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Be

Be Shareholders Approve Sale to Palm 204

moooooooo writes: "Well it's official. Be shareholders have approved the sale of Be Assets to Palm. Hopefully Palm will announce something about either a new BeOS version or licensing the source to the BeUnited crew."
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Be Shareholders Approve Sale to Palm

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  • I just hope Be doesn't prove to be the same kind of unlucky charm the Amiga was. You would have thought Gould and Ali had found the Boing ball in a pyramid or something.
    • ...same kind of unlucky charm the Amiga was.

      Hence the phrase, "Gone the way of the Commodore" ?
    • Be can be a good free software to new comers to Open Software & Free Source.
      I hope Palm do the right thing, release Be sources to public and let it grow.
      • Why would Palm buy Be to give it all away for free? What do they get out of doing that? And how is that "the right thing?"

        • by webcrafter ( 175 )
          Because what Palm wants is the BeIA platform, not the PC desktop. And, having a freely available development environment for the BeIA won't hurt Palm's interests on this respect. They could allow you to freely develop on the BeOS and then charge you for licensing your soft for the BeIA
          • Because what Palm wants is the BeIA platform, not the PC desktop

            BeIA and BeOS are virtually identical. It would not make sense for Palm to give away one, because they would effectively be giving away the other as well.

        • Why would Palm buy Be to give it all away for free? What do they get out of doing that? And how is that "the right thing?"

          Their main reason for buying Be wasn't its software, it was its engineers - Palm has been going through a rough patch with PalmOS, and in fact laid off most of its software developers. This wasn't an economic move, it was a political and technical move. A few months later they go ahead and buy out Be, and the Be engineers get reassigned to Palm projects.

        • They can put Be OS on theirs hardware, so BE open will bring more developers to Palm. More Developers, more apps, more clients, more money.

          They bought Be, I suppose, to habe the brains and the know-how, not for the profits of it. So, IMHO, they will grow the value of BE OS if they growth the community of users, developers and apps. And theu have the hardware for it. And probably they will lunch some kind of friendly e-book with PALM+BE.
      • I hope Palm do the right thing, release Be sources to public and let it grow

        Sure, Palm will pay $11 for BeOS, and then give it away. I'm sure Palm's shareholders won't mind either...

  • I'm optimistic... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tsar ( 536185 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @04:44AM (#2557583) Homepage Journal
    Perhaps the reason Palm has lagged behind their competitors for a while is because they're directing their efforts toward The Next Big Thing — perhaps the BeOS will be running on our palmtops after all. It's a gorgeous, elegant, and terribly resource-efficient OS; given sufficient horsepower (from an ARM processor, for example), it might be quite impressive at 320x320 resolutions.

    Anyone out there with behind-the-scenes knowledge willing to provide some insight?
    • I always thought that Palm was on Palm OS. If the are changing will the change it for Be OS or GNU/Linux?

      IMHO if the competition is focusing on GNU/Linux theiy will also provably, or they want stand on the crow with the BE OS. What do you think?
      • I hate to say this, but the way things are going, Microsoft will win the PDA war.

        Most users out there like the safety (or feel good) that a familiar environment provides. Most will buy a PDA not because it has the best OS, but because the migration from their PC to the PDA is not difficult.... ie it is still fairly intuitive.

        Palm forking and introducing another OS would just muddy the waters, and at best I think would win market share from the other minor OSes, instead of Microsoft.

        Incorporate some the good bits of BeOS into PalmOS if you must, but please do not introduce yet another PDA OS.

        For what it's worth, I think Palm should bequeth BeOS to the GNU/Linux crew, and slowly migrate PalmOS to Linux. The result would be more critical mass, and a concerted and coordinated challenge to Windows on the desktop, on the servers, and on the PDA.
        • I thought the idea was to basically remake BeOS the ocre of their new OS, while incorporating the good stuff from PalmOS. and scrap the old OS... might be wrong... makes more sense to me at least...
          • I can't imagine why Palm bought Be otherwise. As has been said often already, BeOS's strength is the media-centricity of the OS (absolutely essential for Palm to compete with CE, Linux, Symbian and insert-your-propietary-phone-OS-here devices) and its relative portability. PalmOS is fast, resilient and simple and with a minimal but flexible hardware platform - they should swallow their pride and look at the Springboard or just go with PCMCIA support Palm v5 could be a very rich environment. I might even consider updating my Vx.
        • by Troed ( 102527 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @07:25AM (#2557750) Homepage Journal
          There is no PDA-war. Do you really believe PDAs and cellulars will stay as separate devices? If so, you're probably american and don't know what's happening :) Say bye-bye to Microsoft, and Hello to Nokia, Ericsson, Panasonic etc.


