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Unix Operating Systems Software

QNX Now Free For Non-Commercial use 187

Posted by timothy
from the groaning-bandwagon dept.
Glytch writes: "QNX is now offering the QNX Realtime Platform operating system for free for non-commercial use for x86 machines. Available installation methods include a Windows 9x executable, an ISO image, and a QNX4 installation archive. Pretty much like Be, Inc. did with BeOS 5." And like Sun has with Solaris, to boot. Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"?
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QNX Now Free For Non-Commercial use

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  • by Anonymous Coward
    MS has used its OS as its main tool for leverage over OEMs, hardware manufacturers, etc. The second it becomes free for 'home' use (or whatever), OEMs don't have to ship it anymore, which means they save a bundle of cash, and aren't tied into restrictive trade agreements with MS anymore, since everybody can just pick up a free copy of Windows for non-commercial use.

    WINDOWS: FREE (FOR HOME USE) UPGRADE EDITION

    This package is intended only for installation on computers where an older, OEM version of Windows has been pre-installed by a PC vendor.

    The installation program will scan your hard disk for a valid OEM version of Windows pre-installed by a PC manufacturer. Please note that any attempt to falsify a valid OEM installation will be logged and reported to Microsoft HQ via our CD-embedded transmitter technology. The software will NOT install unless such a valid OEM installation is found.

    If you do not have a valid OEM installation of Windows, you must purchase Windows Full Edition at £399.99 per copy.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    This is actually not true, yes most UNIX flavors are not real time, however Solaris does have a real time scheduler. While this is not recommended for say nuclear applications it still can be used by many real time applications - and is today. The Solaris scheduler supports three classes: TS/IA - TimeShare / Interactive (User Processes, Windowing System) Sys - Kernel Threads RT - Real time Also as an FYI to the poster who said Solaris is ONLY free for non-commerical use, this is just not true at all. Solaris 8 is free for ANY use as long as you are using it on under 8 CPUs. And this limit is also not really true as we never quote the extra Solaris licenses on E1000K, etc. -sunwhore
  • Huh? You can download Solaris's ISO images for both Intel and Sparc at the link off the website. Of course it's not "Free" as in speech but it's certainly free beer.
  • It's getting to the point where they almost have to give it away for free to continue "competing" with these other OSes...

    But judging by their past practices, they'll probably snub that idea along the lines of "we own the market anyway and have computer resellers by the balls anyway."

    Bastards.

  • If MS did make Windows free, and Office as well, it would increase their market coverage even more. Then after (say) three years, when they'd erased just about everyone else from the market and moved a serious number of people to ASP-managed desktops with their new free-beer products, they'd start charging again, and charging and charging and charging until they had their pound of flesh taken from about the heart, and the blood, and probably a few vertebrae as well. Else we'll remote-disable you.

    Sounds funny but in reality it would be ultimate pain.

    All hail Emperor William III, King of the World, Lord of the Blue Screens, Baron of Hackery, Duke DeBug, Purveyor of the Stray Pointer and Leaker of RAM.
  • But if Microsoft needed to give Windows away free, if that's what it would take to get people to use it, they would.

    They did it with Internet Explorer.
  • But if people had to pay $20 to buy Internet Explorer, on top of Windows, rather than it not only being free, but being forced into every single Windows install like it is today, do you think it would have gotten anywhere near where it is today?
    • possibly because (speaking for myself) i'm more productive in Linux with things like tab completion [microsoft.com], xterms [it is a windowing environ, just run a lot of whatever shell you like], and perl [activestate.com]...
    I'm more productive in windows because of those things too!! And the fact that I can use things like Photoshop (gimp sucks ass). Get a friggin life.
  • by UnkyHerb (12862)
    What this is about are operating systems that just don't sell well enough. Since they can't compete comercially with windows and microsoft, they think if they make it free for "personal use" than they can save themselves and make people happy. Welp, it really doesn't make any sense for either parties, they aren't going to make any money, and not many non-commercial users aren't going to use it for their desktop OS. Just give everyone a break and start releasing things under GPL!
  • Um, would this be the same RTP that QNX offered free for commercial use.....last year? Oh, yeah. It is. Even the front page of get.qnx.com says "Posted January 18, 2001". I.e., they've been offering their RTP for free for quite a while now, and have even updated it once! A month ago. I don't usually rag on /. for redundant or late posts, but they covered this when it was actually news, and it's been literally *months*. That's bad. Real bad.

  • You don't understand. QNX released their RTP for free download *OCTOBER 2ND, 2000*. That's almost *four* months ago, with their first update over a month ago now. That would be like slashdot running a story on the linux 2.4 kernel being released three months from now. Accurate? Yes. Timely? Not on your life. Also, though /.'s searching sucks, I *know* they covered this when it *was* timely. Thus, on tope of being really and truly late, it's redundant :-) As for people who missed it the first time.... Well, not to put a damper on your enthusiasm about it, but if this release was actually significant (i.e., actual apps, real driver support, anyone using it outside of truly hardcore geeks or embedded people), you would have heard about it through the grapevine before now :-) Unfortunely, it is lacking in all of those areas, and the wonderful design of the OS itself doesn't make up for the fact that it's useless on 3 our of my 4 computers, and only adquate on the fourth. Whew, didn't mean to turn this into a rant :-)

  • Except that people won't use it if it's no good. That's why nobody used the free IE 2, and why people who can run IE 5.x shun Netscape/Mozilla.


