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Be Inc. IPO-bound 105

Dr. Tom was the first to send us the Be Inc. IPO announcement from E-Trade. Very cool OS, and I hope the sale goes well. E-Trade will be accepting apps for distribution to members, and also notes that while the registration statement has been filed, it's not been accepted by the SEC. Check out the Yahoo Biz story for more details.
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Be Inc. IPO-bound

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  • Most people (even in the geek community) dont know how large the Be userbase actually is, mainly becuase we keep fairly quiet (too busy coding and porting apps to our favorite OS). What will really make it grow is the support by hundreds of hardware and software companies willing to write drivers and programs. Keep in mind, these are not just small no-names. Creative Labs, Intel, SGI, IBM, Adaptec, Plextor, Sony, Asus, Dell, and tons more have shown strong support for the multimedia capabilites of the BeOS. Dont be suprised if all-of-a-sudden a lot more BeOS users pop up than anyone realised.

    Go Be!
  • Do you really think Microsoft can add BeOS' advantages to NT without breaking it? Microsoft is continually making strides to improve DirectX performance. However, there are early reports that future versions of NT's DirectX layer will break current and near-future DX-based games. (Here's the ZDNet article) [] What do you think would happen if MS added a low-latency timer? They'd probably have to rip the entire OS apart.

    How do you know they aren't doing anything with settops? Be is fairly well behaved when it comes to vapourware, but that doesn't mean they don't have settops in development. Besides, BeOS' small, tight, fast kernel would scale wonderfully to a settop.

    Failed to innovate? (There's that "I" word again.) Granted, Be hasn't "integrated" NetPositive or made their UI widgets skinable, but BeOS' API is absoultely brilliant. It has a logical object model, complements the architecture wonderfully, and is simple enough for an "idiot Visual Basic" programmer like myself to understand. Besides, the real innovation and the real killer apps will come from competition in the application space, not from one company building things into its operating system.

    It's hard to "screw away" advantages that are so intrinsic to the OS. Any well-written app for any platform will gain from that platform's advantages.

    You're right about advocacy, though. BeOS attracts many Mac and Amiga partisans by its very nature, so it's easy to envision Team OS/2 calibre religious fervor. Just like any other OS, BeOS advocates must build up BeOS, not tear down [Windows | Mac | Linux | etc].

    There's still plenty of work for Be to do (accelerated OpenGL, more hardware support, Java, and SBLive drivers (HINT, HINT), just off the top of my head), but this IPO may give them the infusion of cash they need to get those things done, and reach the critical mass Linux has.

    Keith Russell
    OS != Religion
  • I don't know about graphical applications - I think there is an X-server available, but I haven't tried it.

    But for text-mode applications, as far as I know the port isn't hard. I believe there is now mySQL for BeOS, for instance.

  • Wrong. "News for Nerds, Stuff that matters." I don't see any reference to Linux in there; do you? There is more to life and technology than Linux. The sooner you realize that, the better.
  • I've tried Linux a few time in the last eight years (starting with an SLS distrobution based on a 0.9x kernel) and ending with RedHat 5.2. I never got it working to my satisfaction because of all the time I needed to spend futzing around under the hood (time I'd rather spend USING apps).

    Be was up and running in just a few minutes (release 3, 3.1, 4 and 4.5) and the _ONLY_ text file I had to fart with was the hosts file.

    (Having to edit a TEXT file to tell your WM what options to put on the on-screen menu, who thought that up?)
  • I apologise for my "run well on any hardware" statement. What I meant was that it would run well on a wide range of system speeds and capabilities, which is true. What's not true, of course, is that it will run with any motherboard chipset or video card. I agree that this should be improved, but we should have some sympathy for Be as a small company that can't do everything at once.

    But I will note that BeOS supports my AMD K6/300 on my IBM Aptiva just fine. This is a more or less random "open box" system I bought at Best Buy for $ 559.

    The main reason co-existing is so important is that someone will say "Okay, I'm interested in doing cool media stuff, but at the end of the day I need to use Microsoft Office." Instead of antagonizing that guy by saying that you have to give up Office, JLG says that you can keep Office, but if you want to do cool digital media, we have the right way forward.

    I think BeOS appeals to the more pragmatic side of us: Want to run cool software that doesn't crash and burn all the time? Check out Be.

  • With Be you pay $69 (or lower at some places) for the OS. You then get EVERY dot release, fully installable, on a CD, in the mail, without messing with it... for free. Then, when they come out with a new major release, you can get that for $25 with the above qualifications. Basically, Be's "bug fix" releases are free, you only pay for big new stuff.
  • My take on it is that they are afraid. Out of (virtually) nowhere (well, it was gestating on PowerPC hardware but what geek cares about Macs?) comes along an OS that has so many of the things that Linux lacks and is gaining favorable press.

    I *think* (and I could be wrong) that they are afraid that Be will steal Linux's thunder and Linux will be an also0ran to yet ANOTHER comercial OS.

    Of course it could also be the strong neo-communist "if it ain't free it's crap" ethos in the Linux community.
  • How exactly are you measuring the BeOS userbase?
    I'd rather not rely on the numbers you pull out
    of your ass...

    BeOS is a very young OS. (And don't anyone tell
    me it has been around since 1991, because *IT* hasn't... the company has, not the OS). x86
    is the most popular platform available, and it's
    only been out for x86 for about a year and a half
    now (R3).

    For chrissakes, they haven't even put the OS out
    on store shelves yet! You can't compare it to any
    other OS's in that league yet, like Windows, Linux, Mac, etc. Wait until they get more money
    for distribution, advertisement, and of course,

    You ain't seen nothing yet.


