Home > BeOS & Derivatives > RAM Limiting Bootloader for BeOS RAM Limiting Bootloader for BeOS Submitted by Jeff 2004-04-22 BeOS & Derivatives 26 Comments Euan Kirkhope has achieved a RAM limiting bootloader for BeOS R5, Zeta, Dano, PhOS, allowing BeOS* to operate on machines with more than 1GB RAM by capping it out at 512 MB of RAM. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 26 Comments 2004-04-22 8:35 pm Spiffy pretty much sums it up. Nice job, I’m sure this will be nice thing for many. Lots of bootloader action going on. 2004-04-22 9:16 pm Wow, gonna have to try this out, if I can actually boot into BeOS on my P4 Machine I’ll be astounded, this is the only situation I had encountered where 2gb of Ram was a bad thing, maybe that’s over now, but I mean BeOS doesn’t need anymore than 256mb even. 2004-04-22 9:18 pm Wait, let me get that… If I installed 768M RAM, I could use 768M RAM, but if I had 1088M RAM, I could use only 512M RAM, so if I install more RAM I can only use less of it than before (with BeOS-like OSes, of course)? Is that right? 2004-04-22 9:22 pm I hope it capsizes to 512 MB no matter what you have installed above that. And in fact, in the future we will need a version that capsizes to 256 MB, as graphics cards evolve and start reporting A LOT of virtual gfx RAM in the PCI (up to 1 GB for the gfx memory alone) (which is a number actually *added* to the overall RAM sum when doing the hack — it is not just the main memory sum that’s been taken into account by the kernel — it depends on the gfx card as well) 2004-04-22 9:23 pm Sometimes, not even 768MB will work. 512 MB is a good limit for now. Plus, there is no app in BeOS world that requires 512MB of RAM, and the argument that you need to change/cripple your computer memory is now gone. The release of OpenBeOS will fix even the need for this patch and all memory will be available (altough it will do it by setting a new limit, only higher). Gein 2004-04-22 9:24 pm >Sometimes, not even 768MB will work Exactly. It depends on the graphics card installed as well, not just the main memory on the machine. 2004-04-22 9:39 pm Plus, there is no app in BeOS world that requires 512MB of RAM Refraction and The App Formerly Known As SampleStudio are two that needs a lot of RAM. Refraction still doesn’t have a disk cache afaik so it keept it all in RAM, which means that you need a lot for large images. I can’t do much with my photos in Refraction before I run out of memory. that said, 640KB ought to be enough for anyone 2004-04-22 9:46 pm Well, these are higher-end apps (not that many on BeOS) and if you need to use BeOS* for important stuff, use another OS. Until this problem is actually solved by YellowTAB (PalmSource doesn’t have any incentive to fix it on their BeOS), then you should not be using an OS that can’t do what you need to do. It is just plain logic. If an OS can’t do what you need to do, use one that can. Best tool for the job. 2004-04-23 12:48 am Some of the original confusion around 512 or 768 resulted from some people stating that it has to do with RAM plus Video RAM in your PC. I have never seen this documented by Be Inc. anywhere so its probably conjecture as far as i am concerned. i have Gigabyte GA-7N400 Pro2 motherboard http://www.gigabyte.com.tw/MotherBoard/Products/Products_GA-7N400~*… and it has 1GB 400 MHz DDR RAM and an ATI Radeon 9600 XT (256MB RAM). it runs BeOS fine using this RAM limited boot image. it also runs BeOS fine if i pull out a 512 MB DIM for a total of 512MB (plus 256MB Video RAM), just to dispell that myth as well. cheers peter 2004-04-23 1:03 am Well, it’s not always that simple Eugenia. Even though there are lovely apps for Windows, I try to avoid Windows and related apps as much as possible because of political and economical reasons. I am using Fireworks in Windows though, and IE for testing web-sites. That’s about it. I know that you don’t understand why people feel dirty when using windows, but it’s just the way I feel. It’s the same as if I would go and eat at McDonalds, it goes completely in the opposite direction of my ideals. Anyway, I don’t get what you mean by “and if you need to use BeOS for important stuff, use another OS.” If BeOS does the job then why use another OS? I still don’t think that Refraction is such a great app for photo editing, it lacks too many important tools, but it’s getting there. But the reason I’ve been using it is because I’ve been trying to make some plugins for it. It’s as simple as that. 2004-04-23 2:26 am Did anyone notice if it had the -CD option so I could try it as a live CD? No big deal I can modify makebootfloppy to use any data, just wondered. 