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Be, Inc. Says Cash Can't Last Past Q2 309

psyklohps writes: "Excite News has this story about Be Inc. and how it is quickly going down the toilet. It's a shame when a company creates a really good product and then lets it die by lack of advertising and not making any commercial applications to run on their own OS. Who knows? Maybe it will be released as open source? (wink, wink, nudge, nudge, know what I mean?)"
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Be Inc Says Cash Can't Last Past Q2

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  • Netscape couldn't release Mozilla because of the RSA code that was in it.

    And they didn't - they started from scratch and produced an entirely new Open Source Mozilla tree.

    Id Software couldn't release DOOM source because it was using some kind of proprietary sound libraries.

    So their release of DOOM had no sound support. If it was something more vital than sound support the ripped source release would've been virtually useless.

    Sybase couldn't open source WATCOM C/C++ because of the libraries licenced from Microsoft, Pharlap, FlashTek, Blue Sky, etc.

    Don't know anything about this one.

    KDE couldn't be truly open sourced because of the proprietary Qt libraries used.

    And this wasn't fixed until Qt made itself Open Source; KDE never did find a good way to fix the problem while still using proprietary Qt libraries.
  • Well, if they had the legal authority to release the code as Open Source, they could also release it into the public domain if so desired. However, they do not have the legal right to do either one of those.
  • BTW, have you taken a look at Linux stock lately... Teehee

    Well, I assume you know well enough to mean "stock of companies specializing in Linux products and services." But even so, this really hurts you more than it helps you. Stock price is a meaningless indication of value - it reflects neither present earnings nor expected future earnings, and certainly not the inherent value of the technology. Yes, most companies working with Linux have lost a large portion of their market cap lately - but so has Microsoft, and so have many technology companies, even large ones like Cisco, that have little or nothing to do with Linux. So while you are free to take pleasure in the financial losses of others - especially those foolish enough to buy stocks at prices thousands of times the expected earnings five years in the future - it doesn't really strengthen your argument. It mostly makes you look ignorant and manipulative.

    If you think BSD is better than Linux, fine. I remember when the BSD people, if they even talked about Linux, would preach to the choir about the technical advantages of BSD, and say almost nothing publicly. It made the wild-eyed Linux advocates, many of whom were non-technical, look like fools when they were actually confronted with technical arguments. I really miss those days; now it seems that many BSD advocates don't even remember why their OS is better. Now they talk about stock prices...what a shame.

  • I used to be an OS/2 user, and I remember the long, agonizing death of OS/2 (which is actually still occurring).

    At least with Be, being a smaller company, it will come quickly.

    I'm not sure why anyone would think that they could compete with Microsoft with a proprietary OS. Look at how hard it is, even with a Free OS. I think they realized that, but too late in the game.

    But the OS/2 experience taught me something: I will never rely on proprietary software, if I can help it. Proprietary software means Very Bad Things when your vendor goes under, discontinues your product, or changes their mind about what the product is.

    Unless the BeOS source can somehow be release (and it sounds doubtful given some of the licensing for parts of the OS they did), once Be dies, that's it. BeOS can still be used, but there will be no new support or development for it. And, once again, the people who really get screwed are the users.

    Not me, though...I learned my lesson with OS/2.

  • And partly, they're right - linux is getting more and more an instable (compare mdk 7.2 stability with openBSD, for example)

    What are you talking about? What does the distribution have to do with stability? I mean, it's not like Mandrake is writing a bunch of their own kernel modules to insert.

    I suspect what you're talking about is XFree86 4.0.1, which *was* notoriously unstable for at least some people, myself included. Since upgrading to 4.0.3, no more crashes.

    But we're talking about X crashing, not the kernel. I'm running 2.4.2-XFS, and have had no kernel instability whatsoever.

    As far as creating one's own server distribution, I don't see why that would be necessary. Debian fills that role pretty well, IMO.

  • Well, watching your cat torture things might not be everyone's idea of fun but you've got to have a hobby, right?

    You just described the gameplay of Black & White [].

  • >Personally, I think that SONY is more likely to buy BeInc out
    >than Oracle or RedHat.

    That would certainly finish off Be once and for all . .

    We've been hearing about the next great thing that will come from japanese
    computing and become the new standard for twenty years, an it has yet
    to happen even once.

    New processors, whee! New well engineered systems!

    Japan has yet to successfully market a revolutionary product in this
    kind of area (Though I think the 8 bit NEC pc had a limited
    success in Europe). Improving in an existing industry, yes. Putting
    something completely new out? The closes I can think of is the walkman,
    which really came down to putting decent small headphones on an
    existing product.


  • Oracle could use it for NC's or whatever they call network computers / thin clients / internet appliances today.

    Red Hat would have no use for it, even from a dumb end user point of view, BeOS is inferior to Red Hat Linux for all the same reasons Red Hat Linux is inferiour to Windows 95. It supports even less hardware, it has even less end user oriented applications, and the default interface is even uglier.

    Oracle would not have these problems (except the ugliness, which could be fixed), as it would be bundled with the hardware and applications.

  • You cannot copyright an idea.

    The GPL is a license which applies to copyrighted material. It is irrelevant.

    Anyone can read the source code and understand how it works. If you then write new source code based on the same ideas, you have created a new piece of software.

    You are perhaps confusing "copyright" with "patent".

  • Last September. I would not call 6 months ago "recent"...
  • This has been debated to death on BeNews. Basically Be needs another round of investments to continue past Q2. This fact has been public knowledge for a couple of months now, so there's no real surprise here.

    But you have to wonder, has the window of opportunity closed for Be? They had a brilliant chance at gaining a few % points of the desktop market. Unfortunately for them it was right at the moment when everyone was suffering from LINUX fever. Coat-tailing on Linux didn't help Be either ("we can co-exist peacefully next to Windows *and* Linux). Today Be is focussing all efforts on their BeIA product. But again, unfortunately, the IA market is not happening. The devices are too expen$ive and/or not compelling enough!

    If the BeIA powered Sony eVilla flops, it will definitely be the end for Be as we know it. And IMHO chances are good it will flop (unless some Linux h4ck3r d00d figures out a way to put Linux on it ;-)

    I learned a good deal from programming the BeOS, it was a lot of fun too. However, Linux is where it's all happening. Linux is moving at lightspeed, as always, while BeOS has been throthling at idle for well over a year now (*). The biggest disadvantage BeOS/BeIA has IMHO: tied to a single commercial entity. If that entity goes down, it takes the OS with it.

    And here's a preemtive strike: BeOS will never be opensourced. It contains too much licensed code! Remember how long it took Netscape to clean up Navigator sources! With the money/time squeeze Be is in right now, they are not even thinking about it!


    (*) From a user/developer perspective
  • Yes, well...

    It has not been unknown for Oracle to do ridiculous things that are far removed from their core competency.

  • No, it was precisely aimed at one customer. Apple.

    JLG was at Apple (and presumably still has some social contacts there - my impression is that the Valley is a small world) long enough to know that Blue would not be revolutionary and that Pink was destined for failure.

    Blue - so named because the features were on blue sticky notes - became System 7. (System 8 and 9 are not significantly different... there haven't been any updates of that caliber for ten years)

    Pink - again with the notes - was one of Apple's first attempts to write a replacement for the Mac. But it died, largely due to mismanagement.

