BeOS Bible Updates

Despite a rigorous editorial cycle, there are bound to be some mistakes in a book the size of The BeOS Bible, just as there are in any publishing project of this scale. In addition, BeOS and its applications are in a constant state of evolution. This page will keep you abreast of changes to the BeOS and will correct any factual errors in the book. If you find an error in The BeOS Bible, please don't hesitate to let the author know.

R4.5 In addition to the "general" updates below, a complete and detailed R4.5 update to the BeOS Bible is now available here.


Changes to the operating system or apps that have been implemented since the book's publication.

p. 65: Tracker settings file
In R4.5, a new option appeared in this file: MountSharedVolumesOnDesktop. This applies only to users of World-o-Networking (SAMBA networks).

p. 113: PulseBox
The web site referencing the PulseBox "blinky lights" kit has vanished. However, you can download a complete archive of the old site, including all the plans, diagrams, and the binary you need here.

p. 128: Chart
The demo application "Chart" was unfortunately not included in the Demos section of Chapter 2, though it would appear on this page if it had been. This is due to the fact that Chart only became an official part of the demos collection late in the publishing process. Some information on Chart can be found on page 20.

p. 163: Installing onto NT Machines
The text reads: 'Windows NT can be installed onto FAT32 or NTFS volumes." In fact, NT 3.x/4.0 can only be installed onto existing FAT or NTFS volumes. Windows 2000 (currently in beta), can be installed onto existing FAT, FAT32 or NTFS volumes.

p. 167: Boot menu
Page 167 notes that you can find information on creating a Windows boot menu at In actual fact, you'll find this information on the author's BeOS Tip Server, under Create a Win95/BeOS Boot Menu. However, I must re-iterate that using BeOS' built-in Bootman is a vastly superior solution. There is no benefit (and much toil) involved in creating a Windows boot menu.

p. 286: Zip
The BeOS port of zip, maintained by Chris Herborth, can be obtained here. Zip is updated frequently; make sure you have the most recent version.

p. 348: Table 6.02
This table says that -o is one of the options the ls command can take as an argument. With the upgrade to bash 2.0 in R4, the -o option went away. You can still use ls -lG.

p. 441: LAN
A LAN is a "Local Area Network," not a "Large Area Network."

pp. 504 - 506: ScreenSaver
As the BeOS Bible was going to press, Be had just made plans to acquire Duncan Wilcox' excellent Blanket screen saver and incorporate it into the operating system, changing its name to ScreenSaver. At the time, it appeared that the next version of BeOS (then R4.1) would be made available to the public by the time the book hit the shelves. As you may now, the R4.1 release has been delayed in favor of a juicier release (code named "Genki"), which should hit the streets in late June 1999. You'll find the ScreenSaver application in that release.

pp. 551: Refresh Rate
Monitor refresh rates are measured in Hz, not MHz :). Anyone smell smoke?

pp. 663-666: BeatWare's BeBasics
Shortly after the Bible went to press, BeatWare announced that the BeBasics producitivity suite would no longer be available. BeatWare currently focuses on their e-Picture web graphics application.


Factual errors in the BeOS Bible.

Various interviews: Names mispelled
Steve Sakoman's last name is incorrectly rendered as "Sackoman" in a couple of locations. Likewise, Erich Ringewald's name is sometimes rendered as "Ringewold." In the online Emulation chapter, Mikol Ryon's name is misspelled as "Ryan." The editors of the BeOS Bible regret the misspellings of the names of these engineers and executives.

Famous cheese: frequently misspelled
Many examples of working with disk volumes show the author's own partitions, which are named after his favorite cheeses. Embarassingly, the cheese "Gouda" is misspelled as "Ghouda" throughout the book.

p. 69: Twitcher
"Tap Alt+Tab quickly" should read "Tap Ctrl+Tab quickly."

p. 93: Clock
The description of Clock neglects to mention that you can right-click in its interface to toggle the seconds hand on and off.

p. 97: Speaking Hex
Example should read 48+14=62. Ooops!

p. 125: Open GL
In reference to 3dmov, the text reads "For one thing you're seeing the power of the OpenGL library at work..." In fact, 3dmov uses the old (non-open GL) 3D Kit.

p. 164: Extended partitions
The section on extended partitions notes that physical disks on x86 are limited to a maximum of 16 partitions; four primary, each containing a maximum of four logical partitions. In actuality, each extended partition can contain another partition table, pointing to four more logical partitions. Thus, a disk can theoretically be infinitely subdivided.

p. 187: TCP/IP
This acronym stands for "Transmission Control Protocol," not "Transfer Control Protocol," as stated.

p. 236: ping
The last command example on this page starts with ftp rather than ping. It should be ping.

p. 256: attribute sizes
To clarify, attribute sizes are available to programmers through the BeOS API; they are not, however, available to users as of R4.5. This should be corrected in a future version of the Tracker.

p. 261: listattr
The example referencing a file called "Rummage Sale Bargains" is incorrectly reported in the catattr string examples beneath that as "RummageSale."

