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Be GUI Operating Systems Technology

After 8 Years of Work, Be-Alike Haiku Releases Official Alpha 411

Posted by timothy
from the time-for-some-wikipedia-edit-action dept.
NiteMair writes "The Haiku project has finally released an official R1 alpha, after 8 years of development. This marks a significant milestone for the project, and it also debuts the first official/publicly available LiveCD ISO image that can be easily booted and used to install Haiku on x86 hardware. Haiku is a desktop operating system inspired by BeOS after Be, Inc. closed its doors in 2001. The project has remained true to the BeOS philosophy while integrating modern hardware support and features along the way." Eugenia adds this link to an article describing the history of the OS, along with a review of the alpha version."
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After 8 Years of Work, Be-Alike Haiku Releases Official Alpha

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  • Oh my (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:12AM (#29412003)
    I wonder how strict
    Their code formatting rules are.
    Sounds like a tough job.
  • Obligatory (Score:5, Funny)

    by Jeian (409916) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:15AM (#29412019)

    After eight long years
    The alpha release is done
    It took long enough

      • by SgtChaireBourne (457691) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:30AM (#29412655) Homepage

        Here's what Be's CEO Jean-Louis Gassée had to say in 2001 about what happened:

        There is no technical reason why CompUSA customers shouldn't be able to walk out of the shop with a machine that asks "Which OS do you want to use today?" upon boot. And yet, even today [2001], after several years of relentless news about how Linux is ready for the general desktop and business customer, one does not find dual-boot
        ...
        A few years ago, Be's CEO Jean-Louis Gassée used the phrase "peaceful co-existence with Windows" to describe his company's intended relationship with Microsoft on the consumer's hard drive. Later, when it became clear that Microsoft had no intention of co-existing with a rival OS vendor peacefully, Gassée recanted, saying, "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense -- I deserve it. [birdhouse.org]"

        We could have had close to 10 years of use out of this really good Be OS in schools, products, and businesses, if not for Microserfs and Microsofters. Apple needs to learn from Be Inc. and clean out the nails Microsofters set in its track while there's still an Apple Computer . The time is over for putting up with promoters of M$, especially those inside other businesses.

        Eight years the wiser.
        So happy together then?
        Don't bend down again.

        Be OS was a very good OS so we should see good things from Haiku, too. The niche it filled will be different today for Haiku [haiku-os.org], but still highly relevant. Netbooks are all the rage now. I expect it will be tried there first.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:55AM (#29413633) Journal

          Apple did learn; they have their own retail stores. They don't rely on companies that make most of their money selling MS products and MS-related products for their business. Microsoft can't offer the Apple Store a discount on Windows if they don't sell OS X.

          Be failed because it messed its customers around. Their first releases were for PowerPC and ran on Macs and their own hardware. Then they added support for x86, and didn't provide cross-compiler toolchains, so most third-party apps became x86-only and the people on PowerPC were left in the cold. Then they announced that they were going to switch focus to BeIA, and frightened third-party commercial developers away from BeOS. Then they turned down Apple's offer, demanding ten times what Apple was willing to pay, and eventually had to sell to Palm for around 20% of Apple's offer. Plam did very well out of the deal, paying $11m for the company and then getting $23m from Microsoft in settlement of the suit over anticompetitive practices.

          • by Weedhopper (168515) on Monday September 14, 2009 @12:12PM (#29415711)

            Insightful? Just about every 'fact' is incomplete and your timeline is completely incorrect.

            Among the things you mentioned, the Apple offer came first. The counter offer was not "ten times." More like a little under double.

            BeOS was FORCED to port to Intel when Apple refused to disclose specs for the G3 line. This wasn't done on a whim, it was done out of technical necessity.

            BeIA was the last ditch effort/nail in the coffin, not something that scared away developers. By that time, they had no developers left.

      • Torrent? (Score:3, Funny)

        by nurb432 (527695)

        Ya damned pirate.. you know only pirates and terrorists use p2p

    • They're had reasonably usable code out there for ages though. WINE is another project that took forever to get to 1.0, but produced tons of non-vaporware work along the way. Personally, I find this long-haul-to-stable much more professional than the other approach, of say, KDE, releasing .0 stuff which is low quality. In fact, that alone would make me want to check out this release, if I wasn't already interested in Haiku for many other reasons.