          Yeah, I do work in the business.

          • Moderators - acknowledging the _fact_ that the US is way behind in wireless etc is not "trolling" :)

          • "The lies of the USA [indymedia.org]"

            Yes, I know about indymedia.org (hey I voted for Nader, I get some alterna-points right?), but I think falling for Taliban propaganda is just as bad as falling for American propaganda. Yes British and Soviet imperialism fucked around with their country (in the list of many) and left it a desolate wasteland of squabbling tribes, but the Taliban are zealotous thugs and deserve no apologists. Stalin and Hitler would have told you the same things about what they did for their country.

            Why don't you find out what 50% of the population (i.e. women) of Afghanistan think about the Taliban:

            http://www.rawa.org

            Now whether our military action, or the method in which it is being carried out, is the correct response is another question entirely.
        • PDA OS is still open and not only PDA but the all appliance world. I think that BE or LINUX could be a good thing to both places.

          BE OS for ebooks, video-fones,...
          GNU/LINUX for mass content providers, real time reliable interactive servers, ...

          With BE OS as open source OS they will certanly have a good fight with MS. And BE has a good reputation on relaiabilitythat should be advetized more.

        • Most users out there like the safety (or feel good) that a familiar environment provides.

          I don't know, but I like the safety that my PalmOS has never crashed and is so intuitively easy to use that I have never looked at a manual for it. It just works.


          I hope the market savvy enough to reward such things.

        • I think it would be terrible if Linux gutted BeOS, took the good parts, and that was the end of it. I like Be because it is nothing like Linux, personally I don't like using Linux at all. And there are others like me who want to see a DIFFERENT open source OS so we have a choice. I thought Open Source/GNU was all about expanding people's choices, yet all anyone wants to do is turn everything into Linux.
  • Get a grip... (Score:3, Flamebait)

    by hoggy ( 10971 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @04:46AM (#2557587) Journal
    ...BeOS is dead. What on earth would Palm want to continue it for? There are pretty much no users and they add no value to Palm's core business. Palm wanted the assets: developer expertise, a useful codebase, a bunch of good ideas (and likely patents).

    You can also forget about them open-sourcing the codebase - it's one of the assets they just bought. Presumably they see some kind of competitive advantage in having it (I'm not sure I do) - they're unlikely to give that away now.
    • by infinite jester ( 206583 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @05:09AM (#2557609)
      ... on microsoft

      in addition to the codebase, patents, etc., palm will be able to sue microsoft on beos' behalf, for the unlawful licensing tactics that kept beos off the desktop... microsoft's o.e.m. licenses prohibited dual-booting, which was definitely a contributing factor to beos' demise (one of the few concessions that the d.o.j. "won" in the recent settlement was a prohibition on those types of licensing agreements)

      given that microsoft is now a proven monopolist, and treble damages apply, palm stands to make considerably more money from microsoft than they spent for be

      • Palm has only bought assets, not the entire company, and I'm pretty sure Be itself retained the right to sue.
        • I doubt it. The article says that the shareholders will also be asked to approve a dissolution of Be.

          That means no more Be. No Be means noone to sue microsoft as Be, unless Be has transferred those rights to another body corporate before it is dissolved.

          I doubt therefore, that they would retain the rights to sue Microsoft if they are planning on not being around very soon.
          • To continue the doubt - I'd seriously doubt that it would be in Palm's interest to sue Microsoft. It would be an expensive distraction from their core business, which in case anyone didn't notice isn't doing that well at the moment anyway.

            Yes, perhaps they could make a few bucks but it'd take years, and since (in my view) they don't plan to continue with BeOS on the desktop why bother flogging a dead horse?
        • Yep. I can confirm this.
          BeInc has explicitely retained the right to sue.
      • On what basis should they sue Microsoft? Just because there's a successful company and you are unsuccessful, this doesn't mean that your competitor has broken the law. Maybe the competitor is just better at, say, marketing its products.

        IIRC, the first release of BeOS was announced when Microsoft didn't have a grip on the desktop market yet. The first version didn't run on PCs, either, and it took ages before Be was able to provide the necessary drivers for the PC version of BeOS. I don't think they can blame Microsoft for that.

