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BeOS is an operating system designed from the ground up to include all of the latest technologies available to desktop and network operating systems. Its designers hoped to avoid the problems that plague operating systems that evolve from, and must stay compatible with, older, legacy operating systems. In 1990, Jean-Louis Gassée, former president of Apple's product division, formed Be, Inc. to create BeOS.

BeOS is an operating system on the level of Windows 98 and Mac OS that runs on PowerPC and Intel processors. It supports preemptive multitasking and multithreading, symmetric multiprocessing, and an object-oriented application programming interface. In particular, the architecture is designed to support real-time, high-bandwidth applications like audio and video. Some of the first applications available for BeOS were audio and video editing suites.

In terms of networking, BeOS fully supports the AppleTalk and TCP/IP protocol suites and can operate as a client to most popular network operating systems. It also provides file sharing through AppleTalk services; ftp; and, in the future, NFS (Network File System).

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