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I don't understand the second part of the following sentence: It has an optimised 64-bit journaling and indexed file system called BFS, but rather than use a database BeOS relied on its low OS latencies to journal and query file attributes on the fly. Can someone clarify it ? -- FvdP 10:24 Sep 5, 2002 (PDT)

How can an English article drop a comment such as "this interview in Japanese contains interesting info why..." without providing some hint as to the translation of the referenced article?[edit] is not only about BeOS! —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs) 15:17, Aug 9, 2004 (UTC).

I removed the OS News link. If someone wants to put it back, then I don't think that it should be under BeOS community sites.
Tim Ivorson 19:26, 9 Aug 2004 (UTC)

BFS discussion[edit]

The BFS used to be a full relational database, such as Microsoft Access or *SQL. This created the capability to assign any number of 'attributes' to a particular file type. For example, on my BeOS installation, I added the following attributes to the .mp3 filetype: title, artist, source cd, length, rating. Once those attributes were assigned, and the values filled in for each song, I could search my hard drive like this: "Find all .mp3s by Tom Petty that are over 3 minutes in length and have a rating higher than 8".

However, during early development, it was obvious that a databse as a file system would be much slower than what they wanted. Be, Inc. still wanted the functionality of a databse-drived file system, with the speed of a conventional file system. So, they redesigned the file system to be database-'like'. Details on the underlying structure of the BFS can be found here [ *archive link: [1] ]. The book referenced at that link has portions of the source code for the BFS.

Once the filesystem was redesigned, and no longer running on a full relational database, it still had the functionality to execute the query I described above. On a side note, a query like that on a 5GB hard disk took about .2 seconds. The combination of a powerful file system attribute system and a trim, legacy-free operating system yielded the query speeds that Be, Inc. wanted to see.

For a short discussion on filesystem journaling, see "BeOS and BFS" on Low End Mac [* available, but un-archivable ].

Cleanup tag[edit]

Either explain whats wrong with the article, or I'm taking it away in a few days. --Kiand 19:04, 27 August 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

BeOS Interface was notable! Gui comparisons.[edit]

The BeOS user interface was notable at the time for being almost completely unthemeable, even with third party hacks. While Mac OS X is now similarly locked, the BeOS theme of yellow, changing length tabs on the top of windows, and relatively plain grey interface widgets was enforced. This UI remained relatively unchanged from 1995, but had been completely overhauled by the time of the leaked Dano release. An easter egg in the OS allowed changing the titlebar look-and-feel to a few others, and in Dano, this had been extended to be a feature allowing changing of the title bar and scrollbars. No other interface widgets could be changed.

Yes, the BeOS user interface was notable at the time for being a superior blend of Amiga Toolbox, Mac System and Windows 95 conventions. No interfaces at the time were themable, except by third party hacks. Just because the Mac System software had these hacks for so long, eventually pieces of them were integrated into Mac OS proper. The BeOS was functional wnough that hacks to add trivial functionality weren't an urgent need The only bit that was overlooked was movable tabs, that were added later. Note that Mac OS nor Windows had tabs at all, so this is an understandable oversight.

Of course if this means to say trivial appearance hacks, then this paragraph is totally unbalanced nonsense. Since at least BeOS R3 the easter egg was present that allowed changing the behaivor of the window management similar to Windows, MacOS, or Amiga, if you didn't mind giving up the superior BeOS functionality in exchange for some nostalgia.

I am not disputing the facts of the paragraph, but its use of technical truths to distort the picture. "...Even with third party hacks" as if the superior functionalty of the BeOS not needing 3rd party hacks for basic funtionality is a shortcoming. For example, many Mac users of the time purchased a utility called Window Shade to improve the functionality of the window management, because there was no Minimize style functionality. Neither Windows nor MacOS had a send window to back feature, yet under Be the Amiga theme highlighted this feature. It seemed as if the three alternative themes served to highlight the strengths of the unique (at the time) interface, which seems to have strongly influenced Gnome and KDE, as well as Windows and Mac OS to lesser extents.

Note that I don't remember being able to change the tab lengths, they were fixed. But a later release allowed sliding the position of the tab, so that windows could be stacked, and flipped between like folders in a filing cabinet. This functionality is now present in many preference dialog boxes on other GUIs when there are too many selections to fit on one screen.

The only BeOS interface shortcoming I recall, at least compared to Windows, was that keyboard shortcuts weren't pervasive and standard enough. The GUI depended more on the mouse than it needed to. Of course it was better than the Mac, without a mouse your Mac is dead in the water! But Windows was very irregular and inconsistent, with too many exceptions.

