Issue 5-17, April 26, 2000

Revamped Developer Services

Because we know that our success grows directly from your success, we want to support your efforts to develop for BeOS and BeIA, and we're constantly thinking about and working toward ways to improve this support. The past few months have given us all an opportunity to think hard about what we're doing and how to serve the customers we want to attract, while the computing market continues to evolve around us.

To keep pace with the exciting changes in our business and increase the number and kind of our development partners, Be has made some changes in our developer services that should make it easier for all Be developers to market successful products. We'd like to tell you about our new support options (which include better access to materials at no charge) and help you understand how you may be able to capitalize on changes in the computing market and develop for either BeOS or BeIA, or both, in the new millennium.

Just in the past few months Be has announced strategic Internet appliance relationships with partners such as Compaq, National Semiconductor, Intel Corporation, First International Computer, Inc. and Proxim, Inc. With our partner list growing this fast, you can imagine the higher level of support that Be must provide. Added to the exciting Internet appliance challenge is the popularity of BeOS 5 Personal Edition (over 870,000 downloads as of last week) and a large number of new BeOS developers downloading the tools and becoming involved. Thanks to all our developers for being so patient during this exciting growth.

We are happy to announce that on Wednesday, April 26, Be Inc. is launching an improved Developer Services section of our web site: This announcement describes the new structure of Developer Services, changes to the costs of services, and what resources are available to all developers at various levels. These changes were made in order to better serve the Be Developer Community. Be Inc. and the Be User and Developer Communities value your involvement now more than ever.

Developer Services is dedicated to fulfilling the needs of developers who build BeIA information and entertainment appliances as well as those who develop commercially viable BeOS software. Three levels of participation are available:

Via the Developer Area of our web site, BeIA and BeOS developers will have access to excellent online resources at no charge. These resources include Be Developer Community discussion lists; BMessage, a Newsletter for Be developers; BeOS 5 Personal Edition; BeOS development tools; BeOS sample code written by Be engineers; and Bug Report and Feature Request submission form access. Our hope and plan is that it will be possible for a wide range of BeOS developers to create quality BeOS desktop software using these free online resources. No program membership is required, so there is no hassle of remembering an ID and password. However, we do encourage all BeOS developers to complete an online survey so we can track who is developing BeOS software products. BeIA projects all require BeIA Developer Kits, and will almost certainly require Developer Technical Support and other benefits available only to Partner Program Members, so all BeIA developers are encouraged to try the BeIA Evaluation Service or apply for the Partner Program.

Developers who would like to investigate BeIA software before applying for the Be Partner Program are encouraged to purchase the BeIA Evaluation Service for $95. This service includes one downloadable version of BeIA Eval and all updates for one year. This BeIA software can be easily installed in Windows and includes cached web pages that illustrate how an Information Appliance running BeIA might work. Targeted collateral and documentation are included which provide pertinent information for potential BeIA developers. BeIA Evaluation Service customers are welcome to ask our technical support staff about installation issues, but no other questions will be answered until the company is accepted into the Partner Program.

Companies who have funding to develop a BeIA or BeOS project are encouraged to apply for Be's Partner Program so they can take advantage of additional services. Be will enthusiastically review applications for the Partner Program with an eye toward providing the best service to partners that need it to complete viable, trend-setting products. The person who completes Be's Qualification Form becomes the main contact for the company accepted into the Partner Program. Each main contact will have to sign a Partner Program Agreement as part of the final acceptance procedure. The main contact may distribute their company's membership ID and password to 5 employees in their company so they can take advantage of the services provided in the Partner Area of our web site. The main contact will be informed when the annual review process begins for their membership.

Partners receive a high level of support from Be. As part of their membership benefits, partners have access to targeted BeIA Developer Kits with appropriate Be software, build tools, sample code, and collateral. Bugs and feature requests submitted by Partners receive priority attention. In addition, Partners may purchase BeIA Development Machines that come with development tools pre-installed. Also, partners may purchase additional services at a support rate (currently $200 per hour). For instance, Partners can: have Be test the compatibility of a product with our software; get Developer Technical Support via an online query form; ask an engineer for one-on-one help; receive UI design consultation; have a specific driver or a custom application developed; and more.

Developer Services Q&A


What is the difference between BeOS and BeIA?


BeOS is an operating system for personal computers. There is a free and an enhanced version available. For Information and Entertainment Appliances we offer BeIA, the most compelling software solution designed for the creation of appliances that deliver information and entertainment over the web. Incorporating technology from BeOS, BeIA is fully customizable, offers a comprehensive browser and supports popular streaming audio and video standards.


How is developing for BeOS and BeIA different?


BeIA builds are essentially pared down versions of BeOS designed for dedicated devices. For instance, a particular Internet appliance might not require printer drivers, so we would leave those out of the BeIA build for that device in an effort to make it as compact as possible.

Our goal is to have one source tree for both BeOS and BeIA, so that we can pull BeIA builds out of the BeOS source tree whenever necessary. This way, as drivers and other improvements are added because of a particular BeIA project, BeOS as a whole will improve.

Everything that applies to BeOS applies to BeIA. BeIA runs compiled C/C++ code using the Be APIs. You can start writing your BeIA program on BeOS. The same code will apply to BeIA devices, although it will take some extra massaging between compile time and run time. The main difference will be that BeIA applications will have different interface needs. For example, the device you are working on may not have a keyboard, so you'll want to have large buttons that provide all application functionality. The process for moving the code to a device before running is still being designed, so keep an eye on the FAQs for more information as it is available.


How do I sell my program on a BeIA device? Is there a way for me to contact the device builders to include my program on their hardware?