        In addition, quite a significant part of the Be community (if a community ever existed) believed that BeOS was a multimedia operating system, for doing professional audio and video stuff, even long after Be had announced that they weretargeting the Internet appliances market. I don't think that the Be community ever recovered from this switch.
        • this doesn't mean that your competitor has broken the law

          Microsoft did break the law, and they were found guilty of breaking that law during their trial. Be's specific complaint -- boot-loader access -- was even mentioned in the decision.
        • In addition, quite a significant part of the Be community (if a community ever existed) believed that BeOS was a multimedia operating system, for doing professional audio and video stuff, even long after Be had announced that they weretargeting the Internet appliances market.

          And the only reason they claimed it was a "multimedia operating system" was to avoid a direct collision with Microsoft. BeOS is a general purpose end user desktop system. Sure, it does multimedia great, but that is a "feature" of a general purpose end user desktop system, not some special niche. Going for "Internet Appliances" was just a desparate last-ditch measure to re-pitch itself, which obviously failed. From what I've read and seen, BeOS is/was a beautiful operating system and it is an absolute shame and travesty that a market dominated by a criminal monopolist had to kill such a thing. There is absolutely no reason that operating systems like BeOS and other "alternative" operating systems can't live and thrive peacefully in the market with Windows and MacOS. BeOS was innovation...changing the theme of the start menu in Windows XP is NOT innovation.
      • if you've followed what has happened here and are familiar with the terms of the sale you would know that the right to take future action via the legal system, ie. address of wrongs, etc. remains entirely the property of Be, Inc.

        why do you think the price was only @US$12M?
      • palm will be able to sue microsoft on beos' behalf


        No. As was clearly outlined in the proxy statement for the shareholder vote, Palm bought IP and engineers. That is ALL they get. Be reserves the right to file suit against whomever, but Palm doesn't come into play there.

    • Re:Get a grip... (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      1. As Palm aren't in the x86 market there's a chance they may see open source BeOs to be a way to get developers without infringing on their core business.

      2. PalmOS doesn't scale. It's applications are wonderful and it looks good when compared to CE but lets not kid ourselves about the CPU it's tied to - it's a dog. BeOS is a good replacement.

      3. They got some of the best developers in the world to sweeten the deal.

      • 1. As Palm aren't in the x86 market there's a chance they may see open source BeOs to be a way to get developers without infringing on their core business.

        No there isn't. As has been pointed out many, many times before, there's way too much licenced code in BeOS for anyone to open source it. It just isn't going to happen.

        2. PalmOS doesn't scale. It's applications are wonderful and it looks good when compared to CE but lets not kid ourselves about the CPU it's tied to - it's a dog. BeOS is a good replacement.

        Again, no. If you've ever seen/used BeOS, you'd know that it was a *desktop* OS. Slim and lightweight, to be sure, but still: a desktop OS and hence not at all suitable for PDA's. For one, there's a shitload of heavily optimised media (sound + video) stuff in it that would be totally useless on a PDA.

        If Palm is interested keeping in anything Be has to offer besides the developers, who are, I guess, pretty good, it's the BeIA thingy coupled with BeOS as a desktop developer environment.
    • Re:Get a grip... (Score:4, Informative)

      by ewhac ( 5844 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @05:31AM (#2557639) Homepage Journal

      BeOS is dead. What on earth would Palm want to continue it for?

      No reason whatsoever, and that's a sad thing.

      You have no idea what's been lost here. Yes, BeOS had plenty of warts and rough edges that are the hallmark of any desktop system that doesn't have millions of users to help smooth them over (through sheer erosion if nothing else). But there's lots of stuff inside BeOS that was done very right, and now that's lost forever to desktop users.

      BeOS did seamless symmetric multi-processing from day one. Yes, Linux does it, too, but never (that I have seen) out of the box. You have to recompile the kernel, something "normal" users don't have a taste for. Further, the pervasive multithreading took full advantage of however many CPUs you had in the machine (it even ran, unmodified, on a prototype 8-way Xeon machine).

      BeOS is multi-platform. Originally developed for the AT&T Hobbit processor, BeOS was ported to the PowerPC (which was maintained for as long as was practicable) and Intel processors. Now that Palm is in the picture, BeOS is being ported to the StrongARM.

