The Haus

Monday, August 27, 2001

The Death of BeOS

Scot Hacker (an appropriate name) has an article on on the death of the Be operating system. Be's assets were recently purchased by Palm. Hacker blames Microsoft's anticompetitive practices for Be's failure. While the article is interesting, here's a bit I take issue with:
So here we are in 2001, and guess what? It's still not possible to purchase a dual-boot Win/Linux machine. Doesn't that seem kind of odd? With all of the hype Linux has gotten, and with the technical simplicity of shipping dual-boot machines, not a single PC OEM is shipping such a beast. The technology marketplace is glutted with options. Vendors use even the smallest opportunities to trumpet their differentiating factors. Linux is free. And yet there are no commercially available dual-boot machines on the market. Not one. The silence of the marketplace speaks volumes. There is no other way to explain this phenomenon other than as a repercussion of the confidential Windows License under which every hardware vendor must do business.
The emphasis is the author's. While the Windows License does indeed suck and is almost certainly anticompetitive, there is more to this issue. PC manufacturers don't want to have to support Linux. They have a hard enough time finding people who form a half-decent tech support for Windows, much less trying to do it with Linux.

I never used BeOS, but trying to make an OS that will compete financially with Microsoft is utter foolishness. It reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon where a programmer asks Dogbert for money to write a Windows word processor. Dogbert offers $20--to have the waitress hit him upside the head. The reason why Linux has a chance is because it is open source, so it is not subject to the financial pressures M$ can exert. Thanks Linux Today.

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