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History and Perspective on BeOS

CmdrTaco posted more than 11 years ago | from the what-not-to-do dept.

Be 290

prepp writes "Avid BeOS user Robert Renling posts his first article about the Be Operating System." An interesting little article, with the amusing conclusion that BeOS isn't dead after all! Ah Zealots. Aren't we fun?

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BeOS (3, Funny)

joyoflinux (522023) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440855)

BeOS may not be dead, but everyone tells me BSD is ;-)

Re:BeOS (3, Interesting)

morgajel (568462) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440872)

it's really great when they tell you it while holding an ibook:)

but now on to the topic- BeOS was my first alternate OS. I went from 98 to BeOS 4.52
it rocked. the only problem it had was with my video card, so I had to keep switching in an older one to get it to work. That was also the reason I finally quit using it. If you want to know more about the BeOS, I'd highly recommend reading the BeOS Bible. It was a very well written book for someone who(at the time) didn't know much aobut computers.

Re:BeOS (1)

Raiford (599622) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440946)

That was actually kind of funny -> mod parent up

If someone runs it... (2, Insightful)

Hal-9001 (43188) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440870)'s not dead. Obsolete computer systems don't die--they just get severely marginalized...

She was good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440875)

I messes around with the BeOS on my p120. It was fast as hell but it was near the end so there wasn't much around to actually do!

Re:She was good (2)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441133)

I messes around with the BeOS on my p120. It was fast as hell but it was near the end so there wasn't much around to actually do!

I loved beos, it was a great little OS super fast loading with hardware detection each time it loaded, a fast responding GUI, possibly the best File system ever, but one thing it lacked that really killed it was the fact that there was never any good software for it, the included web browser (net+) was the best you could get for the system and it dint support java/java script/flash or anything else. because it lacked hardware OpenGL there was never any games for it. and the apps that were available such as newsreaders and email clients were basic at best and tended to crash. even with all that I would still be
running it if it wernt for the fact it doesn't support my hardware anymore, but thats what happens when a company goes under

I know it hurts... (4, Funny)

thammoud (193905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440877)

but please let go!! Don't repeat the same mistake I made with Amiga and OS/2

Re:I know it hurts... (5, Funny)

zulux (112259) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441060)

but please let go!! Don't repeat the same mistake I made with Amiga and OS/2

With a record like that, can I ask you a favor? ....

Please start running Windows. Thanks for your consideration.

Re:I know it hurts... (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441134)

Oh, please.

Contrarians are never gonna mind your suggestions...

mm (4, Funny)

Pros_n_Cons (535669) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440883)

okay maybe its not dead, but its sure starting to smell funny.

Re:mm (2)

selderrr (523988) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440968)

that's the webserver you're smelling :-)

OSes Never Die (5, Interesting)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440885)

REally, OSes never die, they are essentially immortal, becuase once you find someone who really likes it, they will go to any length to keep the dream alive. Any length.

But whats more about BeOS - its still under development. The OpenBEOS project is doing a fanatastic job re-implementing the OS, essentially from scratch. I have no idea how long it will take, but someday the OS will be re-implemented completely from scratch in an OSS manner.

From there, the improvements will continue.

My advice to future pushers of BeOS? Stay away from mainstream desktops for now - instead aim for vertical markets (*not* web appliances or that stupid stuff). Get some ISV's to write accounting, medical, legal, technical, etc etc programs for it. Focus on the audio/video processing markets. Get them wrapped up nice and tight, and then move to bigger areas. Just my two cents.

Which is exactly what Be was doing... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440904)

...and look how wildly they succeeded there. You can look in a thousand video editing suites now and not find one BeBox. They're all using Mac OS X now. Why? Well, aside from the fact that it works better and has a zillion times more software....

Re:Which is exactly what Be was doing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441026)

Depends on how you define "works better". It certainly isn't faster.

Oh yeah? I can list plenty of dead OS's... (5, Informative)

maynard (3337) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441215)

As a counterpoint to your statement:
REally, OSes never die, they are essentially immortal, becuase once you find someone who really likes it, they will go to any length to keep the dream alive. Any length.
So where is RT-11? RSX? Venix? PRIMEOS? CYBER NOS/VE? HP MVS? Lots of operating environments have come and gone... the only systems which remain for the long haul are those with source availability and a developer base able to support the source. This doesn't have to be open source, there are commercial groups who perform this service for a range of defunct products. In fact, many large vertical applications are sold stipulating source availability in the event of vendor bankruptcy. Those systems often stay alive far longer than the vendor ever intended. A good example would be PDP-11s still out in the field controlling tools used in sheet metal factories. It's a dying breed, but they're still out there -- and they're only dying because LSI-11 cards on the used market are getting hard to find.

So, on the one hand -- yeah, if the source and tools exist, and if there's enough of a userbase to profit by providing that support, an old application and/or operating environment can survive long after the original vendor bites the dust. But this is a small minority of all the systems that have lived. So you shouldn't expect something like BeOS to last much longer given lack of source and the small business community which invested in the environment. Hell, how long will it be before VMS joins the crowd of relics I listed previously?

Your point about vertical applications is valid, though I given that BeOS is a commodity no different than WinXP, MacOS X, Linux, or any other operating system a vendor targeting vertical markets like you list would provide their customers with a better solution by choosing widely deployed platforms. I honestly think they would be doing a disservice to their customers to recommend BeOS given that it lacks any kind of corporate or large community developer base, never mind original source.


