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MP3 Player - The Be Way 167

shyster writes "Be has created a prototype mp3 player that puts all other hack jobs to shame. Using an Intel 810E chipset with a Celeron-400MHz processor, and relying on BeOS's wonderful file system (where attributes are stored with the files) for database search capabilities, this thing really makes BeOS look good, as well as emphasizes it's audio/video capabilities. They don't plan on making this thing themselves, but rather customizing and branding the OS for OEM partners to place in their own hardware solutions. This kind of approach should allow for some differences between devices, such as having a CD-RW, DVD drive, touchscreen LCD display, etc. The other great thing about this is that it's networked. Check out the full story here."
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MP3 Player - The Be Way

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  • If the RIAA were even vaguely more sophisticated than the pack of Neanderthals with JDs that they are, this is the sort of thing they'd be spending their money on.

    As a collective organization representing the recording industry, they could be shooting impulse music purchases into the stratosphere by embracing and supporting appliances like this. They could be working on standards, encouraging hardware and software manufacturers, generating consumer interest. Just imagine - You're listening to something you like, and instantly you can choose to buy songs that are (A) liked by the same people who like the current song, (B) listed as inspiration by the band that recorded the current song, (C) anything else clever people can imagine. They could - gasp - look forward for a change.

    But no, it is not to be. Instead they are going to waste their time and further alienate consumers by focusing on low-return, antipathy-generating initiatives like pay-per-listen recordings and Quixotic lawsuits against software that courts can't touch.

    Which is why I think they are on the way out. One of these days some other upstart organization - perhaps another industry group with an eye to expanding its constituency - is going to make the case to the big recording companies that the club they're sending checks to is doing nothing but hurting their interests.

  • by iso ( 87585 ) <`ofni.orezpraw' `ta' `hsals'> on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:12PM (#557822) Homepage

    well technically the "index" (i assume you're talking about the Sherlock index) on a MacOS volume is stored in a separate file. the other difference from BFS is that the index isn't automatically updated everytime a file is changed. instead, it's more of a hack, where Sherlock's "scheduler" runs at midnight (default) and updates the day's changes in the index file. BFS does all of this behind the scenes and in real-time, along with many other niceties (such as storing attributes along with the files as mentioned in the article).

    so really what they're saying is correct, though misleading. they make it sound as though you can't do the same thing with MacOS. you can of course, it's just not as elegant a solution.

    i was a big Be fan a back a few years ago but i gave up on them (especially after their "Apple screwed us" FUD when they dropped Mac support). i'll stick with my Mac, with some real applications and enough niceties for my taste. besides, i always liked NeXT-Step, and i'll get to use once again, but on my G3s! :)

    - j

  • What? You're not making sense...
  • yeah, Bowser.. I love it ;)
  • You know, it's year 2000. Linux, basically technology from 1972, is the hottest thing. It will always be. Shame on you for wanting something better!
    Franky I think geeks love to poke around in the /etc directory and recomplile their kernel. It gives us a feeling of control. I used to be that way myself, until I figured that I'd have much more time for actually developing stuff under BeOS, rather than fixing broken installations all the time.
  • Arghh. Be started in 1990, before Apple was in trouble. The aim has been more modern computing in general. That includes Media, Internet, etc. Of course, Internet is a much better word for hyping so they use that for now.
  • It's not limited to MP3. It fits in 6 MB with a complete browser. It comes with a Management and Administration Platform. Do some research, please!
  • Just to stick my oar in on this one, maybe the people who are advocating Amiga, QNX & Linux should take a look at AtheOS [].

    Ignore the Amiga style windows decorations it has at the moment, what should be more interesting is the following:
    • It's Open Source. Shares that in common with Linux, so neither has that advantage over the other
    • It also has a 64 Bit Journaled Filesystem, and will have file Attributes. Exactly the same as BeOS (Although it is not BFS, natch)
    • It is actually fairly small. Certainly smaller than Linux, BeOS etc. Can't compare it to BeAI though, they're two diferent things
    • It has great potential as a "Media OS" as well. It doesn't use X for a start, which is always a good thing if you want to do things like video...
    • It's just cool.
    O.K, it may have less applications than BeOS now, but there is no reason why AtheOS can't find itself finding market share not just on the desktop, but also the embeded market, in the future.

    This is all IMHO of course, but it does have most of the advantages being touted here.
  • Why, so you can have crappily encoded, untagged, misnamed and incomplete music? Hey, go for it.


    Freedom is Slavery! Ignorance is Strength! Monopolies offer Choice!
  • ack. i think the general consensus here is that nobody is obsessed enough with English grammar to really know or care :). but yes, "effect" can be used as a transitive verb just as "affect" can.

    i've changed it back to "affected" because that pisses less people off (so far :), and i think it's probably the most right.


    - j
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @06:56PM (#557831)
    There are MORE PEOPLE who will be PAYING CUSTOMERS

    Not so far. In fact, Be's deadness is so complete that its doubtful that a free, GPL'd BeOS could even attract mindshare at this point.

    Be is simply the next Amiga. People will be playing with Be ten years from now. At least none of the Amiga advocates try to convince you that its going to take over any market - they're a happy clan of hobbyists. I suggest Be advocates adopt this mentality if they want to salvage any dignity.

