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Thread: Cloanto

  1. #1
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    Cloanto

    In the Amiga community they are definitely mixed views towards Cloanto. With two destinct sides. After reading all of the views given by many members of the different forums in the Amiga community, this is a compilation of the views I've found so far.

    If you don't know who Cloanto are, they are the Italian company who develop and sell the Amiga Forever And C64 Forever CD/DVD packages.

    Many true Amiga enthusiasts within the Amiga community dislike Cloanto and the Amiga Forever Package. Whereas fans of the Amiga who left the scene and have since been looking for a way to enjoy some of what the Amiga had find Amiga Forever and love it.

    Casual fans of the Amiga, who owned an Amiga back in the late 80's, but then got rid of it and moved on, tend to like Amiga Forever. It is an all in one package that allows easy emulation of an Amiga using the Cloanto player frontend. With full setups of the main machines from back in the day, and a selection of games and demos to run out of the box. For them it is ideal as they don't need to try and work out WinUAE or scratch their heads as to what the Kickstart roms are.

    However...

    For the real Amiga enthusiasts the reasons many Amiga Forever are common. The most stated reason is that the underlying workings of the package are based heavily on freeware or public domain software, developed for years for free by their developers purely for fun to give to the community. But Cloanto are using these software pacakges to make money. In many peoples view this is morally wrong and it goes against the community.

    The biggest two issues raised as arguments against Amiga Forever are WinUAE and the Kickstart roms.

    Firstly without WinUAE Amiga Forever would not exist. It is the core software the runs the whole package. For many they view this as just being wrong; that someone is making money off the back of this. And no one is sure if Toni Wilen is getting anything for this, apart from a credit in the Amiga Forever documentation.

    The second is the kickstart roms. We have all known for years how Cloanto protect their claim over the Kickstart roms and send emails to any site hosting or providing links to a kickstart rom file. However many have recently been questioning what the license actually is that Cloanto hold for the rights to the Kickstart roms. And the interesting thing is that no one can find out any information about this. Their "custom" version of the roms was examined by members of EAB and it was discovered that all they had altered to make them so called custom and unique to Cloanto was the first 3 character at the front of each rom file.

    So do Cloanto really own the rights to sell the Kickstart rom images? No one knows, but we all know that real Amiga enthusiasts all agree that all Kickstart roms (at least up to 3.0) should now be made freeware for all to use. There is just no valid reason for holding them as a copyrighted license any more. Especially when you think about it and realise that the only people still making any money from the Kickstart 1.3 rom is Cloanto!!!

    So do you agree with the current situation with the Kickstart roms? Or would you like to see them made freeware?

    Another issue many have is the need to buy the Premium Edition of Amiga Forever to get hold of the Amiga related Videos. These videos were filmed by Commodore employees for Amiga fans to watch, and in reality should be made freely available, not exclusively sold by Cloanto at a price!

    There are however some points about Amiga Forever that are unique, and Cloanto should be given the recognition they deserve for these.

    The KS Light OS. Based on Linux and UAE, it has been developed well to boot directly from CD into a fully configured Amiga OS, and also now able to be installed to HDD. However Linux and UAE are both open source/freeware software so the argument about selling this is still there.

    The next is the Amiga Explorer. This has always been a unique and very useful product that does deserve to be purchases. Allowing people to connect their PC to an Amiga via Null Modem or Ethernet and transfer ADFs directly to a floppy disc in the Amiga's drive. This package can be bought separately from Amiga Forever though, so can be argued as being good in its own right and not because it is a part of Amiga Forever.

    Finally we have the Amiga Forever Front end player for WinUAE. This is quite a nice idea for a Front end, first seen in the last release. It was buggy and not that user friendly before, but the new updates sound like they have improved it. However should a front end for a free emulator be commercial and cost money? Not in my view. Again it goes against the retro emulation community in my view.

    So what are your thought about Cloanto and Amiga Forever? Are you for or against the package and what it contains as a commercial product?

    And what about C64 Forever? That uses the same front end, but everything else it includes is completely freeware, even the C64 roms. So in my view that is wrong.

    I would love to hear everyone's thoughts on this after reading and compiling this post based on points of view already raised within the rest of the Amiga community.
    Last edited by Harrison; 16th July 2009 at 16:17.

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  2. #2
    You say it's almost all based on freeware so they shouldn't be charging for it, but what about the time and energy they've invested in putting everything together and developing the KS Lite OS?

