Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 6th Dec 2016 23:47 UTC, submitted by Marc

Jean-Louis Gassée:

When the Apple smartphone project started, the key decision was the choice of software engine. Should Apple try to make a 'lite' version of OS X (as it was then known)? Go in a completely new direction?

It appears that a new direction may have been tempting. At the time that Apple's smartphone project began, an Apple employee and former Be engineer offered Palm Inc. $800K for a BeOS "code dump" - just the code, no support, no royalties. The engineer was highly respected for his skill in mating software to unfamiliar hardware; BeOS was a small, light operating system; draw your own conclusion... Palm, which had purchased Be a few years before that, turned him down.

Interesting historical footnote. This would be the second time that Apple tried to buy BeOS. I've been told that while Forstall (who wanted OS X) and Fadell (who wanted the iPod's Pixo) were battling it out, a former Be engineer then working at Apple wanted to prove BeOS was a viable iPhone candidate, and thus tried to buy it. As history knows, Forstall won out, and only after the fact did the Apple engineer inform the higher-ups of what he tried to do. Apparently, this happens more often inside Apple's culture.

Thread beginning with comment 638076
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
Some company named...
by rubberneck on Wed 7th Dec 2016 04:42 UTC
Member since:

Access Co. owns it. Why Palm didn't just open source the thing was amazing. Maybe Access would open source it for a price.

P.S. It was smarter to use mac osx as the basis for iOS.

I wonder who the engineer was. Anyhow Forstall won the day.

Edited 2016-12-07 04:50 UTC

Reply Score: 1

RE: Some company named...
by Adurbe on Wed 7th Dec 2016 15:51 in reply to "Some company named..."
Adurbe Member since:

BeOS would have brought some amazing features to the iPhone. Down-scaling an OS is incredibly difficult and leads to a lot of bloat. BeOS wouldn't have has so much of that (in part because it was designed for much lighter hardware than OSX).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Some company named...
by rubberneck on Thu 8th Dec 2016 11:47 in reply to "RE: Some company named..."
rubberneck Member since:

It offered no ability to do cross platform dev with Mac OS. That's why it lost out. I didn't say it didn't have smart ideas in it.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: Some company named...
by henderson101 on Wed 7th Dec 2016 21:06 in reply to "Some company named..."
henderson101 Member since:

Why Palm didn't just open source the thing was amazing.

It was an asset bought along with the talent. They only wanted the talent.

Maybe Access would open source it for a price.

They can't. It contains too much proprietary code still. It contains some GPL code that was probably iffily licensed back before the GPL crowd made a big song and dance about that kind of thing. When you strip out the third party code, you won't have a working OS anymore.

The main reason it wasn't very appropriate for the iOS was that it only ran on x86 by the end of life. They had broken the PowerPC build and changed things to no longer be compatible with MetroWerks C compiler, so no one was checking it was cross compiling still from what I can tell.

Reply Parent Score: 2