  • Free in price. But not "Free Software". You can't get the source to BEOS, you can't modify it, you can't redistribute it without a license.
  • Just to begin with, without having info on your box:
    1) Standardized
    2) Commercial backing
    3) OS/HW support
    4) an efficient multimedia OS
    5) it probably will look better, have a better UI, and be controllable by a browser (yours may have these, but most home built mp3 players don't).
    6) cost

    Why would I care that it can play mp3's backwards? Do I really want to listen to my music backwards?
  • Oh-BTW-don't take offense at the hack jobs comment. If you read carefully, you'll see that I'm also lumping Be's Aura in that category. To me, a hack job is using something for a use not orignally intended for. A PC is a multi-purpose device, putting it to use as an "appliance" is a hack job-IMHO at least.
  • Cranberries, "The Icicle Melts" ...
    am I right?
  • They don't plan on making this thing themselves, but rather customizing and branding the OS for OEM partners to place in their own hardware solutions.

    One problem: what major OEM is using BeOS solutions?

  • Although it sounds cool, and although Be may inherently have some database functionality that makes this kind of thing rather elegant and intuitive from a developer point of view....

    HOw is this, as a commercially viable product, any better than others? Certainly not because it's based on BE. Most consumers don't care what it's based on. Do you know what OS your sony dvd player runs? Do you care?

    Archiving mp3 information is trivial whether you have a filesystem that lends itself well to this or not....

  • Or, rather, it makes it seem that way to the user. In reality, when you insert an audio CD and tell Aura to add its songs to your database, it rips raw audio from the CD first, making it immediately and transparently available for playback. Actual encoding to MP3 can then happen in the background later on. As a result, consumers can create a digital database of their CD collections more easily than they would be able to do on their computers. Smart.
  • personal edition, its the same as pro, cept it has to be installed from windows, and some of the stuff pro has, has to be downloaded seperately when using PE, and lots of people seem to think PE has to run from windows and is limited tot he 500meg image it creates.. nope, you can use the installer to install it on its own drive/partion, and install bootman to dual boot, thats what I do, works great.
  • Ripping at 32x is easy...doing it well is not. Most good rippers (like cdparanoia or eac) use secure copying, which reads data several times to make sure you are getting the intended data.

    If you want a recommendation on a CDRW, I've heard nothing but raves about the plextor 12x burner. Personally I've had good luck with my HP 10x burner, not one coaster yet at 10x, that's a full CD in about 8 minutes.

  • Not true!

    If there's one lesson we should have learned from Microsoft over the last 20 years, it's that superior marketing will always win out over superior technology. Perhaps that's why Be is not manufacturing the units themselves, because they know they suck at marketing.
  • Is it just me, or does anyone else see the demise of MP3s in about 5 years? At that point, I would hope that cheap mass storage would allow for the storage of music in lossless formats or even just plain wav files. I mean, when I can buy a 250Gb drive & burn 17Gb DVDs to send to friends, why put up with any loss in quality. Alrady on my low end DSL line at home downloading isos isn't too bad, and it's only going to get better. When I can replace my 400 disk changer with a little device holding exact images I won't be messing around with MP3z.
  • You've got it right, don't worry about it. Effected isn't even a word.

  • A P100 should work just fine for playing MP3s.
  • Yes, actually people have adopted Be, and the Slashdot users who don't sit around in front of computers all the time may well have been to a theatrical show or amusement attraction whose audio is being run by Level Control Systems' BeOS-based gear. It's been out for years, has won several major industry awards... you can "see" it on Broadway ("Ragtime," "Fosse"), Las Vegas (Cirque de Soleil, both shows), and in odder places (Disney's Cirque de Soleil, the MGM Indiana Jones show, the Sony Metreon in San Francisco).

    Adamation's systems run the ZEUM in San Francisco as well. Edirol recently announced the DV-7 nonlinear video editing system, which runs, you guessed it, BeOS. A forthcoming "hospitality industry" version of Compaq's iPad runs BeIA. And, of course, there's the obligatory weird startup (Qubit) and the "what were they thinking" project (Whirlpool's prototype BeIA-based refrigerator). These are just the announced projects, of course.

    Look, folks, I'm an archetypal disillusioned BeOS user--it's still my favorite desktop OS, but I don't think it has much of a future on the desktop. And it didn't die when Apple chose NeXT, it died--well, became undead, more accurately--when Be decided that focusing on the appliance market required them to publicly gut their desktop effort.

    To paraphrase Al "Totem Pole" Gore, "I strongly disagree with their decision, but I accept it." From everything I've heard, BeIA is getting a lot of positive attention within the industry, particularly because of their management services, which are evidently significantly ahead of anybody else's comparable offerings.

    With all due respect, having access to the source is not the only consideration most businesses will have in evaluating options, and licensing fees are only one component in development cost. And, just because Be is being quiet about things doesn't mean they're not doing anything--we've all seen companies which were much louder and weren't, when all was said and done, doing anything. Conversely, we've seen Transmeta....

  • Ok, I was wrong about "effected" not being a word. It is a word, but is *very* rarely used.

    Ripped from

    /* Usage Note: Affect1 and effect have no senses in common. As a verb affect1 is most commonly used in the sense of "to influence" (how smoking affects health). Effect means "to bring about or execute": layoffs designed to effect savings. Thus the sentence These measures may affect savings could imply that the measures may reduce savings that have already been realized, whereas These measures may effect savings implies that the measures will cause new savings to come about. */

    Now, not that my own grammar is perfect or anything, but I think this indicates that affected is the proper word. Affected implies influence, whereas effected implies creation. In the signature, "affected" was used, because it was referring to PacMan's influence - the word "influenced" could have easily been substituted for "affected".For instance:

    Al Gore effected the creation of the the internet.

