Sunday, June 7, 2015

be - or not to be in wikipedia

Britannica says a be is "any of the hereditary occupational groups in early Japan (c. 5th–mid-7th century)". I'm linking to Britannica here because there is actually no article on this topic in wikipedia. I found this rather shocking!

Be was also a company that captured my interest in the 1990's. Their OS was so incredibly snappy compared to Macs and Windows PCs at the time. You could watch multiple videos at the same time! My PC hardware was pretty good and that wasn't possible for me at the time.

The logo above isn't the logo I remember, but I wasn't able to find a public domain image of the much nicer logo which has the "B" in blue, the "e" in red, and the OS in white.

I actually went to one of their developer outreach talks at their headquarters in Menlo Park, CA. I was a young developer at the time and never actually wrote anything for them, but I did buy two shirts and installed their OS. I still have a hard drive with the BeOS on it. I've booted it up a couple of times in intervening years and it always makes me smile. I normally get rid of old computer manuals, but I don't think I'll ever get rid of my BeOS manuals.

I have to quote the story for the company name here in its entirety. It doesn't sound any more believable than the nonsense about Apple's company name, but it's a great story. (It seems obvious that Jobs named Apple after Apple Records and then just retconned the whole thing about holding an apple. Jobs was a huge fan of the Beatles and wanted his company to be all about art and creativity.)
According to several sources including Macworld UK, the company name "Be" had its origin in a conversation between Gassée and Be co-founder Steve Sakoman. Gassée originally thought the company should be called "United Technoids Inc.", but Sakoman disagreed and said he would start looking through the dictionary for a better name. A few days later, when Gassée asked if he had made any progress, Sakoman replied that he had got tired and stopped at "B." Gassée said, "Be is nice. End of story."
Ultimately, BeOS never got traction because the only reason people use a particular OS is for the software that runs on it. BeOS didn't have any killer apps, so no one bought it. It was a thing of beauty though.

No comments:

Post a Comment