Re:Oh yeah? I can list plenty of dead OS's... (2)

danheskett (178529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441316)

Your point about vertical applications is valid, though I given that BeOS is a commodity no different than WinXP, MacOS X, Linux, or any other operating system a vendor targeting vertical markets like you list would provide their customers with a better solution by choosing widely deployed platforms. I honestly think they would be doing a disservice to their customers to recommend BeOS given that it lacks any kind of corporate or large community developer base, never mind original source.
Right, now. But as I mentioned OpenBEOS is very actively trying to re-implement it. When that is done, it would be a very nice vertical market platform.

Dead or not... (5, Interesting)

groman (535485) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440888)

Dead or not, BeOS was one of the best operating systems I have ever used. If only it had the software/hardware support. It booted faster than DOS(and I'm not kidding), heck, it booted faster than anything else I've ever seen. It had one of the best browsers I've ever seen(Netpositive) and it was very very slim. What they needed is a linux binary emulator and a well designed wine-like windows binary emulator for the software, and a bunch of HOWTOs on how to port BSD/Linux drivers.

I stopped using it because it didn't support my NIC, and when i sat down to port the driver from BSD i found myself lost in the lack of debugging documentation and gave up.

Sad. Just sad.

Are you on crack? (1, Troll)

Inoshiro (71693) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441021)

Net+ was the worst browser! It was like Opera v2, or the brower from IBM that came with OS/2. The entire point of it was to go get a better browser. The only problem was that there never was a good browser, since there was no might like IBM's to get Netscape to port over to the OS (back before Mozilla had enough strength to stand on its own).

No CSS, HTML 3.2 barely, no JS.. While I don't like JS (I leave most of it off it Mozilla), a lot of sites (ab)use it to perform basic things that should be done at a lower layer, like browser redirects and URL construction. Net+ was impossible to use on anything other that Be's HTML documentation.

No doubt (2)

bogie (31020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441095)

Netpositive was garbage. The first thing anyone did when using beos was download a browser that actually worked with pages written after 1996.
The thing about old OS's is people tend to remember them with Rose-tinted glasses. BeOs had a lot a major problems with it. Yea it was lightweight, and had a few decent multimedia apps, but beyond that it really didn't have much to offer, and still was missing some major functions like proper networking.

I think the one thing it will be remembered for mostly is being able to spin a bunch of teapots at once if you happened to own some of the limited hardware it ran on.

It is funny considering how long ago development stopped on BeOS how the zealots still insist it was the best OS ever.

Re:No doubt (-1)

C.Lee (1190) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441187)

>I think the one thing it will be remembered for >mostly is being able to spin a bunch of teapots >at once if you happened to own some of the >limited hardware it ran on.

Didn't you know spining a bunch of teapots on the desktop is one of the major things that turns on the MultiMedia Crowd?

Re:Dead or not... (2)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441028)

very very slim

Simple question: so what? How does that help me get work done? Usually the opposite is true: slim means missing features, which means more work in other ways. Boot speed is irrelevent, except at the start of the day (I leave my computer on all the time anyway).

debugging doc ??? (1)

mmu_man (107529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441061)

What info did you need that you didn't find ?
between the Anotated BeBook [] and the Be newsletters... and the source codes...
Though NIC drivers are maybe the hardest and least documented ones. But as far as debugging goes, BeOS still takes the road, and as far as kernel land is concerned, Linux looses it with it's SysReq key.. The BeOS kernel embeds a full blown debugger. (even with a gdb stub, but Linux has it too IIRC).

Re:Dead or not... (3, Insightful)

reallocate (142797) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441121)

NetPositive seemed rather lame when I used it.

BeOS was/is a slick OS that deserves most of the praise it receives, but what it didn't need was a Linux binary compatability layer or a working implementation of Wine. People who want to run Windows or Lnux apps are already running Windows or Linux. What BeOS needed was some BeOS-only applications that gave the platform a competitive advantage.

BeOS was like a shiny new car, all polished but with nowhere to go.

BeBits (5, Interesting)

joyoflinux (522023) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440895)

I guess BeBits [] is still there and offering software...

Why Be Failed (4, Funny)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440900)

noticeable speed when usng the find queries..

Apparently it's missing a spell checker.

I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (3, Interesting)

hillct (230132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440907)

A buddy of mine from school had a BeBox. They were Dual Motorola 68K class (maybe 68040s) boxes. Not only were they pretty damn fast, but they were cool loooking. I recall much hype about these boxes but as far as I know, only a few hundred were ever built. To this day I'm suprised they abandoned the hardware business so quickly.

Has anyone got Linux or some other OS going on a BeBox? I would expect most of the stuff ported for YellowDog would run without much work, although you might not get load balancing on 68k processors without a bit of kernel hacking


Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (1)

techathead (201626) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440933)

Actually if anything were likely to run on it, it would be Debian 68k. Yellow Dog, while a great distro, is PowerPC only, not 68k. To my knowledge there were some folks working on bebox support, however I am not sure what came from it.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (3, Interesting)

eXtro (258933) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440944)

I don't think Be ever produced 68K based BeBoxes. As far as I know they were all dual processor PowerPC. I think at the low end they used one of the PPC603 variants.

When I looked at BeOS it was a good start. I'd have stuck with BeOS if it would have been closer to unix. Something seemed terribly broken to me logging into a machine that has a shell prompt and automatically being root.

I can sort of understand that for their target market they were worried about making it look too unfriendly, but you can always have an option of being wide open, but even then I'd prefer to have two tiers of users: administrator and everybody else. I can imagine the world of hurt when the average video production guy got rid of all those files he never used to make room for more video.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (2)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441154)

I'd have stuck with BeOS if it would have been closer to unix. Something seemed terribly broken to me logging into a machine that has a shell prompt and automatically being root.

