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(33) 1 49 06 73 75
BE DEMONSTRATES VIRTUALMAC
FOR THE BE OPERATING SYSTEM
New technology from fredlabs, inc. will provide a bridge for
customers and developers making the transition to the BeOS.
MACWORLD EXPO, SAN FRANCISCO, Calif (January 7, 1997) – This week at
Macworld Expo, Be Inc. is demonstrating, for the first time,
technology that allows the Be Operating System (BeOS(tm)) to run System
7.x MacOS applications directly within its multitasking,
Developed by fredlabs, inc., a software company based in San
Francisco, VirtualMac(tm) allows both modern BeOS applications and
current System 7.x applications to be active at the same time, and
for data to be exchanged between the systems.
Last August, Be announced it would enhance the BeOS to provide support
for a wide variety of PowerPC based systems, including those based on
Apple’s PowerMacintosh designs. The company began shipping the BeOS
for PowerMac development kit to software developers last month. Be has
committed to delivering “dual-boot” capability – the ability to run
both the BeOS and MacOS (or any other system) on a single machine –
when it delivers the first public release of the BeOS in the first
calendar quarter of 1997. The company has also committed to
delivering the ability to access Mac formatted disks within the BeOS,
as well as data file compatibility and Internet compatibility between
the two systems.
But VirtualMac capabilities go a step further – adding the ability to
run System 7.x applications directly within the BeOS environment.
During the Expo, Be and fredlabs plan to demonstrate Microsoft Word
and Excel, ClarisWorks, and other applications running within the
“We’ve believed that creating virtual machines, such as VirtualMac,
was possible on the BeOS because of the modern OS services and
uncluttered architecture it provides.” said Jean-Louis Gassee,
president and CEO of Be, Inc. “What fredlabs has created, however,
has far surpassed our expectations, and this product will provide a
clear bridge for customers and developers making transitions to the
“We’ve been looking at the BeOS environment for the past year, and
after taking a close look at the OS, we asked ourselves the question,
‘What type of software could we build that would really enhance the
BeOS for a large number of users?'” said Fred Huxham, co-founder of
fredlabs, inc. “VirtualMac seemed like a logical answer.
The companies stress that VirtualMac is still under development, and
that a number of decisions remain to be made regarding how best to
integrate the System 7.x environment into the BeOS. For example,
whether VirtualMac appears in a window within the BeOS, or in one of
the BeOS’s desktop workspaces, has yet to be decided. fredlabs has
prototyped both approaches.
To provide the System 7.x capabilities, VirtualMac creates a set of
processes within the BeOS which, to MacOS applications, look like a
Macintosh environment. In this way, VirtualMac is simply another task
within the BeOS system. The implementation makes use of the MacOS ROMs
found in PowerMacintosh hardware designs, within PowerMac clones, and
within future systems based on the PowerPC Platform (PPCP or CHRP)
The companies stated that it will take further study to determine how
far the multitasking and multiprocessor capabilities inherent in the
BeOS can be used within the VirtualMac environment, and the limits on
compatibility with certain classes of System 7.x software. But early
results are encouraging, and one benefit is immediately apparent: If
the VirtualMac environment encounters problems, it can be shut down
and rebuilt without rebooting the BeOS system or the hardware.
Attendees of the Macworld Expo can see the VirtualMac demonstration at
Be’s booth in the south hall, as well as at the Power Computing booth
in north hall. Information is also available at Be’s web site at
Be Operating System (BeOS)
Summary of MacOS System 7.x Compatibility Features
DUAL BOOT CAPABILITIES
Includes the ability to run the BeOS and MacOS on a
single PowerPC system. One OS is active at any one
time. Supports loading systems on separate hard disks,
or on separate partitions of a single disk.
Introduced with the BeOS development
kit last month. Will be a feature of the
Q1 public release.
Includes the ability to access MacOS formatted volumes
directly from within the BeOS, and ability to read
System 7.x files and various data formats.
Available: In Q1 Release
Internet TCP/IP-based service compatibility and
interchange with Mac and Windows systems, and
AppleTalk capabilities with Mac-based systems.
Internet capabilities to be enhanced in
the Q1 release. Be is studying
AppleTalk network compatibility,
availability to be announced.
Includes the ability to run existing System 7.x
applications within the BeOS environment.
Availability to be announced later in Q1
About fredlabs, Inc.
fredlabs, inc. is a privately held company that was founded in 1995 by
Fred Huxham and Fred Monroe. fredlabs is a quiet, yet powerful software
developer that has produced software for a wide range of platforms,
including Windows 95, Windows NT, MacOS, and the BeOS.
Tel: (415) 788-851
About Be, Inc.
Be, Inc. was founded by Jean-Louis Gassee in 1990 to overcome the
limitations of existing computer architectures. With a team of
industry-leading engineers and business executives in the United
States and Europe, the company has positioned itself to become a key
player in fast-growing application markets. Be, Inc. is headquartered
in Menlo Park, California.
800 El Camino Real, Suite 300
Menlo Park, California 94025
Tel: (415) 462-4100
Fax: (415) 462-4129
FTP site: ftp://ftp.be.com
Suite 336, Immeuble Olivetti
Rue de l’ancien marche
Tel: (33) 1 49 06 73 77
Fax: (33) 1 49 06 73 79
Copyright 1997 Be, Inc. Be is a registered trademark, and the Be
logo, the BeOS logo, BeBox, BeOS, BWare and GeekPort are trademarks of
Be, Inc. fredlabs and VirtualMac are trademarks of fredlabs, inc.
All other trademarks mentioned belong to their respective owners.