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Haiku OS Resurrects BeOS as Open Source 269

Posted by Zonk
from the going-back-in-time dept.
Technical Writing Geek writes "The Haiku project, which began shortly after the death of BeOS in 2001, aims to bring together the technical advantages of BeOS and the freedom of open source. 'The project has drawn dozens of contributors who have written over seven million lines of code. Although Haiku is nearly feature-complete, there are still numerous bugs that must be fixed before it is ready for day-to-day use. The design principles behind Haiku are very closely aligned with those of BeOS. The central goal of the Haiku project is to create an operating system that is ideally suited for use on the desktop--this differs significantly from Linux and other open-source operating systems which are intended for use in a diverse range of settings including server and embedded environments.'"
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Haiku OS Resurrects BeOS as Open Source

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  • Haiku (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:42AM (#22392624)

    An OS should not
    Be shaped by greed and money
    Open source the world
    • by smitty_one_each (243267) * on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:04AM (#22392914) Homepage Journal
      Greed and money,
      Like a thicket of beard,
      Obscure good and sunny:
      Let all things be sheared.
      Burma Shave
      • by ehrichweiss (706417) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:38AM (#22393372)
        Haiku is easy But sometimes they don't make sense Refrigerator
      • by Floritard (1058660) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:03PM (#22393750)
        That's not a haiku you western swine.
        • Re:Greed and money (Score:5, Informative)

          by TheoMurpse (729043) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @03:15PM (#22396364) Homepage
          Well, if you want to get technical about it, haikus are set as 5-7-5 mora, not syllables. They are different. In fact, I would argue that most English haiku fail because they should be even shorter than 5-7-5 syllables. One great thing about haiku is that Japanese words have a lot of syllables, relatively speaking, making haiku short, with very dense meaning. English has a great number of monosyllabic words, making writing pleasant English haiku easier than composing Japanese haiku. Furthermore, Japanese haiku typically are two phrases in length, either of the form PHRASE_ONE//PHRASE//TWO or PHRASE//ONE//PHRASE_TWO.

          Beyond that, haiku must have a seasonal word in them; otherwise, it probably is a senryu [wikipedia.org] instead.

          There's also frequently a "turn" that takes the first couple lines and resolves it in a different way. Let us glance briefly at one of Basho's most famous haiku, translated:

          will you turn toward me?
          I am lonely too,
          this autumn nightfall
          Here, we have two phrases (one of a line, and one of two lines). We also have the "turn," in that it is two lines of loneliness, and then resolves, surprisingly, to a statement about the weather. "Surprising" is not the right word, I know. Finally, the entire haiku is sublime, and contains the season word (kigo).

          One final thing: Basho was famous for saying, "Learn the rules; then forget them."
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by zsau (266209)
            I'm not an authority on the subject, but I've always thought the best way to translate the requite for 5-7-5 moras (that's the plural of "mora", unless you want to get classical and say "moræ"—it's a Latin word, not Japanese) is with 5-7-5 stressed syllables. That's traditionally how entity-counting is done in English poetry: For instance, Old English poetry had four stressed syllables per line (with a variable number of unstressed syllables), whereas in Shakespeare's iambic pentameter, there's f
      • I wonder how many of our youthful readers are staring at your post, muttering "WTF?"

        Poor kids...
        • by ari_j (90255)
          The concept is still alive and well, such as this sequence of signs northeast of Phoenix, AZ:

          They saw a moose
          Oh what a thrill
          Until they smashed it
          On their grill
          Watch out for moose!

          What I wouldn't give for just any random but complete and original set of Burma Shave signs...
    • by StCredZero (169093) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:26AM (#22393210)
      Haiku is an example of code reuse par-excellence! You can get a normal desktop footprint into something like 60 megabytes. (Not one of these cut-down small footprint distros.) It's how an object-oriented multimedia operating system should be done.

      http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=236331448076587879 [google.com]

      Haiku is damn cool
      The One OS that follows
      Don't Repeat Yourself
      • Haiku is damn cool
        The One OS that follows
        Don't Repeat Yourself
        It says that,
        And it says that
        And then it repeats.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      shamelessly hijacking this thread, but Haiku is not far from self-hosting now http://www.osnews.com/story/19325 [osnews.com]
  • Interesting.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by fyngyrz (762201) * on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:45AM (#22392664) Homepage Journal

    But I don't look forward to the long climb up the curve of identifying and cleaning up what, going by past experience, is likely to be quite a nest of security issues.

