In 1990, Be, Inc. a fresh new company is founded by Jean-Louis
Gassée (un Québécois!) and Steve Sakoman. In October
1995, the first version of BeOS, running on a PowerPC SMP BeBox, is
demonstrated and available in April 1996. It is a brand new operating
system, started from scratch. Soon after, in August 1996, BeOS for the
PowerMac is demonstrated and released in July 1997 as BeOS R2. The first
x86 Intel version was released in March 1998, it was BeOS R3. November
1998, BeOS R4 was released for both the PowerMac and x86. BeOS R4.5, mostly
a maintenance release with new device drivers and more multimedia codecs,
appeared in June 1999. BeOS R5 with yet some more software updates
(RealPlayer, more codecs, CDDA, MP3, PCMCIA, NTFS, ext2, USB, more video
and sound card drivers, etc. but still no MPEG-1 or DVD doh) can now be
downloaded for free!
BeOS is a brand new operating system which does not rely on any old
technology that needs to be kept for backward compatibility. It is
therefore the most efficient operating system available now.
It boots to full GUI desktop in less than 20 seconds!! The desktop
can also change resolution and color depth without rebooting or closing
any applications. The native virtual desktops also support different
resolution and color depth from each virtual desktop.
It contains technology to make efficient use of at least two CPUs.
This makes an SMP machine faster than ever.
As a real-time multimedia workstation machine, BeOS delivers very stable
multitasking and multithreading.
BeOS uses a reliable 64 bit journaling file system which does not fragment
easily which means your data runs on a very safe and very fast file system.
As a completely non-backward compatible OS, it is sorely missing hardware
and software support. BeOS applications are also not backward compatible,
which means old applications need to be recompiled all the time.
It's high performance graphical interface is not well suited to work
as a server machine. There are practically no server applications
for BeOS either.
As well designed as it might be, Be did not add any access security
to use BeOS as a multi-user operating system.
BeOS hides the hardware configuration from the user à la MacOS
which can make tweaking or recovery a hard thing to do. This kind
of design is not well suited for the wide range of available x86 hardware.
Finally, BeOS needs to prove itself. As impressive as it might
Be, it currently doesn't run with half of my hardware and has no useful
software to run.
Last Modified: May 7, 2001 20:07:00 EDT.