    Well, maybe. Effected is a rather hard word to use at all - normally "effect" is used as a noun, e.g. the slashdot effect, special effects. As a side note, Harvard has eased its grammar rules considerably - split infinitives are now acceptable, for instance. Sheesh.


  • Read up on Aura. The BFS plays heavily into how cool Aura will be. It is a LOT more than "networked MP3."
  • How about Intel?
  • Heh, the moment I saw "...BeOS's wonderful file system (where attributes are stored with the files" the HPFS flag went up pretty much the same way as it did for you....:)
    BTW, last week my company did some cleaning and was ready to throw away 4 generations of OS/2 (2.1, Warp 3, Warp 3 Connect and Warp 4)...I promptly scooped them all up and just for fun loaded Warp 3 Connect on an aging Deskpro/166/64...and man, did that thing fly!
    Ahhh, good old days....Somehow I still hope IBM will come to its senses and resurrect OS/2 development.....
  • Playing mp3s backwards is no big deal. Install Soundplay on BeOS, and throw in a CD - you can play CDs backwards on the fly. Now *that's* cool.
    Personally, I wish Linux folks would venture out of *their* little OS domain - and notice that they're not the only nor the best free UN*X system, and that there are different OSes best suited to different purposes.

    Myself, I'm sick to death of crap programs that won't even compile properly under *BSD, because the developers forgot the universe didn't revolve around their OS.

  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    why is everyone against Be?

    12% my butt, []

    They have lots of great apps.

    You must be a troll
  • The native OS/2 file system, HPFS, also has the ability to store attributes with files. And remember, HPFS was released in 1988 - 12 years ago. Wow. Is it also a 64-bit journaled file system? Does it handle the attributes the same way as BFS? (Namely that searching attributes is SUPERFAST, and users can create their own attributes for files and folders.)
  • If you read the article you would see that it just copys the raw audio onto the unit and then encodes it during downtime. This means that you can play it 2 minutes after you stick the cd in.
  • wow, I'd love to beable to have pe on its own partition, do you have a Faq somewhere that gives exact instructions?
  • For the author of the column I mean: "Scot Hacker"

  • No. It implies that 99.9% of people still listen to MP3s on their computers, not in the living room.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Oh yeah, I know. We posted it on BeNews [] a few days ago. I don't know about the other BeNews editors, but I certianly feel special that we're important enough to have Slashdot gather content from us :-) I could go on and on about how most of you have completely missed the point, but it'd fall on deaf linux zealotrous ears :)
  • If you think I have nothing better to do with my free time then whore myself out for karma points, you need to get a grip. It's been my experience that people who denegrate technologies that aren't part of the Linux Core Philosophy are far more likely to get karma than those who attempt to be the voice of reason.

    Yes, I posted fairly commonly known information. At the time of my posting, several people had alluded vaguely to this information, true enough. But no one bothered to spell it out for those who haven't used BeOS, so they could stop making snide, ill-informed comments about the Capitalist Pig-Dogs.

  • UNIX permission scheme? KISS?

    I still haven't mastered chmod yet..
  • I don't know, but when I can play 40 mp3's at 128k on my dual p2 350 box (~600mhz with all the messaging overhead and what not) and still have my OS remain fully responsive, that seems to speak leaps and bounds about the core technology. Sure, you might be able to play a bunch of mp3's at once with ALSA, but that will bring the machine to it's knees. And yes, I venture outside the BeOS world. I run a FreeBSD box and a LinuxPPC box. It is also very easy to mass edit the meta data for mp3's. There are programs (free) for BeOS that exports the id3 information right into the attributes (fs meta data), where it can be queried from inside any program, or the Tracker (file manager). Personaly, I find that it makes running an mp3 stream incredibly easy.
  • I agree that Be's commercialness will make a lot of the companies that will develop these products more happy. Some of them are a little leery of Linux because they perceive it as a potential lawsuit from RIAA. It doesn't matter if they are right or not because it will still affect thier decsions. A commercial OS allows them to protect what IP they do have(real or imagined) and they can hide it behind NDAs. Some developers don't want to hassle with issues concerning GPL. This is a case where they may be willing to use a BSD style license but Be has done all the work for them so why should they delay things.

    I agree that you should use the tool for the job and this seems like the right tool for this job(not the only tool though). I have an old Micron server that I used to test BeOS on (PPro 200, 64mb RAM, SB16, etc.). I was fairly impressed on how smooth it ran with a bunch of AVIs and MP3s simultaneously without missing a beat. What it does, it does well but unfortunately it doesn't do everything. I believe that BeOS will have it failings for more political reasons than technological reasons.

    I'm all for making Linux do more and more things. Growing and expanding can't but help things overall. I don't go for all the people that whine and cry about something done that they like. Maybe it doesn't give them anything to brag about i.e "We have gimp, apache, etc. and win32 doesn't". The more quality free products on the various platforms, the less importantance MS© will have if the OS running underneath doesn't matter. The whole point of free software is the ability for anyone to make it do what they want not what you want. If you don't like it then don't use it but I will continue to use and test all kinds of OS, software, etc. and use what want for each job.