Actually, some people thought the single user model was one of the virtues of BeOS. It had a lot of Unix-y goodness, but it didn't drag in a multi-user Time Sharing enviroment. Time Sharing environments are fine for servers and multi-user machines, but they're a real waste on a single user desktop machine.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (3, Informative)

slithytove (73811) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440949)

they were powerpcs, 603-66s and 603e-133s.
I miss my BeBox more than I can convey in words:( I'm going to get all bleary eyed if I continue this post, so...

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (2, Interesting)

dozer (30790) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441124)

What did you do, throw yours out? I kept mine Blinkenlights, GeekPort and all.

Funny thing: interprocessor interrupt latencies were so high that usually the two 603s just ended up stomping all over each other. Try this some time: run one of Pierre's pheonomenal threaded 3D demos in dual-processor mode. Then turn one CPU off. Watch frame rates go up. :)

If Be had stuck to its original vision, it would still be a small but successful company today. Gassee had to ruin everything in the name of ego.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440959)

The BeBox was PowerPC. It had dual 603s. Otherwise, NetBSD [] ported to the wrong system.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (1)

am46n (615794) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440961)

NeXT ran on intel/68k. BeOS ran on intel/PPC. There wasn't a 68k BeBox.

My msitake it was PPC (2)

hillct (230132) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441023)

Yah, after a few replies correcting me, I guess it was a PowerPC box. I only ever saw the thing once. It was tucked neatly next to a rack of other hardware (!!?!!) in a dorm room (!). The guy who's machine it was was insane. He had one machine on which he was trying to set the record for the most OSs on a single box. There was a /. article on this subject a while back but I couldn't find it jsut now for a link. oh well.


Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (2, Informative)

AgtAlpha (314665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441059)

Actually, the BeBox has dual 603e PowerPC processors, running at either 66 or 133 MHz. I have a revision 6 motherboard BeBox set up in my room right now. 3 PCI slots, 6 ISA, 3 MIDI, 2 stereo audio out, 1 stereo in, SCSI, PS/2, and an old-school-style keyboard plug. It has 8 slots for 72 pin 60ns non-parity RAM SIMMs. (It will take parity RAM, but the BIOS doesn't do parity-checking, so it doesn't matter. EDO RAM has been reported to work in some cases, but it won't boot with it in mine. The theoretical max of RAM I've heard is 1GB.)

The original BeBox ran 8 hobbit processors from AT&T, but when they found out they were EOLing the hobbit, they switched to PPC. It also has processor-load LEDs on the front that show real-time CPU usuage.

There's a port of Linux/PPC for the BeOS, and I believe they also had mklinux running on it. I don't know, as I personally run BeOS 5.0.3 Professional on it. There's a lack of software and drivers, but it has Mozilla, Gobe Productive (awesome office suite from the guys that originally did Claris Works, and was recently open sourced ... there are Windows and Linux versions, too), and gads of utilities at BeBits, including the best audio player anywhere, SoundPlay; it was the first to play an MP3 backwards in real time without skipping.

Just some info, and thought I'd clear the air. But BeOS definitely isn't dead as an operating system, only BeOS, Inc. is.

Re:I miss the BeBox - it was great hardware (1)

SN74S181 (581549) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441171)

There's a port of Linux/PPC for the BeOS

You can also run NetBSD [] on the BeBox (and it's not yet-another-fork like most Linux distros,) but *ahem* maybe that was already assumed.

Cue obligatory endless Monty Python comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440910)

It's not dead, it's resting, gone to join the choir invisible etc.

Although BeOS is effectively dead, an OS is still alive as long as there are people using it and developing for it. BeOS is a nice OS and should not have died, IMO. I think it died because it had a really sucky name.

Re:Cue obligatory endless Monty Python comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440957)

Yeah... just like OGG Vorbis, grep, vi, UNIX, emacs, mutt, etc...

Oh yeah... did you see that Solaris is coming out this December?

The movie you idiot... not the OS. Oh... never mind.

I would run it (4, Insightful)

Apreche (239272) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440913)

As far as I'm concerned, from a purely technical standpoint, BeOS is the BEst Operating System ever. It has absolutely everythign I've ever wanted. The only reason I don't use it is the lack of software. Can I get photoshop for it? How about Winamp? Icq? Aim? Eudora? Most importantly Half-Life: Counterstrike? Some yes some no. Despite all of its outstanding technical greatness BeOS doesn't have all of the software I need.
Windows has absolutely everything, and games.
Linux has everythign I need, or a good equivalent of what I need, and it has tools for developing software.
So I run windows and Mandrake. I would LOVE to run BeOS, it's got everything I've ever wanted. But no software. Sorrow!

Re:I would run it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441016)

Most importantly Half-Life: Counterstrike

Anyone that lists a game as their most important application has no place running a so-called "alternate" operating system.

Hell, a little Mandrake-Linux-installed-on-a-seperate-partition-t o-be-cool kid like yourself should just give up and go back to his Game Boy.

Fucking moronic little kid. Get some fucking priorities.

Re:I would run it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441043)

Fucking moronic little kid. Get some fucking priorities.

Moronic like insulting strangers on Slashdot? Or did you mean something else?

Re:I would run it (2)

ari_j (90255) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441294)

Wait a second...

It has absolutely everything I've ever wanted ... [insert list of specific things it does not have] ... doesn't have all the software I need.

I love BeOS, but man...rephrase your thoughts.

Obligitory link (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440914) The Syllable operating system isn't meant to be a BeOS clone, but it's fairly mature and it is targetted to turn out much like it. BeOS fans and people with technical skills may like to take a look.

I think BeOS is dead, usefulness-wise (4, Insightful)

Knife_Edge (582068) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440917)

My major clue is that the install process seems to still require the making of a 1.44" boot floppy. That is, if you want to run it by itself, outside of another OS.

