Development Page - BeOS
Development and BeOS Successors
The development of BeOS
stretches from the moment Jean Louis Gassée left Apple to the
current day releases of Haiku. Here's how it all went down.
1990: Jean Louis Gassée and Steve Sakoman are forced to leave
Apple in much the same way as Steve Jobs. These men begin to
accumulate other engineers, many of whom left Apple for one
reason or another. They create a prototype computer that would
become the basis of the BeBox. At this point, they have no
company name, no defined goal and little resources. Even so,
they begin to work on both hardware and software.
1991: The business group of engineers led by Gassée and Sakoman decide
they want to make a computer. This computer is intended to be a
specialized tool. Where Apple was making PCs for general use,
these men wanted to make a machine dedicated to digital media
production. They begin searching for an OS to purchase as a
foundation for their software, but none suits their needs.
Gassée and Sakoman name the company Be Inc.
1992-1993: With no OS available to purchase, Be begins work on
an OS of their own. At this point, they have decided that their
computer -- the BeBox -- would be based on two processors of the
AT&T Hobbit architecture. They create a kernel and user
interface from the ground up to work best with the Hobbit chips.
This software proved to be more responsive and reliable than
other available code, so Be decides to create a completely
1994: The first working prototypes of BeOS are compiled. Be
maintains a vigilant eye for bugs and glitches, fixing them
immediately. Be tech writers produce documentation that keep all
of the engineers on the same page, and a set of developer tools
are created for the Be team. BeOS proves to be the most stable
Late 1994: AT&T's Hobbit processor begins to sink. It was
primarily marketed for one company, Eo, and Eo's sales did not
support it. Be failed to promise what AT&T needed to maintain
the processor, and so AT&T withdraws from the hardware industry.
Be is left in search of a new processor, eventually settling on
the PowerPC architecture. Be begins work on porting BeOS to
1995: PowerPC proves to be a valuable decision for Be, and BeOS
is ported smoothly from the ground up. It was custom designed
the same way it worked with the Hobbit processor, and so
continued the dedicated to smooth function and reliability that
made BeOS so promising. Be, however, suffers from serious debt
and is forced to make a public demonstration of BeOS and the
BeBox earlier than was ideal. BeBox is demonstrated at Agenda
and, despite numerous well-hidden bugs, receives a standing
ovation. Be's popularity takes off. 100 BeBox machines are
delivered to developers and a community begins to grow. BeOS
versions DR1 through DR5 are released throughout the year.
1996: Be continues to suffer from financial trouble and fails to
meet developer demand for BeBox models. They manage to sign a
financing deal in April to deliver more product, but are plagued
with hardware issues. Foremost among these issues are faulty
sound cards and poor shipping. Be maintains a good reputation
for replacing broken parts, pleasing the developers who manage
to obtain a BeBox. BeOS DR6, DR7 and DR8 are released throughout
Late 1996: Apple begins searching for a new OS for Mac. They
offer $125 million to Be for BeOS. Gassée holds out for $200
million, and is passed over in favor of Steve Jobs and his
project. This proves to be a devastating blow to Be.
1997: Be ceases production of the BeBox and opts to focus
entirely on BeOS. BeOS PR1 and PR2 are releases for the PowerPC
architecture, but the OS fails to drum up the interest necessary
to keep it going through the company debts.
1998: Be abandons the PowerPC architecture in favor of the Intel
x86. They release BeOS R3, 3.1, 3.2 and R4 updates to the
operating system over the course of the year. The port fails to
create the interest desired, and Be develops BeIA, BeOS for
Internet Applications. BeIA is more successful, but still not
lucrative enough for the company.
1999-2001: Palm purchases the copyrights to BeOS. The OS is used
in several Palm products. Later, PalmSource splits from Palm and
takes BeOS with it. Eventually, PalmSource is bought by Access
Co. who now own the rights to BeOS.
2001: Various clones and continuations of BeOS are created by
fans of the operating system. BlueEyedOS continues until 2003.
Cosmoe continues until 2004. E/OS continues until 2008. OpenBeOS
is created and continues today.
2002: Be sues Microsoft for various infractions, including
dissuading Compaq from using BeOS and working to suppress Be's
IPO. This matter is settled out of court. OpenBeOS continues
work on rewriting BeOS from scratch, mimicking each module of
BeOS in function exactly while producing an open source project.
App Server Proto5 is released, the first BeOS clone able to
2003: Haiku Inc. is created to support the OpenBeOS project with
donations from the community. Development continues.
2004: Palm serves OpenBeOS a notice of copyright infringement,
prompting the project to rename itself to Haiku. Work on Haiku
2005: Many modules of BeOS are recreated for Haiku, as well as a
number of applications. Haiku takes on their first paid
2006-2008: Work continues on Haiku, reaching a number of
milestones along the way. Haiku becomes self-hosting, attains
Java support, is ported to GCC4 and prepares for a full Alpha
2009: Haiku Alpha 1 is released, setting it firmly in position
as a functional operating system.
2010: Haiku Alpha 2 is released.
2011: Haiku Alpha 3 is released, with numerous bug fixes and
support for more modern applications.
2012: Haiku Alpha 4 is released and promoted as a stable and
functional version suitable for third-party developers and
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