  • Check the article. They are using components from both. So what is the difference now?
  • Who needs mass production? I've got plenty of these sitting in my closet. I'd be happy to sell them for $5 each.
  • Before you call the post clueless, you should take the time to read it. I didn't see the journaling capabalities touted anywhere. What I saw being touted was the fact that it stores metadata with the files. This is a very impressive feature of Be's fs. No I'm not a Be lover. I gave up developing for their platform a couple of years ago. I do like their tech though.
  • by MrP- ( 45616 )
    its somewhere in the be menu, i customized mine so its in BeOS>Applications>Utilities>Installer

    but its somewhere in the Applications folder in the beos menu, itll ask you what drive/partion you want to install to and it converts it to BFS and installs itself, then you can just delete the beos dir on your win drive and boot to the real beos from now on, the boot floppy will work fine without any mods... although if you run beos w/o deleting on the win drive it seems to get confused..... you wont loose any of your settings or apps , it just duplicates itself to the new bfs drive. Then just run bootman if you want to dual boot (I think its ./bootman at the terminal, but i forget, check #beos on efnet or something, or
  • by FastT ( 229526 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:22PM (#557867) Homepage Journal
    From all that I've heard, one the biggest growth areas for Linux is the embedded market. Clearly, information appliances like TiVo have used Linux with great success, but how long will/can this last?

    Multimedia is only going to be more and more integral to everyday information appliances (not just stereo components and PVRs). What answer does Linux have to this with its mishmash of incompatible multimedia technologies?

    To me, this article indicates exactly why operating systems like BeOS will continue to make inroads into the embedded market, while Linux is in serious danger of losing out. Be is designed and marketed as a "multimedia OS", and uses like this allow it to really shine. How long before the built-in features of BeOS are more than anyone doing it from scratch in Linux will want to compete against? Isn't it already that way?

    My feeling is that the multimedia capabilities in BeOS will eventually obviate the need for Linux's primary strength in the embedded market--the availability of source code. If an OEM-ready platform already has support for all the stuff you'd want to hack into Linux, is small and cheap enough, why NOT use it? Isn't the whole reason TiVo used Linux so they could add in all the multimedia stuff they needed that Linux didn't provide? (And don't tell me they did it for philosophical reasons. OEMs want results, not dogma.)

    If Linux wants to compete in this space, it needs focus, which seems to be the one thing it doesn't (yet) offer.

  • This is not a portable unit. It's a home unit.
    Not counting any potential for pirating software, it's safe to assume that a music lover could have upward of ten thousand songs on their hands. That's quite a few song titles and artists to search from, when you have an urge to listen to some song by a female artist that came out in 95 or 96, with something about icicles in it.

    Without even trying, you could have that from a BeFS. (you'd have to add a 'lyrics' metadata to the song, of course, but that's hardly a stretch)

  • []

    that'll tell you how to do it and install bootman
  • So basicly its a fairly large Mp3 player with cute graphics?
  • Do you want to take the performance hit for indexing while you're using the computer (BeOS) or while you're not (MacOS)? There are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.

    What they're saying is wrong. Do consumers really care about those kinds of details (difference between MacOS and BeOS)? No. It's just techno-FUD.

    Also, if BeOS stores the info in each file, how can it be true that you don't have to iterate through all the files to find something? There has to be some external data structure. Whether you call it a file or something else is just symantics.
  • This wasn't a be mp3 player, it is soundplay. It was created by a Be engineer though, but not Be the company. And considering it was capable of playing mp3's backwards at any rate about a year before any other mp3 player on any platform what does it matter?

    And have you considered that because Be is a company that when the RIAA decides to go with a *secure* digital music format, they can then implement it without the whole open-source problems that Linux entails?

    Don't get me wrong, I like Linux, but from a commercial standpoint, Be makes more sense. If I can hire a company to customize the way things look and work underneath without worrying about code and save money developing it, I would. Instead of hiring someone to hack this and that into a bunch of Linux source to get something that will probably not quite what i expected. And there is more accountability with one company working on it. They get blamed for screw ups, who do I blame when the code is open source? And they can keep their trade secrets to themselves if they want.

    Is it just me or does anything that's not Linux-based here, get gunned down for any real reason?

    Read the article [] here and realize that each os has it's role. I personally am getting sick of Linux is for everything because it's open source. It isn't. BeOS isn't suited for everything. NT/9x/Me/CE aren't either. QNX is cool, but also not suited for everything. Open/Free/NetBSD have their places as well.

    Use the right tool for the job. Isn't open source about choice anymore? I recall people complaining about gimp being ported to win32. If I can't run the software on the os of my choice, what good is it? This is what the source is for, to use, abuse, and port.

    Now time for the mods to mark me as flamebait. :)

  • Um... ok.

    Two points:

    First off, the first GPL player thing... So what? So its the first player to do it that was released under the GPL. Thats like saying that its the first player because its green. It still came after soundplay. Quite a while after.

    And for your 36 songs... are they just playing backwards/forwards? Can you play 12 of em at 72% speed backwards? Can you run 3 different tracks of the same CD at once, some backwards some forwards? And oh yeah, while you are doing that can you map 6 mov files to a software rendered realtime 3d cube?

    If that isnt enough, you could always burn a cd while you were doing it...

    and you wouldnt have a "wait" prompt once. no hourglass, nothing. It would just, well... do it.

    But honestly, this was just to point out that mp3's backwards came from Be, and is not some great alsaplayer thing.

    When it comes to mp3's, it really doesnt get better than Be... assuming you judge on technical competence and not a great socio-political belief structure about the nature of the software.
  • Ogg Vorbis support is available today. Check out and you can find Vorbis codecs for the BeOS. One nice feature of the BeOS is that it includes a robust API for handling audio and video. Once you install the codecs for a new file type, all of your existing applications can access it immediately.

