Home > Haiku > The strange case of BeOS, SRS and the silent Power Mac 6500 The strange case of BeOS, SRS and the silent Power Mac 6500 Thom Holwerda 2022-12-19 Haiku 15 Comments Tonight’s story time: the Power Macintosh that wouldn’t make any sound in BeOS R5, how I figured out the problem, and how I hacked the sound driver to fix it. OSNews bait, 100%. About The Author Thom Holwerda Follow me on Mastodon @email@example.com 15 Comments 2022-12-20 11:07 am Sabon I LOVE articles like this even though I don’t have the hardware and I haven’t run BeOS is FAR too long. What could have been…what could have been! BeOS was a revelation to me and one of only two OSs (the other being (not a pun) OS/2 2.0 beta and what came after) that I ever eagerly looked forward to using. I’m not talking about the programs you could run on it (through I do still have the boxes for BeOS & BeProductive) I LOVED just playing with BeOS. The revelation was that computers could be FAST. OS/2 was called “Warp” but BeOS was truly Warp Drive compared to any other OS that I ran even eight years later. On most OSs the bloat of the OS and added software are like oversized anchors on a PC. Or using another analogy, it was like all normal cars REQUIRED pulling a second car that was heavier than the car you were driving. BeOS lost the b(l)oat, the oversized anchors (probably plural) and that extra car you had to drag around (with flat tires and maybe locked up brakes?). It SEEMED like it provided results before you hit the enter key or clicked with the mouse. Instead of waiting 15 seconds or possibly a minute or two it literally sped through data at unseen speeds where I could run data many times the size of any other OS (including OS/2) and still get results faster than anything else. And then Be died and BeOS with it. I’ve never lost a human I was close to … yet. But in my childhood I had very few friends. But when we moved into a house the previous residents had left a cat behind and it took me a few months to get it to trust me and let me pet it. Eventually I was the only one that could rub/scratch its tummy and it would literally sleep on my bed almost all day long and then run to the front door just before I was supposed to get home from school and would start talking/crying as he knew that I was almost home. When I was twelve (12) my cat got leukemia and my mom drove me and my cat to the vet where I held him while they gave him the shot and put him out of his misery. That was 50 years ago and I still miss him as much as the day he was put to sleep. That is the closest feeling that I got when Be died. Sometimes I literally will pull the boxes (I have multiple boxes with different versions of BeOS) from the shelf of honor (along with BeProductive, OS/2, Describe (OS/2 word processor), Corel Linux with WordPerfect for Corel Linux, Word Perfect for DOS (DOS has no place on ANY shelf, no Microsoft product does). You can find the open source version of BeOS here https://www.haiku-os.org . Haiku is the equivalent of Linux for UNIX. Versions in the last were pre-alpha to alpha with beta versions only coming recently. It has been updated to run on new hardware but since it is a small fan supported project there isn’t a lot of hardware that it supports but it is worth checking out if you loved BeOS, but you probably knew that already. Do I shed real tears for what might have been? Am I TOO emotional about what happened to Be and BeOS and what could have been? It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved. This is true of Be and BeOS. It was late 1999 that I stumbled upon R4.5 (“Genki”). I *thought* that OS/2 was THE best OS I would ever use (and would be if not for BeOS). Then I found out what Warp was REALLY like. OS/2 was called Warp (I have OS/2 Warp StarTrek posters) but BeOS WAS Warp Drive! I haven’t talked much about “how” you used BeOS, which was both great joy and great frustration for me. I’ll let Be’s own demonstration video WITH BeOS song do the talking for me. No OS could do what BeOS did and Windows STILL can’t do a lot of things that BeOS could back then. I literally cry when I watch the video. Wikipedia says, “In 2001 Be’s copyrights were sold to Palm, Inc. for some $11 million. BeOS R5 is considered the last official version, but BeOS R5.1 “Dano”, which was under development before Be’s sale to Palm and included the BeOS Networking Environment (BONE) networking stack, was leaked to the public shortly after the company’s demise.” There is a song called, “The day the music died”. Well this is the day that Be died. I made a version of that song but changed the words to fit Be dying. I play my own instruments and sing the four parts. If you EVER find a copy of it, do yourself a favor and destroy any chance of you being able to hear it. While I can play a dozen instruments, I was only –really– good at playing trombone. The rest are passing fancies that I never spend enough time on to get good at. Plus I’m not a good singer. The words for my version of the song are on a 3.5 “floppy” disk and I haven’t had a computer with a floppy drive in it since 2006 when my last PCs power supply died. and I was just too depressed about BeOS and OS/2 to replace that power supply or the whole computer and had it recycled. Anyway, here is Be’s demo video with BeOS song. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BsVydyC8ZGQ I use MacOS now though it isn’t because I love it. There is too much I tolerate but I’m still very busy with work and don’t have the energy to mess with Linux for everything that I still do. Losedows is FAR too undependable. Minimum “dependability” is rebooting less than five times a year for ANY reason. MacOS BARELY meets “dependable” and Windows takes less than a month to prove its undependability. Haiku is still too rough. Too many OS/2 apps that I really liked using (Describe for instance) stopped being updated LONG ago. I know that X, Y or Z OS works great for you. I just don’t have the time or energy anymore. I still DEEPLY miss my cat that was put to sleep 50 years ago. I still deeply miss BeOS and what might have been. I miss OS/2 but not enough to pay $250 not including updates. Linux is … “there” but I don’t miss it. Other OSs … I’m glad I don’t have to use most of them except at work. I can’t wait until I retire and I don’t have to support Windows anymore. My co-workers already don’t know what they are going to do when I leave. They CAN write the utilities they need but they like the way I write them. It will be nice to know that they really miss me when I am retired and unreachable. ‘ As mentioned, I still follow Haiku closely. Who knows, maybe I’ll have my nephew build me a Haiku machine. He’s still into building computers. After building over 500, picking out cases, motherboards, all the daughter cards, memory, CPU(s), etc., etc., etc., I’m not into it at all anymore. 2022-12-20 1:40 pm cb88 The name of the BeOS demo song is Virtual (Void) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zpgLFEHrWSA I still have a BeBox prototype I need to get around to playing with… but have other bigger fix to fry in the near term (building a house etc…) 2022-12-20 2:01 pm leech Just think, BeOS was slated to become macOS X, but instead they bought NeXT… 2022-12-20 5:39 pm Bill Shooter of Bul it kinda did become some kind of strange love child between NeXT and beOS. There were several devs that were responsible for a lot of cool beOS features that were snatched up by Apple post beOS bankruptcy and re-implemented them on MacOS. Idk, I think as time has gone on I think Apple really needed Jobs. He was the only one with enough stature to do a 180, get the microsoft investment to keep them afloat and ruthlessly kill bad products. He was an ahole of the highest caliber, and I would never want to work with him or for him. I don’t think his success was due to the ahole nature of him, I think it was more despite that part of him. Please no one emulate ahole behavior and point to him as an example. 2022-12-20 7:26 pm Alfman Bill Shooter of Bul, He was an ahole of the highest caliber, and I would never want to work with him or for him. I don’t think his success was due to the ahole nature of him, I think it was more despite that part of him. Please no one emulate ahole behavior and point to him as an example. I agree. But even so aholes can get mass cult followings. I cannot relate to this mentality whatsoever, but it does make me wonder: in the mind of someone who does have this cult mentality, is being an ahole to others considered endearing for them, consciously or otherwise? This could be appealing for people with “better than thou” attitudes, which seems common for cult followers. 2022-12-21 12:49 pm Sabon I agreed with both of you. “He was an ahole of the highest caliber” However, there are two sides to Steve Jobs. Ask those that know him in his personal life and you will find that he was VERY generous with his time, his wisdom and something VERY VERY few people know, he was very kind with his friends and gave a lot of money to quite a few charities. Unlike a lot of rich people he didn’t want it to be publicized that he gave money to charities, probably to reduce the number of ones that brought would hassle him for money if they knew. His “reasoning” for being an ahole was to get the most out of people with whom he felt they had much higher ceilings of ability than what they had showed so far. For some people it was the “kick in the butt” that they needed. For others it went very badly. Some people have said they resented his treatment at first but it turned out it was the best thing that could have happened “for them”. 2022-12-21 11:08 am Sabon “I think as time has gone on I think Apple really needed Jobs.” I totally agreed with you. While Jean-Louis Gassée is amazing, he didn’t have the clout within Apple to do what needed to be done. By the time people would have gotten on board Apple would have been bankrupt and that would have been it. Note that banks took a gamble on Steve Jobs because of what he did with Next. He showed he could run a company. No, Next didn’t light up the sky but it showed he knew how to pick the right people and that he could get things done. Plus the bank new that most Apple employees were behind him … at least until their products were cancelled. But those cancellations HAD to be done because, again, they would have been bankrupt if Mr. Jobs hadn’t cut all the products he did and streamline things down to four computer models. Two desktop and two laptop. Before that they had a whole bunch of different models