    Copland was another attempt, and probably could've worked out. But the designers wanted to get legacy Mac software running natively on it. I don't think that emulators were ever really considered. Too bad that they didn't realize that that was one of the reasons why the contemporary PDM project that developed PPC-based Macs succeeded was practical backwards compatability.

    BeOS has demonstratably run on Apple hardware with the old MacOS running in an emulator, and was very very fast, with a good OS and POSIX, on crappy hardware. How NeXT even wound up in the running back in '97, I'll never know.

    Me, I'm using OS X right now, but the UI isn't the Mac's. It's not inspiring any loyalty in me to stick with Apple. Who knows - the same might have happened with Be. But I think that BeOS or a successful Copland (which would've been rather similar) would have been better and seen the light of day sooner.

    Oh well. It's hardly the first time Apple blew it. It'll just probably be one of the last.
  • A wonderful company is going down and all you can think about is "when are they going to make their software open source?"

    If you can't help them, and least show some respect.

    It seems the obvious response. Think about it. It is the ultimate form of respect. Someone who says "BeOS should be open sourced" respects Be and doesn't want BeOS to vanish from sight never to be seen again when the company dies. If people disrespected Be they wouldn't give a damn if BeOS vanished. Companies dying and their products disappearing always struck me as the most tragedic of consequences of copyright.

    That being said, as others have mentioned, it may be impractical for BeOS to be open-sourced as it relies heavily on code licensed from other companies that are alive and well and may not want to open source their portions.
  • It's just a shame it was impossible to find software for it.

    The company I worked for a couple of years ago filled out a Be developer app, wanting to evaluate using Be for the next generation of the company's retail kiosk systems. Stuff had been built on DOS initially and migrated to Win3.1, and even in 1997-8, thousands of DOS systems were still out there in dire need of upgrade.

    So what was Be's response to the application - which would have put Be systems in retail stores nationwide?

    "Not interested, but you can buy a copy of BeOS on our website."

    $49.00 smart... chapter-11 stupid.

    Well, uh, yeah. A couple of years ago Be was the classic small, product-focused consumer software company that was trying to make a desktop OS. They were looking for developers to develop applications that were similar to the Mac and Windows' best applications or "killer apps" that would drive adoption of the BeOS. Yes, they were swinging for the fences, but don't fault them for ambition.

    A few years ago they were focused on a very different market than they are now. I think it would have been a mistake for Be, at any point, to try to target both the embedded/IA market and the desktop OS market. While it's easy to fault a business in hindsight for not taking this or that opportunity, a company like Be needs to have a coherent direction that changes based on the movement of entire markets, not its ability to score contracts.

  • But for Linux appearing on the horizon Microsoft would be mopping up the remains of UNIX like a piece of fresh bread on a plate of gravy.

    Oh right, like datacenters running Oracle on 64 cpu Sun boxes or running simulations on 128 cpu SGI boxes were just going to replace them with crappy x86 NT servers, but changed their minds when Linux showed up?

    You don't know much about computing outside of the home desktop do you? Yet you post that speculative trash as if it were the God-given truth... I hate it when people do that.

  • I don't understand, you'd rather they just buried all the code, never to be seen again? Is that a sign of respect? Please explain.

  • Be's fate was sealed a few years ago, when Apple decided to make NeXTstep the basis of their new MacOS instead of BeOS. I can imagine Steve Jobs in talks with Be and suddenly realizing that if they went with BeOS, he'd have Jean-Louis Gasse--a very bright man who makes major design decisions on the basis of personal animosity or dislike of a piece of hardware--back at Apple. And the horror of that probably clinched it.

    It's a better "new MacOS" than OS X in a number of ways, since it was written from the ground up to be a modern OS geared toward single-user operation, but the world can't support two "MacOS"es. So Be tried to do what it could: they reinvented themselves as an appliance OS company. And again, it's a pretty nice appliance OS with very good multimedia guts. But there are a lot of other appliance OSes out there, and most of them allow for more existing application code and development tools (and development skills) to be reused than BeOS does.

    The faint smell of desperation that emanated from Be as they kept changing their business plan couldn't have helped them get OEM customers for the embedded version either. They went from trying to be a shiny new OS for cheap hardware, to trying to be a "better" riff on the MacOS concept, to trying to be a niche OS for content creators. And all of that was before they put out a stable 1.0 version. After that, they shifted focus to embedded systems, which left the developers who had been working on traditional desktop applications with no future, and put Be in the position of recruiting a developer base all over again essentially from scratch.

  • I didn't work at Be long (the position I was hired for was filled prematurely), but, of all the places I've been at, it's the one I miss the most.

    But here's a few lessons that I learned that Be did right (and other companies I've worked for, such as Linuxcare, didn't):

    1. Have a clear focus. Sure, it'll have to change over time, but have one anyway.
    2. Focus on what you want to produce, rather than "IPO in 18 months."
    3. It's better to grow slowly over the course of years than sell out to VCs early. For one thing, this means you don't have to have prissy furniture.
    4. In Menlo Park, you can get REALLY good couches at garage sales (where Be's couches come from).
    5. A good company has movie nights in the staff lounge.
    6. A good company has the CEO on the engineering floor.
    7. Espresso machines are a necessity, not a luxury (but, unlike TiVo, Be's were clearly used machines).
    I don't think I've ever had the pleasure of working with a group of people who were, on average, as multi-talented as those I knew at Be. Hang in there, all of you.


  • I can see RedHat buying BeOS but I doubt they have the extra capital to do it right now unless the price was really good. Since RedHat is highly involved with Gnome they could buy Be and opensource the code and throw it to their Gnome hackers to rip anything useful from to add to Gnome. I doubt they'd bother keeping up a sepperate development of BeOS but they could use it for parts. Some of the Be engineers might be a nice grab for the Gnome project also.

    I can't see Sony adding Be to the Playstation and I don't know how well Be's API's would match the PS2/PS3 hardware. They'd have to invest a lot of more time and money into making it all work. An opensource company could avoid a lot of those costs.
  • That whole "impossible to find software for it" thing that you admit to totally wipes out your claims of BeOS being useful. And having no software doesn't make for a whole lot of fun, either. I can't say that I found it stable or beautiful either, but I haven't used it since R4, so I don't know how much progress they've made in these two areas. If you like using the MacOS interface, you might find it beautiful, but I didn't like the big clunky icon-y look of it, and I thought the widgets were horrible, although I always loved the windowshading feature that it had. Otherwise it reminded me of what I disliked about the Mac interface.

    The whole single user-ishness of it wasn't very pleasing, either. I played around with it for a month or so, maybe two, but even if the software selection had been improved, the interface was just too aggravating. I didn't get rid of it in anger or anything, I just gradually used it less and less until some point I realized that I hadn't used it in a few months. I actually still have it on a partition, but can't say that I'll be returning to it. Kinda sucks, because while I knew it was a long shot, I was sorta hoping that Gassee would stick it to Jobs.


