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The Be Challenge: Zero-cost BeOS for OEMs 171

Thorbjorn Jemander wrote in (as an update on a previous story) to tell us that Jean-Louis Gassée, CEO of Be Inc is offering BeOS at zero-cost to any OEM that will install BeOS completely on its PCs: BeOS must be a boot option or launchable from the other OS, something that Microsoft apparently prohibits. He does not expect OEMs will take up the offer because they will not want to lose Microsoft's Windows Rebate. His argument also applies to Linux: Despite the slew of announcements that Tier-1 manufacturers were going to sell computers pre-installed with Linux, it's revealing to see that the computers discussed were either servers, or in the case of IBM, PCs on which Linux is installed by the reseller (not IBM). also reported on this Thomas wonders if this offer will provide the DOJ with unrefutable proof of Microsoft's monopoly.
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The Be Challenge: Zero-cost BeOS for OEMs

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  • My thoughts exactly. BeOS can kiss my ass, they are just as bad as microsoft.
  • X is MUCH more inconsistent in its user interface

    AFAIK, X doesn't have a user interface. They left that to others to implement on top of X. Whether that is good or bad is largely a matter of opinion, but it does make it much easier to fix the bad ones. In any case, the problem is not with X but the programmers who use it.

    Try opening 15 Netscape windows on a Win95 box with 64 megs RAM, then try the same thing on a Linux/X box.

    Considering the number of programs you can do this with and have no problem, and the fact that those who want to disparage X always use this exact example, I would say the problem is with Netscape, and not with X. If the Linux version of Netscape is more bloated than the Windows version, how is that the fault of X? More the fault of Motif perhaps?

    Now, in the interests of a fair comparison, open five different programs on your Windows box, each of which are running on a different machine than the others (and yes, the ability to do this does come in very handy).

    I think if you take a close look at it, most of the problems people have with X (definitely not all, though) aren't with X itself, but with the way it's used. Personally, if I total up all the pros and cons of both X and Windows, it's not even close. X wins hands down. I recognize, however, that we're all different and YMMV.

  • of a trust or illegal business practices.

    The anti-trust laws make it illegal to use that monopoly to stifle competition.

    How do you make the OEM's admit they are subject to strong arm tactics? Not using an operating system with a small percentage of the OS market could be attributed to the chicken and egg problem. That is, which comes first - it took a long time for CD-ROMs to become "standard" equipment. Anyone remember the Year of the LAN that was predicted so often it happened before it was recognized.

    This is the sort of argument that MS or the OEM's would make, and it contains some truth. Moreover, the descriptions of the Law as the search for the truth has never been in a courtroom or take too many political speeches at face value. Given the right mindset, an actual case is better than standup comedy.

    Yes to those convinced of illegal dealings and skull duggery it's obvious , but it's not legal certainty.
  • ...or for that matter Window Maker, nicely kitted out, with transparent aterms... then close the transparent one (hee, only good for showing off when you have a vivid desktop) and run the afterstep xlock -inroot hacks... for star travel or laser shows or 'swarm' (everybody falls in love with swarm!) as _animated_ desktops.
    *grin* damn straight it can be the most visually pleasant, and this is a dude here who knows _all_ the tricks for making a _MacOS_ desktop visually pleasant (and there are a lot- basically the equivalent of E for macs, complete with outlandish window regions). You can set up a workstation in linux that's not only beautiful, but deeply functional- I can't get over the elegance of running them little old unix apps from tiles with elaborate lashings of flags and all sorts of customizations on the window specifications...
    Yes, the visual prettiness is enticing, but you know you're a serious linux fancier when you get off on your ability to totally rewrite the menu and invent applications out of very basic parts (process manager, called BOFHCenter, run as top in an inverse aterm with the minimize button and resize border removed! Oh, and shift-keypad - and + will make all aterm-based apps shrink and expand as the font size changes- sort of 3D effect there, try _that_ anywhere else)
    Maybe this is only for geeks. But, by God, is it ever for geeks! It's fun to do demos and wow neophytes- it's _amazing_ to set up a workspace where you could do demos that would floor _other_ _geeks_...
  • It's inconsistant in it's user interface

    X is MUCH more inconsistent in its user interface. With billions of different widget sets and keyboard shortcut conventions and methods of cutting/pasting between apps, nothing is consistent. Every single app does nearly everything completely differently. If you want consistency, go for OS/2 or Mac OS, not Windows or X.