    Having said that, if it is actually like BeOS in that it handles multimedia similarly (that is, *really* well and without even a nod towards DRM), I'd be very likely to put some effort into using it. Linux's swap paradigm is completely unsuited to applications that need to respond *right now*, OS X is just about the same (it's only been a matter of hours since I shook my fist at Leopard for swapping out things I was using), and Windows... ugh. Going completely the wrong way.

    I suppose it'll be a while yet, though. [prepares to wait]

    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by FreeGamer (1001924) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:49AM (#22392716) Homepage
      Haiku is a ground-up rewrite of BeOS. The only thing shared between the two is the general design and the support for BeOS R5 applications. Haiku addresses many of the shortcomings in BeOS R5 (e.g. better POSIX compliance). I'm sure they are considering security as well.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by fyngyrz (762201) *

        When you say a ground up rewrite, I worry. This is because the real-time nature of the OS is something that none of the other "big 3" have gotten right; there isn't a one of them that won't glitch your audio or video just at the wrong time (not that there is a right time.) BeOS was unique in that it was designed to be real time from day one and -- and this is the kicker -- they got it right. For the first time in modern OS history. So the issue here is, given that this is a rewrite to (presumably) R5 inter

    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:4, Informative)

      by paulbd (118132) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:51AM (#22393580) Homepage

      "linux swap paradigm".

      i suggest you read the output of man memlock. you clearly don't know enough about linux (or POSIX) to be making generic hand waving comments that appear to be intended to authoritative.

      when you're done with memlock, check into SCHED_FIFO scheduling too. oh, and /etc/security/limits.conf while you're there. the problems with multimedia "performance" on linux are mostly distro-related: distro's do not generally ship in a way that lets ordinary users run apps that request the use of these facilities. media-centric distros (Ubuntu Studio) or overlays (Planet CCRMA) fix this.

    • Re:Interesting.... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lally Singh (3427) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:44PM (#22394252) Journal
      It sounds like what you want is a combination of:
      1. Real-time scheduling. Preferably hard-real time (for stable video)
      2. Page locking. Don't let RT tasks page out
      3. Drivers written to obey the scheduling demands (e.g. don't wait for a disk while we have an RT task ready)


      It can all be done on regular desktop OSs.

      Challenges are:
      1. Requiring RT scheduling and page locking usually require a good level of access. For that, you'll probably want a capabilities-based permission model to to keep quicktime from giving people backdoors into root access
      2. Keeping device drivers off the RT thread path. I'd honestly prefer a separate I/O processor to do that stuff, so the CPU can keep chunking along. Dedicating RT threads to one core and device drivers to another isn't a bad way to splice up modern dual-core CPUs.
      3. It's easy to end up page-locking a lot of pages in for processes, large platform shared libs & all


  • Links (Score:5, Informative)

    by ForexCoder (1208982) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:50AM (#22392744)
    A direct link in the summery would have been nice:
    http://www.haiku-os.org/ [haiku-os.org]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haiku_(operating_system) [wikipedia.org]
  • by quanticle (843097) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:51AM (#22392754) Homepage

    Haiku's network performance is better, for instance, because the networking functionality is integrated directly into the kernel rather than running in userspace as it did in BeOS.

    Am I the only one that thinks that this is a horrible idea from a security perspective? Also, wouldn't the integration of network functionality mean that Haiku is about as much of a microkernel as Windows NT?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by mpapet (761907)
      Linux's networking stack is in the kernel. Firewall too.

      So, your concern may not be kernel-levelness, but maybe the privilege with which networking runs? Or, perhaps if the networking kernel component can bring the whole OS to a screeching halt?

      OS's are complicated, so it's easy to nit-pick from ./. That's a bad habit though because the more different OS's are out there being worked on the better off we all are.

      As an example to all, I'll fire up qemu this afternoon and install haiku on my trusty old think
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        Just for trivia.

        The BeOS network "stack" was at one point modular and outside the kernel. In doing so the performance was not acceptable so it was folded in to the kernel. Someone else will have to chime in with what release this happened.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Dutch_Cap (532453)

          "Someone else will have to chime in with what release this happened."

          BeOS R5, the last BeOS release by Be inc still had the network stack in user space. There was an in-house development version that had networking in the kernel, but this never made it into a commercial release because Be went bankrupt. This version was at one point leaked onto the internet, though.

          Zeta [zeta-os.com], which is based on the original BeOS binaries and/or source code has the network stack integrated in the kernel.

      • by quanticle (843097)

        That's a bad habit though because the more different OS's are out there being worked on the better off we all are.

