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BeDope clarifies iToaster issue 74

Sebbo writes "The latest article at BeDope has coverage of the iToaster confusion. It includes a nice photo of Be's VP of Developer Relations, Tim Self, demoing BeOS R4.5's new Death Ray app on the president of Microworkz. " Ya know, it's just good to have this whole thing cleared up. For record, AOL might buy Microworkz, and Microworkz does not run a BeOS/Linux hybrid, but an OS based on the ideas found therein.
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BeDope clarifies iToaster issue

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    /Home: cd ./AnonymousCoward/ass
    /Home/AnonymousCoward/ass: rm stick
  • by Anonymous Coward
    And to think the government thought 128-bit crypto was a "munition" - they haven't seen anything yet!
  • How is that..Geeks of all the people fall prey to these pirates..All of them seems to come from..WA...This was on>

    Here is the link...

    ACCORDING TO COMPANY sources, the top management
    team -- the chief operating officer, the chief financial officer, the
    chief information officer and the comptroller -- resigned in the
    past month. Latman confirmed the departure of CFO Brian
    Lofquist, saying he was fired for causing some of Microworkz's
    Two top managers who departed the company but asked
    not to named said they left because of ethical concerns with the
    company's business practices -- specifically, the company's
    inability to deliver its products as promised and its sluggishness in
    refunding consumers.
    The company has had well-publicized problems with its
    product line. In March, shook the PC world with
    announcement of the $299 Webster Jr. PC -- the deal included
    one free year of Net access from Earthlink. But Microworkz now
    admits serious production troubles, and when the company
    launched the product April 19, it wasn't able to fill many orders
    for weeks, in some cases, months.
    But despite the problems of fulfilling orders, the company
    nonetheless charged its customers' credit cards. Not long after,
    the Better Business Bureau of Western Washington and the
    Washington State attorney general's office began receiving
    complaints; about 100 in all, according to Latman. Janice Marich,
    spokesperson for the attorney general's office, said the
    complaints included outright failure to deliver PCs, failure to
    refund money, and allegations that PCs were shipped with
    inferior components.
    'This company has
    made our radar
    Spokesperson for the attorney
    general's office
    "This company has made our radar screen," Marich said,
    declining to say if an official investigation has been launched into
    the company's practices.
    The Better Business Bureau has received similar complaints,
    and Microworkz "has an unsatisfactory business record," according
    to a BBB report. Frustrated consumers also set up a Web site to
    air complaints.
    "We're only talking about 100 people," Latman said. "That's
    not a huge amount." He said problems stemmed from inadequate
    computer systems, which caused lag time before refunds could
    be sent to consumers. Latman says he has put those problems
    behind the company now, claiming PCs now ship within seven
    days and all refund request complaints have been cleared up.

    AOL in talks to enter PC biz
    Microworkz iToaster: a $199 PC

    The iToaster is set to launch July 15, and Latman says the
    company is geared up to make the boxes on time this time --
    with a production line that would be capable of perhaps 150,000
    to 200,000 machines a month. A similar statement was included
    in the company's April 19 press release about the Webzter: "The
    company has the capability to produce 200,000 computers per
    month," that release said. The company's well-publicized
    problems began after that.
    There have been other
    sources of confusion,
    too -- such as when
    the company was
    actually founded.

