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BeOS on a G4?

Filed under the:  department.
Posted by:Deej on Sunday, 29 Jul, 2001 @ 8:49 PM
Submitted News

What if you could run BeOS on a G4 - or even better, a dual G4? Well, according to this company, one day, you might be able to. Zenja saw the link on Slashdot, and caught the reference to BeOS. Reading through the description for their proposed desktop system, the Apocolyps, you’ll see the following:

The system will be available with a choice of processors including the Motorola G4/7410 and G4/7450. Operating system choices will include AmigaOS, AmigaDE, BeOS, LINUX, QNX and others. MacOS compatibility is currently being investigated.

Yes, that’s BeOS you see in there. And they mention dual G4’s in the works.

Now we’ve heard of other CHRP PPC platforms in the past that never fanned out, so I’ll believe it when I can order it. And we don’t know if they’ve actually tested BeOS on their systems or are going by the fact that BeOS runs on PPC, but haven’t realized that it’s just not the same thing. :P

But what may make the difference this time is the fact that the CTO for this company is non other than Dave Haynie, a senior engineer involved with Amiga 2000, 3000 and 4000. This company has won the rights to manufactur the AmigaOne (the next generation Amiga). So, they obviously have some weight here, and want to see another “dead” OS live - the Amiga - so we can only hope. I’ve sent off an email to them to try to get some answers and other info - I’ll post that when I know.

No, I haven’t heard from them yet, but Avner sent in this link to a mailing list with this message. In short:

BeOS runs on the PPC. The problem here, today, would simply be that PPC editions haven’t been kept up to date. At least for desktop BeOS; I don’t know the status of BeIA on PPC, if there’s any support or not. In general, an embedded/IA OS that only runs on x86 is a foolish plan, since most such devices won’t use x86. But hey, no one said Be, despite their technology (which is good), has yet made one right step…

So there you have it, from Dave Haynie himself.

*****UPDATE 2*****
Okay, this is getting longer by the day… any more news on this will be in a separate news item, I promise. Here is the reply to my inquiry from Merlancia Industres:

We are working on making sure thta BeOS will run with no problems. Currently our firmware is not finished. We have Linux and MorphOS running currently. With BeOS we expect several driver related issues to arise.

26 Responses to “BeOS on a G4?”

  1. Nutcase Says:

    Dual Booting G4 anyone?

    Ok.. if this system will allow me to run dual g4’s, and dual boot between BeOS AND Mac OS X, I am gonna be a HAPPY HAPPY man.

    Course, i suppose if you are running mac os, apple branded hardware would probably be a smart thing to do. But this could be lots and lots of fun. :)

  2. KAMiKAZOW Says:


    First I thought: QNX for G4-PPC? I surfed to qnx.com and saw this under supported processors:
    IBM: 403, 405, 603e , 604e
    Motorola: 603e, 604e, 740, 7400, 7410, 750, 755, MPC821, MPC823, MPC8240, MPC8255, MPC8260, MPC860
    Which of those is the G4? If none of those processors is the G4, then BeOS for G4 is probaly also not reality. If one of those is the G4, then… we’ll see. Maybe it’s BeOS-x86 on VirtualPC :P

  3. Deej Says:

    In Response To KAMiKAZOW @ 07/29/2001 10:59:58 PM

    Re: Hhmmm…

    Wouldn’t the 7410 and the 7450 == “Motorola G4/7410 and G4/7450″?

  4. frizbe Says:

    In Response To LoCal @ 07/30/2001 01:49:34 AM

    Re: whoa……

    I can pretty much gaurantee you will not be able to Run MacOS X on this box. Apple is getting very adapt at refining their kernal to take full advantage of their UMA chipset, and if you threw a different chipset at it would cack… as wellit’s not going to have an apple Boot ROM on it either so even if you could get past the chipset the OS wouldn’t boot because it won’t know how to.

    Now to stop raining on your parade, I don’t know how much of the necessary changes fall under Darwin, it might be possible to modify Darwin and make custom Darwin Distro that would boot on the board.

    You might be able to get 8.6 to boot on the board but that;s about your only native mac OS that might have a shot at it.

  5. frizbe Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 05:41:25 AM

    Re: CPU is not the issue…

    I don’t know for certain, but there is a very high probability that these are the chipsets they are using.

    Northbridge - IBM CPC710-100
    Southbridge - Winbond W83C553

    again I haven’t spoken to these folks yet so I’m just speculating but to the best of my knowledge these are waht they’d be using. If I remember the CHRP specs that IBM released you only had one option for the Northbridge chip, the one I listed above, but you had two options for the southbridge, and I think the winbond had more features, not that I remember what the alternative was.