        Well, I have to respectfully disagree. I feel that it would be better off for the Haiku concepts to be integrated into an existing operating system (Linux, or one of the BSDs, perhaps) rather than having those developers go out and attempt to create another operating system from whole cloth.

        That said, I can't criticize them too much, because, by my logic, Linus would have been better off improving the Minix kernel than trying to create a new one.

        • Well, I have to respectfully disagree. I feel that it would be better off for the Haiku concepts to be integrated into an existing operating system (Linux, or one of the BSDs, perhaps) rather than having those developers go out and attempt to create another operating system from whole cloth.

          Haiku's concepts belong more readily to a platform that targets the desktop. Linux is a great OS and has made great progress on the desktop, to be sure, but BeOS's concepts make more sense to integrate into a modular microkernel rather than monolithic one. In fact, early on there was intense debate over which kernel to use and Haiku was not the only open source project to recreate BeOS--there were at least two or three more, one of which aimed to implement the BeAPI on Linux. That project soon died.

          That sa

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        As an example to all, I'll fire up qemu this afternoon and install haiku on my trusty old thinkpad. If 100 ./'ers did it and provided feedback to the project, it's a benefit to all.

        Very true, though I recommend using VMware's free VMware Player [vmware.com] instead of qemu. It's available on both Windows & Linux and performs about a million times better (for running Haiku, at least).

        And yes, if you find bugs please report them: http://dev.haiku-os.org/ [haiku-os.org]

    • A networking stack in the kernel is horrible from a security perspective, but just about every OS does it because otherwise net performance is atrocious (as it was in BeOS R5). The major feature of the last unreleased/leaked version of Be from Be Inc. was a new net stack in the kernel.
    • by davidsyes (765062) *
      Possibly, but No
      because it was out of a
      truthfully real Thirst for Love

      Can you not see all
      colorful cherry blossom
      full in the clear skies?

      Fear not for it is
      here enjoy it with fullest
      measure for all to cherish
  • Haiku OS Website (Score:3, Informative)

    by KermodeBear (738243) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @10:52AM (#22392776) Homepage
    It would have been nice for the summary to include a link to the Haiku OS [haiku-os.org] site.
    • by Aladrin (926209)
      It might have been because they wanted the site to survive the announcement. The page is mostly there, except for this at the top:

      warning: mysql_pconnect() [function.mysql-pconnect]: User haiku2_gallery already has more than 'max_user_connections' active connections in /home2/haiku2/webapps/website/gallery2/lib/adodb/drivers/adodb-mysql.inc.php on line 384. ;)
  • ...why there is a FreeBSD network driver compatability layer? Why not Linux? Isn't there more development put into network drivers for Linux (by third parties and first parties) than for FreeBSD? Is it a license issue?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Eivind Eklund (5161)
      FreeBSD has generally had better network driver support than Linux. It has been the single driver area where we've usually been ahead. I don't know if that is true any longer or not - but at least it was, for a long period (1998 or so and forwards, after Bill Paul's "Let's fix FreeBSD network drivers"-run)

      Eivind.

  • Awesome! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    I used to run BeOS and am a huge fan. When this reaches the point where it runs reasonably well on an EeePC, the dubious Linux install on that thing is *so* gone.

  • Could anyone summarize what they are? I mean, BeOS in a pill?
    I know it's one of UNIXoids, but how does it differ from others?

    Say, I used a couple - Solaris, QNX, Free, Open and NetBSD, several flavours of Linux etc. They all differed -somewhat-. Startup done differently. Other default shell, different default gfx environment which felt this or that way. Sure the differences "under the hood" were deep, but the surface felt often very similar.

    So what are the most striking differences between BeOS and the rest
    • by peragrin (659227) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:31AM (#22393280)
      in 1997 Beos could run multiple videos in real time and remain responsive to the user. This was back when playing one video on windows or quicktime introduced dramatic slow downs on the same hardware.

      Beos originally had a database file system that MSFT has been trying to duplicate since. BeOS had a local file search in 1997 that would rival OS X 10.4 or Windows Vista.

      they were a decade ahead of their time, and got killed by MSFT because of it. Unfortunately parts of the GUI and system now are behind the others. It is a bit dated, but there are many things that can still be learned by the other OS/GUI makers.
      • by samkass (174571) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:39AM (#22393390) Homepage Journal
        As a former BeOS fan, I agree it was a great OS, but let's not whitewash the past. They had some significant design challenges ahead of them if they wanted to go mainstream. Everything from the "fragile base-class problem", which they never really solved, to support for lots of functionality most users consider basic these days had the potential to eat away at the performance.