      If there was a BeOS driver for your sound card, it just worked. No recompiling the kernel, no reading highly technical HOWTO files that even experienced programmers have trouble interpreting to work out which compile switches to set, no editing /etc/modules.conf in Mysterious Ways to load the driver with the correct parameters, and definitely no futzing with PNP tools to interrogate and configure older cards.

      If the power died, the 64-bit journalled filesystem would lose no data. Just reboot and you're good to go. Linux is only just now getting this with ReiserFS and SGI's port of XFS.

      But beyond what was available in the last public release of BeOS (v5.0.3) was what was under development in the EXP tree: a "theme-able" desktop GUI, a completely new kernel-based networking stack that rivalled the speed of Linux and *BSD, further refinement of the audio services, and a complete re-write of the OpenGL system to support hardware acceleration (the Voodoo and ATI Radeon drivers were in excellent shape, and the Intel 810 driver was making good progress (until I ran into that $(EXPLETIVE) opaque chip lockup that I failed to track down)).

      Palm has expressed firm disinterest in pursuing any of this. So Gates gets another notch in his belt, and you have one less option for your desktop machine. This, I contend, is not a good thing.

      I can't imagine how Jean-Louis Gassée feels right now.

      Schwab

      • Re:Get a grip... (Score:3, Interesting)

        by sparkz ( 146432 )
        RedHat can run an SMP Kernel out-of-the box.

        And no journalling filesystem can ensure data integrity if the power dies... the memory can fill with all kinds of crap, which may or may not get flushed to disk. This is true of all PCs, and basically any Von-Neumann system (ie, any computer).
        • Journalled filesystems don't necessarily maintain all of the data, but they do ensure that the filesystem itself won't be corrupted by a loss of power in the middle of a disk write.
      • If there was a BeOS driver for your sound card, it just worked. No recompiling the kernel, no reading highly technical HOWTO files that even experienced programmers have trouble interpreting to work out which compile switches to set, no editing /etc/modules.conf in Mysterious Ways to load the driver with the correct parameters, and definitely no futzing with PNP tools to interrogate and configure older cards.

        Damn, better go and recompile my windows kernel again!!
        • You're using WINDOWS as an example of an OS where drivers just work? Seriously? Linux is pretty bad WRT drivers (many times you have to recompile because they are so dependant on kernel version, and you have to deal with modprobe and friends), but Windows is the king of "stupid reasons why the driver should work, but doesn't." There are mysterious workarounds like installing the driver three times, that shouldn't work, but does.

          PS> Linus has apparently decided that Linux DOES have problems with drivers and is taking steps to rectify this. Future Linux versions should be able to load drivers transparently, with no user intervention.
      • You didn't mention anything Mac OS X can't do (except the journalled FS, which would be relatively easy to add). Additionally, Mac OS X is mostly open source and has a far better graphics engine (albeit slower).
        I'm not impressed.
        • Except run on a decent system at a good speed! MacOS might have lots of nifty features, but it is by no means a technically sound system. They use the Mach microkernel (which even the HURD guys are trying to get away from and move to L4) and FreeBSD as a monolithic server (ironically, they junk the FreeBSD VM, which is probably its strongest asset, in favor of the inferior Mach one!). Thus they get the speed hit of a microkernel along with the stability problems of a monolithic kernel (if the monolithic server dies, you're system's hosed). The graphics system is stuck in the 1990's. Display PDF might be cool, but the future is hardware accelerated OpenGL imaging. (E17 has it, except others to follow. Rasterman is a visionary, admit it!) Aside from the nifty XML config stuff, and the Objective-C based API, there is really nothing on MacOS-X that isn't done better elsewhere.
    • You seem to forget that Sun went off and bought StarOffice and did open source it.

      Might not be pure GPL, but they still might opensource it if it adds value to their business model, although I honestly cannot figure out how this acquisition does.
    • Really. Just look at Amiga. It may have died 10 years ago, but it's spent the last seven just months away from a new release. And now, it will live again, as Slashdot and other sites recycle all the old "return of Amiga" stories after doing a globabl substition of Be for Amiga. They'll probably come out with a few variants, too.


      This will be good to keep Be around for at least 5, and maybe 8, years. By then, there will be such a supply of Be stories, that Be can live again by reusing the stories with the next failed platform (and Amiga will continue to live thorugh those . . .).


      hawk

  • I got BE 4.5 some years ago. Never got it installed, there were always some more fun things to do or more important stuff to explore. I think one of the things was the fact it wasn't open source. I really like the Be style. But the fact that it was a small close group didn't give me the push to go. I think it was my fault but also the Be Inc. for not do the same support as e.g. Borland do for their products, that I really like and used and still like.
    Now that Be has another change I hope they open it and open the window for fresh air to get in.