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    Yes, that is very true. But look at this from the Amiga community point of view, and maybe an even great emulation community point of view. Plus remember that the views expressed are not my own, but those raised across the Amiga community, mostly by those who have been Amiga enthusiasts since the 80's.

    We have people developing complete packages such as AmigaSys or ClassicWB for the Amiga community, and many many more developing emulators, frontends, complete packages and utilties for the whole emulation scene, and these are all completely free and developed in the developer's spare time. It is the structure of the Amiga and the whole emulation community.

    Emulation is a hobby. An enthusiasts past time and no one is doing it to make money. They are doing it as part of a big community to enjoy what they are doing.

    I personally don't see anything Cloanto have developed as being greater than any of the great community emulation projects developed for free. And in my view it goes against the whole emulation community.

    Emulation should be free, as should everything developed around it. We are emulating dead machines and systems to keep their software and memory alive, not to try and continue making them profitable or making money from their remains. For someone to be profiting from this just seems wrong to me.

    This is very similar to most people's view of rom collections. Loads of us in the emulation community collect rom sets and complete rom collections, but we don't pay for them, or charge to give a copy to someone else. While the argument is always there that we are downloading, copying and using software that was originally commercial, it is not why we are collecting them. Just as with emulation, we are collecting the rom sets to preserve and maintain an archive of the software that was available for a now dead system. Profit should not be made from this hobby/pasttime. And most have the same point of view.

    All things relating to emulation and rom collecting should remain open source and/or public domain, and free.
    Last edited by Harrison; 16th July 2009 at 16:20.

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    It's a bit hard for me to speak about that.

    I meet Mike from AmigaForever here in Lisbon. He just send me an email to join him and other guys, he was really cool, and he gave me a cloanto package.
    I never installed it, because i have winuae runing perfetcly, but i watch all the videos from Commodore imployes and they are very nice to watch.

    About the software of this package, i never try it, so i dont know. Winuae works so good that i don't see why i should try any other software.
    But when you put time and money to design something shouldn't you sell it? Sometimes yes and sometimes No ? It's not easy to answer.
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    However Amiga Forever is WinUAE, which is exactly my point. All Amiga Forever is doing is adding a front end to the emulator you are already using for free!

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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    Honestly I think they are great! I had many of the same views of the detractors, hell I been emulating the AMIGA for years, didn't see a point but that said I bought Amiga Forever 2008, 2009 and even the new C64 Forever. Let's be clear here, it is not for everyone, especially those who know how to use emulators, find ROMS and kickstarts etc. HOWEVER, what I like about CLOANTO is they really have wrapped it all up in a nice package, great frontend. The new 2009 version even incorporates a AMIGASYS and AMIKIT environment. As it's been noted not EVERYONE is into setting up emulators, finding ROMS etc, many people have fond memories of the Amiga/C64 platform and simply want to re-live them with little fuss or trouble. I have been impressed with their efforts, and REALLY they don't ask much for them, once setup you can even update and install all the separate components automatically, the "player" front end is excellent, you can save states upon exiting and it captures your mouse automatically and release it simply by holding down ESC for a bit or just quickly moving it outside the emulated window. Again, I was a skeptic and it is not for everyone but to the point I don't buy a lot of software but I was so impressed with the package as well as their customer service, any issue or concern I ever had they quickly replied, worked with me and have been very friendly, I truly see them as an asset helping to keep the classic computing community going, the work and effort in their product really shows.

    Now, if they asked $$$$ for the package and simply provided a disk with UAE, with ROMS etc and included a text file on how to set it up then yeah I would say no thanks but the fact that you can honestly install it and have AMIGA environments up and running perfect with a few clicks and no knowledge of how to setup winuae then that reached even more people and that can only be a good thing.........well that's my 2 cents anyway.
    AMIGA - Some people will never "get" it........

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    I guess yea, it's good for a person who has no idea on how to set up emulators etc...but if you had experience with the Amiga, you would have some sort of knowledge into that kind of thing...how much do they sell it for?
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    It costs €29.95 for the plus version (download) or €49.95 for the DVD boxed version that comes with the 2 video DVDs and the emulation CD. You can also buy a cut down version called Value that costs €9.95, but only includes kickstart 1.3.

    If you haven't played a classic game in years, it's never too late to start!


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