    Latman contends things will be different this time around --
    the company has said it will only take orders for 10,000 of the
    boxes at first to ensure it can fill demand.
    Still, some of the iToaster's features seem to be in flux.
    Latman told an MSNBC reporter at the PC Expo trade show in
    New York earlier this month that the operating system was a
    mixture of Linux and BeOS. But he told CNBC on Friday that
    objections from the Linux community changed his mind -- the
    first iToasters will have Be and a proprietary "front end."
    There have been other sources of confusion, too -- such as
    when the company was actually founded. Its Web site says
    Microworkz was founded in 1991 as an independent custom
    software vendor. The company told the Better Business Bureau
    it was founded in 1996, and employees tell MSNBC the actual
    start date was early 1998. It was incorporated in November of
    On June 6, the company's status as a legal corporation was
    dissolved by the Washington Secretary of State's office. The
    most likely reason, according to a spokesperson, was failure to file
    an annual report.
    The consequence: the company can still conduct retail
    business, but it cannot conduct any corporate business. The CEO
    shrugged it off as a technicality.
    "It's a piece of paper that has to be filed once a year. Some
    attorneys do it on time. I called the lawyers in and they waved it
    off laughingly. They said they do it in November of every year,"
    Latman said.
    There are other legal troubles for the company as well -- it's
    being sued by PC parts supplier Amptron International Inc. for
    allegedly failing to pay $41,930 in bills, and bouncing two checks
    in December of last year. The suit lashes out personally at
    "Latman has, and is still, utilizing Microworkz as his alter ego
    by so dominating, controlling, and influencing Microworkz's assets
    and activities for his own profit, by so failing to satisfy any
    corporate formalities such as a proper maintenance of minutes,
    director's meetings, etc., by so commingling his personal funds
    with Microworkz, and by so failing to establish and/or maintain a
    level of capitalization sufficient and/or necessary to conduct
    business, as to create a unity of interest and destroy any
    separatenesss between Latman ... and Microworkz."
    Former employees describe Latman as charismatic, inspiring
    Microworkz employees by comparing the company to Dell
    Computer Corp. But the former employees all said Latman often
    promised more than he could deliver. And despite several
    statements from the company that 50,000 Webzter PCs have
    been ordered, several former employees contend the company
    has received only between 2,000 and 3,000 orders.
    There are other troubles for Latman, too. He's being sued
    by his co-investors in a Seattle-based porn Web site venture
    called Dream Haus Inc. According to the Puget Sound Business
    Journal, partners say Latman bounced $22,000 worth of checks,
    and created a contest on their site., with a
    grand prize of $50,000 without their consent -- and without
    having the money.
    This is not the first venture Latman has been involved in
    which had trouble delivering merchandise. MSNBC has learned
    that 19 small claims judgments were issued against a Beverly Hills
    bridal shop run by his wife, Bettina Latman. Richard Latman is
    personally cited on half of them. Several of those were initiated
    by consumers who complained they left a deposit on a dress, but
    never received the gown.
    MSNBC research turned up another 26 judgments of one
    kind or another against Latman or his wife, including three hefty
    tax liens: he owes the IRS $225,000, and $47,000 in California
    state taxes.
    "I don't doubt that. But what does this have to do with
    Microworkz?" Latman said when told of the judgments. He said
    the liens still exist because the couple chose not to declare
    "I wear that failure as a badge," he said, referring to the
    failed boutique. "I was involved in counseling her [on the
    business]. The reality is the business was poorly planned and ...
    the business failed."
    When asked to offer prior technology industry experience,
    Latman declined.
    Before founding Microworkz "I was going to write software
    on a boat," he said. "I have written several dramatic plays. My
    goal was to be a writer."
    Got a tip about this story? Write to
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 25, 1999 @06:24AM (#1833548)
    1) the iToaster runs BeOS. Period

    2) BeOS is not based on linux or the "_idea_" of linux. Yes is partialy POSIX compliant, and yes it does have some unix style aspects (the shell) and it does ship with gcc. But its not *nix, its not inspired by or based on unix or linux.

    3) According to the info filed in connection with Be's upcomming IPO, they plan to provide BeOS for little or no cost to OEMs such as microworkz to gain market share, exposure and hardware support.
    $200 products such as the iToaster obviously would not be possible if M$ style lisceneing costs were involved.
  • Then register with /. and filter out the topics you don't want to read about.