    • Never got it installed, there were always some more fun things to do or more important stuff to explore . . . it wasn't open source.

      You say you couldn't be bothered to take 30 minutes to install BeOS simply to look at it. Then you blame BeOS for not being open source. Do you take the same attitude to open source community projects? If so, you're not doing open source any good either.

      Have you ever read the source to any of your more fun or more important stuff? It takes far longer to read an open source software project, get up to speed with it and start contributing. BeOS takes 15-30 minutes to install, and only 15 seconds to boot. If you don't like it, toss it. No big loss.

      So don't even start with complaining that you couldn't be bothered becuase "it wasn't open source". If you've spent any time around a computer in the last 5 years, you've had a chance to try BeOS. It annoys me that people use open source as an excuse for things. BeOS R4.5 was sitting on your bookshelf for years and you never got off your lazy ass to install it. Open source didn't stop you. Be's lack of developer support didn't stop you either, since you never even got that far. And furthermore, unless you're talking about InterBase, open source doesn't have a damn thing to do with Borland, either.

      Grrr.

  • by jeti ( 105266 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @05:29AM (#2557636) Homepage
    The plan of BeUnited is more or less to license BeOS, release a new version, and use the sales profit to pay for the license. The OS would then be improved with the help of NDAed enthusiasts and possibly some pros. An open source release is not planned.

    As much as I'd like this plan to succeed, I consider it purely wishful thinking:

    1. No money.
    BeUnited doesn't have a sponsor (I asked), and in the current situation I think it's unlikely that they'll get a high enough credit.

    2. No product
    While it's true that BeInc has been doing work on a new network stack (BONE) and a nice OpenGL implementation, this stuff is still in late beta. Other parts like Java and Opera4 would have to be ported from BeIA.

    3. The numbers aren't right.
    Have a look at the 'Save BeOS' petition: Around 4000 entries. So how many versions could you sell? For what price? What's your margin? Even if you would get a credit and if you wouldn't need to do dev work: You wouldn't make enough money to make Palm an attractive offer.

    Sad but true.
    • Have a look at the 'Save BeOS' petition: Around 4000 entries. So how many versions could you sell? For what price? What's your margin? Even if you would get a credit and if you wouldn't need to do dev work: You wouldn't make enough money to make Palm an attractive offer.

      I am sure BeUnited is not planning to pay anything up-front to Palm. More than likely they are angling to pay Palm $X amount per each copy sold, with an agreement not to let anyone but NDA'd programmers see the source code.
  • PalmAppleBe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MarcQuadra ( 129430 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @05:44AM (#2557654)
    Now if Apple bought Palm, Steve would have an awesome product-development team from Be, people that know how to optimize PPC media streams and squeeze incredible media through apple hardware.

    Right now Apple's core market won't jump to OS X because it's not as good at multimedia (IMO) as the cooperative-multitasking and close-to-hardware Classic Mac OS. This would be just what the doctor ordered for Apple.

    I think Palm is prettying themselves up for a buyout.

    I would be VERY pleased if such things happened.

    I'd pay to see Jobs and Gasse competing for "most warped psyche" on Apple campus!
    • Well - Apple has considered buying BeInc before. But Gassee wanted $400M for a company with a total investment of $20M. So they bought Next instead.

      Now BeInc is practically sold for $11M to Palm. There's no way Apple's going to develop yet another OS. Plus Gasse and Jobs despise each other.

      No chance.
    • Apple passed up the BeOS when they had chance. Instead of purchasing the right modern OS for their users (IMO) they bought Steve Jobs and NeXT.

      Apple will never purchase Palm/Be.
  • OpenBeOS (Score:4, Informative)

    by n-tone ( 535094 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @06:04AM (#2557670) Homepage
    IMHO, Palm will stop the development of BeOS.
    There's maybe a chance that one day, the OpenBeOS [sourceforge.net] project succeeds.
    OpenBeOS is an opensource project which wants to recreate the BeOS.
    I don't believe it's possible. It seems to be a too difficult work but the people behind this project looks serious. So good luck to OpenBEOS!
  • by nomadic ( 141991 )
    I've tried BeOS, and it IS a splendid little OS. But I really don't know why they thought they could break into the commercial OS market.
    • At times when Windows would take a minute to boot into the GUI, BeOS would take 15 Seconds the most. BeOS followed the GUI idea front to back - and still is the only OS that does so, imho.
      • Oh, I agree wholeheartedly, BeOS had the fastest, most elegant GUI I'd ever seen. I just think they were optimistic about their chances against Microsoft.
        • I can't agree with you as, as a RiscOS user, I may claim that my desktop is even fluider.
          Even BeOS for which I developped wasn't as responsive.
          (And BTW, RiscOS boots in 4 seconds)
  • There are Be shareholders?!

