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This is a long shot question, and I'm asking only because, well, I'm not entirely certain why I am asking...

NBC Nightly news did a short piece on April 18th, 2022 talking about the IRS being backlogged due to being understaffed, underfunded and using antiquated technology. To make their point, they used the following graphic:

enter image description here

After jumping out of my seat and returning to the floor, I started wondering why in the world they picked my beloved Amiga 1000 as an example of "antiquated technology". Now I hope it was some fanboy in the graphic arts department (notice the Amiga is running Deluxe Paint!) - but maybe the IRS really did use Amiga's at some point?

Is there any evidence of Amiga computers ever being used (specifically) by the Internal Revenue Service or (more generally) by any other U.S. government agency?

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    Nah, this is simply some random stock images from the graphics department... "find me oldy-tymey stuff, you know, from the 80s!". They don't use cut-in-half piggy banks either and I'm not sure what the desk has to do with the speed of their returns... Apr 19 at 15:59
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    The US Federal government is Huge. Any product you can think of has been used somewhere in FedGov at sometime by someone. Apr 20 at 5:29
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    @Maury Markowitz, the commentary during the graphic was that the IRS is "understaffed" (the desk), "underfunded" (the empty piggy bank) and using "antiquated technology" (the Amiga).
    – Geo...
    Apr 20 at 11:01
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    The entire IRS still uses Amiga's, that's why the returns are so delayed! Now if only they would allow them to upgrade to 68060's they could really start pumping the returns out again!
    – Glen Yates
    Apr 20 at 14:49
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    On a similar note, there is no evidence that the IRS has ever used piggy-banks cut in half. Apr 21 at 16:21

5 Answers 5

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Amiga was used at NASA circa 1998

Here's one A4000/040 with NASA tags.

enter image description here

from http://obligement.free.fr/articles_traduction/amiganasa_en.php

Seven Amigas are online assigned to operational support, six are dedicated to routing data to remote space centers and another six are reserved for hardware and software development.

Directly from the NASA site (https://ntrs.nasa.gov/search?q=Amiga)

The flexibility, cost-effectiveness and widespread availability of personal computers now makes it possible to completely integrate the previously separate elements of video post-production into a single device. Specifically, a personal computer, such as the Commodore-Amiga, can perform multiple and simultaneous tasks from an individual unit.

A present example of computer-based video post-production technology is the RGB CVC (Computer and Video Creations) WorkSystem. A wide variety of integrated functions are made possible with an Amiga computer existing at the heart of the system.

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    Considering the sheer scope of US Govt. Agencies, even during the "Amiga-era" and the very distributed nature of their procurement, I think it would be safe to say that virtually every agency that used computers had at least one of everything. But I'm really impressed at the Amiga photo above with a NASA Property sticker on it. Good find!!
    – jwh20
    Apr 19 at 16:51
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    The Amiga wasn't even the first Commodore machine used by NASA. According to the January 1983 issue of The Transactor (p. 6), NASA used "over 60 complete Commodore systems at JFK Space Center". Given the date, these must have been PETs, CBM-IIs, VIC-20s, and/or C64s.
    – Psychonaut
    Apr 19 at 21:00
  • I had forgotten about this. I think Ars Technica did an article some time ago talking about the use of Amigas by NASA. Great info!
    – Geo...
    Apr 20 at 11:03
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    I suspect that any department that had video production also had a system with a Toaster. Apr 20 at 14:51
  • @Psychonaut > The Amiga wasn't even the first Commodore machine used [by NASA]... PETs would have been a convenient way to talk to GPIB devices; I think GPIB interfaces were starting to appear on technical instrumentation by then.
    – Lou Knee
    Apr 21 at 16:07
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While the IRS may have been a bit too "stodgy" and corporate for Amigas, some government research facilities did use them. The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), which is funded and jointly operated by the U.S. Department of Energy, was well-known for on-site Amiga usage.

While the Amiga found its way into many of SLAC's research projects, it was most commonly used to run Amiga TeX (for document creation) and Valiant Little Terminal (VLT), as a Tektronix compatible graphical terminal for accessing SLAC's many large machines.

The following description of VLT appears on Fred Fish disk #202:

VLT is both a VT100 emulator and a Tektronix (4014 plus subset of 4105) emulator, currently in use at SLAC (Stanford Linear Accelerator Center). Although the VT100 part was originally based on Dave Wecker et al.'s VT100, many enhancements were made. The program requires ARP, and it has an ARexx port. XMODEM 1K/CRC and Kermit protocol support also included. Version 3.656, binary only. Author: Willy Langeveld

Indeed, much of the public domain Amiga software that I relied on at University came from programmers employed at SLAC.

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There were Amigas embedded in NASA JSC's Shuttle Mission Simulator (SMS) computer complex. They were used, if memory serves, in one version of the out-of-the-window scene generation equipment, as controllers.

I do not know if I have any pictures of the Amigas installed in the SMS, but will continue looking. I also have not been able to find a reference confirming what I say, but I will continue looking for that as well.

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Retired Air Force comm-electronics technician here.

While I was assigned to the Air Force Pentagon Communications Agency (1994-2000), I had reason to look in on the affairs of the television maintenance shop. There are some video productions that were made from time to time for the consumption of various officers. I don't know how the ins and outs of what was produced, but I can attest that they had an Amiga 2000 in their equipment inventory.

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There was also an Amiga A2500 used by NASA. Pictures of it are in the Big Book of Amiga Hardware. NASA's telemetry labs used the pictured machine (and a few more). A YouTube video tells their story. Favorite tidbit: "NASA didn't like the Amiga, it wasn't expensive enough." but it got the job done.

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