One notable problem that Windows had, was with Ctrl versus Alt shortcuts. Ctrl-C was long established as Break on Windows and Unices. Shift Insert and Shift delete were deemed inferior to the Macintosh's simple and handy OpenApple-Z/X/C/V convention, so Windows 95 adopted that behaivor. Unfortunately for everybody, they decided to use Ctrl instead of Alt to implement these functions, which not only was inconsistent with how the Mac Operated (they had their own control key, but use the apple specific modifer. Mac's didn't have Alt, so Windows should have used Alt as the specific Modifier. The WindowsFlag Modifer didn't appear until later.) but it also was inconsistent with itself, and it broke Ctrl-C for DOS/Windows and Unix/POSIX.

Now BeOS initially routed around that damage, and properly used Alt instead of Ctrl. They also used Windows style Alt-Tab for task switching, which was good, becuase it respected a convention of Alt for window related functionality, and Ctrl for console related functionality. Then when BeOS was released for Intel PCs, too many people had muscle-memory issues from Windows' Ctrl-C mean copy, that they couldn't easily relearn to use Alt-C means copy. Unfortunately, instead of allowing Ctrl-C to be remapped for the BeOS GUI, they only offered an outright swap of the Alt and Ctrl keys, which only served to perpetuate the braindamage started by a poor Windows 95 GUI decision.

So in summary, BeOS has some issues with Keyboard shortcuts in the GUI, but this was hardly notable... only Windows hada robust Keyboard to GUI mapping, and even they were plagued by a few surprisingly poor decisions, mainly based around not respecting their own conventions. I could go on about this, about how Win NT had an almost Universal sequence of Ctrl-Alt-Del, Alt-S, S, Enter - should work almost universally to shut down the system safely without needing to see the screen output. But then they introduced Sytem policy pop-up that borked it. To finish up back on topic, the BeOS GUI was notable, but like a few other parts of it, it was notable for being ahead of it's time, and better than what was available from competitive setups.

Right now, as much as I like Epiphany on Gnome better than anything available on Windows or Mac OS classic OR X 10.2 (I han't had enough experience yet to fairly rule out Mac OS X Tiger), I still long for Multithreaded and lightweight NetPositive burning through BeOS, with Monsterzilla waiting to handle any javaScript dependencies I come across. While NetPositive was positively deficient compared to other browsers of its time, it was also superlight and highly responsive.

Dillo doesn't come close. If it did, then I would use it, with epiphany as my backup, and then curse at it for crashing and losing all the sites I'm browsing. Even when Netpositive crashed, It wouldn't die... I would push the error dialog to the side, and finish up with my other broswer windows, before returning to acknowlege the crashed browser window at my convenience. Unix seems to be to happy to kill it's processes out from under you, which is great for a batch processing behind the scenes server that needs to protect it's data from corruption, but terrible for a GUI Browser that needs to be responsive and interactive.

The BeOS browsing experience was without match, and it's a damned shame that Haiku OS doesn't have access to NetPositive, because then I would be a happy browser right now. I might even be temped to tackle that beast monsterzilla and see if pieces of gecko could somehow be shimmed into the NetPositive framework. Sure, BeOS didn't handle Java Applets. On Windows, Firefox Doesn't handle ActiveX or BasicScript, which sucks when you really need, but most of the time that's a feature. Well I was Java and Javascript on NetPositive the same way, becuase when Windows is running without abundant RAM, it is ususally Java that kills the system, and I'd usually rather it was just ignored.

Okay, enough delerious posting in the wee hours of 4AM for now. Maybe I'll come back to this at a saner hour, and see if I can distill this down a bit. Because it is important for posterity that the BeOS GUI and all of its advancement, isn't dismissed an "not even having third party hacks that change the color from yellow". Damnit, even Mac OS X wanted a bright primary "candy" coloring after jealously beeing the Brilliant Yellowjacket hue of the Be in all of it's glory! Castlan 09:47, 10 December 2005 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Undocumented feature of BeOS PE[edit]

Be Inc. intended that the free PE version only be able to use a single CPU of a multiprocessor PC compatable. When installed under Windows 95 or 98 and launched from Windows, it did only support one CPU because the consumer versions of Windows had already disabled the others. The BeOS launcher performed a "warm reboot" to ensure that only one CPU would be enabled.

It was quickly discovered how to install BeOS PE on its own partition and the Be bootloader. With it installed that way BeOS PE would use at least two CPUs from a cold boot if they were available. Then any BeOS driver and third party software could be installed just as on the full version of BeOS. All that was missing were some applications and minor utilities which came with the retail version.

