BeOS, Be Operating System, is an operating system company Be Incorporated and was working in later versions often called a " media OS" because of its multimedia capabilities. Compared with its competitors such as Windows, Mac OS or Linux, it could not prevail.

  • 5.1 Haiku ( OpenBeOS )
  • 5.2 ZETA
  • 5.3 BlueEyedOS
  • 5.4 Cosmoe
  • 5.5 ZevenOS


In BeOS is a single-user system with a modular hybrid kernel for X86 ( Pentium ) and PowerPC processors (PowerPC 603 and 604, G3 upgrade cards only ). It supports multi-processor systems with up to eight processors with multitasking and multithreading. BeOS uses its own BeFS called 64 -bit journaling file system. However, BeOS is also able to partitions that are formatted with Windows FAT16, FAT32 or the Mac OS HFS file system, read and write access. On partitions that are formatted with the ext2 Windows file system NTFS or Linux file system that can be accessed for reading. In addition, BeOS has a memory protection, which prevents a crashed program interferes with the entire system. This was by appearance of BeOS a true innovation in the area of ​​home users, but the two did not have at that time the most popular operating systems Windows 95 and Mac OS (up to 9) just about this technique. BeOS brought bootman with its own boot manager that fits completely in the Master Boot Record. He can not read file systems, making it ideal operating system as if it would run directly, this can start bootman almost any operating system. BeOS renounced the separation of kernel and graphical user interface.


* Only BeBoxen from Revision 6

Developer release

Software developers were given developer release (DR ) along with the BeBox and then got the newest Developer Release sent.

The previous developer release only run on the BeBox of Be, only from the DR version 8.2 and the Power Macintosh is supported. The first official version was available DR6; DR5 was delivered only to a few specially selected companies. The DR9 was distributed in May 1997 on the BEDC (Be Developer Conference ) and then sent to all registered developers. The DR9 also bears the additional name AADR, which stands for advanced access preview release, as this is the last version that was only intended for developers and almost identical to the short time later released Preview Release 1 DR9 brought against the DR8 some profound changes. Thus the file system was expanded into a 64 -bit file system, which allows files larger than 2 GB, and supplemented with journaling capabilities.

DR6 and earlier today run only on very few BeBoxen as their boot loader for later versions has been changed. BeBoxen that have been updated in this way, the old versions can no longer operate therefore.

Preview Release

The Preview Release 1 ( PR1 ) of BeOS, which was referred to simply before publication of the Preview Release 2 only as a preview release, appeared in July 1997 and is largely based on the previously delivered to developers DR9. The PR1 yet but brought against the developer release other new features, such as support for AppleTalk PostScript printer, Unicode and software -side OpenGL. The price for the full package ( CD with manual and two updates) the Preview Release 1 was 49.95 U.S. dollars. There was also a so-called Trial Pack, which consists of a delivered on CD, fully scrollable preview release and is available for $ 10 was. The available from October 1997 Preview Release 2 was also available for free download on the website of Be from November 1997. According to data of Be was it until it was no longer available with the publication of Release 3, downloaded a total of more than 1 million times.

Release 3

The published in March 1998 BeOS 3 is the first version that was available for the x86 architecture. This initially cost 69.95 U.S. dollars ( as introductory price ), and later 99.95 U.S. dollars. This was followed by version 3.1, contains the additional drivers and reading FAT16 file systems and allows hard disk drives that include 8 GB or more support. BeOS 3.2 reiterates additional drivers specifically for the x86 architecture. On the basis of Release 3.2, a live CD for x86 that ( in Germany for 10 DM) was for $ 10 available appeared.

Release 4

BeOS 4 was released in December 1998 and it cost 99.95 or 69.95 U.S. dollars ( for orders above Bes web site). It brings over the previous version again additional drivers, and support for the most common SCSI controller on the x86 platform - from Adaptec and Symbios Logic. Another major innovation is the change of the compiler version for x86 processors from CodeWarrior to EGCS as this better optimized the code for x86 processors. This required that all programs written for Release 3 had to be adjusted accordingly and recompiled, as well as the entire BeOS for x86 with this compiler had been translated.

In February 1999, the company made ​​loading all computer manufacturers offer to get free BeOS licenses. This offer was, however, only if the computers the opportunity offered either Windows or BeOS boot, both of which had to be installed on your hard drive. This offer was taken up by various computer manufacturers, such as Fujitsu and Hitachi.

