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FAQ: COMP.SYS.BE Frequently Asked Questions v1.10


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Archive-name: be/be-faq
Posting-Frequency: monthly
Last-modified: 1996/11/09
Version: 1.10

See reader questions & answers on this topic! - Help others by sharing your knowledge
                               COMP.SYS.BE
                     Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Introduction

Be Inc. is a fairly new company (1990) with head office in Menlo Park, 
California. They design and manufacture the BeBox line of computers and BeOS 
operating system. Comp.sys.be is a newsgroup for discussing all things related 
to these products. This document is written with the intention of answering 
the most common questions people may have about products from Be Inc. and 
related issues. Hopefully these questions won't have to be repeated in the 
newsgroup. Should this happen, please do not flame.  For one thing, it is 
inconsistent with the great, positive attitude that the excitement around 
Be products have created in the "community".  Please simply inform the user 
where to find the FAQ, or mail it to him/her. If something is unclear in this 
FAQ, by all means let the authors know (or better yet, try to research it and
tell us about it.

There are loads of information available on-line about the Be products. For 
one thing, the Be Inc. WWW-sites (http://www.be.com and 
http://www.beeurope.com) are among the most informative of any computer 
manufacturer. Practically all details about their products can be found there 
and it is the obvious place to start if you know nothing about the BeBox/BeOS. 

Since this FAQ project started, Be's own Q&A section has improved greatly. 
This is the place to look for Be Inc's own answers to common questions:
http://www.be.com/products/qandas/index.html
This means that not all details of the BeBox and BeOS will be repeated here. 
Hopefully this FAQ can have a slightly different goal - focusing more on 
3rd party software, and other things Be can't provide answers to. But we 
need your help to improve the FAQ so please write!

Also, the FAQ authors can take no responsibility that the information here is 
always consistent with Be Inc's plans and ideas. Therefore, please refer to 
Be Inc's web-sites for "official" information. 

The latest version of this FAQ is accessible through WWW at URL:
http://www.dtek.chalmers.se/~d1gunnar/be/be-faq.html
http://nome.montrose.net/~todd/be/be-faq.html

Authors

This FAQ has been assembled and written by Todd Anthony Nathan 
(todd@montrose.net) and Gunnar Andersson (d1gunnar@dtek.chalmers.se) with the 
help of others in the Be community. Please remember that for all of us, it's a
hobby and not a job.

Maintenance

This FAQ is currently maintained by Gunnar Andersson 
(d1gunnar@dtek.chalmers.se)

=========================================================================
Table of Contents:

1. Recent changes to this document

2. Information about this document

3. General questions

3.1 What is a BeBox?
3.2 What is BeOS?
3.3 Is BeOS a complete and finished operating system?
3.4 Can I run BeOS on my Macintosh?
3.5 Will BeOS be supported on 68K or PowerPC 601 based Mac systems?
3.6 Will BeOS be ported to Intel-based (x86) computers?
3.7 What is the history of Be Inc., BeOS and the BeBox?
3.8 What models of BeBox computers are available/planned?
3.9 There are a lot of rumours about [insert future product] from Be. 
    Why aren't they saying any thing?
3.10 What attracts people to the BeOS?
3.11 Why should I buy a BeBox if BeOS runs on Macs?
3.12 What attracts people to the BeBox?
3.13 What are the infrared ports?
3.14 Can a BeBox run Linux?
3.15 What are the Be Newsletters?
3.16 What User Groups exist for the BeBox?
3.17 Where can I get electronic versions of Be-related documentation?
3.18 Where can I find more information?
3.19 How is the BeBox going to be sold?

4. Comp.sys.be netiquette 

4.1 I think BeOS/BeBox could really benefit from having
      [choose a feature] from [choose a platform]
4.2 I just saw a very anti-Be post that I found definitely wrong. 
      Why didn't anyone post a response to it? Should I?
4.3 I would like to discuss an issue that concerns both BeBox and Macs, (and 
      Amigas and Linux and...) what do I do?  (Re: cross-posting)

5. Marketing, pricing, and the future of Be.

5.1 Is Apple going to buy Be?
5.2 Is Be planning on merging with someone else? (e.g. Power Computing)
5.3 This is what I think would happen if [insert company] bought Be!
    What do other people think?
5.4 What is Be's developer program?
5.5 Won't Be Inc. be killed by the big competitors they are up against?
5.6 Has Be gotten much press coverage?
5.7 What niche markets will BeOS succeed in?

6. BeBox hardware 

6.1 Why a multiprocessor system?
6.2 Why does the BeBox have both IDE and SCSI-2 interfaces?
6.3 Can I use my IDE harddrive with the BeBox?
6.4 Can I use my IDE CD-ROM with the BeBox?
6.5 Can I use DIMMs in the BeBox?
6.6 What kind of memory/harddrive/CD-rom/graphics-card/networking
    card can I use in my BeBox?
6.7 How is the BeBox memory system designed? Or: What about level 2 caches?
6.8 How fast is the BeBox?
6.9 What can be expected of future BeBox models?
6.10 Why is there such poor graphics card support?
6.11 What is the BeBox's audio hardware like?
6.12 What is the GeekPort(tm)
6.13 What products work with the GeekPort(tm)
6.14 Can the BeBox run with one processor?
6.15 Is the BeBox FCC and CE approved?
6.16 I am interested in the basic BeBox system. What else do I need?
6.17 What kind of warranty does Be Inc. give with the purchase of a BeBox?

7. BeOS 

7.1 Is BeOS a multi-user system?
7.2 If it doesn't grep, it's not a real computer! (Does it grep?)
7.3 What is the maximum resolution?
7.4 Why doesn't "Pulse" show memory usage anymore?
7.5 What is AppModeler/AppSketcher and where is it?
7.6 What is the BeOS Application Programming Interface like?
7.7 What is the database built into BeOS?
7.8 What kind of MIDI support does BeOS have?
7.9 What is the largest volume size and what filenames can BeBox/BeOS handle?

8. Programming 

8.1 What are my choices for an Integrated Developing Environment for BeOS?
8.2 Is there a public-domain/free/shareware compiler for the BeOS?

9. Software 

9.1 Are there any emulators for the BeBox?
9.2 Is there a ray-tracer available?
9.3 Can I run MS Word/Photoshop/Excel on BeOS?
9.4 What applications are available / under development?
9.5 What UNIX tools have been ported to BeOS?
9.6 Why after upgrading to DR8, do some of my programs no longer work?

10. Compatibility 

10.1 Can I mount mac drives on my bebox, or vice versa?
10.2 Can I read ISO-9660 CDs?

==========================================================================

1. Recent changes to this document

961108 A sincere attempt to keep up with the facts around the Apple/Be rumours.
961028 Sections "Compatibility" and "Programming" added. 
       Some new questions and rewrites.
961001 Minor changes, corrections from received feedback.
960920 First version posted to comp.sys.be and *.answers.
960917 FAQ merged with Todd Anthony Nathan's FAQ.
960914 FAQ approved by *.answers moderators.
960816 comp.sys.be FAQ started.