  • I find this to be a good example of reading only what you want to read. The original article clearly said "BeOS/Linux hybrid," yet slashdot incorrectly posted saying it was a Linux-based computer. Then this mistake was pointed out, and slashdot corrected itself. Ironically, it turns out there's no Linux involved at all, so the OS (BeOS) that slashdot ignored from the original press release turns out to be the only one actually used, and the much-ballyhooed role of Linux turns out to be nonexistant.
  • Incorrect. Opera, since version 3.50 (it's at 3.60 now, IIRC), has supported Java (via a freely available plugin). You can also customize the toolbar, get rid of it entirely, move around/get rid of the box that displays the URL, and mess with other aspects of the UI. As for CSS, I don't think it supports it fully, but it's ahead of both IE5 and Netscape 4.6, so it's the best there is at the moment.
  • Opera isn't fully CSS1/DOM1 compliant, nor does it support Java (at least, it didn't when I tried it.) Also, it lacks in the customisation of UI field, at which Mozilla excels because of XUL. If Microworkz are using the BeOS backend with a new UI, Mozilla and its customisable UI could fit in very well with that scheme.
  • by HoserHead ( 599 ) on Friday June 25, 1999 @09:41AM (#1833553)
    Obviously this isn't using BeZilla yet (not finished), but the iToaster probably offers a huge opportunity to Mozilla. Simply put, Microworkz would be insane not to use Mozilla once it's out, considering it will be a) free and b) fully standards-compliant - including Java^H^H^H^HEMCAScript and other things like CSS1, DOM1, etc which the BeOS currently lacks (Please, don't flame me if the current incarnation of the BeOS' browser supports JavaScript or whatever. I don't know and don't claim to.)

    So, Mozilla could get a huge number of users in a future incarnation of the iToaster (if it takes off) in fairly short order. A good opportunity, I say.

  • The point... is that the cheap hardware could be used for a closet-server (network-type stuff which Be doesn't do as well) and the copy of Be could be used on a larger machine better suited to media work -- as stated two messages up.
  • by gavinhall ( 33 )
    Posted by 2B||!2B:

    Still doesn't make clear why Be is licensing out their OS almost for free.

    Oh, first post?
  • Of course, there was nothing illegal about Microsoft's use of satellite-bourne death rays to vaporise the headquarters of other high-tech firms: it was simply competing vigorously within the law.
    Employ me! Unix,Linux,crypto/security,Perl,C/C++,distance work. Edinburgh UK.
  • Upgrade = buy new parts, throw away old ones that you can't use. It doesn't matter who's doing the throwing away.
  • As I see some of the recent "computer" offerings like the Webzter and iToaster, I can't help but remember something the fortune program spits out on occasion...

    ...PCs will come with your breakfast cereal, you'll throw them away because your house will be littered with them...

    I haven't quoted it exactly, nor do I know who to attribute it to (and I'm too lazy to check at the moment)... but the fellow seems to be right.
  • Out of curiousity, how much does BeOS usually cost?

    It seems that unless BeOS is pretty cheap, it would be worth paying the extra $100 or so to get a (admittedly cheap) PC on top of it! I wonder if you can take Be off it, install it on a more robust machine, and stick Linux on the iToaster to use as a firewall or gateway machine...

  • Maybe $200 products wouldn't be possible, but Microworkz did just do a $299 deal that did include Win98. I picked one up because it also came with a year of free dialup from Earthlink (my existing dialup ISP). That basically made it a $50 PC to play with. That's got to make the margins MUCH leaner than the one's they can get with the iToaster.

    The Webzter (the PC I picked up from them) wasn't exactly a screamer, but Cyrix 300, 32/3.2/56K, etc. isn't bad. Of course it wasn't such a good deal if you needed to order the CD-ROM and floppy drive from them, but I had a couple of each lying around.
  • BeOS is $70 from Be directly, although you can get it online at some other places more cheaply (PC Mall, I think, sells it for $53). It should be in retail boxes next month, I think, too, so stores may have it lower. It's not dirt cheap, but it's not horrid, either. (Red Hat 6.0 is more expensive if you get the "official" release.)

    From what I've read about the iToaster, getting BeOS off it and putting Linux out it would be a challenge--it has no CD-ROM and only dial-up networking, and is about as expandable as a styrofoam brick. It's more "PC-like" than a real PC. It might be interesting to try to get Linux on it for someone up to the challenge, but success probably wouldn't bring you much useful--it'd have to be done for the "because it is there" feeling.

  • ...why would you want to get BeOS off it and put Linux on it?

    Well, I wouldn't, but I was giving what seemed to be a good answer to someone asking about the possibility of that.

    What would be the point?

    What would be the point of putting Linux on Furby? It's a hacker thing. (I know some are dreaming of $200 network gateways, but with the iToaster design that's not real likely to happen.)

    The box was made to be used with BeOS; Linux isn't the end all and be all.

    I think people need to stop thinking of this as a "$200 BeOS box." It's kind of like referring to the Philips "MyWeb" Internet TV device as a "QNX box." It's not that it's inaccurate, but it's somewhat misleading. Neither iToaster or MyWeb are meant to be PCs, even cheap ones. It's a different market.

