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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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  • Re:First poem (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:17PM (#22393106)
    and it was awesome.

    network crash? restart the service.
    sweet.

    in the early days, it was VERY handy.
  • by unfunk (804468) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:32PM (#22393306) Journal

    Multimedia works just great on my Windows XP machine. Could someone explain to me in a not too technical way, just why BeOs was significant?
    Because it was just as good at "Multimedia" as XP is, when it first came out. Back when everybody was migrating from Win95 to Win98.
    It's also inherently multithreading capable - again, not so much of a feature these days, but eight or nine years ago, it was a Big Thing. It was a completely new idea for an OS - none of this silly "if it ain't broke, don't change it" mentality of *nix - or for that matter, the "it's broken, so let's break it some more" attitude of MS/Windows. BeOS was a completely new OS in just about every way you could think of. It's just a shame Palm doesn't feel like giving away the source...
  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @12:46PM (#22393496)
    It could just be idealogical. Not everyone agrees with all the stipulations of the GPL, and so given they choice they may simply prefer to work with BSD licensed code when they can.
  • Re:First poem (Score:4, Insightful)

    by keithius (804090) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:02PM (#22393736) Homepage

    What I really want is an OS that boots, from cold, almost instantly, and from which I can run my games.
    You can already get what you really want. It's called a game console. Go back to using cartridges and you've got everything you want - almost instant cold boot and it plays your games.

    Enjoy.

  • Re:Interesting.... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @01:26PM (#22394044)
    I think the multimedia support in Beos was actually pretty awful.
    Firstly, very few sound cards were supported, and even if you had one with official beos drivers then playback was often glitchy.
    Beos was touted as being a low latency OS capable of near real time performance, but in practice it wasn't.
    spoons!!
  • by Mathinker (909784) on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @02:06PM (#22394590) Journal
    > Do we really need another OS?

    Ever heard of the disadvantages of monoculture? (Yes, I know, it has significant advantages, also.)

    One might also ask "do we really need another antibiotic"? Relax and think of it as pure research.

    > for a novice it is daunting to figure out which of the 100+ distros to get.

    As has been reiterated here hundreds of times: it's trivial for him if it's a pre-installed distro.

    > With Microsoft or Apple it is easy ... Get the latest, choose 64 bit or 32 bit and one of versions and you are set.

    OK, I want the latest Apple OS --- for my Dell. Oops! And how does that novice choose between 64 and 32 bit by himself? I'll tell you how --- he asks the salesperson for help. The thing is, since no one makes extra money on Linux installs, there's no incentive (or at least no perceived incentive) for the salesperson to familiarize himself with the the Linux world so he can give the customer informed advice on distros.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowskyNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Tuesday February 12, 2008 @08:27PM (#22400258) Homepage Journal
    AmigaDOS booted from an 800k floppy and needed less than 512k of ram. It had all these basic gui things: file management, task management, a user friendly command line shell and so on. I do like the BeOS style interface, but its greatest accomplishment is not its size.

    Yeah, but Amiga printing support was terrible, and that brings up an important limitation / benefit. AmigaDOS had a huge advantage that today's operating systems cannot have. It was welded directly to the hardware. Witness GDI in Windows, or, for that matter, the drawing surface in BeOS. Those surfaces completely abstract the graphics device from the user. That adds bulk and complexity to the OS code, but it means you can have an upgrade path for graphics cards.

    By contrast, in Amiga OS, you could always fish your way through the display to the underlying RastPort. You could take a pointer to an Intuition object, like a Window, then go into a Screen, and from there a RastPort (or something like that)... anyway the RastPort was the animal that was the screen memory and you could write to it willy nilly. There was the whole mess of multiple graphics planes that complicated things, although you could use the Blitter.... the point is, if you liked hacking on hardware, (which was the best part of 80's computing), you could do whatever you wanted, but that ultimately married your application to that hardware. Windows changed that... but that made it more complex.

    Nowadays, graphics hardware is insanely complicated and you almost have to thank the Gods that nVidia and others actually write drivers for it. I would love to see a specification, at some point, that was as clear about how to drive a modern graphics card as RJ Mical's (right name) documentation for the Amiga Hardware. I still have the book, best hardware doc ever written. Given that, you could theoretically write a small OS pegged to a PC with a particular graphics card, sound card, and network, but what would that get you? Size, speed and elegance... but, ultimately, the economies of scale would screw you in favor of big fat retarded operating systems that abstract everything.

    Now, there's quite a few features that AmigaDOS lacked that we would consider essential in this day and age. That would add to the bloat as well.

    a) Printing. I think printers are terrible and foolish but some people can't live without them and have to have that paper copy. Does anyone remember the hype of computers bringing the paperless office? That was a few billion trees ago!

    b) Scalable Fonts. Amiga DOS had nothing like True Type

    c) Clear Type, font anti aliasing, scaling, etc. Amiga just had bitmap fonts. Fonts were blitted over and that was that.

    d) 3d graphics.

    e) Better sound. Amiga's 4 channel 8 bit sound would a bit dated by today's standard. Although, I loved how easy it was to program.

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