The BeOS Tip Server Is Back

Back in the BeOS days, I created a public database of tips and how-to information for BeOS users, called the BeOS Tip Server ( The site had grown to around 700 tips when Be, Inc. finally went under and I went looking for another career. At that time, I handed ownership of the Tip Server over to a still-avid BeOS user, and didn’t think about it much again.

Late last year, I discovered that links to were dead. I contacted the owner, only to learn that the database and the site templates had been lost in a data disaster. I combed through my backups and archives and couldn’t find any sign of the templates. However, amazingly, I still had a copy of the mysql database. Dug my old x86 laptop out of the closet, booted BeOS for the first time in eons, and found the original site templates tucked away in a buried folder. Eureka! But ewww… all table-based and mid-90s looking… just fugly.

Even though I have almost no interest in BeOS these days, I was once proud of the site, both for the content it had amassed and for the method I had used to serve it (TrackerBase).


Couldn’t stand the thought of the whole thing being lost to history, so decided to resurrect the site. Took a fair bit of grunt work to clean up the data and get the tables into shape as a WordPress back-end, but the work is finally done, I’ve got control of the domain again, and intend to leave the site up for posterity. There’s a standing offer for any current BeOS/Haiku users to help clean up old content and start adding new.

BeOS has an open source descendant called Haiku. I’ve never run Haiku, but expect that most of the content on the site will apply for that OS as well. I’m also interested in having new Haiku-specific content added to the repository.

Happy endings.

28 Replies to “The BeOS Tip Server Is Back”

  1. A part of me died with the BeOS.

    I replaced that part with peach pie.

    I still miss that part, though.

  2. Scott, thanks for your efforts, it was and probably still will be a valuable resource for the BeOS/Haiku community however small we might be.

    After all this time we are beginning to see new users because of the progress that the Haiku developers have made of late. It will be a real bonus to point them toward for the wealth of information it holds.

    Don’t you just love a good database :o)

  3. Heh – You know, I do just love a good database :)

    It kind of hit me like a ton of bricks when I realized that there was only copy in the world of this repository that was once a pretty important cornerstone of the BeOS users world. It was almost like a conscience thing – how can I sit on this data and not share it?

    Anyway, the key now is to find a couple of good editors to write / edit / process new info for the site, freshen it up, etc.

  4. “Even though I have almost no interest in BeOS these days…”

    As they say, once you go Mac you never go back. ;-)

  5. Great thing, I loved the be-tips, very handy! (Even bought your book, the BeOS bible, was used to let my crt stand on ’cause i’m quite tall)

    No interest in BeOS anymore, how come? :-)

    I’ll be buying Mac soon too, can’t wait forever for pro audio to come to Haiku. I ran it yesterday btw, it runs quite good, I was impressed!

    Take care!

  6. No interest in BeOS anymore, how come?

    These types of comments always confuse me. I get asked often, as well.

    To me, the reverse question is more pertinent. “Still interested in BeOS? In 2008? Why?”

  7. Have to say I’m with mneptok on this one. I don’t really see much compelling in using BeOS/Haiku today. It had it’s time, it was compelling at the time, we had a great time. But there are bigger horizons to conquer.

    But no judgment towards those still interested, of course, and I’m absolutely happy to keep this resource running for posterity. Hope it’s useful!

  8. The only judgment I have toward the BeOS/Haiku world is, “couldn’t all those coders be putting their skills to better use?” I think users would be better off, and developers more connected, if the people coding Haiku put their talents to work on more current projects. Personally, I’d rather be in the lab with Dr. Frankenstein than down in Igor’s waste trench poking at the remains of Mark I.

    But if you’re not going to get malleable, extensible attributes into ext3 or something, then at least have a blast with Haiku, and make it rock. And sorry about that “trench” bit.

  9. I’m pretty sure that somewhere in my archives, I just came across an archive of the BeTips site that I stored as a backup to the individual you transferred it to. If I find it, I’ll buzz you and let you know, as it’ll be a perfect copy up to that point.

  10. Hey Scot,
    I would be glad to help with editing Please let me know when I can help.

  11. I don’t ‘believe’ in BeOS anymore but I do believe in haiku. I think that it is absolutely essential for the future of computing to have an OS that can run on any platform, open source and still simple to use and maintain.

    Just look at how bad vista is. Microsoft is getting worse, not better. Linux doesn’t have what it takes and never will. We said this 10 years ago and nothing has changed.

    I have to give a lot of credit to Apple but it is not the total solution. They aren’t even trying to go into games and the enterprise and you’ll never see macos on a dell or HP.
    Microsoft will be very happy as long as that’s the case.

  12. They aren’t even trying to go into games and the enterprise

    Sure they are. They’re just not “storming the heavily fortified front gates” by trying to get in on server and desktop platforms. Instead, they’re sneaking in by hiding in CEO and senior executives’ pockets and hanging onto belt clips.