    P.S. I bet you didn't know that a large portion
    of the EBAY stock holders are the loyal customers
    and fans of EBAY. EBAY shot through the roof for
    that very reason. BEOS will do the same. I'm going
    to be putting my money where my mouth is, too.
    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • I haven't read one internet stock prospectus
    yet that looks any good -- and they all go through
    the roof. They have to list all the possible RISKS
    in the prospectus, so they usually aren't a very
    glowing report on the company's chances.

    However, I'd never feel more comfortable betting
    my money in Vegas -- the stock market has much
    better odds if you know what you're doing.

    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • BeOS is good, granted, I first started using it when R3 came out, and it wasn't bad, R4 improved, and R4.5 is great, but again, it lacks hardware and software interopolity, just like any other operating system...Will it be a hit with consumers? I think so, possibly, due to the fact of the linux trend and people divulging away from MS products...granted the majority of computer users still use MS Products, I think within then next 4-5 years BeOS will really take off..
  • by Anonymous Coward

    You little boys call yourselves Geeks? Come on.

    I use Linux as my web server/e-mail host/Internet presence. That's what Linux is good for. If you want Unix at home, there ya go.

    BeOS is a consumer-ready, personal computer OS. It is faster than Linux at anything graphics and media-intensive, and is quite capable.

    Note that I also have Win98 installed on my x86 BeOS Pentium III PC and have 2 blue & white G3's and an iMac to boot (pun intended). Let's just say that in the time it takes any of my other machines to boot, BeOS can boot approximately 14 times (I tested it out).

    Not to mention that (like Linux), BeOS rarely ever crashes.

    Linux is not going to be a consumer-ready OS any time soon. Unix is simply not ready for consumers -- my parents could install BeOS in a few short minutes just as I did.

    And let's not go there with regards to the API! BeOS is the finest API in the land, bar none, for any kind of consumer/client-side software development. Apps with full GUI's can be built in under 100K and there's a nice POSIX interface layer which makes porting all your favorite Linux apps a breeze.

    All Be needs to beat Apple is more apps (coming soon, including some from my company, Buzzlabs []) and better hardware manufacturer support/bundling deals.

    It *will* happen -- it's just a matter of when. BeOS is the finest operating system developed for consumers TO DATE, Linux most definitely included.

    With the next major release of BeOS, y'all Linux weenies will be running for cover. The net networking system will make BeOS just as capable a server as Linux.

    Let's work and play together, folks. Wake up and check it out. It's not evil like Windows, it's not arrogant and outdated and crap like Mac OS. It's the best of all worlds, Linux features included.

    Steve Klingsporn
  • seemingly because of the headway that linux is currently making against microsoft, some people have already forgotten how difficult it is to go head to head with microsoft. linux does not compete on a commercial basis, and this gives it a certain amount of invulnerability. but be is wise to place itself where it does, because it gives bosses, third-party developers and end users the justification they need. after all, no-one ever got fired for complimenting microsoft, did they?

    intel are not dissimilar from microsoft in their competitive practice, and so it's important to keep them onside as well. don't worry, you'll see beos get the market position they deserve when the market is ready for it.
  • I like this strategy. Instead of trying to stretch themselves by developing and marketing new products, spend the money trying to get developers on board the BeOS chuck wagon.

    IIRC, BeOS has some market penetration in the digital media area, seems like Be should try and sweet talk Adobe and Avid into supporting BeOS.
  • I agree with you in a lot of areas, but sure it might be as capable as linux at running as a server or a router and what not, but the reason linux users use linux, is because its free. BeOS cant take that road. As for linux, it wont die, because its not depending on "sales". It just depends on the community and the coders.

    BeOS might have a lot of features and maybe (soon) some great apps. However, it is going to have to create a HUGE hype to get even near the size of the linux community.

    I have nothing against BeOS, the more OS's the merrier, im anti-monopolistic (if thats even a word heh).

  • With the next major release of BeOS, y'all Linux weenies will be running for cover. The net networking system will make BeOS just as capable a server as Linux.

    A *single-user* server? Yeah, sounds great.


  • Quite frankly, it's an OS that's ready for prime time--it fulfills the promise which the Mac used to have.

    Umm... no. It's not ready for prime time.

    Look at the list of things Be doesn't support:
    * DVD Playback - the number-one reason I don't sit in BeOS all the time.
    * SCSI Support - very poor, the variety of devices is very narrow.
    * Consumer 3D Hardware - No TNT? No go.
    * Consumer 2D Hardware - Be needs video drivers, badly.
    * Multiuser - Or even multiple user profiles!
    * Remote administration

    Don't get me wrong, I like using the BeOS. It's a well-crafted piece of closedware, with a clean interface, an absurdly straightforward installation procedure, a nice API, fantastic multiprocessor support, and lots of potential. But those things don't make it ready for prime time. A boatload of drivers are still needed before Be has anything other than a really, really cool toy to offer.

    I admit this is getting better as we speak, but it's blatantly incorrect to state that BeOS is ready for prime time. It only runs usably on less than one out of three machines, and even then, there are some things missing here and there.

    I'd write some drivers myself, instead of just bitching about it, but I know fsck-all about good driver coding, and I'd be sure to do more harm than good. And of course, like everyone else, I can fall back on the "no time" excuse, too!
  • check out the old Be web site [] Its still available and things like BeWare are still being updated. The worst thing about BeOS is all the terrible puns :P
  • I wonder how a dual or quad PIII(or K7 someday) would compare, pricewise, to the Alpha? You are correct in that a Alpha version would be great but I think it is too high up the scale right now when a dual Celeron is very cheap and a Quad Xeon is available too. It is the SMP capabilities in BeOS that allow this. Of course dual/quad Alphas might be quicker then a O2, but that is a very highend target that is too high and small for Be to shot for now. Good ideas but the comodity x86 market is a good place for Be now. IMHO
  • "I think they're stepping into the market to make
    a quick buck and thats the bottom line."