Version 4 should be followed by an update to version 4.1, but instead received the follow-up version, as it contains significant innovations, the version number 4.5 and appeared a little late in June 1999. Thus offers version 4.5 first experimental support for USB and PCMCIA, brings its own media player with and it is again the number of supported hardware increases, unsupported graphics cards can now be addressed but using a VESA driver. Also with BeOS 4.5 appeared an experimental program called World O ' Networking ( WON ), which was included on the BeOS 4.5 and BeOS 5 CD and could be downloaded until the release of BeOS 5 by Bes FTP server. This program made ​​it possible to access Windows computer over the network.

This was followed by updates to version 4.5.1 and 4.5.2, which mainly included bug fixes, but also contain a few new drivers.

Release 5

The last of Be developed and released version was BeOS 5 was released in March 2000 as "Professional" and " Personal Edition". The "Professional" version of BeOS 5 has been marketed in Germany since August 2000 by the company Koch Media with German manual and another CD with freeware and shareware for 169 DM ( about 85 € ). The " Personal Edition" is a free version for private use that can be started first on Windows, then installed on Linux and from there. For this, the installation program creates an image file. In this image, the image file formatted with the BeFS file system volume, together with BeOS installation is included. The contained in the image file BeOS can be started bootman with the BeOS boot manager which can be stored either on disk or in the MBR, or with a startup script from the already running file system (but that may cause problems during the hardware detection ). The free " Personal Edition" was also supplied by various computer magazines on the cover CD. Thus, the number of users is increased quickly, the commercial success did not materialize.

Then appeared for BeOS 5 updates 5.0.1, 5.0.2 (Professional ) and 5.0.3. Following the acquisition of Be by Palm, there were rumors about a BeOS 5.1; this was never published. After the company was working then been taken over by Palm, it was clear that BeOS 5.1 would not appear. It emerged different building on BeOS 5.0.3 versions that contain additional drivers and software. Examples include BeOS Max and the BeOS Developer Edition. However, these distributions violate the license of BeOS 5 Personal Edition, which means that BeOS may not be distributed in modified form.


BeOS brings by default already many applications, such as the browser NetPositive, media player, picture viewer ( Show Image), an e- mail program ( BeMail ) and a web server ( Poorman ). In addition, BeOS brings SoftwareValet a program that allows you to easily install new software, the. Appropriate in archives with the extension is housed pkg.

Furthermore, many different freeware and shareware programs exist, since Be able to inspire free developers for BeOS early. Examples of such software are AbiWord and BeZilla ( Mozilla porting).

In April 1996, appeared with a CodeWarrior Integrated Development Environment for BeOS. From BeOS 3, there are also major commercial providers of different software for BeOS, so exist with BeBasic and Gobe Productive two office packages for BeOS. In particular, Gobe Productive by former employees of AppleWorks suite had very innovative approaches. Additional software followed, such as the Opera browser. The company BeatWare offered equal to several of their products for BeOS, namely the e -mail program Mail -It, the FTP Client Get-It and the graphics program e-Picture. Upon publication of the free personal edition of BeOS 5 BeatWare announced that Mail -It and Get-It are also available free of charge. From Adama -tion, there was one of the first home video editors, the Personal Studio.

Many other commercial programs, there were particular from the multimedia area. Video editing software (Video Wave), entertainment software ( Cinema 4D ) or audio editing software, such as Steinberg's Nuendo, were announced and were partially presented at fairs, but never appeared largely in a final version. From the now established IK Multimedia T-Racks of ports exist and GrooveMaker, after convincing himself at the Musikmesse in Frankfurt on the qualities of the system. The producers were convinced of the general superiority of the system, but it could lead of Be Inc. not to provide the necessary support for the software manufacturer. The strategic direction on BeIA was thus for most companies the reason set despite presentation of products on the BeOS at Cebit, the Musikmesse in Frankfurt or in Arnhem development. On a developer fair in Frankfurt, however, clearly showed the high latency and speed difference to Windows -based systems.


BeOS was originally developed for a multi-processor system based on the AT & T Hobbit processor. The use of two processors belonged to the company philosophy, the slogan "one processor per person is not enough ," expressed this. Even this system was called BeBox. Even during the development of BeOS production of this processor AT & T has been set. The BeBox was therefore newly developed on the basis of the then young PowerPC RISC processor. The first published BeBox has two of these processors of type 603, each with 66 MHz. The design is very unfortunate, since the processor controller used only two processors or a processor and its 2nd-level cache can manage. This problem was not completely solved with the second BeBox based on two processors of type 603, each with 133 MHz. Later, the system was ported to the Apple Macintosh and Intel- compatible computers.

When the BeBox appeared on the scene along with the first developer version of BeOS in October 1995 - they could only be ordered via the website of Be - the geeks were targeted as the first target group. This should take the system and make with the support of Be it whatever they wanted. Compared to other system manufacturers Be offered developers a better support, good contact, and the developer wishes were met quickly.

