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A Guide to BeOS System Objects


Net Server Icon

The Net Server Icon
Location in the BeOS: /beos/system/servers/net_server

The Net Server is the heart of the BeOS' native Internet networking.


The native networking protocol, or language, of the BeOS is TCP/IP, the language of the Internet. The TCP/IP protocol is a worldwide standard, and is widely implemented on a variety of operating system platforms.

The BeOS Net Server is the core of the BeOS' networking implementation. While it is possible to extend the network protocols that the BeOS understands using net_server add-ons, support for TCP/IP is baked right in from the start.

The BeOS provides a "sockets" network programming interface (the way that programmers write network-aware applications). You can think of a socket as a network connection, to transfer a file, receive a web page, or whatever. The sockets interface is a standard implemented on many other operating systems, which makes it easier to port network applications from other operating systems, like Unix and Windows, to the BeOS.

The BeOS Net Server implements the internals of the sockets programming interface. That's pretty boring, but what's a little more interesting is that each socket that a programmer creates gets its own thread inside the Net Server. This means that network connections are always multithreaded, which leads to better performance when using network applications on the BeOS.

Another interesting thing about the Net Server is that it loads the various add-ons for network devices, like Ethernet cards or PPP, and for network protocols, like AppleTalk (which is included with the BeOS).

Because support for protocols and devices can be added via add-ons, it's much easier to add support for new protocols or devices, like a new Ethernet card, than it might be on some other operating systems. Just install the add-on, click the Restart Networking button, and the add-on is ready to use -- no rebooting necessary!

Networking is a vital part of the BeOS, and the flexibility and power of the Net Server make networking easy!

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