Linked by David Courtney on Wed 8th Feb 2006 22:48 UTC
Zeta Even though I ordered Zeta from an official US reseller store, the product box I received was in the German language (at least part of it was). I recognized the company name, yellowTAB, and the name of the operating system, Zeta. But all other information printed on the box, including the system requirements, were printed in German.
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by Ralf. on Wed 8th Feb 2006 23:23 UTC
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"...light weight window managers for the X Window System..."?
Has the good old BeOS changed that much that they use X11? No, not really, I think. Zeta has nothing to do with X-Windows - thats why it is so fast ;-)

Edited 2006-02-08 23:24

Reply Score: 0

RE: errr...
by speter on Thu 9th Feb 2006 00:44 UTC in reply to "errr..."
speter Member since:

Come now, Ralf, at least quote the whole sentence. He made no claim that Zeta uses the X Window System, only that if you like the lightweight window managers (I presume as opposed to Gnome and KDE), you'll like Zeta.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: errr...
by Bending Unit on Thu 9th Feb 2006 05:40 UTC in reply to "RE: errr..."
Bending Unit Member since:

What's so heavyweight about metacity and kwin?

Reply Score: 1

A few points
by memson on Thu 9th Feb 2006 00:05 UTC
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1) ...

>ed. note: Mac OS uses Apple's equiv. of the alt key
>as shortcut key

No it doesn't. The Mac uses the Apple key as the shortcut key. On a Mac keyboard, Alt (aka Option) is the key position most recent PC keyboards would call "Windows". A Mac has (left to right), "Control", "Option", "Apple" aka "Ctrl", "Alt" and "Pretzel"/"Flower"/"Splat".

2) Zeta box in German.

Did the author try turning the DVD case sleave inside out? Zeta RC3 onwards (the first version I tried) had German on one side and English on the other - German is more often on the outside, YT being German.

3) The 3Com 920 chipset is supported by a third party Driver (see, but its a bitch to get working as the 3com 905B driver conflicts with it. Basically, the 920 is "compatible" with the 905C, but the Be driver only supports the 905B - or something like that. However, 3Com are crap at changing their hardware id's, and the Be/Zeta native driver will assume it will work, even though it doesn't, and the third party driver is never loaded. If you physically delete the old driver, the new one works - well at least, does for me - your mileage will obviously vary.

Reply Score: 5

RE: A few points
by blixel on Thu 9th Feb 2006 00:17 UTC in reply to "A few points"
blixel Member since:

2) Zeta box in German.

Did the author try turning the DVD case sleave inside out? Zeta RC3 onwards (the first version I tried) had German on one side and English on the other - German is more often on the outside, YT being German.

No, I didn't. I never even noticed. You're absolutely right though.

Reply Score: 5

Stability is a big concern
by hraq on Thu 9th Feb 2006 00:18 UTC
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"While testing my USB memory card reader, I managed to totally lockup the computer. There was no response from the mouse. The cursor was frozen in place on the screen. And when I pressed the num lock key on the keyboard, the LED didn't go off. After a minute, I hit the reset button on the computer."

I have been testing Zeta since the RC1 then I used version 1.0 then version 1.1. And I totally agree with the author about the stability issues. I had the OS frozen at least in 7 occasions by 7 applications included with their own CD. The most annoying and non forgiveable was the crashability of Tracker ( Windows Explorer Like, or Linux Konqueoror/Nautilus Like). Mounting Network shares was a matter of luck, sometimes it works sometimes not. I don't understand why this activation annoying popup. I don't need their support, I might give it though to their community, so why to annoy me. Their OS is still IMHO in beta stage and marketing it as full version tells me how low quality their future releases might be. When we look at Linux applications they stay 0.x for years untill they dare mark it as v 1.0, zeta now is v 1.1 and with those horrible unacceptable crashes I can not recommend it for productivity, but sure I can recommend it as a hobby OS.

Edited 2006-02-09 00:20

Reply Score: 4

NOT reccomended!
by bornagainenguin on Thu 9th Feb 2006 00:37 UTC
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I though the link I hit would give me a menu or something to choose a rating, not that clicking the link would automatically recommed the story!

Also I'm not happy with this article regardless of how informative it is--for the simple reason I resent he 'editor's notes' in the article, not to mention that it was broken up into far too many parts. But really its the editor's snide remarks over the contributor that set my teeth. Let the 'editor' write his own article or contact the author and ask that changes be made, not try to insert comments everywhere.

I kept thinking everytime I saw one STFU, please!


