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Current Owner of BeOS Code Claims Zeta is Illegal 140

Posted by CowboyNeal
from the not-so-fast dept.
Hank Powers writes "The legal status of the Zeta operating system that was derived from the source code Be Inc. left shortly before going bankrupt has been unclear for several years. Now, the current owner of the source code, ACCESS, claims "if Herr Korz feels that he holds a legitimate license to the BeOS code he's been using, we're completely unaware of it, and I'd be fascinated to see him produce any substantiation for that claim". The sales of Zeta have been suspended and so has the development been halted as well. OSNews has an article about the recent developments."
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Current Owner of BeOS Code Claims Zeta is Illegal

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  • by pla (258480) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:19AM (#18645611) Journal
    Now, the current owner of the source code, ACCESS, claims "if Herr Korz feels that he holds a legitimate license to the BeOS code he's been using, we're completely unaware of it, and I'd be fascinated to see him produce any substantiation for that claim".

    Perhaps some insider can make this issue more clear (yes, I R'd TFA), but this seems like a non-issue. As I understand it...

    This company ACCESS legitimately owns the rights to BeOS. Korz/YellowTAB never had any right to continue work on it as Zeta, and may even have started the project based on leaked source code. But PalmSource never cared, and YellowTAB never bothered doing more than sending nastygrams every few months, probably because they saw no possible financial incentive to do so.

    So overall, this sounds an awfully lot like ACCESS has zero interest in BeOS/Zeta(/Haiku?), but their lawyers have advised them to send a periodic reminder of "oh, BTW, we own this", just so they can eat the whole thing on the off chance it ever becomes commercially viable.



    So... Why does this count as news? It seems like just the status quo for the past six years, nothing new here.
    • by tverbeek (457094) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:29AM (#18645649) Homepage
      The fact that sales of Zeta have been suspended because of this makes it news.

      This is definitely bad news for fans of BeOS. If there's a silver lining, hopefully it will spur more support for Haiku, which as an open-source project is immune from a company deciding to sit on a useful OS instead of letting others maintain and improve on it.
      • Not in the least are they immune to the same sorts of troubles as some 'company' when IP rghts are violated.. Its just harder to shut it down when its some sort of distributed creature. But legally, there is really no difference.
        • by despisethesun (880261) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @01:00PM (#18647409)
          Legally, there is a difference because Haiku does not use any BeOS code. It is a binary-compatible reimplementation, not a derivative work. The relationship between Haiku and BeOS is similar to the relationship between Linux and Unix. On the surface they look similar and work similar, but under the hood they are very different animals.
        • Re: (Score:1, Troll)

          by tverbeek (457094)
          I'm sorry, I assumed that anyone with a Slashdot account understood what "open-source" meant. It's pretty much the opposite of "proprietary". Hope this helps.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by nurb432 (527695)
            And beacuse its open source it means it magically cant be infected with other peoples IP?

            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by tverbeek (457094)
              There's a huge difference between a developer walking away with the source code of a semi-popular piece of software so no one else can use it (the scenario we're talking about), and a saboteur sneaking proprietary source code into an open-source project and getting it shut down (the scenario you're imagining). If you want to talk about the latter, go ahead and find a discussion where it's relevant.
              • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

                by nurb432 (527695)
                Go ahead and stick your head in the sand. I'm done wasting time here.

                I do hope your pet project goes down in flames due to something like this.
                • by mink (266117)
                  So how often have OS projects (large ones like operating systems) been brough down due to this? I am not aware of any but I do not follow every bit of OS news.
            • 1. IP doesn't exist. Please clarify - are you talking about trademarks, copyright or patents?

              2. If you're talking about copyrights then Open Source or Free Software is inherently better protected against copyright violations than closed source - after all if the source is available it's pretty easy to see if there is a copyright violation. Who knows what the hell goes on in closed source projects?
              • by nurb432 (527695)
                1 - All are threats.