    And before I get flamed - yes I know that X is not Linux. However, we're comparing the GUI of Windows to a Linux/GUI combination, and until somebody gets another working GUI that I can use with Linux, X is the only choice.

    it's slow

    Depends what you're talking about. For servers, yes it is, since you can run a Linux box for a server without a GUI, while Windows doesn't let you get rid of the GUI. However, for GUI programs, X is just as, if not more, slow than Windows. Try opening 15 Netscape windows on a Win95 box with 64 megs RAM, then try the same thing on a Linux/X box.

    wastes disk space

    Definitely have to agree with you there.

    it's a hack ontop of hacks (ie: FAT32)

    I thought "hacks" were generally considered a good thing? Linux is generally considered to be one big hack on top of a hack (UNIX being the original hack). In FAT32's case, it's a bad hack, which could be the distinguishing factor.

    unreliable (frequent crashes)

    No question there, although X could use a little more help in the reliability department too. I've managed to get XF86 to lock up the computer several times (due to incorrect video card configuration in XF86Setup). However, when finally set up properly, it definitely beats Windows in reliability, even if it is a bit clunky.

    it's made by microsoft

    That would be one of the major strikes against it. I'd have to agree with you there.
  • Yes, people have told me that. It's irrelevant, since I cannot telnet into my computer when it's locked up (it's the computer I telnet *from*) and I do not own a serial terminal. So it's as good as locked up for me, even if technically it isn't. Either way it requires a reboot.
  • Posted by stodge:

    And why the hell not?! It would be like a kick in Microsofts' knackers if a large OEM accepted this offer. But I but noone does - I believe that MS has the OEMs by the short and curlies with the licensing. Shame they cant publish the different deals offered to each OEM. That would make for one hell of an interesting read. I bet they used to sell Windows licenses to Gateway for a buck each.

    Did anyone read the link from BE's page to Pathfinder? I loved the diary of the trial they had. It was so funny.
  • Posted by AnnoyingMouseCoward:


    Yes, I'm well aware of the fact that this exclamation is normally capitalised to express extreme humor. In this case, I've left it in lower case to express boredom. Specifically, the boredom of having to explain, yet again, that Windows does not do Windows.

    Specifically, it doesn't do previous versions of Windows, or work properly on all ranges of available hardware. Each major release of Windows has generally required that applications written for the previous version be signifigantly re-massaged for the latest version.

    That's one of the main reasons why Windows programmers ( like myself ) have given up on the posibility that the idiots at Redmond will ever get it right and why we are hopeful that OS's such as Linux/FreeBSD will continue to grow in popularity.

    Still, I'll give you the benifit of the doubt and assume that you comment was intended as humor rather than flaming you.
  • machine with linux/Be
    $1000 hardware + $0 OS
    selling to consumer for $1200
    OEM earns $200 profit/machine

    ... and if the oem doesn't sell the machine at all, he loses $1000.... and he's already lost his Microsoft bonus, so his Windows machines now cost him, say, $20 more apiece, which means he'll sell fewer of them. That's what the OEMs are afraid of.


  • I am getting sick and tired about hearing how evil Apple has been to Be regarding the G3 specs. There are two open source OS's that run on Apple's G3's which Be could derive the required specs from. JLG is just pissed off that Apple won't bend over backwards to help him compete with them.
  • I'd read it earlier this week, or last week. Laughed my ass off. It was soooo good. Best coverage I've seen yet.
  • by Danse ( 1026 )

    Now if they could only get them to put out a product that was worth $50 they would have a good deal on their hands. :)

  • Valid points.

    The real proof which bypasses any excuses of support cost is that you can't get the computer with NO OS at all. No OS = no license costs and no OS support costs, but they won't (can't) do it.

    The BeOS offer is still a good thing since it calls public attention to the whole issue.

