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Thread: BeOS Retrospective

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    Administrator lpetrich's Avatar
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    BeOS Retrospective

    BeOS: The Alternate Universe’s Mac OS X | Hackaday
    You’re likely familiar with the old tale about how Steve Jobs was ousted from Apple and started his own company, NeXT. Apple then bought NeXT and their technologies and brought Jobs back as CEO once again. However, Jobs’ path wasn’t unique, and the history of computing since then could’ve gone a whole lot different.

    In 1990, Jean-Louis Gassée, who replaced Jobs in Apple as the head of Macintosh development, was also fired from the company. He then also formed his own computer company with the help of another ex-Apple employee, Steve Sakoman. They called it Be Inc, and their goal was to create a more modern operating system from scratch based on the object-oriented design of C++, using proprietary hardware that could allow for greater media capabilities unseen in personal computers at the time.
    Be's first production was its BeBox. It was originally to use AT&T's Hobbit CPU chips, but that company stopped producing them. So it used PowerPC chips instead, shipping a dual-CPU box in 1995. That didn't sell very well, so Be offered its BeOS for Apple's PowerPC hardware. When Steve Jobs returned to Apple, he cut off that approach when the PPC G3 Macs came out, and Be moved to Intel hardware.

    It was hard to get preloads, and alternative-OS users on Intel hardware already had some, notably Linux. Be tried to move into Palm-Pilot-like devices, without much success there. Be was bought by Palm in 2001, ending its independent existence. Palm became Palmsource and ended up becoming bought by Google. Thus some Be people ended up working on Android.

    Home | Haiku Project is a recent attempt to imitate the BeOS. One can run it standalone or inside a virtual-machine app like VirtualBox or Parallels or VMWare.

    I remember using the BeOS for a while on my Power Computing Mac clone in the mid 1990's. It was a nice OS, but it never got much app support, and I had to use MacOS Classic for a lot of stuff. But Apple eventually caught up with OSX, and that was originally NextStep.

    Steve Jobs seemed to have the idea that his systems were so great that people would gladly shell out big money to buy them. He also had a sort of design ideology of all-in-one systems. JLG, however, was much more pragmatic, and was not an AIO absolutist. He was also much willing to price his systems to sell.

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