    Cheers,

  • It's getting to the point where they almost have to give it away for free to continue "competing" with these other OSes...

    Yeah, I heard that the market share for Windows dropped from 93% to 92.5% over the past year. What a crisis!


    Cheers,

  • The "Free" version they give out lives inside of a file on the hard drive, which is the only "drive" seen as native BeOS FS. As far as I know, there is no way to up this file size, and it's only 500 megs.

    If you had gone to the trouble of asking how to do this (on any of the numerous BeOS forums), instead of just whining to SlashDot about it, you would have found that it's quite easy to do, without buying anything. To wit:

    1. Find (or create) an partition on your hard drive that you don't mind replacing with a BFS partition.
    2. Boot into BeOS R5/Personal, and run "DriveSetup" from the preferences menu.
    3. Find the partition mentioned in step 1, and initialize it as a BFS partition.
    4. Right click on the Desktop to mount the new BFS partition
    5. Run Installer from the Applications menu, and tell it to install from your R5/Personal pseudo-partition to the new BFS partition
    6. If desired, run bootman from a Terminal window to create a boot menu that will let you boot the new partition
    7. Reboot, and enjoy your new, larger BeOS partition
  • I can't go more than a week without MS representatives trying to cram another free copy of some Windows varient down my throat.
  • Can't see why not. QNX have been doing embedded and thin systems for years. I've seen rugged systems that use it in factories so there's no reason why it shouldn't move burgers.
  • Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"? ?

    Yes. Yes it would.


  • From the About Internet Explorer Window:
    Based on NCSA Mosaic. NCSA Mosaic(TM); was developed at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

    Distributed under a licensing agreement with Spyglass, Inc.
    This licensing agreement with Spyglass has some huge royalty in it for every copy of Internet Explorer that Microsoft sold. Little did Spyglass know that Microsoft wasn't going to sell IE.
  • Of course, both BeOS and QNX are being aimed not at the desktop market, but at the embedded/internet appliance market, so this sort of thing makes sense, especially if they're trying to court developers.

    Personally, I'd love to see both OS'es get GPL'd, but I guess that's not likely to happen while hell is hot...

  • Did you have it installed in an image running off of a fat32 partition? If I install redhat 7 onto an image file the disk i/o performance drops off horribly. Perhaps QNX has the same problem.

  • Do onto others what has been done to you.

    "Might is right, or The Satanic bible? "

    Neither it's a line from a tool song.

    I really admire how he twisted a very common phrase and changed the entire meaning of it. When phrased this way the golden rule becomes almost menacing. It's like maryln manson taking "boogie man" and turning into a sinister stalker song.

    Ask yourself this. If the golden rule had been stated this way from the start would it affect your behavior towards other humans and how?
  • "If a billion chinese use your product for free illegally, have you lost anything?
    Do you really believe if they all paid, that the price would drop?"

    It's not that MS lost it's that we lost. We paid for something other people get for free and that makes us suckers.

    If we didn't pay either then MS could not afford to keep making windows and office or whatever else. In a very real sense we pay to subsidize the software the rest of the world uses for free.

    So the question is not "Do you really believe if they all paid, that the price would drop?" the question is "what would happen if we didn't pay either?"
  • They would have no real reason to do that. The only time MS gives away stuff is to put a competitor out of business by "cutting off their air supply". Sinse there is no competition for windows in the home market (they own over 90%) then there is no need to give away anything. Even under a best case scenario of Linux taking 20 or 30 percent of the home market it still wouldn't make sense to give it away because it could not cut off the air supply. Servers on the hand that's a different story. I bet they give away server licenses before they give away desktop licenses.

    In the unlikely scenario that MS gives away windows in any segment it would be Good Thing. With a major cash cow out of the picture at least to some degree it undermines their ability to subsidize other programs like IE.

    Not that I think it's ever going to happen but it's fun to think about. Can you imagine all the quotes that are out there from Allchin, Ballmer and Gates about how it's communist to give away programs and how free programs are actually more expensive? All those quotes will be dredged up shoved down their throats it would be fun to watch.
  • It is in most countries. Most people in the US pay for it when they buy hardware. We are the suckers who subsidize a billion chinese who get windows for free.
  • by isNaN (45985)
    I have an old 486 at home...

    Would this OS make it fly again?
  • Isn't it available for non-commercial use anyways? May not be free, but it's available.

    -=Canar=-

  • Working for an OEM, I can tell you the OEM prices are nowhere like 29$. It's more like 20% off the retail price... now maybe huge OEMs like Dell and Compaq are getting those prices, but certainly not smaller shops.
  • isn't free at all. The sad part is that every time a company throws us a bone like this, we get all excited, and for what? To save a couple of bucks?


    This kind of stuff undermines the GPL and BSD philosophies. Don't get caught up in it.

  • just to let you know in case you don't understand french, your tagline is gibberish or really bad grammar...
  • While I absolutely love Be, I think this is a little late for QNX. Windows, unfortunately (or fortunately* depending on how you look at ) has most of the desktop market.

    Where does QNX fit in the OS schema of things:

    Is it a Desktop OS?
    A server OS?
    Is anyone actually using QNX ?
    What can it do, that Linux and Be can't?

    Sorry for my ignorance, but maybe someone can help answer the questions...