  • I'm sick of slackers like the people above me. What is so hard about taking a few hours, or reading a book, so you can learn how to use the CLI, an infinitly powerful tool? If you have enough time to read /. , you have enough time to learn linux.
  • A transparent Eterm doesn't STOP and of the rest of the nice GUI goodies. Even without GNOME or KDE, just about anything outside of root admin can be done in the total absense of xterms.
  • First let me say that I own a copy of the BeOS and enjoy it immensly. I am NOT trying to slam Be.

    With that said, I feel there is a problem with Gasse's "proof". If vendors do not take him up on his offer to pre-install the BeOS free on their machine it does NOT PROVE THAT MS HAS A STANGLEHOLD MONOPOLY. The reasons is simple.
    1) BeOS is still coming up to speed. It wasn't until the release of rev 4 a few months ago that Be even supported SCSI. Many still don't have drivers. Much of the OS is still under development. This is not the sort of thing that I would feel confident putting on machines that I sold. (P.S. To its credit I've never seen the BeOS crash!)

    2) It takes more than just software.Sales, support, training, infrastructures, etc... all need to get up to speed if a company were to offer the BeOS on machines. Even if it is completely unsupported, it still takes time and energy to sell it with the right hardware and to put it on the drive.

    I feel these are two perfectly logical reasons for not taking Gasse up on his offer. I know that these aren't the only reasons, and that the single biggest reason is probably MS fear, but I AM saying that there are other reasons not to run right out and adopt the BeOS.

    Even though I don't think this will "prove" anything, I hope this stunt brings attention to MicroSloths unfair business techniques. I hope that vendors take it serious and begin offering the BeOS. I hope to see fair OS competition in my lifetime. Until then, way to Be!

  • Be isn't going to make their OS free forever - no OEM is going to start shipping the OS for free if at any point in time that free offer could be pulled out from under them, just as they get a few orders in for it. It's a publicity stunt, and it looks great until you dig a little deaper.
  • Officially, IBM doesn't consider OS/2 to be competition to Windows either. Well, on the client side at least. Of course, everyone ELSE thinks that OS/2 is competing against Windows.

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi,,
  • Sorry people, but as "great" as Linux and BeOS are (frankly, I think OS/2 is better than both of them combined), the customers don't really want it. The average computer user doesn't know any better.

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi,,
  • The cost of the OS is insignifcant compare the cost of supporting it. If an OEM wanted to pre-install BeOS, they would have to support it as well as they support Windows. That means hiring or training people, which costs hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Timur "too sexy for my code" Tabi,,
  • He's no relation of mine, sorry to say.
  • That's the problem with Linux for me. You can have a striking terminal using transparency, OpenGL or whatever, but you still have to use the somewhat cryptic Unix commands. Using a desktop environment like KDE and Gnome sure helps, but it doesn't even scratch at the OS/2 WPS ease-of-use, extentiability and pure brute force. Linux makes a great server (install, configure, let it run five years, compile new kernel, reboot). However, I will not replace my OS/2 Warp system until there is something better than WPS in existance.
  • The OS/2 WPS is an object oriented user interface that you can extend in almost unlimited ways without the need to recompile or modify the basic source code. You can make a special type of folder or file by inheriting the basic properties that object has and then adding a few new ones. One example is the desktop, that is a basic folder with a few new capabilities (like Shutdown). Adding a tab with your own setting for an object in the Properties panel is easy. This sort of flexibility doesn't exist in any other environments that I know of.

    This site got some things about the WPS.
  • ummmmm... be doesnt want to use those because those are reverse engineered and they can change at a whim. apple is stupid for not releasing the g3 specs. with regards to this aspect they are shooting themselves in the foot,

    "The lie, Mr. Mulder, is most convincingly hidden between two truths."
  • I was afraid it was a mistake, not as severe as the Linux as a "competitor" defense- but a mistake just the same.

    Now, I know better- it was as gigantic a mistake on MS' part bringing Gassee's company into the picture as a "competitor". Whomever said Gassee was from the "scorched earth" school of business wasn't kidding.
  • Just because the mythical "average consumer" didn't want OS/2, doesn't mean they don't want Linux or Be. ;)
  • IMHO one of the biggest problems being overlooked by everyone is the simple variable of the common consumer.

    Even if Joe Blow has an option to get a machine with any OS he wants, he still MUST weigh application availability.

    The common consumer will be looking at what is available to him/her in the market. Sadly you can go anywhere and all you will find is M$ compatiable software.