PS: David Courtney, could I suggest you submit this article to somewhere else where they won't be quite as unprofessional?

Reply Score: 5

by sequethin on Thu 9th Feb 2006 01:40 UTC
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I'm sorry but $90 is too much for a hobby OS. I'd consider giving them 40? maybe 50? I'll keep my eye out for zeta 2 ;)

Reply Score: 3

by Mystic TaCo on Thu 9th Feb 2006 02:01 UTC
Mystic TaCo
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Okay, so most of the things that this author found worth mentioning were long-time Be-ism's. Besides Firefox, what does Zeta have/do above and beyond the BeOS core? Are the bulk of the improvements limited to new hardware support?

Reply Score: 2

by Zenja on Thu 9th Feb 2006 02:57 UTC in reply to "BeOS"
Zenja Member since:

Modern hardware support is probably the biggest selling point for Zeta. You also get a SVG enabled Tracker, NDIS wrapper for wireless networking, CUPS for printing, SANE for scanning, a new USB stack (which is where the lockup bug came from).

You also get all the additions from Dan0 (BeOS 6), which includes BONE for networking, new messages, XML kit, new Media kit, themable windows (without draggable tabs) etc.

You get bundled 3rd party apps, like Gobe Productive (full version), BeServed, etc. No need to hunt Bebits and BeShare for archieves of old BeOS apps (no dead links).

You also get to donate money to yellowTab which is being used to finance development of Zeta 1.5 (and not a Carribean vacation for a bunch of executives). Alternatively, you can donate to Haiku. R1.5 should have multiuser support, OpenOffice ported, GCC 4.0 and other additions.

At the end of the day, you end up supporting an alternative OS (competitor to Windows, MacOSX and *nix). How much a 4th player is worth to you (and the world) is a different matter entirely.

When Haiku R2 arrives on the scene, things should get interesting. Zeta is a stop-gap until then, after which I see yellowTab transitioning to a Haiku distributor.

Reply Score: 3

Work on the HCL, yellowTab
by Sandwich Boy on Thu 9th Feb 2006 03:14 UTC in reply to "RE: BeOS"
Sandwich Boy Member since:

I'm getting a new boxen, and I hope to run Zeta. I'm writing this from the last one I built, for BeOS Pro 5. But if Zeta is to succeed, it needs to match my PC, and not the other way around.

I don't donate money to companies. Sorry, yT.

What the hell is wrong with ELQ?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Work on the HCL, yellowTab
by djame on Thu 9th Feb 2006 15:31 UTC in reply to "Work on the HCL, yellowTab"
djame Member since:

>I don't donate money to companies. Sorry, yT.

you're so lucky to have your own cow to grab your milk,
your own chemist who build your own medics, and of course your own internet company because you are not going to give them money in exchange of a service like letting you use their bandwith to send a post about the fact you don't donate money. Yes, sure.

Reply Score: 1

StephenBeDoper Member since:

you're so lucky to have your own cow to grab your milk, your own chemist who build your own medics, and of course your own internet company because you are not going to give them money in exchange of a service like letting you use their bandwith to send a post about the fact you don't donate money. Yes, sure.

Okay, say it with me now: "commerce is not charity."

You appear to have confused the difference between a "payment" and a "donation." Which is funny, because your own post differentiates between donating and exhcanging money for goods or services.

To use one of your similitudes, do you give money to pharmaceutical companies who make medications that have no effect on you? Probably not. Which was the point that Sandwich Boy was making - that he would like to buy ZETA to use it, but if it won't run on his computer, then he's not interested in buying it merely to subsidize development.

Reply Score: 1

I liked this review...
by DeadFishMan on Thu 9th Feb 2006 03:36 UTC
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Itīs the first one that Iīve seen lately that do not spend pages and pages with the installation of the OS (which, by many accounts, is the most important part of an OS... Yeah, right!). Those make me throw up.

Regarding Zeta itself, I think that it is alright. I like the look & feel and the responsiveness of it and I can do almost everything that I need with it. Gobe Productive is more than enough for my office needs, too. The things that are deal breakers for me are that it is single user (Sorry! I canīt do without proper multi-user support today, even on a home environment) and that it is lagging behind in several areas when compared to the "big 3". The only thing that the BeOS platform have going for it right now is the fact that some *nix software is being ported to it, but in some cases, they arenīt even being mantained anymore.

Thatīs a sad state of things since BeOS/Zeta is so pleasant to use but I canīt see it replacing my current OS as a everyday OS what would put it on my "Hobby OSes" category and I agree that its price is a bit expensive for that.