                2 - Can offending code/trademarks/etc be removed since its 'seen'? Sure, I never said it could not, but it might be so tightly bound into the project that it can kill the project totally and still cause people involved to be held legally liable.
                • 1. Property isn't threat, property is theft. Copying isn't theft, copying is copying. Hence IP != P.

                  2. Yes, a project could be destroyed if it were (necessarily) based on patented algorithms (although not all jurisdictions allow patenting of algorithms (yet). If it were based on copyright code the copier could be in for a world of hurt (and quite right too). Trademarks? I'm writing this using Debian IceWeasel.

                  SCO UnixWare includes stolen copyright code, but who other than the people who've gone to all
        • by be-fan (61476) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @02:54PM (#18648521)
          He didn't say open source projects are immune to IP litigation. He said that they are immune to what happened to BeOS (and tons of other cool software) --- having a company sit on perfectly good code without any intention of either continuing it as a product or freeing it so the community can continue development.
      • by malsdavis (542216) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @12:36PM (#18647169)
        For info: the Haiku website is http://haiku-os.org/ [haiku-os.org]
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        If we're going to treat IP as real property, then we need laws against speculation. "Use it or lose it" is what we should be demanding. Same goes for the Alpha chip. When the question of why we still use x86 was asked a while ago, the answer should have been clear right away. "It's the law."
      • by couchslug (175151)
        "If there's a silver lining, hopefully it will spur more support for Haiku,"

        The sooner non-OSS BeOS dies the better.
        We should not want it, should not support it, and should support Haiku out of good old-fashioned self-interest if nothing else.

        Instead of hoping commercial entities do the right thing, how about supporting people who do the right thing because they value doing it??
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by aussie_a (778472)
      If this truly was happening periodically for the past 6 years, why is development and sales being halted now? Does this also happen periodically?
      • by DRobson (835318)
        The reason ACCESS have gone slightly more public with this right now is due to Bernd's comments regarding open sourcing parts of Zeta. Previously ACCESS did not believe it was worthwhile spending time and money going after a project which probably didnt make that much money in the first place and was based on a property they clearly have no interest in. Magnussoft appear to have only just heard this public statement and decided it wasn't worth the risk to distribute something they might not have rights ove
  • Access Microsoft (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#18645617) Homepage Journal
    Access, the company now stifling innovation with the dormant BeOS code, is also the Japanese mobile phone corporate giant that bought out PalmOS, lying about offering a smartphone running Linux with a PalmOS GUI/compatibility layer.

    Funny how they keep spending money on OS'es that they never profit from. Their mission seems to be to kill OS'es that have a chance to innovate around Microsoft's monopoly. I wonder whether their license to deploy Windows phones in Japan was contingent on doing that kind of Microsoft dirty work, perhaps even secretly funded (or subsidized) by Microsoft.
    • by digitig (1056110)

      Access, the company now stifling innovation with the dormant BeOS code, is also the Japanese mobile phone corporate giant that bought out PalmOS, lying about offering a smartphone running Linux with a PalmOS GUI/compatibility layer.

      Well, they at least appear to have released an SDK for one (http://www.access-company.com/news/press/ACCESS/2 007/20070212d_alp_pdk.html), which AFAICS is as close as they were ever going to get because they don't seem to be in the hardware business.

    • by kurt555gs (309278)
      Great observation, and that makes perfect sense. This would be typical M$ behavior. Another reason that breaking up M$ should be a prime focus of the US government.

      It should have happened before.

      Cheers
      • Re:Access Microsoft (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:31AM (#18646019) Homepage Journal
        The other big case the Clinton Department of Justice won against a monopoly/cartel was against Big Tobacco. It's now coming to light that Bush's Justice Department interfered with the followthru [google.com]. As part of their now obvious process of coporatizing the Justice Department to serve monopolies like Microsoft. I expect it's only a matter of time before we learn how Bush deliberately ditched the MS monopoly judgement. His favorite lobbyist, Jack Abramoff, got his lobbyist career started at Preston, Gates, Bill Gates III's father's law firm. I expect there's a lot more to the story, all bad.
        • by iminplaya (723125)
          I expect it's only a matter of time before we learn how Bush deliberately ditched the MS monopoly judgement.