    Yes, yes, I know you can get other applications, but finding them is not all that easy AND you still have to wait for them in the mail.

    Most users will prefer to go to the store and buy it. That is because that will allow them to enjoy their purchase NOW. It's the state of our society. We have all gorwn up getting things NOW. Not later.

    Even downloading is becoming more and more popular, because you can get it now.

    When places like and amongst many start offering software for other OS's besides MAC and M$ as the majority, you won't find people rushing to a different OS.

    Also, the commmon user will looking at their current investment of software. When you spend 50.00-over 100.00 for software you are more and more reluctant to go and purchase another 100.00 software that they need to relearn how to use.

    When WINE is stable and truely does what they're shooting for, then you will see more people wanting something different and more willing to change.

    All IMHO.
    (I hate MS but it pays my bills.)
    • It's inconsistant in it's user interface
    • it's slow
    • wastes disk space
    • it's a hack ontop of hacks (ie: FAT32)
    • unreliable (frequent crashes)
    • it's made by microsoft
  • Sorry, but I'm not familiar with X11. As my signature should tipped you off, I'm an OS/2 user and thus am familiar with a very consistent user interface! This site is "News for Nerds", not "News for Linux users"...

    The fact that it's made by microsoft is extremely relevant because their business practices are questionable.

    • if you write cross-platform software, don't bother them for help if you have windows programming issues
    • dumping software(IE for free) to put competitors out of business. Last I heard, dumping was illegal. Their own computer dictionary defines IE as an application, so don't bother telling me it's really part of the OS. It's also rather hard to consider it part of the OS as it's available for the Macintosh :-)
    • threathening software stores with higher prices if they sold ANY OS/2 software(even if special ordered by the customer)
    • their OEM stranglehold which prevents the preloading of non-ms operating systems.
    • ...

    because of the way they do business, I(and many others) elect not to buy ANY of their software, even if it might be good.

  • fs is BFS, a powerful 64bit file system journalize

    yes BeOS can read ext2 (beta, read only)

    i think a geek has written a BFS driver for linux (alpha, read only)

  • Be isn't looking to supplant Windows. Their goal is peaceful coexistance. If you re-read the story, you will see that they want to be dual-booted or launched from an icon on the Windows desktop. This is in-line with their goal of building a specialized multimedia OS, complementing the general purpose Windows.

    And as for Be thanking Linux: For what? Linux inherited the alt-OS-du-jour crown from OS/2, who inherited it from DR-DOS. Linux and BeOS are just lucky enough to be around at a time when traditional media outlets consider computer stories newsworthy.

    Keith Russell
  • Linux isn't the only operating system with a command line. The BeOS includes a bash shell and nearly all the system settings can be shanged from the shell, if desired. BeOS also has nice graphical tools to manipulate the files, which are much easier to use the the X config tools available. Linux is nice for a server, but for a workstation why not go with the BeOS that has both the power of the command line and the ease of a nice GUI too?
  • I want it (Linux | BeOS). I's be willing to buy it. I'm a customer.

    There is no "average computer customer." It all depends on the market. The development market differs from the web design market differs from the server market differs from the game market differs from the office drone market differs from... well, you get the point.

    If there are enough people out there who would buy a product, then there is a market for a product. The "average computer user" IN THAT MARKET has plenty of demand for the product. Is the market large enough to make a profit?

    Just judging from the traffic at this site and many sites dedicated to "niche" OSs and applications, I think that there is a significant market for Linux and BeOS and most of the other products which the "average computer user" has no need for.

    To paraphrase what you said, not every single customer wants Linux or BeOS. Who cares, as long as many customers DO want them?

    Russell Ahrens
  • This is a good move by Gassée.

    It threatens to get more people using his company's product and Linux, and will provide evidence to rebut Microsoft's suicidal Linux defence.

  • Actually, they used to give the entire OS away for free (or nearly so). I got the full PR1 CD in a magazine. As a developer, you get free updates and at the time, anyone could sign up to be a developer for free. Truly, such a thing isn't very economical in the long run but it did get them a bunch of customers, many of whom are still loyal customers.