To me this speaks volumes about just how old it really is, and probably indicates it is never going to be updated to modern hardware. Also, what makes it relevant in this day and age? Can it do anything another system cannot do better? If the answer is no, or even an extravagantly technical yes (which would never matter to most users), then the world has passed it by.

The impact of BeOS was probably like Ross Perot in the 1992 presidential election. He lost, but got a large enough percentage of the vote to scare the mainstream politicians into sharpening up their act. I think this is arguably one of the factors for the prosperity of the 1990s. If I am correct, we can thank BeOS for encouraging other software makers to improve their quality/performance. Therefore BeOS benefits us even now, but we do not get the benefit from actually using it.

The latest vers don't require a floppy (4, Informative)

slithytove (73811) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440979)

They boot from the CD like you'd expect any modern OS to, and they come with a hacked up ver of LILO called BELO:)
I do agree about the Ross Perot thing though: it made a few people wake up to features they could provide and raised the bar for speed and responsiveness, but just like with Perot, as soon as Be became a non-issue the OS vendors relaxed and continued as before.

Re:I think BeOS is dead, usefulness-wise (4, Interesting)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440986)

The most interesting thing I ever did on BeOS was open the same mp3 about 30 times (at least) and had them all playing at once. Eventually the mp3 player crashed so that any new instances didn't work, but the playing ones did still work and finished up. I was really impressed. Also even under all that load the desktop was as responsive as kde 2. This was a 450 Mhz PIII. I was absolutly amazed.

As an aside, does anybody know what happened to Corum III (It was a secret of manaish game that was going to be released). I loved the demo, but was not going to pay for it on many month preorder, the company claimed to go gold, and yet never released their product. I could not find any references to the series on the net, and the only references to the 3rd one were for BeOS. Was this not really a port? I really wanted to play this game.

Re:I think BeOS is dead, usefulness-wise (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441058)

I've got a copy of the game right now. It's pretty good, but no Secret of Mana :) Methinks you're looking in the wrong places. Gobe was offering a bundle of BeOS 5 Pro and Corum III awhile back.

Re:I think BeOS is dead, usefulness-wise (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441069)

Information on Corum III for BeOS

Place where you can buy Corum III for BeOS

Re:I think BeOS is dead, usefulness-wise (2, Informative)

AgtAlpha (314665) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441082)

BeOS never required a boot disk. The installation CD boots, and lets you manage your paritions from there before installation. You can also do a fully-booting installation from an BeOS partition to another (well, a booting one at least). As for the remark regarding BELO (what's that), BeOS's boot loader was called bootman, and was usually installed in the MBR. Far easier than LILO to set up. Run bootman, select the partitions to want to show up in the boot menu, give them labels, choose a defualt, and click OK. Couldn't be easier. I use it for Win2K, Win98, BeOS, and Linux.

BeOS for the Mac (0)

Asterax (522761) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440918)

Can't certain versions of BeOS run on a Macintosh?

Re:BeOS for the Mac (2)

Squarewav (241189) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441070)

All versions of BeOS(with the exception of the download version) can run on Pre G3 PCI macs (Be claims apple changed how to interact with the hardware making it impossible for beos to load) but if you bought it the cdrom was a hybrid
that would boot on them.

the PPC version was getting less and less suport once the G3's came out

Re:BeOS for the Mac (2)

PythonOrRuby (546749) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441076)

I believe BeOS 5 Persona Edition would run on pre-G3 PowerMacs, but after that it went x86-exclusive. Might be a good way to revive an old Mac, though. I'm sure someone else here will or has posted the link to the free download.

BeOS is not Dying (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440921)

It is already dead. Do not try and save this piece of shit. Projects like ObOS [] are doomed to fail.

A better perspective is... (3, Informative)

rampant mac (561036) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440922)

an article from Low End Mac [] , titled: Why BeOS Lost by Chris Lozaga.



BeOS had a powerful command line and Unix-like underpinnings that could compile and run POSIX compliant software. Every Unix-like operating system has failed in the marketplace except Linux (which is free, and for all intents and purposes it is Unix). The Amiga Operating System was developed with similar goals in mind, and that particular operating system withered and died as well. Being able to compile POSIX compliant software is not a marketable advantage (even Windows NT can do it).

It's an interesting article, and I think it sums up why BeOS really failed. I truely liked BeOS, but not for my main desktop.

Re:A better perspective is... (2, Interesting)

mmu_man (107529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441033)

The difference with NT being integration.
BeOS uses bash as its shell, NT uses the ugly CMD.EXE...

As for desktop use, well I've been using BeOS as my primary OS for a year now, and I'm very happy with it.
It does what I need, I play DivX on my K6-2 350, listen to mp3/ogg files and streams, burn CDs, devel, surf, ...

Re:A better perspective is... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441119)

BeOS had a powerful command line and Unix-like underpinnings that could compile and run POSIX compliant software.
Um, good try for a Mac user, but no. It can compile and run some POSIX software, so long as that software doesn't happen to use features BeOS doesn't implement... But BeOS is by no means POSIX compliant. It lacks a lot. Off of the top of my head, I can tell you that it lacks mmap() for example.
Every Unix-like operating system has failed in the marketplace except Linux
So you're saying that Solaris has failed?

If you want to take it a step further, you can say that most, if not all modern operating systems are somewhat "Unix-like" in that they all implement features from Unix libc.

AmigaDOS was not designed to be "Unix-like" (2)

msobkow (48369) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441217)

AmigaDOS was actually created as a masters thesis project in operating systems at a university in England, IIRC (it could have been a different country.)

It did not have Unix-style commands, APIs, or underpinnings. There were a lot of add-on programs created to give it shell-like functionality, and it supported ideas like process parentage and priorities, but no one who has ever done systems programming on a *nix system would confuse it with a *nix core.