    I think you don't know what you're talking about,
    and that's the bottom line.

    They will make 50-60 million on this IPO,
    regardless of how high it skyrockets, or how low
    it falls on the first day of trading...

    That 50 million will be spent pretty quickly on
    advertisements, distribution channels, engineers,

    And just how exactly do you think a public company
    can make a "quick buck"? It's not like Gassee can
    just split up the 50 million with the rest of his
    employees -- a public company is answerable to
    its shareholders.

    In other words, a flawed argument on your part.

    "I bought the BeOS 4 OS for 59 bucks to try it
    out and their lack of drivers sucked as much as
    their technical support."

    You act as if the information on what hardware
    was supported was kept hidden... they practically
    SCREAMED that Release 4 was for geeks and
    enthusiasts, and was only supported on a limited
    amount of hardware. You could even look up what
    drivers were available from 3rd parties on their
    BeWare site. If your hardware was not supported,
    and you bought it anyway, then that is your

    As for their tech support, I have had good results
    from them in general, as I have heard from other
    users as well.

    "The lack of security on the OS is also a joke."

    So I assume you've broken into a BeOS machine
    over a network? How'd you do it? Seems like it'd
    be quite hard and all, considering it ain't
    multi-user nor shipped with a whole ton of

    Why are there so many Unix-using Star Trek fans?
    When was the last time Picard said, "Computer, bring
  • >I admit this is getting better as we speak, but
    >it's blatantly incorrect to state that BeOS is
    >ready for prime time. It only runs usably on
    >less than one out of three machines, and even
    >then, there are some things missing here and

    Someone isn't listening. As I said, the lack of hardware support is a function of low profile which is a function of poor marketing (the "complement to Windows" crap). If they had challenged Windows vocally, like Linux has, they would have gotten media attention-->high profile-->lots of developers. Aside from which--one out of three machines wouldn't be bad, if they had actually marketed themselves onto all those machines. They failed by not being vocal, and they boxed themselves into a niche. But I'll address a few of your points anyway...

    >Look at the list of things Be doesn't support:
    >* DVD Playback - the number-one reason I don't sit in BeOS all the time.

    So, you usually sit around watching DVD movies all the time? Most of us have better uses for our computers. I mean, DVD support is *fun*, but won't be a necessity for another few years--by which time Be, as long as they pull their marketing act together and start shouting, will surely support all major DVD-ROMs and DVD-RAMs. Being the "Media OS", I bet they're working on it hard right now and will support a few major brands in the next release.

    >* SCSI Support - very poor, the variety of devices is very narrow.

    They're right not to have SCSI support, because SCSI is as good as dead. There are FAR TOO MANY different SCSI devices which lack any real compatibility standards--this isn't Be's fault, it's the fault of SCSI manufacturers everywhere. Aside from which, SCSI is a dying market--USB is kicking it around now. Many USB implementations actually outperform SCSI implementations in real-world performance tests--just look at all those peripherals tests in PC magazines. And how many of us have SCSI racks at home? I didn't think so. USB is the future, SCSI is the past.

    >* Consumer 3D Hardware - No TNT? No go.

    They're working on it. You can't expect them to have all this support for hardware when, as I said earlier, they shot themselves in the foot with marketing and lost out on the chance to recruit a lot of the chaps who are now developing in the Linux community.

    >* Consumer 2D Hardware - Be needs video drivers, badly.

    As I said above...

    >* Multiuser - Or even multiple user profiles!
    >* Remote administration

    These last two--how many of us need them? Only corporate administrator a**holes or people who can't be trusted to run a machine (i.e., the stupid or malicious) need remote administration. Lack of remote administration is NOT what's preventing them from being a challenger for the desktop market--as I said, *low profile* is. Low profile is *also* the source of their lack of drivers and hardware support. As for user profiles--the same is true: not an obstacle to the desktop market. They suck anyway by just taking up useless space; standard configurations should work for each user of a multiuser machine, and if you're talking about security then nothing beats using encrypted volumes for each user anyway, with the passwords held by administrators as well as employees. My understanding is that Be will support encrypted volumes soon.
  • Microsoft is as vulnerable as it's going to get right now--and has been ever since the trial got into full swing. But what happened? Microsoft mentioned BeOS as a "competitor" to Windows during the trial...and Gassee denied it! Mistake. He should have *embraced* it, and come out shouting to the rooftops that "Be is better than Windows, easier to use than a Mac, and as stable as Linux!" But Be didn't do that. They pussied out and now they're never going to get much of the desktop market--unless maybe they smarten up and adopt a vocal, anti-Windows stance. But they're not going to do it--they're too "nice" and it will be/has been their undoing...
  • Hardware prices are falling through the floor, everywhere. The alpha I built tipped the scales at about $1400, its a pretty simple system, and obvsiouly a graphics person would want more, but just to give you an idea of how not outrageous the prices are. 600mhz alpha, 256MB ecc sdram, 4.5 gig uw scsi hdd, 40x cd-rom, millennium II 8mb. Where as I have no idea how much a quad pIII or maybe just a dual xeon would cost I'll be dollars to donuts its alot more.
  • at least, that's what Be claims.
  • While you've raised some pretty good points, I think that BeOS R4.5 does have an adequate level of hardware support for common configurations. Not a good level, but an adequate level.

