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Be to Drop BeOS? No. 168

MrChris2 writes "Found this over on benews, it seems that Be have decided that Microsoft dominate the desktop market too throughly, and have decided to withdraw from the field. There will be several more updates to the BeOS, but eventaully they will fold it into an Internet Appliance only OS." I called Be Europe this morning to confirm this, and it's just not true. I spoke to Jean Calmon at Be, who feels that the interview with Lamar Potts was taken a little out of context. Jean informed me that while a large amount of the engineering firepower at Be is being directed at BeIA and the 'internet appliance' angle, there are no plans to stop supporting or updating the BeOS. Gosh, this sounds like NeXT, doesn't it?
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Be to Drop BeOS? No.

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  • Not that story this supports the case against Microsoft or anything....

    I'm glad to hear that BeOS is not quite beaten yet, though. They have a wonderful product, and if it weren't for the lack of vendor support (which is partially Microsoft's fault), I'd probably be using it right now.

    How many other systems come with apps that give you haiku error messages? Now that's just cool...

  • that is the question
    it easier then linux
  • by dougman ( 908 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @05:37AM (#1109631)
    for the dangerously small 3rd party developer community. Yikes.

    If Be gets some deals set that puts their tech in a few million set-top boxes, there's really not going to be much motivation from their standpoint to continue supporting a standalone OS, especially when it's now being given away for free and there's not a lot of people using it anyway (support market).

    Perhaps the curse of having a very stable, easy to use OS? (small/weak support/services market when going the "free" model).

    Perhaps they could keep Be Free, by introducing a lot of bloat/bugs in future revisions of the OS, thus causing paid support business to take off. Hmm.

    Perhaps they could just market a $15,000 version with some nice hardware as an "Avid Killer".

  • "Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear."

    What passes for journalism on the web reminds me of this every day.
  • If a large amount of the "firepower" is to be directed at other projects, I wonder how much committment they have to the OS? There is a difference twixt update and UPDATE after all. Perhaps I am just reading into this but it would seem a shame if this were allowed to languish. Especially since it seems that I hear more about Be than ever.......
  • by costas ( 38724 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @05:38AM (#1109634) Homepage
    Isn't it obvious? Be is down financially, AOL has all the components it needs to be Windows free, except an OS. Yeah, they could go with Linux, but AOL has always tried to remain proprietary. Be will give them a foray into internet appliances (think set-top boxes and web-pads), has the multimedia capabilities that AOL craves (think AOLTV) and will tie-in beautifully with Mozilla.

    It just makes sense. I am starting this rumor right now ;-)...

    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.
  • by sashae ( 9542 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @05:40AM (#1109635) Homepage
    ..if it's at all true. I think it's unfortunate that BeOS, which is a fairly nifty OS in its own right, can't compete in this marketplace.. Apple's closed hardware is really taking away from their chances.

    With the breadth of PC hardware out there, it's very difficult to support everything (as evidenced by Microsoft's inability to make a 100% stable OS). If Be were able to produce BeOS for G3/G4 hardware, which is much easier to support, they'd be able to compete with Apple on their own ground -- video editing, desktop publishing, sound, and general multimedia apps.

    Obviously, this is less than appealing to Apple, but unfortunate nonetheless :)

    I hope more of the BeOS gets open sourced -- Be shouldn't let it die like NeXT did.

  • I've not seen too many people moving to Be erratically, nor are there too many people i know who actively support it, over other os's like bsd, or linux

    Kryogen WebHosting - proud to be 100% micro$oft free
    Kryogen Technologies []
  • Wow, that really made me sit up and pay attention.... Thankfully it's not true. The apperance of an OS admitting defeat (in a manner of speaking) to MicroSucks - that's something I'd really rather not see at all.
  • by dbrutus ( 71639 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @05:43AM (#1109638) Homepage
    If Be were to be really like NEXT then Be advocates have nothing to worry about. After all, look what happened to NEXT. Corporately they were bought out but technologically, NEXT's OS memes dominate the new Apple. What is Cocoa if not NextStep?

    From a Forbes perspective, NEXT lost. From a true nerd perspective, NEXT won all that counted. I hope the ending of the Be story turns out as happy.

  • Note that this was an interview with the Chief of Marketing. Of course, anyone doing battle against M$ in the marketing dept. are going to feel overwhelmed.

    This makes sense, though it's a bit sad. Looks like marketing wins the product race, not tech.

  • I'm glad this is not true. Video on BeOS is very cool. I'd rather this stuff worked on Linux (and it will in due time) but for now BeOS is just cool.
  • I am not a Be person, so my information may be flawed or even *GASP* wrong.

    1) Be does not have a large amount of manpower. They had barely enough to keep BeOS going and slowly keep up with driver support and software support all at the same time.

    2) BeIA is more important to Be as a company and therefore more of it's resources will be working on BeIA (and not BeOS).

    With those two issues stated, I submit that BeOS is turning into a bastard stepchild. Be will give it enough resources to appear alive, but in the end, it will never receive the attention it needs to really make a difference to anyone. I am NOT happy with this situation. If Be won't take care of BeOS, then let someone else. Why not Open Source the thing and spend a little effort to help nurture it out into the Open Source world? I think that everyone could benefit from a very workstation oriented, open OS. Even Be.

    Bad Mojo []
  • > "Believe half of what you read and none of what you hear."

    And the opposite of anything you read in a newsgroup.