  • Um, yea. Maybe you should read a little about an OS before you say something. There are already very nice icq clones out for Be. In fact two projects recently merged into one for further advancement. Secondly, winamp quite simply is not that great of an mp3 player. sure it has pretty skins and it can play the files but soundplay for Be is a much nicer player. Go over to BeWare for a lot the nifty software available for Be.
  • That might speed up World Dominaton(tm) by a little bit, don't you think?
  • ...if BeOS is selling cheaply enough to be in a $199 computer, more power to them - I hope they can mak $ on it because BeOS is the shite. I'm sure the "hybrid" stuff came from some marketweenie who saw that a tool or two was ported or something and knew that "Linux is hot", so they found a way to get the buzzword in.

    On the other hand, I WANT ONE OF THOSE DEATH RAYS!
  • "In the future, you're going to get computers as prizes in breakfast cereals. You'll throw them out because your house will be littered with them."

    fortune files are ascii text files with "%" on a line by itself to separate. You can use grep to search through them.
  • the other thing is that a webtv doesn't come with an easy to use office suite like this one.
  • Okay now I understand why AOL bought up ICQ and WinAMP. These are very high profile and cool apps that, at the very least, every University student uses. They aren't going to make any real money from the apps, but what if, what if, they bought them to insure that they could port them to what ever platform they decide to go with for thier AOL software. Not only do people who buy the new platforms, like the iToaster, get AOL connection, but the also get ICQ, and winAMP (therefore MP3s). Now the storage options aren't clear, but this is a pretty good strategy, and BeOS could be in the right place at the right time.

    People get the internet and what amounts to brand name, popular apps that they are familiar with. And AOL gets in the door and in this case on the set-top. Just some thoughts.

  • Um, yea. I am aware of the icq clones and mp3 players for Be, but you completely missed my point. The market for AOL is the consumer, to whom brand names matter (for better or worse). The point that I was trying to make is that AOL wold have Branded s/w to port to what ever platform they end up on. It just so happens that they chose Be and it has some great software already.

    As stupid as it sounds, the consumer market would rather using something mainstream, that they may have already used, rather than learn some new software, no mater how trivial the differences are. And in the case of the iToaster, it is not clear if it is possible to add software to it later or not.

    I think that it is a great chance for Be to show off to the world how great it is, I know if it is $200 I will buy one. But this is bigger than Be, this is about AOL and it's consumer market. Hope this makes my ideas clearer.

  • No. This is still wrong. The is no hybrid, there is no "based on ideas from", it's BeOS, pure and simple. There is no Linux involved, period.
  • Uhh.. why would you want to get BeOS off it and put Linux on it? What would be the point? The box was made to be used with BeOS; Linux isn't the end all and be all.
  • http://www.ecsl.cs.suny []

    Just one week after the last award for players in the October embedded contest, the battle rages on. BeOS gets the point after the rumor of talks between and AOL. It may happens that AOL will distribute this device for free in exchange to online subscription fees. The small iToaster can take this new market by storm. What else to say... Do you know that BeOS is written on C++?

  • "Microworkz does not run a BeOS/Linux hybrid, but an OS based on the ideas found therein."


    a) What does 'based on the ideas found therein' actually mean?

    b) Where does this 'Clarification' come from? I've not seen any other articles which have any new definite information in them about the OS...
  • Major strengths: It's outstandingly smooth. It runs fast even on outdated hardware. The user interface is very slick and easy to learn and use. Applications are easy to write, so there are a surprisingly large number of them, and they tend to be innovative instead of copies of other apps. The typical Linux graphical application is StarOffice, a precise clone of MS Office. The typical Be application is Be Productive, which is sleekly designed, fast and highly individualistic. I've done a few long documents in it and like it a lot.

    Be has many features based on digital media, thus the "Media OS" tagline. Unfortunately, the lack of FireWire support makes it all but useless for video editing. There are, however, some excellent audio applications available, and the upcoming video editing applications look like they could blow away anything on any other platform. FireWire is "coming soon".

    Disadvantages: No Microsoft Office, Netscape or Internet Explorer. The web browser, called NetPositive, is very sleek and fast (are you noticing a pattern here?) but it won't do all the things "normal" web browsers do. Mozilla and Opera are coming; hopefully they will solve this problem.

