blakespot

Administrator
Original poster
Jun 4, 2000
1,325
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Alexandria, VA
It looks like the sun has finally set on Be, Inc. Be, lead by ex-Apple CEO Jean-Louis Gassee, offered unto the world a robust, real-time operating system that began its life on some equally impressive hardware back in '95. There was real innovation there, and it is sad to see this happen. Though I still firmly believe that Apple made the right choice in going with NeXT over Be back in '97 in looking for a new OS strategy, I lament never having spent any real time with BeOS or, even better, a BeBox. (But then that's what eBay's for, I suppose.)
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
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0
All up in your bidness
It is possible that Apple would no longer be in business today if they hadn't bought NeXT - however, it's interesting to imagine what Mac OS X might be like today if it were built upon BeOS instead of OpenStep. Well, one thing is for sure - it would be about 100 times faster. :)

If you have a PC lying around, you really ought to take a look at BeOS. Just install the free R5 personal edition and poke around. No matter which OS you're used to - Windows, Linux, Mac OS Classic, or Mac OS X - you will be impressed. It's really sad to see the BeOS go. A moment of silence...

Alex
 

arn

macrumors god
Staff member
Apr 9, 2001
15,879
4,890
Originally posted by alex_ant
It is possible that Apple would no longer be in business today if they hadn't bought NeXT - however, it's interesting to imagine what Mac OS X might be like today if it were built upon BeOS instead of OpenStep. Well, one thing is for sure - it would be about 100 times faster. :)

Well - it's not a sure thing that a BeOS based version of Mac OS X would have been faster...

NextStep was very fast as well... Aqua and Quartz would have been added to BeOS too...

but i do believe that Apple would not be doing as well now if they had gone with BeOS... with it's "not quite unix" based OS.... it would have been yet another OS.

arn
 

Gelfin

macrumors 68020
Sep 18, 2001
2,166
4
Denver, CO
The most significant thing that the BeOS had over pretty much any OS, performance-wise, was cold boots, from power-on to full usable GUI, in under 20 seconds. The object model under the hood was also a thing of beauty. I've seen people praise the Cocoa framework, and it's pretty nice, but the inside of the BeOS was enough to bring a tear to the eye. The internals of that OS were just Designed Right in a way that's hard to explain. I've never seen its like since, and I strongly doubt I will anytime soon.
 

G4scott

macrumors 68020
Jan 9, 2002
2,221
2
USA_WA
It's so sad. Be was the last of the innocent OS's ever created that wasn't driven by marketing. It was based on what an OS was suppoused to be, not waiting and counting beans, but getting work done, and actually using a computer. I feel as if we've entered a new era of computers, and it's going to be a though time for everyone. m$ seems to be unstable, and MacOS is the only other OS good enough for the masses out there, and i'm not sure if Apple can take the market by storm. Farewell Be...

PS, do you know if it's possible to run Be using virtual PC?
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
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All up in your bidness
Originally posted by arn
Well - it's not a sure thing that a BeOS based version of Mac OS X would have been faster...

NextStep was very fast as well... Aqua and Quartz would have been added to BeOS too...

but i do believe that Apple would not be doing as well now if they had gone with BeOS... with it's "not quite unix" based OS.... it would have been yet another OS.

I think a "not quite Unix" OS would have been fine for Apple. The thing is, though, if Apple hadn't bought NeXT, they wouldn't have gotten Steve back. Which would have left Gil to run Apple into the ground, turning it into some kind of bastardized software-only outfit. BeOS was mostly POSIX-compliant; if Apple had adopted BeOS and given it the same three years of development they gave to OpenStep, they could have made it just as Unix-like as OS X.

BeOS is fast. It's mad fast. It's insane - the fastest OS I've ever used, hands down, and I've used lots of 'em. Quartz and Aqua are not the only things slowing OS X down. Open up a Terminal, run top, take a look at the memory usage with no apps open and then try to tell me OS X is not *incredibly* bloated. To disagree is to think that the earth is flat. Nextstep was never designed to be fast (although it was) - it was designed to be clean and elegant. And it was. And with its evolution into OS X, it still is. But it amazes me how Apple managed to make OS X so slow. It's as if all of its performance-critical components were written in Java. I mean, it takes skill to write an OS this slow. I can't help but wonder if this is intentional, as much as I would not like to admit it.

BeOS, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to be a low-latency, low-overhead, high-throughput media OS. In 1995, the BeBox had dual 66MHz PPC 603s, and Be demoed it on stage playing back four 30fps 320x240 Quicktime movies simultaneously. Without hardware acceleration. In 1995. Wow. I can barely do that on my 550MHz PowerBook, six years later. This OS was amazing, no doubt about it.