  • I see nothing about the future of the BeOS market to suggest that it will be a lucrative market for developers. Its focus on the multimedia market is nothing but backpedalling. They might as well make a solid run at the appliance market - the desktop market is spoken for. The Mac and linux suitably fills in the small cracks that windows doesn't address - the remaining market share is too small to bother trying to make a profit off of.
  • How could anyone imagine that it isn't safe to compete in the same space as Microsoft?

  • I had just downloaded the free BeOS from ZDNET.What are they thinking?? From the snippet,it makes you wonder if the right hand knows what the left hand is doing. Sounds like ,years ago,when the old COCO was dropped.Tandy denied it to high heaven,then BOOM! It's gone. I'll look this up further.
  • it's just too close to the future to not be the truth. Be can't compete against Windows on the desktop while it's being squeezed by Apple in the ease of use direction, and Linux & *BSD in the "good choice for an OEM or hardware mfr who wishes to be set free" direction. So, even if it's true that Be has no plans to fold desktop BeOS in favor of BeIA, that's what will happen.

    And, unfortunately, that's going to happen in the appliance business also. As much as customers like to have choices, customers like more to have compatibility, and there is no room for Be (or Amiga, or...) to break in here. Yep, we haven't seen the last OS yet; there will be some new OS someday (I'm not predicting, but something like PalmOS on steroids could leverage its current success) but right now it's not going to be Be.

  • by kayser_soze ( 54474 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @06:02AM (#1109647)
    BeOS is a great operating system, and it would be a severe mistake for BE to discontinue support of it, especially with their recent Free BeOS campaign (some ungodly number of downloads). The amount of new users generated on the novelty of a *new* alternative oprating system alone should be enough to tell Be that there is a viable market here.

    Having used most OSes known to man at some time or another, I can sincerely say that BeOS is the most *comfortable* OS for the desktop. Its user interface just feels natural and easy to use.

    I'll agree that BeOS is not for everything or everyone. Linux, FreeBSD, and the free Unices are by far superior on the backend, whereas BeOS network performance, features, and support are, for lack of a better word crappy at the moment. Be was meant for the desktop. M$ still has the corner market on games, but BeOS is coming out with some great ones, including Worms: Armaggeddon.

    BeOS is designed to be "The Media OS" and now it is beginning to live up to it's claims with the new features and media support that has been introduced in R5. Several things still need to be done for BeOS to become a M$ killer on the desktop:

    More media support (increased codecs, file translators, etc.)
    UDF and DVD movie support
    Increased device driver support
    Better browsers (can we say Bezilla?)
    Mainstream applications (we're halfway there)
    More interested programmers

    Eventually, with the continued help of everyone, BeOS will become a truly competitive OS of it's own right.

    If you are a programmer and are interested in developing for the BeOS, have innovative ideas, or just would like to help, email me [] and visit the BeUnited website [].

  • Man, I hope Be keeps enough resource on BeOS. They're almost at the point of being a solid alternative for music and multimedia applications, something which Windows ain't. I would hate to see them stick it out this far and then not put enough muscle behind the last 10ft of the race.

    By the way, has any company that has decided to focus on embedded applications or OSes ever been successful? I saw so many of those "thin client" type focus announcements, and then usually the company just implodes. [] - Funny
  • Be opened the source code to the Desktop Interface around the same time that they release FreeBe 5. The press release is right here []. I personally hope someone is doing work on this for linux, I really like the way Be handles.
  • by segmond ( 34052 )
    Before you Begin to Blah about Be, you ought to Believe you have a valid point, Because I said so, and so it will Be, or you will get Beheaded, so Behave yourself.

  • Was that responsible reporting? On slashdot?

    Don't snicker - I think we may actually be seeing winds of change. Slashdot might become a better site, with unbiased journalism

    .. and after this, it will be reported that Microsoft is releasing Office for Linux and Bill Gates publicly apologizes to the world for producing such crappy software. Two days after this, australian scientists will be claimed to have combined a pig and an ostrich through genetic engineering.

  • That's right... NeXT's OS has essentially taken over and completely transformed the world's second-most popular Desktop operating system ;-)

    FWIW... a friend of mine recently attended an Apple-sponsored WebObjects Seminar in Nashville. The guys leading the seminar were all former NeXT employees who are now part of the Apple clan. They claim that Steve jokingly refers to the time when "NeXT Acquired Apple". I guess it is essentially true, when you look at the number of NeXT folks at the healm of the rejuvinated Apple.

    As far as Be is concerned, I am not really sure that they can make it as a desktop OS vendor and would probably do much better by either going completely open-source and fostering a Linux-like developer network or concentrating on a slightly different market- such as the console/set-top box market.

    My only experience with BeOS was with one of the beta versions for the PCI PowerMac. I installed it on a PM 9600 that I had at the time and played around with it for a little while. It was kind of neat, but was not really stable on my machine at that time. I bought a copy of the "first" Intel version, but have yet to get a PC on which to install it.

    Seriously though, is there any compelling reason to choose BeOS over Linux, FreeBSD or any of the other "alternative" operating systems?
  • Yeah, but it sounds like vendor support will be increasing as more vendors move to support linux, they are looking for something even more cross-platform and Be will most likely get some of the benefits, and with Microsoft's future undetermined as of now, well, who knows what could happen?

    > How many other systems come with apps that give
    > you haiku error messages? Now that's just
    > cool...