What's important and missing -- please help with these sections!:
- More info needed in the software section.  Tell us about essential software!
- If anyone wants to specialize in a certain issue that can't be completely 
answered in a compact form, please produce a document and we will refer to 
the URL in the FAQ.

Sections also need a workover.  Some questions may be in an inappropriate 
section and should be moved.

2. Information about this document

This file will be posted monthly to comp.sys.be, comp.answers, and 
news.answers.

It is available in HTML format at: 
http://nome.montrose.net/~todd/be/be-faq.html
http://www.dtek.chalmers.se/~d1gunnar/be/be-faq.html

It will be available --as posted in *.answers-- on rtfm.mit.edu, which 
archives all FAQ files posted to *.answers; see directory: 
ftp://rtfm.mit.edu/pub/news.answers/be/be-faq

Any type of feedback for this FAQ (critique, corrections, additions and
suggestions) is happily received via e-mail to Gunnar Andersson at
d1gunnar@dtek.chalmers.se or Todd Anthony Nathan at todd@montrose.net
Please start the subject-line with "FAQ-FEEDBACK:", and Cc: to both authors.
-- Thanks

Credits:

Others have also helped with ideas for questions and answers. Only when it is 
relevant to use direct quotes do we do so, and note the author's name by the 
question. Thanks for input from:

Osma Ahvenlampi
Ron Theis
Jon Watte

Copyright notice and Disclaimer:

The comp.sys.be Frequently Asked Questions is distributed with hope that it 
will be useful, but without any warranty. No FAQ maintainer, author or 
distributor accepts responsibility to anyone, for the correctness of the 
information herein, or for any consequences of using it.

Report of a product, service, or event, etc., does not constitute an 
endorsement. Opinions (if any) expressed are those of the submitters and/or 
maintainer and are just that: opinions - not facts.

Everyone is granted permission to copy, and redistribute this FAQ, but only
if the copyright notice and this notice is preserved on all copies, no 
changes are made without notice, and no money is charged for the distribution.

Where section authors are noted, the copyright is held by that author. Where 
no author is noted, the copyright is held by the FAQ maintainer.

3. General questions

3.1 What is a BeBox?

BeBox is a new line of multiprocessor computers, using high-performing PowerPC 
RISC microprocessors combined with an efficient architecture built on PC-
standard components. It is also probably the most complete computer in the 
high-end personal computer market in terms of I/O flexibility. The I/O ports 
include: external 50-pin SCSI-2 connector, parallel port, 4(!) high-speed 
serial ports, 2 MIDI-in and 2 MIDI-out ports, 3 infrared controller ports, 2 
high-resolution joystick ports, line-in/line-out/mic-in/headphones-out 
connectors to the 16-bit stereo sound system. Finally, there is the 
GeekPort(tm) which is a home-project builders dream -- a 37 pin connector with 
short-circuit protected data buses, A/D and D/A conversion. (phew!)

The BeBox uses a Fast/narrow SCSI-2 interface for excellent storage 
performance but also has an IDE interface for increased flexibility. The 
current models have 3 PCI-slots and 5 ISA-slots for expansion. Memory is 
standard 60 ns SIMMs. SCSI CD-Rom drives are supported, and networking is an 
integral part of the operating system, using cheap and readily available PC 
ethernet cards for the ISA bus. Standard PCI graphics cards are used, (but 
not kinds all have supporting drivers yet!)

3.2 What is BeOS?

BeOS is an powerful new operating system, written from scratch by the 
engineers of Be Inc. The main idea is to rid this platform of old, outdated 
technology present in today's aging operating systems, some of which include 
components that are up to 15 years old and more. Many people agree that it is 
about time to make a fresh new start. Lessons learned from previous designs 
have created a system with the best of Graphical User Interfacing, memory 
protection and virtual memory, true pre-emptive multitasking and 
multithreading, in a very compact and efficient system. Unlike most other 
operating systems, BeOS is also designed from the beginning to run 
symmetrically on multiple processors. Shared libraries can make applications 
very small.

The fact that the OS supports multithreading means better performance on both 
uniprocessor and multiprocessor systems. Threads can be part of a "team" that 
shares a common address space. This gives very fast messaging and context 
switching while still keeping memory protection between teams. Multithreading 
is an integral part of the OS, whether the programmer uses it or not. As an 
example, application windows run in separate threads. This means that there 
will naturally be some thread responding to the user's input, even when 
calculation takes place, so that resizing and moving windows, is done without 
interrupting anything else. Many feel this is obvious, but when they see an 
animation running smoothly _as_ the window is being resized, they are usually 
impressed. It is not common on plain "multitasking" operating systems and 
definitely not seen in MacOS/Windows.

Prioritized scheduling include support for applications with (soft) real-time 
demands which makes it ideal for processing for example audio and video 
streams, among other things.

The operating system itself is heavily multi-threaded and object-oriented 
with a simple and flexible C++ application programming interface.

The operating system includes an integrated database which is linked to the
file system. This takes the concept of permanent storage to another level
compared to a "plain" file system.  For details see: Question 7.7

Be has also announced further licenses which will be added to the system.
These include Silicon Graphics' 3D-graphics language OpenGL, and a Java
compiler and virtual machine (in cooperation with Metrowerks).


3.3 Is BeOS a complete and finished operating system?

Well, yes and no. The system is complete enough to make it useable. Including 
all components for development of full-featured applications, a complete 
graphical user interface, and the kernel is complete. It is not considered 
finished because updates to the system are still made and it is still released 
as "Developer releases" (DRx). The current release is DR8. The first consumer 
release is planned some time in the beginning of 1997. Most additions and 
changes have to do with increased support in the form of software kits. (New 
APIs for things like 3D graphics and drivers). A fairly major rewrite of the 
file system is currently done for release DR9. Be Inc. is great when it comes 
to listening to its developers and users which means that one of the 
challenges for BeOS users is to be part of this process of creating and 
improving a new operating system.

In other words, BeOS is still mostly for development.  While previously 
much programming was cross-development on Macintosh computers, the greater 
part of development is done directly on BeBoxes today. Compiler and 
development tools are provided by Metrowerks.

3.4 Can I run BeOS on my Macintosh?

During MacWorld in Boston in August 1996, Be made the first public display of 
a port of BeOS running on a Power Macintosh. This is, like BeOS for BeBox not 
a system ready for consumer release. The first release is expected in the 
beginning of 1997. Developers who contact Be can probably receive pre-releases 
before that time, for evaluation and testing.

Newsletter #44 has a list showing which Macs will be supported and when. There 
was a slight update to this list. Something about a misunderstanding that one 
of the models here was a PowerPC 601 model. If anyone knows for sure what it 
was, please send to the FAQ. Basically, I think it was that if there happens 
to be a 601 based Mac in this list, that was mistake.