    So, you install the codecs by putting what amounts to some .so files in the proper place in your ~/config/add-ons directory. Once this is done the stock BeOS player app will play your Vorbis files, and the stock BeOS CDPlayer app will save CDDA tracks as Vorbis files if you want. Any well-written app will ask the OS for a list of available audio encoders and present the user with the choices.

    I actually just got thru adding this functionality into one of my projects. It only takes a small handful of code to iterate thru all the encoders installed. Now, if a user adds a codec or upgrades an existing one, my program benefits automatically. No recompile needed.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Actually, no, BFS does not keep a metadata database. It does keep a journaling log, but all of the file metadata is actually kept in the inode itself. The required information for a file, which is normally store in an inode, does not take up the entire inode, so effectively BFS has 700 free bytes in every inode to store data. Any attributes which are less than that size will be completely in the inode, and thus much faster. Additionally, the system does index attributes, and keeps track of any changes made to those attributes. But it does not have to crawl the filesystem to do it; changes are marked at modification time and that's it.
  • I don't want to sound like I'm slamming the Audio ReQuest mentioned in the last post, it's probably a very well designed product. But I went to the page and saw what it could do (connect to a network, transfer files with SMB) and realized that hey, the people this is targetted at already have computers. So can someone explain to me the advantage of having one of these dedicated systems for $800, when you can get a sound card with a digital output for $100-200 and essentially do the same thing with your existing hardware?

    I don't know, it just seems like this is a product people will buy to impress each other, but not because it actually suplies a needed function. I understand mobile mp3 players, since you're not going to lug your desktop around with you, but surely when you're at home you'll just use your computer to play your MP3s?
  • ".. or ext2+tree patch uses. HPFS no doubt uses it to.." Note the patch there. BeOS comes with it default, no hacking, tweaking, or fighting bad installs to get it setup and working. I don't know about you, but I like *nix, but I sure as hell hate fighting installs for 3 days, trying to get my new computer up and running with it's shiney new OS. class BeOS : public CoolOS ....
  • But not so great for enocding them=^)


  • BFS is a nice filesystem

    Thank you. We agree. Most modern file systems has similar file indices, but they usually aren't updated in real time, and they're not as expansive as BFS' are. BFS' file attributes and indices may not be revolutionary, but they're available in the same place and used to complement each other, which has an overall revolutionary effect. Working with files in BeOS is something much different than in any other OS I've used. The small things, like having different icons for different shortcuts to the same program and sorting MP3s by genre, then filename are what I miss when I use other OSes.

    If every FS had unlimited, indexed, real-time, pervasive file attributes, I would be quite happy. I don't see them readily available with any of the other major players, so BFS does have something unique and special that makes it stand above the crowd. If not in terms of innovation, then in terms of application.

  • I dont dispute the leverage Open Source has, but face it, MP3 still skip when scrolling windows in a stock Linux distribution (that is, not in the RT Linux). Linux networking will always beat BeOS (BONE) networking, but as far as scheduling multimedia tasks (ie. MP3 playing) BeOS wins hands down. That is why the BeOS enthusiasts always fling 8-10 MP3 playing simulatanously without skipping a beat - the preemptive multitasking in BeOS is leagues above anything else outthere, probably due to the 250us (thats microseconds) context switch. Mainstream Linux faces the same problem Windows has - it wants to be compatible on the last remaining 386 machines hence their context switch of 20ms and 10ms respectively. And yes, you can recompile the kernel but that isn't something the average user should do.

    Introduce SMP systems and BeOS gains an even greater lead. Why do Linux users feel more threatened by BeOS than any other OS on the market? Judging from posts in this thread, Linux users dispise BeOS users more than Win32 and MacOS evangelists. Food for thought
  • by Adnans ( 2862 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:36PM (#557881) Homepage Journal
    Okay, so I need a "Multimedia OS" to play mp3's? Hehehe :) Get real dude. The power of Linux is that it's OPEN SOURCE and everybody loves it (momentum)!! I remember the days back when BeOS advocates were touting their Journalling FS everytime they got some attention, they still do. Today, Linux has a number of 64-bit Journalling filesystems of its own. Personally I'm using XFS from SGI. Crash recovery, i.e. hitting the RESET button for fun, is around 1 second on my 81 Gig partition. The moral of this story? Linux WILL rock in the embedded space!

    If Linux wants to compete in this space

    If BeOS wants to compete in this space it should try and build something else than glorified MP3 players :) I can't imagine BeOS/BeIA being useful in an army truck for example. But just yesterday the US army agreed to test a RealTime Linux based system in their vehicles. Now that's what I call embedded!

  • I agree that the RIAA is far too incoherent as an organization to even consider this and that these types of appliaces are where they should be looking. HOWEVER...

    I'm glad they're as dumb as they are ;) I'd really like to see the RIAA die a very rapid yet painful death. The hegemony of white old men with no sense of creativity is rapidly coming to a close and open standards and open arcitectures shall rule the day. AND artists will still live on. Very well, I predict. No, they won't drive Bentley's and pour champagne on their ho's. But those folks aren't artists. No, they won't be boy bands that do nothing more than coreograph shitty dance. But those kids aren't artists. True musical artists will live on and embrace open-ness and the sharing of their work and they will be very successful. And we won't have these teen sensations shoved down our throats by some balding asshole with a ponytail who's trying to predict the next big thing so he can feed his porn and cocaine habit. Whew--now I gotta study.
  • The native OS/2 file system, HPFS, also has the ability to store attributes with files. And remember, HPFS was released in 1988 - 12 years ago.