    Catch my drift? ;)

  13. They aren’t even trying to go into games and the enterprise

    And you think Haiku stands a snowball’s chance of getting into those markets? In today’s climates? Apple makes slow, steady progress in those fields but faces so many challenges, and you think Haiku has a better chance than Apple of getting there? Dude.

  14. Um, what’s really funny is in my enterprise, I’m running about 6 Macs, a few iPod Touches (yes, when hacked they are GREAT IT tools), and have an order of 10 more iMacs to replaces PC desktops. I have a new XServe installed with a RAID array on the way for it. We have replaced all but maybe 2 apps we use with Apple equivalents. Our enterprise is not thousands of machines, but well over 200. Billions of transactions a day with 2 of our servers, we have a total of 10 rackmounts running (we’re a privately funded public library- no tax dollars).

  15. Forgot to mention the 10 I’m replacing are staff machines, not our public internet stations. I just replaced all of those Win desktops with Linux. Multihead terminals to reduce our actual number of physical equipment to maintain.

  16. shacker, Tyler

    Haiku would have a better chance because anyone can download it on their PC to try it out. Even people with macs should be able to try it without a major port, unlike when BeOS was around.

    Haiku would first target Europe and then it should try to go after China and India and other emerging economies. Even a pirated Windows is more expensive because of the required extra hardware cost. Mac? way too expensive to switch.

    Then there is the firefox model. Haiku could make a deal with google and haiku inc can sustain itself. Haiku already has a good relationship with google.

    Haiku may very well be the googleOS that everyone likes to talk about. A google Linux won’t work because it would be “yet another linux distro.” But Haiku is a top down organization, like mozilla and there is someone there for google to work with.

  17. @ari-free Aw… Your optimism is so cute! I just wanna fold it up and keepitinmypocket.

    Yes I do!

    Yes I do!

  18. optimism…well there wasn’t much optimism for mozilla years ago when AOL/Netscape turned it into a joke and it didn’t look like it could go anywhere. We need to learn from itheir success and failures.
    Apple and linux have been around for years…I think it’s now time to give a chance for a different approach. Most people don’t want to be stuck with one hardware vendor and they don’t want to put up with 5 zillion distros. But Apple and linux will never change their fundamental approach, not even decades from now and most people won’t be interested in them no matter how many tricks they can do.

  19. Thanx for reactivation of BeTips, i like this database. BeTips is the inspiration of the BeSly, the BeOS, Haiku and Zeta knowledge base. We start our project past BeOS development dies and Zeta is alive. We misted a German Database of tutorials and documentations so the BeSly are born :-). Some times later we see that BeTips are online, but no new entry´s added to the Database, so we thinking about translation of our tutorials. Today we have tutorials and documentations in many languages like German, English, dutch and more.

    Thanx a lot for brining back a Legend :-)

    Greetings Lelldorin

  20. If any of you are willing to lend some time to contributing to the Tip Server, we have a small team at work on sprucing things up – contact me if you’d like to participate.

  21. Hi Scot, sure always willing to help but I’d like to somehow prevent double entries like BeTips suffered from (the same Tip written differently), any idea?

  22. After 20-odd years of professional computer use, I’m dog-tired of Mac OS (6,7,8,9, OS X), Linux dross and Windows crap. I’m tired of the incessant continuous system and application updates (iTunes, Creative Suite and Service Packs come to mind).

    My work load hasn’t changed much over the years – word processing, drawing, light desktop publishing, PDFing, coding/developing, burning disks, image editing/resizing, video editing, audio editing, emailing, browsing and listening to music – all of which are a constant pleasure. Keeping up with Mac and Windows OS and their app updates is a constant pain-in-the-ass, everything feels bloated these days. Neither Mac nor Windows can be said to be “light” in weight, nor can the same be said of the Creative Suite behemoth; so, the idea of sitting behind a fast, stable, svelte legacy – but fabulous – OS, such as BeOS, using Firefox, GoBe productive, SoundPlay and Pe is a very enticing proposition indeed.

    The low system requirement of BeOS and software, especially in this age of the so-called “cut back” netbook, smacks me as the most common-sense direction to take, especialy since I can purchase both Rel 5 and GoBe Productive for less than $50 immediately today off the internet. Not that I could install it on a Netbook (I think BeOS requires a Pentium) but the thought of that route is SO enticing. BeOS seems to me to be the perfect netbook OS – I think about it this more and more, especially after reading Scot’s article “Tales of a Beos refugee.” while he was getting off on Mac OS X, he had me salivating for BeOS.

    Anyone out there no how to hack BeOS to run on a Dell Mini 9 or a Lenovo S10 netbook?

  23. Haiku runs on the 7″ and 9″ Asus eee netbooks, possibly runs on others as well. See or the mailinglists.

    And yes Haiku runs quite well but still pre-Alpha so be warned

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