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For Palmed-Off BeOS fans, hope springs eternal

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Be Inc shareholders have formally approved the transfer of key assets to Palm Inc. The deal was voted through yesterday and, realistically, only a board coup stands in the way of the transfer taking place.

But over at BeUnited, campaigners are hopeful that they can catch the great BeOS operating system should it be dropped in the resulting shake-out. BeOS has been neglected for eighteen months and is unwanted by Palm - which have paid for the engineers, not a desktop OS.

Helmar Rudolph, of BeUnited, tells us he expects a decision from Palm in the next fortnight.

"We hope that 'Palm' will now break the silence and communicate with us their plans regarding the BeOS, because at this moment we don't know what role it and the BeIA play also vis-a-vis the aged PalmOS," he wrote in an email.

Ideally the marketers would prefer a no-strings attached licence. "More realistically, it would be nice if Palm granted BeUnited the licence without demanding any upfront fees, but under the condition of paying them royalties on sales."

Rudolph hopes a rapid answer will slow the momentum of developers away from the platform, but it he shouldn't worry too much, we reckon. BeOS was in life support mode for a year as Be Inc concentrated on internet appliances, and is now two generations behind support for the latest hard drive storage format, ATA-133 for example.

But the BeOS legendary ease of development and good name would see many of the loyal hobbyist developers return to the OS, if only some kind of future investment could be guaranteed. Despite splashy launches of Windows XP and Mac OS X, using anything else after BeOS still feels like wading through treacle for this user.

Be shareholders also voted for the dissolution of Be Inc.®

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