Apparently, BeOS will be bundled with a Mac magazine (forget which one) 
around January 1997.

3.5 Will BeOS be supported on 68K or PowerPC 601 based Mac systems?

Currently, it seems that only newer Mac models will be supported. Newer models 
are PCI-bus based, just like the BeBox while older Macs based on PowerPC 601 
are generally NuBus-based. These are not currently supported, since Be want
to move towards a CHRP/PPCP similar platform rather than away from it. Be has 
said that they will look into it so it is not completely out of the question, 
but not anything to depend upon.  Motorola 68K-family Macs will not be
supported.

3.6 Will BeOS be ported to Intel-based (x86) computers?

While it shouldn't be impossible, it is very unlikely. Be has not announced 
any such plans. Although BeOS is surely written mostly in a portable language 
(and has survived one port already), some parts of an operating system like 
memory management and other hardware-dependent parts, must be written for the 
specific processor. Also, the architecture of PCs differ more from the BeBox 
than Macintosh computers do. Most importantly, there are too many standards 
for buses and peripherals in the PC-world to support them all. Be could have 
worked with Intel hardware from the beginning, if they wanted to, but chose 
the PowerPC route because they found it more promising and better 
standardized.

3.7 What is the history of Be Inc., BeOS and the BeBox?

In summary, Be Incorporated was founded one day after Jean-Louis Gassee left 
Apple Computer as Product Division President in 1990. His initial vision was 
a machine based on the Hobbit technology. The operating system was supposed 
to be free of legacy software, something that he foresaw as a huge problem 
with the MacOS. To date his vision is true. MacOS is complex and late in 
delivery. BeOS is small, sweet and easy to use from a programming interface 
as well as an end user's perspective. When the PowerPC emerged, it was natural 
to switch to that platform.

In parallel, the BeBox line of computers was designed to provide users with 
a fresh hardware alternative. Having standardized hardware probably made it 
a lot easier in the development of the operating system since less work has 
to be spent on drivers, etc. The BeBox provides all the hardware necessary 
for implementing and testing certain parts of the OS, like real-time 
processing of audio streams, MIDI support, etc. As BeOS evolves, support for 
more varied hardware has and will continue to increase.

Be Inc. kept a tight lid on what was going on with BeOS, and the BeBox until 
on October 3, 1995, when the BeBox and initial Developer Releases (DRX) of 
the BeOS were released.

For more information, try "About Be" at the Be web site.

3.8 What models of BeBox computers are available/planned?

Currently two models exist. The original BeBox with two PowerPC 603 processors 
at 66MHz each, and a model with two PowerPC 603e running at 133MHz each.

No official announcements have been made about future boxes but rumours exist
about a new 4-processor box.  Nothing can be said for sure of course but 
it seems _likely_ that the next box is a 4-processor box. 
Despite the fact that the operating system is being ported to other 
platforms, Be has shown no sign that they plan to leave the hardware
manufacturing business. Whether they will be based on PowerPC 603s or 604s
will probably depend on what is most cost effective. One Be employee hinted
that the specs for Motorola's MPC 106 (a PCI bridge and cache controller chip
capable of serving 4 processors) were seen on the hardware engineer's table,
but no conclusions can really be drawn, since it is more or less an obligation 
of a hardware engineer to look at current component technology and plan for 
the future. Also see the question about announcements of new products: 
Question 3.9

3.9 There are a lot of rumours about [insert future product] from Be. 
Why aren't they saying anything?

In general it seems that Be's policy is to keep a very open attitude towards 
users and developers. If Be holds back information, it is probably because 
the information is not finalized. No one will gain anything from premature, 
false promises. Considering the hype that all of Be's announcements usually 
create, it is not surprising if Be want to be absolutely sure before they go 
public with something. In the words of Ron Theis at Be: "We tend to actually 
COMPLETE something before announcing it. Some people find this disturbing..."
;-) A section in Be Newsletter #40 has a discussion around the effects of 
premature and incorrect company announcements.

Chances are that Be employees are also too busy creating the future of 
personal computing to keep up with all questions on comp.sys.be. (And this is 
obviously a Good Thing). This FAQ can hopefully be one channel of 
communication between Be Inc. and comp.sys.be in that respect. A person at Be 
has already offered to help us distribute important questions to the 
appropriate people.

3.10 What attracts people to the BeOS?

The BeOS shows promise of becoming _the_ operating system of the future. 
People who are attracted to BeOS find it more technologically advanced, 
graphically prettier, much "snappier"/ more efficient, and/or easier to 
program than any other OS. Developers also enjoy the unique opportunity to be 
part of the evolvement of a new operating system. This is because Be seems to 
listen a lot to developers' suggestions and ideas. 

3.11 Why should I buy a BeBox if BeOS runs on Macs?

It depends on your needs. If the possibility of running MacOS is very 
important to you, a Mac is currently the only choice capable of running it. 
In the future, the BeBox and Macintosh platforms will "merge" when the 
CHRP/PPCP standard is finalized. The BeBox is already today designed to be as 
compliant with the future standard as possible.

If running BeOS is your primary concern, then the BeBox has much to offer. 
(See Question 3.1%)

3.12 What attracts people to the BeBox

People are attracted to the BeOS and the BeBox due to its uniqueness and geeky 
feeling. These are usually computer enthusiasts rather than computer users: 
Folks which enjoy a choice that differs from Windows/NT and MacOS, that have 
the power of workstations but is more user friendly. The freshness of the 
computer and the operating system have also attracted many to develop software 
packages, as well as porting existing packages from UNIX and other platforms.

About the BeBox hardware: Some folks just flip out when they see the 
Input/Output ports. With standard parallel port, 4 serial ports, 4 MIDI ports, 
external SCSI, GeekPort(tm), 3 Infrared ports and others the BeBox is a 
tinker's dream come true! As well, the BeBox is a used parts collector's 
dream: with a standard PC floppy drive interface, SCSI and IDE interfaces, 5 
low cost ISA slots, and 3 PCI slots, looking around a used computer shop for 
parts to complete the stripped version is simple. This means that a lot of 
common and obscure hardware is hardware compatible, though some drivers may 
still need to be written for them.

