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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Member since:

@ lucky13
I'm fine with you expressing your opinion *and* not agreeing with my posts.

But, modding my posts down because you don't *agree* with my statements seems rather childish of you.

Still, I'll respond to you.
Magnussoft's decision, remember, was based on very poor sales.

Magnussoft stopped funding development costs on March 16, but said their distribution of Zeta would continue till end of 2007.

Profit is not possible by paying for development, but only by selling Zeta 1.21 & 1.5. I did *not* tell Access to continue development of Zeta. I merely stated that Zeta 1.21 & 1.5 are finished already (development costs have been paid by Magnussoft for these) and 1.21 & 1.5 should continue to be sold.

If Zeta is found illegal, then Access takes ownership of Zeta 1.21 & 1.5 (finished products) and by allowing Magnussoft to continue selling these, they will make sales / revenue and realize profits from these sales.

I *never* stated continuing *development* (or paying for development) of Zeta, but only to continue selling the current finished versions.

If you take into consideration development costs, then yes Zeta is unprofitable. But, Zeta has *other* distributors too, (who only sell Zeta), don't you think they make money? If Magnussoft had been only a distributor, then they would have made profits instead of incurring losses. Anyone paying for the development of Zeta bear the bulk of the costs.

Magnussoft *paid* development costs already, so they took the loss themselves. The only profit to be realized is with the sale of the OS. It allows Magnussoft to make back *some* of the money they've lost (maybe even come out of it with a small profit in the end).

Access would not pay for *any* development costs *and* an agreement would be only to get a percentage of the profits obtained from the sale of Zeta OSes (ie: 1.5, 1.21, 1.2, 1.1, 1.0) from the time Access becomes the new owner of Zeta (or maybe from when David made the allegation that Zeta was illegal & this was proven).

Seriously, do you even read or understand my posts? Or do you jump to conclusions right away?

>>And, it is doubtful that Magnussoft could make updates to Zeta. Why?

Because it costs time and money they can't recover from the sale of Zeta

Yes, that is another good reason why not to develop Zeta any further.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Vibe Member since:

Mistakes happen. Zeta was a mistake. Wrapping it in pink ribbons won't change that. Really, it's better just to draw a line in the sand and go forward. Trying to salvage a road crash isn't worth the time, effort, or energy. It's gone, dead, kaputt. Invest in the living: Haiku.

Reply Parent Score: 1

lucky13 Member since:

First, I haven't modded anyone's posts up or down.

they will make sales / revenue and realize profits from these sales.

No, again you don't comprehend the software business (or any business). Revenue doesn't equal profit. Revenue in excess of operating expenses does. It's not just a matter of burning CDs. There's a lot more to the business than that, even if they were to take Bernd's code from him and include it without compensating him.

There's not enough demand for Zeta to make it worth the effort of selling. It's not worth the hassle for them or anyone else.

Just look at the fact that Magnussoft was ready to ditch Zeta for poor sales before this bleep hit the fan. It has nothing to do with requiring further development, there's not enough of a market to support selling it.

Be understood that. They tried giving it away to create more demand. Didn't bleeping work!

Palm understood that. They took what they wanted from the code and other IP then apparently shelved the rest.

yellowTab understood that. Maybe a bit too late to save their bleeps, but they know it now.

Magnussoft understood it. That's why they were initially going to stop selling it (poor sales). The licensing issue only sped up the time frame for cessation of sales to "immediately."

Access understands it. They appear to have no interest in selling BeOS or Zeta. I'm sure they'd listen to any offer you might have if you were interested in acquiring Be IP from them. I doubt you'd be able to afford it on your own. I don't think you'd be able to profit from it any more than they already have or will in the future.

Read this again:
"The archived sales figures of Zeta were far below Magnussoft's expectations. Continuation of financing the project is economically no longer viable. For the time being, Magnussoft discontinued funding of the Zeta development team on March, 16th 2007. The exclusive distribution agreement will remain unaffected. The existing contract is valid until the end of 2007."

There's no profit in it. It's over, dude.

Reply Parent Score: 1

tonestone57 Member since:

Maybe you should read it again, because I did & came to same conclusion:
"The archived sales figures of Zeta were far below Magnussoft's expectations. Continuation of financing the project is economically no longer viable. For the time being, Magnussoft discontinued funding of the Zeta development team on March, 16th 2007. The exclusive distribution agreement will remain unaffected. The existing contract is valid until the end of 2007."

I'll do my best to respond & keep it short.
#1 *development* of Zeta is *NOT* profitable!
#2 *distribution* (sale) of Zeta *IS* profitable! (my other posts refer to this for Access / Magnussoft)
#3 Magnussoft paid *development costs* for 1.21 & 1.5, and are also a Zeta distributor / seller.
#4 March 16, 2007, Magnussoft *NO* longer involved in Zeta development. (Cut their losses) (this & yT going bankrupt proves #1 above).
#5 March 16, Magnussoft *retains* distribution rights (main distributor of Zeta) till end of 2007. (to benefit from profits made off the Zeta sales, otherwise if losses come from selling Zeta, then they would have stopped selling Zeta altogether, proves #2 above).
#6 There are 5 other distributors / sellers
Do, you think they are not making profits???? Or maybe they just like making losses? (This proves #2 above).

