CNET News.com: Be goes public, but doubts persist about its future

“Be Incorporated launched its initial public offering today,
but… The status of the company’s operating system, the BeOS, as
an alternative to operating systems from Microsoft or Apple
Computer has largely been supplanted by Linux. Be’s main target
market–operating systems for so-called Internet appliances such as
TV set-top boxes–is competitive and nearly nonexistent so far.
Furthermore, profits, partners, customers, and support from
software developers also remain elusive.”

Losing to Linux

” ‘The challenge for BeOS in small form-factors such as
handhelds is that Linux is already there in terms of acceptance,
and vendors appreciate the mind share that Linux lends itself to,’
said Stacey Quandt, an analyst at Giga Information Group. ‘Linux is
going in so many directions: devices, handhelds, wearable
computers, server appliances. BeOS is in a niche market with
digital media,’ she said.

“Michael Tiemann, a founder of Cygnus Solutions, a company that
has developed programming tools for both Linux and BeOS, praised
BeOS for achieving a technologically elegant operating system. …
On the other hand, Linux has a huge developer base and the
excitement of open source programming
, a feature absent from
BeOS, Tiemann said. ‘There’s a lot more collaboration with the
Linux community,’ he said of his company’s interaction with Linux
gurus. With BeOS, ‘we’re not getting the kind of feedback,
enhancements, and community synergy that we get from
Linux.’ “