    BeOS does that? Sweet. I know with perl you can:

    use Coy;

    and it'll do it. =)
  • Does anybody remember GEOS and Geoworks? It was a wonderfully cool OS and software suite that replaced most of DOS and provided a gorgeous GUI, excellent software (including an especially advanced word processor/semi-DTP program), speed, and "full pre-emptive multitasking" (argue on this one all you want). It ran like a champ on my 10Mhz 286 with 20 meg HD, 1 meg of RAM and 512K of video memory.

    And it reached a usable level of maturity about the time MS released Windows 3.0. Case closed.

    Where is it now? It morphed into a pen/portable/gadget OS and is, I suppose, still alive. Barely. (Go to to check it out.)

    The point? Be is great and gorgeous as a desktop OS. Chasing the apparently fashionable market (appliances) of the moment, though, can be a foolish move when it involves abandoning/de-emphasizing your core competencies.

    Careful, Be! I don't want to see you ignominiously fade away.
  • AFAIK the GUI and Tracker lean too heavily on the underneath layers of the BeOS. I don't think you can easily port it over to X or something. The whole concept of BeOS was building it up from scratch. So every mere part of it, is quite new technology, which relies on implementation of that technology in the whole OS. Ie. the GUI is multithreaded: it works so well, because the kernel is natively multithreaded, and fine-grained. Most UNIX kernels aren't (at least, not in the way dat BeOS is). So porting the GUI over, would only result in YATK (Yet Another ToolKit) and YAWM (Yet Another WindowManager), without any technical advances which the BeOS has.
  • by DLG ( 14172 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @06:13AM (#1109656)
    The BeOS was originally part of a package called a BeBox. I have one. It is holding up some books right now. It has 2 133mhz PowerPC 603 processors, midi in and out, a slew of serial ports, scsi, infra red ports, a GEEK port which has a bunch of DAC and ADC on one standard port. It was very quick when we got it. It took me months to get my developer software. But that was ok. We didn't have much in the way of docs for the API, their developer manuals weren't done, but we had some .h files to work with and I managed to get a program compiled and running pretty quick. Then the OS went up a version and I started over. Then they abandoned the hardware.

    I have to explain, the reason we wanted BeBoxen were that we produce live exhibits and its ability to play MANY streams of media at once was needed. We were stretching our Macintoshes thin. This sounded like a solution. I remember one person who was using it to develop an ambient noise generator for a zoo. I knew folks who were doing similiar light controlers... It was a MEDIA OS with a MEDIA Hardware...

    We were notified at first that they would not be supporting the BeBox with new OS after a year... Since all their developers were at that point BeBox owners, they backed off on that. I still am technically a Be developer but hell if I trust them to do ANYTHING right...

    Maybe I have been missing out, but with a choice between Linux and Mac OS X and BeOs is there even 100000 BeOS users who don't use one of the other OS'S for their primary work?

    I don't think so.

  • Or 25, i don't really care, but this is almost a month late..
  • With Microsoft's judgement, anything is possible now, and more and more regular people are moving towards Linux, and I mean normal people who still barely can use Windows.

    And in my opinion, although this is more off-topic, Windows has a learning curve, same as linux, but if you get someone to set-up linux on the box and teach the person, they'll be better at it than they would have been at windows, because alot of people hate teaching windows to newbies (i.e. "Why did it Crash?" "It always crashes.").
  • by The Cunctator ( 15267 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @06:18AM (#1109659) Homepage
    That was a good call, comparing BeOS to NeXT. Other than the comparison mentioned in the topic, there's a bunch of others.
    Let's see...
    1) Both started by ex-Applers.
    2) Both designed to be legacy-free, "beautiful" OS's
    3) Both started with their own hardware, with names referring to a hexahedral shape
    4) Both OS's were considered for the job of being Apple's next OS. (NeXT won.)
    5) And they both have the same goofy-looking
    CaPS SeQUEnCE.

    Hey, is BeOS is following in NeXT's footsteps, maybe Microsoft will buy up BeOS (though I'd suspect it more likely that say, Sony would for "PlayStation O") and make it into their next generation OS, though I have no idea what they could call it with their nomenclature. They'd probably call it Windows 40,000, and it could run on a PC, a handheld, or a Predator Annihilator Tank.
  • Therefore NEXT lost. The "true nerd" perspective doesn't mean squat. Nerds don't generate sales, marketing does. That doesn't make it right but it makes it a fact.

    Unfortunately you can sell a bad product with good marketing but you can't sell an excellent product with poor or no marketing. Examples of bad product/good marketng: Microsoft and the National Basketball Association. Good product/bad marketing: NEXT and the Amiga

    That's why it is good that Linux is free (both as in speech and beer). If Linus had made it proprietary like the other Un*xes it never would have seen the light of day.

    Unless Be releases BeOS as open source it will die a rather quick death. It is a nice system - acutally a better desktop system than Linux - but I wouldn't pay US$70 for it. The free download is too limited to be a serious contender right now.

  • Be Europe says the story was a "little out of context"? I won't repeat the story here, for it is linked above nicely (surely everyone read it, right?), but the statements that BeOS would be folded into BeIA seemed pretty definite and not needing context to clarify. Perhaps his statements were falsified, or mangled, but "out of context"?

    Maybe his statements reveal an underlying strategy, a paradigm shift: Be recognizes that OSes are as passe as the PC and is pegging its hopes on the information (Internet) appliance trend.

    Perhaps the OS itself, by itself, is now meaningless. Maybe it's becoming an application-specific, high tech commodity world out there?