The system then spoke to many Amiga developers and users, many of whom were looking for a new platform. In May 1996, the debug ( German BeBox User Group, later German Be User Group) was founded on the German Amiga meeting in Burlafingen that exists today.

In summer 1996 BeOS was traded as a candidate for the Mac OS Succession, which was primarily due to the fact that the system is now running on the Macintosh computers from Apple and just offered the features that the classic Mac OS to a modern operating system missing.

In 1997 you could be on the website of Be read that BeOS was developed as an operating system, which shakes the old ballast and the best from the world of Unix, Mac OS and AmigaOS picks, even if the AmigaOS very late some ideas - mainly on pressure of the developer community - were taken. This included, for example, the well-known from the Amiga " Datatypes " system.

By giving its own hardware ( BeBox ) in January 1997, was a member of the multiprocessor philosophy of the past, since neither Macs nor PCs multiprocessor systems were common. But still the system is running on multiple processors to date.

In 1998, BeOS presented with the Intel port as a completely new, multimedia -compatible operating system. This went so far that has even been claimed that the system had been developed from the ground up for multimedia, even if two years before multimedia was not an explicit theme for BeOS. Also for the developer community some things had changed. The pressure to succeed on the part of the manufacturer was noticeable. Be proved to be very unstable, and the target changes often occur inevitably had a significant impact: In 1998, both developers as well as users community changed completely at least twice, and the system had been discarded in many components again and again and redeveloped.

1999 saw yet after a successful year for BeOS from, the system became gradually more maturity, the hardware support reached acceptable proportions. However, the high hopes have not been realized, just the major software manufacturers were reluctant to software porting for example, for text and graphics processing.

The last version was published under the direction of loading was BeOS 5 from the year 2000. These appeared both as "Professional Edition" that was sold commercially, as well as a free " Personal Edition", which is also of various computer magazines on the issue CD is included. With this version, the number of users increased greatly, the commercial success did not materialize. Nevertheless, some companies had already announced from the multimedia ports of their products. Surprising, then, came a renewed change of course from Be: BeOS as a standalone product was abandoned in favor of BeIA, an operating system for so-called Internet appliances. BeOS should only serve as a development platform for BeIA and only to a very limited extent - be maintained and published - as it required the development of BeIA. This meant that not only many users, but especially the professional provider BeOS turned their back - even before their applications were done ported.

Be The company then had to apply for bankruptcy protection in 2001, as the business with the internet appliances was over so quickly as it had begun. Very quickly all spiritual possessions of loading were sold to Palm, the company and the development of BeOS officially discontinued.

Follow-on projects

Haiku ( OpenBeOS )

With the end of loading and the fact that Palm was not interested in further development, the development of haiku began (at that time still under the name " OpenBeOS " ), an implementation as open source. Meanwhile, a bootable image of the alpha version of haiku is offered.


In contrast to developed from scratch haiku was the operating system of ZETA, which came on 3 November 2003 on the market and until April 2007 was available, a direct development that uses the original sources of BeOS. It is a proprietary operating system, were contemplated by the commercial objectives. It was published in early 2006 by the Mannheim-based company yellowTAB and taken post-bankruptcy by the company Magnussoft, with the ZETA 1.5 released most likely the last version in early 2007. Magnussoft presented the development of a due to poor sales figures. As subsequently lead developer Bernd Korz publicly hired consideration of a release of the source code created under his leadership, a representative of Access, Inc., the owner of the BeOS rights to speak and explained Bernd Korz reported 've never had a license to use the BeOS source code obsessed. Thus ZETA is an illegal derivative. Magnussoft responded by " provisionally " adopted by the market ZETA.


BlueEyedOS tried based on the Linux kernel and an X server to create a system under LGPL, which is both visually compatible from the interfaces to BeOS. The work on BlueEyedOS began on 1 July 2001 under the name BlueOS and was terminated in February 2005.


Cosmoe was designed by Bill Hayden as an open- source operating system based on the source code of AtheOS, but not the original AtheOS kernel, but the Linux kernel as the kernel. It looks similar to BeOS. The goal of the project was that it is also source code compatible with BeOS.

Cosmoe under the GPL and LGPL. The latest version 0.7.2 was released on 17 December 2004. Project author Hayden declared in December 2006 in an interview that he had not worked on the operating system for some time and that he would welcome it if a successor would continue the development. In a posting dated 6 February 2007, he stated that he had taken up the development again. At the end of the same month he spread Moreover, the release of version 0.8 is imminent. This is, however, failed to materialize, so Cosmoe must be considered orphaned.


ZevenOS reached in 2008 at least visually the approach of BlueEyedOS again, a Linux system as the operating system - based use ( Details List of Linux distributions ).