Please don't read this as an anti-Mac post, because it's not. I do believe Apple made the right decision in buying NeXT instead of Be, although I must admit only because of Jobs. I like OS X, but if it were based on BeOS... well, again, it's just sad to see another great technology lost to the mercilessness of the marketplace.

Alex
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
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0
All up in your bidness
Originally posted by Gelfin
The most significant thing that the BeOS had over pretty much any OS, performance-wise, was cold boots, from power-on to full usable GUI, in under 20 seconds.

Yeah, the bootup time was nice, but that was just the tip of the iceberg when it came to BeOS's performance benefits. BeOS was faster than Windows, faster than Mac OS, faster than EVERYTHING. If you saved 15 seconds of bootup time compared to Windows, you'd save 10x that much time in actual usage of the OS over an hour-long session, as BeOS would simply get things done faster than anything else could.

Poor BeOS. I want to cry. :(

Alex
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
2,473
0
All up in your bidness
Originally posted by arn
Well - it's not a sure thing that a BeOS based version of Mac OS X would have been faster...

NextStep was very fast as well... Aqua and Quartz would have been added to BeOS too...

but i do believe that Apple would not be doing as well now if they had gone with BeOS... with it's "not quite unix" based OS.... it would have been yet another OS.

I think a "not quite Unix" OS would have been fine for Apple. The thing is, though, if Apple hadn't bought NeXT, they wouldn't have gotten Steve back. Which would have left Gil to run Apple into the ground, turning it into some kind of bastardized software-only outfit. BeOS was mostly POSIX-compliant; if Apple had adopted BeOS and given it the same three years of development they gave to OpenStep, they could have made it just as Unix-like as OS X.

BeOS is fast. It's mad fast. It's insane - the fastest OS I've ever used, hands down, and I've used lots of 'em. Quartz and Aqua are not the only things slowing OS X down. Open up a Terminal, run top, take a look at the memory usage with no apps open and then try to tell me OS X is not *incredibly* bloated. To disagree is to think that the earth is flat. Nextstep was never designed to be fast (although it was) - it was designed to be clean and elegant. And it was. And with its evolution into OS X, it still is. But it amazes me how Apple managed to make OS X so slow. It's as if all of its performance-critical components were written in Java. I mean, it takes skill to write an OS this slow. I can't help but wonder if this is intentional, as much as I would not like to admit it.

BeOS, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to be a low-latency, low-overhead, high-throughput media OS. In 1995, the BeBox had dual 66MHz PPC 603s, and Be demoed it on stage playing back four 30fps 320x240 Quicktime movies simultaneously. Without hardware acceleration. In 1995. Wow. I can barely do that on my 550MHz PowerBook, six years later. This OS was amazing, no doubt about it.

Please don't read this as an anti-Mac post, because it's not. I do believe Apple made the right decision in buying NeXT instead of Be, although I must admit only because of Jobs. I like OS X, but if it were based on BeOS... well, again, it's just sad to see another great technology lost to the mercilessness of the marketplace.

Alex
 

Xapplimatic

macrumors 6502
Oct 23, 2001
417
0
California
The only thing that makes me sad about BeOS was that it was at least a righteous competitor against Micro$oft.. The loss of BeOS leaves only Linux as the major player against MS on the Intel systems now.. Not that Be was ever really *major* but at least it was a good 3rd place against Windows.. And it was truly fast.. of course, it was designed from the ground up as a multimedia OS.. So, who gets to clean the BeOS clock and absorb their innovations now? Did anyone buy the rights to the OS or is it totally dead?

Remember an "obscure" computer called the Amiga? It had a pretty cool feature which was in its hardware called "Auto-config" which pretty much meant that any new hardware cards installed were automatically recognized and usable.. Then when Commodore (the parent company of Amiga at that time) died a Chapter 7 bankruptsy death, Microsoft bought the rights to the autoconfig technology and implemented a software version of it for Windoze called "Plug and Play" (the now infamous screwy thing we call 'Plug-and-Pray').. I wonder if BeOS will be so torn apart and plundered.. (incidently Amiga OS is still trying for a comeback, although it has a few thousand miles to go in that respect.. their current implement is something called "Amiga One")..
 

edenwaith

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2001
689
90
I just read through Be's lawsuit to M$. It's amazing how dirty M$ is. I had heard about licensing agreements between them and OEMs so the OEMs couldn't put other OS's like Linux (or in this case -- BeOS) on the computers, even with a dual-boot configuration. Now here is the proof, especially with Hiatachi and Compaq where both companies seemed to be seriously considering BeOS, but then turned around and said 'no' for the most part.