The BeBox hardware will always be fully supported by BeOS, and it will allow 
you to exploit all the features and programs that are delivered with the OS 
since they are an integrated system. For example, there will be an API for 
the Geekport that will enable project-builders concentrate on designing the 
system instead of making their own drivers. Controlling an I/O card equivalent 
to the GeekPort on other computers will most probably require hours of reading 
manuals for IRQ information, hardware register bitfields and addresses. The 
MIDI support in BeOS can be used right away since the BeBox has MIDI ports, 
and so on. (Drivers will have to be added for MIDI cards on Mac compatibles)

Last but not least, the BeBox is Blue and Beautiful! :-) Check out the 
photographs at Be's web site to see one of the coolest designed casings of 
all time. (Choose "About Be" and then "Press Information")

The BeBox is the most affordable multiprocessor computer available and it is 
the only computer that takes advantage of the BeOS multiprocessor support. 
(This will certainly change as multiprocessor Macs become more common and BeOS 
for Mac is developed further)

3.13 What are the infrared ports?

There are 3 infrared ports. The infrared ports are connectors to which 
infrared transceivers can be connected. There are no actual LEDs or receivers 
built into the BeBox, but the interface is there, so all that is needed is 
basically to connect an infrared LED or phototransistor. The interface does 
not support IrDA or other high-speed protocols. It is there mostly for remote-
controlling of the BeBox and/or letting the BeBox remote-control something 
else and has hardware support for recognizing and learning remote control 
codes.

3.14 Can a BeBox run Linux?

Yes. A port of the Linux kernel and related programs has been completed. X-
windows works but still has bugs. There are apparently some problems with 
running programs from remote servers. It seems you have to compile X yourself 
unless you can find binaries somewhere else. You may find the group working 
on the BeBox Linux port at: http://www.linuxppc.org/linuxppc/bebox.html
and ftp the current version from: ftp://ftp.linuxppc.org/

3.15 Is Be Inc. going to offer an Initial Public Offering?

Be is a privately held company by its founders and some employees. The future 
of Be's corporate organization hasn't been decided yet. When an IPO is offered 
by Be Inc., we will include details of the IPO and who to contact.

3.18 What are the Be Newsletters?

The Be newsletters are sent to various mailing lists and have a lot of 
interesting information. (You will find we often refer to them in this FAQ). 
They have a light and humorous attitude and are a treat to read. (Thanks Be!)

Because of the current state of BeOS, they are quite aimed at Be Developers: 
The section "Be Engineering Insights" explain the features and quirks of the 
BeBox and BeOS at a very technical level. "Developer Talk" lets a new 
developer or company present him/herself or the company and their goals. 
BeDevTalk Summary" is a _very_ compact digest of the developers' mailing list.

The other sections, however, will appeal to non-developers also: "Be Marketing 
Mutterings" explains some of the problems and joys of bringing a new platform 
to market. Finally, Jean-Louis Gassee's column can cover just about any 
subject and is always entertaining. 

To read the newsletters, subscribe to one of the mailing lists, like beinfo, 
and for older letters, make use of the archives at: 
http://www.be.com/aboutbe/benewsletter/index.html

3.16 What User Groups exist for the BeBox?

There is a Be User Group National Information Network (BUGiN) which currently 
lives at: http://nome.montrose.net/~natbug

This is the national repository (should be world wide IMHO) for information
for any and all Be User Group information. If you want to add information
to this site about a group, please contact: <todd@montrose.net>

3.17 Where can I get electronic versions of Be-related documentation?

At the Be web or ftp sites. http://www.be.com, or ftp://ftp.be.com/pub/docs

3.18 Where can I find more information?

BeUpdated is a compact kind of newsletter, published by Eric Kidd, a student 
at Dartmouth College. It contains very brief summaries of what's happening 
with the BeBox and the BeOS. According to the maintainer, BeUpdated remains 
an experimental project and it is currently not updated!
http://www.dartmouth.edu/~emk/beupdated/

If you wish to join one of the Be mailing lists, look at the information in 
the Be web sites.

Be's own web sites are very informative. 
Be USA's site:         http://www.be.com
Be Europe's site:      http://www.beeurope.com

Read the Be newsletters (sent to various mailing lists). Archives are at:
http://www.be.com/aboutbe/benewsletter/index.html

Be User and Programmer documentation at: 
http://www.be.com/documentation/index.html or ftp://ftp.be.com/pub/docs

3.19 How is the BeBox going to be sold?

Be Inc. has stated they are not interested in selling the machines or the BeOS 
through large chain stores (CompUSA and such). There is going to be a limited 
number of Value Added Resellers given permission to sell the stripped and 
configured version of the BeBox. See the official Be Inc. WWW pages at 
http://www.be.com for more up-to-date information regarding the Be Reseller 
program.

Be Inc. is going to market the product direct to the consumer on the World 
Wide Web. Their pages will include a system to order a BeBox and BeOS in the 
near future. Europeans, use the European offices' web page at: 
http://www.beeurope.com

4. Comp.sys.be netiquette

As the FAQ maintainer doesn't believe in imposing rules on people (neither do 
I have the authority to of course), these _suggestions_ will be few. Standard 
netiquette applies of course, but with one extra rule: Since the future of Be 
is Bright and Beautiful, we always keep a positive attitude! :-)

4.1 I think BeOS/BeBox could really benefit from having
    [choose a feature] from [choose a platform]

Great! Thanks for showing interest! The BeOS is still not finalized, so why 
not? First, think it over - is it really a plausible addition to the platform? 
Comp.sys.be is there for such discussions, but beware that quite often people 
who have never used BeOS have ideas which don't quite fit in. As usual, try 
as far as possible to see if the subject has already been covered recently. 
When an idea is well defined, Be Inc. gratefully receives feature requests, 
but would prefer that these came from people who actually _use_ BeOS.

4.2  I just saw a very anti-Be post that I found definitely wrong. 
     Why didn't anyone post a response to it? Should I?

Was the post serious and with valid points? Then it probably deserves an 
answer. If you really feel that there is a risk that other readers have been 
persuaded, then reply publicly. Otherwise perhaps a personal e-mail 
discussion with the person will be rewarding.

As the Be platform gets more press coverage and becomes increasingly popular, 
however, it will undoubtedly attract people who are jealous or want to 
irritate for some other reason. Please don't hook on to flame bait or 
"trolls"!

4.3  I would like to discuss an issue that concerns both BeBox and 
     Macs, (and Amigas and Linux and...) what do I do?  (Re: cross-posting)

Agreed that this is what cross-posting is for but _please_, try to keep this 
sensible. Very often such threads start to compare systems, become quite 
inflated ("religious wars"), and generate a lot of traffic. These threads then 
often drift into other discussions that really have no relevance to Be 
products. If you engage in these threads, don't just hit a dumb "follow-up"; 
but please consider the content and remove from the headers the news-groups 
that aren't relevant anymore! The main problem is that it is not enough for 
comp.sys.be users to understand this because the cross-posting headers will 
cause comp.sys.mac and other newsgroups' users etc. to add to the traffic.


5. Marketing, pricing, and the future of Be.

5.1 Is Apple going to buy Be?

No. This rumour started with an article in the Wall Street Journal, where 
WSJ's sources: "individuals close to both parties", claimed that preliminary 
talks were being held. Other magazines, who actually took the time to ask Be 
about it have set the record straight. See:
http://www.zdnet.com/anchordesk/story/story_296.html

Jean-Louis Gassee has also denied the rumour in his column in the Be 
Newsletter #39.

