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A very nice MultiThread?""ed (but not yet MultiUser?) OperatingSystem. The company is run by JeanLouisGassee, a former vice president for Apple who wanted to take things a step further. It is trying to step into a MultiMedia? niche (as Macinosh, as it developed, stepped into the GraphicDesign? niche. I once used a pre-Mac text-for-print machine, and it sucked big time. The WIMPEnvironment took laying out a large page from being a real page to being a snap) but so far it hasn't worked. They've tried a number of other techniques (releasing free, hooking to InternetAppliance""s), but they're still not a big player. Too bad. Try it, you'll like it.

BeOS was recently bought by Palm, the company that owns PalmOS. As mentioned in that page, while PalmOS is very good at what it does, it is very limited in what it does. Since it runs on 8 megs of memory, it doesn't have multitasking. It doesn't really have a file system. Since it isn't built for media, it doesn't handle media very well. And this has given a growth point for PocketPC.

Just to note, running in 8MB doesn't mean you can't multitask. In fact, the BeOS originally was run on the BeBox?, a dual PPC machine, and I don't think it had much more than 8MB. Not just multithreading, but multi-CPU! Plus, we've been multitasking with alot less in the past. The Cybiko (http://www.cybiko.com) has multitasking and a full filesystem in only 512K on a kids PDA. I've got a couple. -- EvanLanglois

For that matter the Sinclair QL did an excellent job of multi-tasking on an 8 bit 68008 with 128K of RAM and 48K ROM. People are still using Qdos (the QL's device-independent, multi-tasking OS) on hardware 100 times faster, or emulators. I've got a Cybiko too - but it's brand of multi-tasking is not in the same league as the QLs; in fact the Linux scheduler was originally based on the Qdos one (Linus was a QL hacker while he waited for Intel to get the 386 together) and Qdos has a strong Unix taint, though without the overheads. I have tried several versions of Beos but never got any of them past the loading screen; probably I'd have had a better chance on a PPC rather than using the x86 port, though. I guess the moral is that good software concepts last a lot longer than hardware - especially once they are unconstrained by IntellectualProperty monopolists -- SimonGoodwin

I'm sure that BeOS as a media OS for desktop systems is dead. I'm unsure of a portable house-term style BeIA? thing. I figure when PalmOS machines start growing up to PocketPC capabilities and processor speeds, you'll start seeing BeOS""'s great features showing up. And it has great features. A filesystem that is heavyweight in it's features and lightweight in speed. Speed that makes an old and dusty box seem new again. But Amiga's great features are sitting unutilized in a file drawer in Gateway's offices in South Dakota.

The rights to Amiga's name were purchased, and are back in the hands of the Amiga community. They are doing some really neat stuff these days with their own language-independent run-anywhere technology which is starting to creep into palm devices ... The Linux/Sharp Zaurus PDA actually uses Amiga's JVM, although Amiga's technology is not Java based. Amiga is a company again. Search for them on the web -- EvanLanglois

I worked as a contractor and team leader for a couple of years on Amiga's Zaurus product. So far (two years on) it has not surfaced. The Zaurus is shipping with other software, though there is talk of making the Amiga work available as an option. The JVM came from Tao (Elate) not Amiga, anyway. Amiga Inc. is indeed a company, though, and I wish it well (and BeOS for that matter - its sound API influenced the one we developed for Amiga, and clearly the Mac OSX one - a good thing, too -- SimonGoodwin

The Personal Edition of the BeOS is still available as a free operating system. It can be downloaded from BeBits?.com where there is also a lot of other useful software. After running windows XP, BeOS will make a brand new Athlon XP or P4 seem new again. There is hope that in future a new Open Beos will be available.


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