The Amiga died due to Commodore's pathetic marketing. Period.

mmm... troll food (2, Funny)

Theodore Logan (139352) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440925)

with the amusing conclusion that BeOS isn't dead after all!

Not dead, but probably dying. And a couple of hundred trolls are willing to prove it to you. In related news, Natalie Portman was recently found to naked and petrified pour hot grits down the pants of a beowolf cluster.

This is probably a good time to check the "No Score +1 Bonus" button.

Re:mmm... troll food (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440992)

Slashdot needs a -1, What the Fuck moderation.

My Experience with BeOS... (2, Interesting)

ElGuapoGolf (600734) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440939)

I tried the BeOS a few years back, when the company was around, and they had released some sort of "Preview Edition" which installed itself as one large file on your FAT partition, and you booted into that. The same as some Linuxes do..

Anyhow, I played around with it for a day or two, then nuked it. Why? Two simple reasons.

It did not detect or configure my network card. And it wasn't really clear how to do that. Linux installers do that, and have done it for years.

It didn't detect or configure my video card. And when I followed the instructions on doing so, the BeOS wouldn't boot.

So that was it for the BeOS. Maybe the full version would configure everything during it's installation; but why would I pay to find out?

So yeah, I do feel sad when people go on about the death of the BeOS. But I have much more compassion for the OS/2 users. That installed right (mostly), and I lived with that for 4 years.

Re:My Experience with BeOS... (2)

dinivin (444905) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441080)

It did not detect or configure my network card. And it wasn't really clear how to do that. Linux installers do that, and have done it for years.

It wasn't really clear? Going to preferences from the Deskbar and selecting "Network" wasn't clear? Wow...


Re:My Experience with BeOS... (1)

bedouin (248624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441197)

Maybe it just wasn't clear to him because he thought a menu showing choices for only two different kinds of network cards /had/ to be a mistake, and fixable in some way.

Re:My Experience with BeOS... (1)

sk8king (573108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441117)

Did the same thing with BeOS....downloaded the personal edition and within five minutes of booting up for the first time, I was connected to a dial-up Internet connection and could contact the other computer on my home network [the linksys card I had was immediately recognized].

I was mostly impressed by program sizes compared to Windows versions....~50K for an image viewer [maybe, can't remember the exact type of program or size] compared to >~1MB for a Windows program for the same purpose...and it wasn't just a single program, every program was like that.

Not dead? (1, Troll)

pla (258480) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440943)

Yeah... Suuuuuuuure. Next you'll tell us that legendary beast called the "Mac" still lives. ;-)

And, of course, we can't ignore that ultra hard core group of Amiga users. Any day now, one of the many compnies that have shuffled *that* hot potato around will release the new-and-improved Amiga, with something better than the 68060. Uh-huh. Sure. And my Atari 800 runs Windows XP.

I love articles like this one. No one actually used BeOS when it *did* really exist, thus its demise. Why should it matter that some poor deluded bastards still have a dusty, unused partition running it? I still have a DEC Rainbow in my basement, that I occasionally turn on and run NetHack with. That doesn't somehow make Digital any more "real".

Re:Not dead? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441180)

Yes, but it still makes Digital "alive" if someone's using it and developing software for it. The Be community, though somewhat diminished, is still alive and kicking:
  • New software is released to BeBits daily
  • There's around 100 users currently on BeShare (our BeOS-only filesharing client)
  • OpenBeOS has made incredible progress. Our kernel is coming together, a few components have reached beta stage (and more are approaching it)

So knowing these three things, can you still explain to me why you think the operating system is "dead"? We're far more active and organized than the Amiga or OS/2 communities. Heck, we even benefit from many open-source projects like VideoLAN, OpenOffice, etc .. projects that have BeOS ports and are in heavy development.

We're not dead by any means and we really don't care what anyone thinks about us still using it. We're not the type of people who need to know that our operating system is going to survive. Certainly we are going to try and save it (and I believe we will), but we're mainly still using BeOS because BeOS still offers quite a bit that other operating systems don't and never will offer. If you don't know those things it might be a good idea to give Be a second chance.

It's Too Bad, Really (3, Insightful)

IronTek (153138) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440948)

While I do have an affection for obscure operating systems (and the BeOS is certainly now that), the fact that BeOS is obscure is not what makes me admire the damn thing so much.

As the article says, it was well designed from the beginning, and well thought out through the end. The same can not be said for any other recently modern OS, really, save for maybe OSX (and this requires one to look at OSX as a "new" OS).

Windows certainly doesn't qualify, and even Linux (which I use and love a great deal) was never initially designed or thought out to be the OS it is today. It's been hacked together over the years to add features like the ones that were in the BeOS from the start (not that the hacks haven't been good...they have...but they're still hacks)...In a way, I'm quite disappointed that Be lost out. There's still always the hope that Palm might do something fun with them, but they'll probably just screw it up... if only I could find a BeBox on the cheap!

/.'d (1)

Gyorg_Lavode (520114) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440962)

Sites slashdotted, can someone post the text or a mirror?

Pot, its the Kettle. Says you're black. (0, Flamebait)

banzai51 (140396) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440964)

Ah Zealots. Aren't we fun? That's rich comming from the (loud) mouth of linux, Slashdot. What's the matter guys, don't like the image you see in the mirror?

Re:Pot, its the Kettle. Says you're black. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441005)

Duh, he already acknowleged that. He said "we", not "they".

hey now, Taco's an OSX man... (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441012) he can be haughty.

Re:hey now, Taco's an OSX man... (1)

FatRatBastard (7583) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441055)

Cake or Death? Death.... no no no Cake.

