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

This article was archived around: 14 Dec 1996 03:33:43 GMT

All FAQs in Directory: be
All FAQs posted in: comp.sys.be
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Archive-name: be/be-faq Posting-Frequency: monthly Last-modified: 1996/11/09 Version: 1.10
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. ======================================================================== End of COMP.SYS.BE Frequently Asked Questions. Feedback is appreciated. ========================================================================