The Commodore Users Survey

constructed 21 February 1997

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As promised, but unfortunately a month late, are the results for the Commodore Users Survey, the first of its kind in a long time. The response was overwhelming, especially since all this data was entered by hand. So be nice to me. There were some problems in this survey, mostly missed categories, but overall I hope you'll find this a neat little window on the habits and doings of the contemporary eight-bit fanatic.

Watch for the next survey in a few months!

Without further ado ...


Unsurprisingly (lamentably?) almost all the respondents were male. I had one woman reply. A median age would be somewhere around 25 years old, which is very good to hear (and should dispel the notion that Commodore users are people who grew up punching cards and programming FORTRAN 77. >:-).

Where'd you get it from?

Slightly less than 50% received it as a gift, and another slightly less than 50% bought it. A few inherited it and there were a couple of garage-sale ones out there.

Where do you buy your stuff?

Over half get it by mail; most of the rest were swaps. Some lucky people (about 20%) have a store they can buy it from. I was only kidding when I put the part in about shoplifting but someone said they actually did (sorta).

What computers do you own?

1% had a KIM-1: namely, me. Someone had a clone, though.
1% had a PET.
23% had a VIC-20.

70% (heh) had a 64. A stock one. 21% had an SX-64, no one had a DX, there was one Educator 64 out there and 30% had a 64C. No surprises. A lot of people had at least two or more.

3% had a 65.
Somebody had a B128.
52% had a 128, and 30% had a 128D. Some people had several.
9% had a Plus/4 and 4% had a 16.

What peripherals do you have?

I forgot a lot in this section ... see the end for this.

73% of you had Datasettes. This floored me. There was almost two to every owner per capita. Someone had a Sony reel-to-reel and someone else had built a tape interface into a regular analog recorder (sorry, doesn't count! :-).

Everybody had a disk drive of SOME sort, read on:
9% of you had a 1540.
78% had a 1541, almost another 2:1 ratio. Someone claimed to have 12.
15% had a 1541C, and 30% had a 1541-II.
There were at least three 1570's, but I didn't ask this question.
63% of you had a 1571. This doesn't (or shouldn't) include the ones built into the 128Ds.
35% of you had a 1581. Only a few people had more than one.

There were only two Lt. Kernals (3%) but 27% of you have CMD hard drives.

66% of you had a printer. There was no clear favorite, but a lot of people liked (or at least had) Star printers. Of the rest, most were 1525-like ones, like MPS-801s and so on, and Okimates/Okidatas.

26% of you had lightpens. Maybe I should resurrect my lightpen OS project. Interestingly, only 16% had Koala pads.

What software and enhancements do you use?

BASIC was overwhelmingly preferred to GEOS, over two to one. Sorry, Berkeley. Someone wrote in Simon's BASIC, but I also heard a couple "ACEs" and CS-DOS. A few people said they preferred assembly language. Must be demosceners. :-)

The fastloader scene was extremely varied:
20% used Epyx FastLoad, my personal favorite. It ran practically neck and neck with Mach (21%) and Final Cartridge (23%) and Action Replay (16%).
No surprises to anyone: JiffyDOS won this one (46%).
Only one person used DolphinDOS.
Other things I heard mentioned were SuperSnapshot (five people), Warpspeed, Partner 128 and of all things, Isepic.

What other computers do you have?

In the totally unsurprising category, 56% of you have some sort of MS-DOS or Intel etc. box. 21% had an Amiga, including one CDTV.

Bringing up the rear:
Apple IIs, Macs, and Color Computers clock in at 6%.
4% of you have either an 8-bit Atari or an ST.
Two people had an MSX box. One of them was me.

What do you use to emulate a 64?

A very popular answer was "don't emulate". Still, a lot of you do:

C64S, the clear winner (38%).
PC64, next with 10%.
Amiga Frodo leads that platform (9%).
3% of you use either MagiC64 or Win64.
Other emulators mentioned were ALEC, VICE, CCS64 and PCVIC/V20DOS. No one used GO64 but they did use A64.

How did I screw this survey up?

Not a large enough sample size, but then I don't want to dig through several hundred either!

I didn't catalog these peripherals:

Because I entered this data manually, apologies for pinpoint errors due to lack of sleep. I complied this over a 10 hour marathon so be nice to me and send me some Coca-Cola.

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