  • There is a multiuser patch available on BeBits.
  • who cannot spell maybe.
  • Seriously.... don't you spellcheck stuff that goes on the front page?
  • Moderators... this is not flamebait... this is pointing at lack of journatlistic standards.
  • Had BeOS been multiuser, I might have given it a much more serious look.
    And I'm not just picking at it.. I like lots of things about it. But not having multiuser really bothered me.
  • I have a good feeling it will go open source, which will be a really good thing for the OSS community.

    No, waiting around for companies to die so we can get our hands on their code is NOT a Really Good Thing for OSS.

    If it happens enough times, companies will see anything non-Microsoft oriented as an impossible market to make money in and will not develop the products that we need so despirately. Sure, the free development may continue in obscurity, but we need the support of great companies by rallying for the cause!

    The absolute BEST thing that could happen for OSS would be a company with OSS values who develops some great widget and makes a *fortune* on support and maintenance and is wildly successful.

  • If you need real-time, use QNX. It's real-time credentials are better than anything else out there. It's a real-time kernel grown up into a desktop OS, rather than a desktop OS trying to achieve real-time.
  • The fact that it was a damn fine product is what makes it so sad when it will just disappear into never never land. I think people are wishing that somehow it could get another chance at staying around.

    I really don't see how they could have made it in a world that is so dominated by MS but they gave it a go. The world needs people who tilt at windmills even if the windmill kills most of them.
  • I think the verdict on that is not in yet. Buying NEXT gave apple a multi user operating system which BE is not it also gave him some degree of application compatibilty and security which BE could not. Already you can run most BSD apps on MACOSX.
    Overall the next platform is much more scalable then the be platform is and it has great dev tools too. Time will tell but I think it was a good move for apple.
  • Oh yes that notepad really rocks!
  • "Be has to make their customers happy."

    What part of going out of business makes your customers happy. It seems like they were burning their bridges as they were spiraling into the abyss.

    Just another corporation gone no big deal one of three businesses fail.
  • Respect for a coproation? Give me a break. It's just another coporation and a failed one at that. One out of three businesses fail and no human being should shed even a single tear when one folds. Corps come and go they have no souls they deserve no respect or pity. I don't cry when my toaster breaks I go get another one why should I treat a corporation any differently.
  • How much is that property worth if BE goes under?
  • It wasn't oracle or sony it was Microsoft. When Apple was desparate MS poured money into it to keep it alive (see we have competition really we do). It also attempted to the same with Corel (see we also have competition in office software too!). Maybe MS will dump a bunch money into BE just to keep them alive.

    My cat catches mice and continually lets them go and catch them again basically torturing them to death and then eats them, maybe MS enjoys playing similar games with other corps.
  • Because Microsoft owns the desktop market. Apple has to get out of that ghetto and enter into server space where no one has a monopoly. If apple stayed in the desktop markey it would be fighting for crumbs. MacOSX gives them at least something that can act as a server.
  • Man I don't know where to start. First of all the "synergies markeetroid speak is all bullshit. Red-Hat needs to start showing profit NOW. Buying a company which can't turn a profit is just plain dumb. Especially considering that they make no software for it. If like you say you can't get your work done using linux how the hell are you going to get you work done using BE? NOBODY and I mean NOBODY can break the stranglehold that MS has on the desktop. Doing that is going to take years of erosion and innovation. If BE was able to penetrate the corporate market they would have by now. Apple can't do it, AMD can't do it, Micron can't do it what makes you think redhat can do it with BE. It's amazing that Red hat has broken into the corporate space which is notoriously conservative to have them risk what little penetration they have with a useless OS like BE is just silly. Remember that redhat bought cygnus and already has made inroads into the embedded space they really don't need BE.

    As for oracle. Oracle makes money on three things. Database licenses, enterprise software, and consulting/service. They have zero desktop software and buying an operating system which has no apps for it just makes no sense. Maybe Ellison himself can buy it because he is interested in this type of thing and he has the money but Oracle shareholders wouldn't stand for this kind of waste of money.

    My guess is that nobody will buy BE. Maybe some of the companies that make BE software can pool their money and attempt to keep the OS alive but I wouldn't bet on it. If anybody does buy it it will be for purely for play not to base a business on it. Unfortunately it looks like it also can not be released open source so it will go on the scapheap of really intresting software that could not make it in face of the MS juggernaut.
  • What does socialism have to with open source? You are confusing software developement with a political party which has extremely tiny percentage of the population.

    Corporations are not made out of people they are soul-less beings. People work for corporations and when the corporations fail they work for some other corporation. People are "human resources" or "efficiency units" to corporations. They are kept around only as long as they serve some use to it. They get routinely canned at the whim of the corporation. People are nothing more the oxen which drives the corporate cart.

    I was wise enough not to have any money invested in BE so I did not lose a penny. I don't even feel sorry for the shareholders who got screwed it was their stupidity that got them into trouble.

    It has nothing to do with socialism. Capitalism is every man for himself. The corporation cares for nothing except making money and it should be the same with you. You should feel exactly the same loyalty towards a corporation as that corporation feels towards you. Same goes for respect.

    I might give some change to a beggar on the street because he is human and has a soul but I would walk past a dying corporation without a glance.

  • Thats a crock of shit. I watch my cat do that with grasshoppers too. When the mouse gets tired and just stays still for too long the cat will actually start prodding it so it can try to run away and then pounces on it and brings it back to the center of the room. If it wanted to it could kill it with just a swipe of the hand (we are talking pretty small mice here not rats).
  • MS did rescue apple. It was more then just money it was also a publicly made commitment to apple. Bill Gates announced to the entire world that MS was ready back Apple. This came at a time when apple was struggling and would have eaten through whatever cash reserves it had in a hurry as it was bleeding money.

    MS at this point could have simply said "not enough market share" and pulled the plug on office for the mac and killed apple in one fell swoop bit it did not. It needed to maintain the illusion of competition and did it by making apple it's puppet competition. MS propped up apple when it was going to fall there is no two ways about it.

  • Once again. How much is that property worth if BE goes under? A failed OS which could not make it's company sufficient money to keep alive is worth next to nothing especially since there are no significant apps written for it. Once Be fails that property is worthless. Six months after BE fails you will have to pay people to take it away. Remember it's going to actually cost money to keep developing it and whoever buys it is going to lose money on it too.

    BEOS is worth nothing. You either throw it away or give it away but I doubt very much you are going to find anybody who pays anything for it. I suppose somebody might offer a buck or two on the off chance that they could do something with it but I find it unlikely.
  • Not much of an endorsement.
    BE the amiga of the new millenium LOL!.
  • Hey Be, want to know how to stay alive? Port your GUI to Linux/BSD. I know I'd buy it, beats this X crap I currently put up with...
  • That's because Apple did give the necessary info to Linux developers.

    And the BeOS developers couldn't read the Open Source code to LinuxPPX and MKLinux? They didn't support Mac hardware because there was precisely ZERO revenue to be derived from doing so. It was convenient to paint Apple as the bad guy, but Be is a public company and wasting money on what was a dead end platform for them isn't usually something that endears you to your shareholders.