    I don't know that I dare to ask the price on that one.
    • Re: Be shares (Score:2, Informative)

      by jeti ( 105266 )
      I can give you the numbers anyway:
      Currently it's $0.095 per share.

      At the IPO it was $6 per share. The highest
      price has been around $40 per share when
      there were speculations about RedHat buying
      BeInc.
  • I remember, back in the days of BeOS R3 and 4.5, to have visited a site called the Artillion, put up by William Bull, the graphic artist who made the icons for the BeOS and much of its widgets. The last thing I know is he went to QNX, and presumably has done work on Photon's graphics there. Any slashdotter at QNX who can shed some light?
    I for one liked very much the graphics...

    • Bill Bull works for QNX Software Systems Ltd. [qnx.com].




      He made some icons for some BeOS applications, but didn't make "the icons for the BeOS and much of its widgets"... AFAIK he didn't design any of their widgets, they were already done when he arrived at Be. I'm not sure where this idea came from.




      Bill has designed the GUI and icons and whatnot for QNX's Photon 2 microGUI; I imagine he dropped his Artillion [artillion.com] site because he was too busy with "real" work.




      (I used to work for QNX. I used to use BeOS. Less choice on the desktop is a bad thing. Computers suck.)

  • Last thing I heard was the the CEO of Palm resigned and the company wasn't going so strong as a whole. So what good is it for Be to be bought by them?

  • The active community of BeOS is small yet productive but in an inefficient way. You have BeUnited, OpenBE, BlueOS, someone else ? We are facing branches without a good trunk.
    If BeOS is still not dead, and can't see how those divisions could save it.
  • Some people mention the fact Palm won't want to let their new catch loose at all, and I unfortunately tend to agree. The thing is, how long do you honestly expect Palm to survive? They're betting a lot on this, and may just get swallowed up by another company before they can get a truly new line of PDAs off the ground.

    What about BeOS then? You can bet a purchaser of Palm will be primarily interested in their core business, not something as peripheral as BeOS. The way I see it, such a buyer could be quite a bit more receptive to releasing the BeOS in some way, unless said buyer is MS or Apple. Then the OS would be *dead*.
  • by mikael ( 484 ) on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @08:08AM (#2557784)
    What BeOS had was amazing performance in the low-latency area of computing, namely audio and video.There is a huge market for audio and video processing. People in that sector goes with what runs best, they're even running MacOS 9 (gasp!), because Cubase and other applications just plain works better under MacOS compared to Windows. Some are still running Atari!

    Be had their chance when Steinberg [steinberg.net] announced a port of Nuendo, their successor to Cubase, to BeOS. At that point, the entire music business was raving, "No more suffering from Wndows/MacOS!!"

    Guess what happened? Be made the decision to drop BeOS personal edition, and instead pursue the BeOS Internet Appliance(!?!). This failed in a spectacular way, with Sony delivering the only shipping units with BeIA. Sony have since discontinued that product.

    They had their chance, a niche OS that would dominate a small percentage of the market, but blew it big time.

    Mikael
    • That's funny, I remember it quite differently.

      Yes, they switched focus to BeIA. Was it because they hated BeOS and its users? No! They were very quickly running out of money, and they were not making headway in the desktop market, thanks in large part to our monopolistic friend and his shady deals with OEM's.

      Wow, you say Steinberg ANNOUNCED a port of Nuendo? Big deal. I can't even count on my hands AND feet the number of "announced BeOS software" that never made it to market. Do you honestly think Nuendo could have saved Be at that point?

      (That's beside the point, because there were still dedicated BeOS-based audio devices being released even after the focus switch to BeIA.)

      Be had to drastically reduce their burn rate, and they gambled on the next big thing. In five years, you will not be saying "they failed spectacularly." You'll be saying, they were a few years to early! Contrary to the media and desktop-bigot opinions, those shitty iOpener-type devices that have been released thus far (and scrapped) are NOT internet appliances. They're crappy network computers.

