Imagining BeIA-like concept in 2020

So there’s a lot to reply to here…

Well… I got in to it and learned a lot about it. I’m not an expert anymore as I’ve forgotten more than I probably remember.

From what I recall, it was a lot like BFS, but with compression, and the file attributes in tracker were broken on the builds I used.

If you used CFS it probably halved the install size of your build. That much I remember. Then Crushing saved a load of space.

Binder was def in the later builds. Certainly BeIA 2.x had it. I think it was in the earlier too… like you can embed exes in web pages and stuff like that and I tink that was achieven using some of the Binder functionality.

Expediency. Opera developed the browser for them. The Mozilla port was terrible at that point. This was back when the BeAPI made porting legacy code a terrible chore.

There were loads of devices. Some of which you will have heard of but assumed another OS was the only that ever graced the hardware. The Clipper, the IA, The Audry, the DT range of webpads (Dt300, DT325 for sure), and a fridge - there was a fridge concept.

The eVilla was terrible hardware because the tube was on its side and all the text and graphics needed to be rendered in rotated form … I kid you not.

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Totally agree — it is only a working name for the concept… kind of like Syrah for Yosemite or on the Microserf side, Longhorn for Vista :slight_smile: I have a better name but won’t reveal it unless I’m sure I want to build this :smiley:

Also thanks for all the info! :slightly_smiling_face: One thing I can say is that after seeing the video and reading everything here, this concept definitely needs a redo or “v2” that better integrates what I‘ve learned :shell: :smiley:

Are you willing to share the dev kit stuff?

Let me start with seeing if I can get a build to run on an emulator and we will go from there?

All of this was proprietary and confidential and I got a lot of it by talking to the right people at the right time. I don’t know how much is able to be made public. There is a lot of this shady Be related stuff out there you see. None of it is surfacing, so it’s all a bit problematic. The disc I found last night, for example, has another build of Dano, not the one that leaked, bone, two different versions of the open gl, the new media kit, and the Wagner browser for regular BeOS. And that is just scratching the surface as I know some of this was available back in the day if you knew the right people.


So, I managed to extract the old files and got the 2.5 version of the SDK installed (this includes Wagner and shows the BeIA UI in the Wagner App running in a window.)




Wagner is competely useless though as it crashes every time any https url is accessed.

This is the most important stuff though:



So, I’ll see what I can do with these…

Edit: For all you playing a long at home - notice also “binder” has appeared as a directory under the root of /boot!!


What API version do Wagner use (R5 or Dano)?. Have you tried to run it on Haiku?

Maybe it is possible to make HTTPS -> HTTP gateway to solve this problem.

Maybe. The 2.5 SDK is a Software Valet package. The rest is all a bunch of zip files… it might work. And making it work would make life less painful.

Also - the 2.5 SDK installed a lot of stuff… I might not need the other SDK’s… not sure. I’ll probably set up a couple of VM’s and work out what needs to be there. It’s hard to remember as last time I used all this stuff was probably 10 - 15 years ago.

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The Clipper is the nickname of the Compaq IA-1, I have one of those.
It was also sold in white as the MSN Companion internet appliance…
I have another BeIA machine, the FIC Genesis2000, but the OS is stuck in a boot loop where it wants to do the recovery process, downloading the recovery data from a long defunct server…

Here, I built an image of the desktop build… it should boot.



So this is not very exciting - I just used the stock “desktop” release to build an image file… it is not crushed, but it is on CFS… notice the mount command uses “-t cfs”. We end up with an image file and a raw partition… it seems like only the raw partition mounts. I forget which one you needed to write to disk. They both seem to be the same size. IIRC the boot screen ends up looking like R4.5.

To get this to work I started with a new install (as I think I futzed my old one) and installed R5.03, cpu_fix, the network card, set up the ftp (to get files off) and then installed the 2.5 SDK, the CFS extensions (so mount works and drivesetup understands cfs) and the build tools I had from elsewhere (as the 2.5 build seems to not include them.) I also had to mess about with the versions of the cfs tools as the ones 2.5 installed seemed not to work. I dunno where to take this now, past getting the image to run on an emulator for people to look at and play with.