Lately, just about every article about Apple's future has had references to 
Be. (This is some compliment!) Most articles seem to have a lot of loose
rumours and very little facts. The latest article with actual facts is (the
article has been "recommended" by Jean-Louis Gasse in Newsletter #48):
http://www.infoworld.com/cgi-bin/displayStory.pl?96115.eamel.htm

Basically it confirms that the companies will work together on Operating 
System technology and that parts of BeOS _may_ be incorporated in future MacOS 
versions. The wild speculations that Apple is about to scrap MacOS completely 
and buy BeOS instead seem to have no foundation at all.

Jean-Louis Gassee also pointed to another article which said something like 
Apple being in a good financial situation. JLG probably wanted to make clear 
that cooperating with Apple is good business.

5.2 Is Be planning on merging with someone else? (e.g. Power Computing).

Be has from the beginning kept good relations with many companies and 
cooperated with Apple among others. This does not automatically mean that 
any merger is being planned. The last cooperation with engineers from Apple 
and Power Computing has helped Be to port BeOS to the Power Macintosh.

No plan on a merge with Power Computing has been announced. Net people have 
stated that it would be a nice idea, since Power Computing, just like Be, 
seems to be a company moving up, and the fairly small size of the company 
makes it an attractive choice.
Cooperation, is a possibility according to an article in ComputerWorld, 
which states that Power Computing plan to bundle BeOS with their computers. 
No official word yet...

See: http://www.computerworld.com/news/960906gassee.html

5.3 This is what I think would happen if [insert company] bought Be!
    What do other people think?

What a supposed Apple acquisition would mean for the future of Be is still 
debated (sometimes wildly) on comp.sys.be. All the different viewpoints and 
ideas people have on this issue can impossibly be summarized here, and the 
relevance of the issue can be debated. Some people enjoy debating hypothetical
situations, and no one can stop you if you are one of them.  Most agree,
that this is a non-issue for now, until substantial facts say otherwise.
See question 5.1 for an attempt to round up the current situation.

See question

5.4 What is Be's developer program?

Be has established a developer program. As a developer you will be able to 
buy a BeBox at reduced prices, and receive support during the development 
phase of your software (whether this is commercial software or 
free/shareware). Be has also promised to help developers bring their software 
to market. The exact prices are sent to you when you become an accepted 
developer.

To become a registered developer you must request developer status from Be. 
This is done by contacting Be with information about yourself, what software 
you are planning to create, previous experience, etc. Both companies and 
individuals can apply. It is not a huge deal; if you are able to produce 
software that will be useful on the Be platform, you can surely be a 
developer. 

Go to the developers' section at the Be web site. There will be a pointer to 
a registry form. Expect a to wait a few days until you hear back from Be Inc. 
about your acceptance into the Be Developer program.

5.5 Won't Be Inc. be killed by the big competitors they are up against?

Be is a privately held corporation. Be's target market is currently tech-heads 
or geeks, not the desktop office war. As more technology interested people 
become developers, the number of really useful applications will increase. 
Not many folks feel Be is a competitor to MSDOS or Windows 95/NT for any near 
future. The feeling in the community is that Be is going to be left alone grow 
at its own pace.

5.6 Has Be gotten much press coverage?

Yes! But still not as much as they deserve! :-) There are numerous articles 
about Be/BeBox/BeOS. The operating system has been touted as an alternative 
milestone for users tired of legacy software (Windows/MacOS). Without 
exception, the reviews are very positive. The Be web site has a comprehensive 
list of articles: http://www.be.com/aboutbe/news/index.html

5.7 What niche markets will BeOS succeed in?

The marketplace for BeBox is ever expanding. The operating system is advanced 
in both Graphical User Interfacing, Multitasking/Multithreading and Real Time 
scheduling and has the potential to be superior for just about any type of 
applications. However, the great dominance that Microsoft shows among office 
applications makes it unlikely that BeOS will become a large competitor in 
those markets. Instead Be products will probably succeed on a smaller scale 
in niche markets and among all technology interested computer users who want 
to stay away from outdated technology dominating the markets today. 
Discussions on comp.sys.be in the USENET news groups has focused primarily on 
the BeBox for Web/Multimedia/Music. Be Inc. are convinced that some 
applications will become "tractor apps" that pull BeOS into a bigger market. 
The future will show what those applications will be. Until then it will 
continue to attract tech-heads and programmers simply through what is 
available today in terms of programming environment and cool technology.

6. BeBox hardware

6.1 Why a multiprocessor system?

One of the ideas with the BeBox is to bring multiprocessing to personal 
computers. There are several reasons for multiprocessing. First of all it's 
cool!! :-) Secondly, a platform designed for multiprocessing will always have 
the _potential_ to outperform others. A uniprocessor machine can never move 
beyond the current state-of-the-art, no matter what the budget, while a 
multiprocessor machine can be made more powerful, if the money is available.

Thirdly and more importantly for Be, multiprocessing provides a way to achieve 
the same power at a cheaper price. Be's CEO, Jean-Louis Gassee has said 
something to the effect of "staying in the sweet spot of the cost-curve". The 
well known fact is that microprocessors are expensive when they are new and 
then drop quickly in price. That means that it is cheaper to use several 
slightly less powerful processors than to use the most powerful available. 
Since there is now an operating system that supports it properly (BeOS), 
multiprocessing is a very cost effective way to build powerful computers. 
Currently Be uses PowerPC 603(e)'s because they provide the best 
price/performance. As volumes increase, the PowerPC 604 and higher clock 
speeds will be more attractive.

6.2 Why does the BeBox have both IDE and SCSI-2 interfaces?

BeBox storage is centered around the SCSI-2 interface because it delivers 
great overall system performance, having the harddrive more or less directly 
connected to the system bus, and because it is more expandible than IDE. Many 
peripherals like CD-ROM, harddrives, tapedrives, removable media drives (MO, 
ZIP, etc) and scanners use SCSI interfaces, and will be directly compatible 
with appropriate drivers. IDE interface is included to increase the number of 
peripherals the BeBox can use and to provide a cheaper alternative for extra 
storage.

6.3 Can I use my IDE harddrive with the BeBox?

Absolutely. Booting from any SCSI or EIDE drive is possible. It is strongly 
recommended, however, to have a fast SCSI hard drive as a boot/swap drive due 
to performance issues. The driver for IDE currently doesn't support DMA, 
slowing down the system while the IDE drive is used. Having a fast SCSI-2 
drive for booting and swap space, and a cheaper IDE drive for files is a great 
alternative if you are pinching pennies.

6.4 Can I use my IDE CD-ROM with the BeBox?

Currently only SCSI CD-Rom drives are supported. Even though IDE drives may 
be a bit cheaper, it is thought the IDE/ATAPI standard for IDE CD drives is 
not really a standard which the limited resources of Be should focus on. 
(Despite ATAPI, there are too many inconsistencies between IDE CD-ROM drives 
from different manufacturers). Using the SCSI interface will also provide 
better performance when many peripherals are active at the same time (e.g. 
CD, Harddrive, etc.) Don't expect support for IDE CD-ROM in the near future.