      Be had better things in mind. Internet-enabled stereo devices like some of the ones you see coming out recently. Webpads with touch screens and WiFi connections, which will arrive eventually (probably in the form of Tablet PC's first, and then much cheaper web-surfing tablets later).

      Essentially Be wanted to move from selling to the public to licensing to device manufacturers. Thus they could (and did) heavily reduce their cash burn. Unfortunately, several potentially big deals fell through (Qubit, Compaq, and eventually Sony). And I'm sure, many more were being worked on before they were forced to sell to Palm to avoid bankruptcy and possibly keep BeOS alive somewhere.

      BeOS was only a niche OS because of the current marketplace. Something the DOJ once knew but has since forgotten. Anyone that used BeOS could see it has just as much potential on the desktop as MacOS (that is to say, more so than Linux has).

      It was only a few drivers/apps away from mainstream before it fell victim to the marketplace.

      Some people argue that Be should have remained focused on the desktop market. But those people must have failed math, because Be would have run out of their cash MUCH sooner than they did!

      Be focused on BeOS for 10 years, with not much reward financially. What made these people think another few months would turn things around?

      Be had to make a change.

      Be is dead. Long live Palm.
    • Nuendo wasn't just announced, it was pretty much complete. There were running demos if I remember correctly.

      Could it have saved BeOS? Yeah, maybe. Why not? People desperately wanted to use BeOS as an audio platform. Some amazingly still do (see lebuzz.com). Logic Audio, Peak, and other programs were on their way as well.

      The moment that Be changed direction (how many times now?), every one of these ports got dropped. Why should the companies waste their money on developing for BeOS when Be wasn't even supporting the desktop OS any longer?

      As someone who works with audio, I would've loved the chance to run Logic on BeOS instead of Windows XP. I'm sure many would agree. But Be dropped out before it ever had the chance to happen.
    • Uh, that's not how they failed. Their last chance for success was to get bought by Apple, but they asked for too much money. I gotta wonder how the shareholders are feeling about that $400 million asking price right now. Apple only ever started talking to Jobs about NeXT so that they could force Be's price down, and Jobs closed the deal.

      By the time they ditched their desktop operating system, they had no choice. It was long gone.
      • The shareholders wouldn't have felt anything because Be hadn't done their IPO yet. From what I understand, JLG was pretty cocky and quite sure of the buyout from Apple. I imaging the VC's were the ones who were pissed.
    • To give a better example of how solid the BeOS was for audio: The newest version of the Radar, a 24-channel professional hard-disk recorder was rewritten based on BeOS. Read the specs here. [recordingtheworld.com] This is a application requiring real-time operation, throughput and totally solid operation. This is not sold as a program running on a computer, with the attendant expectation of crashes. This is a black box that is intended for 24 hour use in a professional recording studio.

  • could they be put open-source? could the open-source world absorbe such drivers, which are described to be extremely well-written?
    I don't know exactly which license issues are blocking it, but since the product have been sold to Palm - and Palm has no interest in further developing some chunks of BE, would it be possible for the Open-source community to "buy" the licenses and outsource everything?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday November 13, 2001 @09:03AM (#2557833)
    Personally, I really like BeOS myself, even though I never installed it on my systems. It boots fast, contains only modern component, and if continued, could've made a serious competitor to MacOS.

    However,

    1) Since OSX is based on Mach, it had a 30-yr strong Unix heritage, plus a GUI interface more enticing than BeOS.

    2) BeIA is the biggest waste on earth : 64-bit journalling file system and preemptive multitasking for a wireless webpad??!! If done correctly, BeIA might be as powerful as Linux or FreeBSD on a workstation or a small server!

    3) Like many ironic stories out there, products that are "successful" are usually those promoted by marketing genuises, not those that have technical excellence. Thus why people go WindowsME/XP or Pentium4....Be Inc. just didn't have enough marketing to convey the message that it's a superior alternative to MacOS (or to an extent, Windows).

    Imagine a Titanium PowerBook G4 tri-booting BeOS, MacOS X, and LinuxPPC! Damn I want one of those babies!

    • Actually i think it not *becoming* the MacOS that killed BeOS. BeOS was killed by NeXT long before OSX came out. If Gil Amelio had known how long that would be and who would be doing it BeOS would be alive today as MacOSB or some such.