If they drop the price a little bit, I can see this becoming a good deal to setup computers to be used by new users, though.

Reply Score: 1

Interesting Review
by Earl Colby pottinger on Thu 9th Feb 2006 06:22 UTC
Earl Colby pottinger
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One problem he ran into seems easy to fix when you have only installed BeOS but it seems to have caused problems in Zeta is the video/audio playback settings. Basicly I think he only has to enable the real-time options in Preferences/Media. However, they are hard enough to find if you don't know about them before-hand in a simple BeOS install. In the larger Zeta install the odds of finding them just by searching will be far lower. With the extra memory of modern computers it looks like those features should now be defaulted as on.

Note: I don't have Zeta, I am assuming it have the same defaults as BeOS 5.03.

Edited 2006-02-09 06:24

Reply Score: 1

by StephenBeDoper on Thu 9th Feb 2006 07:52 UTC
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It seems rather odd that YellowTAB hasn't set Ctrl as the shortcut key by default, especially since they've set Tracker to the non-spatial "single-window browse" mode by default.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Odd
by gmiranda on Thu 9th Feb 2006 09:55 UTC in reply to "Odd"
gmiranda Member since:

Interesting point, that 'backward compatibility' does suck in every interface.

Reply Score: 1

by BladeMelbourne on Thu 9th Feb 2006 09:29 UTC
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A good honest review - full of the stuff that really matters. The only thing missing is a few screenshots :-)

Reply Score: 1

Twitcher and Alt-Tab
by Nutela on Thu 9th Feb 2006 10:21 UTC
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To go back to the previous app press Alt+Shift+Tab or Ctrl+Shift+Tab

But I admit it sure is ackward and there sure could be improvement here!

VLC not playing DVD has got to do DeCSS issues I think but it's sure dumb. OTOH I think you'll love VLC compared to YT's media*NOT*player ; )

Thumbnails, have you tried the thumbnailer Tracker addon? You'll soon dislike YT for it. But ShowImage is great huh, guess what it comes from Haiku and thus not YT !

Cool that you had your videocamers working! I have barrowed a Sony with USB 2.0 which burns mini-DVD's. Well connecting to USB didn't work so I finalized the mini-DVD, mounted it and could play the video fine but the video editor couldn't open it, also after I re-encoded it to Xvid with HandBrake (check that app out it rocks!) I could load them to the VideoEditor and tried to set A-B transition but the timing was al wrong and it didn't seem to work at all : (

Yeah a mixed bag Zeta is, compared to R5 the Zeta sucks big time, get's unrespondsive etc. but maybe that's because it's based on the beta code named Dan0. Phos sucked in the same way Zeta still does so I think it's largely to up to YT to correct that if they can.... : /

Edited 2006-02-09 10:41

Reply Score: 2

Choppy playback in VLC...
by stippi on Thu 9th Feb 2006 10:58 UTC
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2006-01-19 most likely caused by the footage residing on a non-BFS volume. VLC is known to have problems playing videos from FAT volumes on BeOS/ZETA. The CPU peaking at 50% hints in that direction. If your videos are very high resolution, the problem might also be a limitation of transfer speed from main to graphics memory. I don't know if AGP is activated on ZETA in general or on your system in particular.

That being said, I do agree that some of the *implementation* of the multimedia framework of BeOS/ZETA leave a *lot* to be desired.

Best regards,


Reply Score: 2

RE: Choppy playback in VLC...
by blixel on Fri 10th Feb 2006 00:15 UTC in reply to "Choppy playback in VLC..."
blixel Member since:
2005-07-06 most likely caused by the footage residing on a non-BFS volume. VLC is known to have problems playing videos from FAT volumes on BeOS/ZETA.

Copying the video files to the ZETA system did solve the choppy playback. They weren't stored on a FAT volume though. They were stored on my network storage device which is formatted as ext2.

It should have occurred to me to copy them to the local hard-drive. I play back video files over the network from my main machine (Linux) all the time with no problem though. So I just didn't think about the possibility of there being a problem with pulling the video over the network.

Also, I had no problem playing music files with Media Player. And all my music is also stored on the network. But music files are much less demanding obviously.

Anyway, thanks for the tip.

Reply Score: 1

by ModeenF on Thu 9th Feb 2006 11:38 UTC
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I have read that gcc 3.xx was up to 30% faster than 2.xx and that gcc 4.xx is 10-20 % faster..

