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BeOS Successor Haiku Keeps the Faith 448

Posted by timothy
from the still-want-a-be-box-led-meter dept.
kokito writes "OSNews managing editor Thom Holwerda reviews Haiku, the open source successor of the Be operating system. According to the review, Haiku faithfully/successfully replicates the BeOS user experience and 'personality,' boasting very short boot times, the same recognizable but modernized GUI using antialiasing for fonts and all vector graphics as well as vector icons, a file system with support for metadata-based queries (OpenBFS) and support for the BeAPI, considered by some the cleanest programming API ever. The project has also recently released a native GCC 4.3.3 tool chain, clearing the way for bringing up-to-date ports of multi-platform apps such as Firefox and VLC, and making it easier to work on Haiku ports in general." (More below.)
"In spite of its pre-alpha status, Haiku seems to be pretty stable. If you would like to give it a try, nightly builds are available from the Haiku Files website, both as raw HDD and VMWare images. Or if you happen to be in the Los Angeles area, you could also take a peek at a Haiku demo during the upcoming Southern California Linux Expo (Feb. 21 & 22), where Haiku will be exhibiting in booth #4."
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BeOS Successor Haiku Keeps the Faith

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  • Next best thing since the revival of the Commodore 64 [wikipedia.org] :)

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Can you still develop apps for Haiku with old BeOS references like O'Reilly's Programming the Be Operating System [amazon.com] ?
    • by fyngyrz (762201) *

      I'm interested to know if Haiku will run under Parallels system virtualization, which itself runs under OSX. Be great for s/w development, as that's what's on my desk.

      I'm curious, too, if it is able to run in a full non-virtual memory, non-swapping configuration for speed and reliability. That'd make it a very interesting OS to me for running on actual hardware of its own. There's nothing like watching linux turn into a total turtle after running for too long and building up lots of cache and swap to sou

      • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:05PM (#26820517)

        Try this with systcl:

        vm.vfs_cache_pressure = 500
        vm.swappiness = 0

        And whenever you want to empty the fs caches:
        echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
        echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
        swapoff -a
        swapon -a
        echo 3 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches
        echo 0 > /proc/sys/vm/drop_caches

        After that, it'll be like just booted

      • by Baba Ram Dass (1033456) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:10PM (#26820571)

        I'm interested to know if Haiku will run under Parallels system virtualization, which itself runs under OSX.

        Yes. [haiku-os.org]

        I'm curious, too, if it is able to run in a full non-virtual memory, non-swapping configuration for speed and reliability.

        Yep, by default (while still in pre-alpha at least) it runs without paging.

        • by powerlord (28156) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @11:30PM (#26823237) Journal

          The page you link to is over two years, and even the links on it to the nightly build is stale.

          I just downloaded the VMWare image, uncompressed it, and "executed" the .vmx file. Fusion (v2.01) immediately loaded the VM, mentioned that it was an older version and asked if I wanted to update it. I chose "no" since I have no idea what hardware support has changed.

          VM booted from "cold start" to Desktop in ~12-13 seconds. I'm amazed at how responsive the VM is.

          Its a bit spartan from an eye candy perspective, but thats to be expected. What there is though is rather impressive.

    • Haiku 1.0 == BeOS (Score:4, Informative)

      by CarpetShark (865376) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:26PM (#26820759)

      AFAIK, the goal of the Haiku 1.0 release is to be fully ABI compatible with BeOS 4.x and/or 5.x. After that, they'll start adding new features.

      • Re:Haiku 1.0 == BeOS (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:45PM (#26820937)

        Too late, Haiku already adds features on top of the functionality offered in BeOS R5.

        The goal of Haiku R1 is to be able to run BeOS R5 software in a compatible way, not to be equivalent to it in functionality... Haiku improves upon BeOS R5 in MANY ways - especially when it comes to POSIX compliance and updated hardware support.

        Quite a common misconception it seems.

  • Summary (Score:5, Funny)

    by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:09PM (#26819783) Journal
    Haiku boots quickly
    similar to BeOS
    now with GCC!
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:33PM (#26820067)

      There once was an OS named Limerick
      Whose kernel included a VIM-err-tick
      It boot-strapped itself
      and began exec-ing ELF
      code that would kill the stack--errrr----ick*#%U!@!#%^%----NO CARRIER

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Funny)

      by cymen (8178) <cymenvig&gmail,com> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:50PM (#26820319) Homepage

      each time I Haiku
      fast computer start for me
      but no web browsing

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by glittalogik (837604)

      Haikus penned about
      BeOS with GCC
      Make me OGC

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Funny)

      by MarkRose (820682) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:17PM (#26820647) Homepage

      "THOUGHT!"
      "KNOWLEDGE!"
      "METHODS!"
      "TOOLS!"
      "EVIL!"

      "Go Patent!"

