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This document answers questions regarding the BeOS, including general hardware requirements, features, file formats and compatibility, and interface issues.

This page was last updated on December 9, 1998

Search Search the FAQs:

Questions Asked and Answered in this FAQ


  1. What is the BeOS? New!
  2. Does the BeOS compete with Microsoft Windows? Windows NT? New!
  3. How do you pronounce "BeOS"?
  4. When will the BeOS be available?
  5. How can I get the BeOS?
  6. How much does the BeOS cost? Updated! (12/9/98)
  7. How much will upgrades to the BeOS, such as Release 4, cost? Updated! (12/9/98)
  8. How much does the BeOS cost in my local currency?
  9. Will I be able to buy the BeOS at Frys/CompUSA/Egghead/PCConnection? Updated! (12/9/98)
  10. Will the BeOS be distributed outside of the US? Updated! (12/9/98)
  11. When will Release 5 ship, and what will be the major features in it? Updated! (12/9/98)
  12. Will Be ever make the BeOS "open source" (that is, release the source code publicly)?
  13. Can I beta test the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  14. Is there a public beta or trial version of the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  15. How do I get support for the BeOS?
  16. Is there a Be/BeBox/BeOS newsgroup?
  17. What Web sites are there about Be, the BeBox, or the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  18. How do I report a BeOS bug?
  19. How do I submit a feature request for the BeOS?

    Hardware Requirements

  20. What machines does the BeOS run on?
  21. Does the BeOS run on other PowerPC-based systems?
  22. Is the BeOS compatible with the PowerPC card for the Amiga?
  23. Is the BeOS compatible with the forthcoming PowerPC-based Amiga?
  24. Does the BeOS run on Sparc or Alpha machines?
  25. Will the BeOS run on single-processor systems?
  26. Will the BeOS take advantage of multiprocessor systems?


  27. What are the key features offered by the BeOS?
  28. What is new in BeOS Release 4?
  29. How does the BeOS compare to Windows NT? Updated! (12/9/98)
  30. But what about design applications moving to NT? Updated! (12/9/98)
  31. How does the BeOS compare to Linux? New!
  32. How does the BeOS compare to Mac OS X? Updated! (12/9/98)
  33. What are Be's "complementary OS" compatibility plans? Updated! (12/9/98)
  34. Does the BeOS support foreign languages?
  35. Does the BeOS support Unicode/double byte languages?
  36. If you support Unicode, why do Japanese pages look bad in NetPositive?
  37. Does the BeOS support Java?
  38. Does the BeOS support 16- and 24-bit color?
  39. How well does the BeOS handle time-sensitive graphics?
  40. Do you support QuickTime?
  41. Do you support sound tracks in QuickTime movies?
  42. Do you support QuickDraw GX or QuickDraw3D?
  43. Do you support DirectX? Do you support Direct3D?
  44. Does the BeOS support OpenDoc?
  45. Does the BeOS have file sharing?
  46. Does the BeOS have compute sharing?
  47. Does the BeOS allow remote execution with local display (like X11)?
  48. Will the BeOS support multiple users?
  49. Is there a way to add multiple logins for ftp, telnet, etc.?
  50. What security protection will the BeOS have?
  51. Does the BeOS have a text/command line mode?
  52. Does the BeOS have a scripting language?
  53. If I set up two monitors on one machine can two people use it at once?
  54. Will I need a separate video card for each monitor?
  55. What is the maximum video resolution the BeOS supports?
  56. Does the BeOS support each window at an independent bit depth?
  57. Does the BeOS support "odd" graphics bit depths?
  58. What is the maximum hard disk size the BeOS can support?
  59. What is the maximum file size in the BeOS?
  60. What is the maximum number of files the BeOS can support?
  61. How long can file/folder names be?
  62. How big can file attributes be?
  63. Does the BeOS support RAID?
  64. Is the BeOS database object-oriented, relational, or a mix?
  65. Is the BeOS UNIX-based, or is it a new design?
  66. Is BeOS similar to Unix?
  67. Is the BeOS a replacement for UNIX?
  68. Do you plan to port the BeOS to the Mach microkernel?
  69. Are you POSIX compliant?
  70. What parts of POSIX is the BeOS compliant with?

    Technical Tidbits

  71. How much of the BeOS is portable? Updated! (12/9/98)
  72. Does the portability of the BeOS mean you will be porting it soon? Updated! (12/9/98)
  73. Could Be ever adapt the BeOS to the set-top market?
  74. How many processors can the BeOS take advantage of?
  75. What is "kernel_joe"?
  76. Why is it named "kernel_joe"?

    Files and Formats

  77. What video formats does the BeOS support?
  78. What sound formats can the BeOS recognize and support?
  79. How do I use a BeOS screen shot?
  80. How can I read Adobe Acrobat (.pdf) files on my BeOS system?
  81. What kind of files have the extension ".h" or ".cpp"?


  82. Does the BeOS support TCP/IP?
  83. Does the BeOS support TCP/IP configuration via DHCP?
  84. Does the BeOS support name server (DNS) configuration by a DHCP server? New!
  85. Does the BeOS support TCP/IP connections over PPP?
  86. Does the BeOS support PPP authentication via CHAP?
  87. How easy is it to add other networking protocols than TCP/IP?
  88. Can I network between a PC (or Mac OS, etc.) computer and a BeOS computer?
  89. Does the BeOS support remote access to the system?
  90. Does the BeOS support NFS?
  91. Is XWindows available on BeOS?
  92. Is the PoorMan Web server a production-level server?

    Third-Party Software

  93. How many applications are available for the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  94. What applications are available for the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  95. Are there any developers working on the BeOS?
  96. What large developers are supporting the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  97. Is Adobe going to port to the BeOS?
  98. Can I use Netscape with the BeOS?
  99. How does the BeOS Internet software compare with Netscape?
  100. Is there a BeOS version of WebSTAR (or ListSTAR)?
  101. How do I get the BeSpecific CD-ROM?

    Usage and Interface

  102. Can I put my files and folders on the BeOS Desktop?
  103. Can I drag applications or files onto the Deskbar?
  104. Does the BeOS support a "virtual desktop" like the Mac?
  105. Why can't I set my screen to 16-bit color?
  106. Can the BeOS Tracker GUI be replaced? Updated! (12/9/98)
  107. Is there a way to kill or "force quit" an application in the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  108. How can I add additional LaserWriter-compatible printer models to the BeOS? Updated! (12/9/98)
  109. What is the "AppleTalk" checkbox for in the Network preferences application? New!
  110. How do I use PPP on the BeOS?
  111. If it doesn't start a PPP session, what does the Connect application do? Updated! (12/9/98)
  112. Does the BeOS support proxy servers or connecting through firewalls?
  113. Why don't mail messages I write get sent to their recipients?
  114. How do I defragment my hard drive under the BeOS?
  115. Can I use NetPositive to access URLs that start with "https://" or "shttp://"? Updated! (12/9/98)
  116. What do I do with ".zip" or ".tgz" files?
  117. Why doesn't a downloaded file have a custom icon?
  118. Why doesn't my Tracker add-on work?
  119. How can I create "Person" records?
  120. Can I add my own operators to database queries?
  121. What is the BeOS command shell?

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