    --

    *fortunately, meaning that since 90% of the desktop run Windows, a windows developer can get pretty good sales, if their app is good enough.
  • Simple Google brand Sucks-Rules-O-Meter test results:
    free speech sucks 36,600
    free speech rules/rocks 592,000
    free beer sucks 59,000
    free beer rules/rocks 290,200

    so as you can see, free beer sucks more and rules less than free speech, which I think is counter-intuitive since there are rules about free speech and it's quite nice to suck back a cold beer.
  • I hate to say it, but "Free" for non-commercial use in reference BeOS 5 is a little misleading.

    The "Free" version they give out lives inside of a file on the hard drive, which is the only "drive" seen as native BeOS FS.

    As far as I know, there is no way to up this file size, and it's only 500 megs. That's akin to having a boot partition of only 500 megabytes, and if you want any more space you'll have to format a different partition in the native BeOS FS.

    There are reasons why you would want to have more room on a native BeOS drive, the least of which is that some applications don't like to (or won't) run on a mounted Fat32 drive. It's strange but true.

    If you want to install BeOS on a system as the main OS, you really do need to buy the full version and it actually isn't free. That is, it's just as much commercial software as anything that Microsoft does.

    (Someone's going to flame me for this, but as far as I know it's all true.)

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • I find it really amusing that many Linux users will gloat and brag about how Linux is free and so superior to Windows all the while using a pirated copy of Windows which was effctively free to them.

    Then end up being pirates and they're still using Windows.

    Want to end the Microsoft market dominance? Remove Windows and never look back. If everyone who hated Microsoft did this, that market domination would colapse pretty damned quick.

    Hell, at least Mac users don't pussyfoot around with a "Dual Boot." (Unless you count SoftPC or other such software, but...)

    "Everything you know is wrong. (And stupid.)"
  • For those of you who haven't seen QNX, they have a complete OS + web browser running on a 3.5" floppy.

    Don't forget that it's a complete GUI OS and GUI web browser. :-)

  • "Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"?"

    Yes. Solaris, BeOS, and QNX are free for non-commercial use because almost nobody uses them non-commercially anyway. As Win 2000 eats away more of the workstation market from UNIX, the other OS vendors risk losing market share to enthusiasts running Winblows at home. So for them it makes sense to make personal use free.

    Microsoft making Winblows free would be idiotic. They still have a monopoly on the desktop market, and will continue to be the most popular desktop OS for at least a few more years. They have no reason to give it away. If anything, they have reason to start charging MORE for it.
  • I'd like to flirt with it but I dont want it to have a permanent relationship with my partions. I one-nighter if you will...
  • by holzp (87423)
    rumour has it that att uses this os to power some of their large unix systems.
  • by holzp (87423)
    yeah this os. that is what makes notable. its not just for little things.
  • Umm... isn't this old news. It's been on Slashdot [slashdot.org] before.

    I thought Hemos was the one in charge of reposting old news :-)

    Anyway, it's also been on magazine cover discs: PC Plus February 2001 (#173)
    and the (i think) march 2001 issue of Maximum PC and maybe some others.
  • No its Windows.net where you don't pay during rebooting.

    "There are no such things as Windows experts as they have all signed a NDA and don't talk about such things"

  • by The Man (684)
    It would be surprising, for two reasons:

    1. Microsoft isn't looking to increase its mind share or product awareness. Solaris and QNX are products that, once you try them, you might like them enough to include them in your business. I don't think the same can be said for anything from Microsoft, and in any case the odds are pretty good that your business is already stuck with them.

    2. The target markets are different. When you market a product like QNX or Solaris, you are marketing reliability and performance, qualities that appeal mainly to commercial customers. Keeping track of and billing non-commercial customers, given their number, is not cost-effective, especially given the mindshare issue (see (1)). Microsoft, on the other hand, targets the non-commercial user as much as anyone. They make an insane amount of money forcing everyone who buys a peecee to buy a license for some version or other of their products. Giving it away makes no sense since they've already got the squeeze on everyone.
  • Solaris 8 [sun.com] is free for machines with less than 8 processors for any purpose.
  • Windows for non-commercial use?

    It already is free for non-commercial use, and for some commecrial use as well. It's just that the relationship is not as formal as Bill would like it to be... (-:
  • Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"?

    Yes!
  • Ironically, they neglected to notice that such a demonstration (I won't use the term 'scientific test' here) was in fact a strong case for free speech. The very fact that they were allowed to pit an alcoholic beverage against a government document of monumental importance says that much.

    Their case would not have been near so effective if they had been arrested for contesting the State, disappearing into some deserted corner of the country in a labor camp.

  • by mindstrm (20013)
    Seems to me Sun doesn't offer a .iso for download, they don't offer their $20 single-user license pack for personal use, and the closest thing they have now is a 'starter kit' or some such thing for $80

  • not sure what priority levels are available in Win9x

    Now (not yet implimented)
    Very Soon (reserved)
    Soon (reserved)
    Later (default priority for OS)
    Much Later (default priority for MS applications)
    Epoc Speed (default priority for non-MS applications)

    Of course this is just from my own observations. The actual API calls may be named differently ;)
  • How does this undermine anything? Ultimately, most people see computers as tools. They'll pick the best product for the job without regard to license (at least in markets with open competition). If you want to win the "war" with proprietary software, just build the best stuff and this kind of thing won't be any threat to you.

