Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 4th Apr 2007 21:29 UTC
Zeta A lot of things have happened in the past few days concerning Zeta, BeOS, and Haiku. In order to create some order in the chaos, Eugenia and I have created a rough timeline of what happened the past 6-7 years. Read on for the timeline and some more thoughts on the matter. Update: Magnusoft ceases distribution of Zeta. Update II: Access answered the questions posed in the article.
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I'll tell you why...
by lucky13 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 22:48 UTC
lucky13
Member since:
2007-04-01

Why did Palmsource decline to talk with Bernd Korz?

Because they probably had no interest in licensing something that wouldn't generate revenue. And I think that's something that gets overlooked in all the zeal about how great Be was. It wasn't a great business, it wasn't a great business model, and it wasn't greatly demanded by the public.

There's a very practical reason Be died, why Palm did little if anything to resuscitate it themselves, and why everything associated with it since then has failed: there's not enough commercial demand for Be to make it economically feasible. There weren't enough users when it was contemporary, there aren't enough now to make it worth resurrecting. If there were, we wouldn't be discussing who's distributing or not distributing Zeta this particular week.

(After reading Eugenia's World Plan on her blog last weekend, I'm pretty sure the economics and business part of it is totally lost on her.)

Why did Palmsource never took any legal action against YellowTAB (that we know of)?

For the same reason Access says they haven't: it wouldn't be in their financial interest to do so. For the same reason bank robbers rob banks and lawyers rob insurance companies and auto or gun manufacturers instead of poor people actually responsible for crashes and gunshot wounds: it's all about who has the money.

YellowTab and Magnussoft don't have deep pockets, the product never sold like gangbusters, and Bernd (if he went beyond whatever license agreement he had) isn't important enough to sue. The only remaining reason anyone would sue is out of principle, and it would be more costly for them than anyone they accused of IP infringement.

Napster was a prime example of when someone would sue for IP infringement. Millions of people were using it and the media companies feared losing their shirts over it. BeOS/Zeta aren't used by millions, there's no groundswell for BeOS or Zeta, so there's no interest protected in suing.

Why has Access been so secretive about their actions against Zeta?

Because nothing is served by giving the issue any publicity. Sometimes it's best to conduct these matters privately and let things wither naturally. Do you really think they ever feared Zeta would catch on like wildfire and take over the world's desktops? Hahaha! If they had ANY fear of that, it would've been a big deal. Letting Zeta die as quickly as possible served all their interests.

Why did they choose a comments' section on a news site to speak in public about this for the first time?

How certain are you that that's actually the case? And what difference does that make if they indeed own the IP related to Be and Zeta is an infringement?

Are the recent talks between Access and Haiku a mere coincidence?

Maybe your tinfoil hat is a little snug. It could all be coincidence, it may not be. It's irrelevant if the people at Access are accurately stating the situation between their IP and Zeta. It doesn't matter what Access wants to do if Access holds the Be intellectual properties. Those would be their rights, not Zeta's.

Reply Score: 5

RE: I'll tell you why...
by Vibe on Wed 4th Apr 2007 23:26 in reply to "I'll tell you why..."
Vibe Member since:
2007-03-12

YellowTab and Magnussoft don't have deep pockets, the product never sold like gangbusters, and Bernd (if he went beyond whatever license agreement he had) isn't important enough to sue. The only remaining reason anyone would sue is out of principle, and it would be more costly for them than anyone they accused of IP infringement.

Didn't Zeta sell more than BeOS originally did?

How much did that gross?

Why didn't Palm or Access see any money?

Where did the money go?

Edited 2007-04-04 23:29

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I'll tell you why...
by lucky13 on Wed 4th Apr 2007 23:39 in reply to "RE: I'll tell you why..."
lucky13 Member since:
2007-04-01

Didn't Zeta sell more than BeOS originally did?
Hardly a measure of success given that Be started giving it away after the Apple deal fell through.

How much did that gross?
Not enough to justify continued development and sale, apparently.

