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A Plan For Be
  by Dean Hall
Sept. 22, 1997
Take a leading edge game, wrap it around a run-time version of the BeOS and play it on both a Pentium and a PowerPC based computer. Jean-Louis Gassee said of the idea:   
...this is really an interesting idea.  I'll take it up with the better minds at Be; I'd like to try and poke some holes in it, just because it sounds so good...

 

Other Dean'sZine Sites

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Recent Essays:

Sosumi: Sun vs. Microsoft - is the lawsuit bad news for consumers.(Oct. 7, 1997)

Being different - reaction to the new Apple Ad campaign (Sept 30, 1997)

A Plan for Be - a business plan for Be Inc.(Sept 22, 1997)

Being Apple - Aftermath of the Apple purchase of NeXT. (Jan. 15, 1997)

  First a brief overview   

 In the eighties Microsoft offered a WYSIWYG version of Word based on a runtime version of Windows. The Runtime loaded on top of DOS and contained only the parts of Windows necessary for running Word. 
 

The idea is to Market
the Application, not the
Operating System
Rather than market the Operating System the idea was to market the application. The runtime OS enabled the application to do things that it could not do under DOS.    

Now the Present   

 The BeOS is a fast, cross-platform, multitasking, multithreaded Operating System with an advanced set of multimedia APIís and no legacy system latency.  Yet, for all its buzzword compliance, developers are apprehensive because there is no user base, and users are not enthusiastic because there are no critical applications.  

 So to build a developer and user base why not package a run-time version of the OS with an important application?  The most obvious first choice would be to create a run-time Virtual Game Machine. The VGM would load on top of DOS and run on a MacOS box. By creating a run-time OS based application there is no risk to the user of trying the BeOS and developers get access to 100% (forgetting UNIX) of the desktop market and the advanced feature of the BeOS. The trick would be to make loading the new Operating System as seamless as possible.   

Why?   

 If the BeOS is to become the digital creation tool of choice, it has to target the game and entertainment producers. By targeting the BeOS at the content producers, a base of development tools is created from which commercial applications will emerge. Because the BeOS is cross-platform, Mac and PC development costs are cut in half, although access to the Mac market is probably more of a bonus than a feature. 

 This could even be extended to TV game consoles (PlayStation Be?) and arcade machines, essentially the game could be written once with some tweaking to adapt to the various box environments (screen resolution, input devices, etc.).  Other possible applications include information appliances and thin-client solutions (such as servers or specialized multimedia devices).  

So the question is: If Be can build a runtime version of its Operating System will that be enough to attract developers? 
 

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