What is BeOS?
BeOS is a radical, fully modern operating system designed and engineered by Be, Inc. of Menlo Park, California. BeOS is the brain-child of former Apple executive Jean-Louis Gassee, and is the product of many years of work by some of the world's most visionary engineers and designers. The system runs on standard Intel/x86-based hardware and many models of PowerMac computers, and is capable of occupying a partition on your hard drive alongside your other operating system(s).
Why Does the World Need a New Operating System?
Both Windows and MacOS are the product of more than 20 years of evolution. As such, they're stuffed full of legacy code, baggage, and design decisions that once seemed like good ideas but that are now stumbling blocks which make it difficult for systems to move forward into the age of modern computing. Because Microsoft and Apple don't want to risk making all of their users' software obsolete, everything they do has to remain backwards-compatible with software that was released a decade ago. This makes it difficult if not impossible to integrate truly modern computing features into existing operating systems.
By developing an operating system from scratch, Be won the opportunity to do it right this time, to not make the same mistakes that other OS vendors have made, and to build a system that will carry us well into the next millenium without facing arbitrary limitations. To build a system fully optimized for the high-bandwidth media needs that are becoming increasingly important in our computing lives.
If it's buzzwords you're looking for, BeOS gives you radical multitasking, pre-emptive multithreading, true protectected memory, a 64-bit, fully journaled, database-like filesystem, multiple desktops, and unbelievable speed. Because everything Be does is about keeping the system responsive under multitasking loads that would crush other operating systems, BeOS can unleash the power of your existing hardware, making your computer seem twice as fast.
There's a ton of introductory information out there for those wanting to learn more about the nuts and bolts of this exciting new operating system. Here are a few of the best sites you can visit for an overview of BeOS, but for the real deal, pick up a copy of The BeOS Bible -- the ultimate guide to installing, using, and getting the most out of every aspect of the BeOS.
Take an Online Tour of the BeOS
The BeOS User Explanation Track
The MediaOS: A Technical Whitepaper
BeOS Product Datasheet
The BeOS Tip Server