6.5 Can I use DIMMs in the BeBox?

No. Current models accept SIMM memory, installed in even pairs. DIMMs are 
completely different and will not fit in SIMM sockets.

6.6 What kind of memory/harddrive/CD-rom/graphics-card/networking
card can I use in my BeBox?

The BeBox is designed to take advantage of cheap and readily available PC-
standard components like SIMM memory, PC keyboards, PC serial or bus ("PS/2") 
mice, PCI graphics cards, ISA Ethernet cards, SCSI and IDE harddrives, SCSI 
CD-ROMs etc.

Be extra careful with graphics cards, though, since you can't expect that 
there are drivers for all types. (See question Question 6.1%)

Most any SCSI CD-ROM drive should work for data transfers but primarily 
Toshiba or Sony are currently supported fully. The models of Toshiba drives 
before and including the 3501 are not fully supported due to bugs in the SCSI 
code. The Toshiba 3601 is fully supported. Other brands of drives usually do 
not work when it comes to saving sound from and audio CD to a file and 
skipping/scanning through an audio CD. More support for other drives is 
expected. Reasons for this situation is described in the Be Newsletter #28.
http://www.toshiba.com/taisdpd/contact.htm

Currently, the best source for details is the BeBox Peripherals FAQ maintained 
by David Orr (orrd@pobox.com).
http://www.pobox.com/~orrd/be/BePeripheralFAQ.txt

Be First, a site maintained by Patrick Deloulay, (pdelou@msn.com) also 
contains an area where people can send their hardware configurations and rate 
how well they work. See: http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/befirst/
We encourage all users who have assembled their peripherals separately to help 
out and add to this resource.

6.7 How is the BeBox memory system designed? Or: What about level 2 
caches?

The current BeBox models use a PCI-bridge and level 2 (L2) cache controller 
chip from Motorola called MPC105 which can be used to interface an L2 cache 
with a PowerPC processor. The chip can also be used to interface 2 processors 
with each other and this is used in current BeBoxes. Future models will use 
other components (possibly the Motorola MPC106) and this will make it possible 
to include shared or individual L2 caches. If it is justifiable depends on 
price/performance, and while an L2 cache would certainly boost performance 
some, current models do very well without it. Also remember that a dual-
processor machine "automatically" gets twice as much L1 cache compared to a 
single processor (though some data may still be shared between the two, which 
will decrease performance some)

Tech-heads can find specs for the PCI-bridge/cache controller/memory 
controller at:

http://www.mot.com/SPS/PowerPC/products/semiconductor/support_chips/105.html
http://www.mot.com/SPS/PowerPC/products/semiconductor/support_chips/106.html

6.8 How fast is the BeBox?

This is as always a very difficult question to answer. In terms of 
satisfaction, you never hear anyone complain that their dual 66MHz BeBox is 
slow. In fact, some people have reported that they find their BeBox much 
"snappier" than most workstations they have come in contact with! This is 
probably much due to the efficiency of the BeOS. One way to attempt to measure 
raw power is through various benchmarks, but of course they are never perfect.

For an interesting benchmark which claims to be able to compare any types of 
uniprocessor or multiprocessor computers, take a look at HINT. We owe Osma 
Ahvenlampi <oa@iki.fi> for providing us with HINT measurements, comparing 
both the 66MHz and 133MHz BeBoxes to other computers:
http://www.iki.fi/oa/Be/hint.html

For general information about microprocessors, including speeds, clock 
frequencies, chip area, manufacturing, etc. a great site is the CPU Info 
Centre. Especially, there is a comparison chart for almost every major type 
of processor in the world and it shows how PowerPC measures up to other 
manufacturers. As usual benchmarks are not the "absolute truth". Total system 
performance depends on more things than just the processor and some other 
independent sources have found the PowerPC to have a greater performance than 
stated here. http://infopad.eecs.berkeley.edu/CIC/summary/local/

6.9 What can be expected of future BeBox models?

So far, Be Inc has said that they intend to keep producing hardware in 
parallel with BeOS so we can expect higher performance machines from Be in 
the future. 
However, Be does not talk about future hardware releases until they are 
finished.(see Question 3.9)

6.10 Why is there such poor graphics card support?

Graphics card support may be considered "poor" when compared to the huge PC-
world. Many thousands of man-hours have been put into developing graphics 
drivers for Windows and other OSs. Be Inc still has a limited amount of 
engineers. They have provided support for some of the most popular graphics 
cards so that BeBox owners can have some to choose from but they don't have 
the manpower to support every card out there. Be has promised to improve on 
graphics card support in the future, though, but currently most effort is put 
into improving and finishing the operating system.

Surely, Be will provide support to anyone who wants to write their own driver, 
but writing graphics card drivers can be more difficult than some think. A 
slightly humorous story concerning this is in Be Newsletter #40.

6.11 What is the BeBox's audio hardware like?

The BeBox sound system uses the CS4231 Audio Codec from Cirrus Logic, 
providing 16-bit, CD-quality, stereo sound at up to 44.1 KHz. The system is 
considered far superior to most "soundblaster"-compatible cards shipped with 
PCs, though a dedicated high-end sound card will most likely provide even 
higher quality. "Standard" line-out and line-in (for sampling) is provided 
with "phono"-type contacts, the headphones output and microphone input use 
3.5mm. "walkman-earphones"-type jacks. The CS4231 specs are at:
http://www.cirrus.com/prodtech/ov.digaudio/cs4231a.html

6.12 What is the GeekPort(tm)?

The GeekPort(tm) is a general flexible input/output port and an electronic 
project builder's dream! All current BeBox models (and surely future models 
too) have the GeekPort. In summary the GeekPort has the following features:

- 2 Bidirectional Data Ports Each 8-bits 4 A/D Pins Each of the 4 pins can be 
routed to a high-quality 12-bit A/D converter.
- 4 D/A Pins.Each D/A pin is connected to an independent 8-bit D/A converter.
- 11 Power and Grounds, 2 pins at +5 V, and 1 pin each of +12 V and -12 V are 
provided.

Power pins and signals are fused and/or protected from short-circuits.

The GeekPort is A 37-pin female D-shell connector because:

- Plenty of signal pins and adequate power and grounds.
- Readily Available, available in most shops that cater to the experimenter.
- Mechanically Robust
- Not Standard on PCs - reduces risk of connecting something else there.

The official specifications for the GeekPort(tm) are available at the Be Web 
site: http://www.be.com/products/techspecs/dual603comp.html

6.13 What products work with the GeekPort(tm)?

There are folks working on hardware additions for the GeekPort(tm). As 
companies or individuals make announcements to support the GeekPort with 
hardware/software products, we will include them here.

