Commodore declared bankruptcy 25 years ago today

Commodore International declared bankruptcy on April 29, 1994, and pretty much sealed the fate of the Amiga. I couldn’t care less about Commodore, but I think we lost something special when Amiga died.

My parents bought an Amiga 1000 shortly after it launched (and then, begrudgingly, a 256KB RAM expansion a month later because otherwise you couldn’t do much with it). It was a magical machine with true preemptive multitasking at a time when DOS was normal, and years before Macs could decently run multiple programs at once. I exclusively used it and its successors into the late 90s, until it became obvious to me — probably years after it was obvious to everyone else — that I was past the end of the road and well off into the weeds. The most frustrating thing about owning one of those clearly superior machines was the bragging of PC and Mac owners when their clearly inferior systems added features I’d enjoyed for years. High-res color graphics! Speech synthesis! Sampled sound! A usable GUI! Shared libraries! An object-oriented plugin system! Cross-application scripting! And most importantly, that gorgeous multitasking! Yes, yes, that’s great; I’d had those for a decade before they became popular on other personal computers.

Other people have written better than I possibly could, and at great length, about the many ways that Commodore managed to screw up their golden child. I was only peripherally aware of all that at the time. But I know that they had something amazingly special that earned a fiercely loyal cult following, and I truly believe we lost something good when they died.

RIP, Amiga. You were loved.

The Amiga Alternative Audio Page

This is the new combined RealAudio-and-Lame home page. Much of the information was redundant, so this made a lot more sense.

Updated! (14.08.2002)

This time we have yet another newcomer .. Ogg Vorbis, the audio codec that will conquer the world (“What are we going to do tonight Brain? The same thing we do every night Pinky .. Conquer The World!”)…

Ahwell, maybe, maybe not, time will tell .. in the meantime you can atleast play around abit with it yourself .. Enjoy…

Ogg Vorbis is quite a resource hog though, so only 060 (barely usable on my 060/50) and MorphOS binaries included (ixemul required)…

Finally, the encoder works! Updated all the binaries with some minor fixes from CVS, and changed some options for slight speedup.

For more info on Ogg Vorbis, check out Ogg Vorbis homepage

New! (19.05.2002)

RAPlay v3.1 finally hit Aminet!

News for v3.1:

  • Fixed stereo output.
  • Updated liba52.
  • Minor cleanup.

News for v3.0:

  • RealAudio v3.0 support!
  • Support for RealMedia files. ¹
  • Added AIFF argument-switch.
  • Added VERBOSE argument-switch.
  • Major cleanup and code improvements.

¹) only the supported codec (v1/2/3) streams.

New! (25.04.2002)

New LAME non-beta version 3.92!

Sorry for the delay, but my A4k died recently, so I’ve been kinda out of touch with the world, however I’ve managed to borrow one, which enabled me to make this release for you, enjoy…

As usual, read the history to see what’s new…

New! (21.12.2001)

StreamRA updated!

The new RAPlay doesn’t really work with AUDIO: anymore, so the StreamRA script had to be updated to use the new (and better) RAPlay arguments .. also it now makes sure to supply sufficient stack for RAPlay…

New! (22.10.2001)

((23.10.2001) Ooops, forgot to set the rights on madplay.lzx, sorry to all you who tried to download it earlier)

Today we have a brand new port-release for you .. madplay, the best mpeg-audio player out there .. this will make a nice complement to the LAME encoder…

The archive comes with binaries for 68040 and MorphOS…

Please read the included amiga.readme for special instructions on usage!

From the MAD README:

MAD has the following special features:

  • 24-bit PCM output
  • 100% fixed-point (integer) computation
  • completely new implementation based on the ISO/IEC standards
  • distributed under the terms of the GNU General Public License (GPL)

Because MAD provides full 24-bit PCM output, applications using MAD are able to produce high quality audio. Even when the output device supports only 16-bit PCM, applications can use the extra resolution to increase the audible dynamic range through the use of dithering or noise shaping.

Because MAD uses integer computation rather than floating point, it is well suited for architectures without a floating point unit. All calculations are performed with a 32-bit fixed-point integer representation.

Because MAD is a new implementation of the ISO/IEC standards, it is unencumbered by the errors and copyrights of other implementations. MAD is NOT a derivation of the ISO reference source or any other code. Considerable effort has been expended to ensure a correct implementation, even in cases where the standards are ambiguous or misleading.

Note: If you have problems downloading, press the shift key while you click the link.

Ogg Vorbis
vorbis-tools.lzx 1100KB Ogg Vorbis 1.0 Binaries (060/MOS)Updated!
MAD (Mpeg Audio Decoder)
madplay.lzx 220KB MAD 0.14.0b madplay Binaries Updated!
LAME MP3 Encoder
LAMEbeta.lzx 550KB Beta version 3.89 Binaries
LAMEbin.lzx 640KB Version 3.92 Binaries (020/NoFPU/040/060/PPC)Updated!
LAMEdoc.lzx 38KB Documentation Updated!
LAMEsrc.lzx 280KB Source code for the latest release version Updated!
BladeEnc.lzx 405KB An alternative to LAME
Combined RA and RA2 decoders:
RAPlay.lha 380KB Multi-format (RealAudio v1/2/3) player (020, 881, 040, 060, PPC) v3.1 Updated!
RA-PPC-Both.lha 242KB WarpUp and PowerUp (SAS/C and GCC/EGCS)
RAPlayer.lha 182KB Multi-format (RA and RA2) player (040, 060, PPC) v1.3