  • There's supposed to be a mourning period.
  • I cried when my toaster broke.. I was really hungry and it was like 2am and all I had was stale bread and I didn't want to eat it stale.. That toaster was my salvation man.
  • dude, there will be answer, let it be.
  • werd. I cant help feeling that people with this attitude have never put their heart and soul into a business idea. I almost feel like going down to their offices in Menlo Park and singing some songs or something (I could be just bored), anyone else in the bay area wanna come along?
  • " Even at NeXT, we were never stupid enough to turn away people willing to give us hard money (NSA, students, you name it)."

    Umm, which NeXT are you talking about?

    I've heard of at least one incident of SJ turning away about $10mil worth of business before he gave up on the "it's only for education" line.
  • It's unix-like, but single user only. Forks, execs, etc. all there.

    - - - - -
  • Uh, Xenex, the GPL means they cannot simply copy the CODE, without also GPLing their version of it.

    As fasr as looking at it and using the information about the hardware it enshrines, anyone can do that, without any encumberance by the GPL, or any other license.

    - - - - -
  • I don't think that BeOS has enough momentum to justiy itself as a single entity. It is very hard to take a closed source base and open it. Witness the difficulty in Mozilla, Tomcat, etc. Not enough outside people are familiar with the source code and it has a strong chance that it will be full of holes and bloated (at least to some degree) even if the code base is rather excellent it still won't be at the same quality level to which we are accustomed.

    ... lets hope that it is GPL and Free Software so that we can at least integrate its technology into other areas (Linux, KDE). I think this would make much more sense. Take apart it's kernel and put relevant (and solid/stable) pieces into Linux. Add the GUI stuff to GNOME/KDE.
  • What would Red-Hat do with be?
    What wouldn't they do? Stock price is depressed, though through some creative accounting, they've managed to be approximately break-even.

    Acquisitions at discount prices might bring in interesting assets that create "synergies" - investor code for moving that stock up. Then again, they'd probably pay at a premium and see RHAT go down:-( It's a crap shoot, but don't forget that many (most?) of your acquistions are fed by egos and fuzzy marketing paradigm talk. So we need to (gasp) answer the question in fuzzy marketing droid land.

    Be might also provide a solution to one of the biggest negatives of RHAT - that it's a geek-driven server OS. Sure, you might enjoy spending a few hours a day working under the hood of your desktop. Having built a company on the existance of Linux and running it throughout my house as I post, I still have to fire up Win2K to get business work done (Visio / Excel / Word / Powerpoint / MSProject have no real competitors - sorry!). Be changes things for RHAT by finally giving them a real client for the 95% out there and might compel enough Wall Streeters to believe that RHAT is *the* candidate to take on Microsoft (who, sorry Apple folks, is presently uncontested).

    Bottom line: Redhat Linux + Redhat ClientOS (BeOS renamed) gives us a total package for the corporate environment (and gets them creeping into the consumer market). If RHAT is earning their paychecks by providing service, they need to play on Linux's present Internet server (web, mail, dns, etc.) dominance while they still have it and dislodge Microsoft before they strike again (not to mention the nibbling by the *BSDs).

    What would Oracle do with it?

    I concur with the technical observations referenced above, but don't forget Oracle's wanderings into clientware ("network appliance" land, for example). And don't forget for a second that Larry Ellison knows very well that Microsoft has just about executed their move that'll cut "independent" Oracle out of the foodchain. Squeezed between Interbase going open and Microsoft going nearly desktop (one SQL license included in every box of MCSEloops), he's going to get hammered standing still.

    MS-SQL's a predator in its pricing. Larry screwed up by getting fat, dumb and happy off of extortion pricing (same mistake Novell made). The more Microsoft packages end-to-end and makes enterprise computing a single purchase, the more obsolete Oracle's current model becomes. (RHAT's lack of licensing baggage really allows them to leapfrog MSoft here - e.g. "Buy our server and client package and every client comes with all of our application software ready to use. Forget about licensing hassels!" kind of possibilities emerge. And the alternative is what... a Microsoft SPA world where every executable must be registered and hardware checks to make sure you've licensed that MP3? Talk about a perfect setup for Redhat!)

    That all said, an Oracle/Be deal is most unlikely due to the personalities. Gassee thinks he's too much of a celeb to subvert to Ellison's leadership. RHAT shouldn't make the same mistake - OS comes and Gassee has a Sculley "evangelist" role.

    This all said, you need to look at some of the roadkill to see what's in store for Redhat and Oracle (and haunts their execs, compelling evaluation of deals like this):

    Infamous "Server Only" companies
    - Silicon Graphics
    - Sun (who's trying to escape that with languages, tools, etc. but probably won't be enough in the longhaul)
    - Digital (acquired by a client hardware company... how dehumanizing!)

    The same goes for "database only" companies, I'm afraid.

    Bottom line: IF ubiquiteous net-based software clients are to be the future, Redhat had better move quickly to get the other half of the equation, and might just become a real threat (with newer tools and newer distribution models) to Microsoft. A serious threat that Balmer loses sleep over.

    Oracle? Long shot acquirer, and probably relegated to being a lesser tool provider. Larry should be happy, tho, since he got much more than 15 minutes...

    (Whew... three lines of a short JonKatz post... my fingers are tired!)
  • Ironic, isn't it? Gassee will lose out on his dreams of a good GUI on a BSD variant because Steve Jobs pulled it off with Apple's support.

    I've liked the be demos, and I'm sad to see it happen. it's just an interesting way to look at it.
  • ...and start an open source project to recreate Be's OOP APIs. They were the interesting part of the system anyways (IMHO).

    Actually, I always wondered why Be never did this themselves. They might have seen more apps ported to BeOS had they done so.
  • I have no doubt about the engineering quality on the BeOS, it is one of the finest examples of software engineering I have come across in my career - that's the reason why I was so excited to work with it, and kept with it for so long and still support my application on it (to be updated soon now that my laptop [] is back from the repair shop).

    The work I am doing with the Linux Quality Database [] is inspired in large part by a desire to bring this kind of quality to Open Source and Free Software systems. I use Linux on a daily basis in my own work now but honestly my experience of it wears me down and I fell so... refreshed whenever I restart into the BeOS.

    But it is clear to me that Be, Inc.'s troubles are due to lack of wisdom and commitment among its management despite the best efforts of its engineers. From the start, Be made very little effort to market to the public, even though anyone who ever tried the BeOS immediately liked it and usually wanted to run it on their machine.

    After a while it became clear that Be had problems keeping its commitments to its developers. I lost out on a lot of evenings and weekends spent developing a product that didn't sell well when I could have developed another product for the Mac OS - I was well into one for the Mac but gave it up for the BeOS. The investors who funded BeatWare [] and Adamation [] lost millions of dollars on their BeOS development efforts; the companies were only saved when they ported their products to the Mac OS and Windows.

    Read about my observations about the difficulties that a number of companies have had surviving in the turbulent world of High-Tech, including my advice as to why business partnerships with Be are best avoided:

    Learn how I am working with others to take the power from the hands of the OS vendors and put it back into the hands of the third-party developers and the public:

    Read a rather blunt summary posted to Be's developer mailing list about how disappointed I was that the company had failed to live up to the promises it had made to its own developers who had labored hard, and usually with little or no compensation, to bring great applications to the BeOS:

    That was the last message I posted to bedevtalk; the moderator unsubscribed me because he felt it was inappropriate to discuss business matters relevant to BeOS third-party developers on Be's third-party developer mailing list.

