Nowadays, all you hear about is Windows, MacOS X, or GNU/Linux. However, what ever happened to the good old BeOS?
As most of you know, Be Inc. shifted focus on its business too many times that it ended up hurting itself. It is quite simply put: Like many failed businesses out there, they made some unrecoverable mistakes. However, I am not going to sit you down here to read about some analysis that states what Be Inc. should and should not have done. Instead, I am going to show you that something is stirring in the depths of the Net. The continuous existence of their prized OS.
The actual OS is still around and is being used by many, and I mean many, enthusiasts. You can go over to BeBits.com [http://www.bebits.com] and download one of the versions of BeOS available that was released by Be Inc. a year or so ago. You will find the BeOS 5 Personal Edition [http://www.bebits.com/app/2680] along with its updates that will install under a GNU/Linux or a Windows partition. I believe you can find the retail version of the OS, the BeOS 5 Pro Edition at Softline.fr [http://www.softline.fr/result.asp?MotCle=beos#].
So who is really keeping this OS alive and going? The BeOS community, who else?
Even though Be Inc. shut its doors and sold itself to Palm back in 2001, the BeOS community left behind did not waste a second. The developers of the community are working hard on creating a clone that will equal, if not, exceed the power of the current BeOS 5, bringing a whole new breath of life to the OS. It kind of redefines the meaning of “the future OS”.
Open Source projects such as OpenBeOS [http://www.openbeos.org], BlueEyedOS [http://www.blueeyedos.com], and Zeta [http://www.yellowtab.com], just to name a few, began working hard on making sure that the BeOS era continues to grow. The whole BeOS community is relying on these projects to make this happen.
However, these Open Source projects are not working alone. BeUnited.org [http://www.beunited.org] just recently opened its standards portal so that it can define and then promote standards among the Open Source projects. However, the standards portal does more than just make sure that standards are created and followed but, as well, it is involved in porting of software applications and the continuation of others. Such as porting of the OpenOffice [http://www.openoffice.org] or the continuous development on Gobe Productive 3.0 [http://www.gobe.com/storegobeproductive.html].
There are still several, if not many, software applications being developed for the existing OS. There are support forums, news sites, other OS clones or derivatives that are under development.
So as you can see, life did not stop for this OS. However, this does not mean that it is doing just fine. It is doing good, but it can do better.
The community still needs help to grow even more. Many areas still need attention and can not be left for the current developers to do all the work. Areas such as porting of other existing Open Source software and hardware drivers are so far the most important.
Even if help can not be provided in the areas mentioned. Developers looking to help can try to offer their hand in the development of the current clones. To put it quite bluntly, when there is a will there is way and for sure there is a way for any one of us to help out.
Does this mean that BeOS is making a comeback? All I can say is that it sure does look promising. I would have rather told you all about the clone OSes in detail, but I’m going to leave you to delve into their sites and judge for yourself.
George N., a.k.a. ClumzyKid, has been in the Computer Science community for the past 12 years. He has seen and touched a Risc OS, most x86’s, and most of the Windows incarnations – Let’s throw in a couple of Macs while we’re at it! Main interests fall in the cross-platform technologies,
particularly in Web Design and Development, Computer Graphic Design in general, and Techie work. You can find him lingering on Beshare and IRC Undernet channels. If you want to get his full attention you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.