Why didn't Palm or Access see any money? Where did the money go?
What money? You're equating sales with profit, and I don't think BeOS or Zeta were ever in the black. From everything I've been able to gather, Be was floating on venture capital and never came close to realizing a profit. I wouldn't expect Zeta to have fared any better.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: I'll tell you why...
by Valhalla on Thu 5th Apr 2007 03:02 in reply to "I'll tell you why..."
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24

lucky13 wrote:
"-(After reading Eugenia's World Plan on her blog last weekend, I'm pretty sure the economics and business part of it is totally lost on her.)"

missed that one, but this one she wrote made me kind of sad:

-"One could argue that the future of BeOS lies with Haiku. But the reality is, the future of BeOS doesn’t even exist. The “operating system days” where several hobby/alternative OSes made the round in the news outlets are long gone. Linux has taken that 3rd place in the OS market and nobody gives a shit anymore about OSes like SkyOS, Syllable, ReactOS or Haiku. These OSes make a much smaller impact today than they used to do back in 2001.

This is why I tried to drive OSNews away from OSes and more into the general technology campground. There is no money to be made in operating system [news] anymore."


ouch. I have no illusions that Haiku is ever going to be anything remotely mainstream (I would SO love to be proved wrong though) but that doesn't mean I don't give a shit about it, or other alternate operating systems either for that matter. it's actually the reason I come here. I can find info on the mainstream systems practically anywhere on the web. I come here to fuel my interest for all operating systems, but those alternate ones in particular. ahwell...

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: I'll tell you why...
by lucky13 on Thu 5th Apr 2007 04:01 in reply to "RE: I'll tell you why..."
lucky13 Member since:
2007-04-01

missed that one

I haven't seen anything so extensive in support of centralized planning since the Berlin Wall came down.
http://eugenia.blogsome.com/2007/03/26/the-perfect-society/

I come here to fuel my interest for all operating systems, but those alternate ones in particular.

So do I. I understand (and agree with) what she means, though. OSNews does a better job covering those alternative OSes than anyone else does, but they have to cover stuff that can pay the bills, too. And in fairness, the alternative OSes are still getting covered (and by Eugenia) -- just look at this article and thread.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I'll tell you why...
by Elektro on Thu 5th Apr 2007 10:57 in reply to "RE: I'll tell you why..."
Elektro Member since:
2006-08-19

'Linux has taken that 3rd place in the OS market and nobody gives a shit anymore about OSes like SkyOS, Syllable, ReactOS or Haiku. These OSes make a much smaller impact today than they used to do back in 2001. '

Well, Reactos is an upcoming operating system which development will strengthen also Wine. In 2001 nobody discussed Reactos.

And Freedos is a good choice for embedded technology, which comnpetes pretty well with MS Dos 6.

Haiku is a Beos reservate but hey, there are still Amiga supporters out there and I love Geoworks.

Mac OS X was in a very similar state despite they had more money and a critical mass of customers.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE: I'll tell you why...
by yahya on Thu 5th Apr 2007 11:44 in reply to "I'll tell you why..."
yahya Member since:
2007-03-29

Why did Palmsource never took any legal action against YellowTAB (that we know of)?

For the same reason Access says they haven't: it wouldn't be in their financial interest to do so.


However, this does not explain, why the company never publicly clarified the legal situation before April 4th. This would have come at no cost. If there was no business relationship between both companies and if they were really so annoyed about yellowTAB as to send them cease-and-desist letters "on multiple occasions, it is hard to understand why they never went public before yesterday.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: I'll tell you why...
by lucky13 on Thu 5th Apr 2007 16:00 in reply to "RE: I'll tell you why..."
lucky13 Member since:
2007-04-01

this does not explain, why the company never publicly clarified the legal situation before April 4th. This would have come at no cost.
I addressed that matter by noting that Access had time on their side and only had to wait for Zeta to die. It was bound for failure. Zeta was an unprofitable venture. Ask Be's old developers and the VC people who probably got pennies on the dollar for their investments in Be. Ask Yellow Tab. Ask Magnussoft. Ask anyone else who's willing to waste time looking at the amount of resources it would require to (1) produce in retail-worthy volumes, (2) continue code development, (3) advertise, and (4) even provide Zeta with a website and the look at the demand for Be or Zeta and how the income would never match the costs required to continue its development.

