There are several different kinds, or levels, of operating systems compatibility and interoperability that we have identified as important to our customers:
- Dual-boot systems (multiple OSes on one computer system). This level of compatibility is already available in the BeOS.
With the Intel version of the BeOS, we provide a simple but effective boot menu to choose which operating system to load at boot time and a "launcher" utility to switch from Windows 9x or NT to the BeOS. The BeOS is also compatible with existing boot menus such as System Commander and LILO. And finally we provide a special edition of Partition Magic to make creating a hard disk partition for the BeOS quick and easy.
With the PowerPC version of the BeOS we provide a "launcher" utility to switch from the Mac OS to BeOS, and boot menu extension which allows you to select the operating system to boot into at system start up time.
- File and network access. This capability is built into the BeOS.
DOS FAT16 and FAT32, ISO9660, and Mac OS HFS volumes (disks, partitions, etc.) can be mounted and used from the BeOS, and BeOS applications, including the Tracker, have full access to those volumes, just as if they were Be volumes (though without the database and other capabilities -- the BeOS cannot make up for the limitations of these less-capable file systems).
The BeOS' integrated Internet services provide you access to Windows, Mac OS, and Unix machines via standard TCP/IP services such as http (Web) and ftp (file transfer).
- Virtual machine. This is the only part of OS compatibility which Be does not currently plan to provide "in the box" with the BeOS, but third parties are working on solutions, such as SheepShaver.