    Be dug their own grave. If someone comes to their rescue with new funding, I'd like to suggest that the package include a new top-level management team with a mandate to shake things up. Firing the sales-prevention team would help.

    I'll be sad if the BeOS dies and I hope they do open source it. It is likely that it uses licensed technology so that they could not legally open source the whole thing; let us hope they take the route netscape did and remove the proprietary parts and allow the open sourcing of the rest, rather than allowing it to die.

    Mike []

  • Yes, I'm "that spellchecker guy", and it's not shareware, it is a commercial product which is still supported [].

    Spellswell was one of the first commercial products for the BeOS and remains a supported commercial product. I won an honorable mention in the Be Master's Awards [] for bringing Spellswell to the BeOS.

    It wasn't the "path to riches" I was seeking - I knew that a new operating system would need a spellchecker as a standard system service just as you, and I felt that the right thing to do in combating the Microsoft Monopoly was to bring this standard system service to the BeOS because I had access to its source code and Working Software's [] consent to use it for this purpose.

    In choosing to develop on a particular platform you are voting with your brain and the fingers you type with; I was voting for the BeOS with my efforts. I was not trying to get rich; what I didn't expect was to get lied to.

    Both Spellswell for the BeOS, and Spellswell for the Mac OS, which was bundled with Eudora, use the Word Services Suite [], which allows each of them to communicate with a number of word processors and email clients as if Spellswell were a built-in menu item.

    Several other products support Word Services, and I have proposed to bring it to XWindows as well.

    The Spellswell bundled with Eudora was not shareware either and Working Software was paid a license fee for each copy of Eudora it was bundled with. I trust you honored your license agreement and did not make unauthorized copies of this supported commercial product.

    The difficulties that Working Software has had are typical of the troubles that every developer of commercial software has had as a result of their decision to support the BeOS. But these difficulties stem not from poor quality products, but from trusting folks like Jean-Louis Gassee to live up to their word.

    Mike []

  • ...or how about VxWorks from WindRiver []?

    - j

  • Yeah, but wouldn't it be nice to have all of that in ONE os? Unfortunately people didn't seem to think so...

    Maybe Apple should buy BeOS now. Just ask for all those OS X cd's they sold last week back, and say "Oh no, that was just a test thingie. We REALLY meant to release THIS." and send everyone BeOS.
  • how shocking
  • And the BeOS developers couldn't read the Open Source code to LinuxPPX and MKLinux?

    Did you actully READ what Pheersum said: "Since that info is GPL'd, Be couldn't use it, so they were still screwed"

    There, explained in one sentance why they can't just read the Linux PPC ports code. However, you could explain it in three letters 'GPL'. And they call it the license of freedom...

  • Yes, it does suck that Be has moved away from the OS to the IA market. But unfortunatly, they really didn't have a choice. They were going under, and targeting the IA market is/was their last stab at making a profit...

    And I also have a few versions of BeOS too (infact I bought R4.5 after the free R5 announcement because I didn't want to wait to get a new version, and the discount I got on R5 was pretty weak).

  • This might shock you, but when commercial companies develope software for their proprietory hardware they don't want to show it all to their competitors. In a perfect world it would be different, but unfortunatly people will avoid using GPL'ed software to do commercial work so they can keep their so-called 'intelectual property'.

    All Be have done is state that their IA platform is not licensed in such a way it requires it's customer to open their source, which, believe it or not, is a selling point to Be's market. So many people have called BeOS 'a Linux' or 'Linux-like' that Be has to combat the myth that they BeIA is under the same restrictive (to commercial interests) license as Linux.

    Like this article shows, Be is going broke. Of course they are advertising every single feature of BeIA that they can - this is a company trying desperatly (almost in vain) to keep afloat. It's just one of these 'features' goes against the beliefs of alot of open-source hackers.

    Open source hackers don't sell IA's. Big companies do. Be has to make their customers happy.

  • Here's the correct link: html []

    Also, I don't think some guy that might work for Be saying it's not going to happen means anything.

    Also, they might only open up parts of the code that they can without pissing off others. There's still hope.

  • irony (r-n, r-)
    n., pl. ironies.
    1. The fact that the word Mormon is only a letter away from the word moron.

    Yeah, it's amazing how much that one letter separates me from you, isn't it? :)

    --James (zpengo) the Mormon

  • I am a BeOS zealot OpenSourcing BeOS is the best thing that can happen to BeOS. Not because it will be scavenged by vultures, but because all the little gripes which are preventing BeOS from being *perfect* will finally get the manpower BeInc cannot provide. The little bug which causes Opera and RealPlayer to take out the AppServer can finally get fixed. The little issue with mmap() can have manpower solving this problem. BeOS isn't perfect (*gasp*) but with extra developers pouring over the code it just can be perfect. BeInc has focused on IA, hence it cannot allocate engineers to continue working on BeOS. BeInc has opensourced some components of BeOS (OpenTracker and OpenDesktop) and they have improved immensely. Any developer who has spent more than 5 minutes tinkering with BeOS has wet their pants. Its internals are a testament to what excellent engineering can produce. Ie to create a window and display it all you need to do is instantiate a BWindow class and show it. ie: BWindow *myWindow = new BWindow(BRect size, "name", window_parametrs); myWindow->Show(); To add new views, all you need to do is instantiate a BView class and append it to the window. GUI elements are equally easy to implement, and the messaging implementation is really sexy. The environment is OO based. After spending a few years with Hungarian notation and the Win32 API, you really never want to look back after trying the BeAPI. I would love to see BeOS opensourced. All the little pesks will get fixed/implemented, and BeOS itself will be a fabulous joy to use. Its speed, footprint and efficiency are almost unparalleled in the industry today, and can provide the injection BeOS needs to become a mainstream OS. BeOS on the desktop, Linux in the server room. A marriage made in heaven.
  • Well, until I find another system which actually responds to my mouse-clicks when I actually click them (not 4 seconds later), then I will convert. Right now, no other platform is as responsive as beOS. I dont care about the latest IE6 browser and GeForce3 support if I have to stare at an hourglass while waiting for my emails to download.
  • XINU on steroids, and kernel services are reentrant to allow multiprocessing. Every design decision was tailored to enable better throughput of data (multimedia), which literally means that they made security tradeoffs in order to enhance multimedia. As a result, you will not find anything as responsive in todays PC world. Its responsiveness is really sexy
  • I've been a huge Be fan for years, and I bought and used both Be and Gobe Productive, but honestly, Gobe Productive is a blatant ripoff of ClarisWorks. And if I'm not mistaken, much of their core coding team used to work for Claris. Just the start up/new document screen is damn near identical to previous versions of ClarisWorks. Of course, ClarisWorks is now AppleWorks, which has been updated to compete with MS Office. So not only is Gobe copying another program, it's copying an old one.

  • I'd guess they were trying to prevent cybersquatters or something. There's too much code in the BeOS that belongs to other companies... Be, Inc. would have to gain permission from all of them if they wanted to Open Source the OS. Basically all we can do nonstop updating of OpenTracker & OpenDeskbar, but that's about it.