There will be; part of what it means to be a Partner in the new program is that Be works with our Partners on complete solutions, so we will serve as a resource for software and hardware partners to coordinate on products. If you are a BeOS Developer who is not enrolled in the Partner Program, please complete the Developer Survey in the Free Resources section so we know what BeOS software is being worked on in case we find a need for something in particular. We also encourage you to contact the manufacturers directly. This system is evolving, so keep watching the FAQs and the Developer Services area for further information.


What resources are available to Be Developers?


Free Developer Online Resources for BeIA and BeOS

BeIA Development

  • FAQs

  • BeIATalk Mailing List

  • BMessage, The Be Developer Newsletter

BeOS Development

  • FAQs

  • BeOSDevTalk and BeOSCodeTalk Mailing Lists

  • BMessage, The Be Developer Newsletter

  • BeBook

  • Sample Code

  • BeOS 5 Personal Edition and Developer Tools

  • Bug Reporting

BeIA Evaluation Service

  • BeIA Evaluation Software ($95)

  • Documentation

  • Installation support

  • One year of free upgrades to BeIA Evaluation Software

Partner Program

  • Qualification Form/Membership Record

  • BeOS Professional Edition (one per company)

  • BeIA Developer Kits (sample code, build tools, etc.)

    • BeIA for Entertainment Appliances

    • BeIA for Information Appliances

  • Bug reporting (Higher Priority)

  • Hardware Compatibility Verification on BeOS ($200/hr.)

  • Online Technical Support Query Form ($200/hr.)

  • Direct Engineer Support ($200/hr.)

  • UI Design consultation ($200/hr.)

  • Driver Development ($200/hr.)

  • Custom Application Development ($200/hr.)


How do previous developers fit into the new Developer Services model?


We value all of our experienced and new developers, and we've been looking for ways to deliver more consistent, more effective service. The new Developer Services will deliver this to developers at all levels. Whether you were an Enthusiast, Small Commercial, or Corporate Developer, please register via the Developer Survey or apply for a Partner Program membership. Old membership IDs and passwords and the old Developer Area are no longer necessary for anyone except paying members of the old Small Commercial and Corporate Developer Program. Developers who paid for the old program will receive instructions explaining how to access their benefits.


How do I obtain developer technical support?


All developers can take advantage of the free resources available on our web site. The BeDevTalk, BeCodeTalk and BeIATalk mailing lists are great community resources where you can often get responses quickly from experienced Be Developers. There are also several web sites and news groups devoted to Be Development:

For to Partner Program Members, direct Developer Technical Support is available at a rate of $200 per hour.


Where can I find answers to my BeIA related questions?




Where can I find answers to my BeOS related questions?


BeOS Development FAQs:


Where do I email feedback and questions about Developer Services?


After reading through this announcement and the new web site content, feel free to email

Structure or Conduct?

By Jean-Louis Gassée

So—this week's fashion is structure, as in structural remedies. Breaking Microsoft in two: OS; and all the rest—applications, contents, tools, web services, media, hardware. Structural remedies as opposed to conduct remedies; that is, imposing new rules of behavior. The problem with conduct remedies is that they amount to putting a cop behind each Microsoft employee. So there's really no contest as to the choice of remedies: structure wins every time.

Let me quickly add that I'm aware conduct remedies are also being considered, such as shedding light on Windows pricing. A good idea, and the risk of being in contempt of a settlement would act as a credible deterrent. But more needs to be done, or clarified. Windows licensing contains abusive language; that is, abusive in that it conserves or extends the MS monopoly. Forcing licensees, OEMs such as Compaq or Dell, to use the Windows boot manager, itself only licensed to load MS operating systems, effectively prevents factory installation of dual- or triple-boot systems. As a result, you can buy a system with Windows or a system with an alternative OS, but not a system with both.

Leaving aside our own BeOS for a (brief) moment, why can't you find a Windows-Linux dual-boot system on the shelves of the grandees of our industry? Because of Microsoft's legal tricks. Microsoft can say what they want regarding their love of the freedom to innovate, but in the dark recesses of their confidential licensing agreements lies clear evidence that they want to protect their monopoly. It doesn't require a cop behind every employee to breach this monopoly; it requires only provisions and sanctions in a settlement.

Returning to structural remedies, separating the OS from applications such as Office sounds good. It parallels decisions such as the one (Carterfone if memory serves) that separates the telephone set from the telephone line. The telephone network is the platform, the set is the application. The problem with such a neat line of demarcation is that software is just that—soft. How do you legally draw a line between the OS and an application? It's not just a question of whether or not the browser is in the OS or in the application category. Where do you put Wordpad? Can you or can't you provide a text editor with the OS? It's really needed to edit configuration files and the like, or just to make a little note for oneself, Your Honor. And how do you limit the feature set for this text editor?

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. You could end up with one company feverishly adding—sorry, integrating—features into its OS, and another looking at more than one platform for its applications, as long as the DOJ looks into the unfair OS licensing agreement tricks played by the "other" company. The Office platform could even buy Red Hat, or Compaq—that would be fun.

Of course, there's an important topic we haven't discussed yet. Will Microsoft, with its browser, manage to control the **ML dialect, the media standards used on the Web? If the answer is yes, they will have succeeded in extending their monopoly, broken up or not. I'm puzzled that we don't hear much about this in public discussions.

One caveat, and one conclusion. As before, what we hear might bear little relationship to what's actually taking place between teams of lawyers and the judge. In addition, we haven't heard from the attorneys general for the states that are also suing Microsoft. This antitrust suit has provided more than a few surprises in the past 18 months, and the appeals process might keep it alive for two years or more. In conclusion then, while there isn't a beautifully clear solution, an uncomplicated combination of enforceable conduct remedies and breaking up the behemoth might restore competition and foster innovation in our industry. It might even benefit Microsoft shareholders if the history of Standard Oil and AT&T repeats itself.

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