    If the OS is a commodity (which it is) then companies that peg their hopes on selling and licensing the OS itself are in financial danger (MSFT, anyone?). The fact that a Bazaar-produced OS competes at all, and well in certain areas (like the Internet), against a Cathedal-imparted one bodes ill for the latter. Soon there will be mass defection from the High Priestly order of the Cathedral and spontaneous, free, open gatherings will supplant it. Viva Reformation!

  • ...has the multimedia capabilities that AOL craves (think AOLTV)...

    This quote from Aliens comes to mind:

    "My mom said there are no such things as monsters, but there are, aren't there?"

    Take care,


    Stephen C. VanDahm
  • Funny that I see this story right above a QNX story.

    Be should learn from QNX. Concentrating on BeIA is probably a good idea -- try to become king within a specialized niche (and no, "media OS" was not specialized enough) so that their health doesn't become a function of Microsoft's mercy. Then when they've got a solid market and revenue, try to branch out and attack other people's territory.

    That's what it looks to me like QNX is doing. Even if they end up failing on the desktop, they still have the embedded market for their core product, so that core won't die. This in turn leads to potential desktop developers having more confidence in the core's future, so maybe it won't fail after all. Neat bootstrap effect. Be should try it.

    Hmm.. maybe Be did sort of try that before. I always thought Jean-Louis Gassee's comments -- about BeOS not being a Windows competitor -- had a ring of desperation. I think he damn well knew that BeOS had what it took to be a Windows killer, but publicly admitting it would be an invitation for disaster, since Be didn't have anything to fall back on. Maybe BeIA can change that.

  • It seems that when a company announces they will focus on the Internet, the media jumps to the conclusion that the company is forsaking it's original business.

    A few months ago when Sega announce they would focus on internet games, the media reported that Sega was dropping out of the console market.

    When Toys R Us decided to sell stuff online, it was reported that TRU was closing down all of its stores.

    This BeOs story is just another in the long line of over-reacting media hype.


  • Hmm, I had a GeOS for the Commadore 64/128. It had an amazing 80 column resolution (if my memory serves), but included a spread sheet, and word processor, and was networkable though a modem. I wonder if it is the same company.

    He who knows not, and knows he knows not is a wise man
  • I was involved heavily in the NeXT community when Be announced what they were doing with the new proprietary hardware and OS, and we all looked at each other and said, "Didn't they learn anything from NeXT?"
    Be hardware was doomed from the beginning, and BeOS-Intel was never going to take off.
    I guess this comment isn't really going anywhere, but it's not like this is a surprise...
  • by Anonymous Coward
    You just spelled it out for those of us who CAN'T see this. Be should *NOT* go OSS because: Linux would just STEAL all the best parts of BeOS. Open Source Software... Open Source Thievery!
  • I thought this was News for Nerds, not Unsubstantiated Rumors that Matter. After several updates, BeOS might not be developed anymore because Microsoft owns the OS market. Or at least, so an out of context interview in an Austrian zine translated electronically seems to say. And Be Europe seems quite surprised than anyone would think that this was actually the case.

    So now we have a non-issue reported as news after being rumored in a Be zine. For a while I've been a on Slashdot's side about "the editing sucks" type articles, but this is sort of the last straw. If you need to hire more editors, do it. If you need to extend Moderation to story selection, do it. But please, never again with the non-stories.

    Ushers will eat latecomers.

  • just my 2 cents.. a wonderful system, but I am afraid that it suffers from the same drawbacks as linux... lack of hardware support and lack of productivity software... sure it's a beauty to play with... fast, configurable & way ahead of windows... but once you've played with it & start recieving the darned .doc files that you *have to* process, .... you understand that it won't survive in the office.
  • ...there's really not going to be much motivation from their standpoint to continue supporting a standalone OS, especially when it's now being given away for free...

    The version that's being `given' away for free is not the Pro version and isn't what I would call the FULL version of BeOS.

    Bad Mojo []

  • I just ordered my copy of Beos 5.0 today. If I find any truth to this rumor I will cry like a baby. I even bought a new hard drive just for it! I've tried the personal version, and I really like it, except for one thing: I can't stand the interface. Somebody should write a Gnome for Beos!
  • Here's why I think Be doesn't want to open BeOS at this time (it has been discussed at Be, apparently, so it might happen in the future): the big push for them is going to be the BeIA - that's the moneymaker for them. The core of the BeIA is the same (for the most part) as the core of the BeOS. If you open up the BeOS, you've basically just given anyone with the time and skill the ability to duplicate your BeIA. Be probably fears this. I can understand, I guess.
    I hope that Be keeps using the BeOS to develop BeIA, and that new BeIA features/functionality gets released to the BeOS users. Maybe once Be has a strong enough market position they'll realize that by opening things up said things will actually improve.

  • But would AOL really want to distance itself from Windows that much? Even if a break-up were to occur, Windows 9x is still entrenched in A LOT of desktops out there, and a break of that domination would probably take months, if not years. I'm thinking that installing a new OS or buying a new "Internet Appliance" just to keep AOL would be fairly unattractive to many people.
  • I am not a BE person. I am stuck with WinDoze, but am slowly moving to Linux. Issues I see here are.

    1. This only solidifies the Monopoly that M$ holds on the OS market. BE made a good effort and resulted in fairly good OS that seemed to have a growing following. M$'s control is so great that a company has given up its development on their OS solely on the fact that another company has complete control of that market.