There was no need for Access to do anything that would give Zeta any publicity (good or bad). All they had to do was wait and let Zeta fail. They did that. They don't have to clarify anything to anyone if they hold the Be IP -- that's their call and they owe no one an explanation for how or why they do business.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: I'll tell you why...
by kaiwai on Thu 5th Apr 2007 11:47 in reply to "I'll tell you why..."
kaiwai Member since:
2005-07-06

I disagree with your assessment:

And I think that's something that gets overlooked in all the zeal about how great Be was. It wasn't a great business, it wasn't a great business model, and it wasn't greatly demanded by the public.


Yes, it was a terrible business model from the point of view that it took far too long to kill off the PowerPC system and the port - quite frankly, it was a money loseing waste of an effort to continue developing a machine that occupied a niche within a niche within a niche.

Lets say they went right off the bat with BeOS, killed off PowerPC and hardware business long before R4, and focused on purely on the x86 platform - they wouldn't have had the mirrade of issues which plagued them.

They would have retained alot more money which they could have then pumped back into development rather than propping up their hardware business - but even then, it was an operating system going for a niche, and we all have seen those who occupy a niche - they eventually die, there isn't the volume to keep up with the rising costs that are associated with software development.

The only real hope, is the opensource implementation in the form of HaikuOS - I said it around 8 years ago, the only way that BeOS can survive is for the opensource community rally around; companies come and go, but if the code is opensource, there is always going to be someone or something willing to pick up the ball and run with it.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[2]: I'll tell you why...
by lucky13 on Thu 5th Apr 2007 16:22 in reply to "RE: I'll tell you why..."
lucky13 Member since:
2007-04-01

I disagree with your assessment:

My assessment was that it was a bad business built on a worse business model. Then you describe how it was a bad business built on a worse business model. So just how do you disagree? By hypotheticals!

You can play hypotheticals all you want but that doesn't change what Be was or that it's defunct today. There was no demand for it on any platform -- not to the extent that anyone could make money from it. There weren't profits to be made that could be rolled back into development.

Open sourcing BeOS wouldn't have done anything that Be didn't try -- and they had plenty of venture capital money to play with. I have nothing to say about the Haiku project except that I admire its progress; I haven't used it, and I doubt I ever will. Technically and with respect to consumer demand, I don't think it has better legs under it than Be ever did.

Now for some tough love -- and I promise this isn't flame bait, it's just the cold hard reality. I wrote on my blog last night:
...I think that’s one of the great ironies: Be paid no homage to the past with support for legacy hardware — BeOS was intended only for current hardware. In recreating an open source BeOS, will Haiku be relevant to our increasingly smaller wireless future or will it be relegated to our increasingly archaic desktops?
http://lucky13.blogsavy.com/2007/04/04/another-beos-spin-off-bites-...

In trying to be a modern desktop system, Haiku already way behind the eight ball. I don't care how technically superior it may be to Windows, Mac, Linux, BSD, or anything else. The modern desktop isn't where Linux and other OSes are trying to get more share. That war's pretty much over with a few minor skirmishes for small turf advances remaining. The next frontier where the battle is being fought in earnest is away from the desktop -- mobile, smaller, scalable, secure. That's where Linux is battling for big share, and winning:
http://www.redherring.com/Article.aspx?a=21904&hed=Linux+%E2~*~...

How many phones will Haiku run on in five years? What will their market share of mobile devices be in the next decade? Probably less than their share of the desktop market in 2007.

Be wasn't something consumers wanted in the 1990s. I don't think consumers want Haiku or will want it in the foreseeable future, on desktops or otherwise. Be was ahead of its time; Haiku is behind the times.

Reply Parent Score: 1