6.14 Can the BeBox run with one processor?

Yes. The "Pulse" program enables turning off and on a number of CPUs while 
the computer is running. By turning off all but one of the CPUs, software 
developers may see how their software performs on a single processor system. 
(Don't turn off the last one - it's kind of hard to turn it on again without 
rebooting :-)

6.15 Is the BeBox FCC and CE approved?

USA:
The BeBoxes shipping today are all FCC Approved. BeBox Dual603-66s are FCC 
Class A approved while the dual 133s are Class B approved.

Europe:
BeBox is a class A product which complies with CE regulations (as defined by 
EN55022:1995 and EN50082-1:1992 of information Technology Equipment).

The Revision 5 motherboards shipped last year have been noted as producing 
some RFI noise. Be Inc. has offered to replace those boards at a nominal cost. 
(Only developers should have this type and you should have received e-mail 
about an upgrade program)

6.16 I am interested in the basic BeBox system. What else do I need?

- A SCSI or IDE harddisk.
- A PC-standard high density floppy drive.
- A SCSI CD ROM drive.
- A PCI graphics adapter.
- A multisync monitor.
- An Optional network card.
- A positive attitude. But that comes automatically.

See Question 6.6 for more details on what kind of peripherals 
that can be used.

A list of vendors may be provided at a later date. If you would provide 
pointers to Web pages or phone numbers for vendors you have used successfully 
with your BeBox please send them to the authors.

6.17 What kind of warranty does Be Inc. give with the purchase of a 
BeBox?

Be has been very good about fixing machines which are broken. All machines 
have been distributed to developers. Be's main concern is of course to provide 
developers with working machines. Since the machines were not available to 
consumers, Be has not given warranty, but been fixing the machines as needed, 
pretty much for free.

Be Inc. will formalize the end-user warranty some time in the future. For more 
information contact Alex Osadzinski at Be. <alex@be.com>.

7. BeOS

7.1 Is BeOS a multi-user system?

No. While a lot of work has been put into making the BeOS an good platform 
for networking, there is currently no multi-user support. Be has kept it in 
mind, though, and therefore the kernel has support for user-IDs built in. 
Currently the user-id's are not used but according to sources at Be, the 
rewriting of the file-system expected for DR9 will include some kind of file 
permission checking.

7.2 If it doesn't grep, it's not a real computer! (Does it grep?)

While BeOS has one of the nicest graphical interfaces out there, some things 
are still best done with the keyboard. Be enthusiasts are everything between 
UNIX lovers to UNIX haters. In any case, BeOS has a command line interface 
based on bash (the Bourne-Again Shell) and GNU's ports of famous UNIX-
commands, so UNIX-heads can cp, grep, cat, awk, and set up pipes as much as 
they like. POSIX support is a great way to go since it enables many UNIX tools 
to be ported which gives a powerful shell environment with little effort. 
Shell scripting is possible and a few different types of scripting languages 
are being ported. (e.g. Perl exists, and Tcl is coming) A more system-wide 
standard for scripting is yet to be created.

7.3 What is the maximum resolution?

The maximum resolution in DR7 was 1024x768. In DR8 1152x900 and 1280x1024 is 
also supported. Expect that 1600x1200 should be available in the future.

7.4 Why doesn't "Pulse" show memory usage anymore?

The memory management information showed the amount of used RAM according to 
the virtual memory manager, which was very misleading since a lot of this RAM 
was immediately available to applications if they requested it. Furthermore, 
the concern about "having very little RAM left" is a legacy from systems 
without virtual memory (VM), but nonetheless, the feature created a big stir, 
both at public demo shows, and as messages to developer support. This is why 
it was removed for DR8. In a VM system, keeping all RAM in use (for disk 
caching for example) is in a way proof of using the available resources 
efficiently. Georges-Edouard Berenger, who requested its removal from Pulse, 
later needed similar information, and wrote a little program "MemMonitor". It 
is available together with some other little utilities at:
ftp://ftp.beeurope.com//outeurope/gebsgoodies.tar.gz

Other "sysinfo"-type utilities might also give information about memory 
usage.

7.5 What is AppModeler/AppSketcher and where is it?

AppModeler is the old name for AppSketcher. It was not quite finished for the 
release of DR8 and therefore didn't make it to the DR8 CD. Appsketcher should 
be available from the Be Web/FTP sites soon after this version of the FAQ is 
posted. It has been made by a third party developer: International Lorienne 
Inc., in cooperation with Be Inc.

AppSketcher is an interactive tool for designing graphical applications. It 
simplifies the layout of GUI objects and provides support for importing C++ 
objects and connecting GUI elements (buttons, menus etc.) to member functions 
in those objects. The creators of AppSketcher claim that they are trying to 
do more than a simple GUI-builder. It should be more of an application 
builder, so that you can use it to control all types of objects in a project. 
AppSketcher is not a "Hypercard". It is for making stand-alone applications 
through the normal APIs. It produces C++ source for linking together different 
parts and the interface itself is described in a module that is added as a 
resource to the application.

7.6 What is the BeOS Application Programming Interface like?

The Be APIs are considered by most developers as very nicely designed. They 
are object-oriented, C++ based, and rely on inheritance and virtual functions, 
without diving into the darkest depths of C++ features. This makes the API 
quite flexible, but still easy to understand. To get a simple application up 
and running, with windows, menus and buttons can often be done in a matter of 
a few hours. The messaging system also seems very powerful and efficient. The 
APIs are divided into "Software Kits", which each define objects concerning 
a certain part of the system. BeOS also includes servers which applications 
interact with. E.g. the Storage server handles all types of persistent media 
(files and database queries), and the Application server is a kind of 
interface between applications and the OS ,and handles messaging between 
programs and system resources like the mouse, keyboard, display, etc.

If you are the slightest bit interested in application programming, looking 
through the BeOS APIs will be a treat, even if you don't own a BeOS-compatible 
computer (yet!). The APIs are described in the BeBook, available on-line at
http://www.be.com/documentation/be_book/index.html
or if you want to download a copy in postscript, acrobat, or HTML formats:
ftp://ftp.be.com/pub/docs/DR8/BeBook/

7.7 What is the database built into BeOS?

The BeOS improves traditional file systems by having a built in database 
server, closely linked to the file system. This means that both application 
programmers and users can use it to find files with certain file types, names, 
modification dates, belonging to a certain application, etc. Programmers can 
use the database support to store just about any type of information, modify 
it, and make queries. It is a very flexible resource for any type of data 
storage that programs may want to have. Queries can also be made to find E-
mails, People (sort of like a built in address book), and other things. A 
query is also an item which can be saved and used again at a later time. If 
the user wants to group some files or emails or people together, just make a 
query with the appropriate conditions, and the group can be brought up at a 
later time.

This answer is deliberately somewhat vague, because the database is expected 
change with the file system rewrite expected for the next developer release 
of BeOS (DR9).