    Hardware support is still a problem; it's finicky about the type of computer it will run on.

    Investment-wise, I'm not sure how much I would bet on it. It's run through a lot of money without getting much in the way of revenues. However, it's acquired a very loyal customer base, and I think Microsoft is vunerable in the media space because people doing digital video editing want (i) something that works - virtually nothing on Windows does and (ii) something that's fast. If video really is the next big thing in computing, it could be big.

    I'm not sure if I'd place a bet for it against Microsoft because the giant could crush it pretty easily. But I wouldn't bet against it either, for it's a truly outstanding product. Hardware support is the main problem; check the Be newsgroups and it's the only significant complaint against the OS.

    Finally, I must confess that Jean-Louis Gassee has won me over. His gallic charm is something to behold, and he even answers his own email. Be's attitude mirrors its chairman's, with numerous "good guy" policies. For instance, the new R4.5 update was sent out free to all registered users of the previous version. Try asking Red Hat or SuSE to do that!

    I wouldn't invest my life savings in the company, but as a bit of a flutter, I might put a bit in and see how it did. But I'd definitely invest in the software - I have, and I don't regret doing it.


  • I don't think so. More likely, this will hasten the day when we see a "desktop" version of WinCE. Perhaps a Cassiopeia in a bigger box, modem built in, and a flexible video output (monitor/TV). This isn't a shot across the bow of Microsoft's desktop OS group -- it's a shot across the bow of WebTV, and that's about it.
  • It's a good thing the government didn't take away their "freedom to innovate" in that regard.

  • The Register [] has an article [] that adds an *very* interesting proposition: Micros~1 let this little one out of the bag in a desparate attempt to show competition exists.

    See, AOL is gonna use small cheap computers to dethrone us!

    Chimps. I say dip the demons of Redmond in Gravy Train and feed 'em all to a pack of crazed poodles...

  • >Do you know that BeOS is written on C++?

    The APIs for the BeOS are in C++. BeOS itself is written largely in C.

    In the BeOS Bible, an interview with one of the guys who ported BeOS from PPC to Intel divulged that BeOS is something around 95% "highly portable" C code (considering they had made one jump already, from the Hobbit processors in the prototype BeBoxen to the PowerPC processor in the "mainstream" BeBoxen, it's not that surprising that they'd code with portability in mind).

    In theory, BeOS could be ported to other platforms, but there's not a whole lot of market potential for BeOS to run on, say, Sun's hardware. However, if the BeOS code is fairly easy to port (for any given definition of an "easy port") then it certainly helps Be in the set-top arena.

  • I think part of it is simply to gain more exposure. BeOS is caught in the wake of Linux (at least with regards to being an alternative operating system to Microsoft's Windows), but doesn't have the catchy buzzphrase of Open Source (I'm not disparaging it; it's simply a fact of the current media that many journalists trump Open Source without actually understanding a single iota of it).

    Be's trying to gain some market share for their operating system, and in order to do it will license their OS for free, or approximations thereof. How this plays into their business plan, I'm not sure. Perhaps the licensing is based on volume, or future upgrades will cost money while the initial license is free, or... fill in the blank. As far as I know, no mention of the licensing issues has been brought up, and I don't think the Microwerkz deal falls under the "free licenses to OEMs!" offer that JLG made (IIRC, that was about preloading BOTH Windows and BeOS on the same machine with equal ability to choose between them).

    So... I don't think this cleared up the matter, but maybe shed a bit more light on it.

  • Let's see. Since it runs BeOS, the apps written for it are/will be extremely small, and won't take long to download directly to the machine. I think (i could be wrong.. it happens) this thing has USB. What's so hard about hooking up an external drive to this and installing apps, Linux, or whatever else on this thing?

    It's not really geared to the tech-heads, or to people looking for a "computer". It's an "internet appliance" and should be looked at as such. If you want a cheap machine that you can configure to your heart's content, there are other alternatives. This thing is geared to the moms and dads and grandparents who just want something to get e-mail with, maybe something to write a letter on (if it has USB, you can hook up a printer to it) check out websites. Basically those same (type of) people who bought WebTVs, but would like the ability to actually run some other software as well. Maybe this will bridge the gap between WebTV and "real computers" for a lot of people.

