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Be Open Source Operating Systems

How Haiku Is Building a Better BeOS 137

angry tapir writes "BeOS may be dead, but over a decade after its lamentable demise the open source Haiku project keeps its legacy alive. Haiku is an attempt to build a drop-in, binary compatible replacement for BeOS, as well as extending the defunct OS's functionality and support for modern hardware. At least, that's the short-term goal — eventually, Haiku is intended significantly enhance BeOS while maintaining the same philosophy of simplicity and transparency, and without being weighed down with the legacy code of many other contemporary operating systems. I recently caught up with Stephan Aßmus, who has been a key contributor to the project for seven years to talk about BeOS, the current state of Haiku and the project's future plans."
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How Haiku Is Building a Better BeOS

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  • by MetalliQaZ ( 539913 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:45AM (#40904735)

    I admire their work. They've obviously done some impressive things to preserve that community. I just don't understand them. BeOS hasn't really progressed at all in the past...what? 8 years? At this point they may as well be hacking on Amiga or Plan9. by the time they're done, we're all going to be running on browser-based platforms that use the OS as a layer to support the fancy proprietary graphics drivers. I'm simplifying of course, but that would sure sap my enthusiasm for an OS project.

  • Raspberry Pi? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by a_nonamiss ( 743253 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @09:46AM (#40904739)
    Seems like this OS would be a good fit for Raspberry Pi, if someone would take the time to build it for ARM. The fixed hardware and low power of the Pi is just begging for a lightweight, low footprint OS, and people using the Pi aren't really shackled to backwards compatibility. I know absolutely nothing about how to port a kernel, or I'd be right in there trying to figure out how to do this.
  • Re:Haiku (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:10AM (#40904957)
    Well, call me when the ARM port is functional enough for the nightly builds, and I'll try it on a Raspberry Pi.
  • by jellomizer ( 103300 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:11AM (#40904973)

    Computing has a lot of interesting history, and keeping ideas going can come in handy.
    We had the first computer that was rather hard wired. No network just crunched numbers.
    Then we had the Mainframe, this offered more remote computing with time share and remote dumb terminals.
    Then we had the PC, it took over a lot of the mainframe space because every one had their own computing power on their desk and didn't need all that wiring.
    Then we got more Web Applications because networking has gotten cheaper and faster, and servers can do a bulk of the work faster and share across many systems.
    Then we got mobile devices with apps. As wireless internet is expensive.

    Now if wireless companies start offering cheaper and faster internet we will being to see Mobile apps going away and being replaced with more HTML5/other language web apps, and we will be less considered about app lock in.
    Then we will get new technology that processes data much better then what we can do over the network and we will go back to apps again...

    Ideas came up generations ago, that were considered outdated, or just not useful often get a new life due to new features.
    For example compare Windows 8 UI with Plan 9 UI. They are moving away from Windows and to Frames. Also there is a case with newer smaller technology that comes across will need a small light OS (for the time) keeping the Old Concept OS's updated and working, keeps ideas fresh and sometimes they will use them and give them a new life.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:34AM (#40905211) Homepage

    If he was saying they were going to take down Linux or something, then I'd say they were bat shit crazy but really all they're saying is that they want to try doing their own thing. I think every developer has that "If I could just rewrite this from scratch without having to deal with all the old cruft, it would be soooooooo much better" itch. Maybe the goal isn't competing, it could be sheer accomplishment as in I wrote this and it works great. It could be recognition, that others see the quality of your craft. It could be inspiration, that by showing it as a proof of concept in a small and nimble OS it might be picked up by others. Of course you could end up reinventing the wheel or worse, but then that's a learning experience - but it's still easier to try and fail in a simpler environment. You get to think more on concepts, less on dealing with old code.

    I think that's really one of the strengths of open source, you don't have to get anyone's permission, you don't have to convince any naysayers, you don't have to build a business case. You just have to say "yes I could" and code yourself a better mouse trap. Of course you could do that with Linux too but the whole mainlining process is working against you because it goes into millions of production servers that have to be rock stable. It's probably better for you to be part of a project that's open to such radical changes, to be a big fish in a small pond rather than a small fish in a big pond. Perhaps you don't even have any interest in being in the big pond at all.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @10:57AM (#40905497)

    The fixed hardware and low power of the Pi is just begging for a lightweight, low footprint OS

    You mean like Linux or BSD?

    Linux or BSD only seem lightweight to people who only are familiar with monolithic kernels. Linux and BSD might seem slick compared to Windows but compared to things like BeOS and AmigaOS they are huge and resource draining.

  • Re:Raspberry Pi? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday August 07, 2012 @11:03AM (#40905559) Journal

    I remember reading some of the Haiku mailling list once. Posix compatibilty was brought up, and the prevailing opinion was that they didn't want to become yet another posix app launcher. Too much posix compatibility would cannibalize whatever interest there may be in native Haiku apps.

    I see their point. There's little reason to switch from Linux when you're just looking at using the same apps you always would. And if you're interested in writing a new app, you'll be more likely to make an impact with an app on a platform with little software than one that has the whole open source ecosystem available to it. I just hope they have enough interest in their platform to draw app developers and not just OS devs.

"Don't worry about people stealing your ideas. If your ideas are any good, you'll have to ram them down people's throats." -- Howard Aiken