      Gasse left Apple knowing that Apples next major OS project had what he described to his successor as "cancer" and would be a spectacular failure. Low and behold he goes out and starts a little company to make a great PowerPC (the chip used by Apple) based multi-media (Apple's core market) OS (Apple's soon-to-be desparate need) that even had "classic" MacOS compatiblity. I think it's pretty obvious what the business plan was - wait for Apple to fall flat on it's face and then sell BeOS to them for a pile of money made enormous by sick desperation. And it was a good plan and should have worked. But Gasse thought he had the ONLY potential successor to MacOS and he didn't count on the infamous Jobs Personal Reality Distortion Field(TM) Gasse was blindsided and botched the next meeting with a suddenly less desperate Apple. the result was Apple bought NeXT instead of Be and hired Jobs instead of Gasse. Really the end of the story with a long decline as they thrashed about spiralling down through different business plans to their eventual cratering at the feet of Palm.
      • You're missing a few facts. BeOS was really developed to run on their cool new hardware, the BeBox. And what powered the BeBox? Not the PowerPC but the Hobbit. AT&T dropped the Hobbit so Be was forced to change to PowerPC. I believe at this time they kinda got out of the hardware side of things and moved into software (OS) development.

        At that point in time JLG could have figured he'd wait for Jobs to fail, but Be, Inc. was not started with that in mind.
  • It's good that palm can now buy themselves some time to create an OS that is competitive to PocketPC platform. On the other hand, BeOS users would probably get screwed over this time, I doubt Palm would care to do much to the desktop OS.
  • Bad idea... (Score:1, Interesting)

    by rhost89 ( 522547 )
    Palm does need a new OS, but i think that the purchase of Be Inc. is not cost effective and is actually the worst decision carl has made as ceo, for 12 million, it is way overpriced, and their desperate to get something new out after they stock price went from $165 to a $1.98. The time to port and market the new BeOS will probably be at least a year. Dont get me wrong i like BeOS, and i like my palmpilot, ive had several over the years, but i think they could have hired some programmers and had a OS ready in the same time it will take to port BeOS. Just my 2 cents.
    • They did hire programmers - about 50 Be employees got hired as part of the deal. So, not only do they have the programmers, they have their work as well.
  • "I killed BeOS" t-shirt ?

    I've always kinda liked the "I killed Laura Palmer" ones.
  • Remember BeOs version 4, I think it was, the so called "Windows Trojan'ish" version.

    Consider some of the previous posters complaint that the palm desktop software/palm os does not scale.

    What if the purpose of buying the Be IP et al is to make a Palm Trojan of sorts.

    Complaints from Win/Mac couterparts about Palm's software not doing *whatever* because Windows/Mac OS's get in the way. Well, if you boot into the "PalmBeOs" you do not have these integration problems because it is built to (ahem) Be the OS to access your Palm device. I suppose *as* the os or running *in* the os a la a vmware sort of scheme.

    That is what I think is a distinct possibility.

    GISboy
  • Even I am not deluded enough that think that BeOS might yet stage a comeback. (I'd be ecstatic if it did, but it won't.) Yet, the passing of BeOS has left a hole in the OS world. There is, at the moment, no lightweight, powerful, fast desktop GUI OS. Windows is bloated and buggier than the rest (though XP is remarkably stable for a Windows OS), Linux (specifically the GNOME and KDE desktop environments) still have major speed and bloat issues, and MacOS-X can't even be considered because the majority of the world runs x86 (and will continue to do so for the forseeable future). There are several projects that are attempting to recreate BeOS and fill its niche (desktop OS, one hell of a niche!)

    1) BeUnited. Trying to get Palm to license the BeOS source code. Probably won't work, but if they can do it, might be nice. Still, it won't be Open Source, and thus probably will not have the longevity to compete with Linux and Windows.

    2) OpenBeOS. Trying to reimplement BeOS from scratch. Never going to happen, what kind of crack are they on? Good luck to them anyway.

    3) BlueOS: A replacement for BeOS using X and the Linux kernel. So far, this seems to be the most promising. After all, Linux is a very nice kernel (after XFS and the low-latency patches are applied) and X is reasonably fast and has good 3D support. The main problem on Linux are the fragmented, slow as molases desktop environments, and that's the part they're concentrating on. If they are successful, it would be useful for all Linux (and beyond!) users, not just BeOS users.

"Who cares if it doesn't do anything? It was made with our new Triple-Iso-Bifurcated-Krypton-Gate-MOS process ..."

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