Jack Tramiel, one of the PC industry’s major pioneers, has died. He was born in 1928 and, after surviving imprisonment in Auschwitz and another concentration camp during World War II, first established the Commodore name in business in 1953. His most successful endeavor, and one of the most successful in the history of computing, was the legendary Commodore 64, one of the very first computers built, as Tramiel would later put it, “for the masses, not the classes.” He was 83.
The legacy of Commodore lives on to this day, mainly in how this breakthrough device popularized the idea of a home computer. The C64, introduced in 1982, will certainly be remembered fondly by many readers of this website, as well as the Vic-20 and other less iconic devices. After he left Commodore, Tramiel purchased Atari in 1984, though its most influential devices were already behind it. Commodore, too, would go on to smaller successes like the Amiga series.
There will soon surely be more comprehensive and relevant examinations of Tramiel’s life and work, but for now let it suffice that the man was critically important in the history of personal computing, and in a great part shaped its present and future. He is survived by his wife and three sons, and of course the indelible mark he left on the industry.