How to install BeOS on a BeBox


So far, none of the iso I made were bootable on the BeBox.
Has anyone got around this issue ?

thank you

So -

Which revision BeBox?
This will dicatate what version of BeOS will install. If you have a 133MHz version, it should work with any version released by Be Inc. It will not work with anything based on BeOS PE - that is Intel only. The 66MHz it depends on the revision, the early ones will not run anything very modern. (by modern, we mean - like modern BeOS, the versions prior to AA/PR1 look quite different and function quite differently internally.)

What version of the BootROM is installed?
There are a number of revisions. You need at least PR2 to boot modern BeOS.

Are you trying to use images from the internet? Did you check it has the PowerPC section of the image?
The BeOS install CD has at least 3 tracks on it. There is one with tools on it in a standard ISO9660/Joliet PCish format, one in Intel little endian format BFS, and one in PowerPC big endian BFS format. You need the latter to boot. I guess some of the images online only bother with the Intel image because no one had a BeBox, and no one really still boots BeOS on a Mac - so PowerPC is not very relevant and reduces the image size down substantially by not being included.

You can’t boot a PowerPC BeOS without a big endian image.


it is a dual 603e @ 133 Mhz running BeOS 5.
I need to do a clean install but every iso i found was multi session, and not recognized.

where i can find the proper iso ?

thank you

They will be multisession, because they will hold at the least 3 images as mentioned above. You should be able to extract each session from the CD image with something like ISO Buster and then mount the powerpc bigendian BFS under BeOS on your BeBox. If you can get that far, you can burn that image to a CDR under BeOS PowerPC and I believe it will boot. I did it years ago, but I don’t have access to any of the tools I used at the moment so can’t confirm anything.

You might also want to try burning the image at a slow speed, because the SCSI CDRom drives in older hardware often have trouble reading modern discs. You could try this version? Help Installing Bootable BeOS 5.0 Professional PPC

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Oh - and it always helps if you can see the boot menu… can you confirm you can see the Boot logo and holding shift-key while booting takes you to the boot menu? If that is not working, you are a lot more limited as to what you can do.

Also - does the BeBox currently boot to BeOS? Does the CDR you burnt mount on the desktop? If so, you might be able to use the Boot manager app to set your BeBox to boot to the CD from BeOS.

I have the boot menu. I figured how to make a fresh install. I used isobuster to extract session 3 (big endian fs), and wrote it to a cd. But the BeBox could not see it.

So I used dd to write the session 3 directly to an scsi disk, and plugged it in my BeBox.
This way, both boot disks were visible.

I booted to the fresh BeOS, and asked him to install to the original drive, which it did properly :slight_smile:


I have made an archive with the data to write to an scsi disk
to proper re-install the PowerPC release of BeOS 5.0.3.

I would like to share it, where can I put it ?

Your main issue might be that the PowerPC version of BeOS 5 was never free.

I know I definitely made a bootable BeOS PPC CDR at one point, so you might still be able to make that for the future.

Thank you for the details. I used the same method to install the R4.5 on it.
It is faster, and more complete considering the specific hardware I/O of the BeBox

R4.5 is often said to be the last good version of BeOS for BeBox.

I ran R5 on my 66MHz. I also ran R5 on my Macs. I think R5 gives you a better experience on faster machines, like the Mac. The dual 604e 180Mz processors were noticeably faster.

do you remember the graphics performance on the bebox ?

I think even the 66MHz was okay, but the OS could be sluggish. The graphics were okay. But I think it als depends on which Graphics card you have. I think I had a Matrox Millennium or Millennium 2. It was very nice.The only thing with it was that the boot ROM didn’t support it past the one from PR2. So you got no boot menu and no bootlogo if the ROM was too new.

i have a millenium 2. honestly a bit disapointed by graphics acceleration. GlTeapot runs at about 6 fps.

That does sound quite slow. To be honest, I haven’t seen a real BeBox for over 10 years and I haven’t booted BeOS PowerPC for about 5 years. So, I don’t remember how fast it was. But I do remember running games and them being reasonable speeds. I had a copy of Doom for example. I also ran the only BeOS game I’ve ever owned, Chorum 3, on the Mac at least, and it ran well.

There never was any 3D acceleration for BeOS, so GlTeapot will always be using software rendering.

There was, however, 2D acceleration, which is used for example when you move a window around to let the graphics card do the work. So moving a window should not result in high CPU usage spikes.

R4.5 release notes:

Experimental support for hardware accelerated OpenGL:

  • 3Dfx Voodoo 2 (via Glide 2.5x)
  • Voodoo 3, Voodoo Banshee (via Glide 3.x)

Right, I forgot about Glide. Which isn’t OpenGL, so GLTeapot would get no help from that.

I thought the Matrox G-series were written by Matrox and hardware accelerated? Or was that just 2D, also?

yes, Matrox was well known for better 2D support than anyone else (both in terms of acceleration being faster, and in terms of quality of the VGA output even at higher resolutions, with no blurring or ghosting)

Because this is all about PowerPC and the BeBox, I don’t actually know how much of this was supported by BeOS PowerPC… I don’t remember there being any 3D support for PowerPC.