<Opinion starts here.> Giving away 85% or more of the OS didn't turn out to be a very sound marketing practice for Be Inc. They should've compiled a version truly limited to a single CPU and possibly some other things to make it more of a demo so people who downloaded the free version would actually need to buy the full version to get 100% of the functionality.


Hybrid kernel? Mac OS and Windows NT are hybrid. BeOS is microkernel: everything is outside the kernel, but really basic stuff. Even keyboard inout is running in a separate server. Dano, Bone and Zeta are a different story.

Its not a microkernel in the classic sense of the word, though. As goes BONE kernels, its the same kernel with some more of the networking stack in it. --Kiand 13:44, 25 June 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Also, "FreeBSD/GNU/Linux kernel"? I'm aware that the proper name for the operating system is GNU/Linux, but surely the kernel is simply Linux? If GNU is involved in the hybrid, should it not be "FreeBSD/Hurd/Linux"? -- Napalm Llama 21:24, 3 August 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Linux is just the kernel. It needs the GNU stuff to be a complete OS. GNU itself uses Linux as it's kernel but can use another kernel, as such the HURD (when done). FreeBSD doesn't have this distinction; you can't take the userland stuff out of FreeBSD and put another kernel under it. Lord Chess 18:14, 20 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]


iit would be a good thing if we add this things on the BeOS article but it should be modified a bit BeOS Advantages

It's impossible to explain an operating system adequately in a few pages. To really see what BeOS is capable of, you have to immerse yourself in it for a while and become intimate with its unique capabilities. A bird's-eye view of BeOS's main advantages would read something like this:

  • Great performance. Be realized that optimum performance can only be achieved by breaking computing tasks into lots of very small pieces, so that multiple simultaneous tasks can share processor resources more effectively. BeOS is multithreaded from the lowest levels to the highest, from the kernel to the filesystem to the GUI. This means that tasks don't have to wait around for attention even when the system is under heavy stress. Play a few QuickTime movies, a few simultaneous MP3s, an audio CD, and initiate a large file transfer. Then try accessing a pull-down menu and notice that the system doesn't feel like it's bogging down. Despite all the processing going on, your menu request still gets immediate attention. Pervasive multithreading is the key to Be's hallmark performance under heavy multitasking loads. Other operating systems do multithreading, but no one does it this pervasively, and no graphical operating system is as responsive as BeOS. New users notice the difference in the first five minutes.
  • Ease of installation and configuration. BeOS can typically be installed in less than 15 minutes, including disk partitioning time. The installation process is user-friendly and generally hassle-free. Supported hardware is detected and used automatically -- users are never prompted for drivers. Replace your motherboard, video card, sound card, and network card. Reboot, and the system comes up as quickly as it did before, without even blinking. Try the same in Windows or Linux, and be amazed. Likewise, all system configuration is done via user-friendly dialog boxes, seldom by editing text files as is still often done in Linux. While desktop initiatives such as Gnome in Linux get kudos for increased user-friendliness, they're still light years away from the level of ease-of-use BeOS achieved years ago.
  • Clean GUI, powerful command line. The BeOS graphical user interface is clean and lightweight, but flexible enough for power users. Unlike Linux, BeOS is not based around the command line. And yet, BeOS includes a full bash 2.0 shell for those who want the extra power of the Unix shell. Again, "The grace of the Mac, the power of Unix."
  • Symmetric multiprocessing. BeOS and most BeOS applications are designed to take full advantage of multiple processors (up to eight) automatically. Because two 500MHz CPUs are cheaper and faster than a single 800MHz CPU, BeOS users with dual-proc machines get more bang for their buck. As a result, BeOS users tend to be bigger users of dual- and quad-CPU machines than users of OSes. Again, other OSes do SMP, but no one seems to do it as effectively or as pervasively (SMP effectiveness is directly tied to the multithreadedness of the OS and the applications running on it).
  • Object oriented. Almost everything in BeOS is object-oriented, from the lowest levels to the highest. The system works on the principle of clients and servers, where clients are usually applications and the servers are system objects such as the media_server, the net_server, the app_server, and so on. BeOS also uses the concept of data translators, where a translator is a single object that knows how to read and/or write a given file format. For example, adding a single PSD Translator object to your system instantly gives all of your graphics applications the ability to read Photoshop files.
  • 32 workspaces. If you keep a lot of applications or windows open simultaneously, you'll appreciate not being confined to a single desktop. BeOS users can spread their work out over up to 32 virtual desktops. Switch between desktops 1-12 with the Alt+Fx keys (e.g. Alt+F3 for workspace 3), or use the Workspaces panel to drag windows back and forth between workspaces at will. Get used to Workspaces, and you won't want to use an operating system without them.
  • 64-bit, fully journaled fileystem. The Be File System was designed from scratch and optimized for high-bandwidth media processing. While FAT32 can't store files larger than 4GB, the 64-bit BFS can store files many petabytes in size. Because the filesystem is journaled, data integrity is maximized. Losing power should never result in filesystem corruption. Pull the plug on a BeOS machine and the system comes back up in 15 seconds or less, without having to go through a lengthy ScanDisk, fschk, or desktop rebuild.
  • Database-like filesystem. One of BeOS's most unique characteristics is its database-like filesystem. Files on a BeOS volume can have arrays of meta-data associated with them, and this meta-data can be of any size or type. This means users can do things like store MP3 artist, year, genre, etc. directly in the filesystem, and query on those attributes just like one would query a real database. Because many attributes are indexed, search results are lightning fast.
  • Memory protection. It goes without saying now, but when BeOS was new, only Unix and Windows NT had solid memory protection. Crashing applications in BeOS can't take down the rest of the operating system.
  • No viruses. To date, there are no known viruses that affect BeOS users. This is not an aspect of system design, but it's definitely an advantage.
  • POSIX-compliant. BeOS takes advantages of the long-established POSIX standard to guarantee that Unix command-line applications can easily be ported to BeOS. Hundreds of POSIX utilities are included with the OS, and many more are available on BeBits.
  • Support for alien fileystems. BeOS loads filesystems dynamically, just like device drivers. Any BeOS machine can read or write to any mounted FAT16, FAT32, or HFS (Mac OS) volume, just as if it were reading data from a native BFS partition. BeOS can also read (but not write to) ext2fs (Linux) and NTFS (WinNT/2K) volumes. Drivers for other filesystems can be written by 3rd-party developers. Loading an alien filesystem is as easy as clicking on the desktop and choosing a volume from the Mount sub-menu.
  • Clean programming API. Be's Application Programming Interfaces are cleanly and logically designed. Rather than the years of evolution and contortions that Unix, Windows, and Mac OS APIs have gone through, the Be APIs were layed out in advance with the intent of making programming more painless than it is on other platforms. In fact, many developers describe BeOS programming as "a joy."
  • Elegant internal messaging system. BeOS applications can communicate with one another easily via the BMessage, a language-neutral protocol for message passing. This means that users can write scripts or programs in any language -- perl, python, bash, C++, etc. -- to control the behavior of other GUI apps. All an application has to do is build in "hooks" which can be addressed by name from other scripts or applications. The BMessage is a complex topic, but opens many doors for both serious developers and do-it-yourself-ers.

