by May 1, 2000 0 comments

BeOS is one of several
operating systems in the market today. Being a relatively new operating
system, its user base is still low. With Personal Edition 5, Be has given
everyone a chance to check out their operating system for free. This version
can be freely downloaded from

The operating system is
available as a single self-extracting EXE file. The file size is
comparatively small, about 43 MB, considering the fact that it contains the
entire OS. This is actually a bare bones installation, and consists of a few
simple applications like Web browser, text editor, mail client, etc.
Additional applications for BeOS are available for download separately.
There’s also lots of free software for BeOS on the Internet. Sites like are loaded with such goodies.

BeOS is labeled as a
multimedia OS and is meant for intensive design work. It can work with
audio, video, image, and Internet-based applications. Be claims that the
full OS can handle file sizes in millions of gigabytes in real time.

Installation was one of the
smoothest we’ve seen. You can run the install through Win 9x or NT. It
doesn’t need a partition of its own, and lives happily in a 512 MB folder
under Windows. Installation takes roughly 15 minutes. The beauty of this OS
is that it doesn’t interfere with your current operating system. It adds
an icon on your Windows desktop, clicking on it restarts your machine into

Hot features

BeOS automatically detects
all your hardware and installs the necessary drivers for it. No user input
is required for this. However, hardware support is stingy. For example, some
of the latest 3D cards, like the Creative GeForce are not supported. We ran
a couple of applications including Gobe Productive (reviewed on page 122)
on BeOS Personal Edition. The performance was okay. Nothing to break into a
jig about. But then the performance penalties of running over Windows needs
to be taken into account. For a technology demonstrator–something’s you
can play and explore, before deciding whether you want to go in for the
full, priced product. This is a neat package. If you decide that this is
something you like, switch to the full commercial version available from GT
enterprises, Bangalore (

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