    • The SCSI support isn't that dramatic, but it supports most of the Adaptec chipsets and some Buslogic and Symbios chips.
    • It supports a fair number of the major sound cards, too--the only popular ones missing at the moment are SoundBlaster Live and Aureal-based cards, both of which should be out soon. (The SB Live drivers already exist, but haven't been released).
    • While it doesn't support hardware acceleration on anything but Voodoo 2/3 cards yet, that's not the same as saying the cards are unusable. It has 2D acceleration on many popular cards--and can use nearly any card that's VESA 2.0-compatible.

    Would it be better if it could do hardware-accelerated OpenGL on TNT-based cards? Sure, and I suspect there'll be drivers that support that for non-Voodoo cards before R5.

    But even if you just subscribe to the "media" schtick, the lack of 3D hardware acceleration isn't that important if your definition of media is, say, audio or video editing. With those the framework is already there, and in practice, not just theory. (Visit Cirque de Soleil in Orlando, or the Broadway production of "Ragtime," or the video-editing demonstration at the ZEUM hands-on museum in LA.) What about web design work? Or 2D "cel-style" animation with Lost Marble's Moho, a program I haven't seen the likes of on any other platform yet?

    Sure, there are holes there, but it's not like the initial Intel release anymore. We're talking potholes now, not gaping sinkholes. And, I agree with the commenter who disputed that remote administration and multiuser capability are make-or-break features for a large percentage of the audience. (They're certainly not important to me--I'm running Linux now, but I'm just one user, after all. And maybe your office is better than mine, but at work I really don't want my company's IS department trying to adminster my PC for me. NT is annoying enough without SMS futzing with it, thank you very much!)

  • The IPO will provide them with the capital that they need to pursue just that issue. Of course, whether it works or not is a matter of speculation.

    Something that appeals to me about Be, as opposed to, say, Yahoo or Excite, is that that Be actually has a product, a physical "thing" that they can sell. Rather than being a nebulous, non-producing company, they do have something to sell. Now, that may not make any difference if the operating system ends up being another OS/2, but it does make them somewhat more traditional than the current crop of Internet companies.

    That being said, I can say that I have no intention of investing my money in Be. I don't think that they are poised to step in as a replacement for anyone. They certainly don't compete with Microsoft and they aren't the media darling that is Linux. But perhaps they will find a niche.

    Oh, and I do use BeOS 4.5 on one of my systems, but only because they sent it to me for free!

  • I dunno, the BeOS is a good OS, but it suffers the same problem as any OS not widely used: no apps. Will an IPO really solve this?
  • Well, their lead underwriter isn't exactly a bulge-bracket white-shoe firm. While other tech or dotcom companies have benefited from the publicity of Wall Street news coverage (Amazon or eBay anyone?), I think Be's IPO will be very quiet.
  • Looking at all that gold coin you are lounging on over on After Y2K [], you could buy probably pick up a considerable amount of Be's IPO! Hey, can I come to your next pool party? Such pretty girls....
  • I wish everyone's business well, but I gotta be honest here. I just do not see a large groundswell of userbase forming.

    Just a bunch of daytraders looking for the next 'tech' IPO they think that they can schmooze a buck from.

    I'd bet more people use FORTH than Be.
  • I dont feel good about the IPO announcement by Be. There are pros and cons in going public, but in my perspective, the cons outweight the pros.
    My main problem with public companies is that it tends to degrade the character of a company. Whenever you give up a part of your control (as the head of a company) to a guy with money, you lose a lot
    When big money starts to get involved, the main focus of the company is going to shift from making the best possible OS, to the most profit. This is a general statement. Of course, private companies seek to make profit too, and yes, sometimes profit and making a better products are not mutually exclusive.
    When it comes down to the line, and there is a tough decesion to make between short term profitability, and the general health of the product, the publically controlled companies will generally choose the former, while the private company has more of a probability of taking the hard road (depending of course, on the head)
    I have nothing concrete to lay down, these are just my feelings about the issue.

  • Yeah, god forbit anyone here ever bought software.. Give me a break, its $90, thats less than a upgrade to a Microsoft OS, and a bit more than Redhat charges for the book set of Redhat 6..
    Stan "Myconid" Brinkerhoff
  • It's difficult to guess how much money Be Inc. will raise from their IPO, but it's probably their only way to take the company anywhere. Ideally, they'll get some more press and some money to spend on marketing (oops, I meant "branding"). Maybe they'll attract the attention of a few bigger players (internet media companies or people like Creative Labs) and gain a few partnerships.

    Can you imagine a partnership between Creative and Be Inc? If Creative (along with EMU and Ensoniq) built a mega-featured music workstation using BeOS, I know I'd be drolling.... I'm picturing something that looks almost like an iMac, only with lots of wonderful analog knobs all over the place... yum...

    Anyhow, a big influx of cash never hurt anyone (ehem). I just hope that E-Trade knows what they're doing with this offering...

  • E*Trade is not the underwriter for this offering. They are just another brokerage who has access to an allotment of shares to sell.

    The underwriters are Volpe Brown Whelan & Company and Needham & Company.

    After reading through the prospectus, I have to say that I'd feel more comfortable taking my cash to Las Vegas and throwing it down on the craps table. They definitely have a very, very weak position in the industry, both with their (only) product and with their large accumulation of debt.

  • I'm glad to see that Be is doing well. Quite frankly, it's an OS that's ready for prime time--it fulfills the promise which the Mac used to have.

    But I think what's really hurt them in the long run is their very "niceness" and lack of aggression. Yes, they're the "Media OS" extraordinaire, and marketing themselves as that got their feet in a lot of doors. But they should have expanded on that once they did get a foothold--they should have started a long time ago to market themselves as a mainstream OS, and the perfect choice for "grown-up Mac users" so to speak. As someone who started out on Macs, at a college full of Macs, I have a special liking for BeOS which is everything MacOS *should* have become. But, thanks to the stereotype of Be as a "niche" OS, few people outside the technobubble ever even hear of Be. If they'd been aggressive, said and done a few of the things the Linux community has done and said about Microsoft and their kind of software, then they would have gotten the press necessary to raise their visibility a long time ago.

