BeOS

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BeOS is an operating system for personal computers which began development by Be Inc. in 1991. It was first written to run on BeBox hardware. BeOS was optimized for digital media work and was written to take advantage of modern hardware facilities such as symmetric multiprocessing by utilizing modular I/O bandwidth, pervasive multithreading, preemptive multitasking and a custom 64-bit journaling file system known as BFS. The BeOS GUI was developed on the principles of clarity and a clean, uncluttered design. It used unicode as the default encoding in the GUI, yet support for input methods, such as bidirectional input was never realized. The API was written in C++ for ease of programming. It has partial POSIX compatibility and access to a command-line interface through Bash, although internally it is not a Unix-derived operating system.

BeOS was positioned as a multimedia platform which could be used by a substantial population of desktop users and a competitor to Mac OS and Microsoft Windows. However, it was ultimately unable to achieve a significant market share and proved commercially unviable for Be Inc. The company was acquired by Palm Inc. and today BeOS is mainly used and developed by a small population of enthusiasts.

The open-source OS Haiku is designed to start up where BeOS left off. Alpha 2 of Haiku was released in May 2010.[1]

Contents

History

Initially designed to run on AT&T Hobbit-based hardware, BeOS was later modified to run on PowerPC-based processors: first Be's own systems, later Apple, Inc.'s PowerPC Reference Platform and Common Hardware Reference Platform, with the hope that Apple would purchase or license BeOS as a replacement for its then aging Mac OS Classic.[2] Apple CEO Gil Amelio started negotiations to buy Be Inc., but negotiations stalled when Be CEO Jean-Louis Gassée wanted $200 million; Apple was unwilling to offer any more than $125 million. Apple's board of directors decided NeXTSTEP was a better choice and purchased NeXT in 1996 for $429 million, bringing back Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.[3] To further complicate matters for Be, Apple refused to disclose certain architectural information about its G3 line of computers—information Be deemed critical to making BeOS work on the latest Apple hardware.

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