    ICQ 77863057
  • That's kinda the way I felt when I first read that. Although I love OSS, there's kind of a strange feeling that comes about from scavenging the remains of dead companies. Especially ones that made really good products, but for whatever reason, couldn't take them to fruition within the market.
  • Linux Vogue.

    It has style, it has grace.
    Tux the mascot, gave good face.
    Programmers with an attitude,
    Linus Torvalds we love you.

    Vogue, vogue

    Open Source with an attitude
    Programmers in the mood
    Don't just stand there, lets get to it.
    Get a distro, theres nothing to it.

    Vogue, vogue

    BeOS, you've got to
    Let your code move to the music
    Oooh, you've got to just
    Let your code go with the flow
    BeOS, you've got to

  • Yeah, just advertise it and all problems are solved!
    advertising does away with the applications problem.
    the file format compatibility problem.
    the hardware support problem. -Poof!-all gone.

    "Proper Advertising" can bankrupt a company like Be in 2 shakes.
    Likewise developing many core applications for your OS or desktop environment is a tricky thing. Don't do any, and people will claim your platform is "underdeveloped and immature".
    Do a lot and you're rapidly shoveling money into a furnace, while simultaneously chasing away people who might have entertained the idea of selling such apps themselves on your platform.

    Be was setup to be bought as the next generation OS for Apple. For better or worse Apple committed to taking the Mach muKerel route to provide bass'wards compatibilty - 5 years ago! Be has been lost company in search of a market ever since.
    RIP, Be.

  • Lessee, when did I lose my respect for Be, Inc. ? It must have been right when I read this: []

    Why shouldn't I use open source software for my appliance project? If time to market is a critical consideration for an Internet appliance project, BeIA makes far more sense than using open source software. Also note that open source licensing conditions often require the release of improvements to the community as a whole-in other words, to one's competitors.

    Yep, that was pretty much it.

    BeOS is a pretty sleek, well-executed OS. It got everything right that could be gotten right. Be, Inc is MSFT without the market cap.

  • But the Mac, like other mainstream OSes is targeted at non-programmers, so their needs come first.

    Where do you think all the software comes from? If a platform sucks to code on, then the *good* programmers were code on something else. and the software will be crap. And that, of course, is not good for the end user.

    Rate me on []
  • it's not really that bad.

    Rate me on []
  • Quit using it when they decided not to support the Apple's "G3" PowerPC 750 machines. Be claimed that Apple wouldn't give them the the necessasary info, yet I don't see LinuxPPC having any problems. Maybe I'm missing something.

    Anyway, I guess it's sad that they're going away, but I haven't used BeOS in over two years and just recently sold my BeBox.
  • Exactly. When we talk about M$ code, it's usually along the lines of "I wish they'd open-source it. I could use a good laugh."

  • If you really wanted to follow it, Video Toaster had the video market and will probably have it for some time to come.

    The Toaster hasn't had ANY market since 1996. NewTek lost out the minute Commodore folded. They kept flogging the same old NTSC, composite only, Toaster/Flyer combo, crippled by the Amiga's underpowered CPU and bus. They also didn't pick up the revolution in nonlinear editing, as the Toaster was primarily sold to SVHS offline suites for A/B roll. The Flyer was a cute hack, but inherently tied to the Toaster board. In the Toaster market (industrial video: educational, corporate, and wedding etc) it's been PC based NLE edit cards powered by Adobe Premiere (since 1996), then DV/Firewire edit cards (starting 1998-1999). Only recently has the Macintosh regained interest due to DV indie filmmakers and FinalCutPro (and Win98's poor implementation of Firewire support).

    The Macintosh held onto higher end markets because of Media100/Data Translation and Avid using NuBus and PCI based Macs as their platform of choice. But that's changed significantly, with Symphony and other products being released on NT.

    NewTek is now selling a PC/NT based Toaster, but I don't believe it's done particularily well in comparison to Pinnacle and Matrox's (DigiSuite)products. You're completely right that BeOS has no real market: Unless you have a market ruling application (Premiere, FCP) or a industry dominating vendor (Avid), your OS isn't going to do well in the video market.


  • Windows has absolutely nothing to learn from BeOS. It's the other way around.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2001 @07:19PM (#324601)
    MS didn't rescue Apple by pouring money into them. At its worst point(s) Apple had - and still have to this day - a couple billion in cash reserves. MS invested $150 million in non-controlling APPL stock in '97 in what was widely believed to be the (MS) face-saving tip of the iceberg of an out-of-court settlement for massive source theft of Quicktime code. (Continuing MS Office for the Mac through 2002+ and doing IE for the Mac are widely believed to be the rest of the iceberg, and are much more plausible candidates for just-in-time salvation). john drake 7
  • But it is clear to me that Be, Inc.'s troubles are due to lack of wisdom and commitment among its management despite the best efforts of its engineers. From the start, Be made very little effort to market to the public, even though anyone who ever tried the BeOS immediately liked it and usually wanted to run it on their machine.

    So, in other words, Gassee succeeded beyond his wildest dreams, in making BeOS the next Amiga.

  • by Plugh ( 27537 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @05:10PM (#324603) Homepage
    I have a silly/simple question for which I could not find the answer on Be's website. Maybe a good, well-composed answer to this question would get moderated up :-)

    Basically, what's Be like inside? It is a BSD-like (or any *nix-like) thing? Are there forks, execs, and SysV-IPCs? Is it a VMS-like thing? Is it a (pre-OS X) Mac-like thing? Or is it just totally a different paradigm? If so, what's the paradigm?


  • by Malcontent ( 40834 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @06:06PM (#324604)
    What would Red-Hat do with be? What would Oracle do with it? Neither company sells desktop applications (notice I said sells). Is Oracle going to write some magical user application that only runs on BE? That's ridiculus and out of their core competency. Oracle has made a commitment to platform and OS independence. Oracle is probably the most platform independent software on this planet it even runs on netware.
  • by QuantumG ( 50515 ) <> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @04:11PM (#324605) Homepage Journal
    I still have the BeOS personal edition for Linux download that runs from an image on your ext2fs partition. You just make a BEOS directory off the root of any ext2fs mount and put the files in it then reboot using a boot floppy. It then scanned your partitions found the one with the image and up she popped. The slowest part of the boot getting the loader off the floppy!
  • by UnknownSoldier ( 67820 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @03:56PM (#324606)
    Does anyone know/have the history of Be from the last 2 years? Last I heard was they were doing the IA (Internet Appliance.) I guess it didn't pan out. ;-(

    The reason I'm asking, is because I ordered 2 copie of Be (one was a gift for a fellow programmer friend who loves the way Be was designed) along with the Be SuperBible, which we both thought was a real cool read. ("That makes my nipples hard!" -- inside joke for those who have read it ;-) At the end of almost every chapter was some insight into how BeOS came about.

    It's too bad the few mistakes Be made (no multi-user, lack of drivers, and being arrogrant towards Apple) was their demise.

    I know I'm not the only one who would love to see BeOS open sourced. Pity that the company must fold though, in order to have that chance.

    If this isn't proof of an OS monopoly, I don't know what is...