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    I run BeOS. The rules don't apply.
  • Finally, some clarity. I e-mailed the CEO, Rick Latman and received a nice response. The hybrid OS stuff being reported is, as we suspected, incorrect. He said that they had originally planned on adding a "Linux panel", but those plans were cancelled.

    "iToaster is a BeOS backend with a customized gui."

    With regard to third party development opportunities, he said they will exist. He did warn me that "this is not BeOS as you know it. It is a very specialized version." Hmm.

    Interesting tidbit to those of you looking for a BeOS programming job - he said "we are hiring Be programmers as fast as we can find them."

    - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
    I run BeOS. The rules don't apply.
  • i'd rather have a deathray than linux on a little computer anyway
  • "As to whether the company plans to go public, Latman declined to comment. But one can only speculate, given that the company recently changed its name from Microworkz Computer Corp. to"

    Story is here []

    Hmm... Any other potential "converts"?

  • It seems like a better product than WebTV. Alot of WebTV users are complaining that they can't run Java apps or RealAudio content. This machine may have a better chance at doing that. If this machine can capture as much market share as WebTV (1 to 2 million, I believe) then it could help BeOS to get a lot more Internet apps developed.
  • Now, don't get me wrong, I'm as pro-choice as the next guy when it comes to putting an OS on your machine (running RH5.1 at home, m'self). But a question - who exactly is the audience for this thing? No external drive, so you can't buy software off the shelf. And this thing comes with a 56k modem....meaning I have to tell my dad that if he wants WordPerfect, he needs to download it, please come back in 6 hours? And how clearly does their advertising explain that there's no monitor on the thing? Not to mention it's a sealed box. I mean, my dad might not be the biggest computer user in the world, but he knows enough to ask me how to help him upgrade his memory and his disk capacity. If I told him he can get a machine for $199 that he can't ever upgrade, he'd tell me to forget it. Just trying to figure out the point of this machine, and I hope it's not to dupe a whole bunch of paranoid customers into offering the cheapest machine they can get away with. This seems to be the antithesis to the Gateway leasing argument of "If you're afraid the machine will become obsolete, you can join this program and we'll upgrade it for you." The Microworkz spin seems to be "The machine will get obsolete fast, but you didn't pay much for it, so just throw it away and get a new one." Duane P.S. - I love that "I don't care what Microsoft thinks" line. Where was this guy 3 years ago when MS was buildings its monopoly in the first place?
  • there's GOTTA be a way that this thing can be programmed to make some kick-ass toast. after all it does use the _ideas_ of linux.
  • Opera does support Java, since version 3.50. You have to download the Java plugin and it uses that. I have used it and it works well. Also, Opera is often referred to as the leader when it comes to CSS support. Their current version supports all or nearly all (I don't recall) of CSS 1.0.
  • by Sebbo ( 28048 ) <sebbo@seb[ ]org ['bo.' in gap]> on Friday June 25, 1999 @06:31AM (#1833588) Homepage Journal
    The last paragraph of the article mentions that Microsoft is now no longer the only OS maker with a death ray. Further explanation of that remark can be found in the second article here [].
  • Maybe they are after that part of the
    market that can't or won't buy a computer
    because of cost.

    Or maybe they are after people who want a
    3rd or 4th computer for little Johnny to

    This kind of thing would be great for someone
    like my wife. She wouldn't know any different.

    I hope they sell a ton of them. If they are
    upgradeable, I'll buy a used one for $50 a
    year from now. Or would that be too much?

    Ramblings past this point.

    Back in 1985 I bought a full TRS80 model 1 for
    $50. Expansion box and 2 drives. Just because
    I could. Sold it for $100. Probably a $5000
    machine when new.
  • Still doesn't make clear why Be is licensing out their OS almost for free.

    That is the only way to world domination. If i recall correctly that is the method used by microsoft in the 80's to gain marketshare.
    As we all know a piece of hardware is useless without software to control it. Manufactures prefer to ship working products, ergo they need an OS. And as cheap as possible. So licensing Be for a token fee is not as dumb as it seems.
    It is the first step towards public recognition and acceptance.

