The Missing Upgrade Variable
Mick Benoit - 2001.10.01
As you attempt to bring your aging PC up to date, surely you have considered everything. How much RAM can I upgrade it to? Should I get a bigger hard drive? Can I get a processor upgrade or should over clock the existing CPU?
The one thing many people overlook or decide on without consideration is the operating system. All of you have certainly seen Microsoft's latest offerings: Windows ME, the most current version of the consumer standard; Windows 2000, which promises the combination of server like stability; and Windows "ease of use" - Windows XP, which brings together the consumer product and the NT core. Perhaps some of you have even heard of Linux, the "renegade hacker" alternative that requires extensive computer knowledge to use, but then rewards you with complete stability.
However, you feel chained to the Windows 95 or 98 environment which you have always used. The newer offerings from Microsoft require a recent machine, and Linux seems beyond the technical abilities you possess. But there are alternatives. One in particular stands out as a shining example of what an operating system can be - a pleasant, easy to use enviroment in which to do one's work. With a pleasing interface, support for older hardware, much free software, and a friendly user community, BeOS is a viable, wonderful alternative.
Unlike Microsoft's latest offerings, the newest version of BeOS will run on very modest hardware. A PC with a 133 MHz Pentium or compatible, 32 megabytes of RAM, and 200 megabytes or more of hard drive space is the minimum hardware supported. A VESA-compatible graphics card is also a requisite to enjoy the full beauty of Be's spectacular interface.
Not confined to older hardware, BeOS also runs spectacularly on newer hardware and supports many new peripherals. It runs amazingly on my Pentium III/750, and I never hear it hit the hard drive except when loading a program. More information on hardware compatibilty is available at the BeOS Ready List on Be's site.