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 custom OS.

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 OS available.

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 PowerPC.

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 the year.

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 render windows.

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 continues.

2005: Many modules of BeOS are recreated for Haiku, as well as a number of applications. Haiku takes on their first paid developer.

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 release.

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 testers.

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