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BeOS and the Be FileSystem

BeOS was a propritary operating system for x86 and (some) Power Macintosh computers. Developed by Be, Inc as a next-generation desktop with advanced media capabilities, a POSIX compatabilty layer, and an advanced GUI, it was to many people what the Macintosh should have been (this was many years before Apple's OS X. In fact, Apple is rumored to have considered purchasing Be instead of Steve Job's Next to use as the basis of OS X, although it obviously didn't happen).

The BeOS had many features that endeared it to its users. One of these was its filesystem (called BFS), which was fast, supported large (64-bit offset) volumes and files, had metadata journaling for garunteed filesystem integrity and fast startup, and supported extended attributes for files and directories.

Unfortunatly, Be was never able to get much traction in the market, and went bankrupt in 2001. The company has sold off its intelectual property to Palm, Inc. Layed off most of its employees. RIP Be, Inc [Segfault.org].

About BeFS for Linux

Note: The offcial name for the BeOS fileystem is BFS. However, Linux already has a filesystem called BFS (the unixware Boot FileSystem). Therefor, in the context of Linux, I refer to it as BeFS.

In the summer of 2001, I was out of school and unemployed. I had been using BeOS as my main desktop for several years, but I wanted to switch to Linux and KDE. The only problem was the files on my BeOS partition. There was an experimental read-only BeFS driver for linux available (written by Makoto Kato). However, it did not work very well and I was unable to contact the author.

In August of 2001, I started rewriting the BeFS driver for the 2.4 linux kernel. I got it working well enough to release in October of that year. The development was moved to Sourceforge in November.

About the Author(s)

I (Will Dyson) am the lead developer of the project. I went to Earlham College and graduated in December 2001 with a degree in Compter Science. I am currently unemployed.

Sergey S. Kostyliov has contributed several important patches.

About the Website

I used the PHP4 library written by the quakeforge.net team. I really appreciate it's release under the GPL.

Thanks to

  • Makoto Kato: Although almost none of Makato's original code remains in the BeFS driver, I would never have started on the project if I hadn't found his driver.
  • Dominic Giampaolo: Author of the original BFS implementation. Also the author of Practical Filesystem Design With the Be Filesystem, which is the only real documentation available on the internals of BFS.
Copyright © 2001-2014 Will Dyson.
Be, BeOS, and the Be and BeOS logos are registered trademarks of Be Incorporated.