    Think about it: Linux has the visibility, and is waiting on the GUI-liciousness to move into the seat occupied by Windows. BeOS, on the other hand, has the smoothness of silk and is easy enough for WebTV'er to use, while incredibly robust and capable--but it lacks the visibility of Linux. Of course it also lacks the hardware support which Linux offers, but *that* is also a function of visibility--Be would have lots of developers, if it were more visible, and so higher profile would have given it enough hardware support to seriously push on Windows right now.

    There's the Catch-22, which can be reduced to what I said in the beginning--Be got its foot in the door by being "the Media OS", but once they did they should have become as vocal as the Linux community, as persistent about the superiority of their OS, and they should have actively dragged potential developers to their camp through the media attention they could have gotten. But they missed out, and now Linux has come up from behind and become *the* challenger which Be could have been. Just my 2 cents...

    * * * *
    "Experience should teach us to be most on our guard to protect liberty when the government's purposes are beneficient..."--Justice Brandeis les/page1.html
  • Which, by the way, is the majority of Windows
    users. So, Be has a HUGE userbase. Check out some
    of the IRC channels, the web sites, all the companies porting software, and the software base as of right now (Yes, there IS a ton of software available!). I personally use BeOS because I know the OS and GUI are locked source and will always be under control, so I wont have any incompatabilities like I did with Linux and E. There is finally a TRUE saviour, and it sure isn't Linux!

  • I ran Be r4 and a while ago i got r4.5 in the mail. I have yet to try r4.5 because in the mean time I had sold my x86 box and built an alpha. With all this talk of Be I got to thinking, if they ported BeOS to the alpha that would kick ass. The 21264 has all sorts of mvi instructions built in which resemble the mmx/3dnow instructions in the x86 world, which are all designed to help multi-media content creators. (IMHO) the alpha is definitly one of the better processors out there, being 64 bit risc, and all that, besides its fast as anything. I just think it too bad Be seems to be chained to the most mainstream of mainstream for hardware support, although they do support the ppc, which gives me a little hope that they might atleast consider porting to the alpha, becuase it is the fastest platform out there, and thats what most of the "media" people are looking for because every day thier prodoctivity is dependant on how fast thier machine is.

    Sorry for the rambling, but two things I loved, BeOS and the alpha, just the thought of them together is enough to well....i get all warm inside :)
  • Yeah, I kinda agree with you -- especially about the point about having only ONE product. They'd be much better off moving some of their resources towards developing applications which really take advantage of their platform and maybe develop a (small) base of USERS instead of merely people who just want to add to their collection of OSes to choose from when they reboot.

    However, I really do think that they have technology that they can work with to become successful. The world doesn't really *need* another general purpose operating system, although if they start out working to penetrate a very specific market (i.e. your average techno artist) they could probably undercut problems with compatability and a lack of applications since they initially only need one well written app. (yes, I was serious about the possibilities making music workstations).

    Assuming there are enough people to throw their money on the metaphorical craps table, it might give them enough resources to switch directions. But if they still think that they'll be able to sell people yet another general purpose operating system, they're seriously deluded.

    By the way, thanks for correcting my assumption that E*Trade was the underwritter (rather than Volpe Brown Whelan & Company and Needham & Company). From the post, it looked like yet another attempt at one of those lame dutch auctions.

  • I don't think this dude is a troll. I don't see how ANYONE is going to make money with Be stock. Be hasn't made a dime. It's gone through SO much money and has little to show for it. Look how far Linux has come with NO VC and thousands of individuals. Be is trying to carve too much of a nich and it won't survive in the long run. If you are already giving the masses the choice of Winblows, Mac, and Linux, what incentive is there to go with BeOS? I think it's a great OS, but it doesn't offer anything really new to me.
    This IPO is a last gasp, IMO. It just follows on the heels of all these other IPOs that are tech-related. Let's see if it tanks like half of them.
  • Is because Linux has started its downhill decent
    of being overhyped, overtalked, and generally the people that support it are mostly all pompous jerks (Ever try and get help from a Linux user on IRC or via email? Maybe even off one of the many web sites?). Granted, thats such a large generalization, but the news scene is definately seeing it, with reports how Linux really isnt any faster than NT, etc, etc... We dont WANT to think we are the best OS, we dont WANT to try and say how much better we are, we just want people to give it a try and see for themselves. We shouldnt HAVE to make noise.
  • by joq ( 63625 )
    IMHO I think they're stepping into the market to make a quick buck and thats the bottom line. I bought the BeOS 4 OS for 59 bucks to try it out and their lack of drivers sucked as much as their technical support. After e-mailing them with a simple question last month they've yet to respond. The search on their site is inconsistent and turned up "Under Re-Construction" pages that havent been updated according to the site since 1998. Now why would someone fork over cash to a company with the lack of support they have? Take into consideration that even crappy OS'es like MickeySoft send you a templated answer. While they may BS you with some 0-day irrelevant message it's nice to know at least you get an autoresponder.

    The lack of security on the OS is also a joke.

    Just my opinions, flame away.

  • Amazon and eBay are established Internet sites that were popular (albeit unprofitable) long before their IPO's. BeOS is an unpopular (from a mainstream viewpoint) company with a very closed niche market.

    People bought AMZN and EBAY because they took advantage of a new medium, the Internet. BeOS has been trying to break into the OS market for far too long. If you're trying to buy a software company based on hype and promise, buy Red Hat. The technology community has far more faith in Linux than BeOS.