    --
  • The key is that a cache miss is more expensive than not using the cache at all, because you still have to check tags etc. to find out it's not there. This difference is generally very small (single-cycle) in a uniprocessor, but in a large multiprocessor it can be a lot more. If there's a code path that is just barely too long to make a deadline when every access is a cache miss, and using uncached access guarantees that it will always complete on time (even if it also always uses 99% of its time slot) then that's considered a good thing.

    Keep in mind, too, that that's just an example, and perhaps an extreme one. The same principle gets applied to disks (high RPM beats big sector cache), networks (token ring beats CSMA/CD), and just about everything else that might get connected to the system. RT is like living with Murphy of Murphy's Law. The question is always: what performance do we get if everything goes wrong?

  • Does that mean that there are no other definitions of "real time"?

    No, not at all. Other definitions may and do exist, and some other definition might even become the dominant one someday if it's more useful than the definition already in place. That's sort of why I suggested that maybe we need new terms; having new terms is better than overloading old ones with contradictory meanings.

    In the context of the current conversation, I think it's important for people to understand what people who use QNX are likely to mean when they say "realtime" and how that differs from other usage of the term

    IRC certainly can be considered a real time application. AFAIK, Prior to it, there was no way having a more-or-less instantaneous conversation with someone on the internet.

    Incorrect. When I first encountered IRC it was still less than a year old. By that time I had already been using chat, talk, and similar programs on UNIX and other systems for years. Some of those programs even supported more than two people talking at once.

    Such anomalies are a part of the way our minds think, our english language, and even of our jargon. Might be wise to just get used to it.

    As a general philosophy, "just get used to it" sucks. Its proponents might claim they're exhibiting adaptability, but more often than not they're just demonstrating laziness. Precision matters. Definitions matter. Extreme inflexibility can be a bad thing, but I don't think there's anything wrong with reminding people of the most common, most relevant definition of a term they're (mis)using.

  • Basically, any application that needs extremely fast response from the system itself will require realtime facilities.

    Wrong. Realtime is about deterministic response, not necessarily fast response. In fact, realtime systems often sacrifice speed for predictability; the thinking is all about worst case, not average case. For example, a cache that's twice as fast as main memory and has a hit rate of over 99% is generally great for performance. However, I've seen real-time guys turn off caching because main memory access times, though slower on average, were more predictable. As far as they were concerned, the big thing to worry about was that if every one of 5031 memory references in a code path (yes, they count) missed in cache, the two-cycle cache miss penalty would cause them to miss a deadline. Never mind that the odds against that are astronomically high, never mind that in fact it could probably be proven that at least 1179 of the memory accesses would always hit in cache because of the way they followed other accesses. They didn't have time for such a complex analysis, and statistical thresholds are antithetical to their method. For them, it's just important that they have M accesses and each one has an upper bound of N cycles.

  • The difference is, in soft RT systems timing is not of great importance. If a process finishes 200us later than it should have, it is no end of the world.

    According to the terminology I was taught, that's wrong. All realtime systems require that deadlines be met, and the distinction between "hard" and "soft" is merely a matter of how long the deadlines are. If you have a lot of 5us deadlines, that's hard; if none of your deadlines are less than 10ms, that's soft.

    The problem is that lots of people call things realtime that aren't realtime. Interacting with humans generally isn't realtime. Realtime stock quotes or airline-reservation systems aren't truly realtime in the sense we're talking about. Chatting sure as hell isn't realtime, in this sense. Avionics, nuclear power plant control, medical equipment - those are realtime. Maybe we need new terminology, such as "time-critical" vs. "time-sensitive" or something, to distinguish these different meanings. Until then, though, any system that treats a missed deadline as anything less than a major problem deserving of individual attention by the app developer is not realtime.

  • Consider this.
    As you said the golden rule emphasizes that you ought to treat people good no matter how you have been treated. Maybe this gives people the impression that is they treat somebody bad it will never turn around and bite them. For example. If I beat up a good person that good person would never beat me up or seek revenge because he follows the golden rule.

    If on the other hand the golden rule is to treat people like you have been treated then it's OK to hit back. The person doing the hitting might not feels so secure that a good person would not retaliate or seek revenge.

    If the golden rule was restated I actually think people would behave better because their motivation would change from behaving correctly because of some eternal reward to behaving correctly out of fear. Fear is always a more palpable motivator.
  • This distro of QNX is only free insomuch as you have a need for a Pentium-only compilation - which effectively rules out its use on anything less, such as, oh, say - embedded applications. In other words, this would make for a good development/testing system, on higher-end processors, but for anything else (say a non-commercial embedded app, like an MP3 player or something), from what I understand this distro is worthless.

    If I am wrong, please - somebody - let me know about it. I would rather be told I was wrong, and shown the proof, as it would mean a lot to a project I am involved in (check www.phoenixgarage.net for more info) that uses an AMD 5x86/133 cpu (basically an overblown 486)...

    Worldcom [worldcom.com] - Generation Duh!
  • by be-fan (61476)
    Actually, BeOS is used non-commercially for the most part. That's the problem.
  • Whoa. Thanks for the cutting edge news. I never knew it was free, thanks for telling me /.!

    He said as he dusted off the CD that's been sitting on his desk the last five months.
  • What, you guys actually pay for it?