that were a confusing mess. Some potentially really good products got the axe. It was either that or close the doors. The right choices were made. I *think* (lol) that they’ve done ok since then. 2022-12-22 3:16 am javiercero1 Gassee had his own reputation as a bit of a douche flute in SV. Reading accounts of his negotiations with apple are hilarious as how detached from reality he was. I think one of the aspects that is usually overlook about Jobs is not in terms of NeXT. But there was a lot of confidence in his managerial skills from his tenure @ Pixar, which he managed to turn around and make it successful before going into apple. Also with NeXT apple managed to snatch one of the best OS/SW teams in the industry at the time. Tons of influential figures in the microkernel, object orientation, distributed, etc spaces were working for NeXT. 2022-12-22 2:46 am javiercero1 Thank goodness. History has proven the decision to go for NeXT to be correct in spades. 2022-12-20 6:19 pm Alfman Sabon, Wow, that’s such a personal post. It’s nice learning more about people’s backgrounds. It humanizes us rather than being just a bunch of talking heads, haha 🙂 My co-workers already don’t know what they are going to do when I leave. They CAN write the utilities they need but they like the way I write them. … It will be nice to know that they really miss me when I am retired and unreachable. I don’t really have that feeling. I feel more like a brick in the wall and that I’ll be quickly forgotten. I’m not sure that the social fabric connecting people is as strong as it used to be. My perspective may be skewed however, I wonder what others think? As mentioned, I still follow Haiku closely. Who knows, maybe I’ll have my nephew build me a Haiku machine. He’s still into building computers. After building over 500, picking out cases, motherboards, all the daughter cards, memory, CPU(s), etc., etc., etc., I’m not into it at all anymore. Maybe it’s a good thing that you’re no longer into it as it has become an expensive hobby. When I started buying computers in 2000s, every passing year things got more affordable and you could get rather substantial upgrades without breaking the bank. If something was too expensive one year, well wait a couple years and you’d be able to buy something better for cheaper even going against inflation. Boy this decade though…what major regressions! Obviously it’s not just tech, the cost of everything is ballooning: housing, food, school, entertainment, medicine, cars, clothing, travel, electric, heating, a/c, etc… I make sacrifices to try and keep costs down, but I think it does take a toll on one’s quality of life. 2022-12-20 3:24 pm ThatChris That’s because BeOS was far more primitive at the time. It lacked, among other things, printing support. 2022-12-20 5:42 pm Bill Shooter of Bul I don’t remember this lack of support, but I never had the Office suite so, I never really had the need to print that often. There were other things it couldn’t do as well as my Windows PC, not sure I remember them now, but I had to reluctantly reboot into windows pretty often to get actual work done. But I got it to be a DVR back when tivo’s were pretty new, the windows driver for the tv capture card was pretty unstable but the built in beos one was spectacular. So it had its ups and downs. 2022-12-20 7:43 pm Morgan That’s patently false. I ran BeOS as my main OS for over a year in 1999-2000, and I happily printed to a LaserJet III printer from GoBe Productive. BinkJet printer drivers existed for HP inkjet printers too, though I had no need for that. 2022-12-22 2:57 am javiercero1 BeOS is looked back with rose colored glasses by a weird cult of fans that it managed to gather. BeOS was just too late by the time it came into the market. It was an OS stuck in the multimedia of the late 80s. And it showed. It booted real fast, and it ran a couple of demos. But other than that, it really did nothing. There was no clear value proposition. I had some friends who were really into it, and I remember having a dual booting system with it. I really really wanted to like it, and the interface was nifty enough. But I had to boot back to windows (and later linux) to get any actual work done. Had it been release 5/6 years earlier, it may have had a chance. But by the late 90s, most multimedia was handled by HW, so there was less pressure on doing graphics/audio/etc in SW. And worst of all, networking was an afterthought in BeOSland… at at time when the internet was exploding. It had some nifty ideas, specially in it’s filesystem. But other than that, it was a bit primitive as you said. It would have been interested in Be had explored using a 3rd party kernel/userland (linux?) and build their interface and APIs on top of it. That way you could have access the best of both worlds: the speed of development and networking support of linux/bsd and a consistent/polished desktop user experience. Oh, well. 2022-12-20 8:11 pm Bringbackanonposting Great post Sabon. It would be a memorable afternoon to hear about what you saw over the years. I only touched OS/2 2.1 and BeOS on and off from 96 – 2001. Our group was very focused on NT4/2000 primarily. I do regret not persisting more with OS/2 at the time. It’s a shame both of these options stopped dead.