    2. This plain blows that they gave up. They shouldn't give up completely. At least keep some guys on the project. Maybe they will. News is sketchy. I like rooting for the underdog. Some may have a problem with BE because it controlled by a company and not like the GPL and GNU world of Linux. I don't mind a company control of an OS as long as they don't become an M$ rooted in controlling a very expansive and highly creative market. Company control breeds a centralized system of management of an OS. The fact is that we need more quality OSes other than Linux. I wish Apple would do more in the OS field and expand to other platforms. Their OS has its problems but it is a time tested and quality OS. Diversity is a very good thing in all things.

  • If you still want to use GEOS, you can still fire up a Commodore 64 emmulator and run it :)

  • >Therefore NEXT lost. The "true nerd" perspective doesn't mean squat. Nerds don't generate sales, marketing does.
    >That doesn't make it right but it makes it a fact.

    Ehrmm..quick sanity you mean that anything that the big companies and world economy doesn't care about doesn't count? Like, love, sex(except for the sort sold..)friends, to be respected, poverty and so on.

  • If they open source BeOS, they also opensource most of BeIA, their main source of income. Sounds like a pretty stupid idea from their point of view.

    Revolutions are very rare in the realm of operating systems. The only exception to this rule that comes to mind is MacOS X, but even that could be seen as an evolution of MacOS 9.

    Existing operating systems tend to absorb the features that make new operating systems stand out. Right now BeOS is in the spotlight because of it's performance in multimedia applications. That's the only real edge it has over other operating system. True, the rest is nice too but not exceptionally nice.

    Be as a company has not much future selling operating systems for the simple reason there is an ongoing trend to make operating systems free (linux and several embedded operating systems). Once the performance edge is lost (which inevitably will happen at some point), BeOS has nothing but customer loyalty to keep their revenue.
  • The same was true for linux not too long ago.
  • by yerricde ( 125198 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @06:42AM (#1109680) Homepage Journal

    Apple's closed hardware is really taking away from their chances.

    Every single time Be is in the news, some /. reader bitches about "It sucks that Apple's not releasing any specs for G? hardware," not taking into account the fact that Apple Computer Inc. has released a kernel [] as semi-free software. What better hardware documentation is there than the commented source code to a working official kernel?

    Be shouldn't let it die like NeXT did.

    It never died; it just got absorbed into Mac OS 10 [] (which doesn't deserve an X []).

  • Congrats to emmett and anyone else who was involved with following up this rumour and finding the real news. I've been seeing too many "Oops, we weren't quite right" updates lately, so it is refreshing to see that facts were found and reported on. It is also nice to see that /. has begun using their media clout (the power that allows them to go directly to a reliable source for the news) to get news and not rumours. Mind you, this is fact-checking on a rumour, so it's pre-emptive squashing, and therefore really a non-story, but hey, it's a step in the right direction. (Then again, since most of the "news" on mainstream media has been reduced to rumour mongering and pathetic emotional manipulation, I prefer the /. reporting.) Congrats once again emmett and I hope we see more of this "following up" and "straight from the source" kind of reporting, which is a major advantage of the Web! Johnathon
  • Hmm... would it not make more sense for AOL go with the obvious choice: a set-top box based on Linux? TiVo has shown the multimedia possibilities, and Mozilla is much further along on Linux than on BeOS (the last time I checked BeOs was still on R11). Further, if AOL chooses Linux they don't have to pay a cent compared with the $275 Million + [] they would have to pay for Be.

  • I don't know enough about BeOS to know why it is good or bad. The demos I've seen show multimedia capabities, but I don't know much more.

    I used to think BeOS was viewed as the eventual replacement for the MacOS, but I haven't heard that talk lately.

    Would a knowledgeable individual please explain this all to me.

  • On the other side of this issue, Apple's restrictions are providing a single OS for developers to tune their code for (or ignore) rather than porting half-assed versions to three different OS's sitting on the same hardware. I would hardly call NeXT dead. Check out OS X to see its second wind.

  • by Jerky McNaughty ( 1391 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @06:49AM (#1109685)
    BeOS is suffering from the classic problem of there being no users because there are no applications, but there are no applications because there are no users.

    BeOS is supposed to be *THE* digital media platform. But after being out for two years, there are *STILL* no professional quality digital audio + MIDI multitracking suites out there. Nothing. You're still stuck in Windows or Mac for these.

    I've spoken with a few of the big music software companies and they've all pretty much said that they're unsure if they're porting their stuff to BeOS or not yet.

    I for one would have a brand new BeOS machine if I could do true *PROFESSIONAL* digital audio on it.

  • But what about a pig & an elephant?

  • I don't know if this story is true or not, becuase you never can tell what a PR guy will say when called to task on the truth. Still the fact that Be is denying it should be taken, in lieu of other evidence, as the only credible account.

    But if it is true, why not release BeOS to open source? I mean, if you're already giving up on the product, why not give it away, instead of throw it away. Not only does it cost you nothing (in comparison to throwing it away), you get good PR from doing it!

    Sure would like to see that.
  • AOL is already developing a settop box using Linux and Mozilla. (The URL is probably too contorted to post, but you can go here and search for Linux [].) One thing to note is that Linux is a Tier 1 Mozilla platform, where Be is not.

    As for "multimedia", BeOS can do some interesting things, but I'm not sure if they are applicable in a settop situation. Most of what you need to do is done in the video hardware. There's never the need to play 8 simultanious quicktime movies, or whatever Be is capable of.