    Seriously though, QNX being free is quite nifty. If you install RtP on your desktop, you find that QNX is quite fast, has most of the features of Linux, and looks *really* nice. The programming interface is also pretty nice, while its not OO, it is "orthagonal" whatever that means. The main reason I don't use it more often is because the filesystem sucks serious ass. We're talking 4-5MB/sec on a Maxtor disk that gets 27MB/sec average reads on XFS. While the GUI is incredibly fast (maybe faster than BeOS's, its kinda subjective) but the 1/4 speed filesystem really kills it if you're trying to untar something or browse big directories.
  • Solaris 8 is not free. Free is $3 on cheapbytes. Solaris 8 is $75 for a "Media Kit"
  • He said as he downloaded the free binaries.
  • Umm, what do you think that 256MB file called .swap is for? Either way, BeOS does whip QNX on several fronts, like messaging througput (1/2 of system-memory speed for large messages), filesystem througput (and features), media interface, etc, but QNX beats BeOS in terms of GUI features, networking features, cool Plan9-like namespace features, etc. Having used both, I'd have to give the nod to BeOS, but QNX is quite good, if they'd ever get a decent FS.
  • Nope, 1.0 GB partition near the front of the drive. I don't even have a fat32 partition handy ;) (right now, my machine is pure BeOS, with Gentoo Linux/XFS being built on a spare partition)
  • Actually, many RTOS's don't use interrupts, but prefer to poll. Again, it's a matter of worst case latency and determinism. In a polled system, you know exactly how long it will take. In an interrupt driven system, it's possible for either (a) an interrupt to cause critical processing to take too long, or (b) critical processing to cause an interrupt to be ignored for too long.
  • With a major cash cow out of the picture at least to some degree it undermines their ability to subsidize other programs like IE.

    Dude, this is the new economy. What makes you think that you need to have people pay you for your products? Everything is free man. Mind share is the only thing that counts, getting people to use your stuff is even better than showing a profit. The only thing that you really need to sell is overpriced shares in the company. People are going to keep bidding up your stock price forever.

    Oh wait, that was last year. Sorry.
    _____________


  • Erm, no, I tend to believe that if it ever came down to the best products, I would be running Linux 2.4.1 on an inexpensive Athlon.

    Oh, whoops, I already do...

  • Better ask and be ignorant no more, than keep quiet and remain as one.

    Heh, that reminds me of a quote I used to use all the time...

    Better to remain silent and be presumed a fool than to open your mouth and erase all doubt.

  • Well, the term "real time" is fairly broad and relative. It is meant to describe actions that happen with little or no time in between. Your use of the word just happens to be dealing with operating systems that control some other kind of hardware. Does that mean that there are no other definitions of "real time"?

    As an example of the above general definition, IRC certainly can be considered a real time application. AFAIK, Prior to it, there was no way having a more-or-less instantaneous conversation with someone on the internet. You could send mail or post a news article, but that could those would take up to hours to travel or propagate. In direct relation to those methods, chatting with someone on IRC is most definitely a real time activity.

    This generality is part of the reason many people have problems with the word "free" in relation to software and source code. We can't even precisely define what a computer is. Or a programming language, for that matter. Such anomalies are a part of the way our minds think, our english language, and even of our jargon. Might be wise to just get used to it.
  • That was my first thought too. On the other hand, the free software world really needs some good taillights to chase. M$ is unreliable crap - when we clone it, we get reliable crap. Maybe there are cool things in QNX that should be imitated. Giving lots of people the chance to play with QNX at home can only be good.
  • "We are the suckers who subsidize a billion chinese who get windows for free."

    If a billion chinese use your product for free illegally, have you lost anything?
    Do you really believe if they all paid, that the price would drop?

    - Steeltoe
  • Does anyone here really choose to use or not use a product due to a moderate price?

    Being "free" hasn't exactly invigorated the BeOS scene. I doubt QNX will fair any better.

    Competition in the OS market is dying rapidly, and interestingly enough, due to the natural process of standards adoption. Almost everything of interest in an OS these days is the result of implementing support for a well-known standard, from POSIX right through to HTTP and XML.

  • During the "Windows Refund" thing, it came out that Microsoft was charging OEMs as little as $29/copy for Windows. The difference between that and the retail price is primarly the cost of support (which the OEM has to bear to get that discount).

    As cheap as PCs have become, that thirty bucks is not a significant factor in the cost from the OEM's standpoint, especially in terms of the support costs. If it was, you'd see them shipping Linux or Solaris or some other alternative.

    Now if Linux was actually cheaper to support in a home user situation, you might see the tables turn.... But that will never happen, so forget I mentioned it.
  • What piece of source would help you port this to the Be OS? I mean, lots of software gets ported to Windows, and Windows isnt open source. So what info do you need the source for to port the drivers you want?
  • Get it straight though - it would be good for Linux/BSD users to see the source, but not for either QNX's or BeOS's users or userbase. Both are very modular, and microarchitecture orientated OS's. The main reason why most pepople want to get their hands on the source is to take the intellectual property that both companies have developed at great cost, port what they want to a platform of choice, and not ever have to deal with either Be or QNX.

    The people using Be, and using the QNX RTP aren't going to benefit from open source at all at this point.

    Now if BeOS seriously does die, opening the source would be good to prolong the OS, and give something back to the users. But niether BeOS or QNX RTP look like they are directly heading toward financial failure.