        BeOS had a local file search in 1997 that would rival OS X 10.4 ...which is why Apple hired the guy to help develop MacOS X 10.5.

        they were a decade ahead of their time, and got killed by MSFT because of it.

        "got killed"? Apple didn't buy them, and Microsoft encouraged VARs to not sell it pre-installed, but the simple fact is that it wasn't really valuable enough for most people to want to buy it. Windows 95, Windows 2000, linux and MacOS 9 were "good enough" for most folks across most market segments.
        • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:56AM (#22393654)

          "got killed"? Apple didn't buy them, and Microsoft encouraged VARs to not sell it pre-installed, but the simple fact is that it wasn't really valuable enough for most people to want to buy it. Windows 95, Windows 2000, linux and MacOS 9 were "good enough" for most folks across most market segments.
          This I must agree with. BeOS was like an amazing concept OS or technical demo, but given that it was essentially a distant 4th (if that) in desktop market share, behind Windows, Mac, and Linux, it just didn't have the momentum it needed. Not the huge library of commercial apps that Windows had, or the trendiness that MacOS had, or the open source movement and apps that Linux had. It just ended up being a neat toy more than a useful tool.

          Interesting tidbit though: from what I've read, BeOS was Apple's #1 choice as a base for what they wanted to build into Mac OS X. BeOS's CEO wanted $400 million for the company though, and Apple was only prepared to offer $100 million. So, Apple ended up buying out NeXT instead, and based OS X on that. Now OS X is a WONDERFUL platform, and that might have even bee the best choice, but I really, really wonder what MacOS X would look like today if it HAD been based on BeOS. My gut feeling is that we'd have an even nicer Macintosh operating system than we do now.
          • That would have been Steve Job's NEXT being bought out by Steve Jobs ...?

            BeOS would have had to be superb to be the first choice ...?

            • by MBGMorden (803437)

              That would have been Steve Job's NEXT being bought out by Steve Jobs ...?

              Steve Jobs wasn't with Apple anymore at that time. He had left a number of years earlier to found NeXT. He came BACK to Apple through their acquisition of NeXT.

              BeOS would have had to be superb to be the first choice ...?

              BeOS *WAS* superb from a technical standpoint. As we all know though without huge commercial backing, the best technical OS doesn't win. If Apple had taken it and ran with it, their name to draw that commercial support (as well as their own developers to put that Apple spin on it) would have been very interesting.

              Now, I'll completely agree that

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by DaveV1.0 (203135)

          Microsoft encouraged VARs to not sell it pre-installed,

          Let's not whitewash the past. Microsoft used it's monopoly position to strong arm VARs into not selling it pre-installed with Windows. MS stated clearly that the VARs had to either stop pre-installing BeOS with Windows or had to pay retail for Windows, which would have been a death sentence for any VAR distributing BeOS.

          That was the basis for one of the anti-trust lawsuits filed against Microsoft.
          • by samkass (174571)
            Yep. So why wouldn't people buy it retail? Because it wasn't valuable enough to them. For most people, BeOS's amazing features didn't mean as much to them as having MS Office, IE, and the rest of the ecosystem, so it would have actually been a downgrade.
  • The central goal of the Haiku project is to create an operating system that is ideally suited for use on the desktop

    To the user, the desktop ideal is an OS that supports the applications he wants and needs. I am not sure where a resurrected BeOS fits in a universe dominated by Windows, OSX and Linux.

  • by thewiz (24994) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @11:36AM (#22393348)
    Great... Just what I need, more zombied processes.
  • Regardless of its attractive services and features, the entire point of an OS is to run apps on some HW. Are there any apps for Haiku?
    • by DarkSarin (651985)
      I was going to ask the same question.

      Basically this is my question: what is the number of linux/BSD applications that, when recompiled, will simply work under Haiku? Inkscape? Open Office? The Gimp? Give me knowledge, please. I really need to know more about this, and without that information I simply cannot know if this is even worth installing for a take around the block.

      (Do I get PHP? MySQL? Apache?)

      What will I get for my effort? That is the $10,000,000 question.

      • Any application that ran under R5 will run, eventually if not already, on Haiku R1. So right off the bat you have a significant pool of programs. This included things like PHP, Abiword, GIMP, GTK+, Qemu, Firefox, Quake, VLC, etc. A good place to search for programs available for BeOS R5 is BeBits [bebits.com].

        As far as taking a Linux/BSD application and porting it to BeOS/Haiku: it mainly depends on the application at hand.