    OS/2 also has a multithreaded multimedia subsystem, which was released in the early 1990's (I can't remember if it was 1990 or 1992).

  • FYI, Soundplay [] has been playing mp3's backwards for years. In fact, its believed by many people to be the first player that could play it backwards. So your big alsaplayer advantage is shot...

    Oh yeah, on most Be systems soundplay can play about 30 mp3's backwards, forwards, and at different speeds... simultaneously, and without skipping.
  • Exactly.... Be Inc. CEO Jean Louis Gasee has said much the same thing. The idea behind BeIA is that it will provide the user with a seamless system. It's not an OS per se at all. It's an appliance, and Be has focused its efforts into creating something that is not operating system like. When I turn on my vcr, when the stop lights change from red to green, I don't care what OS it's running, I just want it to work. BeIA comes from the same philosophy and should be killer once it's released
  • I'm curious what other people are using for databases of mp3s (and any other format of file, for that matter). I took a look at RIMPS as a frontend, and I wasn't terribly impressed (maybe it's because I was using their 1.0 version rather than whatever is in CVS). Bad things seemed to happen, like it would attempt to re-insert the same file sometimes and would crap out on me.. It also apparently couldn't handle non-numeric characters in the year field of an ID3 tag...

    Anyway, I'm thinking of reworking a simple database system I already made, but it would include support for multiple `creators', which is especially important when you think about how many people are `featured' artists, or other collaborative efforts. Most systems require you to decide which single artist is `The Artist' I also want to add in some sort of support for multiple songs in a single file (such as the single 70 minute file I have of my copy of Paul Oakenfold's Tranceport CD).

    Also, I really get annoyed when files get sorted character-by-character, and the sort includes a leading `A' or `The'. In addition, I was thinking of adding support for fixing the case of letters in song titles. Ordinarily, words like `on', `in', `for', etc., are supposed to be lowercase in titles, but most people seem to capitalize them.. Who knows if that would ever happen, though..

    But maybe something like that already exists?
  • It's not "confused", Tracker shows the contents of /home/Desktop/ on any volumes mounted on the desktop. By default Tracker automounts all BFS volumes, so that's where it gets fun.
  • Running a Plextor SCSI 40x, i can rip and encode a full audio CD under BeOS in ~5-10 minutes, at 192kbps.

    Copying raw audio off of this CD-Rom would potentially be much faster, but i have not tried it.
  • by Sonoma76 ( 103820 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @04:44PM (#557889)

    Be Inc. changed it's focus in January.

    They are focusing now on Internet Appliances, thus BeIA, rather than BeOS. BeIA is supposed to be fully customizable for the OEM, including UI and all sorts of other things. It's made to run on as little as 32MB of RAM and has support for Flash, Real, and Opera 4 as it's main browser.

    The device spoken of here is yet another iteration of BeIA. This just goes to show the remarkable uses of Be's latest work. Hopefully the networking support will be seamless- not like it is on R5 Pro. Check out for another BeIA enabled device, this one with 802.11b connectivity.
  • The attributes aren't stored *in* the file. They are "attached" to the file. In the example of mp3s you have Album/Artist/Title/etc attributes, which are all indexed and updated in real time. The filesystem isn't constantly probing for changes, as you think, so there is no performance hit. When a file is modified, a BMessage is sent which updates the index on the file.

    Like you said, most consumers don't care how it works behind the scenes. But the way Aura does it is incredibly elegant and quick.
  • by Ars-Fartsica ( 166957 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @04:45PM (#557891)
    Even in the "embedded" space where people do not see the technology or its branding, vendors will still go after the technology with the most momentum. I think one can safely say that if Be ever really makes a showing in the embedded market (has anyone adopted Be for a real product??), Be will always have at best 10% of the penetration of linux, their relative merits nothwithstanding.

    I'm sorry, but its curtains for Be. Its mindshare is nonexistant, it has no direction, and it will soon be out of cash. Be essentially went out of business the day Apple chose NeXT instead of Be.

  • does his opinion on linux have any impact on his review of a completely non-linux related system?
  • No, you can't actually. You CAN encode (without ripping) in that time, though, by directly reading the audio tracks as .wav files through BeOS's filesystem plugin for audio CD's. Just to clear up some terminology :)

  • I like BeOS and all, but if you want this NOW, you could check out the Audio ReQuest [].

    It's a home audio component with a big hard drive full of mp3s. It has an RJ45 in the back for your home ethernet. It transfers files to/from any computer on the same network with their branded software, and their next software update will make it do SMB.

    It had audio quality problems, but an update on the soundcard made the quality much, much better. I hope they add digital outs in a future model.

    It connects to a tv and has a remote to let you navigate your collection and sort by artist/album/whatever.

    It has a CD drive that rips and encodes mp3, and I believe it also looks up titles from CDDB if on the internet. It also encodes from any input source you want to plug into the back of it. My dad is mp3ifying his LP collection this way.

    It also has nifty visual effects it does on the tv while it plays, if you like.

    My two wishlist items: ogg vorbis support (hopefully with multichannel) and 802.11b wireless networking.

  • Works fine for me.
  • forgot to mention - it runs QNX

  • I dunno about your system, but my system never skips when scrolling windows, i do everything while playing mp3's and nothing ever makes it skip, not even opening my 12000 message mailbox's in mutt makes it skip. I've also just done a couple tests, scrolling mozilla up and down with my scroll button does nothing to playback, neither does taking a window and moving it arround . . . fast or slow. 8-10 mp3's? I could try(and just did), thing is i have no clue if its skipping or not, its just too much of a jumble do really hear it. I just played an entire metallica CD at the same time. The voices i can hear dont sound as if they are skipping, but who knows. Journey
  • That sounds like a good idea, but what is so great about BFS is that the implementation was pervasive. You don't have to go to the shell to add, remove or change attributes.

