For those wondering, here’s what the fuss is all about: a demo of BeOS handling load on 1998-era computers. It does that with pervasive multithreading built into every level of the system. My multimedia on Linux systems from 10 years later still doesn’t perform as well. The architecture was what made BeOS special.
I still have my BeBox. It seriously kicks ass - what a tragedy that this architecture didn’t persist.
Well, the BeBox wasn’t that great other than the OS and light show. There was no L2 cache because the 603 CPUs had no cache coherency - they were never intended to be run in SMP. As such, performance is horrific; it’s just that Be’s scheduler puts so much priority on running desktop programs and is good at multithreading across CPUs it’s not as bad.
Moving to x86 was the right step, though there was also the intermediate step of Power Macs.
I remember watching this and some of their other videos back in University around 2003. When I started University I had a quad-boot 667Mhz Pentium 3 that loaded BeOS 5, Slackware Linux, Windows 98 and Windows 2000 … with my primary bootloader being the BeOS boot loader (it was the most colourful). I wish I took a photo of the boot screen. It was pretty rad.
I really liked BeOS. I was able to get it working with an old WinModem and my Ethernet card at the time. Watching the videos, I’m amazed how it can just turn off a CPU and turn it back on, not to mention encode two video capture stream from different encoder cards in real time. (Back then, in Windows, I’d have to record a TV stream as RAW or else I’d drop frames, then go back an encode it in VirtualDub. I got a 30GB hard drive just to have space for the raw captures).
It wish it had made it, or that Haiku was a true successor. It’d be nice to have more operating system options than just Mac/Win/Linux/BSD*. For that matter, I wish IBM hadn’t given up on OS/2 Warp either.
Dell was going to sell boxes with BeOS pre installed in the early 2000s, and Bill Gates himself called Michael Dell to threaten to kill Dell’s OEM Windows license if they went through with it, effectively killing Be, Inc.