I dunno about BeOS (2)

IIRCAFAIKIANAL (572786) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440971)

but that server is as dead as Disco

Re:I dunno about BeOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440985)

Disco is not dead!
Disco is life!

Revisionist BeOS History? (1)

allenw (33234) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440972)

I think it is interesting that he skipped over the pain and suffering the PowerPC developers had due to the horrible build tools. CodeWarrior (unless you did some MAJOR hacking on gcc) was the only compiler you were able to use, as BeOS/ppc used PEF instead of something sane. No decent build tools=no decent apps, which in turn lowered the amount of early adopters you potentially had.

How about the gloss over of single-user? With the general introduction of networking to the masses, never mind the security implications, why would anyone want to use a single-user OS anymore?

Did they ever fix the printing subsystem to be useful? For a 'media OS' (good to see JLG still has his marketing skills), the printing support wasn't that great...

It is also well known that BeOS took the best features from a lot of different OSes... to say "with features built years ago that only today are companies putting into their future OS releases" is a bit much. Most of the features in BeOS were available on most major Unix platforms, even then. In comparison, it is perhaps better to say that BeOS had a 'clean slate' implementation of those features.

BeFS, however, was really the crown jewel... and probably the only thing really worth saving.

Amazing features... (1)

centron (61482) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440975)

Be had some pretty impressive specs when it was new, but they didn't keep their advantage. Now even Microsoft is largely caught up. Without catching on from the getgo, Be was doomed from the start.

BeOS is not dead... (2, Funny)

mmu_man (107529) | more than 11 years ago | (#4440984)

nor marginalized, since we got XEmacs [] !

\o/ []

Hey Taco.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4440989)

Since when have you been entitled to be snobby about anything?

OSS != Magic Fairy Dust, and BeOS is dead. (2, Insightful)

McCall (212035) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441003)

I am a long time BeOS user, I bought every application and every version of BeOS since it was released on Intel hardware (Doh!). I am even posting this from NetPositive under BeOS now. I love BeOS, and I hope it eventually makes some sort of comeback, however.....

One major thing that the Open Source BeOS efforts are forgetting to look at is Open Sourcing a failing project or piece of software doesn't mean that its going to rise from its ashes, it just means that the source code is now available to everyone.

In an effort to replace BeOS, all the Open Source efforts have not looked at the issues that caused Be, Inc's OS to fail, these boil down to :

o Hardware Support
o Application Support
o Commercial Support
o Small User Base

By producing an Open Source version of BeOS that uses a new kernel harware support is still going to be limited. Limited hardware support leads to a small userbase. A small userbase leads to no commercial support and few applications.

I have to agree with ex Be Engineer Daniel Switkin [] , that perhaps an effort should be made using the Linux kernel and modifying that to match as best as possible BeOS's requirements, and working on adding BFS, OpenTracker, OpenDeskbar and all the *_servers on top of Linux and addressing all of the BeAPI shortcomings, along with all of Linux as a desktop OS shortcomings in the process. This is a still different to the way the B.E.O.S [] guys are doing it.

This will give the OS massive hardware support, and may even offer some sort of interest from companies who have invested in Linux and are interested in a total-user-oriented desktop version, like IBM or Sun.

Now I just need to sit back and wait while someone else writes my wet-OS-dream :)

I still love BeOS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441006)

At least I got a nice card from JLG. Course, I did lose $1400 on stock. Best OS ever!

Microsoft conspiracy!!!!1

Troll or not, you need to hear some of this stuff, please []

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441007)

Why is it that when a company goes out of business people assume the product(s) it made are no longer usable?

Lots of innovation (4, Troll)

scott1853 (194884) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441008)

For those that don't want to read the article, I don't blame you because it's poorly written. But here's the summary of it.

Be's most exciting innovations that other systems are just starting to add support for (according to the article):



MIME Types

Being able to open JPEG files

Biggest downside:

Doesn't support USB.

I don't know what he was using for a comparison but I would assume something console based from MS, circa 1988.

Re:Lots of innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441035)

Gee, what innovation is that? UNIX came up with threaded multitasking with SVR4 (correct me if I'm wrong). Stability, sure, but lotsa other platforms are stable, like BSD or even XP for that matter. Okay, but what platform dosen't have support for MIME type? And Windowz had support for JPEG ever since it's conception. Where you getting your facts from? They are obviously from several decades ago if other platforms are only 'beginning to support JPEG, multi-threading, etc.'

Well, actually, I wasn't targeting whomever I posted this in response to, but more targeting the article. It's filled with misinformation if that's what it said.

Re:Lots of innovation (2)

be-fan (61476) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441113)

The whole JPEG thing was stupid (I think he might have been referring to something about videos), but the MIME and multithreading is dead on. Sure UNIX and Windows have had multithreading for awhile, but they still don't do it as well as BeOS. BeOS had threads everywhere. That meant that even if the system was nearly brought to its knees with load, it still felt responsive. My 2 GHz P4 running KDE 3.x (Gentoo, uber-tricked out) still doesn't match the responsiveness of my 300 MHz PII running BeOS (dead stock, no tweeking), though its getting close thanks to 6x the processor and 10x the RAM. People complained it was harder to program because of the insistence on threads, but I personally think it was just different, and hard to get used to unless you learned it that way from the beginning. As for the MIME support, sure every OS supports it, but which ones use it as the standard file typing mechanism? BeOS stored the MIME type of a file in an attribute, and had a registrar that automatically detected the type of new files as they were added to the system. This, combined with an utterly flexible mechanism of defining type handlers resulted in the ultimate file typing solution.

Re:Lots of innovation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441269)

You know that threads can be double-edged sword , right ?
With every thread you create you pay a fixed price ( context switch) , the price you would not have to pay without that thread.