    Either way, you do have a point. Be wins this way in terms of publicity. You've got to be arrogant in today's computer industry to stay alive.
  • "AFAIK Linux, while having much better SMP support than the crude approach it had before, still lacks many possible optimizations."

    It's a lot better than NT, which will move threads to other processes no matter what (AFAIK) and will therefore suffer from L1 and L2 misses. The Linux scheduler tries to avoid that.
  • Duck for cover! It's another masquerading annon coward!
  • I had this keyboard problem! Had to change motherboard :( but it was definitely worth it :)
  • Now all we need is Oracle for Be and we can sit back and yell MAWHUHAHAHAHHAHA (excuse my quirky sexual fantasies)
  • Well... in my Ideal World (tm), you'd have Be [] as the standard client OS and Linux as the server. I'll never own a Mac, but I do think that they, like Playstations and PDAs have a place in the market. It's similar with Be. What's *wonderful* about it is that it bridges a lot of the gap between a good consumer OS (as the Mac is, you have to give it that) and one capable of doing groovy stuff.

    I really don't think that linux does that in quite the same way. Which is good, because that's what makes linux kick arse in the server area. It's unstoppable.
  • It's not a cheap publicity stunt: MS is trying to use Be to get it out of trouble in court, and Be is retaliatin by saying "Hey there! People won't be able to bundle our OS even if we give it away!"

    Be is the winner, and its a balsy move from Gassee.
  • Yeah, vi :)

    Seriously, if you're still using R3, you probably don't have much in the way of good stuff installed as standard. But the Codewarrior that comes with R4 is pretty good. I've found it a quite different approach to many packages (such as Visual C++), in some ways, yet it's just as good (just... different)

    I've read lots saying that Pe is good also. But you can't get it for R4 intel which is what I have :(
  • Not true. You can buy licences of NT which support > 2 processors.

    Naturally you have to pay a hefty surplus, no doubt to cover the extensive programming, sweat and tears that have made it happen >.|
  • by prok ( 8502 )
    BeOS left the "developers only" scene in July of '97.
  • There are several places that will sell you a low cost linux box. For example, sunset systems, TCU-inc, OEMcomputers. See The LDP hardware page [] for a list of vendors that will preload linux. Some of them have good prices.
    Donovan Rebbechi
  • How do you know you dont want something which you cant get, and havnt ever seen before? If everyone out there is competing on a level playing field, and customers knowingly choose MS Windows over other products, thats just fine, but the fact is, the playing field is severely skewed, due to MS's unfair business practicies. Personaly, I think this system (laizzes-faire capitalism) tends to create these kind of situations (monopoly). It might be that at one time, users actually chose MS products over others, this should not be a certificiate for MS to block the entire market from competitors. They are the quintessential bully, and when they get dragged into court, they say the things any bully says - "But we're just a small company", "we need to protect ourselves", etc. Sometimes when my Word tables fuck up on me (yes I use word.. I cant not use it), I feel like punching bill gates in the mouth, and say to him, "Why the fuck does your wordprocessor suck and change formatting on me when I dont want it to?". Shit, I'm rambling...

  • I didn't want to run DOS in the 80's, but I didn't have an alternative (and didn't know about the Mac), so I got an 8086 with DOS. That's part of the problem today - consumers don't know alternatives exist because Microsoft won't let OEM's provide alternatives (apparently).

    But say Gateway advertised their boxes with Windows 95 and BeOS as OS options. As a typical consumer, I'd be like, "What's this BeOS thing?" Maybe I'd do a little reading on it. Maybe I'd find that it might be a cool thing to try out. And if it came for free, I'd definitely order a box with it on there - people love to get stuff for free. Once I started using it, maybe I'd find it did something better than Windows, and so on, and so on.

    A demand may be there for Be, but Microsoft is attempting to preemptively squash any prospect of demand. That's one of the points Gassee's making.

  • But have you ever gotten a machine from an OEM with some funky DOS/Windows drivers supplied by the OEM to work with their funky hardware? OEM's often have to coordinate their specific hardware with the OS, so why not do the same with the BeOS? Of course there won't be as many resources (read programmers, etc.) to pair the two together, but with plain vanilla hardware, the task will be much easier.

    As for the reasons to sell a machine with BeOS (and Linux, too, for that matter): more choices for the consumer, more bullet points in the advertisements, and all the free publicity generated for being the first kid on the block to sell a box with 3 OS'es pre-installed.