  • Steve Jobs in talks with Be? LOL! At the time Apple was looking to purchase an OS company, Steve didn't work for Apple.
  • Err, lets see here now, hmm, no mainstream product, no webbrowser for their OS that actualyw orked, err, no shit, of course htye where going to fail.

    Ok, mistake here folks, their OS's MAIN claim to fame was that it could rotate a teapot.

    It could rotate a teapot VERY VERY FAST.

    Not to say it wasn't amazing, for the time. notg to say I don't think BeOS is a great OS, it is. Quite amazing really, immensly clean and efficent. One lean mean machine.

    Lean Mean Machine that sitll doesn't have a browser that proberly renders pages without F---ing up. You *HAVE* to have a decent browser folks. Be released a browser with BeOS that was a demonstration model, designed to hold people over until the real thing came out from a third party company "really Soon Now (C)".

    Didn't come, oops, sorry. remember the AMD IronGate chipset. Remember how much it SUCKED. Emmensly, heh, iot relaly really sucked. Ok, so it wasn't downright rotten, but it was relay behind the times folks. BeOS's pack in browser had the sma eproblem. it worked, but it sure as hell wasn't eligent. Let me tlel you, that ONE THING stopped me from buying BeOS. After all, if I cannot play games yet (coming REAL soon now, heh) then I sure as hell better be able to read my usual webpages, and not have to worry about horrid formating errors on them while doing so.

    If Be had been smart htey would have relased a fully functional minimaly errornious browser for their OS that worked. ANd what's more, they would have paid some companies to design some KICK ASS development programs for BeOS. Media OS you say? Shit, I do NOT see any decent 3d Modeling programs fo rtit. No, not open Source folks., Face it, that isn't gonna cut it, 3DS-MAX is not open source, neither is Maya3d (I don't like either one myself, I am a Rhino3D type of person myself, but. . . . hopefully you get the point.).

    I also did not see alot of video authoring tools for BeOS, if it is a media OS then it sure as hell be able to support EVERY DAMN USB DEVICE I PLUG INTO IT and deal with all sorts of odd end storage devices, after all, video and even high quality still images, lake up alot of spac,e and youneverk now what sort of storage system I may be using, best to suppor thtem all.

    BeOS should have enterted into stragistic alliences with the likes of RealNetworks (heh, anyone wanna take bets on how long before they go outa buesiness, heh, I live close to them, I wanna go down to their HQ on closing day and yell something of the likes of "This is whatyou get for not making naything orignal since RealPlayer3.0" or such, not snappy, but damn true) where as the realvideo/audio encoders where on BeOS, whcih is perfectly suitable for such tasks and then had som,e sort of internet delivery support that allowed for BeOS to feed the data to whatever system/OS/.server needed it.

    Mpeg2 Authoring, heh, BeOS why not? eh.
    Ahole lot of thoer things that a media OS needs to take advnatage of to suceed, BeOS didn't have. Of course, the main problem is. . . . .

    At the time BeOS came out, the Macintosh lateform was still considewred a viabale system for graphics work. hell, Apple still had people tricked intot hinking it was actualY BETTER for sucht hings. At about that time it was on par or slgightly better then the PC (talkinga bout oringal x86 release of BeOS here folks) but it quickly fell behind. Even so, peopel bougtht mac's instead of PC's, and those who did buy {C's bought Windows for it. After all,t here wasn't the idea that we need a much more efficent system. Hell, systems weren't yet nearly so powerfull that BeOS's tight programming made such a difference. Strange as it may sound folks, newer PC's will get alot more benifite from 10% increased utilization. Why you ask? Simple, heh, 1gigahert CPU, 10% is 100MHZ, 450mhz CPU, 10% is 45mhz, obviously. As I recall, 450mhz was top top TOP of the line when BeOS first came to the PC, and hell, as I said,

    Spinning teacups, all they had.

  • by Alien54 ( 180860 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @06:40PM (#324609) Journal
    Just maybe. As reported here [] and here [] on slash, and later Updated here [] at the register, Sony has signed with BE for the BEIA [] for the eVilla []

    [Side Note: check out the Register [] for their April Fools edition of the website. It's a good poke in the eye with a sharp stick to some of our favorite people]

    In any case, with that inflow of $$ from Sony, I do not think that the company is going to go under all that quickly, unless it is bleeding green really bad. The news story might not be be giving all of the details, unless it is one of those things of "well everyone is being careful with their money".

    Sort of like saying to a man in the water "well rope is scarce, and we got to be careful on who we hand it out to"

    Check out the Vinny the Vampire [] comic strip

  • by WasterDave ( 20047 ) <(moc.pekdez) (ta) (pevad)> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @04:20PM (#324610)
    FWIW I think Be did the best possible job under extremely difficult circumstances. I mean, obviously the whole idea of the company was to take a pile of cash and some very damn talented engineers and make the new Apple OS. When it became obvious the Apple's new management were not going to buy the company for $Big, they were essentially screwed.... Competing head on with win9x, or a wide variety of embedded unices depending on which story you believed.

    That they've hung on as long as they have, that they ported to x86 in double quick time, can only be a tribute to the company's management and the quality of their code.

    So why haven't Sony bought them yet?

    Anyway, I've said it before - and I'll probably get flamed - but I still believe it: The absolutely best way forward for open source would be to have separate desktop and server OS's. An open source Be would be just wonderful, and this frees up Linux and *BSD for what they do best.

  • by JoeLinux ( 20366 ) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <xunileoj>> on Saturday March 31, 2001 @03:55PM (#324611) Homepage
    The problem is that they made a product for was nice and userfriendly, but the Mac had had that for years.

    As for it's multimedia stuff, Mac had that market cinched up good too. Music, Audio, and video were taken up with Mac.

    As for nice to customize, and a loyal following, Linux has that market. Following in that same light, It simply didn't have anything "mision-critical" If you really wanted to follow it, Video Toaster had the video market and will probably have it for some time to come.

    But that's just my opinion...I could be wrong.

  • by Vector Inspector ( 35504 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @03:53PM (#324612) Homepage Journal
    ain't gonna happen, folks. Sorry, I'd love to see it too. 8. html

  • So now BeIA is the last best hope for BeOS. Which is highly dependent on a bunch of other companies wanting to buy it. Except that these other companies are also enthralled with Linux.

    Linux isn't the reason why BeIA is a stupid idea, it's because BeIA is almost completely geared towards x86. i work for a company that makes embedded system controllers. let me tell you: nobody in the embedded market cares about x86. it's too bloated and too power-hungry for any reasonably-priced embedded device. a lot of people here assume that when "Internet Appliances" finally come to market they'll be x86 computers in a little box, but they won't be. they'll be small, cheap, cool-running boxes running on MIPS, PowerPC or SuperH chips.