    That said, I would happily welcome this sort of change as a fundamental addition to the UI of Windows.

  • . . . maybe Be will buy Corel's Linux? Or maybe they'll be the next lucky owners of WordPerfect?
  • I'd be more interested if they'd even mentioned Ogg Vorbis...
  • by smallstepforman ( 121366 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @04:46PM (#557912)
    Imagine a centralised MP3 server networked (both 802.3 and 802.11 - thats ethernet and wireless for the young ones) to other appliances around your house. Choose a MP3 track and listen to it from your Hi-Fi / TV / Refrigerator / PC / backyard hammock on a internet appliance etc. Listen to a streaming MP3 server, and immediately download more songs from the same group. Little Johny listens to kiddie MP3's from the bedroom, Mrs Jones listens to a hip song in the kitchen while Mr Johnes listens to a blues song in the garage - all songs are streamed from one box. Stick a new CD in, convert the audio to MP3 (with online lookups) and all networked devices in the house have access to the new songs. With MP3 storage space reaching double gig digit storage sizes (>10G) it becomes more and more cumbersom to issue searches, as well as a problem of duplicating data. I think that this custom built MP3 box on steroids provides so much more than anything I can muster myself. This appliance will be idiot proof to operate, and you'll be able to buy it at your local electronics shop. Nice.
  • by daniell ( 78495 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @04:54PM (#557913) Homepage
    There's a big book on BFS. Read it its good.

    The difference here is: the BFS doesn't index its files centrally to some index. Each file has a variable amount of attribute data that can be extended as the user/developer wishes. That attribute information is stored directly in the file system info tree, although if it gets really big its stuck into a hidden file [or extra node/block actually].

    This is super-slick because the file system info tree is structured mostly in places where the head of the drive can get to fast, and usually right next to tons of similar information about all the files in a directory or group of directories. This way you can read a couple blocks of file attribute information without ever having to actually skip to the files themselves and search that, thus acheiving a great savings in head movement. Its similar in basic concept to the BSD Fast File System and the Linux Ext2fs, in that they do the same for filenames, sizes, and other attributes. But the BFS has extensible attributes.

    So extensible attributes mean: I downloaded a file from somewhere, besides just a filename=foo.tgz, I could put a from_URL= attribute there. All mail messages have their subject, from, to, reply to, and all that stuff stored as attributes, and all mp3s have their ID3 tags (and possibly more) stored as attributes. So you can just grab stuff that matches the attributes you want. This happens really quickly because the head only has to skip to the general inode information, better yet, any smart OS will cache all that in memory, so a large portion of your search is done without drive head movement.

    Large attributes exist too. For example some drawing programs store a scaled down preview in an attribute... fair enough, that is in an extended attribute node/block, but that node/block doesn't have to be searched or then cached unless it's known to contain the key that is being searched for.

    So sure, any OS could go ahead and index mp3 id information, cache it, maintain coherancy between it and the fs, and search through it, but for Mac OS, that would take a seperate indexing phase, an extension that pays attention to fs changes and updates the index, and a special extension to a special searcher (the BFS search is just an fs feature with a gui interface) that looks through the special index. And that is just as feature rich, but it lacks the performance considerations that were taken into account when building such things directly into the fs.

    I do like the Mac, unfortunately Be sucks for not keeping developers more PPC aware, even if Apple forced them out of developing for G3 [not that that has stopped NetBSD or linux even]. It's a real shame because the BeBox was one of the coolest ideas in a long time, especially because of the OS, but not solely... the PPC is a cool chip (literally too).


    P.S. The guy who developed BFS presented it as a talk at WPI (cause he graduated from there), and the guy who developed Ext2 came to talk to the linux group a few weeks earlier over how it worked and what may be done differently for Ext3. Both were very informative

  • FYI, NTFS has had a somewhat obscure
    feature since its very birth that was named
    STREAMS. NTFS streams allow you to insert an
    unlimited byte stream and assign a name for that stream which will accompany the file as long
    as it stays on NTFS.

    For example: copy con: > a.txt:$mymp3data

    And one more thing: NFSv4 will also have support
    for the same style of metadata (called attributes
    in NFS).

  • Your enlgish was fine, if not better than most native English speakers- don't worry about it :)
  • Compaq, for one.
  • Wow, 250us is a painfully high context switch time! Context switch is how fast you can switch from one process to another. On QNX RtP, that's about 4 microseconds. Both QNX and BeOS have extremely small scheduling quanta (BeOS uses 3ms, QNX 4ms, compared to Linux 2.2's 100ms and 2.4's 50ms) That increases responsiveness at the cost of throughput (which is why Linux networking will always be faster, BONE simply isn't allowed to crunch data for 100ms at a time) If the context switch took 1/4 microseconds, then about 8% of the time would be spent simply doing context switches!
  • I love the idea of this. I pine for the day that I can buy a cd (hear that RIAA), bring it home, sitck it in my multimedia console, encode the thing to vorbis, and have the tracks available to any other mulitmedia device in my house.
    However, I'd also like to see the system be very, very OPEN. First of all, dump MP3 encoding. Support MP3 playback for my 2 gigs of already encoded stuff, but stop encoding this locked down codec. Move to Vorbis [] for all encoding. It's just better. Also, make it accessible to anything with an IP address. I want to be able to access this multimedia thing with my computer while I'm working or from my slimmed down multimedia module in my kitchen while I'm cooking. It sounds like Be has considered this, which is a good sign.