    This isnt to say that I think BeOS or QNX wouldnt be a better platform if they GPL'd it all, but at this point it would effectively kill any chance at the prolonged commerical success of either OS and attached company. I would be willing to bet that if either really started to bring income in that the company would make the source available under some public license.
  • Be OS is not aimed at the embedded or internet appliace market at all. get your facts straight. BeIA is a completely different product from th edesktop Be OS. Be OS 5 is a near perfect desktop OS, and with the recent releases by the videolan project, the only thing (playback of CSS based DVDs) keepig me from using it damn near full time has been removed.
  • Um, would this be the same RTP that QNX offered free for commercial use.....last year? Oh, yeah. It is. Even the front page of get.qnx.com says "Posted January 18, 2001". I.e., they've been offering their RTP for free for quite a while now, and have even updated it once! A month ago. I don't usually rag on /. for redundant or late posts, but they covered this when it was actually news, and it's been literally *months*. That's bad. Real bad.

    Well I do not get out that often, and this part of the programming world is new to me. Since I am abviously not an all knowing expert in all things geek, this is news to me.

    Granted it was a month ago, but better late than never. I prefer this, as opposed to those who say "well it came out this morning, so it is already too old for us."

    This reminds me of the elitist attitude I have seen in buying hardware, ie, "If it can be purchased commercially, it is obsolete". This would translate to "If I've heard of it, it's old"

    A more legit criticism would be if it was obviously just flogging something for some hapless companies marketing department. That is what commercial magaziones are for.

    For the regular high voltage geek, if you want to build stuff from scratch, fine. but most folks will not have a use for it.

    It is interesting, however, even if a specialized field.

  • Windows for non-commercial use?

    Excuse me while I change my pants. I pissed myself laughing so hard.

  • Unfortunately it's not that simple. It comes down to marketing and leveraging products. That's why large companies can force inferior products and service upon the industry (perhaps .net?).

    If it ever came down to the best products, we would all be using the Amiga OS on PowerPCs.

  • I should have cleared that up.

    The images are binarized on the qnx machine. The thing that gets crushed is the PCI bus, not the network. Most of the images are cropped in the images capture card. The 10MB is for an uncropped images. If there is no cropping, then the PCI bus can't even support this load.

  • My standard test is to run an MP3 then try doing something. On windows, it uses 100% CPU so even scrolling in the web browser causes it to skip. On Linux it also uses 100% CPU, but I can scroll without skipping. Opening an archive causes it to skip however.

    What do you have : A 386-33? I'm currently playing an MP3 (I presume you mean audio) in Winamp and it is consuming 0% CPU time (obviously it's consuming something but not enough to register). And of course if you really want your MP3s not to skip set the multitasking priority on the app to AboveNormal or High (you can code this into the shortcut)

  • Is this yet another slashdot repeat [slashdot.org].

    At least this time it was not done twice in the same day.

  • "Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available 'for non-commericial use'? "

    Not as surprising as a version of Windows that was solid enough for commercial use...

  • by sith (15384) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:04PM (#409069)
    "Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"? "

    Yes. Unlike Be, Sun and QNX, Microsoft makes quite a bit of money selling software like Windows to home users for "non-commercial" use. Mom and Dad aren't going to run solaris, but they'll probably run win98. Don't forget, money=god
  • by befletch (42204) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @10:04PM (#409070)
    Yes, people use it, in an embedded environment. It can do hard realtime processing.

    A point worth noting is that QNX's ability to do hard realtime processing makes it handy in other applications as well. I worked with it for years, almost always in a 'soft' realtime capacity. It was beautifully efficient and robust.

    When my company was marketing-department-strong-armed into supporting Windows NT, the sorry developers who moved to that platform spent half their time trying to work around the fact that pressing and holding the mouse button causes the CPU meter to jump to 100%. I kid you not.

    The other half the time seemed to be spent trying to get device drivers to work, which was particularly laughable because 'better 3rd party device support' was one of the major reasons we made the switch.

    So with both halves of their time used trying to do things QNX gave them for free, when did they get to advance the actual applications? Well, that was in the time known as 'overtime'.

    It stressed me out too much to watch. I quit instead.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:37PM (#409071) Homepage Journal
    Where does QNX fit in the OS schema of things:

    Is it a Desktop OS?
    A server OS?
    Is anyone actually using QNX ?
    What can it do, that Linux and Be can't?

    No, it's not a Desktop OS.
    No, it's not a server OS.
    Yes, people use it, in an embedded environment.
    It can do hard realtime processing.

  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @08:39PM (#409072) Homepage Journal
    Not quite. You need deterministic latency. You have to ensure that hard deadlines are met. If a process MUST complete before 50ms, and you don't meet that deadline, then you have a problem. That's what a hard Real-Time system is. Just changing the schedule won't cut it.
  • by Temporal (96070) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:36PM (#409073) Journal
    Isn't Windows already free for non-commercial use? I mean... effectively, not legally.

    ------
  • by Xenex (97062) <xenex@o p i nionstick.com> on Friday February 23, 2001 @12:59AM (#409074) Journal
    QNX?

    The one announced as being released free at Slashdot on the 26th of April 2000?

    -----

    Get QNX For Free [slashdot.org]
    Posted by jamie on Wednesday April 26, @08:59AM
    from the no-PIII-required dept.

    TomRitchford writes: "QNX is about to start distributing their real-time OS for free downloads for non-commercial use at get.qnx.com. Right now it's 'Real Soon Now,' but you can sign up and they'll send a free CD to the first 5000 to request it." The operating system's concepts will look familiar to anyone who knows unix, but its design makes it better for older (Intel-compatible) CPUs, and situations where stability and predictability are more important than unix's cornucopia of applications and features.