    BeIA was targeted towards those Internet Appliances that nobody wants. you know, the ones that are x86 PCs but are more expensive than just buying the parts yourself. the ones that people are keen on hacking up to run Linux when the company making them goes out of business :).

    why did Be do this? because they had no no direction, and couldn't decide what they wanted. they made a nice operating system, i know (i owned a BeBox years ago), but they had no direction with it. they had a very loyal fan base with the PowerPC: people who were genuinely interested in using it and developing for it. when they ditched the PowerPC for bigger and better things they left a lot of people (like me) very bitter. and what's worse is that they called Apple's bluff (and moved to x86) and had the nerve to blame it on Apple for "not releasing the specs."

    the problem is that in the x86 world, everything is a commodity. it's all about rock-bottom prices, getting the best deal, and using whatever crap hardware you can afford to scrounge up. there may be more x86 users, but they're not as closely tied together as PowerPC users, and Be found that this new userbase just wasn't as loyal as the PowerPC folks. in fact most of them would hop to linux in a second if the BeOS looked at them the wrong way.

    i'm sad to see Be go, as i've been following their progress for years, but i'm hardly surprised. they had no direction, no valid business plan, and they completely burned the people that would have been willing to help them: namely Apple and the PowerPC community. they made some great technology though, so it would be a crying shame to not have their OS open-sourced. but to Be, Inc? good riddance.

    - j

  • I've always doubted the people who say that Gassée began with the goal of making a replacement for Mac OS. Keep in mind that BeOS started out being for an AT&T processor whose name skips my mind at the moment. It moved to PowerPC only when AT&T pulled the plug on their CPU. From there, Be went on to make some absolutely kick-ass PowerPC systems. Quad 133 MHz PowerPC 604s with 64 MB RAM were simply incredible back in the day when running BeOS. The thing would remained highly responsive under the heaviest of loads. Don't get me wrong; Be was absolutely doing the same things Apple was doing, and targeting Apple's market. It's just that, at least in my eyes, it seems that they intended to replace Apple, not be purchased by them. And back in 1995, when Apple was losing up to $700 million in a single quarter, it looked to Be like they'd have a very serious shot. Who'd have known back then that Apple would be able to turn around so much in so short a time? Certainly I didn't, and I doubt Be did, either.

    Granted, when Apple began shopping for a new OS, Be did try to show why BeOS would be a great replacement. Their mistakes (which you can read about in a number of books on Apple; Apple Confidential is probably the easiest read and covers the most material) were that they wanted far too much money; that Gassée wanted to be given more power than Apple was willing to give (since he did not want to be purchased by a company that then went under shortly thereafter); that their OS was still only half-baked; and that they were far too over-confident. Jobs, on the other hand, had matured; had much more to offer for a significantly lower price; and had proven, complete technology. Be bet and lost the farm. This was not its original strategy; merely a result of poor planning.

    The result, of course, is now well-known. Be's hardware died, while Apple did the impossible and became profitable and turned out much better hardware and software and significantly lower prices. Be was at that point screwed: with Apple alive, Be had no market. And you know the rest. So I doubt that Gassée's original intention was to be bought by Apple as much as to replace it.

    As for why Sony doesn't buy them: good question. Seems like making Be run on PS3 would make a lot of sense, given that they've expressed an interest in making it be a full-fledged media desktop. Of course, you've got to wonder whether they don't already have an OS of their own which is very near completion...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 31, 2001 @03:54PM (#324615)
    A wonderful company is going down and all you can think about is "when are they going to make their software open source?"

    If you can't help them, and least show some respect.
  • by scoove ( 71173 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @05:14PM (#324616)
    It's just a shame it was impossible to find software for it.

    The company I worked for a couple of years ago filled out a Be developer app, wanting to evaluate using Be for the next generation of the company's retail kiosk systems. Stuff had been built on DOS initially and migrated to Win3.1, and even in 1997-8, thousands of DOS systems were still out there in dire need of upgrade.

    So what was Be's response to the application - which would have put Be systems in retail stores nationwide?

    "Not interested, but you can buy a copy of BeOS on our website."

    $49.00 smart... chapter-11 stupid.

    As much as you may want to rag on them, companies like Microsoft and Oracle understand the developer market. Be didn't, ended up with essentially no apps, and is functionally dead.

  • by scoove ( 71173 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @05:27PM (#324617)
    As much as this would be interesting, I'd have to doubt any such open source "divestiture of the company's assets" would ever sneak past bankruptcy court, let alone the shark pool of shareholder class action attorneys.

    Instead, watch BeOS get sold off to Oracle in a sweetheart deal and Gassee get some crazy title like "chief desktop imagineer." This would give Oracle the missing ingredient in its ambition of conquering Microsoft and allow them to mold their offering into a "Oracle-knowledge server + BeOS network appliance" package.

    Interestingly, BeOS may be worth more dead and resurrected than in its current form. A functional desktop solves the puzzled for more than a few companies. If I were Redhat's CEO, I'd be on a plane yesterday working the deal on acquiring BeOS, releasing it to the open source world and having (finally) a complete client and server package.

    Now there's a challenge for Microsoft...


  • by zpengo ( 99887 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @03:53PM (#324618) Homepage
    BeOS is one of the most elegant operating systems I have ever used. Linux and BSD make great workhorse computers, but when it comes to a beautiful, stable, fun, and useful desktop, Be had the market cornered. Even Windows, the AOL of operating systems, could have learned a lot from the user-friendliness of BeOS.

    Many people didn't like it because it "felt" too much like MacOS. I would say, however, that BeOS successfully united a strong backend with a strong user interface, which is the unattainable ideal of seemingly every other operating system.

    It's just a shame it was impossible to find software for it. The basic utilities existed, as well as some fun stuff, but the hardcore apps that even Linux has did not exist for BeOS.

    I sincerely hope that if Be, Inc. dies, they will at least scatter their ashes among us so that we can take advantage of what existed so far.

    And for those of you who have never actually used it, clear off a partition and toss it on there. Get your hands dirty with it, so that you'll understand what we're losing.

  • by tswinzig ( 210999 ) on Saturday March 31, 2001 @07:33PM (#324619) Journal
    Slashdot runs basically no Be articles until there are doomsday predictions.

    1. Be has been out of the desktop market for a year now. They are focused on BeIA and the emerging IA market. (And no, iOpener, Audrey, et. al. are not REAL IA's -- show me a broadband, wireless internet device, and I'll show you an IA.)

    2. The Excite article is based on their SEC filing. They could have written the article a year ago, because that's about the time Be said they'd run out of money at the end of Q2 2001. However, they always fail to leave out the very large "UNLESS..." clause, which points out they're only going to run out of money unless they get funding. Be will get funding. Hell, if Qubit can get funding two months ago for an IA device, Be can get funding for a kick ass IA OS.

    3. Sony has been working with Be for one year on a key part of their (Sony's) IA venture. They had to know Be's situation, there's no way in hell they'd bank on BeIA without knowing Be is going to last.

    4. Gassee has kept Be alive on virtually NO PROFIT for eleven years. Do you honestly think he's going to let Be die now that they are standing on the brink of a vast ocean of a market? And you PC chauvinists who can't see the possibilities for IA's are no different than the IBM execs who couldn't see the PC market right in front of their noses, before they made the "deal with the devils at a little known company called Microsoft. You know, back when "computer" was synonymous with "mainframe."

    Yes, sadly Be is on the brink of death. Funny thing is, they've been there for eleven years. And they've survived. Come back to me in a year, and we'll see where they stand then.

  • Be recently registered (as well as .net and .org)
    see this article [] for more info. I have a good feeling it will go open source, which will be a really good thing for the OSS community.

There's no such thing as a free lunch. -- Milton Friendman