  • What about Syllable? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Walterk (124748) <{gro.mca} {ta} {telbud}> on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:16AM (#29412023) Homepage Journal

    When I tried out BeOS R4, I was really impressed but couldn't really use it day to day. Ever since then I've been looking for the next best thing but never found it. I've tried Syllable and that seems great, but no WiFi support means I can't connect to the Internet, so it's useless. Haiku should have some support for this, so I might give it a try soon!

    Unlike Syllable Haiku also supports Firefox, so I hope Amarok can be used too, that would be absolutely awesome.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:21AM (#29412053)

      Haiku is 17 times better than Syllable.

      • It's not very good for small systems, though, as it also takes up that much more space.
      • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday September 14, 2009 @02:27PM (#29417839) Homepage

        Haiku is 17 times better than Syllable.

        What you call "better", I call "bloat"! I like my OSes how I like my poetry, streamlined and with everything extraneous removed. A wise man once said that the process of creating is done when you have removed everything you can. Clearly, then, Syllable is the best thing ever.

        Just as an example of its power, watch as I use Syllable to compress not only every Haiku, but every poem of every type ever, down into 3 poems!

        Sex.

        Death.

        Life.

        And for the enterprising Syllabist, you can probably guess that even this can be reduced down to a single poem, the one and only poem that you'll ever need:

        Fuck.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      Haiku != Linux. Amarok is very deeply connected to KDE/Qt APIs which are, of course, not implemented in Haiku. Although ports can be considered (Firefox is a must), maybe a player designed for Haiku's APIs would be best for Haiku at this stage, even as a showcase.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 7 digits (986730)

      > When I tried out BeOS R4, I was really impressed but couldn't really use it day to day. Ever since then I've been looking for the next best thing but never found it.

      You should have looked at NeXT at this time. It was waaay better than BeOS.

  • Congratulations (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Virtex (2914) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:38AM (#29412191) Homepage
    Congratulations to the Haiku team. Back when Be closed its doors, I remember there were several projects to recreate the OS, but most people didn't expect any of them to succeed. This announcement proves that wrong. BeOS was a fantastic OS and with Haiku making strides toward a stable release, the legacy can live on. Although it's taken a while to get this far, writing a full operating system from scratch takes a long time. Even large companies with dedicated teams generally take 5+ years to build a new OS, so 8 years for a group of volunteers to release a working system is quite reasonable. Once again, congratulations and thanks for all the hard work you've put in over the years. Although only an alpha, this release is quite stable and usable. Your efforts have certainly not gone unnoticed.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by King_TJ (85913)

      Part of me feels like I shouldn't even say this, because I don't want to take anything away from the achievement of the people who released this alpha....

      But I remember when BeOS first gained traction. Copies of the installation CD were even being given away free, bundled with magazines - and the "buzz" was all over my workplace in the I.T. and software development portions of the company. Despite all of that, the universal conclusion of those who tried to use it for a while was the same. It was a "reall

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:39AM (#29412197)

    i post this anon
    because so many exist
    but what is one more?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by grcumb (781340)

      i post this anon because so many exist but what is one more?

      Redundant haiku
      Tautology makes very
      Redundant haiku.

  • by Shag (3737) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:43AM (#29412219) Homepage

    ...if Apple hadn't bought NeXT.

    But they did, and have been catering to people who want a modern non-MS OS since then.

    And now, they have stuff that provides a sensible approach to concurrency [arstechnica.com], BeOS or a clone of BeOS is a lot less meaningful.

    (Actually, pages 9-15 of that review are all about Be's boat having sailed.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo (153816)

      But they did, and have been catering to people who want a modern non-MS OS since then.

      If all you want in an operating system is that it's not from Microsoft, that's a laudable goal. A sad reality though is that Windows 7 (or in most situations, Windows Vista with SP2) is to many people a superior operating system to OSX. Oh sure, it falls down in some places, but OSX totally flails in others where Windows is the current champ. I've run Linux and Windows on many of the same systems and have more experience than I want with OSX, and I've even used NeXTStep on NeXT hardware a bit, and I can tel

      • I've even used NeXTStep on NeXT hardware a bit, and I can tell you that OSX has no damned excuse for how chunky and unresponsive to user input it is

        Hey, that's not fair, NeXTStep had a 25MHz '030 to work with to get that kind of user experience. You're comparing Apples and Magnesium chassis.