p. 293: Original database in filesystem
Some engineers contend that the pre-DR9 filesystem was not in fact a true database, though it certainly was closer to one than is the current implementation. A better description of the reason the database filesystem was dropped as of DR9 might be: "The database could easily be lost after a crash". It wasn't lost after each crash of the system, but it had to be reindexed. That operation could take long minutes (if you had many many files), and possibly fail. This reindexation could fail, but that wasn't the rule. In that case, you had to erase the database and rebuild one, and then, you'd lose the information in the database with no chance of recovery." Thanks to Georges-Edouard Berenger for the suggested text here.

p. 299: 64-Bit Storage System
The maximum file size in BeOS incorrectly reported as being 18 petabytes in this section. The actual maximum file size is 18,000 petabytes, or 18 exabytes. The maximum file size is correctly reported on page 13 and at other points throughout the book. In addition, one megabyte is referred to as 1,000 kilobytes. While not strictly in error (this is the way hard disk vendors refer to disk sizes), computers usually deal in powers of two, so one megabyte is more strictly 1,024K.

p. 332: Name misspelled
Maarten Hekkelman's name is improperly rendered as "Martin."

p. 342: Customizing Terminal prompt
There is a missing backslash in the environment variable.

PS1='u@\h [\!]:'
should be
PS1='\u@\h [\!]:'

p. 350: less / more
To get out of the less or more programs, just press q. You don't need to follow q by Enter.

p. 371: becalc
The sidebar on performing advanced calculations from the shell should refer to a utility called pecalc, not becalc. pecalc is available here.

p. 404: Scheduler
This page says Scheduler is covered in Chapter 10. In fact, it's covered in Chapter 12. The app should be available on BeDepot soon.

p. 420: Queries
In Figure 7.10, the screenshot shows a query looking for email modified after 7 days ago, while the caption says "show me all the email that's more than a week old." The caption should say "show me all the email that's less than a week old."

p. 505: ScreenSaver
"Blanket" is misspelled as "Blenket."

p. 522, 523: Block sizes
Some file system block sizes are referred to here in kilobytes, rather than in bytes. References to 4096K should be 4096b. Blocks are always measured in multiples of 512 bytes.

p. 531: Installing Japanese Input
The correct location of the optional Japanese Input Method on the BeOS CD (as of R4.5) is /_packages_/japanese.

p. 575: UTF-8
The UTF-8 character encoding system is incorrectly rendered as "UDF8."

pp. 591 - 593: BeB
The text reads "Paused or canceled backups can be resumed by clicking Restart." However, note that only paused backups can be restarted. Once you cancel a backup there is no way to restart it. In the "Incremental Backups" section, note that you do not need to modify the selector predicate. BeB uses the unmodified selector the first time a particular Catalog is backed up. For the second and subsequent backups, BeB modifies the selector like this:

((original selector) && (last_modified > "last backup time")
where "orignal selector" is the unmodified selector that the user entered and "last backup time" is the time the last backup was started. To start over again and perform a full backup, edit the Catalog and click the "Reset" button.

p. 606: HPFS
The OS/2 High-Performance File System is incorrectly abbreviated as "HPSS" rather than HPFS.

pp. 638: BeInformed
The original developer of BeInformed is Dirk Olbertz, not Dick Oberlitz. We apologize for the misrendering of Dirk's name. BeInformed is now an open-source software project.

pp. 643: Felix
Xavier Ducrohet's name is incorrectly rendered as "Ducrochet." The editors of the BeOS Bible regret the mispellings of Xavier's name. The URL given for Felix has changed, as is now

pp. 647: BeZilla
The correct URL for the BeZilla project page is now

pp. 693 - 694: Spellswell
This section states that developers "purchase a license" for the hooks needed to tie into the program. In actual fact, it's all free. Developers get a free developer's kit with specs and sample code they can add to the program, and then the program automatically works with ANY "word services" program, like Spellswell, the QuickLetter Address Book, another company's grammar checker, etcetera. This is significant for two reasons: First, it allows hobbyist and shareware and open source developers to use word services in their applications. People don't have to sweat not having the cash, or not be able to make something open-source because of a license restriction. Secondly, Word Services is a completely vendor-neutral, open and public protocol. This means that competitors are free to make competing spellcheckers. Everything a developer needs can be downloaded here.

p. 710: Boo
The URL given for Boo is no longer valid. The best URL for Boo right now is .

p. 737: Pierre Raynaud-Richard interview
The phrase "Benoit wanted to resign" can easily be misconstrued. In fact, Benoit is one of Be's most dedicated engineers and has been with the company from very early on. Pierre meant here that Benoit wanted to stop heading the graphics team, for reasons relating only to his personal life.

p. 762: Q
The URL given for Q is no longer valid. The best URL for Q right now is .

pp. 850-851: mount
The command-line mount instructions on these pages neglect to mention that you'll need to make sure the intended mount point exists prior to using the command. In the example shown, you must create the /plato directory before issuing the mount command.

Back cover:
BeNews editor Adrian Ziemkowski's name is incorrectly rendered as "Adam." The editors of the BeOS Bible regret the mispellings of Adrian's name.

Online Scripting Chapter, p. 8: Tcl
Tcl stands for "Tool Command Language," not "Tool Control Language."

Online Hardware Chapter, p. 1: MHz
MHz represesents one million cycles per second, not 1,000.

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