    -----

    Then it's actull avalablity annouced on September the 25th 2000?

    -----

    QNX Realtime Platform Now Available [slashdot.org]
    Posted by Hemos on Monday September 25, @05:30PM
    from the yet-another-os dept.
    A reader writes "The QNX development platform is now available. It's available in three versions: the Windows-based self-extracting installer, the ISO image and the QNX4 install archive" You can also get it from QNX's site itself.

    -----

    This posting today is a little redundant... I've seen on my IRC server of choice [oz.org] a #qnx channel thrive then die in the time between the launch story post and this one.

    The QNX RtP free annoucment was pretty big news. It's a bit dodgy that this managed to slip though the net as news again.

  • by panum (161455) on Friday February 23, 2001 @02:19AM (#409075)
    I hate to sound clueless and naive, but what are real time kernels used for, anyway?

    Better ask and be ignorant no more, than keep quiet and remain as one.

    Fundamentally every OS is a real-time OS. This means, they exist and run in synch with real time where humans exist. The OSes are divided to two categories:
    -Hard RT
    -Soft RT
    The difference is, in soft RT systems timing is not of great importance. If a process finishes 200us later than it should have, it is no end of the world. In hard RT systems it could be...

    As soft RT systems are all aound us, we do not usually call them as such, but call just the hard RT systems as RT systems.

    Let's have a few examples of soft/hard operations:
    -Print job is sent to the fancy HP Laserjet. In this case, it does not matter if you got all the 12 pages in one minute or 2 minutes. Sure, one is irriated if printing takes time, but no harm occurs for a slight delay.
    -AH-64D is cruising across hostile territory and detects an incoming laser targeting beam. The copper takes immediate evasive action! Now, if the flight computer does not finish evaluating threat analyisis in, say, 500ms, the SAM might very well hit the copter and kill the crew. Now, it really matters if the system can finish its job in set limit.
    -A industrial assembly robot is welding two pieces of steel together. Two other robots pass the parts to the welder one. If one of these robots misses its schedule, the welder will weld an invalid part: maybe there are no parts when welding happens, or maybe only one part is welded. One can clearly see, there is a possibility of great damage here if the schedules are missed, so this calls for a hard RT system.

    A DSP point of view:
    -In a real-time DSP process, the analyzed (input) and/or generated (output) samples (whether they are grouped together in large segments or processed individually) can be processed (or generated) continuously in the time it takes to input and/or output the same set of samples independent of the processing delay.

    There is a nice FAQ about the RT systems, available at http://www.landfield.com/faqs/realtime-computing/f aq/ for the goatsex paranoids (including me.)

    -P

    --
  • Yeah but you have to understand that microsoft's largest source of revenue is from OEM installations.

    You see, if they started giving windows away for free then their revenue graph would show a very steep decline. This screems "Get the hell away!" to shareholders and investors which decreases the value of their shares which puts the company in a pretty terrible position.

    It's probably a strategy that they've considered but because of what I stated above, it's impossible without generating an alternative source of revenue that's as large (or preferrably larger) than the OEM sales before they start giving windows away for free.

    You may say that .NET is probably this strategy but I would disagree there as well. .NET (Whistler specifically) is the strategy that they are using to get into the ASP market. See, if microsoft just left the desktop OS market to go into the ASP market then the above would also happen (no more OEM sales->decline in revenue->share holders screem->company in deep shit). This is where whistler comes in. They have to charge money for whistler so they don't lose the revenue from pc sales while they switch to an ASP model. It's a pretty smart move business-wise.

    --
    Garett

  • by grammar nazi (197303) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @09:03PM (#409077) Journal
    The only thing that's not appropriate, buddy, is your response and your grammar.

    QNX is a light and mean OS with many applications. Have you ever tried to run 24 10MB images per second through an image capture card and straight onto a network? You better believe that QNX is one of the only OS's that will handle that. It's quasi-realtime nature makes it ideal. The kind folks at QNX will basically roll your own custom distro for a specific job.

    My second point was that your grammar sucks. Please try to proofread your comments before you submit them in the future. It will make /. a nicer place.

  • by Elendur (228338) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:05PM (#409078) Homepage
    "Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available 'for non-commericial use'? "

    Yes. Not only surprising, but profoundly shocking. Deeply disturbing. It would destroy my already tenuous grasp on reality.

    Especially unlikely considering what they've said recently about the GPL.
  • by Frijoles (16015) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:06PM (#409079)
    QNX is a great OS. We've been working with it in our computer labs trying to come up with a good web browser that doesn't have to use a HD (we are using it from the CDROM). For those of you who haven't seen QNX, they have a complete OS + web browser running on a 3.5" floppy. Pretty impressive, IMHO.

    It is a nice OS, also, because it doesn't create extra partitions. There is a large file that it stores under a directory (the image file) which is loaded on bootup. So if you ever decide to 'uninstall', I believe you can just delete the file.

    Great OS. I hope to see more for it and its good to see that it is free now.
  • by at-b (31918) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @08:07PM (#409080) Homepage
    Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"?

    Yes. It'd be an incredible event. MS has used its OS as its main tool for leverage over OEMs, hardware manufacturers, etc. The second it becomes free for 'home' use (or whatever), OEMs don't have to ship it anymore, which means they save a bundle of cash, and aren't tied into restrictive trade agreements with MS anymore, since everybody can just pick up a free copy of Windows for non-commercial use. Heck, I bet you could probably get free copies of Windows for just shipping costs from everywhere. Giving up its main means of leverage would be ludicrous.