    I think Be has a good product in their OS and I'm sad that it never really took off. Their filesystem kicks ass. They've got great multiprocessor support as well. I was really sad to see them drop support for the PowerPC, a move that I never really understood. I'd like to see this work, in a bit more open way though. If Linux had some of the technical capabilities that Be has, it'd be the winner.
  • Most likely, BONE will approach, but not beat BSD. Two reasons

    A) BSD TCP/IP is much more mature.
    B) No matter how well BONE is designed (it does have some advantages such as the bone_data_t vs. mbufs issue) it is still a part of the BeOS. As such, it is expected to have an extremely fast response time, at the expense of raw throughput. For the desktop, that's great, you don't want your TCP stack using a large amount of the proc. For a server, that's less great.
  • AtheOS has great potential, but it isn't quite usable yet. For example, it still uses the BIOS for storage I/O. (Which, if I recall correctly, requirs switching to some form of real mode?) It still doesn't support acceleration of very many vid cards. It doesn't have the kick-ass media kit. It doesn't have BeOS's messaging performance, which, as I measured, exceeds 400MB/sec (PC66 SDRAM) using 10k messeges. Or, use 16-byte messeges and get an unreal 90,000 messeges per second. So far, only L4 seems to have that kind of performance. But I digress, AtheOS isn't a microkernel, so messeging speed isn't that important ;) The API also leaves a little to be desired. Why copy the BeOS headers if you're going to leave out the B's (which lend consistancy and asthetic-sense to the API) and leave out some of the niftier objects. It certainly has potential though, and I wish it the best.
  • by Doubting Thomas ( 72381 ) on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:01PM (#557955)
    Journaling, Schmournaling. Be's filesystem keeps information about files in a metadata database. You can add arbitrary information types to this metadata, and you can search the filesystem for files.

    For instance, you can add Artist, title, album, live/recorded, and bitrate to the information on the file. Then you could search for all live recordings by Tori Amos or Limp Bizkit, at a datarate above 128 kbps, sorted by title.

    All without writing but one line of code (the search query)

  • Like Intel? (Which owns a lot of Be stock) The BeOS stock price is more a factor of lack of profile (Be who?) and the very tightly closed development system Be uses. (They don't even announce release dates. Releases just "happen")
  • It should Be. If Be has any sense, these devices will use BONE.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:03PM (#557959)

    As a Be user, I find it frustrating when I see things twisted around and posted as news on sites like /. Aura is nothing more than networked mp3. Lot of people have done it. And also as mentioned above this has nothing to do with the journaling filesystem (which just happens to be the default fs on Be). When articles like this are posted people are incited to point out the holes in the article and thus create FUD towards Be. I understand Be is not a free OS. But we here in France have a strong Be following and are faithful Be users. I would really like right information on Be posted here, instead of FUD and things that anyone could point fingers at. Sorry for my bad english.
  • That's really not that amazing. The BeOS (desktop) binaries fit into around 15MB. (Yes, including GUI, kernel, necessary drivers, and NetPositive)
  • Because BFS queries don't have to iterate over every file like Mac, Windows, or Linux queries do, search results would be instantaneous.

    The MacOS has had index-based searching for years. Just now, it took me all of 5 seconds to search the contents of over 3 GB of files on my Mac for a certain keyword. I don't have a particularly fast system, either.

    The whole basis for using Be for this seems to be that it's a "multimedia" OS, whatever that means, and that they have almost no other markets, so they will have to give all their attention to this one.

  • I don't know about HPFS, but NTFS is damn similar, and it does beat ext2.
  • Actually, I hear the best possible CDROM ripper/writer you can get is the Philips VeloCD. Its blue, it rips at 32X, and it writes at 12X (or 16X, I forget) And it actually does that in real tests!
  • What about all the legal mumbo jumbo?
    The important lesson here is that Be is not calling the shots on this. Be's OEM customers will decide what kinds of protection mechanisms an Aura device should have, and Be will tailor the technology to that

    this worries has been proven that many times it is not the customer (read:ME) who drives the market, but the lawyers (who "know" what problems a device like this could cause - eg litigation from the RIAA) and marketers (who think it'll need to be eXtreme or be some cool green color of thermoplastic.)

    this device looks ready for primetime "secure" music methods...send in the lawyers.

    other than that...can i have one in all black with orange lights to match my amp??

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 14, 2000 @03:08PM (#557983)

    I tried Aura a few weeks ago on BeIA developer forum. But I must say that it's nothing as mentioned here. I mean the mp3 player bit is just a normal mp3 player. It's got networking (sort of like the way most people host mp3's on nfs mounted partitions). The default filesystem (Be Journaled fs) just takes care of all directory work. This could be easily implemented in almost anything else. Also it has nothing to do with Be's mp3 player.

    I saw one such implementation with a LDAP and NFS. A script goes and constructs LDAP entities for all songs. It's tiresome if you dont have the stuff in the mp3's to begin with. But the LDAP imeplementation is magnitutdes faster. I dont know why the author of the article missed this altogether. And maybe some reaserch before posting the article on slashdot might have stopped all the trolls here today!


  • How come I'm a "breathless Be advocate," but the guy I responded to is not a "breathless OS/2 advocate"?

    Just curious.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.