      • BeOS looked like it had some actual advantages to the end user. I had a BeBox briefly and it's frankly amazing what two 66 MHz 603e chips could do with an operating system designed from the ground up for multiprocessing.

        I use BeOS on my PowerMac and it naturally kicked MacOS butt (to the point where OS 8 under SheepShaver was faster than OS 8 on the raw hardware), but that's such a low hurdle to jump: the underlying operating system on pre-OSX Macs would have been considered primitive in 1969... it was noth

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by drinkypoo (153816)

          There was more memory contention and stalling (even for command line apps) on a PC with 16M (which sounds small now, but it was pretty high end back then).

          It most certainly was not! I think you're off by several powers of two there, me laddo. My 386 had 8MB RAM on it.

          Given this error I don't see how the rest of your comment could possibly be worth reading. My BeBox had 64MB in it and that was pretty excellent. I also Ran BeOS on a PPro with 128MB and it was FANTASTIC, like butter. YOUR problems were ALMOST CERTAINLY driver-related. The memory it was "using" was almost certainly overreported.

          It's not the kernel and OS design that makes OS X slow, it's the heavyweight window system. Making every window (including subwindows!) its own OpenGL texture simplifies application development somewhat, but it's a massive burden on the hardware.

          You have it 100% wrong. First of all, Quartz was not always GPU-accel

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Shag (3737)

        Apple would have gotten a better operating system for their purposes out of BeOS, but they got Steve Jobs with NeXT. Or was it the other way around?

        I think what you're looking for is "NeXT purchased Apple for negative 429 million dollars."

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mdwh2 (535323)

      Believe it or not, there are some people who might like an OS for reasons other than a knee-jerk "It's not MS" (especially hilarious given how many Mac users then run MS software on their Macs).

      But even if that's true, you could say the same about OS X - why use that, now there's BeOS? You see, if all you can say about OS X is that it doesn't have the flaws on Windows, then that applies to all non-MS OSs that are released. If you want to suggest otherwise, the burden is upon you to show how OS X is better t

    • Modern? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by copponex (13876) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:43AM (#29412785) Homepage

      So, a unix-like kernel with a pretty window manager is modern?

      Damn. That's some strong kool-aid.

    • by speedtux (1307149)

      But they did, and have been catering to people who want a modern non-MS OS since then.

      OS X is basically Mach, NeXTStep, and Objective-C, all technologies from the 1980's. Arguably, Windows is actually more modern, with a more object-oriented kernel, CLR, its presentation framework, and languages like C# and F#.

      Of course, there is more than modernity to making a good OS. Actually, needless innovation and needless complexity is one of the most common problems with operating systems.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)
        It's worth noting that the CLR is heavily based on the Smalltalk-80 VM, so Windows isn't really any more modern than OS X. Objective-C runtimes have evolved and VMs have evolved, but both date from about the same era and have been improved since then. C#, semantically, is almost identical to Objective-C, it just has more C++-inspire syntax. F# could be seen as modern, in a good light. The OO kernel is based on ideas from VMS, dating back to around 1975; only a few years after UNIX.

        Both systems have u

        • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday September 14, 2009 @11:22AM (#29415019) Journal

          It's worth noting that the CLR is heavily based on the Smalltalk-80 VM

          In what sense? Pretty damn sure it's not the code; if it is design, then can you please explain in more detail what CLR design decisions are "heavily based" on Smalltalk VM?

          C#, semantically, is almost identical to Objective-C, it just has more C++-inspire syntax.

          Uhh, seriously, WTF? Since when is a statically typed OO language "semantically almost identical to Objective-C", which is based on Smalltalk's message-passing, dynamic object model, with its hallmarks such as the ability to handle arbitrary messages sent to your object, and redispatch them elsewhere?

          Remember that, originally, there were 2 main families of OO languages - one static, started by Simula-67, another dynamic, started by Smalltalk. Objective-C has Smalltalk all over it; on the other hand, C++ is definitely a Simula grandkid, but so is C# - in fact C# is perhaps even more so, since virtually every Simula concept has direct representation in C#, including such bits as single-inheritance, value/reference type separation or virtual concept and keyword.

          Something that's semantically almost identical to Smalltalk (and thus much closer to Objective-C) is Ruby.