      "By your powers combined, I am Captain Patent!"

      Captain Patent, he's our hero
      Gonna take innovation down to zero

      He's our powers magnified
      And he's fighting on the patent's side

      Captain Patent, he's our hero
      Gonna take innovation down to zero

      Gonna help him put in the penumbrae
      People who share ideas, techniques and sundry

      "You'll pay for this Captain Patent!"

      We're the Patenteers
      You can be one too
      'Cause saving our patents is the thing to do!

      Sharing and collaborating is not the way
      Hear what Captain Patent has to say!

      "The Power is Ours!"

      • Re:Summary (Score:5, Funny)

        by Miseph (979059) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:46PM (#26820947) Journal

        O. M. F. G.

        Could you maybe throw some of your apparently overflowing free time into a cure for cancer, or world peace, or developing DNF? I mean, filks on cult classic Saturday morning cartoons from the mid 90s are great and all... but seriously.

        • Re:Summary (Score:5, Funny)

          by Valdrax (32670) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @12:24AM (#26823571)

          Could you maybe throw some of your apparently overflowing free time into a cure for cancer, or world peace, or developing DNF? I mean, filks on cult classic Saturday morning cartoons from the mid 90s are great and all... but seriously.

          Time cannot be bought,
          yet is more rationed than wine.
          Unlike your Mother.

    • Re:Summary (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kartoffel (30238) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:46PM (#26821555)

      Be already came
      with GCC, since R3
      for x86.

      Even EGCS ran well
      but PowerPC was stuck
      with lame Metrowerks.

    • Haiku boots quickly
      similar to BeOS
      now with GCC!

      Haikus are tricky.
      Is /BEE-OSS/ or /BEE-OH-ESS/
      the way to say it?

  • by Gizzmonic (412910) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:12PM (#26819827) Homepage Journal

    The interface for BeOS is still superior to any other OS I've used. It's like they took the good stuff from the old Mac OS 9 and Amiga and updated it. It was a power user's OS, yet still very user friendly. My college had a BeBox and I loved playing on that thing (the best part was that the CPU monitor allowed you to turn off both CPUs, instantly locking the computer).

    I hope Haiku does well, but it seems like an also-ran in these days of Mac OS X and GNOME. I'm not sure there's a compelling reason to run it anymore, except for nostalgic purposes (sigh).

    • If Haiku has anywhere near the performance that BeOS did, I'll be using it for pretty much any "appliance"-type application I have. Homemade set-top boxes and the like.

      That OS put all of its contemporaries to shame with its smooth multitasking and media playing, and it did it on hardware that would cry, have a nervous breakdown, and melt into a pile of goo from merely being in the same room as the installation disc for a modern graphical OS.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      the best part was that the CPU monitor allowed you to turn off both CPUs, instantly locking the computer

      I'm not sure what to say about an OS that boasts this as its best feature :)

    • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:49PM (#26820295) Journal

      I have actually used BeOS a lot, mostly for composing. I have experienced the highest level of responsiveness from an OS with BeOS - this is still unsurpassed. When I talk about responsiveness, I specifically mean it from the point of view of the user. Applications that play some kind of media (be it MIDI, audio or video of any kind) will never, under any circumstance, be interrupted by any other process. If you copy a file while playing a video, it will not skip. The file may not copy as fast at times, or other processes may slow down, but the video will not skip. In addition to this, the user commands, be it with the mouse or with the keyboard, are always taken into consideration. No "hourglass" or other bullshit. I don't know how BeOS was engineered to achieve this, I only know that no other OS I used during and since then, achieved this sort of responsiveness.

        I've used Linux a lot, and am definitely a fan of some distros, and I also like OS X quite a bit, but neither are 100% "committed" to my whim. With BeOS, what I want is listened to and executed, and fuck everything else. I guess this means BeOS would be a terrible server OS - but very often I miss exactly this kind of behaviour.

      If Haiku manages to achieve the same characteristics, it will be for me, the best desktop operating system in the world. I specifically look for support of modern CPUs, chipsets, graphics cards and soundcards. Perhaps not all of them, or even not most of them, but the ones that will be supported will appear in my house.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by mybecq (131456)

        I don't know how BeOS was engineered to achieve this, I only know that no other OS I used during and since then, achieved this sort of responsiveness.

        One thing they did was that every window ran in its own thread. Another beautiful thing was the forever extensible BMessage [haiku-os.org] - pack and unpack primitive types (incl. pointers and other BMessages). Who cares about parameter compatibility when you can pass around whatever data you like.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Dusty (10872)
        I don't know how BeOS was engineered to achieve this, I only know that no other OS I used during and since then, achieved this sort of responsiveness.

        Fine grained multi tasking, and avoiding mutexs. I think BeOS uses message passing to implement inter process communications. In engineering terms, it is the most modern desktop operating system.