    Sorry to burst your bubble.
  • Everyone who uses a Sun Microsystems computer uses Forth, kind of. It's burned into the PROM's. Oh, and the Postscript printer language is heavily based on Forth, too. I seem to recall hearing a theory that one could create a postscript document that when sent to an HP laserjet (with the ethernet card installed) would turn the printer into a web server.

  • >Dude! You haven't tried beos on your system
    >right? I am running Beos on my Amd k6-2 450 on
    >my system. did you try out the beos demo yet?

    *Your* mobo and glue chipset are supported, obviously; but my motherboard and chipset are *not*. Nor is my video card--it has a different chipset than any of the cards Be supports, so as they themselves say in the video card compatibility section: "if it isn't on the list, basically identical to a card on the list, or it doesn't use the same chipset as a card on the list--don't ask if it'll work; it won't."
  • Lots of people use Be, and more importantly when people see it demoed or try it for themselves the overwhelming majority just LOVE it and many of those actualy go out and buy it.

    Now that linux has woken people up to the idea of alternatives to windows, BeOS's ease of use and dead simple install put it in a great position to to appeal to Windows refugees. As a computer geek I learnt alot (and enjoyed) the challenges of installing & using linux( i started with linux back in 0.9.18 with a slackware install) but even today with much better installs & desktops available, your average user doesn't have (or want to have) the skills needed to properly use linux.

    Although BeOS makes a great general purpose desktop OS, their 'Media OS' strategy is a good one: ports of products such as Bryce 4 & Cinema 4D as well as the various professional A/V mixing & editing tools provide Be with a toehold that will (hopefully) keep their head above financial water long enough for more general user type apps to mature (and these are coming along nicely)

    The bottome line is that the BeOS is just too good to go away no matter what happens to BE, Inc.

  • "It sounds as though you're miffed that your hardware isn't listed and haven't given Be a go because of this. I recommend you look into getting one of their demo CDs and see if it doesn't work with your system. You may be pleasantly surprised."

    Dude, I *tried* it on a different system, and I like it. I am *not* miffed that my hardware isn't supported--I had my computer made-to-order just a month ago, so if I'd wanted to run BeOS on this particular box I could have used components which are explicitly supported. *I didn't want to*, because now that Linux is being GUI-fied I'm going to be putting Linux on it. Why? Because as much as I like Be, as good as it is, its lack of a ton of coders (which Linux has) means that I'm not going to get the stuff *I* specifically want for Be any time soon, whereas it's available for Linux *now*. Linux is going to expand in market share; Be won't, unless it starts being VOCAL. Now, I refrained from saying anything bad about Be in my above posts, because I *like* Be and because *there isn't anything bad* about Be. only mentioned some of its *drawbacks*, which are all true.

    "Regrdless, please refrain from posting FUD like the content of the first paragraph of your post."

    Well, FUD you, too! But seriously, don't mistake honest critique for FUD. The fact is, I think Bf*cked up by not being more vocal and shouting to the hills the merits of their product. That caused them to have fewer developers than they would have gotten if they'd garnered attention by saying "We're better than Windows, easier to use than a Mac, and as reliable as Linux." Lack of developers in turn (compared to, say, the Linux community) led to lack of broad hardware support. They specifically target themselves at high-end users which, even when they support mid-range users, is annoying. Like when they said that sh*t about AMD on their hardware compatibility page--they may be compatible with a fair number of AMD chipsets, but it still pisses me off that they'd say it. And *not all alternative chipsets work fine*, as you imply above. Many do. *Many don't*. Grow up and accept an honest critique as an honest critique, and look at the good ramifications of some of my suggestions instead of crying FUD.
  • I like BeOS, I even have it installed on my computer, but I never boot it. Why? Because I can do everything I want and more in OS/2. OS/2 Warp 4 is light years ahead of BeOS in terms of application and software support. For starters, OS/2 has two major office suites: Smart Suite and Star Office. OS/2 also has Netscape Communicator. OS/2 runs a lot of Unix apps, including Gimp, thanks mostly to its excellent Unix emulation (XFree86 and emx). OS/2 also runs DOS apps better than any other OS, and it runs Windows 3.1 apps and a small number of Win32 apps. OS/2 also has top-notch Java support, ranked #1 in performance time and again.

    OS/2 also has 10 years of hardware support. Lots of IHV's still write OS/2 drivers (Crystal Semi, Matrox, 3COM, Adaptec, etc) but don't even care about BeOS.

    A Be engineer said earlier this year that he think s there are 25,000 BeOS users out there. 25K!?!?!? That's tiny!!! OS/2 has easily two orders of magnitude more users than that (granted, a lot of them are in banks, but it still counts).

    Many of you might think that OS/2 is dead. Well, if you just compare the numbers, then it means that BeOS is stillborn.
    Timur Tabi
    Remove "nospam_" from email address

  • I certainly understand the skepticism of other readers when confronted with the bare facts behind the Be IPO. And certainly I wouldn't make a short-term investment in it; the IPO itself is as likely to sink as to rise.

    But for the long term, I think there are some interesting factors at work here.

    • Applications. Yes, there is no Microsoft Office for BeOS. But that has let interesting little companies such as GoBe [] and BeatWare [] produce genuinely innovative products at very low prices. There are at least two companies producing professional-level video editing systems for the BeOS. With Be's ability to produce astonishing multi-media performance compared to NT or MacOS, I think this is an exceptional opportunity for the hapless consumer, burdened with poor-quality Windows products in the video editing space, to use a worthwhile and cost-effective solution.