          Regarding F# - it isn't really all that modern as such (I mean, it's explicitly just another CAML dialect!), though it does have some nifty ideas in it like active patterns or units of measurement (which have been seen elsewhere before, though). The nice thing about it is that it's an attempt to take a mostly functional language with roots in academia, and put it in the mainstream by teaching C# and VB developers to appreciate the power it gives, and sticking support for it into an IDE they already use daily.

  • Here it is at last
    Looks like Solaris OS
    And we need this why?

  • Debian? (Score:2, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So when can we expect Debian GNU/Haiku?
  • I remember when Palm bought the Be source code way back when in 2002(?). I heard that some of it found its way into PalmOS 5, but I wonder if any of its elements are used in Palm's new webOS.

  • by MartinSchou (1360093) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:29AM (#29412631)

    Installed it in Virtualbox, and it's running just as smoothly as I remember BeOS doing. Even installed in about 3 minutes :)

    The built in browser, Bon Echo, seems to be a Firefox derivative, possibly Firefox 2, so it's not all bad.

    If the hardware is supported, I think Haiku would make for a very very good OS for a netbook. It's using 60 MB total at the moment and hardly pegging the CPU. In fact Virtualbox is only using 38 MB according to Windows and hovering around 20% on a single core of my 2 GHz Turion x64. Granted, I'm only running the browser, but that's still quite nice.

    Google Docs works as well, though I only have a simple spreadsheet to test with. It's a little bit slow to respond, but that is probably down to the browser. Actually now the browser is already using more memory than everything else combined, and I've only had six pages open in total. That's not a good sign. And of course the Haiku website seems to be Slashdotted, so there's no help there either ;)

    But I would love to see how this OS runs on a netbook with fully supported hardware.

  • by discogravy (455376) on Monday September 14, 2009 @08:42AM (#29412771) Homepage
    Is there a push from the Haiku folks to get this onto machines? Or is this the equivalent of another hobby linux distro with no publicity and no one that cares for it except those that worked on it to begin with? I mean, finally, they have a product; but what now?
  • I could have predicted it:
    One hour later,
    the site is Slashdotted.

  • Mildly interesting (Score:3, Interesting)

    by petrus4 (213815) on Monday September 14, 2009 @09:14AM (#29413097) Homepage Journal

    Although from what I read, Microsoft also helped it along, from memory Be died for the same reason that some of the people I've known who died from cancer, did; it was something from a parallel universe where good things actually happen, somehow wound up in this one by mistake, and thus had to be recalled.

    Be is one of a long list of non-mainstream technologies which I've seen wither on the vine, again for the simple reason that they were too good. There is a status quo in virtually every area in this world, including computer software. If something shows up which is intelligent, positive, and therefore radical to the point where it exceeds the "just good enough," status quo, it tends to slip back below the surface, very rapidly.

    I've often wondered how much more positive the world would be, if all of the things which have been repressed or destroyed because they were too innovative, too positive, or too endangering to a scarcity based economy, had actually been allowed to survive and be used.

  • by MichaelCrawford (610140) on Monday September 14, 2009 @07:14PM (#29420945) Homepage Journal
    I ported Working Software's Spellswell [spellswell.com] spelling checker from the Classic Mac OS to BeOS back in 1987. On Mac OS, Spellswell could link to word processors via the Word Services [goingware.com] Apple Event Suite. On BeOS I defined a conceptually similar protocol based on BMessages.

    For all these years, I have held onto the Spellswell source code, and kept it safe, knowing that someday the Phoenix of Haiku would rise from the ashed of Be, Inc. (Or rather, I just don't like to ever throw anything away.)

    I also still have all the protocol specification documents. I just gotta organize them and throw them up on the web again.

    Word Services actually still works on Mac OS X, but not yet with Spellswell. We never did Carbonize it. Eventually Working Software was dissolved, and we all went our separate ways. But I expect I'll release an OS X-Native Spellswell at some point as well.

    Some things never die... Spellswell was originally published by Green, Johnson Inc. before Mike Green and Dave Johnson split up into Cassady and Green and Working Software. My understanding is that it could check Microsoft Word 1.0 documents on the 128k Mac. It was a huge hit, before Microsoft added a built-in speller to Word.

    A lot of that code from 1984 is still in there, for example an incredibly elaborate dictionary file format that provides compression while at the same time being editable.

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