  • Only on Slashdot could "it's a shame that they're dying a horrible death, but what about *me*? *pout*" be considered "Insightful".
  • by genki ( 174001 )
    From the Quotable Jean-Louis Gassée []: "For God's sake, don't compare us to Next. We want to be a better tool for developers, not to be tasteful. We don't cost $10,000. We have a floppy drive. We do not defecate on developers."

    Red Herring, December 1996


  • For using 'To Be or not to Be', you are relegated to 'Unoriginal.' Minus one or pay a $50 cent fine.
  • Was that responsible reporting?

    If you look at the article from the standpoint of spreading inaccuracies, then no, it is not responsible reporting. However, if you look at it as trying to squash a rumor before it can get started, then yes, it is responsible reporting.

    I called Be Europe this morning to confirm this, and it's just not true.

    I think that pretty much summarizes my argument: a published report [] came in, the editor researched the evidence, and made a report. How much more responsible is he supposed to get?

    (And if you're really interested in blasting someone for irresponsible reporting, try the folks over at BeNews who ran the story in the first place -- despite their own admission that they were unable to get a complete English translation of the interview in question or make contact with Be(Europe)!)

  • "Here's to you, to all those who have obtained a copy of the BeOS and ..."

    hmmm. "here's to the dreamers ..."

    BE: think different!
  • Woohoo!! Then we can carry handguns to make our country a safer place!! And cultural differences will be put to the side for the better economic state of our united north american nation!! And suddenly, 30 million more people will have the unquestioned right to be arrogant!!

    COUGH... sorry.
  • It's not better or worse than Linux, *BSD, *NIX, MacOS, Win*, or QNX it's just different, and that's why it's so good :)
  • it sounds like you aren't using it... how much would you ask for it?

    / k.d / earth trickle / Monkeys vs. Robots Films [] /

  • JLG has stated time and time again that the desktop PC will go away in the far future. After that, BeOS will be BeIA. Read the Quotable JLG [] for more info.

  • I love it when the trolls have nothing to complain about except having nothing to complain about.
  • Sheeesh. I'm working on Palm software, knowing now that I'll get to port it to ARM in a year or so.

    I wanted to try compiling a few class libraries under Be -- maybe make some software for that. Of course, now I know that I'll probably have to do it all over for BeIA.

    Forget it. I'm sticking with Visual C++. At least I know that my OLE objects, oh wait -- COM, no -- ActiveX, no -- DCOM.... wait....

    What I meant to say was that my RDO database code, no -- make that my DAO, no -- ADO, yeah, won't have to change every year.

    (This post had no point other than I hate my job today. Sorry.)
  • Or Star Trek:

    "We are the Borg.
    We will assimilate your distinctiveness.
    Resistence is futile."
  • Poll suggestion from the Poll Mastah...

    Slashdot is:

    1. The ultimate source of Nerd News
    2. The ultimate source of Geek News
    3. The ultimate source of news. Period.
    4. My replacement for newspaper, radio and CNN.
    5. An unreliable rumor mill
    6. An unreliable rumor mill but We're Improving (TM)
    7. A good but sometimes unreliable source of news
    8. Totally unreliable
    9. Where Myths Are DeBunked (eg. this article)
    10. Only good for having some fun and laughing at posters like OOG THE OPEN SOURCE CAVEMAN []
    11. A good place for venting and trolling
    12. Can we please have a serious poll? (oxymoron)
  • Sure they count to us and to other normal and rational human beings.

    But as a working stiff in the US electronics industry for the last 25 years I can assure you (although there are some pleasant exceptions) that most of the companies I have either worked for or dealt with, both as vendor and customer, care about their bottom line and very little else, including the quality of their product or the welfare of their employees and customers.

    That is the sad fact of business today, especially in the US - it's all about the Benjaminz. Be, Apple, Microsoft, and every other business, software and otherwise, are in business to make $$$$ and for no other reason whatsoever! If the product is good, so much the better. If it sucks but sells, that's OK too. The company makes money for its stockholders and that is the only thing that matters.

    Sorry for the cynical view of things but that's the way it works.

  • That's what it looks to me like QNX is doing. Even if they end up failing on the desktop, they still have the embedded market for their core product, so that core won't die. This in turn leads to potential desktop developers having more confidence in the core's future, so maybe it won't fail after all. Neat bootstrap effect. Be should try it.

    QNX's position is somewhat more precarious. First of all, it's not a question of them failing on the desktop -- they are not even in the running. Seen a lot of QNX desktops around? Seen any? I don't think QNX is making a bid for the desktop and that's a realistic and wise position.

    Second, QNX is not the undisputed king of the embedded market. There is a whole bunch of embedded OSes and QNX is just one medium-big fish in a pond. Besides, that particular pond already has a so-far-not-very-big great white swimming in it: Windows CE. Despite being a flop on handhelds, WinCE is doing very well in the embedded market. From what I've heard it's actually a decent OS (which has nothing to do with suitability of Windows GUI to handhelds).

    So I don't really see what Be should try: become the "Windows" of internet appliances (whatever they may be)? I am sure Be would love to find itself in this position. Unfortunately, I am also sure that other players (MS included) have other plans.

  • From a true nerd perspective, I wouldn't say that NeXT won. From a developer perspective, somewhat, as that beautiful OpenStep/Cocoa API is still there and will form the framework for what is to come.

    But from an end-user nerd perspective, NeXT didn't win in everyway. After all, it looks like Mac OS X won't have the NeXT shelf -- one of my most favorite things in NeXTSTEP and OpenStep.

