I do have a tendency to try out different esoteric operating systems every now and then, the last of which was Rhapsody. It’s a shame that the Rhapsody entry was lost after my hard drive crashed, but I’m now trying out BeOS. I haven’t used BeOS since I was in high school, but was pleasantly surprised by BeOS Max. BeOS Max is a repackaged version of BeOS 5 Personal Edition, which was released not very long before Be went under and got acquired by Palm.
The funny thing I noticed was that it’s surprisingly usable, much like Mac OS X. While it isn’t quite Unix, it’s definitely inspired by it. I’ve got a shell and a terminal, and even though there aren’t tools such as ifconfig, I can use it for stuff like wget and gcc. I was pretty happy to find fairly recent copies of Firefox, Thunderbird, and a decent terminal emulator. VLC plays the latest anime just fine. It’s looking like this could actually be as usable as your typical Linux distribution, depending on your specific needs.
In fact, the only thing that has been annoying the hell out of me is the fact that I can’t figure out how to take screenshots of it. I found a nifty app that will make movies of stuff you’re doing, but not screenshots. When I figure it out, I might just post some :-)
22 June 2004 update: Okay, so who would have known that taking a screenshot was as easy as hitting “print screen” :-)