In the beginning there was the Amiga 1000 and whilst the development
of the computer itself was all but ready in the year leading up its
launch the Commodore operating system or CAOS was anything but. And
so enter MetaComCo (MCC) a British company who had developed Tripos
and won the contract to provide the very first AmigaDOS. In addition
to AmigaDOS they also produced ABasiC which kinda upset the team at
Commodore given that MCC had also produced ST BASIC for the Atari.
The guy behind all this was a man called Dr Tim King who was the
creative mind behind 'The Shell'.
OK that's the history part. ABasiC lasted all but one Workbench and
and was replaced on Workbench 1.1 with the Microsoft product. And so
to enjoy the very wonderful ABasiC you have to dig out the Extras
disk for the very first Amiga Workbench version 1.0.
In respect to 'The Shell' this is a little more tricky to find but
when you finally open the software you will find 'A Shell' an
actual water based shell. Dunno why I was surprised.
ABasiC came with its own manual and uses a line numbering system
unlike AmigaBASIC. It also has all the flavour of every BASIC you
will have used prior to 1985. I do have the manual and it has many
corrections and notes stapled to pages and written next to code.
Given that it lasted such a short time I really don't think much
was used incorporating the language.
It wasn't surprising that at launch the Amiga had such few programs
to accompany it. Amiga World at the time reported that the launch
software would be ..AmigaDOS, Tutorial, ABasiC, Amigascope and
Speechcraft. I have never been able to find Amigascope or Speechcraft.
I was able to run version 1.1 on the 1.3 emulator, albeit Workbench
seemed to think it was 1.2 for some reason. It really wasn't very
inspiring I have to say. I do like the artwork in the original A1000
manuals. Certainly made the computer look very professional.
I have never been able to track down much in the way of boxed A1000
software. Textcraft is one and Amiga Logo was certainly another though
it was shipped for some time after the 1000. Would have been nice
to get more. My Amiga 1000 collection is all generally loose disks
though I do have a considerable few stacks of the software.
As for MetaCompCo their name, unlike Microsoft, does not appear in
documentation with ABasiC being credited to Commodore. AmigaDOS was
rewritten at the time of 2.0 so the timeline of the MetaCompCo era
is pretty short. I think they did make a substantive contribution
to the Amiga and it's a shame they are not better honoured.
I do believe that Mr Haynie joined MetaCompCo for a while.