    And as an aside: The REAL reason why BeOS, QNX and others are free for 'personal' use is simple. They are the hunters, going after the market leader. Not necessarily everywhere, but certainly in certain niches. Not everybody wants to use BeOS, but for people who deal with media a lot (MacOS, IRIX?), it could be an alternative. And look, those people can run BeOS for free, at home. Wonder if they'll want to use it at work as well?

    Solaris is another thing entirely. Yeah, it's semi-free (I think Sun still charge $50 or so for 'media costs'), but the reason why Solaris was made free for personal use is because Linux is destroying any kind of 'personal/home' UNIX base there ever was. If you want UNIX at home or just to try for a small, non-commercial server.. hell, xyzBSD or Linux are ideal choices. If Solaris is free, though, some people might reconsider. And if you need the much-hyped 'enterprise OS features' that both Sun and MS claim Linux/xyzBSD don't have, Solaris has a 'big-league' image.

    In the end, it's pretty simple: why would they want to give it away? BECAUSE THEY HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE. VERY few people were actually BUYING BeOS or QNX for personal (ie non-commercial) use. Solaris was a different thing in academia etc. but the big money is with servicing contracts and hardware anyway. QNX is a purely professional embedded platform so far. So NOBODY has anything to lose from making it free for non-commercial use - rather the opposite: they entice people to try it, and ideally to use it in professional situations, where Sun/QNX/Be *will* get money.

    Now, look at it again: Why would MS ever dream of making one of its cash cows free? They only have to lose. They've been able to *raise* the price of their software - over the last 10 years, the only part of a computer that's become more expensive is the OS, namely WindowsXYZ!

    Windows for free. Good lord. What next, RMS agrees to work for the MS PR division?

    Alex T-B
    St Andrews
  • by E1ven (50485) <e1venNO@SPAMe1ven.com> on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:21PM (#409081) Homepage
    I remember BeDope posted the following back when BeOS went free. I thought you might like to read it...

    Folks were arguing about whether "free like beer" was any good compared to "free like speech". Be Dope researches composed a scientific test to answer this question once and for all.

    Be Dope CTO, Dr. Doxie, took her staff to a local computer show armed with several kegs of beer and hundreds of copies of the First Amendment of the United States Constitution, which guarantees the right to free speech.

    The results were surprising and conclusive.

    "Fully 99 out of every hundred people chose Free Beer over Free Speech," reported Doxie. "In some cases, the subject would begin stressing the importance of free speech, but all the while they'd be eyeing the free beer. In most cases, the free beer won in the end."

    "We spent many hours in the lab testing both beer and speech," said Sakoman. "Those who consumed free beer reported feeling satisfied and sometimes 'buzzed'," said Be, Inc. COO Steve Sakoman. "Those speaking free afterwards rarely reported any benefits, and in fact would sometimes complain of a dry mouth or scratchy throat."


    --

    This message brought to you by Colin Davis
  • Sun offers both platforms free for any use, on any system with "8 or fewer CPUs". They had been charging ~$75 for 'media' which included around a half-dozen disks, including Star Office.

    Sun now offers compressed ISO images for download, as mentioned in another comment. No charge, just a simple license.

    From The official FAQ: [sun.com]

    2. What can I do with the binary (runtime) version of the Solaris 8 Operating Environment?
    You can use the Solaris 8 runtime environment at home or at work, for business or personal computing.

    No, it's not GPL, but not everything of value in the world is released under the GPL. Get over it.

  • by znu (31198) <znu.public@gmail.com> on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:13PM (#409083)
    Microsoft could probably still make lots of money giving Windows away to consumers but still making OEMs pay for it. It's not like OEMs have the option of not including an OS in today's PC market.

    --
  • by sconeu (64226) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:31PM (#409084) Homepage Journal
    QNX is a real-time OS, based on a microkernel. It's useful in situations with hard RT requirements... where something like Linux or BSD currently would be inappropriate (Unix is not RealTime).

    Hard RealTime systems are extremely difficult to write, there's probably no way in hell that QNX will be GPL'ed, there's a hell of a lot of investment there. This same point came up in "GPL 3.0 Concerns in Embedded World" [slashdot.org].
  • by Glowing Fish (155236) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:08PM (#409085) Homepage

    If Windows ever goes free for home, or any other type of, use, I am sure their will be a great outcry on Slashdot and maybe in the justice department about how Micro$oft is destroying competition by giving its product away for free.

  • by tamnir (230394) on Thursday February 22, 2001 @07:25PM (#409086)
    Would it be that surprising to find Windows soon available "for non-commericial use"?

    When I first read this, I thought, as probably most of you did: "Yeah, right! Forget it!". But then, I gave it a second thought: after all, Microsoft already does provide some free software, IE being an oustanding example.

    The question is: why is IE free? I guess the answer has something to do with crushing a certain competitor, combined with the fact that Microsoft can afford to provide IE free of charges.

    Now, what if the competition on the OS front starts to threaten Microsoft? We have seen that recently, they have changed their stance towards Linux, considering it a serious threat...

    So, given the above, and considering that Microsoft would still make money on commercial licences, and of course on their other products, does the "free for non-commercial use" Windows idea still sound stupid?

    Another question I'd like to raise: if Windows does become free (let's say for any use, to broaden the topic), what would the consequences be?

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