          Won't happen. Unlike Mr. Nixon, Bush will have "properly disposed"(deliberately ditched?) all evidence of any wrongdoing, as that is the only lesson learned from the Watergate incident.
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Probably just by using Windows "Recycler", so it'll be trivial for investigators to undelete. What goes around comes around, faster with every (re)cycle.
            • by iminplaya (723125)
              Probably in his case, he'll just smash it with a hammer. He doesn't have a very positive attitude about recycling.
    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:58AM (#18645797)

      Access, the company now stifling innovation with the dormant BeOS code, is also the Japanese mobile phone corporate giant that bought out PalmOS, lying about offering a smartphone running Linux with a PalmOS GUI/compatibility layer.

      This is a good example of why we need a way to pry IP out of the hands of organizations that buy it just to stifle it. One could argue that Intellectual Property is just like any property and an owner can make use of it or not to its own pleasure. However, IP is different. IP not really something you own: it is a license (or privilege) to exclusive production. The term "Intellectual Property" itself is misleading, and cooked up to create the illusion that it is something to be owned like a tool, or a piece of land.

      In fact, the U.S. Constitution (e.g.) clearly states the purpose for granting such privileges:

      The Congress shall have Power . . .

      To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;

      This clearly illustrates the purpose of patents, trademarks and copyrights, which is to encourage publication or production of works and products for the benefit of all by giving the creator the ability to exclusively profit from their publication or production. It's a mutually beneficial deal, an agreement between the general public and creators of useful works. If the creator decides not to produce the protected work, then the public gains nothing. One doesn't get exclusive license just to sit on their discoveries. At some point of non-production, the protection should expire early.

      • by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:19AM (#18645965) Homepage Journal
        Patent owners should indeed have to prove they are using their "temporary" synthetic monopoly to promote the progress of science or the useful arts by producing the invention, not just sitting on it. That is in fact a parallel to the more sensible trademark rules, which require use of the mark, and active confrontation with diluters. Because trademark's governing "Lanham Act" [wikipedia.org] is designed to protect the consumer from confusion, to protect commerce, not just profitmaking.

        Further, patents should register their costs in development of the patent, not just the product after the patent, and expire the patent once either the time or a multiple ROI is reached. The ROI should be a maximum of 10x (probably even just 2x, but actual research and ongoing parameters should establish the precise ROI that promotes). And the time should be per-industry, with software/IT times governed more by Moore's Law and software obsolescence studies. Software itself is obviously (to anyone but greedheads) copyright, not patent, material.

        The whole system is rotten. But if it were tweaked a little, pared back to its justifiable framework, it could form the basis for a system that actually promotes the progress that justifies the monopoly in conflict with expression freedom.
        • by samkass (174571)
          Software itself is obviously (to anyone but greedheads) copyright, not patent, material.

          Please open your mind a little bit. Software *is* copyrighted, but there is also an argument that the mechanism encoded into the software is itself a virtual device that is patentable. I happen to agree with that decision, and think the biggest problem with software patents is that the bar for "obviousness" is set far too low. But in the end, patents should be enough to allow companies to feel comfortable in investing
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Except that it's not a virtual device. It's a description of the actions of the physical device. That description is copyrightable, which copyright also covers trivial changes. The procedure that a physical device operates is not patented, at least not in unbastardized patent systems.

            Copyrights create the protection for R&D investment while competitors must wait to compete without that expense. Patents offer unnecessary extra protections, and unnecessary registration and examination cycles that copyrigh
          • there is also an argument that the mechanism encoded into the software is itself a virtual device that is patentable.