  6. LoCal Says:


    If this will come true and BeOS and OS X can be dual-booted I’ll buy one…..

    BeHappy :)


  7. Delija Says:

    Words of wisdom

    If you do not satisfy your customer (customers), someone else will.

    Here that, JLG?

    On a side note, AtheOS 0.35 has been released…

  8. Anonymous Says:

    CPU is not the issue…

    Well, BeOS does run on a G3 as well - it is not really a CPU issue here but a chipset issue - so what chipset are these guys utilizing?

  9. cedricd Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 05:41:25 AM

    Re: CPU is not the issue…

    As Dave had desribed back in the “TransAm” (Pios One) days, it will have to be one that’s able to fall back to PReP compatibility, to be able to run kernel_joe.. unless they try want to run kernel_mac and have a chipset that’s compatible with circa-1996 machines, shiver.. (in both cases). I wouldn’t count on Be’s collaboration to make a new kernel_merlancia or whatever, seeing as they’re struggling for their life.

    At any rate, BeOS PPC will not run RealAudio (know for sure as reported by owners of BeOS pro running on a 604) and neither will run OpenGL-HW or BONE (as “leaked” by RJS and others on the benews forums long ago).

    The PPC ‘window of opportunity’ passed long ago IMHO, but BeXX-x86’s one is not totally utterly out of question yet, so it might be reasonable to walk toward that common goal..

    cd (back to useless killer app coding.. in a few hours)
    [Edited at 6:25 Jul 30 2001 by cedricd]

  10. Tasslehoff Says:

    wait and see

    Dave was also involved in the piosONE a few years ago. I hope this project has more luck…
    Considering its planned final release in spring 2002 I guess the specs will have to be raised somewhat: 200/500/733 MHz and a Matrox G400?? :)

    Anyway, a lot can happen in a year. Perhaps newer BeOS versions won’t run on PPCs any longer. Or any CPU…

  11. Anonymous Says:

    BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    I’m the proud owner of a PowerMac 7600 running BeOS R5 Pro. I’ve also got myself a K6-2 400 running R5 pro as well. The only thing I don’t like about the PPC version at this point is that there seems to be no directWindow drawing functions. :(

    Anyhow, I’ve heard from other owners of 7600 that some G3 upgrades are compatible with BeOS. I’ve been looking at getting a powerLogix zifCarrier upgrade, but I’m not sure if I should get the G3 or G4 or (evil laughs and cackles) the DUAL G3/G4 upgrade.

    Anyone out there have one of these bad-boys?
    Anyone out there know if R5 will boot on a zifCarrier upgrade, and if so, what processor are you using?

    I just thought I’d mention this…
    Oh, by the way, if I get the upgrade, OSX will work flawlessly.

  12. Anonymous Says:


    Actually I think these are the same guys who were doing the psionOne or whatever it was.

    These guys have been announcing hardware since the BeOS first shipped and they’ve never shipped a single unit. This is pure vaporware. Don’t bet on ever seeing any hardware from these guys.


  13. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 08:00:17 AM

    Re: BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    Where can I get R5 pro for the Mac ?
    What differences are there between the Mac and Intel version ? Is it correct that there are more apps for the Wintel version ?
    As soon as I’ll get hold of the latest BeOS version for the Mac, I’ll tell you whether it runs on a G4 :-)



  14. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 08:46:22 AM

    Re: BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    The PPC version of BeOS is on the same CD with thwe Intel version! I do not know of any downloads for this…check under the ftp sites @ ftp.be.com.

    There are indeed more apps compiled for the Intel version of BeOS, but if you get the source to the intel version., you just need to re-compile it on a PPC version, and it will work perfectly. ;-)

  15. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 08:46:22 AM

    Re: BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    R5Pro for mac comes on the same CD as R5Pro for Intel. The disk is a hybrid. :)

    I hope you mean that you have an old powerMac upgraded with a G4. I’m nearly 100% certain that it won’t work on a ’stock’ G4. However if you have an old PowerMac (say a 7600 like myself) There is a good chance it will work. :)

    Oh, if it does, could you please post what upgrade you have and the manufacturer of the upgrade? I’d die if I could get this on a G4!


  16. CattBeMac Says:

    In Response To LoCal @ 07/30/2001 01:49:34 AM

    Re: whoa……

    Count me in!

  17. CattBeMac Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 11:09:29 AM

    Re: BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    Yeah I think you’re right, because I heard that there is no proprietary stuff on the chipsets for the G3/G4 aftermarket stuff from companies like NewerTech (iMaxPower). So it is possible from what I have learned if you upgrade from an aftermarket company you should have no problems. But I have been wrong before, so please check before believing my story.