One of my favorite lines from the lawsuit was "Buyers of PCs have thus been forced to pay higher prices for less innovative, inferior products." -- due to M$'s anti-competitive practices. [Page 4] How true, how true. Their OS keeps getting more bloated and more expensive and more restrictive. Now quick -- name at least 5 real innovative products Microsoft has created! Okay, I'll make it easier...name at least one innovative product M$ made...okay, maybe that takes a bit of thought. Here's an easy one. Name 10 innovative things Apple has done! I think that would be easier to do than name 1 innovative thing M$ has done. Nearly everything that M$ has done and popularized was already done/invented by someone else.

Let's briefly look at hardware. Apple has helped push forward the use of mice, USB, Firewire, wireless networking (Airport), and now flatscreen monitors. Not to mention what seemed a half-hearted idea of the digital revolution and the digital hub has been adopted by quite a few other companies, M$ being one of them.

Software: I don't have enough time or space. The GUI interface has been key, of course. If not, we'd probably be using DOS 25.0 by now. Also, Apple has been pushing forward its suite of applications (at its expense) of 'digital lifestyle' apps like iTunes, iMove, iPhoto, and any Pro line equivalents. And we can't forget Quicktime, which is now 10 years old. Granted, some of these apps are not something brand new, but Apple added their own touch to make a solid, centralized app for customers to use. Quick, name a free movie creation app for Windows! I give up, too. This is a personal preference, but I feel that Project Builder is the easiest IDE I've ever used. No where as complicated or messy as CodeWarrior or Visual Studio products or BlueJ (shudder). Pretty clean and straight forward, and they came along with my copy of OS X. Now, if M$ was to include Windows 2000 and Windows ME or 98 in a box with their Visual Studio included, this would probably reach the price around $1000, give or take a few hundred dollars. For the Mac equivalent, it can be purchased for $130 (and I got mine for $75 at academic pricing).
 

edenwaith

macrumors 6502a
Aug 7, 2001
689
90
Originally posted by Xapplimatic
The only thing that makes me sad about BeOS was that it was at least a righteous competitor against Micro$oft.. The loss of BeOS leaves only Linux as the major player against MS on the Intel systems now.. Not that Be was ever really *major* but at least it was a good 3rd place against Windows.. And it was truly fast.. of course, it was designed from the ground up as a multimedia OS.. So, who gets to clean the BeOS clock and absorb their innovations now? Did anyone buy the rights to the OS or is it totally dead?

I believe that Palm supposedly bought most of the 'intellectual property' from BeOS. From my point of view, it looks like Be is a house that was condemned, and the family is holding a garage sale to make a little money before being evicted.

As mentioned, BeOS seemed like the only 'other' OS out there besides the standard 3 (Windows, Linux/Unix, and Mac OS). I tried it out a little bit, but never got fully into it, and I don't think there was enough developer support for it to really bring it up to speed. Linux at least has the advantage of being based off of Unix and adopting the Unix tools and compilers and such. It would have been interesting if Apple had bought BeOS...they seemed to have had similar goals and marketing strategies, aimed at the 'creative professional'. Hmmm...sounds like one of Apple's niche markets.
 

Dunepilot

macrumors 6502a
Feb 25, 2002
880
0
UK
BeOS' exceptional perfomance

Originally posted by alex_ant


BeOS, on the other hand, was built from the ground up to be a low-latency, low-overhead, high-throughput media OS. In 1995, the BeBox had dual 66MHz PPC 603s, and Be demoed it on stage playing back four 30fps 320x240 Quicktime movies simultaneously. Without hardware acceleration. In 1995. Wow. I can barely do that on my 550MHz PowerBook, six years later. This OS was amazing, no doubt about it.

Alex

That's a sight I'll never forget.

It seemed so certain at the time that Apple would go with Be - well they've delivered on the reliability front (OS 9 is plain damn unstable for most uses) with OS X, but now we're waiting on significant hardware changes before the OS runs as it really should.

(yawn) roll on the G5
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
I don't really want to cry over this whole thing about BeOS. I mean that stupid CEO (former employee of Apple, I've forgotten his name) wanted to sell Be to Apple. Then a couple days later, when Apple agrees to the terms of the deal he increases the price of the deal by $200 million dollars!