  • Actually, I knew about the Apple II's, but they were seen as elementary school computers. I needed a computer for college, and Intel boxes with DOS was the status quo in my area (Western NY).

  • Can I be the wookie?

    "It's Brazilian"
  • Per a recent posting on beusertalk (see Be is planning on targeting the mainstream.

    People like my girlfriend need an email client, a web browser and a word processing app. And that's it.

    I think Be's got a good chance of making it in the home market--particularly among new users. Bezilla (in progress) + MailIt/Adamation/... + Globe Productive = enough features for most people.

    Re: Linux vrs Be... I think Linux makes an awesome server platform, but I personally don't have the sys admin skills to use it on my desktop. Be has the stuff to gain broad market appeal in the desktop and workstation market based on its simple UI and overall speed.
  • Quit throwing a hissy fit on reposted stories!
    BTW, Praise Be! ;)
  • But most of the time your console is lost until you reboot. If fbcon gets a lot of work in 2.3 that problem will go away.
  • Gassee has no intention of giving away free copies of Be, and he knows that he will not be giving away any copies of Be. If he does, why does Be not offer the OS for free to any computer user who asks? He should, if he really believes in the "network effect" he talks about.

    This is just a cheap publicity stunt. The OEMs know that this is just a cheap publicity stunt -- therefore they will not install Be (there are many hidden costs besides the price of the OS). Therefore Be is the winner: Be gets good publicity, Gassee gets back at Microsoft, and he does not have to give away a single thing.

  • "And unlike other 'multiprocessor' Operating Systems, the BeOS lets you really use all that power."

    I interpret that as a reference to NT, which as I understand it isolates each process to a single CPU. So you can write a multithreaded NT program, run it on a multi-processor machine, and only one processor will be used. To use >1 processor at a time, you have to be running multiple processes at once.

    Not to mention that most NT programs aren't very multithreaded, since it is easier to write single-threaded apps. Under BeOS, almost all apps are multithreaded, simply because the system APIs are designed to be multithreaded on your behalf.
  • Nope, hasn't been PR for sometime.
    They are selling R4 as a full retail version, as they did w/ R3.2...
    QuakeII has been ported (and looks awesome from what I have read). Granted, they don't have a lot of commercially available software (yet), but with Q2 ported, an ICQ/AIM (yes, both in one) client in the works, Opera (web browser) more than 1/2 finished, a full featured mail client available, it is coming right along...
  • I know it is abit offtopic, but...

    What fs type is it?
    can Linux read it?
    can BeOS read ext2?

    Please tell me,
    Maybe I'll try it....

  • Cool..
    You know, I think I like Jean-Louis Gassée. There is a COE with balls!!
    This man is willing to GIVE AWAY his product, if it means making his point. I doubt anyone will take him up on it, sadly enough, but, just this attitude is making my want yet another Hard Drive in my system, for Be :-) if for no other reason, than to help support this sort of guts with my $$$$
  • FANTASTIC article. Eloquently written, not threatening (as MS would have us believe), to the point, and, finally, GUTSY . Bravo, M. Gassee, on a move that is, if I may be blunt, as ballsy as I have ever seen from a non-OSS vendor. Be is really trying to get the word out on BeOS, and I can't think of a better way. I've messed with it a bit, and I think it is a great OS.

    Microsoft definitely fears BeOS and Linux, make no mistake about that. Why? Because, if users get PCs with BeOS or Linux on it, they will see Windows 9x for what it really is, a cobbled-together, crash-prone OS, with serious security and reliability issues. OSes like BeOS and Linux are true multi-tasking, stable, do-the-job OSes. The only difference is that the world doesn't think it can survive without Microsoft. The truth is, we can. This is obvious on the server end, but not on the desktop end. Corel has released WordPerfect for Linux, and Be is a great multimedia-creation system. Thy both have niches right now, but I am looking forward to the day when we will be able to get any app, be it a graphics package, accounting software, Internet tools, games (Oh, yeah, I'm a gamer), and more for any OS we choose.