I might be able to give access to the Virtual Box image I made, but it would strictly be to a limited audience. I don’t think any of this is really very useful anymore because the OS basically won’t boot on modern hardware and also the browser seems to crash on SSL.

@X512 Oh Wagner wise - the version I have installed uses R5 and net_server. I have other versions though, that might work with BONE

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If you know what the hardware variant is, we might be able to build a new image. I guess a Geode? I have a few different builds and Geode is one of them.

Yes it is based on the Geode processor.

Okay - I can try to build you an image. I can look at recovery too.

So, this is as far as I have managed to get:


It gets as far as “booting stinger…” and then seems to hang so far after it loads the boot loader. I managed to hit space and get in to the BeOS style boot menu. I turned on console debugging and it gets this far and reboots:


Ah, so I found this : BeIA Wiki from be most of which I wrote back in the day. So, yeah, I’ll be re reading this to see what I’ve forgotten. I seem to have even written how to make builds!


Reading through this: It’s nuts! Theres one immediate simple reason why you cant easily add more software to such a crushed image without re-crushing it - the crushing process removes any external symbols that are unused. So any unused API functions are removed so you can’t add any software that needs one. But it also isn’t clear if the dictionaries they are building are across multiple binaries, if so then they would need to rebuild the dictionaries ever time you add a binary to the system.

Some of these techniques look like they would apply very well to malware identification and binary differencing and other related problems. I wonder if the patent is still active…

@Munchausen Yeah, that is the issue. I have, for example, the soft keyboard. But only a crushed version. So to use it you need to use the same dictionary otherwise it doesn’t work. Also, if you add too much new exes, it often didn’t work.

I think PCem might work with tweaking. Looking at the faqs it does seem to support similar hardware to the natsemi geodes used in most BeIA devices.

I think, a good idea can be use a virtual desktop only for replicants, and get there with a quick shortcut, to see easily these replicants info and back to the workspace when you unpress that shortcut maybe, just as a way to visualize speedly.

Okay - it turned out that when I created a new profile in PCEM it defaulted everything back ti silly settings. I set S3 Virge, Mobile Pentium 266 MMX and soundblaster 16 and BeIA booted to Wagner!! Please ignore all referenced to R4.5. It seems like the BeIA source was forked from R4.5 before R5.0, and so the OS uses the R4.5 bootloader and boot process on PC hardware. There is another zbeos that boots using a BeIA logo, but IIRC getting that to work on standard hardware was tough. Now emulation exists, it might be easier I guess :wink:


And alt_Q gets to the BeIA desktop:


This is the about screen:


The only apps installed are bterm, StyledEdit, Wagner and DriveSetup. Bterm is just a terminal emulator and is really basic compared to Terminal…


It doesn’t look like this version of BeIA has Binder… or at least, Binder is not running in the desktop.

EDIT Here is a better overview video I just threw together.


Okay - so I’m spent a couple of hours and I managed to get the sound to work using the sb16 driver in BeIA. I have had no luck getting the networking to start, as the device seems to be dead set on using ppp. I’ll probably need to dig in to the startup scripts to work out where the networking is kicked off. I think if I can get it to switch, it should work. The NE2000 driver exist in PCem and works with R5.03.

As an aside, I dug up my old R4.5 disc and pulled off a bunch of apps. It’s a bit hit or miss, but a lot of them seem to more or less work. Minesweeper, BeLogo, Mandlebrot, Chart, FlightSim al seem to run. I got DiskProbe to work too. The issue is mainly missing symbols though. None of the pref panes work, which scuppers using them to configure the networking. I might install R4.5 in PCem and compare the file systems to see where it stores the networking prefs, other that the network and Network_Prefs files in config under Home.


So - no, Haiku is not going to play nicely with the BeIA SDK. I think I need a version of Haiku that doesn’t used the packaging system with readonly filesystem… because, the SDK installer expects to be able to write to the file system where ever it likes, and the developer packages need to be unpacked on the root file system.

Try Alpha 4.1