  18. Anonymous Says:

    BeOS PPC??????

    If this is half affordable, I’ll get one for BeOS for sure.

    “This company has won the rights to manufactur the AmigaOne (the next generation Amiga). ”

    Amiga will let *ANYBODY* manufacture an AmigaOne though . . .

    It’s really just a low-end PC spec eh?

  19. Anonymous Says:

    iFusion & Mac Emulator

    >Can this Merlancia G4 run MacOS?

    There is a product from Blittersoft called iFusion that enable AMIGA compatible machine to run MacOS.

    About chipset: There is another company that make chipset for PowerPC. This chipset is used in EYETECH AMIGA ONE G4 motherboard.

  20. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To CattBeMac @ 07/30/2001 11:24:22 AM

    Re: BeOS on G4? Can’t it already run on G3?

    I remember not too long ago I was checking this on the PPC HCL (Hardware compatibility list) and there was a mention of G3 upgrade cards. They had a few that were verified to work, but I haven’t managed to find out if the new upgrades that are comming out are verified.

    PowerLogix has a dual G4 upgrade comming out for the 604 based machines. The information about this product has already been posted on their site. It does boast OSX compatibilty, but I’m not sure about BeOS….

    Deej or someone else with some pull here at BeGroovy, is there any way you could pursuade PowerLogix into running a test to see if R5 PPC will in fact work with their upgrades? This could make for an interesting front-page story…

    Anyway, just a thought…


  21. frizbe Says:

    In Response To LoCal @ 07/31/2001 01:08:07 AM

    Re: whoa……

    I didn’t realize there was a patch… do you know were I could find it… that would be really cool, although at the same time I can’t image how incredibly slow OS X would be on a non g3/g4.. maybe when 10.1 is out it would be respectable on a lesser machine.

  22. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Deej @ 07/29/2001 11:46:09 PM

    Re: Hhmmm…


    The MPC7xx line is the G3, and the MPC7xxx line is the G4.

    Moto make alot of PPC based ships. At their heart, they’re all PPC based, but they’ll be slightly different.

    Kind of like having the Celeron, and the Pentium II, III, and 4 lines of processors, and the mobile line of similarly named processors. They have different names, but are essentialy compatible with each other, built on similar designs, but suited for different needs.

  23. LoCal Says:

    In Response To frizbe @ 07/30/2001 12:15:56 AM

    Re: whoa……

    But isn’t their a “patch” to install OS X on non-G3/4 (at least native) models? And doesn’t the list for the patch containts some clones? It isn’t an official patch, but who cares?

    BeHappy :)


  24. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To frizbe @ 07/30/2001 12:26:10 AM

    Re: CPU is not the issue…

    Those chips have been gone over with a fine tooth comb. And they still come up as poor performers.

    That IBM northbridge is set at 100MHz FSB (which would not support the G4 733’s they’re advertising) and doesn’t realy have AGP (except for a posible hack job on a 64-bit PCI bus).

    And the Winbond southbridge is pretty barebones. Nore does is support the ATA100 that’s being advertised. The idea of using an AMD southbridge has been floated before (may be the second one you’re thinking of).

    With all this in mind, I seriousely doubt that these are based on the early PPC designs (the ones with the CPC710). These guys either have something totaly different and a hell of a lot of backing to develop it, or have made a spectacular hack.

  25. frizbe Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/31/2001 03:11:17 AM

    Re: CPU is not the issue…

    well let’s hope for the first option… I’d love to actually see it work with all the features as advertised… AMD hasn’t proved themselves yet as a stable chipset manufacturer, so that makes me a little nervous. The 760 is fairly shacky still. buthopefully this will pan out ot be something really awesome.

  26. Anonymous Says:

    In Response To Anonymous @ 07/30/2001 08:41:06 AM

    Re: Vaporware

    No, they are NOT the same guys like the one which announced the pios
    one! Ok, Dave Hayne was one of the founder from the Pios ag (later
    Metabox) But Merlanica is actually a very famous Amiga Hardware seller
    and developer. Also as an interesting Detail, the first of Computer
    which should be able of multi OS Booting, the Merlanica Tsunami, which
    will be shipped in end of 2001 (Amiga One Concept) Is based on the
    Pegasos Hardware which is made from B-plan (
    http://www.bplan-gmbh.de/ ) The only thing which is build from
    Merlanica themself is the boot firmware which will make it possible to
    boot as many PPC Os as possible, and some small Hardware hacks. (Like
    a special Floppy controler for Amiga, Mac, Atari a.s.o Compatibility)

    So, as Merlanica is not Pios, I hope this Computers won´t be Vaporware
    and if it is realy possible to boot up Be OS , I will try it :-)

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