            No more so than mathematical equations "encode" a virtual device. Software is mathematics, and allowing mathematical formulas to be patented violates centuries of prcedent [ieee.org] as well as good sense.

            • by samkass (174571)
              Software is mathematics

              No. Software can be described using mathematics, just like radio, an internal combustion engine, and a host of other inventions can. But software is a set of instructions that form a virtual mechanism, not a set of equations. Abstract mathematical equations are not patentable because they are not a device with a purpose, while software is.
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by hacker (14635)

      Access, the company now stifling innovation with the dormant BeOS code, is also the Japanese mobile phone corporate giant that bought out PalmOS, lying about offering a smartphone running Linux with a PalmOS GUI/compatibility layer.

      Obviously you are very mistaken [linuxdevices.com].

      • Re:Access Microsoft (Score:4, Informative)

        by Doc Ruby (173196) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:12AM (#18645909) Homepage Journal

        lying about offering a smartphone running Linux with a PalmOS GUI/compatibility layer.

        Obviously you didn't read the article to which you linked:

        Access says ALP 1.0's task-oriented user interface builds on the "legendary" usability of the original Palm OS user interface.
        [...]
        Also planned for later release is a "Garnet VM Compatibility Kit" which appears to represent the final frontier for Palm OS. Together, the SDK and Garnet VM will provide an upgrade path for hundreds of thousands of Palm OS application developers, Access says.

        In other words, no PalmOS on their Linux phone. They've been "planning" it for years. They announced they'd be releasing it in 2006. 2007 will be at least half over, and they'll still be "planning" it. Liars.

        Wishing doesn't make it so, for you either.
        • In other words, no PalmOS on their Linux phone. They've been "planning" it for years. They announced they'd be releasing it in 2006. 2007 will be at least half over, and they'll still be "planning" it. Liars.

          Yeah, lying is the only possible explanation why it isn't out yet. Because, as we all know, major rewrites of operating systems are always delivered on time. :-)

          My personal guess is that they fully intend to release a Linux-based operating system with a Palm OS compatibility layer, but this simply

        • by Duve (1042930)
          Well correct me if I am wrong here, but isn't Garnet the re-named PalmOS (due to the fact that PalmSource/ACCESS Inc. where in a contact for use of the name from PalmOne/Palm Inc. which dissolved sometime last year?) which they can't really go about developing due to license issues with PalmOne/Palm Inc.?
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Garnet was the 5.4.9 version of PalmOS [wikipedia.org]. Palm Inc was developing the next version, "Cobalt", supposedly multitasking etc, for years, until it sold the whole OS to Access. Access claimed it was finishing Cobalt as the GUI/compatibility layer atop Linux. Last December Palm Inc bought Garnet back from Access. Now Access is reporting that it's finally releasing something like that, but the PalmOS component is Garnet, not Cobalt - and not out yet, and the whole setup is totally chaotic. If I were a PalmOS develop
            • by Duve (1042930)
              No, it sounds like ACCESS is betting that the Garnet VM will be a temporary fix till people port into GTK+ and Hiker. Cobalt was being developed at the time that Palm and PalmSource was one company, at the time named Palm Inc. In the mist of that development, the company know as Palm Inc. was split, sold, re-named again back into Palm Inc., now mainly a hardware distributor. Meanwhile, the cruft left at PalmSource was dropped into the hands of ACCESS this included the 'development' of the next Gen to Palm O
              • by Doc Ruby (173196)
                I just don't see why it takes Access, a giant mobile phone developer and vendor, over 2 years to put out Linux + Cobalt (or a replacement), or even Linux + Garnet. They started with Linux and Garnet over 2 years ago, with China MobileSoft and experience devloping apps like their Web browser. Now they don't even have Linux + Garnet.