    Besides isn't the second step in softwar evolution not to make money from the software itself, but rather to sell support?

  • No... YOU ask them. I'm afraid to.
    (Maybe we could call it the GNU Public Laser)
  • ... and you'll also get a Kaptain Krunch DES decoder ring. ;-)
    - - -
  • Is it just me, or did any one else think of professor John Frink presenting his death ray to Grampa Simpson here:

    Oh, I never thought of that ... the death ray has only evil uses...

    Back to the real world ... Heavens to marketroid! it just goes to show that people who report on IT should have a freakin' clue about what they're talking about. Those original reports about a "hybrid" OS should never have been filed because the dopes that wrote them should have called whoever made the announcement on it. Not that the death ray shouldn't have been used on the guy who made the announcement too. But reporters have really got to learn to ask the right questions, it's their job, d*&&^% it.

    Uhh, Linux not Windows ... this OS not Windows ... this OS must be Linux, right?

  • I'm not particularly familiar with the BeOS. What are its major strengths and weaknesses (as reported by users, of course, not by the company itself). Is it worth investing in? I'm always interested in trying out new toys, and so far I've only heard good things.
  • Be had a nifty booth at PC Expo, with the iToaster and a Microworkz rep tucked away in a corner. After asking a few questions about why they're not porting BeOS on to the G3 (official answer: "Because Apple won't play nice."), the giddy rep pointed me to the new iToaster. It's about the size of a VCR circa '86, and about as heavy. It does allow for printers/scanners/etc via serial and USB ports, and comes with word processing software.

    As for that whole "Linux/BeOS" shenanigan.. After the Be rep checked my entrance badge to make sure I wasn't a part of the press, I was told that the mentioning of Linux was to raise the level of interest, a PR move devised supposedly by the Prez of Be.

    I think that it's an excellent box for those who can't afford a real computer, but that may change as the price of a box & monitor drop. But at the moment, with the price being almost as low as my Playstation (and with an equally low intimidation factor), Be should stand a very good chance of gaining market share, especially with the release date timed well enough for the holidays. (October or November, if I remember correctly) They also intend to make a "kids iToaster", which from what I understood, consisted mostly of changing the icons available on the startup screen.

    Now if only the people Linux Pavilion at PC Expo had been as friendly... but that's another story.


    "...and the stains on my boots say my life is going well." -Ruby
  • So how long before we can get a Linux port of the DeathRay App?
  • Let's see what happens when you try to make internet appliances based off of linux for the average joe. I can see a little kid running in crying about how he/she just accidentally shut down the x-server and is now running in cli mode. BeOS is much better for the average joe. It is like the universal MacOS except built much, much better for next generation hardware and software concepts.
  • It comes with gobe productive 1.1.1 and net positive which are great for newbies because they are tiny, really fast and offer only the features that the average joe will want. 90% of the features in office 97/00 are BS anyway and cost you $400 more than gobe productive which is a really sweet suite and costs $80-$150 depending on how you get it. This is the beginning of the end for megalosoft. Once BeOS gets about 500,000-1,000,000 average joes using it, all hell will break loose in redmond. Because that is when Be will be marching on the microsoft compound with most of M$'s former supporters behind it.
  • Professor Frink, Professor Frink, he'll make you laugh, he'll make you think, he'll do the thing... with the guy.... eughhh.

    Way to go, Be! A stroke of luck for them, don't you think? Out of all the bundling deals that they've managed to secure (all four of them), this one has the most promise by far. If the iToaster takes off (which it has the potential to do), the BeOS will assuredly get a bit of the limelight. Their operating system will be portrayed as light, quick, and $-cheap. Which it is. But the next question in consumers' minds will be - 'What could it do on my Tri-Athlon box?'.

    Be has to license their software as cheaply as they can, or else they're not going to get any market share. We all have to hope that they won't jack up the price later.

  • The iToaster will output to your TV, apparently.
  • Statement from Microworkz' CEO and photos: =boxed
  • Doesn't anyone remember back in February when Jean-Louis Gassee dared OEMS to preload Be and Linux in defiance of Microsoft??? He said he would give BeOS FREE to OEMs willing to preload it. Check:,4153,10 13959,00.html

To write good code is a worthy challenge, and a source of civilized delight. -- stolen and paraphrased from William Safire