My new BeOS machine

Last Sunday (10 Dec),
I went to a computer swap meet…
They had a lot of old computers; an Aussie 8-bit, a 286, a Macintosh SE, etc
I bought this old laptop, a 1999 Acer Travelmate 514t, for $5.
It came without a screen, and with some keys not working.
On boot-up, it complains about a bad CMOS battery.
It has a Celeron at 466 Mhz, 64MB or RAM, and a 4.8GB hard disk.
It has a floppy drive, cdrom drive, PCMCIA slot, USB port, PS/2 port and VGA port.
I came with a dual boot of Windows 98 and Windows 2000.
I then installed BeOS personal edition on it.
Some screenshots:
First boot:

Monday morning, I built SDL 1.2 from source and built Digger:

The actual laptop:

More screenshots:

Right now I am trying to install the Pro edition, so I can have more than 512MB of space.


Interesting thing:

It can be used as a CD player without turning on the computer with the ‘CD power’ switch (it uses the buttons and lcd at the front), and the battery still works, making it a nice portable CD player.


Absolutely the best and most fun to use operating system from the late 1990s bar none.

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At the moment I am having a problem, I always have to selct fail-safe video mode because otherwise my monitor will say ‘input signal out of range’.
I think that is because of the default refresh rate.

Enable “fail_safe_video_mode” in ~/config/settings/kernel/drivers/kernel.

Will not fix it, but circumvent it.

Like in, not always have to select it manually.

That didn’t work.

Err, not?

That’s weird.

This is BeOS not Haiku, and I did fail_safe_video_mode=enabled.

@coolcoder613, I left you a message over IRC.

Repeating it here, just in case:

you shouldn’t need to select fail-safe graphics everytime. Just force it by creating a “/boot/home/config/settings/kernel/drivers/vesa” file with, for example: “mode 800 600 32” (“mode [width] [height] [color depth]”)

Albeit… now that I think about it… not sure if “32” as color depth will work. 8 and 16 certainly should.

Edit: or as I wrote also on IRC:, you can use any of these apps to do that for you.

I have tried that, my ~/config/settings/kernel/drivers/vesa is mode 1024 768 16, but it still won’t work.

When your manually select fail-safe mode… you get 1024x768x16? If so… then I would assume that you need to remove whatever driver BeOS has for your graphics card.

If not… make sure that the vesa file has exactly the same values you see on the Screen preflet when you get under fail-safe mode.

I have that entry in the vesa file, otherwise I would select it manually.
How can I see what graphics card/driver I have from fail-safe mode?
listdev says:

Display Controller (VGA/8514)

Use listdev to see what PCI devices you have in there…, figure out which one is the graphics card (vendor name more than anything else). and then see under /beos/boot/add-ons/kernel/drivers/bin/ if you get a match. You could also move/remove the accelerants, but usually just moving/removing the ones under bin is enough.

(I guess that dev/graphics can also narrow the search on the ones you can try moving/removing)

That’s…unless you have some EVEN older card… with a non-fully functioning even older driver/accelerant.

I need to find and boot my BeOS install to give more info… my memory is weak :smiley:

Vendor: Neomagic

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Try moving /boot/system/add-ons/app_server/neomagic to $HOME, reboot, and cross fingers? :smiley:

Edit: Sweet Jebus… I forgot how ugly (pre OpenTracker) Tracker was :smiley:

It works now.

Cool! Those things under add-ons/app_server/ are very old, and as you saw, might not always play nice with the (more modern) rest of the system :slight_smile:

You might want to give this NeoMagic driver for BeOS a go, who knows… you might get lucky.

There are a couple more on PulkoMandy’s BeOS Archives too. Maybe @rudolfc’s one ( works on your system?

The driver from @rudulfc worked.


A few days ago, I accidentally nuked my BeOS partition installing NetBSD.

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The win 98 laptop we had also had the ability to play CDs while off… it also had a hardware DVD decoder so windows 98 could play DVDs if I remember correctly. Similar NeoMagic graphics also… Presario 1810 PII 300.