    I don't understand the Be-NeXT analogy. NeXT wasn't moving anywhere in the direction toward being an Internet Appliance OS. They were moving toward enterprise database connectivity, client/server apps, and away from plain old desktop stuffs. The moving away from desktop OS is the same, but it ends there.
  • by juuri ( 7678 )
    Wow what crack was he on? All NeXTstations had floppy drives on them... 2.88M at that. The cubes, which where intended for more than just application/coding boxes (ie video and serving) came with optical drives. Many of those had external scsi floppies as well.

    Hell if I was making a modern OS and it got compared to NeXTstep I'd be proud as hell. I mean we can thank NeXTstep for most of the GUI "advances" and usuability functionality that exists today (unfortunately while it was great for 92-95 its getting quite old, to STILL be used).

    Openstep/NeXTSTEP/Solaris/FreeBSD/Linux/ultrix/OSF /...
  • Time for someone to get moderated to 4 or 5 (Interesting). How are claims of Be's dropping OS support like NeXT? I've heard of NeXT, but I have no idea of their history, and why read some online news thing when here at slashdot, we usually get personal, in-the-trenches-type accounts? TIA
    Lord Omlette
    AOL IM: jeanlucpikachu
  • Where is it now?

    Geos lives on as NewDeal from NewDeal, Inc []. NewDeal release 3.2 is out, and requires only a 286 with 640K RAM and 10MB of disk space. It is available as NewDeal Office, NewDeal WebSuite, and NewDeal SchoolSuite to meet different needs. It may be purchased through the NewDeal, Inc. web site with discounts available to users upgrading from previous versions, including Geos.

  • Apple talked with Be before NeXT when looking
    for help in reviving Apple a few years ago.
    The talks collapsed when the price was too high,
    although I recall it similar to the 400 million
    for NeXT. Both Be and NeXT were as valuable to
    Apple for former Apple execs who knew how to
    run computer companies as well as their technologies.
  • Possibly, but the hardware is still not open, the only people who know everything about the chipsets in G3s and G4's are people who have hacked them (hence why Linux is on the newer PPC's).

    However, Be doesn't want to use hacked information to make their OS work right on Macs, and I understand them doing that. It's not a very polictic way to run a business.
  • BeOS was a courageous effort in designing a new
    OS from the ground up for multimedia and networks.
    This stuff had been grafted less efficiently
    on earlier OS.
    Look at MS-Windows for a prime example of inferior technology winning (at the moment).

  • And many of the limitations of the download version are circumventable, Baron of Greymatter!!

    I hope so, but I haven't tried doing it yet. 500 Mb isn't a whole lot, although it does leave about 300 Mb free after install. I don't want to repartition since my 1st drive is FAT32 with Wincrap (need it for work unfortunately) and loopback versions of BeOS and Linux and my 2nd drive is 100% Linux and I want to keep it that way. A 2nd loopback filesystem for BeOS would be nice, though.

    Don't get me wrong - BeOS is a nice system but I wonder if it really is too late for it. I hope not.

  • Think about this for a second. With Windows, you still have the ability to dial into any ISP you want to(unless you installed AOL5, DOH!) Now, if AOL could get ahold of an operating system with good multimedia capabilities, and put that out with their service preinstalled (hard-wired in) on a CD, as a replacement for windows, I think people would go nuts over it. Include popular file format viewers/editors, a decent media player that never tells your browser to go get a frigging plugin, and I have a feeling people would be burning their Windows CD's like bra's.

    Aol obviously wouldn't want to use Linux/BSD for something like this, someone might get ahold of their source and make something really *useful* out of it. Figure out how to dial into another ISP with it, etc. Perhaps in a few we'll see specialized BeOS released for Time/Warner cable, so that people will only need to install their S/W to get online, fast easy, and crippled so that they'll never be able to break TOS by running servers or unlimiting their bandwidth (like I've seen cracks out there purport to do for Windows).

    Now this is all just conjecture, but since we're starting rumors I thought I'd add in a little ammo for the FUD engines :D
  • What is Cocoa if not NextStep?

    Not available for my NeXT black hardware, that's what :-( But essentially, I agree with what you're saying.

  • by um... Lucas ( 13147 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @07:44AM (#1109721) Journal
    Why should AOL want to buy Be? That'd make them need to bring on more developers, when with Linux, the need for developers would be minimized. Plus, they must know that their application is not enough to justify the cost of device, and right now theirs a whole lot more momentum towards creating applications for Linux rather than BeOS.

    AOL's only proprietary when it suits them best. They have a proprietary connection protocol because they don't want to be just an ISP and lose ad revenues. They have a proprietary mail client so people can't use none AOL addresses, and again, relegate them to ISP status. But AOLServer web server is completely open for all to view and play with. AOL also owns Mozilla, and as far as i know, haven't tried to dampen any excitement for the project... They'll probably integrate it into their software once it's a bit closer to primetime.

    Speaking of Mozilla, AOL must be aware that Linux is the Mozilla developers preferred platform. Kind of like how Windows is Office's preferred platform. Yeah, you might be able to run the software on other OS's, but would you really want to?

    Let's just kill off that rumor of yours right now, shall we? :)
  • Well, to be honest, that doesn't make much sense. I mean, it's okay if you like Gnome, but then what exactly is it about BeOS that makes you love it some much? The OS itself is less stable than, say, FreeBSD. The interface (and the ease-of-use of that interface) is what really sells BeOS, along with a keen C++ System API.