BeOS might not be dying (1)

kbroom (258296) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441014)

But that webserver is about to die with the frantic slashdotting is taking.

I'm suprised that it lasted even this long (1)

gotr00t (563828) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441015)

I just honestly can't find out what is so great about BeOS(besides the speed, but what good is speed when there is nothing to do WITH that speed?). Linux and BSD are all based on the time proven UNIX system foundation, but BeOS totally came out of left field, as it isn't open source, nor is it compatible, nor is it good for server platform (we all know that M$ dominated the desktop platform) moreover, it has terriable hardware support and software support, even worse than BSD or Linux. BeOS, with the presence of Microsoft, was never going to succeed, for it was aiming for the desktop platform using a commercial approach, exactly what Microsoft was doing. What chance did they have? None.

Of course I can agree that BeOS isn't dead, as there is a still an avid userbase. But besides that, the development on that is slowing down to a crawl. I just hope that OpenBeOS will have much success, as it would restore the OS as an open source project, giving it a chance to actually see daylight, and possibly taking a chunk out of the large M$ market share.

Down but not out... (5, Informative)

phatvibez (518108) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441031)

There are several attempts to resurect the Be Operating System, check out:

OpenBeos []

OpenBeos is creating a new BeOS from scratch that will be binary compatible with the original BeOS (at first anyway and plan on adding new features that will probably break this later). So far they are coming along at a good pace. They have already created beta's for OpenBFS, Open Media Kits, and their Print Server.

They are using the NewOS Kernel []

Blue Eyed OS [] (B.E.O.S)

Blue Eyed OS is an atempt to bring the Be API and interface to the Linux kernel.

YellowTab []

YellowTab has some screenshots here:
YellowTab Screenshots []

and BeBits [] gets updated regulary with new applications for the BeOS.

the BeOS is down, but not out...the Be community is still very strong!

As Barbra Streisand would say, (1)

mtec (572168) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441049)

"To Be or not to Be... um - that's Shakespeare - right?"

When will people learn? (4, Insightful)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441054)

The operating system is TOTALLY irrelevent when it comes to most users. There are only three things that matter: 1) Applications, 2) Hardware support, and 3) Applications. You can have the worst operating system in the world (Windows 3.1) and utterly destroy a clearly superior operating system (OS/2) simply because you win the hardware and application battle.

Be was dead before it started, because the ONLY hope for a new operating system is compatibility with the current application base. What I don't understand is how Be deluded themselves into thinking that application developers are going to spend valuable resources porting to a completely new operating system without any users just because it's "new and cool".

No one cares about operating systems. Say it three times.

Reality check (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441075)

Get real! BeOS is in the graveyard and will not raise from the dead ever. It amazes me this kinda shit gets published on frontpage of Slashdot.

obligatory... (-1, Offtopic)

nuckin futs (574289) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441084)

wow, BeOS..imagine a Beowulf cluster of Beboxes. :D

well...hundreds of OS's, at the low end.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441085)

...well, I only heard the name before but reading about it it sounds pretty decent, at least a great attempt. Where can you get this on a cheap cd-r, and what is the minimum hardware it will run on? Unfortunately most of my old macs are 68k motorola chips. I will probably leave os 7.x whatever on them things unless ther e is something else that is amazingly better. and really, with no cd drives in them, changing os's is a pain. Will BeOS run on a powerbook 1400? Those are ppc chips, and the older ones, especially the 117 mghz models that no one really wants are fairly inexpensive now. How about old pentium 1's? Those I have a rack of. they have various old versions of windows in stages of decomposition on them. I'd try it I guess if I could get it mailed/shipped for under 10$, downloading is out of the question on rural dialup modem. I'm about ready to order rh 8 and perhaps knoppix to try, might as well try something else as well. Never used any of the bsd's either. I am more interested in OS's that run WELL, keyword there, on older hardware, wqill load in graphical mode with small amounts of ram, as I see a decent "resurrection" niche market in used sales. people who want new computers buy them, a lot of other people want to get a computer for only light use and never had one before. they are looking to drop like 100$ tops for a bundle. At best with a single page printout to take home with them they have to input username, password and isp number to dial and do their own email setup, and that's it, newbies and new experiments are not gonna ever do any command line action, so it has to be simple and work and get on the ole interweb thang, this is millions of people, kids, geezers, etc and for people like me who refurbish to get computers out to people who really can't afford them any other way then near free in cost. Hmm, dumb question, will BeOS run winmodems, which are free usually with these older systems already installed. Can't afford to drop two cents into these bundles, just make them work, with something besides winderz. Recommendations? The redhat is for me personally, I need something for the other boxes I have that does a full install on hard drives less than a gig and not much memory, an EASY install, as I am not a real cli or linux command line guru, and I have to deal with boxes that have between-averages here-8 to 32 megs ram. Just adding ram blows the budget and makes these things unsellable or undoable for donations at my budget, I have to use them as -is, how I get them. thanks.

BeOS Dead - OBOS Alive (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441102)

Summarizing what everyone said here is basically lack of drivers and apps but otherwise the best OS in history...

I don't know if you people noticed ... it's getting closer every day to completion. This time though, it's open source and you can affect in a better way whether your driver will be there or not.

Apps? Java is on it's way, OpenOffice is there and Mozilla up and running. Someone mentioned Photoshop... Refraction is a clone which is already released.

BeOS might be dead, OBOS has just started and will succeed where others have failed... // Zoink
We are United in BeUnited....