7.8 What kind of MIDI support does BeOS have?

The MIDI support in BeOS is of course closely linked to the built in MIDI 
ports on the BeBox. How this will work with the Mac version of BeOS is not 
clear yet, but most likely some layer of drivers will accommodate different 
standards in the future. Two sets of MIDI in and OUT ports come with every 
BeBox. BeOS includes APIs for programming MIDI applications through the MIDI 
Kit. Basically, the MIDI Kit provides objects that you can base your own MIDI 
programs on: objects that can produce any type of MIDI message, objects that 
filter and react to MIDI messages, and objects that can be linked together in 
a chain, allowing a stream of MIDI data to flow through filters and modifiers. 
For full details, see the BeBook.

Be has said that a software based General MIDI file player will be delivered 
in the future. This is a program that with software synthesizes General MIDI 
(GM) instruments, eliminating the need for soundcards with built-in GM 
instruments.

7.9    What is the largest volume size and what filenames can BeOS handle?

Currently, the maximum file size is 2GB but it will be increased. Since DR8 
the maximum volume size has been expanded to 1 or 4 (not sure which) 
Terabytes. Filenames can be 63 characters and the filesystem is case sensitive.

8. Programming

8.1 What are my choices for an Integrated Developing Environment for  
    BeOS native?

Metrowerks has developed the CodeWarrior for BeBox. It is currently in release 
DR2. The current release can be purchased at an introductory price of $149.00 
US + shipping/handling. The price will be increased to $299.00 US + 
shipping/handling from release 3, which is scheduled to be when Be releases 
BeOS DR9 (in other words quite soon). There are free updates for both 
purchases through version 5. No matter when you buy, you get 3 free updates 
to the product. You may contact Metrowerks at:
http://www.metrowerks.com

All the BeBoxes sold today come with a limited version of Codewarrior. The 
limited version can only link up to 64Kb (code size, not including data). 64Kb 
is more than most think in the BeOS world, so it works well for small 
projects. 
For big applications, and UNIX ports (some of which tend to get quite large), 
you will need the full version.

The full version includes an unlimited linker, sample code and some basic 
command-line resource tools and a subscription for 3 free updates.

There isn't much of an alternative to CodeWarrior at this time. For more 
information about this, see Question 8.2.

8.2 Is there a public-domain/free/shareware compiler for the BeOS?

Currently, Fred Fish is working on porting GCC. The main problem is that the 
linker format used in BeOS is Apple's own format, PEF. This format must be 
licensed (Be licensed it for free, but Apple still owns it). In a way, the 
specifications are "freely" available but it is unclear if they can legally 
be used in a public-domain compiler (with source-code). Fred has written a 
formal request to Apple for including PEF in a GCC environment (which 
according to the GNU license demands that the source is distributable). 
Hopefully this should force Apple to make the circumstances clear. Anyone who 
would like to make their own interpretation of this mess, try starting at:
http://devworld.apple.com/mkt/registering/swl/agreements.html#pef

9. Software

9.1 Are there any emulators for the BeBox?

Currently two emulators are available for the BeBox. 
The Amiga emulator "UAE" and Frodo: a Commodore 64 emulator are available at:
Christian Bauer's Be project page:

http://www.uni-mainz.de/~bauec002/BBMain.html

9.2 Is there a ray-tracer available?

PovRay has been ported and is available (along with many other programs) at:
ftp://www.bespecific.com/pub/bespecific/incoming/bepov3.tgz

or via their WWW pages:
http://www.bespecific.com/projects/demos.htm

9.3 Can I run MS Word/Photoshop/Excel on BeOS?

Not currently. The Be policy is generally not to "court" the major software 
industries but to focus on supporting small, innovative developers to create 
tomorrow's software. Microsoft software is not expected in any near future 
(or ever?). Many think that Word/Excel have no place in the BeOS concept. 
However, it has been rumoured that engineers at Adobe are working on a 
feasibility study for porting Photoshop and other programs to the BeOS. As 
expected, they have not commented.

9.4 What applications are available / under development?

There are a slew of programs/applications that have been ported from UNIX. 
Since the platform is very much in a starting phase, quite few applications 
are finished. The platform is not yet interesting for people who want to run 
loads of programs. For program development, though, there is probably no more 
satisfying computer to work on. Mostly tools are available today, but the 
enthusiastic developers are changing this very rapidly. Already, some 
excellent applications have emerged. 

For a list of existing and future Be software, try one of the following links
and look out for announcements ("[ANN]") in comp.sys.be and on mailing lists.

BeWare at the Be web site. This should be the main repository for BeOS 
software in the future: http://www.be.com/beware/index.html

Waiting to Be: - a searchable database
http://www.purity.com/be/projects.t

9.5 What UNIX tools have been ported to BeOS?

There are well over 150 UNIX tools available for BeOS. To count them here 
would be impossible, but basically all standard shell prgs (awk, sed, cat, 
bc, rcs, diff, sort etc.) and well known tools (compress, gzip, etc.) are 
available in the Be terminal based on bash.

To get an idea, look at the online man-pages for all the shell-tools included 
with the BeOS terminal application which is based on bash:
http://www.be.com/documentation/shell_tools/index.html

Fred Fish has ported most of ADE - (Amiga Developing Environment) which 
includes a lot of standard GNU tools.
ftp://ftp.ninemoons.com/pub/be/ade/

9.6 Why after upgrading to DR8, do some of my programs no longer work?

DR8 is a major release, and some of the internals and objects of the system 
have changed. Make sure you have the latest binary release of the program, or 
if you have the source code, the project should be recompiled for DR8. 
Projects may have to be recompiled for as long as BeOS is in developer release 
stage. Be has said that only when the OS is released for consumers will future 
versions have binary compatibility.  

10. Compatibility

10.1 Can I mount mac drives on my bebox, or vice versa?

Mounting Mac drives on the BeOS should be possible when DR9 is released. As 
far as we know it is currently not possible to use foreign file systems. 
(At least not integrated into the system)
Since there is little to no documentation about the file system, and the 
BeOS file system will be rewritten for the DR9 release, we will get more 
information in the future.

10.2 Can I read ISO-9660 CDs?

As of DR8, BeOS only recognizes CDs with the Be File system.
However, a program by John (last name unknown) will allow reading directories 
and copying files from ISO-9660s. It is called cdread and available at:
ftp://ftp.be.com/pub/contrib/util/cdread.gz
It is a fairly simple hack invoked from terminal.

The storage system (database and files) is currently being rewritten for the 
next OS release. While few details have been released, you can probably expect 
some kind of provision for plugging in foreign file systems, which would 
include iso-9660. Be will likely support Mac and NFS but we will have to wait 
and see for sure which file systems will be supported by Be and which will 
need a third party developer effort.

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End of COMP.SYS.BE Frequently Asked Questions. Feedback is appreciated.
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Last Update March 27 2014 @ 02:11 PM