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[ The PC Guide | Systems and Components Reference Guide | Hard Disk Drives | Hard Disk Logical Structures and File Systems | PC File Systems ]

BeOS File System (BFS)

The BeOS operating system is designed to use its own file system, called (unsurprisingly) the BeOS File System, abbreviated BFS or sometimes befs. BFS is based strongly on the fundamental design concepts of the UNIX file systems, so those experienced with UNIX will find much that is familiar in BFS. However, BFS has also been tailored to meet some of the goals of the Be operating system, so BFS also has some special features that reflect Be's objective of positioning BeOS as a multimedia-friendly operating system.

Some of the special characteristics of BFS include:

  • The ability to represent multiple media devices as a single partition or volume.
  • Support for advanced caching methods.
  • Performance optimizations for multimedia applications.
  • Portability; BFS partitions can be moved between different hardware platforms easily.

These are in addition to most of the benefits associated with UNIX file systems, though there are of course tradeoffs; it wouldn't be accurate to say that BFS was "better than" UNIX file systems, for example.

BFS is not used on many PCs, for the simple reason that BeOS is not widely implemented. To my knowledge, Windows operating systems cannot access BFS partitions, but someone may have written a third-party driver that will allow DOS or Windows to access BFS. There is also an interface that will allow BFS partitions to be used by Linux, which to some extent reflects the fact that both Linux and BeOS tend to attract the same user base--technically knowledgeable PC users looking for something outside the realm of Microsoft operating systems.

For more information on BFS, see this page.

Next: PC Operating System and File System Cross-Reference


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