The Commodore 64 Mini is a general-purpose computer that comes with Linux. It comes preinstalled with games, but it also comes preinstalled with BASIC that can load other programs. It is supposed to be like a computer made in the 80s, the Commodore 64. It's not even out yet, never mind "retro" and thus it's not on topic any where else. Moreover, we've already had this discussion numerous times and it's been determined that proprietary Windows on ARM was on topic, and so were tablets even. This is Linux on ARM. On the extreme end, we have over a 1,000 questions on a similar ARM SOC which are on-topic . Why is this any different? What makes the Commodore 64 Mini unique?

It's not a video game. It's a programmable computer, that plays game. To state that it's not a computer, seems like a statement that computers made in the 80s were not "computers."


Looking to get this question reopened:

That specific question - I feel should remain closed for very different reasons.

Firstly - I don't think there's a real problem here. If you wanted to ask questions about using the C64mini in a modernish context its fine. It seems that we literally have a question designed to fit in an answer that, sooner or later should be trivial to find.

Now, its fine to ask questions about real problems you face - but I sometimes find myself regretting saying "oh go ahead".

I'm disinclined to reopen the question for reasons of quality.

I also have this funny feeling that we have a pattern of you trying to find sites to ask, and self answer oddly niche things - and this is something I'm not sure what to do about.

Your premise of "tablets are on topic" is flawed. The top voted answer states that we should allow tablet questions where those tablets run a "real" generic operating system. iOS and Android devices are off topic by the criteria established there, as would be their hardware. Windows on Arm is allowed because the OS shares a lot of functionality with the "full" version of Windows and require the same solutions.

We also allow Raspberry Pi questions where the problems are about using Linux on it. It is essentially an Arm Linux computer and as such the OS is on topic, but none of the hardware is replaceable or generic. There is nothing "field servicable" about the hardware and any relevant information on it is available on the product website.

Continuing in that vein... If your questions for the C64Mini were about using it as a Linux computer then fine, generic Linux questions are on topic here. But asking how to hack a PCIe 4G cellular or WiFi module into the physical hardware would be off topic.

Questions about pre-release hardware that might change at any time before final release can make for a fun game of catch the rabbit, but can lead to a rather unhelpful discussion answer saying "well they changed this at the 11th hour and so this is the real answer now but back in my day..."

You should preferably ask questions about problems you ate currently facing while using something in front of you.

We also don't really need a massive long series of questions cataloguing every tiny Arm/x84/MIPS device stating which particular processor they use. It shouldn't be relevant to using the device as a real computer.

A better and more on topic question would be

Given that this device runs Linux, how can I identify the processor and it's capabilities? What commands should I run?

Which would be definitely answerable and useful for thousands of other people using tiny Linux based computers that have many subtly different processors rather than one particular device.

The problem with all of this is while the Commodore 64 mini might be using an ARM CPU for emulation, a basic end-user using the device will only be able to use an external keyboard to use this device as a Commodore 64 BASIC machine and that’s it.

This is utterly not a general purpose computing device because anyone who would buy this device in 2018 would not be using it for daily computing tasks but rather—let’s face it—play games. Many of the games are baked into the device and the “built in keyboard” is a decorative miniature at best.

The fact that all of this sits on top of an A20 chip is irrelevant. If this question were “How can I modify the Commodore 64 mini to run a modern Linux OS?” then to me that is on-topic even if it is an extreme edge case.

But for most users of BASIC on this device the CPU is utterly meaningless. Which is why I clearly stated in comments on the original question it would be better suited for the Retrocomputing Stack Exchange. This is a nostalgic device at best.

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