    • Loyalty. Those who use BeOS love it with similar fervor to OS/2, Amiga, Linux and Mac users. The main thing that sets BeOS apart is that it's designed to co-exist with Windows, so you don't have to give up your Windows to use BeOS. It's a lot like Microsoft's oh-so-successful transition between DOS and Windows - you could ignore Windows, but when you wanted to use it, it was there. At $ 69.99, BeOS is an impulse purchase, just like Red Hat Linux without the complex installation. No hefty investment in additional hardware needed, which I think is key to its success.

    • Quality. Like Linux, BeOS is rock solid. It stays up. Unlike Linux, it has a coherent GUI that's slick, easy to learn and consistent. It was designed from the ground up to run well on any hardware, but to take advantage of multi-processing when available. Also unlike Linux, downloading and installing commercial applications is very slick and smooth.

    • Installation ease. If your hardware is supported - and it's looking pretty good for new PCs - BeOS is trivial to install. Put the CD in the drive, boot, answer a question about partition size (well explained in the manual), and you're off.

    I think BeOS is a compelling solution for the type of person who just wants to do things with their computers. They can dabble in graphics with the arty programs available, try out sleek and smooth video editing systems, and even write documents and spreadsheets with GoBe. The weakest point is the web browser, which cannot access web sites relying on JavaScript. But that will change once Bezilla and Opera appear on the scene.

    I see BeOS sneaking through the back door of computing, and I'm betting this is exactly what Jean-Louis Gassee wants. If I had a balanced stock portfolio of $ 50k or more, I'd throw $ 500 his way and let him run with the ball. I think it will be one heck of a ride.

  • by iota ( 527 ) on Tuesday July 06, 1999 @08:55PM (#1815977) Homepage
    What Slashdot needs is an IPO icon and category... how about a picture of a bandwagon full of money? Seems so many start-ups and businesses we've known for so long are now stockmarket-bound :) I'm just waiting for Transmeta to hop on the IPO bandwagon.

    "I welcome you all to the first shareholders meeting for Transmeta Corp. I would like to tell you how our product development is going, but then I'd have to kill you. Thank you all for investing, and don't worry! We'll release something, someday!"

    When's the Slashdot IPO? I'd invest... "Buy now! Own your stake of Rob! Traded on NASDAQ, symbol SDOT!!"

  • well, Yahoo and Excite would probably be more worthwhile investmenst, after all what do CBS, ABC and NBC "sell"? they don't sell anything. and even though be does sell *somthing* they don't sell much. I admit, Yahoo is a little over valued for my taste... :)
    "Subtle mind control? Why do all these HTML buttons say 'Submit' ?"
  • When an investor considers investing in Be, they are not investing in the current quality of the product; they are investing in the concept of Be and the mission of the company. As long as the current result falls in line with the general mission of the company, it can be assumed that the company in question is on course.

    If a company had to be extremely successful, popular, and reliable before they IPOed, trying to have a startup (especially tech startups) in this world would be extremely different than it is today. Companies such as Yahoo (NSDQ: YHOO) and (NSDQ: AMZN) are fairly accurate examples of this situation.

    While Be doesn't currently have the application base to be a strong competitor against the other OSes, one should evaluate the possibilities that will evolve as the company (and software!) develops.
    Daniel Baker - -

  • Well, it's a good thing I'd already started on that FORTH port for Be! :-)
  • considering that there is only one general purpose OS for PC's which is Windows 98-yes it's so bad BeOS could try to take its place
  • I don't understand why so many /.ers seem to have a big thing against Be. I don't want to start a flame war, but I don't understand the feelings. Remember that Be is an end-user OS, designed to compete (or complement) Windows 9x or the MacOS. It's not designed for geeks. True, us geeks like it and mess with it but it's easier to install and configure than any *nix variant. Here's what else y'all seem to be saying:

    • No apps. Um hello, how many affordable, high-quality apps were there for linux about 3 years ago? Remember that Be has only been on the x86 platform for about 2 years.
    • It's commercial. True. They charge $60 for the OS. But with RedHat being sold at CompUSA for $79.95, it's hard to say that Linux hasn't gone commercial.
    • No user base. Again, I ask you how many Linux users there were just 2 or 3 years ago.

    So other than the fact that it's not some flavor of *nix, what are the real arguments... or is that the only beef?

  • Logic means nothing in tech-stock trading...
  • Since Be knows they're going to be pigeon-holed as to what role their OS fulfills, they decided to be the ones to assign themselves a niche. Now, they're going to raise capital (IPO) because they know they need to get applications for their OS. They target their perceived niche first, giving those involved in such media applications an overwhelming reason to use BeOS. Once they've conquered that market, they have a beachhead from which they can go after a broader segment.

    Looking into the future, "media" isn't a bad segment to be in. Although "media" sounds like a small segment, it's really a great marketing ploy that is much more general than it sounds. How many times do you read about multimedia, graphis, or other related buzzword? While the applications they target first (video production apps or high-end graphic modeling) are niche markets, they translate well into the broader segments.