BeOS Disadvantages With all this incredible technology, how can BeOS be anything but perfect? It's a paradox: On one hand, BeOS has this incredible architecture and great user experience. And on the other...

  • Limited hardware support. Many hardware vendors are reluctant to release the specifications necessary for Be to write drivers for their I/O cards and peripherals. While these vendors happily write Windows drivers and give them to Microsoft, tiny Be must almost always write their own drivers. BeOS users should check a hardware compatibility database before attempting installation.
  • Limited selection of applications. The originial thinking was that application vendors would be eager to write innovative new software to take advantage of BeOS's unique architecture. The reality is that software development is expensive, and the BeOS userbase has never been large enough to support software as sophisticated as can be found on Mac OS and Windows. Over the years, dozens of fascinating BeOS-native software projects have been released. But while their performance is great and capalities are often innovative, few of them match the maturity that comes only with many years of development time and userbases counted in the millions, rather than in the tens of thousands. In addition, many ports of existing software from the Mac OS and Windows world have been announced but never completed; many major vendors have pulled back from BeOS development plans when they realized how risky BeOS software development actually was. There are BeOS applications available in almost every category, but few of them are as mature as equivalent Mac OS or Windows software. There are, however, some exceptions; some BeOS software is so good that I've never found an equal on other platforms.
  • Limited Office document compatibility. Be and BeOS developers have done a ton of work to make sure BeOS users can read and write the most common document formats. Nevertheless, fancier types of Word and Excel documents remain problematic, while PowerPoint presentations and Access database formats are unreadable.
  • Reluctance of sysadmins. Even if the type of work you do can be done on BeOS, corporate machines are often strictly controlled by administrators who like to standardize on a limited array of systems. BeOS may be disallowed in the workplace on chauvanistic principle alone.
  • Substandard web browsing. BeOS ships with a fast, lightweight web browser called NetPositive. Despite many advantages and cool features, NetPositive does not do CSS, JavaScript, DHTML, or Java. Opera for BeOS is better at some of these things, but remains stuck at version 3.62, while the rest of the world is using Opera 5. Mozilla for BeOS is coming along, but has a ways to go to become seriously usable. Fact is, there are no state-of-the-art web browsers available for BeOS today. This also means there is no decent HTML e-mail. At least we don't have to deal with the epidemic of pop-up advertisements that Windows users do.