2004-04-23 3:24 am >I have never seen this documented by Be Inc. anywhere so its probably conjecture as far as i am concerned. What are you talking about Peter? JBQ has discussed the issue a gazillion times already: http://www.osnews.com/comment.php?news_id=1478&limit=no 2004-04-23 8:55 am call me silly but why is this a good thing? will the next version cap the RAM to 256M? 2004-04-23 9:06 am >will the next version cap the RAM to 256M? Eventually it will have to (as gfx cards will tend to report GBs to the PCI level). 2004-04-23 10:04 am Really, if you want to stay with BeOS 5 (and if you are not willing to move to Zeta), the best you should do is get a computer with old parts for BeOS and use that forever instead of using these so many new patches found everywhere. What you need for MAXIMUM BeOS compatibility in conjuction to performance is (that doesn’t require patches): * A dual PIII @ 800 Mhz with an Intel chipset (not VIA) on a motherboard that is known that its USB works. BeOS was *mostly optimized* for Intel CPUs and chipsets (Be engineers worked extra together with Intel ones). * 768 MBs of RAM, maximum. 512 MBs might be best though. * A PCI/AGP TNT2-Ultra nVidia card with 8/16/32 MB of RAM or a 3Dfx Voodoo4/5 with 8/16/32 MB of RAM. You don’t need AGP if you can’t find one (BeOS doesn’t support the AGP extra functionality, it works with them in PCI emulation only) and you don’t need more than 8 MBs of gfx RAM as there are no 3D support (8 MBs are enough to give you 1600x1200x32bit at 85 Hz with these cards). A Matrox G400 would have being a better choice here but the two BeOS drivers for it are buggy and not fully finished. * A well-supported PCI sound card. The Yamaha YMF754 PCI sound card has excellent full BeOS support with this third party driver (http://www.bebits.com/app/2026) * A PS/2 keyboard and a PS/2 wheel mouse (so you can keep free your few USB ports on old mobos, plus PS/2 works better with BeOS 5) * An old Texas Instrument-based chip for a firewire PCI card, if you need Firewire (old meaning circa 1999/2000). * Normal IDE for hdd and CD-Roms should be enough. * A 1999-released Bt848 TV-capture card if you need one. Get these items either new or from eBay. Keep your PC in good health, and BeOS will continue to live on as much as you need it to. I plan to keep my dual Celeron 533 around just to run BeOS. I have specially built that machine in 1999 to work with BeOS, and it does so extremely well. 2004-04-23 12:36 pm Is BeOS the only OS where this problem exist with GFX mem RAM,etc. Does NT, Linux, QNX, MacOSX, etc have these problems. If they did and are now fixed what did they do? 2004-04-23 1:02 pm Eugenia wrote: Really, if you want to stay with BeOS 5 (and if you are not willing to move to Zeta), the best you should do is get a computer with old parts for BeOS and use that forever instead of using these so many new patches found everywhere. 8<—snip—>9 I have been saying essentially the same for quite a while now. I use BeOs 5 exclusively here for all my computer needs currently (home plus small business). I have an older Dell Precision with dual PIII @ 500 MHz, 256 Megs RAM (going to 512 soon), an ATI All In Wonder, and several IDE and SCSI drives. Works like a dream for me. Just make sure to check for compatibility before purchasing add-ons, and all should go well. BTW, if you check around the net (PriceWatch is your friend) you can usually find these Dell Precision dual processor systems for roughly $325 US. 2004-04-23 3:49 pm The BeOS Hardware Matrix is back online, now at http://www.bedrivers.com/hardware This is a good place to check on compatibility of hardware with BeOS. Entering of new hardware is still buggy, we’re working on fixing that. Be careful with this new patch as it’s still being tested, but if you do use it be sure to report your sucess or failure back to them so it can be improved upon. Yes there’s been many patchs made to BeOS PE since Be Inc left us. There’s a core group of developers out there who are working to keep BeOS working on the newest ( or nearly new ) hardware. Since Be Inc was bought by Palm, there’s been new video drivers for 3 of the top 4 video chipset makers, thus allowing users of newer video adapters to use BeOS in color without needing to use the VESA driver. There’s been patches for fixing the AMD Athlon CPU, which only required changing the text in the kernel from “GENUINEINTEL” to “AUTHENTICAMD”, this doesn’t appear to cause ANY harm that I’ve ever heard of, as there are now