    I hope Be succeeds. It looks like a nice OS.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Face it -- This is just an attempt at publicity. 50-60 mil isn't that much money, and Be has burned through tons of VC and has had tons of debt. There aren't many things that Be can do that Windows NT can't, and the few things that be does lead in (mainly pseudo real-time features), Microsoft could add to Windows. As for set-top boxes, as I understand it, that's just something they're saying for the IPO and they aren't really doing much in the regard. They have been screwing away the advantages they had (Multiprocessor/Thread support) for the past 8 years or so, and have since pretty much failed to innovate. As to the poster who mentioned Be zealotry compared to OS/2, Amiga, Mac and Linux zealotry, just look where it got the first three platforms to see how much that matters. For Be to get anywhere they need a killer app, and they don't have one, and don't look like they're going to get one.
  • Umm, "It was designed from the ground up to run well on any hardware"--*not*. I wish it were, but it isn't. Be just doesn't have the coders right now to support very much hardware. You mention that it looks good for people with new hardware--false. It only looks good for people with new, standard hardware from the top few major vendors. My kick-ass K6-2 450, just a month old, has a great motherboard--whose chipset isn't supported. Forget about it if you have an older but decent computer with an older but good graphics board--which is a HUGE segment of the market which Be *should* go after. How many people have brand-new boxes, compared to those who use PCs which are a couple of years old--in my post above, I mentioned that Be *should* have gone after the whole market, not just a niche market, after it got its foot in the door by being a "Media OS". Let's face it: Be could have been a serious challenger to Windows (it's certainly *better* than Windows), but they adopted this "complement to Windows" strategy which is going to be their undoing. Non-media-based companies aren't going to buy it, colleges aren't going to buy it, and most regular people who want to change or experiment are going to get Linux instead because of its high profile compared to Be. BTW, I found it annoying and insulting that the Be hardware support page mentioned that they're only concentrating on supporting Intel processors and glue chipsets designed for the Intel--again, they're alienating a big segment of their potential market: the kind of person likely to buy an alternative OS as an "impulse purchase," as you put it, is the same kind of person who's likely to buy an AMD chip or some unusual, unsupported hardware.

    I really don't think Be will make much headway unless it starts to make the same noise Linux makes--a lot of people try Linux for the same reason Apple sales skyrocketed after that Superbowl commersial where the hot chick throws a sledgehammer through the screen of Big Brother (representing IBM): they want to be part of the defiance of Microsoft, they want to rebel, and ride the wave of coolness and chic which accompanies rebellion. But Be doesn't rebel against Microsoft, they pussy out and say what a great complement to Windows they are. That's not the way to make a product attractive--they should say "We're better than Windows, and as easy to use as a Mac. We're the best of both worlds, and as stable as Linux." *That's* the way to make their OS attractive. *That* would have gotten them sales on par with those of boxed Linux distros--maybe even greater. But choosing the "safe" path, the "quiet" marketing, has carved out a small niche where they'll stay until they learn to hawk their wares as loudly as Linux.
  • "There aren't many things that Be can do that Windows NT can't"
    That's not the point. BeOS does what it's designed to do extremly well, unlike NT, which is (trying to) be Jack of all trades, and master of none.
    "As for set-top boxes, as I understand it, that's
    just something they're saying for the IPO and they aren't really doing much in the regard"
    HELLO? You can buy $200 set-top boxes NOW.
    Sheesh, just look at MS roadmap for Neptune (MS next consumer OS) it looks like a brochure from Be. MS is starting to be worried, I suspect...

  • ...and that's no bugfix upgrade ala W98...

  • With all due respect, while the above poster may have made a slightly overzealous statement about supporting any hardware, your reply is nothing short of FUD, and it doesn't appear you've actually tried the OS.

    The wonderful thing about Be is that they are constantly under-promising, while over-delivering. For example, in R3 and R3.1, the main supported soundcard was the Creative Labs Soundblaster AWE64, and the AWE32 wasn't listed as working, because the driver didn't work with all of the board revisions of the AWE32. Nonetheless, many AWE32 and even SB16 users were completely surprised when they booted Be and their sound "just worked."

    I demoed BeOS for a few of my coworkers not long ago and installed it on both an old K6-233 (with a crappy serial mouse made by a company named Kensiko) and a slightly newer K6-2 350. On both machines, neither of which had been designed to be BeOS compatible, nor was their hardware listed (verbatim) on the compatibility list, everything from sound, to network cards, to the SCSI card in the 350 machine, just worked. (I should mention that during the demo almost everyone in the building stopped by and said how cool BeOS looked, and they wanted to give it a try on their own machine)

    Also, while many of their current users are alternative OS people, and hence more likely to buy alternative chipsets (which it works JUST FINE with, BTW) keep in mind that they are doing their best to target the OS at the media people. Most people involved in working with media, be it sound, 2 graphics, or 3d design, are some of the only people that can honestly say they need the fastest systems on the market to make themselves more productive (gamers notwithstanding :) ), and are more likely to have the higher performing CPUs like the Pentiums as opposed to the AMD stuff... (Admittedly, this will most likely change with the K7 coming soon!) It sounds as though you're miffed that your hardware isn't listed and haven't given Be a go because of this. I recommend you look into getting one of their demo CDs and see if it doesn't work with your system. You may be pleasantly surprised.

    Regardless, please refrain from posting FUD like the content of the first paragraph of your post.
  • Did you read the risk factors that they present? They aren't planning on using the money to develop new products for the OS. The OS is their only product. From page 8 of the prospectus:

    We have only one product that may never gain broad market acceptance.

    BeOS is our only product and we will derive all our revenue for the foreseable future from sales of BeOS. To date, BeOS has been used primarily by a limited number of enthusiast and application developers...

    They go on to say on page 9:

    Our success depends upon availability of third party applications that operate on BeOS.

    Demand and market acceptance for BeOS will significantly depend upon the availability of an increasing number of third party applications that operate on the BeOS platform. These applications include video and audio editing programs, 3D games, creative audio and video content development and manipulation, and personal productivity applications.

    We intend to encourage the development of an increasing number of applications that operate on BeOS by attracting third party developers to the BeOS platform and by maintaining our existing developer relationships through marketing, technical support and financial incentives for third party developers. However, third party developers are generally under no obligation to develop applications based on the BeOS platform.

Executive ability is deciding quickly and getting somebody else to do the work. -- John G. Pollard