A clearly dated statement since now Opera is on 9...Douglas A. Whitfield of 03:20, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Dead Link[edit]

Link #3 under references is dead. Maybe you can find an archive of it at

FYI here is the URL: —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 07:51, 26 February 2007 (UTC).Reply[reply]

Now it's at [2] Jimw338 (talk) 16:28, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Fair use rationale for Image:Beos.png[edit]

Image:Beos.png is being used on this article. I notice the image page specifies that the image is being used under fair use but there is no explanation or rationale as to why its use in this Wikipedia article constitutes fair use. In addition to the boilerplate fair use template, you must also write out on the image description page a specific explanation or rationale for why using this image in each article is consistent with fair use.

Please go to the image description page and edit it to include a fair use rationale. Using one of the templates at Wikipedia:Fair use rationale guideline is an easy way to insure that your image is in compliance with Wikipedia policy, but remember that you must complete the template. Do not simply insert a blank template on an image page.

If there is other fair use media, consider checking that you have specified the fair use rationale on the other images used on this page. Note that any fair use images uploaded after 4 May, 2006, and lacking such an explanation will be deleted one week after they have been uploaded, as described on criteria for speedy deletion. If you have any questions please ask them at the Media copyright questions page. Thank you.

BetacommandBot 11:15, 6 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two more repeated postings by BetacommandBot (Jimw338 (talk) 16:39, 6 April 2015 (UTC)):Reply[reply]
Suggestion: could someone who has a computer running BeOS simply open up some of the system applications, point a Nikon (or Canon) DSLR at the screen, and take a picture to put there? Jimw338 (talk) 16:39, 6 April 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Power Architecture[edit]

To further complicate matters for Be, Apple refused to disclose architectural information about its G3 line of computers

This is unsourced, and last time I checked IBM or perhaps Moto made the processors. How is Apple responsible for withholding information? Savant45 21:19, 15 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't know too much about hardware, but perhaps what Mac actually withheld was chipset information. You're right that IBM/Motorola did the PPC. Douglas A. Whitfield of 03:18, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Tone sounds fanboyish, IMO. Douglas A. Whitfield of 03:16, 19 July 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]


BeOS the OS without hourglass. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by Magallanes (talkcontribs) 00:37:20, August 19, 2007 (UTC).

Linux distro inspired by BeOS[edit]

Why isn't ZevenOS mentioned in the text. It is an Ubuntu based Linux distro which looks much like BeOS. -- (talk) 17:27, 20 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Probably because it's new, and also because there is way more to BeOS than just the look. There are many BeOS-like skins for applications or even OSes (including Stardock things for windows), and it's just not the real thing. -- Mmu man (talk) 16:38, 21 December 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

ZevenOS, though, is notable enough to merit its own article, though, but is mentioned on none of the Be-related pages (not this one, not Zeta, not Haiku…) Should this be changed? —Wiki Wikardo 21:24, 2 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Say... should there be a section for "Projects to replicate BeOS's interface"? -- Stormwatch (talk) 07:39, 24 December 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]

adding information[edit]

- Hello folks, I added a bit of information - that BeOS used unicode, it was actually a bright decision and ahead of its time. - POSIX support was partial at best, as any one who tried porting a unix app can atest. - What about making a Features section instead of putting all this info in the introduction?

- Also notable is the very nice API they built, and the use of BMessage, the end-all container, throughout the system. - The system is incredibly fast in comparison to other OSes, even modern day ones. It was very lightweight, and responsive. Haiku continued that tradition if you want to witness yourself.

I'm also a beginner here on wikipedia, so I hope it was ok to just change around? 17:22, 27 November 2010 (UTC)

Apple Offer[edit]

On the Gil Amelio page it says Apple offered $200 million while Be demanded $275 million. Here it says $125/$200 million; which is correct? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:18, 30 January 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Better image[edit]

the image representing BeOS is a thumbnail — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:24, 30 April 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]