    • by hot soldering iron (800102) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @07:27PM (#26821369)

      The philosophy of Linux (server) and Haiku (desktop) dictates different OS design and application. Linux seems kinda shoehorned into the desktop mold, it works but there are things that don't quite fit. Haiku isn't a server OS, it aims for the multimedia desktop. They compliment and work with each other.

  • Slashdotted (Score:4, Funny)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:13PM (#26819835) Homepage

    I hope they aren't using Haiku to run their web site. If so, it may be pretty but it isn't good at handling a load.

  • Deadhorse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:19PM (#26819905) Journal

    For a site supposedly traditionally supportive of alternative platforms, in practice there's a surprising amount of contempt for any alternative platform that doesn't fall into the cool club of Linux and OS X. I'm not a Haiku user, but if someone is writing an open source OS, good luck to them. Or maybe we should give up, and ridicule anyone who doesn't use Windows?

    (I see this with other things - e.g., Internet Explorer is bad, Firefox is good ... but Opera for some reason is also bad. The usual argument of it not being open source doesn't even apply to Haiku, though. By that reasoning, we should be praising Haiku, and criticising OS X!)

    Is anyone who starts an open source project flogging a "deadhorse", unless they're already mainstream? What a depressing attitude.

    "Deadhorse" doesn't make sense anyway - according to Wikipedia, Haiku is a relatively new OS, only having received significant development in the last few years. Oh, it's a dead horse because it maintains some compatibility with BeOS? Big deal - by that reasoning, we should tag every OS X article "deadhorse", on the grounds that it shares its trademark name with a long dead twenty five year old OS that was never even particularly good at the time.

  • by PunditGuy (1073446) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:20PM (#26819923)
    Ancient OS lives
    pretty icons made of lines
    what will run on it?
  • by WillAdams (45638) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:21PM (#26819935) Homepage

    and why it was chosen instead of BeOS.

    Moreover, Mac OS X runs nicely on multi-processor machines (Be's major claim to fame).

    I'd rather see effort like this poured into GNUstep....

    William

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by gEvil (beta) (945888)
      The answer is pretty simple--Jobs came along with NeXT. Gasse wasn't nearly as enticing (plus apparently he wanted too much).
    • by hemp (36945) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:24PM (#26820735) Homepage Journal

      I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in the meeting when Jean Louis Gassee turned down $500 million from Apple and walked away.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Bill Hayden (649193)
        Apple offered to buy Be for $125 million then $200 million, but Gassee held out for $400 million. Apple is the one who walked away. Ironically, they then paid that exact amount, $400 million, to the next guy who came calling... Steve Jobs and NeXT.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Weedlekin (836313)

        I'd have loved to be a fly on the wall when he had to tell Be inc's shareholders why selling all assets to Palm for $11 million in 2001 was better for them than letting Apple buy the same assets for $500 million in 1996.

  • ReligiOS (Score:5, Funny)

    by DECS (891519) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:24PM (#26819965) Homepage Journal

    They should merge the soul of BeOS in with AmigaOS and maybe the Palm OS to release ReligiOS, keeper of of the faith.

    They could sell it to those gullible televangelist audiences as JesOS, market it to fundamentalist Jews as the Messiah OS, and to fervent Muslims as MuhammaDOS.

    Imagine all the faithful putting aside their wars and terrorism and instead taking their angst to alt.systems.advocacy.religios to flame each other in a more figurative sense. I'm sure all the gods in heaven would approve.

    -
    Microsoft plays catch up to MobileMe with My Phone [roughlydrafted.com]

  • How secure is BeOS? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by amRadioHed (463061) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @05:35PM (#26820115)

    From what I remember BeOS wasn't designed as a multi-user system. What sort of security protections does it have?

  • by Orion Blastar (457579) <orionblastar AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:05PM (#26820529) Homepage Journal

    but AROS [sourceforge.net] doesn't. AROS brings the Classic AmigaDOS/Workbench and AmigaOS experience to X86 and PPC platforms.

    At least AmigaOS applications are still being developed, hardly anyone develops for BeOS anymore. AROS can at least run AmigaOS 3.1 and under applications and 68K Amiga applications via AmigaBridge.

  • One possible use... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by biglig2 (89374) on Wednesday February 11, 2009 @06:08PM (#26820555) Homepage Journal

    My eeePC 701 more or less only ever runs Firefox, a text editor, Comix, and Skype. Seems like a lot to have to put a whole Linux install on for...

  • by illegalcortex (1007791) on Thursday February 12, 2009 @02:44AM (#26824283)

    MOUSEBENDER: It's not much of an API, is it?
    WENSLEYDALE: Finest in the industry, sir.
    MOUSEBENDER: Explain the logic underlying that conclusion, please.
    WENSLEYDALE: Well, it's so clean, sir.
    MOUSEBENDER: It's certainly uncontaminated by developers.

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