3KB CISC’s streaming program. Get this to listen to (some) streamed audio. Updated!
Old single-mode RA decoders:
RA2.lha 89KB This is the main RA decoder, plus docs and sample AREXX script.
RA2upd.lha 16KB These are just the files that have changed since the last release.
GeekGadgets archive Big! Get the file called “ixemul-*some number*-bin.tgz”.
UnTGZ 10KB Use this to uncompress the ixemul archive.
Plus, you’ll need one of these:
Play16 177KB Command-line sample player. You should have this anyway; it’s great!
AHI 287KB Amiga’s retargetable audio system – think CyberGraphX for sound.
CPU-specific builds:
RA2-000.lha 9KB 68000 – no FPU, 2:12.15
RA2-020.lha 9KB 68020 – no FPU, 2:12.83
RA2-040.lha 9KB 68040 – no FPU, 20.15
RA2-020-FPU.lha 8KB 68020 with FPU, 22.44
RA2-040-FPU.lha 9KB 68040 with FPU, 14.93
or RA2-PPC-PuP2.lha
or 25KB
PPC (PowerUp), both versions
or PPC (PowerUp), RA2 only, 6.35
RA2-020-FPU-libnix.lha 10 KB 68020 with FPU and libnix, 21.89
RA2-040-FPU-libnix.lha 10 KB 68040 with FPU and libnix, 14.81
SoX Sound Format Converter
SoX.lzx 388KB Convert those sounds!


What is RA?

It is a command-line based decoder for RealAudio data streams. It takes a .ra input file and converts it into an easy-to-play raw sample.

Will it run on my Amiga?

Yes, it should, assuming you have a decently modern version of the OS. Folks, a bit of honesty here: if you’re using less than 3.0, please don’t submit bug reports. I won’t attempt to support older versions. Also note that while the base archive includes only the plain 68000 executables, you’ll really want to get one of the CPU-specific archives for reasonable performance.

Will it play all RealAudio files?

No. A lot of files will work, a lot won’t. Please don’t report non-working files
to me – in all likelihood, I won’t be able to do a thing about it.

Where can I find some of these files?

The same places you’ve run across them before with Netscape or MSIE. One of the more interesting sites is Art Bell’s home page. Some other files are on the Gold Tooth page.

What does “streaming” mean?

Streaming means that you can process a file as it’s being transferred. In this case, it means that it is possible to play back the RealAudio file while it is being downloaded.


This gives you the distinct advantage of not actually having to store the file on your hard drive. Plus, it’s kinda cool. 🙂

What is rastream.rexx?

It’s a program to demonstrate streaming. Ignore it, and use CISC’s great StreamRA! rastream.rexx was just a little toy that I spent about 3 minutes writing as a proof-of-concept.

What are these .ram files (notice the “m” at the end)? Why doesn’t RA decode them?

An employee at RealNetworks pointed me to their Attaching RealAudio Files To Web Pages page.

What is Play16?

Play16 is an Amiga sample player. Quite simply, it’s absolutely brilliant. To make Play16 play RA’s output files, use the arguments RAW, FREQ, and BITS like so:

Play16 RAoutputfile RAW FREQ 8000 BITS 16

What is AHI?

AHI is a retargetable audio system. It provides programmers with a common API to play sounds back on any supported audio hardware. For example, if a programmer makes his project AHI-compatible, it can automatically use the Amiga’s native Paula output or any of the sound cards that AHI has drivers for. It’s the audio equivalent of CyberGraphX, if that helps.

Why do you use AHI?

It does some really neat stuff. For example, you can calibrate your Amiga’s built-in sound hardware, so that sounds played back through AHI sound as good as physically possible. Also, it provides a nifty AUDIO: device that you can copy samples to for real-time playback.

Did you write RA?

I wish I could take credit, but I can’t. The source code archive came from a Usenet posting, as did patches and recommendations for improvement. Hence the credit line in the version string; this is a group collaborative, not an individual effort.

Why is RA significant?

Mainly because we were told that it couldn’t be done. RealAudio’s authors repeatedly chose to ignore our requests to port RealAudio to the Amiga, ostensibly because our beloved computer couldn’t handle the computing demands. RA, if nothing else, proves this to be total BS.

Is RA being ported to other platforms?

Yes, it is. I have to admit that this surprised me. However, RealNetworks seems to be ignoring several platforms, not just AmigaOS. Known ports can be found for:

If you know of any other ports, please let me know. I’ll be happy to cross-link any sites.

Thanks for 28.8! How did v2.0 come about anyway?

Boy, isn’t that a story and a half! That’s all you get to know.

The Amiga RealAudio mailing list has been cancelled due to lack of interest.

For LAME correspondence, write to

RealAudio questions and comments should be addressed to

Yam No More

Back in my Amiga-using days, I had an email program called YAM. It was excellent and ubiquitous; almost everyone used it. It had three unique features:

  1. You could configure it to embed small bits of personal information in outgoing emails, such as your birthday.
  2. When it saw these bits in email that other people sent to you, it could add the information to your address book.
  3. It had an option to automatically send a “happy birthday” email to everyone in your address book on their birthday.

I was active on a lot of mailing lists, so my address book was pretty full with people I’d hardly met. I sent them happy birthday emails each year, and on my birthday, it was fun to get flooded with a few hundred little messages from well-wishers I didn’t know except maybe from some obscure discussion group.

I had the sad realization a few days ago that for the first time ever since I started using YAM, I didn’t receive a single email from it this year. Not one of my old friends still does this. While it’s not very big in the scheme of this, it still marks the sad end to a happy era.