It is impossible to know the exact profit margins, because I'm not a licensed reseller myself, but I seriously doubt resellers are selling Zeta for a loss!

Magnussoft was involved in *developer / distributor* relationship *and* on March 16 they switched solely to a *distributor* role (I think you are not understanding this or #2 above). Continuing to fund development would have meant further losses to Magnussoft.

Bernd/yT & Be Inc both failed with Zeta/BeOS, because they could not get a strong enough userbase & make the profits required to survive (to offset the development costs - where *most* of the expense comes from).

Edited 2007-04-06 18:20

Reply Parent Score: 1

Lefty Member since:

I've answered this question at least a couple of times, most recently in email. As a time saver (for me) I'll reproduce that response and give it a catchy title in the hopes that more folks will read it:

Releasing anything to open source requires a considerable amount of due diligence to ensure that the code being released is not encumbered in any way.

The BeOS sources amount to roughly 3/4 of a gigabyte of code. Having anyone "just come in" and do whatever to it would take a considerable amount of time and effort, and I'd still have to be involved myself and involve my engineering staff, who'd have to take the time to familiarize themselves with that 3/4 of a gig of stuff which we're don't, and don't stand to, derive any income from.

Preparing code for open source release takes considerable work, and it's not simply engineering work, either. There's no quick 'n' dirty way to make it happen--not without my company taking on what I'd consider to be significant and unacceptable risk. Since I am the open source compliance officer for the corporation, I'm required to go through the due diligence necessary to ensure that I'm not placing my employer in a problematical position. That's not a task I can take on lightly, particularly when my time is quite well-filled with activities which are directly relevant to our actual business activities, something that, as I've indicated, BeOS is not. Sorry: them's the facts.

So, I won't make any statement one way or the other as to whether we'll release the BeOS sources. And--in all sincerity, not to aggravate you further--if we decide to, you'll know about it when we do it, and not before: I donít want to create expectations in the community which I can't, ultimately, fulfill. For similar reasons (and issues of security, exposure to NDA'd third-party intellectual property, and the like aside), I'm hesitant to involve a raft of engineers, unknown to me, of uncertain quality, whose work I'd have to oversee anyway.

Operating systems are complex, as I'm sure I don't have to inform people here. You can't "just" do anything. Sorry, again, but that's a fact, too. You don't have to like it, but I can't change it.

I hope this clarifies my position and situation and provides some context.

Reply Parent Score: 5

memson Member since:

Lefty, all that being true, I wonder if some of the ex-Be engineers might not undertake the work as a labour of love? Surely they have the experience with the code to be able to open up small chunks at a time. Really, releasing chunks at a time could be more useful to Haiku, because it's possible to focus on the chunks that Haiku is missing or is currently "poorer" at. I heard mention of the VM subsystem, for example. Maybe by limiting the scope and by focusing on things Haiku would benefit from, your opensourcing of sections of the BeOS source could speed Haiku development up. The way I see it is that when Haiku is ready to call itself "R1", a lot more heat goes off of the owner of the BeOS sourcecode IP to do something with it publicly.

Another thought. Given the magnitude of the task you'd undertake to actually *do* anything with the BeOS sourcecode, would ACCESS ever consider licensing the code to a third party to develop? I did get the feeling that there are people out there that would love to *do* something with the code. For example, create an updated version of the PowerPC build with BONE and using GNU tools rather than Metrowerks. Though the PowerPC market is miniscule, currently probably in the region of "hundreds" of users, there are plenty of old Mac's out there that would run BeOS though, and a PowerPC version might be made to support newer hardware too. The problem at the moment is a lack of "free" PowerPC distribution.

One final plea: Is there any chance that ACCESS could release a free version of R5.03 (last release of BeOS)? Say, ISO for PowerPC and Intel? That would actually solve an awful lot of issues that have been raised. If the binaries were released under some kind of licenset that allowed "controlled" modification and re-distribution, BeOS MAX could then become legal.

Edited 2007-04-07 00:32

Reply Parent Score: 3

tonestone57 Member since:

Welcome to OSNEWS Lefty,

Where you'll get some posters asking you the same questions over and over again *and* those who are not satisfied with your answers. :-)

You provide a good justification for not open sourcing BeOS & I agree with you. I don't think Haiku needs BeOS code (getting close to done on their own), though open sourcing *missing* drivers would have helped a bit out, but that is Ok. You've already assisted Haiku out, where you could, your efforts are appreciated.

Though I've given my personal insights and opinion; The legal issue needs to be worked out between Bernd & Access. Many will be interested in the outcome once resolved, though I have a pretty good idea how things are going to turn out & I'll comment on it next week with Bernd's statement. And I gave a little hint with one of my previous posts.

One of Lefty's comments that is relevant to the legal issue:

Edited 2007-04-07 02:31

Reply Parent Score: 2

fyysik Member since:

Tough. From this Lefty's posting i got impression, that even GPL-ed code, if used in Zeta, cannot to be published now, which creates very bad contradiction, as it should be published by license (as GPL-licensed derived work was distributed in public).

Not to say about BSD/MIT licensed pieces which are known to be created by third parties from BeOS community and then improved by YT, like some drivers.

Corporate (ACCESS) virus which polluted all what YT/Bernd touched?

Reply Parent Score: 1