Zeta and BeOS uses gcc 2.95.. will be nice to see if Zeta gets faster with gcc 4.xx

Now speed are not everythning but linux had not that much support in the beginning ;)

If you only like opensource then have a look at they ar not in alpha stage but are getting there fast.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Fast
by tonestone57 on Fri 10th Feb 2006 05:55 UTC in reply to "Fast"
tonestone57 Member since:

True, Yellowtab mentioned compiling Zeta with gcc4 to improve speed (& other advantages).

What I'm wondering is which version will be with gcc4?

On their website they say the upcoming version.

Does this mean that Zeta version 1.5 will be compiled with gcc4?

Or will it be version 2.0?

I hope they mean version 2.0, because I see this as a major change that will affect program compatibility.

Haiku-OS appears to be pre-Alpha. It will be awhile before they get to beta & release candidates. Maybe December 2006 we'll have betas to play with?

Zeta is the better choice though because:
#1 Yellowtab makes money off of Zeta (which is used to pay employees).
#2 Yellowtab has lots of employees working on Zeta full time.
#3 Yellowtab is able to do more work in a given time.
#4 Yellowtab incorporates Haiku code into Zeta.

This means, that Zeta should be further along than Haiku OS once it is fully completed.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Fast
by StephenBeDoper on Fri 10th Feb 2006 06:17 UTC in reply to "RE: Fast"
StephenBeDoper Member since:

I hope they mean version 2.0, because I see this as a major change that will affect program compatibility.

I think I remember reading a description of how Haiku could move to GCC 4 and keep backwards compatibility (I don't remember the details, but I believe it involved keeping a copy of the GCC 2.95-compiled system files as well). I would imagine YellowTAB could manage something like that for ZETA.

Reply Score: 1

Single user
by Emil on Thu 9th Feb 2006 16:36 UTC
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I'll try Zeta IF or WHEN they'll go multiuser.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Single user
by tonestone57 on Fri 10th Feb 2006 05:42 UTC in reply to "Single user "
tonestone57 Member since:

Zeta should go multiuser in version 1.5 (their next update release).

There will be some updates, newer drivers and improvements to the OS. Yellowtab is mainly concerned with improving the OS, other software will have to be created by sofware developers.

People, don't expect Zeta to be fantastic overnight. BeOS stopped back in late 2001. Yellowtab didn't start Zeta till late 2004(?) - something like that.

It will take a bit of time before Yellowtab gets going on it and catches up with other OSes, like Linux & Windows. But it will be rewarding for those who can hold out for later versions.

It is too early for Yellowtab to have done lots of major changes to the original BeOS, but I can see these coming in the next 1-2 years. (ie: Zeta will be made up of more Yellowtab & Haiku code and less or no BeOS code).

People should realize that this is just Zeta Version 1.x (ie: don't expect too much from the current version of Zeta) - it won't be until Version 2.x (or 3.x) when Zeta OS will get noticed and really shine.

Reply Score: 1

RE[2]: Single user
by Nutela on Fri 17th Feb 2006 10:34 UTC in reply to "RE: Single user "
Nutela Member since:

Well that's what bothers me. R5 was already very mature, how come Zeta isn't? It's much more a work in progress, my guess is that it's because of Zeta being based on Dan0.

Reply Score: 1

Too true.
by DFergATL on Thu 9th Feb 2006 17:37 UTC
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I have been using Zeta sence r1. While it has come a long way I have to agree with most of the review. It is very hard to get much in the way of usefullness out of it. I tried but found that I couldn't do too many things and had to keep booting back to Windows. So, evntually I gave up and have not used it in months. I keep trying each release and maybe they will get their act together. I have been waiting for years and as much as I hope they will. My patience is wearing thin. R 1.5 will have to be great or at least a huge bump in stability and usefullness or I will look elsewhere.

Reply Score: 1

Nice review
by warriorspot on Fri 10th Feb 2006 15:37 UTC
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In all a good review. I use Zeta 1.1 just about full time and I have been lucky enough not to experience any stability or latency issues. This is likely due to me running it on a machine that is fully supported by R5.03.

I also found it ironic that DVD Player (VLC) doesn't play most (any?) DVDs (at least ones I have tried). Of course, all you have to do is go download the latest version of VLC for BeOS/Zeta and that takes care of that.

I have also had pretty good luck viewing Excel and Word files using Gobe. The only real problems I have had is when the Word files have pictures in them, which don't get translated at all.

Zeta is not perfect, but for me it is an improvement over R5.03 and does everything I need it to do in a simple, quick fashion.


Reply Score: 1