I\'m running BeOS 4.5 on the same Win98 computer that I run GigaSampler. They\'ve done an excellent job of coexisting with Windows. Provided with the basic package is a boot manager (so that you can choose between BeOS and Win at startup), a version of Partition Magic (so you can create a BeOS partitition on one of your drives), and finally the system does a nice job of allowing you to mount FAT and FAT32 drives (so you can get to all your data).
For me, installation went smoothly. My video card turned out to be incompatible, eventhough it looked like it was supported based on info at their web site. The list of supported cards is very short. Between my two computers I have four audio cards (PARIS, Lynx One, Gina and AWE64). Only the AWE64 is supported. Echo has promised drivers and if they happen this will be the first multi-output audio cards available under BeOS.
From a UI standpoint, the BeOS desktop looks like a cross between the MacOS, Windows and UNIX. The file systems looks like UNIX. The look and feel has the Mac \"cartoonish\" look to it. You end up opening a lot of Windows (like on the Mac) to get to your files. But they\'ve implemented right-button mouse clicks with popup menus like on Windows. There are also a lot of shortcuts to get to apps, etc. But when it\'s all said and done, I haven\'t found a single UI feature on BeOS that I haven\'t seen elsewhere. Still, they did probably take the best of all the others.
On the plus side:
1) It boots very quickly (which is great if you\'re switching between Windows and BeOS a lot).
2) Seems quite stable (but I\'m not running a lot of things).
3) Co-exists with Windows very well.
1) I pulled down a few audio demos and apps. The first was TRAcks 1.10 demo. It looked, ran, and manipulated my wave files EXACTLY like the Windows version. I don\'t know what I\'ve gained here.
2) I tried a little drum machine program that is kind of like a primitive Fruity Loops. I was amazed to find the graphic LEDs were completely out of sync with the music. It was bad. I thought this was the OS that figured out all these sync issues?
3) The lack of hardware support is a big problem. I had to track down a soon-to-be-discountinued video card, because the latest versions of the card aren\'t supported yet. When any adapter first ships, it ships with Windows support. Years can pass before drivers come available for BeOS. It might be a state-of-the-art OS, but it won\'t run on state-of-the-art hardware.
4) While many people like blame Microsoft for things like IRQs, DMA, I/O, it turns out these are found in BeOS as well. These things come from the hardware design of the original IBM PC (1980) that we\'re still living with.
5) I really feel it will be four to five years before I\'ll be able to do on BeOS what I can do on Win98 today: run PARIS, GigaSampler, ACID, editors of the caliber of CEP/Wavelab/SF, a slew of DX/VST plug-ins, driver support for the best audio hardware, complete MIDI sequencers, etc. They have a lot of catching up to do, and in four to five years how much further along will Mac and Windows be?
So for me the jury is still out on BeOS. I installed it because I liked what I heard coming from the company and I think they did a lot of things right relative to audio/MIDI. They have a huge mountain to climb.
You have to ask yourself, \"will BeOS allow me to make better music, or even make it easier to make music of the same quality that I can do today?\"
I want to add a bit to my BeOS rant. I just saw on another thread that Nemesys might support BeOS in the future. I think this would be great. I use GS on pretty much a dedicated machine. When I start it up, it stays on most of the day, running only GS. If GS runs even slightly better on BeOS than Windows, I would use it, because I don\'t need all of the other apps/functionality on this machine.