BeOS is an operating system for personal computers which began development by Be Inc. in 1991. It was first written to run on BeBox hardware. BeOS was built for digital media work and was written to take advantage of modern hardware facilities such as symmetric multiprocessing by utilizing modular I/O bandwidth, pervasive multithreading, preemptive multitasking and a 64-bit journaling file system known as BFS. The BeOS GUI was developed on the principles of clarity and a clean, uncluttered design.
BeOS was positioned as a multimedia platform which could be used by a substantial population of desktop users and a competitor to Mac OS and Microsoft Windows (Linux was not relevant as a desktop OS at the time). However, it was ultimately unable to achieve a significant market share and proved commercially unviable for Be Inc. The company was acquired by Palm Inc. and today BeOS is mainly used and developed by a small population of enthusiasts.
The open-source OS Haiku is designed to start up where BeOS left off. Alpha 4 of Haiku was released in November 2012.