                It all seems like they've got the marketing buzzword compatibility locked down, so they're not serious about the product. Though the intervening 2 years has seen PalmOS nearly die
        • by hacker (14635)

          Obviously you didn't read the article to which you linked:

          Wishing doesn't make it so, for you either.

          Wrong again... [palminfocenter.com]

          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            No, I am still right:

            April 10, 2007 6:24:15 AM

            Today at Palm Inc's Analyst Day, Palm CEO Ed Colligan officially announced that Palm will deliver a new Linux and open source based mobile computing platform combined with Palm OS Garnet technology on new products later this year .

            First, that announcement didn't even exist when I posted. Will you be replying to this message in a few years when maybe someone does actually do what Access said it would have done already, last year.

            Second, I said Access lied abo

      • It's actually informative, not tinfoil hat ranting like the GP.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mcbridematt (544099)
      PalmSource (who ACCESS bought) wasn't really involved directly with the BeOS purchase, it was purchased before Handspring was acquired and the company was split IIRC.

      And when PalmSource did release their new Palm OS (Cobalt), despite a subsequent revision, supposedly at the request of Palm OS licensees, it died because PalmOne (current day "Palm Inc.") weren't interested in the OS they paid for in the first place. No one else wanted to launch an OS clearly superior to PalmOS 5, WinCE and probably the Linux
      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        AFAICR, Access bought China MobileSoft after it bought PalmOS, not Palm buying CMS before Access bought them. How do you come by your chronology?
    • People would have to be using or willing to use BeOS/ZeOS.

      The OS has been out for 10 years without any ownership debate and what kind of market penetration does it have? 0.000005% maybe? There could be a thousand people worldwide who actually run it 50% of the time?

      Microsoft broke the law to get Windows where it is against OS/2, DOS clones and Mac, let's stop claiming that Linux and BeOS are losing on the desktop because of a massive MS conspiracy. They're losing because few desktop apps would run o
      • by tverbeek (457094)
        You think that Microsoft for some reason refrained from using the same kinds of tricks against BeOS that it used against other OSes? When Be tried to make deals with OEMs to bundle or pre-install BeOS as a free option, Microsoft "persuaded" them not to. The fact that Windows was already installed on their PC when they first plugged it in had more to do with its acceptance by consumers than the availablity of apps for it (which wasn't all that huge in the early days).

        Sure, today Microsoft no longer need
        • by trimbo (127919)
          When Be tried to make deals with OEMs to bundle or pre-install BeOS as a free option, Microsoft "persuaded" them not to.

          Oh please. You're claiming that Microsoft pulled anticompetitive pricing tactics against Be trying to dump their OS on consumers? Provide some record of this. Because if it's true, I've lost respect for Microsoft as a monopolist.

          What would have been the benefit for the OEM when it would have created a support issue? No OEM wants to deal with support calls related to an OS that
          • Oh please. You're claiming that Microsoft pulled anticompetitive pricing tactics against Be trying to dump their OS on consumers? Provide some record of this. Because if it's true, I've lost respect for Microsoft as a monopolist.
            No, they threatened not to license Windows to any PC maker that also bundled other systems with their machines.
  • by jpellino (202698) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @09:21AM (#18645619)
    Well, not exactly, it was actually two terriers fighting over a dry chicken bone.

  • Don't you dare try and create your own based on my intellectual property!
  • Here's what happens if you do:

    From TFA:

    Object not found!

    The requested URL was not found on this server. The link on the referring page seems to be wrong or outdated. Please inform the author of that page about the error.

    If you think this is a server error, please contact the webmaster.
    Error 404
    www.osnews.com
    Sat Apr 7 10:14:11 2007
    Apache/2.0.54 (Linux/SUSE)
    • 'If Herr Korz feels that he holds a legitimate license to the BeOS code [bitsofnews.com] he's been using, we're completely unaware of it, and I'd be fascinated to see him produce any substantiation for that claim'

      was Don't bother reading the article ... (Score:2)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Its like watching the rise of Atari & Commodore fight
    it out in a dirty mudwrestling contest on retro cable.
  • Nostalgia (Score:5, Funny)

    by BillGatesLoveChild (1046184) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:13AM (#18645913) Journal
    Oh for the days when Programmers didn't need to double major in Law.
    • by shaneo (47763)
      So are you longing for the days when open source code wasn't widely usable/viable and nobody cared enough to bring lawsuits, or for a society where all code is written "for hire" and there's no disputing who owns the rights?

