Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sat 15th May 2010 19:23 UTC
OSNews, Generic OSes There's one complaint we here at OSNews get thrown in our faces quite often: what's up with the lack of, you know, operating system news on OSNews? Why so much mobile phone news? Why so much talk of H264, HTML5, and Flash? Where's the juicy news on tomorrow's operating systems? Since it's weekend, I might as well explain why things are the way they are. Hint: it has nothing to do with a lack of willingness.
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Hmmm ... where to begin? ;)

Speed. Great big gobs of freakin' flames coming out of the CPU speed, on really minimum hardware. (yes, some of that was just the perception - see next point.)

Responsiveness. No hourglass icon for the mouse; no need. Launch a program, and if it didn't immediately spring to life, you could still click on other things and have them respond. It used to be a main demo to open a ridiculous number of video clips, all playing at the same time, dragging the windows around and not see a dropped frame. The mouse and system remained fluid and responsive throughout.

64 bit journaling filesystem. You rapidly grew to love being able to add custom metafile tags to your files, and to do live queries on them. BeMail was wonderful for that.

Multitasking. Ok, WinXP, OSX, Vista, Win7 all multitask. However, I'll submit that none of them did it to the sheer, low-level extent that BeOS did. Everything was threaded. Granted, this made programming much more of a challenge than in other environments, but, wow! The results!

Multiprocessing. BeOS understood, recognized & used every scrap of processing power you could throw at it, and was always willing to use more. During bootup, it would recognize additional processors and spin itself off to boot even faster. I loved the original "Blinkinlights" on the BeBox, showing you the processor loads. The software version was cool, too.

GoBe Productive. Professional office suite that had a very cool wordprocessor. You could have more than one window open on the same document, looking at different sections. As you made changes in one, they would be reflected in the other. Moving graphics around with the text flowing in response was pretty cool. The only thing in recent memory that reminds me of it is the Pages program on the Apple iPad.

The list goes on ... POSIX compliance; command line windows; installing new drivers by dragging them to the appropriate folder - no need to reboot ...

If you can get Haiku to run on your equipment, it's worth your time to try it out and see how things might have been.

Now, before anyone jumps up & down and starts going "But, but, but! What about XYZ?" Yeah, I know. BeOS had problems. So what? It was a blast to use, and if the corporate climate at the time wasn't so ridiculously stacked against Be, Inc., things might have worked out better than they did. Not being able to get a hardware manufacturer to install it, even as a dual-boot option, was the biggest stumbling block that those fun-loving guys from Redmond managed to trip up the competition with. The whole Microsoft antitrust case was aimed in the wrong direction.

Too late for any of that to make a shred of difference now.

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