Never? Hm... (2, Interesting)

thasmudyan (460603) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441182)

I read a lot of posts here saying "Beos would never have succeeded with MS around" or "who had the crappy idea to make yet another OS when there is Linux / BSD?". I don't know if I can leave it at that without some righteous ranting. (Apparently not)

Beos might be dead but why? In my opinion that happened because a lot of mistakes were made (and creating Beos was none of them):

1. Be had (and still has) a dead grip on the source code. This is sad, because not only did this scare away opensource guys it was also the main reason for Beos development coming to a stand still. When it was clear (with the economic downturn and blablabla) that Beos couldn't be developed further by one company alone they should have opened the source and a lot of developers would have taken the OS under their wings.
2. Persistence (or the lack thereof). They thought Beos was going to take over the world over night. When this didn't happen they simply packed and gave up, because Be's business model wasn't stable. If someone had taken a 5 minutes break to think about things they would most likely be among the living companies still. (I don't say this because I am a wise ass who don't know shit about business, because when the IT business was beginning to fall apart I founded an IT company even though the people said "don't do this, it's stupid". It succeeded, it was very difficult at first but we persisted. If you just hold on long enough you will change things!
3. Partnerships (or the lack thereof). Be wanted to have the cake all for itself. They must have thought that developers and software firms will be grateful just to develop stuff for Beos. This is wrong. They should have made aliances with software companies to roll out tons of apps (Instant Messaging, multimedia, hardware, PIM, a.s.o.). Why the hell didn't they..?

Sad to see Beos going down, its a great technology. I know I'm going to get flamed for this but when it comes to architecture I prefer Beos over Unix/Linux/BSD/Microsoft anytime.

BeOS may not be dead (1)

michajoe (124916) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441185)

but sure is.

not dead (1)

Neotrantor (597070) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441210)

ok.... it's not dead.. think of the original BeOS being like unix and the new obos flavors being like linux. it'll take off, just give it some time

Dead? (4, Funny)

amdg (614020) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441231)

Customer: 'Ello, I wish to register a complaint.
(The owner does not respond.)
C: 'Ello, Miss?
Owner: What do you mean "miss"?
C: I'm sorry, I have a cold. I wish to make a complaint!
O: We're closin' for lunch.
C: Never mind that, my lad. I wish to complain about this OS what I purchased not half an hour ago from this very boutique.
O: Oh yes, the, uh, the BeOS...What's,uh...What's wrong with it?
C: I'll tell you what's wrong with it, my lad. 'E's dead, that's what's wrong with it!
O: No, no, 'e's uh,...he's resting.
C: Look, matey, I know a dead OS when I see one, and I'm looking at one right now.
O: No no he's not dead, he's, he's restin'! Remarkable OS, the BeOS, idn'it, ay? Beautiful GUI!
C: The GUI don't enter into it. It's stone dead.
O: Nononono, no, no! 'E's resting!

I'm not dead yet! (1)

antiher0 (41258) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441271)

You'll be stone dead in a moment!

Mirrror anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#4441331)

Would someone post a mirror site? /. effect makes the article unavailable.

BeOS is why I'm using OS X (4, Interesting)

bedouin (248624) | more than 11 years ago | (#4441352)

BeOS really prompted me to start exploring other operating systems. Before that I had toyed with Linux once or twice, but it never worked quite the way I was hoping to. I started hearing some buzz about BeOS and actually /bought/ r4.5.2, along with the BeOS Bible. This was one of the only pieces of software I /paid/ for (as opposed to warezed) since maybe DOS 6.0.

I was fortunate enough to have an external USR modem, as well as a VooDoo 3 graphics card; no problem with compatibility, in fact I had the perfect system. Aside from the OS being incredibly fast, it more or less worked the way it was supposed to. I also thought the GUI combined the best of both Windows and MacOS. For those that say it lacked applications, that's true - but at the time it wasn't really any worse than running Linux. There was a decent office suite, Opera for a Net+ replacement, and a couple different mail apps to choose from. I can't remember which one I settled for, but I remember using a hex editor to remove its unregistered tagline :). BeOS was not a server OS, but ruled on the desktop.

As Be the corporation started dying, I was seeing less and less work put into the OS. In r5 Pro OpenGL support had been removed for some reason, and to my knowledge never returned. It started to become clear that the OS was seeing its last days, and I didn't really want to be like the Amiga zealots who still exist today, so I went searched for some alternatives.

The thing is, using Be showed me that using my computer could be kind of fun again; maybe not fun, but at least enjoyable. I started toying with Linux on an old Pentium box, only with the intention to make it into a firewall for the box that was running Windows and Be (since Be had no firewall). Eventually this led me to install Redhat 6.2 on another partition on my main workstation (the box running Be), and I was using Linux as my primary OS for maybe a year or two.

Meanwhile, I was toying around with the old Pentium firewall more and more, and making it do some really great things under Linux - as a server. On the other hand, getting day to day tasks done in Linux on my workstation box was a new issue every day. I kept Linux running on my server (where it's still running) and axed both Linux and Be on my workstation, opting instead to Windows 2000 Pro. I hated how Windows looked and felt, and didn't much like the company who made it - but things more or less worked . . . at least for six months or so, then something breaks for some reason and a format is necessary.

Last year I acquired an old Macintosh Quadra 700 with OpenBSD on it. This little Mac, alongside the interest I already had in OS X, really nudged me even closer to putting down the money for a Power Mac G4, and so I did this May. OS X is most of the things I loved in BeOS (a nice, logical GUI) and consistency (it generally does not require reinstallation after 6 months, for no reason at all). At the same time, it fills the gaps that Linux did. It's UNIX, and works nicely alongside my BSD and Redhat boxes; when I'm not sure how to do something the 'Apple way' I can just open up a terminal and do it the way I would on any other UNIX box. On the more evil side, Office and Photoshop are there, so I don't have to reboot just to get something done. And if worse comes to absolute worst, Virtual PC can be used for any Windows-only app I might encounter (but it hasn't really occurred yet).
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