber chickens and crazy themes at each show we were at. I would insult all the people who would come to the booth to look or buy stuff.. I went under the name of “Dr. Oxide”. I miss those days in the beginning of personal computer.. We were all Geeks.

  7. A Commodore 64 was the first computer our family owned. God, I loved that thing. I had tons of games for it, some legit, some pirated (my first programming project outside of school was to create an interface to launch the various pirated games on a floppy).

    Anyone remember COMPUTE! and COMPUTE!’s Gazette? Those two magazines always had programs you could type in for the C64, some in BASIC, some in machine language using an editor they created. I typed in a word processor they published, over a period of days (it was that long). My parents liked it so much they were still using it after I went away to college!


  8. Farewell Jack and thank you for contribution to my career. For without you my farther would not have opened a shop and I would not have sold hundreds of C64’s and Amiga’s. This would have then not led me to Apple and being the reseller I am today. My deepest condolences to his family. RIP JACK

    Martyn Ford
    Unique Design Systems

  9. Anyone remember COMPUTE! and COMPUTE!’s Gazette? Those two magazines always had programs you could type in for the C64, some in BASIC,….
    Yes! I Loved the begining of home computing, in some ways more fun than today, because of an easy to use BASIC.
    I used a TRS-80 for voice recognition.
    You could write BASIC programs that could:
    Use voice recogntion that could turn lights on/off.
    Play a game of 21 that would draw cards on the screen.
    Have a talking calculator.
    THIS WAS ALL BEFORE SIRI !!! The computers at that time were made to have BASIC, at the center.
    And for things that needed more speed–a machine launguage subroutine, that would put you right BACK IN BASIC.
    Steve Jobs (in Revenge of the Nerds), talks about how HE loved it.
    So Apple, the company about making things simple has WHAT?
    What Steve Jobs HIMSELF ENJOYED? Or just a convoluted, damm near incomprehesable C shit? Realbasic is not much of a real BASIC, sorry. I call it Clickbasic, and it’s based on Microsoft type o” realbasic. Now there was a fantasic thing called Futurebasic—but I see there’re phone # has been disconected.
    Any suggestions, on doing what STEVE JOB’S said HE loved to do?
    One more point, (relevant to Commodore), the AMIGA STARTED with a 4,000 COLOR display, and was EXPANDABLE, while the Mac was black and white !! And NOT expandable.
    I laughed at the Mac, now I own one.

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