        Some programs will recompile with no modifications needed, or with only trivial modifications need
    • by Dutch_Cap (532453)

      Very few BeOS applications worth raving about come to mind, but SoundPlay [xs4all.nl] is a most excellent music player. It can play multiple audio files at once at any speed, including backwards. It also has the ability to fade between two files that are playing simultaneously, a feature DJ's will find useful. Moreover, it can be used as a streaming mp3 or ogg server.

      Because of the database-like file system you don't need a bloated interface like iTunes to index and search through your music. You can just use the f

      • by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Is there anything native to BeOS/Haiku that makes that OS uniquely suited to that audio app and the filesystem? Any reason they couldn't be ported quite naturally to Linux?
  • RIP (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:01PM (#22393730) Homepage
    "I once preached peaceful coexistence with Windows. You may laugh at my expense - I deserve it."

    -- Jean-Louis Gassée, CEO Be, Inc.

  • My dad and younger brother played with BeOS for a while, but I never did give it a try. About the time I was ready to install it on one of my machines, they pulled the plug on the project :(

    IIRC, one of the big selling points of BeOS was that it was designed to be used for multimedia applications. I remember seeing pro/serious-amateur hardware recording gear on Musician's Friend that was compatible with BeOS. If Haiku picks up where BeOS left off -- and people like M-Audio or MOTU make gear that is co
  • Sorry (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Vexorian (959249)

    MIT license because the developers want to encourage corporate involvement and believe that permissive licensing creates a healthier relationship with commercial industry.
    I stopped liking the idea after I read that.
    • by Vexorian (959249)
      Disclaimer: I have nothing against permissive licenses (even though the MIT one is extremely permissive). I have licensed some of my stuff with zlib/libng. Anyways, I don't like the implicit anti GPL attack and I don't really like that pro-corporation stuff. For an OS I would prefer my rights to be protected so no big company suddenly decides to EEE my favorite OS into oblivion.
  • Than you BeOS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Faux_Pseudo (141152) <Faux.Pseudo@DEGASgmail.com minus painter> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:18PM (#22393942) Homepage
    I used BeOS for about 20 minutes back when it was around. I would have spent longer playing with it but something amzing happened. When I went to to check if it could recognize my modem it did and it connected to my ISP. Which was something I was unable to do with any version of Linux I had tried so far. So I quickly started digging through the differances in the code of the Linux version I was using at the time and BeOS to find out where the magic happend. I didn't find it but I asked some others and turned out I was only one line of code away from fixing the problem. /bin/setserial -b /dev/modem IRQ 3
    I never got back around to trying BeOS but I am ever so thankful for it providing me proof that my modem was supposed to be working. After that I deleted windows from the 1.3 gig hard drive and was Linux only. Been windows clean for about 9 years now and I owe it all to BeOS. Maybe when Haiku comes out I will dedicate at bit more time to it. Maybe it will be or provide an alternative to Windows for more people.
  • I bought BeOS, back in the R3 days and was very sad to see it go. Despite the lack of hardware support it truly was a revolutionary operating system, its multitasking capabilities were unmatched on the hardware at the time and I can only imagine what it might be like on modern hardware. I will definitely be keeping an eye on the progress of this project. Personally I would love to see this project gain some support from the music creation industry. Software like Traktor, and other DJ related software would
  • The central goal of the Haiku project is to create an operating system that is ideally suited for use on the desktop--this differs significantly from Linux and other open-source operating systems which are intended for use in a diverse range of settings including server and embedded environments.'"

    The challenges of creating a desktop OS are numerous and writing the code is such a small, practically irrelevant part of it yet. The code, however, seems to be all they're focusing on.

    This project is simply

  • I've tried it (Score:2, Informative)

    by Thelasko (1196535)
    I've tried Haiku on a virtual machine and I must say it's pretty cool. If you are thinking about trying it yourself, beware, it doesn't come with a web browser installed. You can download one as well as various other programs at Haikuware.com [haikuware.com]. If you want a version that has everything pre-installed try the weekly superpack [haikuware.com].
  • by nguy (1207026) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @05:46PM (#22399010)
    The central goal of the Haiku project is to create an operating system that is ideally suited for use on the desktop

    The degree to which an OS is suited to use on the desktop is primarily determined by (1) available applications, (2) ease of use, (3) driver support, and (4) stability. Linux has BeOS beat on (1) and (3). There is almost no work on usability on Haiku. And even in the best case, Haiku is at best equal to Linux on (4).

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