    "You can't shake the Devil's hand and say you're only kidding."

  • 30 years?

    That's pretty impressive for an OS that has only been in development for less than a decade.

    About the same amount of time that Be has been around, actually.

    Perhaps you meant Unix instead?

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])
  • by haggar ( 72771 ) on Wednesday April 26, 2000 @07:53AM (#1109726) Homepage Journal
    BeNews has just spoken to Be's Vice President of Marketing Lamar Potts, who was
    interviewed by Computer Channel. "The Computer Channel reporter got it completely
    wrong. I said nothing of BeOS development being halted, and we have no plans to do
    so." A complete quote from Potts follows.

    According to Potts,

    "This is a drastic misinterpretation of my words. I said nothing to the
    reporter about BeOS development being halted. I simply reiterated the
    same thing Be has been saying for months, about our shift in focus to
    Internet Appliances. Obviously, we need to continue BeOS
    development. BeOS is the development platform for BeIA, as well as
    our 'calling card.' Strong visibility for BeOS is strong visibility for Be
    and BeIA. We've just completed a major launch of BeOS 5, we've
    struck deals with Gobe and international BeOS distributors, and we've
    just promoted Dave Johnson to BeOS Product Manager.

    I'm puzzled by the reporter's misinterpretation of my words. The
    reporter was young, but his English seemed fine, and the whole
    interview is on tape. Our PR firm was also present, and can verify that I
    said nothing of the sort. I can't in my wildest imagination figure out
    where the reporter got this idea from what was said during the
    interview. We didn't head down that path at all."

    Find it at
  • No, no, I won't let it die! ;-)...

    Linux has more applications: true, but so what? does AOL care? the only applications they would care about is a customizable browser they can deliver their proprietary content too, and they already got one, and multimedia stuff for enhanced-TV and the like (and here's where Be would really shine).

    Developers: a) I am willing to bet that internally Be has already a team of people porting Mozilla over; it makes sense, especially given their BeIA strategy. AOL could inherit that effort and augment it with Netscape engineers, b) how important really is number of developers when AOL can afford to double and triple that number if they wanted to?

    Linux/Mozilla: Linux is Mozilla's preferred platform, coz Linux is popular and doesnt have a decent browser: ergo, more Linux users are interested in/helping out Mozilla than from any other OS. But if AOL/Netscape's interests switched to another OS, and the number of full-time developers working on Mozilla/Be doubled, that will not matter any more.

    Of course, all this is just conjecturing for fun, but it does make sense at some level. It certainly makes as much as sense for AOL as buying Nullsoft or Mirabilis...

    engineers never lie; we just approximate the truth.

  • Considering all the hoopla I see around here about "bad journalism" and "inflamatory posts" on /., I'm suprised noone has yet thanked emmett for actually calling up Be and asking about this article.

    Anyway, I'll be the first; rock on, emmett. Thanks for checking up on the story before posting it. I'm quite sure it eliminated the copious amounts of whining that would have otherwise resulted :)
  • As a follow-up to this observation, the reason Apple bought Next rather than buying Be was because of the enterprise capability--that was the market Gil "Human Prozac" Amelio wanted to try to capture. At the time a lot of people thought this was a stupid idea, and I'm still not convinced that Apple wouldn't have been better served by buying Be. (Of course, if they'd bought Be, they wouldn't have gotten Steve Jobs. Whether that's good or bad depends on one's point of view.)

  • Here's the official word on the BeNews story on dropping BeOS:

    "Earlier today, a German website ran an article claiming that Be was
    planning on halting BeOS development work. This is a mistaken
    interpretation of our remarks on the subject. As we have stated publicly, Be
    is continuing to develop and release new versions of BeOS, which serves as the
    development environment for BeIA, our software platform for Internet
    appliances. We have made no change to this strategy. We appreciate the
    interest the Be community continues to show in BeOS."

    Dave Johnson
    BeOS Product Manager
    Be, Inc.

    BeDevId 15453 - Download BeOS R5 Lite [] free!
  • Does anyone know when BeIA appliances will be sold? How will we be able to get them? What will the products be branded as?

    Or are they already out? I've never seen one...

  • No.:) I am not selling it. Yes it still works. I haven't installed the most recent BeOs on it but I suspect it will be fine.

    To those who haven't seen them the coolest thing is the large led banks on the side that can monitor CPU usage (2 banks for the 2 CPU's)

    Why am I not selling it?

    I am developing an application I intend to run on Linux, Mac, and Be BEFORE Windows, so I still need a test platform.:)


  • I don't think so. Your typical AOL user wants Windows applications because their friends have them. They will not want to have to make sure their hardware is supported by the OS. They are people for whom everything must run out of the box. That's one of the few points where Windows is still better than other OS's, simply because of their market share.
  • It was announced [] for the first quarter of 2000, but nothing ever happened... ;-(
  • I just wanted to say thanks to the folks as Slashdot. Too many times we've been quick to slam them for posting something that turned out to be rumor, so I wanted to step up and say that it's good to see the research and source checking happen before the article hits the homepage. Slashdot may indeed be growing up into a mature (and already quite powerful) news outlet, which we will be able to rely on for Stuff That Matters well into the oughts.
  • Right. And Apple has been shipping Sherlock and the System Profiler with their OS for about 2-3 years. An OS != the stuff that comes with it.

    ...Unless of course you want GNU/Linux/X/Gnome/WINE/blah/blah/blah...

    - Jeff A. Campbell
    - VelociNews ( [])

Forty two.