I wonder if Apple could still aquire Be's assets!
 

blakespot

Administrator
Original poster
Jun 4, 2000
1,325
93
Alexandria, VA
Originally posted by dantec
I don't really want to cry over this whole thing about BeOS. I mean that stupid CEO (former employee of Apple, I've forgotten his name) wanted to sell Be to Apple. Then a couple days later, when Apple agrees to the terms of the deal he increases the price of the deal by $200 million dollars!

I wonder if Apple could still aquire Be's assets!

I had not heard that twist on the story. The accounts I've heard indicate that Amelio spoke w/ Jobs to ask him whether or not he felt that acquiring Be would be a wise move. Jobs suggested that instead of Be, Apple acquire NeXT for their new OS direction. And so they did. And not unlike a preying mantis, Jobs devoured the head of Amelio while the companies were mating.

Good stuff.


blakespot
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
Originally posted by blakespot


I had not heard that twist on the story. The accounts I've heard indicate that Amelio spoke w/ Jobs to ask him whether or not he felt that acquiring Be would be a wise move. Jobs suggested that instead of Be, Apple acquire NeXT for their new OS direction. And so they did. And not unlike a preying mantis, Jobs devoured the head of Amelio while the companies were mating.

Good stuff.


blakespot

I read it in that book about Apple, I forget what it was called. It tells you all about the deal, the 3rd founder of apple, about neXt & Pixar. Everything you wanna know about Apple you can find in this book...
 

dantec

macrumors 6502a
Nov 6, 2001
605
0
California
If you haven't seen this, it's pretty good:

http://www.osnews.com/story.php?news_id=421

It's from the guy who wrote the "BeOS Bible" and how he's finally an OS X convert now. (Got it off slashdot a few months ago at: http://slashdot.org/articles/01/12/17/1820230.shtml)

I don't mean to be rude, but I think that was posted on the Macrumors news page a while ago... That is good to see...

But after using OS X for day to day use, I am craving for speed (I have a Quicksiler, so don't try to flame me about having a slow computer). Think of a SUPER, SUPER Mac OS X which is sooo fast.

Still... Nobody has answered my question yet... Can Apple still aquire the BeOS filesystem?
 

eric_n_dfw

macrumors 68000
Jan 2, 2002
1,511
58
DFW, TX, USA
Originally posted by dantec
I don't mean to be rude, but I think that was posted on the Macrumors news page a while ago... That is good to see...
...
Still... Nobody has answered my question yet... Can Apple still aquire the BeOS filesystem?

You're probably right - I found it via a Google search.

I'd like to see OS X (server at least, if not desktop too) go to a journaled FS also. I thought SGI was open-sourcing their journalling FS for IREX a few years ago. Does anyone know anything about it? If so, that could be implemented in Darwin/OS X (depending on the license) I would think.
 

alex_ant

macrumors 68020
Feb 5, 2002
2,473
0
All up in your bidness
Originally posted by eric_n_dfw
I'd like to see OS X (server at least, if not desktop too) go to a journaled FS also. I thought SGI was open-sourcing their journalling FS for IREX a few years ago. Does anyone know anything about it? If so, that could be implemented in Darwin/OS X (depending on the license) I would think.

It would be really, really cool if Apple picked up the great BeFS (Be filesystem). I'm sure they could buy it from Palm - it's not like Palm has any use for it. They can't use SGI's XFS because it's under the GPL, and Apple would want something closer to a BSD license so they wouldn't be forced to provide source code. They also couldn't use Linux's ReiserFS, Linux's ext3fs, or IBM's JFS, as all of those are GPL'ed too (well, I'm not sure about JFS). But BeFS would be a perfect match for OS X, and I'm getting all excited just thinking about phasing out HFS+. Resource forks begone! :)

Alex
 

pc_convert?

macrumors regular
Jan 18, 2002
171
0
UK
I brought a copy of BeOS 5 Pro recently (I know it's basically dead).

WOW! This thing is fast. DAMN FAST! I installed it on my dual PII 400 box. Booting from the boot floppy to fully functional desktop is 15secs - from floppy!

I can play back an obscene amount of AVI's and MP3's at the same time (why you would want to is anyones guess) but damn, no jitter, no lost frames it is amazing.

But the most amazing thing is Apple didn't by Be's assets. Palm picked the rements of Be up for 11million. This sort of money is chump change to apple.

Apple could have hybridised NEXT and BeOS, so OSX would be as beautiful as it is now, but with shear performance of Be.

If you don't have BeOS and have an older Mac not a (G3 or G4), just try it. It can be picked up for next to nothing now and you will think you own a 1Ghz G4!
 
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