MANY ATHLON BeOS users out there. There’s been new sound drivers for SB LIVE and AUDIGY, along with drivers for most of the on-board chipsets from Intel and VIA. So don’t be scared off by newer hardware, just do your homework before shopping for that new PC. Check the hardware matrix. Check the hardware forums on the BeOS sites, ask questions, you’ll get answers in most cases. -scottmc 2004-04-23 5:29 pm While everything that Eugenia has said above is technically correct, I think that there is another side to the story. The kernel patches that are out there (for P4 and Athlon) are minimal patches. They patch an absolutely tiny portion of the kernel. Hundreds of people run with those patched kernels and have no problems. I am one of them. As far as I know, there are no weird issues – the patch either boots for you and works fine forever or will never boot for you at all. That’s pretty easy to test. Memory is something of a strange issue to those who don’t know the technical details. In fact, it is only really an issue for people who dual boot. If you want to build a BeOS machine, use 512 mb or 768 with certain video cards (more in a moment). I have 512mb with virtual memory off and have never had an issue. Video cards are not an issue. OpenBeOS supplies video drivers for nVidia, Matrox, and ATI. It is pretty tough to find a video card that is not one of these three. 🙂 Where we (BeOS community) still have issues is onboard video. For the most part, we just don’t have the specs. For a BeOS only machine, the cheapest ATI or nVidia card you can find is a good bet. Personally, I like the Matrox series. I have a G200 with our driver that works like a champ. I personally recommend PS2 kbd and mouse, too. What else would you use those ports for? Leave any USB ports (even if you have 8 of them) for something else. The point here is not to be afraid of newer hardware. Much modern hardware is supported. Of course not from the R5 CD – that doesn’t make sense. But the community is doing a pretty good job of keeping the driverset up to date. 2004-04-24 12:54 am Beos R5 absolutly FLIES on my dual 866/133 system with an nvidea card 512mb ram. I’ll keep that system around for a bit. it still runs photoschlop in windows faster than alot of new systems 2004-04-24 3:02 am 3DmiX,working with lomg tunes with a lot of tracks can eat up RAM really fast in 3DmiX.but I have found another limitation to this app,you can also “run out of GUI” On particularly long files the timeline just runs out although the music keeps playing you cannot see it to mix it.Oh well it’s still the best free multi track mixer out there,and was head and shoulders above anything M$ ever bundles with their OS like Paint and Free Cell… LOL Yeah right 2004-04-24 5:12 am BeOS was so far ahead, like the file system being capable of tetrabytes of data,so what gets me is why didn’t these guys ever forsee using over a Gig of memory?Especially in an OS geared towards realtime multimedia creation in which the files you are working with tend to be rather large. 2004-04-24 7:07 am >so what gets me is why didn’t these guys ever forsee using over a Gig of memory? The 1024 MB of memory limit is not just for BeOS. OS/2 and other ’90s OSes have a similar limit as well, it is because of the 32bit address space of the x86 architecture (pure 64bit architecture don’t have this problem). To go over the limit, it requires some nifty coding (something that Linux, FreeBSD and Windows have done in the recent years). But OSes like BeOS, OS/2 and others, stopped developing years ago. And so, when the time came for the dev team to work on this limit, these devs were not paid anymore to do that job. Their companies had already focus shifted. If the BeOS development had continued by Be or Palm, that limit would now be lifted. 2004-04-24 11:12 am Excuse me for my ignorance Eugenia, but (2^32)/(1024^3)=4, which means that 32bit registers are capable of addressing exactly 4GB of memory. So why did those excellent engeneers at Be make the limit 1 gig and not 4? 2004-04-24 4:20 pm Because it saved them performance and features on other areas. You must understand that kernel development is all about gives and takes. It is not a clean cut. You do a change and it has an impact on other areas. Obviously, but cutting support at 1 GB, it saved them features elsewhere. 2004-04-24 6:05 pm Eugenia, I’m not sure what the “problem” is with VIA chipset motherboards that you seem to think there is, but I’ve been running a Tyan Dual 1GHz Tiger230 for years now, 24×7 with no problems, along with a fully SCSI drive system.