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BeOS 5.0 Personal Edition|
BeOS 5.0 Personal Edition
BeOS is a powerful OS designed primarily for Multimedia desktop use.
Originally BeOS was designed for a custom computer system known as the
BeBox that had special multimedia input/output features, and was later
ported to the Macintosh, and finally ported to the PC.
This version of BeOS is the Personal Edition, which can be downloaded
freely from the Internet and installed under Windows. Under Windows 95
and Windows 98 you can just double click an icon to exit Windows and start
this version of BeOS. On ME or NT 4 or later you can use a boot floppy
to start the installed BeOS.
Unfortunately Be ran in to problems competing with Microsoft, such as
Microsoft's license agreements with OEMs that forbid them from selling
computers that booted more than one OS. In 2001 after changing their focus
to "internet appliances", Be went out of business.
This is the default desktop that you first see when booting up BeOS
Personal Edition. Icons and folders can be placed directly on the desktop.
The bar in the upper right is the "Deskbar".
BeOS is a vaguely Unix-ish OS, but is single-user with no local security
restrictions. Over all its GUI rivals that of Microsoft Windows and MacOS.
One of the most noted features of BeOS is its use of tabs instead of
typical title bars. This perhaps saves a little bit of screen space and
definitely gives the windowing system a unique appearance.
Clicking on the BeOS logo on the Deskbar brings up a menu with programs
you can run. The Deskbar can also be dragged to other corners of the screen
or to the upper or lower of the screen to give it a "Windows task bar"
Running programs appear on the Deskbar. If a program has multiple windows
only one icon is shown but clicking on the program icon displays a list
of open windows you can select from.
The Tracker is the file manager used by BeOS and is equivalent to the
Windows 95 Explorer or the MacOS finder. It can view files as normal icons,
a list of small icons or in a detailed view. (No pointless "web" view thanks
Although much of BeOS has a MacOS feel to it the windowing system places
menus in each window rather than at the top.
BeOS offers virtual desktops called "workspaces". Each workspace may
have its own background and screen resolution. It is possible to configure
the number of available workspaces.
BeOS includes a basic web browser application called NetPositive.
Some of the default icons on the desktop were links to the Be web site,
however as you can see the Be web site is long gone.
The BeOS media player can play a number of different file formats.
One of the strengths of BeOS is that it is designed and optimized
to handle multiple media streams.
These are a couple of the demo apps that ship with BeOS 5 PE.
Also, this screen shot shows the BeOS menu in "start menu" mode.
BeOS includes some nice, although simple, screen savers.
A number of aspects of the BeOS GUI are customizable including menu
behaviors, and the scroll bar appearance.
There is also a hidden trick that let's you change the title bar appearance.
If you hold down ctrl-alt-shift and open the Be Menu you will see an extra
"Window Decor" option that let's you select between BeOS, AmigaOS, MacOS
8, and Windows 9x appearances. Note though that even with these appearances
the titlebars still exhibit BeOS like behavior. (such as double clicking
the title bar minimizes instead of maximizes.)
This is the drive setup, a graphical disk partition configuration utility.
BeOS does not try to automatically mount floppy disks, instead you must
mount it by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting "mount" and then selecting
the floppy drive. Other drive types can be set to auto mount although this
is not the default.
This is the Software Valet application which is used to install packaged
software. Software that installs itself in this manner can be uninstalled
Other software can also be installed simply by unzipping it using a
utility called the Expand-O-Matic.
There is a slightly updated development version of NetPostive floating
around, however BeOS can now run the industry standard and ever popular
Mozilla web browser.
Here is a screen shot of the BeOS 5.1d0 development version. This is
a slightly crashy alpha/beta version of BeOS that was never finished and
was reportedly the last release before Be went out of business. UI wise
there really isn't much new in it except it contains some new title bar
appearances, a new network configuration panel, and debugging utilities.
The default is still the "yellow tabs" however this screen shot shows the