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The 7 most popular technology cults

How a tech company can shape your belief system

For many of us gadgets and the tech companies that create them are part of our whole belief system. We've identified the seven most popular tech cults, so which one do you belong to?

The Commodorians

Established: 1982

Gathering of the tribes: CommVEx, C4 Expo, World of Commodore

Major deity: Jack Tramiel

Minor deity: Jim Butterfield (1936-2007)

Sacred relic: Commodore C65

Commodorians know there is only one true path, and it is 8 bits wide.

From 1982 to 1994, the Commodore 64 was the most successful personal computer ever made. More than 30 million units were sold, and many are still in use today.

There are dozens of websites and multiple conferences devoted to the C64 (and its more recent sibling, the Commodore 128), as well as a small but thriving community of developers, says Jim Brain, an applications architect for a life insurance firm.

Brain says he started out with a VIC-20 in 1983 and graduated to a Commodore 64 before he "downgraded to a PC" in 1992. He develops new hardware for the Commodore Business Machines platform and contracts with overseas manufacturers to build the units.

"The Commodore 8bit crowd is the computer world's analogy to old-time Volkswagen bug fanciers in the car world," says Eric W. Brown, president of Saugus.net, whose ShellTown operation provides net access via shell for old hardware like the C64 and C128.

"Believe it or not people are still writing new software for the C64/128, and these days there are people who handle all their email and even surf the web via their old C128 boxes."

"It's hard to distinguish among retro-folks, but I do think [Commodore 8 bitters] stand out as a collective group," adds Brain.

"They appreciate game play over glitzy graphics, appear to be more willing to tear into something that is broken rather than just pitch it and buy something new. They like to modify things, and they tend to come up with creative solutions to problems."

Their most sacred relic: the Commodore 65, an improved version of the C64 that never made it past the prototype stage. Yet many Commodorians reject the notion of being a part of a cult; they tend to see themselves more as keepers of the eternal C64/128 flame.

"The cult is the Amigans," says one closely placed source who requested his name not be revealed. "These are people who worship the Commodore Amiga operating system and expect that one day its superiority will cause it to rise again. Some of them are really annoyingly crazy."

NEXT PAGE: The Order of the Lisp

  1. How a tech company can shape your whole belief system
  2. The way of the Palm
  3. Brotherhood of the Ruby
  4. The Ubuntu tribe
  5. The Commodorians
  6. The Order of the Lisp
  7. Monks of the Midrange
  8. The Tao of Newton


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