      The legal problems don't come up until you try to "extend" someone else's work or accept contributions back into your own. Seems relatively easy to dodge these bullets.

      Then again, an intentionally ambiguous license controlled by a mad-man with an agenda isn't really helping anyone out h
    • by tgd (2822)
      A five year old knows you can't take something that isn't yours...

      You don't need a law degree. Just ask a five year old.
      • by Ithika (703697)

        For a technology site there are an awful lot of neo-luddites around here.

      • by jc42 (318812)
        > > A five year old knows you can't take something that isn't yours...

        > You don't need a law degree. Just ask a five year old.


        Yeah, but most five year olds have also learned that you should share your toys with the other kids. If you have a fun toy, you don't hoard it and keep it somewhere that nobody else can have any fun with it.

        The folks who "own" BeOS don't seem to have picked up on that kindergarten lesson, though.

      • Was commenting more on the number of legal stories. I just want to write code, man:

        "Bobby, can I use a linked list for a one-click web site?"
        "No Daddy, they're patented. And don't try a triple linked list. They're patented too"
        "But Bobby, a patent must be novel, obvious and useful!"
        "Don't get my started Daddy. I still have to read my RIAA Preschooler Education Kit. Say that CD has a Sharpie Label. Bad Daddy, Bad!"
        • by mink (266117)
          At least your kid isn't bothering you about your interval of Prozium.
    • Dude, you should have been modded insightful.
  • How much code is out there that could be re-used, saving time & money, but we can't legally get to? It's a fork off the 'should software be protected by copyright or patent' debate. Sensibly, both patents and copyrights are limited in time, for just this reason. Holders of such rights are continually lobbying to extend them for unreasonable (to me) periods. Whilst I understand that an aging rock star would want to extend protection to - say - the end of his/her life, should this apply to s/w? How a
  • by billcopc (196330) <vrillco@yahoo.com> on Saturday April 07, 2007 @10:22AM (#18645981) Homepage
    It's funny how Access owns the code, yet they're not doing a damned thing with it. They've halted distribution of a product that isn't competing with their business, and if history is any indicator, they aren't ever going to release any BeOS-related software ever. They are an IP company, they buy stuff up, sit on it for a while then license/resell to actual inventors and manufacturers for a profit. This kind of business is one the most revolting abuses of the 21st century, because all they do is kidnap information for a ransom, potentially hiding it away forever if no buyer comes along to pay their inflated price. This type of activity precisely underlines the need for patent reform. This doesn't help anyone except the people cashing the checks, ultimately IP-hoarding hurts everyone as it stymies technological progress. BeOS had some great concepts ten years ago, but through the company's pitfalls and this now legal bullshit, the then-modern real-time paradigm is now grossly outdated. Why don't we all go out and buy all the fresh fruits at the market, then sit on them for a few years and see what's left of them ? It's a waste, it's stupid and it's inconsiderate. Access is all those bad things!
    • This has nothing to do with patent reform. They bought the copyright to BeOS.

      Copyright does need reforming, but not for the case of technology. Copyright's should probably last only 14 years as opposed to a 70, but thats pretty damn irrelevant for software. And source code is usually under "trade secret" anyways.
    • Patents and copyrights serve no purpose in Information age.
    • by drolli (522659)
      IMHO if they bought the code they may do whatever they want. There is no obligation for them to open the code. Fuethermore I doubt that they don't use ist. I could imagine that some of the beos ideas are very usefule in the resource-limite devices Access Inc is usually providing Software for!
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by tji (74570)
      They own the code. They can do whatever they want with it.

