Although the BeOS is a graphical operating system, after Windows and the
Mac OS, it also has a rich infusion of functionality and philosophy from
the command line-oriented world of Unix. So, while much of the software
which ships with the BeOS or is available on-line or commercially is
graphically-oriented, has a GUI, and has very nicely designed icons, some
of the tools available are command line tools.
These have no interface, or have only a text interface, and you invoke
them from the command line by typing their names, not from the Tracker by
double-clicking them. Because you never see them in the Tracker (unless you
go looking for them), they have no need of a custom designed icon. But,
what happens when you do open the folder that contains them? The
Tracker has to show you something, right?
Indeed, it does. Since there is no custom icon inside the command line
tool, the Tracker uses the generic application icon, which as you see looks
like three colored building blocks stacked up.
In fact, the Tracker uses this icon for any file that contains
executable code and which does not have its own icon stored inside it as a
resource for the Tracker to use. So most of the items in the
directory have this icon, as do most or all of the times in the
When you see this icon on an application that you've downloaded, chances
are good the Tracker hasn't (yet) had a chance to "identify" the file, and
notice that it has a custom icon, etc. If you double-click it (you were
going to do that anyway, to try it out, right?), the Tracker will look at
it, and most likely fix the icon before it launches the application.
Still, there will be times when there simply is no custom icon, and
you'll get only the generic executable code icon. This doesn't mean,
though, that the item will respond to being double-clicked. Command line
tools and add-ons, for example, can only be run from the command line, or
by accessing their functionality through the add-on interface of an
application or system service.
So if you double-click it and nothing happens, don't assume something is
wrong. Read the installation instructions instead, and see if you don't
need to put it someplace else.