Apple passes BeOS for NeXT 15 years ago

John Gruber’s recent post marking the 15-year anniversary of Apple’s acquisition of NeXT sent me down memory lane. Gruber simply said:

Apple acquired NeXT. Not a bad move.
(Good thing I wasn’t then yet writing DF, or I’d have to eat some claim chowder about their not choosing Be.)

I agree with John, because BeOS was awesome.

Some time during the unholy reigns of CEOs Michael Spindler and Gil Amelio I replaced my aging Performa 6116CD—my first Mac—with one of the cheaper, faster clones on the market at the time, a Power Computing PowerCenter Pro 210. I still have that beast down in the garage. On a side note, Power Computing ads were pretty great.

I remember running BeOS on that machine and, performance-wise, it blew past System 7.6.1. There weren’t many BeOS apps available at the time, but the ones bundled with the installation illustrated how much the Macintosh operating system was throttling hardware.

For instance, you could watch a video file play while dragging the window. And watching 3D models rotate in another window. And listening to music in another window. And more. Remember, this was 1998. The OS was running on a PowerPC 604e with a max of 512mb of RAM. I couldn’t find video of the PowerPC version, but you can skip toward the end of the original BeOS video demo to see it running wide open.


For the OS-curious readers out there, BeOS lives on as the open source Haiku operating system.

via Daring Fireball