      I was a big fan of BeOS. I went to their first demo-tour in Ann Arbor, way back when. I never bought a dual processor PowerPC BeBox, but I did install and use it once it became available for intel. So, I think their letting BeOS whither and die is a HUGE waste of all that good code, with incredible multimedia capabilities and many other advances that are still not met in Mac OS or Linux (and certainly not Windows).

      When they were negotiati
    • by Britz (170620) on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:52AM (#18646717) Homepage
      Actually BeOS went down because of the lack of apps. Adobe never ported Photoshop and Steinberg never ported Cubase even though there was talk about both. Maybe a company with a fruit as its logo had something to do with the Photoshop port never coming through, but I dunno, maybe some other Slashdotter can shed some light on the history of BeOS.

      With the current free software that rivals proprietary software in both quality and features in many fields and that seems to be made for porting fringe operating systems seem to stand a much better chance. Just look at Ubuntu. Personally I am running Debian as my desktop OS.

      Parent may not be right about Access being responsible for the downfall of BeOS, but now, that BeOS actually may have a chance (I heard that Firefox was ported for example) they may be responsible for it never coming back.
      • by danparks (976284)
        > BeOS went down because of the lack of apps.

        That was part of it. More importantly, though, was Microsoft's hand in things. Be's demise was mostly due to Microsoft's predatory practices (surprise, surprise). Be filed suit against MS for the destruction of Be's business through anticompetitive acts. In particular, Be claimed MS did shady things to prevent PC makers from including BeOS on dual-boot PCs.

        MS and Be settled by MS agreeing to pay Be something like $25 million (and admitting no wrongdoing)
    • It's funny how Access owns the code, yet they're not doing a damned thing with it. They've halted distribution of a product that isn't competing with their business, and if history is any indicator, they aren't ever going to release any BeOS-related software ever.

      I don't think that's a fair characterization. The current shipping version of Palm OS is Palm OS 5.x. Several years ago, after Palm had bought Be (in which I believe they got both source code and talent), Palm created Palm OS 6. This had lots

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 07, 2007 @11:33AM (#18646483)
    ...and it only appears now....

    Gotta love slashdot. I also seem to have recalled explaining a few more things in my summary that would have prevented the fringe element from heading off into conspiracy land as well....

    First off, the reason why ACCESS is only *now* responding on this issue is because Korz was making overtures towards open sourcing the code--something that ACCESS could not keep silent about. As Lefty says in his comments both at bitsofnews and OSNews.com, they'd been sending cease and desist letters for some time already and Korz was ignoring them. To try and take legal action would be only to invite lawsuits over code that ACCESS saw no income from; so why should they stick out their necks for a libel suit with the possibility of generating only negative income? It is only because ACCESS wanted to prevent any possibility of Korz giving away their property they chose to risk the possible libel suit now.

    Secondly, 'Zeta' was a dead parrot. It was NOT truly being developed, because obviously Korz did NOT have access (pun unintended) to the source code or he would have done more with it. The only true successor to BeOS is Haiku, which as I stated in my summary is nearing its 1.0 release with all originally developed closed-room re-engineered code that is BeOS R5 compatible.

    Third, BeOS Max PE which is developed by a Greek coder to be the best and most updated (using bits of third party hacks and including newer drivers for more hardware as well as bits of Haiku that work better than the old BeOS parts) may be forced to discontinue development. This is something that would be a tragedy, since it is thanks to Vaspar's work on this (free) project many of us are able to run BeOS on new hardware. And I say that as someone who bought BeOS in the store almost a month or two before the announcement they were going bankrupt.

    --bornagainpenguin
    • by Ruie (30480)

      Funny how I submitted this on Wednesday evening...and it only appears now....
      The art of new reporting is not only in choosing what to report but also when.

