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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memson
Member since:
2006-01-01

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

Vibe Member since:
2007-03-12

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.

This sounds reasonable.

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.

Playstation 3? There's got to be some money in that.

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.

Let it die with Zeta, so Haiku can be a real beginning.

Reply Parent Score: 1

Lefty Member since:
2007-04-05

Sigh.

I really hate to have to rain on anyone's parade...

The ex-Be engineers (ex-PalmSource engineers) made their choices. If they'd been interested in continuing to work on the ex-BeOS sources, now the property of their ex-employer, I'd have been more inclined to consider it if they hadn't up and taken off en masse. As it is, I'm frankly not.

Let me explain: we had some plans to use, for example, OpenBinder more broadly as a component in the ACCESS Linux Platform. The departure of the main engineer on that project, whom--since he reported to me at the time--I can only describe as "precipitous", left us in the position of having to yank all that stuff out again since we no longer had anyone to support it. This cost some time. Moreover, we couldn't spare the even larger amount of time it would have taken to bring someone up to a level even approaching his familiarity with the code.

(Moreover, the ex-Be engineers, the main one of whom I had directed to have no other responsibilities other than supporting OpenBinder, immediately stopped doing anything on Binder once he'd left. I was doubly displeased.)

So we're not using Binder at the moment, we're using D-Bus.

So, not likely.

As I've said several times elsewhere, the legal time involved in writing a license, negotiating terms (since even in a money-free transaction, there are always terms: we have interests to protect) and then administering that license (since a license, like any relationship, requires ongoing attention) would take a significant amount of legal time, which, likewise, we can neither really justify nor spare in the immediately foreseeable future.

So, not likely.

And releasing a "free" (i.e., all we get to do is spend money and time on it) version, one that we'd have to a) compile, b) build, c) test to see if it did, in fact run on PowerPC and Intel, d) fix whatever egregious bugs we turned up in steps a, b and c, lather, rinse, repeat.

Since we wouldn't, in this scenario, be releasing sources, I'd assumed you were, in fact, referring to a "free version of R5.03" which actually worked on something like even remotely current machines, as opposed to the machines of five of six years ago.

Moreover, I'd have to evaluate the status of any third-party software inveigled in all of this, determine whether we could use any of it or not, then have engineering shore up whatever holes got left because we couldn't use this or that...

So, not likely.

I'm going to just start using the permalinks. I don't really have the time to be saying essentially the same things over and over...

Reply Parent Score: 3

Rafael Member since:
2007-04-06

Mr. Schlesinger

the BeOS 5 PE was free, so why should be there so much more third-party software in a "new" BeOS 5.03 Version?

If think ACCESS could distinguish if they would release a 5.03 or also the Dano Version (although it's buggy), but maybe the BeOS/ZETA/Haiku Community is too small...


so if ZETA is dead or will be dead because we do not get a solution I will not need a replacement for it, and many of the ZETA customers think so but some and I also would still like to use a real alternative to WIN/LINUX, but HAIKU is not ready yet!

Reply Parent Score: 1

memson Member since:
2006-01-01

> Since we wouldn't, in this scenario, be releasing
> sources, I'd assumed you were, in fact, referring to
> a "free version of R5.03" which actually worked on
> something like even remotely current machines, as
> opposed to the machines of five of six years ago.

Ah, no. Release of the original R5.03 ISO would suffice. No changes. No alterations. Exactly what was on the original ISO. *Or* the original PE version. I'd prefer the R5 ISO as this would include a PowerPC version, but PE would be fine. The only problem I see with the R5 ISO is the things left out to make the PE version. The list is quite short. If you can find the PE FAQ or PE readme, the differences are listed there.

Use a simple license that retains all rights but allows modification. Let the community worry about making it work on modern hardware. MAX already does a lot of that. It's neither hard to do, nor is it costing ACCESS a dime.

Reply Parent Score: 1

lucky13 Member since:
2007-04-01

the PowerPC market is miniscule, currently probably in the region of "hundreds" of users

This is why nobody in his right mind is going to pay (1) for a license to develop BeOS, (2) pay to actually develop BeOS, or (3) ever find anyone to distribute a re-developed BeOS. There's not enough demand to justify any step in the process.

there are plenty of old Mac's out there that would run BeOS though

Wow! That must be a lucrative market to which to cater an old OS that was designed for "modern" hardware! By golly, sell a $100 OS for a $10 computer -- wonder why nobody ever tried that before.

Development and distribution license: thousands and thousands of dollars.
Costs of updating and re-developing an OS: thousands and thousands more dollars.
Getting "hundreds" of owners of older $5-10 PPCs to fork over $100: priceless!

There are some things money can't buy. Good business sense is apparently one of them...

and a PowerPC version might be made to support newer hardware too

At what price? Where's the market demand outside of the "probably in the region of 'hundreds'"?

Read what Lefty wrote again -- the part that says: "stuff which we're don't, and don't stand to, derive any income from [sic]" and "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."

IOW, it's too much work for them that can't ever pay them enough because there's not enough interest.

Reply Parent Score: 1

memson Member since:
2006-01-01

Dude, I'm a PowerPC user. If I don't fight for my corner in the whole battle, what am I left with if PE becomes legal? Naff all. The business model was not my concern. I would home it would be free.

Reply Parent Score: 1