    I would like to stress that I am not anti-MS. I just think that there are an increasing number of products that do a better job with smaller hardware requirements. I do think that when they really want to, they can make a good product. They just don't really want to. They are more concerned with profit margins than product quality. And that is why there is so much resistance out there. Corporations (and consumers) are getting fed up with the exhorbitant cost of MS software, the insane licensing agreements, and the downright shoddy quality of some of Microsoft's software. I want to stress this:

    YOU CAN'T FOOL THE INDUSTRY FOREVER. You may be able to get away with poor design and high costs for a while, but this industry is constantly reinventing itself for lower and lower costs, and anyone who does not join in this trend will be OUT OF BUSINESS. Microsoft has lasted this long because they don't leave a "crack in the wall" for OEMs to use other (better) OSes.

    I always welcome comments. Please email me at [mailto] with comments.

  • Go to Read and learn.
  • Let me quote the relevant portion of Mr. Gassee's offer:
    We end with a real-life offer for any PC OEM that's willing to challenge the monopoly: Load the BeOS on the hard disk so the user can see it when the computer is first booted, and the license is free.

    In order to get the free license, OEMs don't have to load only BeOS on the machine. It doesn't even have to be the default OS. Users merely have to have the option of using the BeOS when the machine is first booted. And I would bet next month's paycheck that no OEMs take him up on the offer.

    I worked for Gateway 2000 for three years, and I'm aware that there would be lots of other costs involved in placing BeOS on the system besides the license - there's compatibility testing, manufacturing downloads, and support. I estimate that it would cost $50/box (or more) to install BeOS on all of Gateway's consumer systems, and there's not enough demand to justify hiking everyone's prices by $50.

    In the consumer space, Windows is not one of many operating systems; it is its own category. Microsoft is the only company that offers Windows. No other company has any product that can replace Windows in the consumer market. It is a de facto monopoly, even if it is not a de juris one (and I'm pretty much convinced it's both).
  • YEAH! Go AC! You tell those guys! Why don't THEY make Linux and GNU and all that stuff free? Why don't THEY talk about how Microsoft is a monopoly that won't let other OSs have a chance? Why don't they cut the license costs to zero for OEMs who preinstall Linux? Cause they're too busy being GEEKS, THAT's why. Let's hear it for the suits! GO SUITS!

  • for $3000 you could buy a remanufactured Indy with monitor or even an Indigo2 :-)
  • FS: 64-bit journalling FS "BFS"
    read only ext2 driver for Be
    read only BFS driver for linux
    r/w dirver for FAT32 for BeOS has all the answers

  • You obviously don't know anything about Be, because if you did you would not question the quality of their code. If you write code yourself, take a look at their API on Now I know C++ is not l33t, but when done right it rocks, and no-one who uses a Be system will ever again think that C++ only produces slow bloated code.

    Just because Window$ is not a very good OS doesn't mean that all proprietary OSes suck
  • man this Miicrosoft vs DOJ is getting better all the time. I sure would like to get my choice of linux or be from almost any OEM.

    it's just too Sweeeeeeeeeeet !!!!!!!
  • I love the concept of this offer but how bout be get a few (i understand there is a japanese and possibly a european) international distributors. I just ordered a copy of be (had to order it from be in the US) and it ended up costing me $180AUD (im in Australia). I could get windows98 for that price =P.
  • sorry if i sound overly stupid, but am i going to be able to go to my corner computer store and next time i buy a sytem ( or just hard drive ) and get beOS with it for free? sorry i dont undcerstand teh OEM thing 100% , so some one feel free to clear me up with this.

  • Why would anyone want anything else? Windows does everything. It even does Windows.
  • More DOJ ammo. Awesome. Go Be.
  • BeOS uses its own file system, called bfs. It's a 64-bit journaled fs, with a cool attribute and resource structure. As far as I know, it can't be read outside of BeOS, but that is probably not far out. According to Be's BeWare [] section this [] filesystem driver is available for ext2 read-only. The driver also has a homepage []. There are several other filesystem drivers available in the BeWare section. The facility for creating plug-ins and add-ons both for an application and the operating system is *very* cool. Read up on the Be Book [] for more.
  • How do you mean? R4 of BeOS comes with all the compiler tools, including the IDE and gcc. So you can use that, or vi and gmake, etc.

Thufir's a Harkonnen now.