      Obviously, your submission was too soon :)

  • ... but it's another reason to use (really) open source software. No such thing whould happen with GPL/BSD/OSI...'ed code.

    Time to join Haiku, I think...

    --
    Arkan
  • BeOS was a really good OS for its time, its a shame that its never gotten much of a chance. Imagine tho if OS X was actually BeOS.. it could have been..

    Maybe Haiku will turn into something equally as cool.
  • I've been a big fan of BeOS ever since I first used it years ago. I was so impressed to be able to load it up on my obsolete dual proc pentium pro system and see it come back to life. Any other operating system I put on it was way too slow.. even Linux. But BeOS truly did take advantage of having two processors. Suddenly it was like I had a 400MHz Pentium II. It was a PC resurrection! But then, stupid Palm bought it and killed it. Development and especially interest in it all but died. This operatin
    • Never had any direct experience with BeOS, but the story I keep hearing is that it was really responsive and able to do audio and multimedia in a way that we are beginning to approach with a lot of processor power.

      Windows never claims to be "real time", soft, hard or otherwise. The problem is that Windows can "go away" for tens of milliseconds (perhaps less with modern, faster hardware) to do things like disk accesses and what not without being responsive to interrupts or time slice preemption. The expl

  • Several years back when I had the chance to try out the various versions of BeOS on the hardware available at that time, it wasn't significantly better than its contemproraries. The file system was interesting, but having applications depend on features of the file system is a great way to create a software ghetto, like the Mac was before OS X: metadata about the file belongs in the file system. Metadata about the contents of the file belongs in files. The object oriented API might have been interesting, but it was too heavily based on an oddball OO language that was particularly hard to work with: C++. The kernel was intended to be part of a "Media OS", but it didn't make any attempt to provide real-time support.

    There were some nice features in the shell (Tracker), but they could have been implemented on a conventional OS.

    Performance was poor. The only OS it outperformed on the same hardware was the classic Mac OS... Windows, Windows NT, OpenStep, and open source UNIX were all faster. Of course the contemporary Mac OS was near its nadir of performance.

    When the rumors of Apple picking it up, I was somewhat hopeful... it was definitely better than what they had.

    When Palm picked it up I was horrified. Palm's existing OS was far better suited for the PDA, and it was looking like Palm was going to end up with some really nice and cheap handhelds... if yo could get a Palm to retail for under $50 (a target they could have easily met and suprassed by now) everyone would be using them in high school instead of calculators, and they'd have no competition. But instead of doing what they did best, they decided to go after Microsoft on Microsoft's turf... and went from an easily-maintained 80% of the handheld market to "who's going to buy them"?

    BeOS? It's a poison pill. The Amiga of the '90s, without the virtue of EVER having had a hope in hell.
    • The object oriented API might have been interesting, but it was too heavily based on an oddball OO language that was particularly hard to work with: C++.

      You had me until you said C++ was an oddball language that was hard to work with.
      • by argent (18001)
        You had me until you said C++ was an oddball language that was hard to work with.

        Just because something is popular doesn't mean that it's well designed, or even mediocre, or even following the usual design principles of things in the same class.

        Consider the current US system of measurement, Microsoft Windows, or classic Mac OS. These are all oddball designs in a world of better systems, and cause (or caused) all kinds of problems for people who had to use them.

        C++ is partly a throwback to the very earliest
        • by humankind (704050)
          I am sick and tired of lamers blaming poor coding and design on the language, especially C and C++.

          The fact that C doesn't have automated garbage collection is not that big of a deal to any competent programmer. Now to a slacker, second-rate programmer, then yes, it certainly is an issue. And the irony is a crappy programmer will still write a crappy app in higher-level languages... the bugs may not be related to variable overloading, but they'll likely be just as obnoxious.

          C/C++ is designed for performan

A LISP programmer knows the value of everything, but the cost of nothing. -- Alan Perlis

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