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When the original Amiga 1000 was released, it shipped with version 1.0 of Kickstart and Workbench. However, it wasn't long before Commodore released version 1.1 and computers started shipping with the newer software.

Looking at early magazines from the period, readers with version 1.0 were advised to visit their local dealer to get a 'copy' of version 1.1.

Later, when versions 1.2 and 1.3 were released, an end-user could purchase an 'Enhancer' kit from Commodore with the new disks and documentation.

I'm curious what the official upgrade route was from 1.0 to 1.1. Did Commodore simply allow end users to copy the new Kickstart/Workbench disks free of charge (figuring it would cost them little and be convenient for users)? Or perhaps original 1.1 disks were mailed to existing users free of charge? Or was an 'Enhancer' kit (similar to 1.2/1.3) made available for purchase?

The anecdotal evidence I have seems to indicate Kickstart/Workbench 1.1 was simply given away to (the relatively few) existing owners. Can anyone speak definitively (personal experience or cite some official source) on this?

EDIT

I have posted a partial answer to my question below, but I'm going to leave this open. My hope is someone that actually received disks from Commodore will be able to confirm what I think I know, and also it would be interesting to know what a user actually received from Commodore. (just disks? a cardboard case? printed materials? etc).

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  • You seem to be applying today's way of handling things to "back then". Internet and e-mail make it rather trivial to deliver upgrades to customers, "back then", it was not that easy. Commodore, unlike Sinclair Research, for example, did, in most countries, not supply via mail order so, not directly deal with end customers normally. They went through a dealer network and repair shops. Updates would have been distributed through these channels (either at cost or free) and the customer had to take action with them. If you weren't a registered user (remember the registration cards in the box)...
    – tofro
    Feb 15 at 9:45
  • ... Commodore could not reach you (And I bet the majority of Amiga users didn't really return those cards).
    – tofro
    Feb 15 at 9:48
  • @tofro, thanks, you comment tracks with what I think happened. My A1000 arrived in 1986 with 1.1 and later I bought the 1.2 and 1.3 Enhancer Kit when they came out. Its only now 37ish years later that I have become curious to know how those early 1.0 users got their 1.1 disks. I have never seen a 1.1 Enhancer in the wild (if it exists, I like one for my collection). After some reading, I think it is evident that Commodore did actually send something to registered users - so now I am simply curious what they received.
    – Geo...
    Feb 15 at 14:18
  • I can't speak to Workbench earlier than 1.2, but I know that I paid for my 2.04 disk set which not only came with documentation but the required KickStart ROM for my machine. I don't recall the price being all that much and I might have paid the same if not more for a KickStart switcher board so that I could maintain compatibility with older software. So that said, Workbench 2.04 disks may have been nothing in comparison to an actual ROM chip and you already paid Commodore for an Amiga anyway since there weren't clones.
    – bjb
    Mar 7 at 18:18

2 Answers 2

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I just randomly stumbled across a website called the Commodore International Historical Society Blog, and they have transcripts from 30 Commodore forums that were hosted on Quantum Link. The Amiga forums provide a fascinating snapshot into the early history of the Amiga. You can find the transcripts here.

The forum transcript from November 1985 was hosted by Jim Gracely, who presumably was a Commodore employee or engineer (I do not recognize the name). When asked about Kickstart/Workbench 1.1 he replied:

Version 1.1 should be available within the next couple of weeks. As to how to get it; remember all those cards that fell out of the box? hope you sent them in! In addition, all new machines will be shipped with it.

Jim was also asked asked if users could swap 1.0 disks for 1.1 at their local dealer, to which he replied:

Very possible. Contrary to past history, Commodore is planning on making this whole upgrade system as painless as possible."

Jims comment regarding warranty registration cards would seem to infer Commodore made an effort to mail Kickstart/Workbench 1.1 disks to registered users, and indeed, this is confirmed in the transcript from January 1986 where a forum member states:

I have already received versions 1.1 of the operating system and workbench...

So I think I can reasonably conclude an 'Enhancer' Kit for 1.1 (similar to 1.2 and 1.3) never existed. It is highly likely Commodore simply mailed disks to registered users, or encouraged them to 'get a copy' from their local dealer.

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As a former owner of an Amiga 500 in the late 80ies I can confirm, that it was normal practice that everybody copied everything (illegaly). But I remember that Workbench was always considered public domain (even by the vendors). If your disk broke we could go to a shop(with an empty disk) and they copied it(and I never saw anybody charging money for Workbench disks).

I assume Commodore communicated that copying these disk is fine with them.

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