It is no secret that us OSNews editors – Eugenia and I, mostly – have fond memories of the BeOS. So, whenever a handy BeOS feature makes its way into other operating systems, I zealously point it out in the articles or comments I write about them. Call it a harmless little compulsion. Anyway, a few days ago, while hanging around in Haiku’s irc channel, a link to a screenshot showed an interesting little piece of BeOS legacy which had found its way to Windows.
A very popular BeOS application – or, more correctly, replicant – was ProcessController, a little tool written by Georges-Edouard Berenger. ProcessController lived inside your taskbar or any other replicant-friendly application, and showed memory and processor usage live, in real-time. That wasn’t all, though, as it allowed you to perform all sorts of neat little tricks:
- Quit any application that is running (both background and non-background BApplications),
- Screen the Memory usage of the different teams/applications,
- Screen the activity of each individual team & thread graphically and “Live”,
- Kill any team,
- Change the priority of any thread,
- Kill any thread,
- Start the debugger on a thread, with an intelligent semaphore releasing mecanism,
- Turn on & off processors,
- Launch a terminal,
- Re-launch the Tracker (available if it is not running anymore),
- Re-launch the Deskbar (available if it is not running anymore),
- Access the documentation, adopt Pulse’s colors, install/remove in/from the Deskbar.
ProcessController came in very handy when playing around with beta or alpha software, as it allowed you to easily kill threads and applications without having to resort to task managers or cli commands. In addition, if you experienced sluggish performance, you could easily check via ProcessController which application or process was the culprit.
As it turns out, ProcessController has found its way to Windows, thanks to k23 productions. The tool works on Windows NT, 2000, XP, and 2003, but I’m using it on Windows Vista Ultimate SP1, and it seems to work just fine. Especially the ability to show every process’ memory and CPU usage in a separate window can be really useful in determining when a certain application chokes. The tool shows an awful lot of information, all of which might be useful in a troubleshooting scenario.
The tool even uses BeOS icons and graphics, which only add to the authenticity of the experience. If you spend a lot of time in Windows, this GPL-licensed tool can be a real time-saver.