Linked by Thom Holwerda on Tue 10th Feb 2009 18:31 UTC
BeOS & Derivatives Back when it was becoming clear that the time of the BeOS had come and gone, enthusiasts immediately set up the OpenBeOS project, an attempt to recreate the Be operating system from scratch, using a MIT-like license. The project faced difficult odds, and numerous times progress seemed quite slow. Still, persistence pays off, and the first alpha release is drawing ever closer. We decided to take a look at where Haiku currently stands.
Thread beginning with comment 348250
To view parent comment, click here.
To read all comments associated with this story, please click here.
RE: But why?
by NexusCrawler on Wed 11th Feb 2009 13:19 UTC in reply to "But why?"
NexusCrawler
Member since:
2009-02-11

As very well highlighted by the article, BeOS was well ahead of its time back in its days.

And today... Well, there is still a lot of splendid ideas and design choices in BeOS/now Haiku that makes Haiku competitive towards other OSes.

For instance, give me an OS that combines at least these features:
* less than 10-sec boot time
* no lagging, no latency in user interactions
* small hardware requirements, small footprint on CPU and RAM usage, very light HDD usage (both OS and other software are very small)
* easy to use and efficient GUI yet still appealing
* never crashes, eventually part of the OS crashes but you just need to restart this part, not the whole OS -- same for device drivers installation, just restart some part of the OS, do not reboot the whole computer
* easiest software distribution model (in my opinion): no enforced package manager, no unmaintanable registry base, just unzip where you want and it works
* virtual desktops with independent resolutions
* real shell (bash) with all the power of UNIX (including easy scripting)
* powerful and efficient file-system
* well documented and well defined stable API

Plus some other features which are quite unique to BeOS/Haiku, as far as I know, for instance the "translators". This is a bit like codecs but for any type of files and which works with any application. Just install the "MP3" translator and voilĂ  every application just knows how to play and record MP3 files. Now just install the "PNG" translator and you can display and record any graphics in PNG format with any graphic application. And so on with any data format. Do you see the beauty of this?

But I agree that it's somewhat difficult to imagine what is so extraordinary here if you never tried BeOS/Haiku before. :-)

However like you and others, I'm not sure that Haiku will succeed because of the smaller software base. But this may not be an issue... People just "need" to port all of the free open source software that made Linux famous and the software base should be there. So why not? :-P It's a bit like an ARM port of Ubuntu. If the software base for ARM Ubuntu is fine, then it should be for any OS thanks to the open source model. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: But why?
by Greuceanu on Wed 11th Feb 2009 13:28 in reply to "RE: But why?"
Greuceanu Member since:
2007-09-27

* less than 10-sec boot time
No one really cares about this since no one really resets his computer 10-20 times a day to see the difference.

* no lagging, no latency in user interactions
Linux/Vista feel fast on Core2 Duo with 4GB of RAM... MacOS X is fast too.

* small hardware requirements, small footprint on CPU and RAM usage, very light HDD usage (both OS and other software are very small)
(Some) Linux distroes? (Slackware, Zenwalk, but there are more).

* easy to use and efficient GUI yet still appealing
Any OS with KDE?

* never crashes, eventually part of the OS crashes but you just need to restart this part, not the whole OS -- same for device drivers installation, just restart some part of the OS, do not reboot the whole computer
Again, Linux?

* easiest software distribution model (in my opinion): no enforced package manager, no unmaintanable registry base, just unzip where you want and it works
MacOS, maybe Linux?

* virtual desktops with independent resolutions
Besides multiple monitors, who need independent resolutions for different virtual desktops?
Again, any KDE/GNOME based Linux has irtual dekstops. Even MacOS, nowadays.

* real shell (bash) with all the power of UNIX (including easy scripting)
Uhm, Linux?

* powerful and efficient file-system
Linux? OpenSolaris?

* well documented and well defined stable API
I'm not a programmer, so I won't digg into this.

That translator stuff are really nice, I haven't heard about them until now.

Reply Parent Score: 0

RE[3]: But why?
by dragossh on Wed 11th Feb 2009 14:34 in reply to "RE[2]: But why?"
dragossh Member since:
2008-12-16

No one really cares about this since no one really resets his computer 10-20 times a day to see the difference.
Notebooks? Also, that 10-second boot time is great for netbooks.

Linux/Vista feel fast on Core2 Duo with 4GB of RAM... MacOS X is fast too.
With *4GB* of RAM, and they only *feel* fast? Try Haiku on a 7-year old machine with 256MB of RAM.

(Some) Linux distroes? (Slackware, Zenwalk, but there are more).
Until you run some heavy apps. All BeOS apps open quickly and run fast.

Any OS with KDE?
This is subjective. IMHO, KDE is not easy to use.

Again, Linux?
Wake me up when I can update or replace the whole networking system, media kit, desktop environment and still not logout/reboot.

MacOS, maybe Linux?
Linux? Package managers.
OS X does it exactly like BeOS, except using .zip files.

Besides multiple monitors, who need independent resolutions for different virtual desktops?
Web developers? I want to see how my site looks on different resolutions and color depths without going all the time into the Display preference pane.

Filesystem: I agree here, ZFS is great.
API: Cocoa & BeAPI are probabily the best APIs out there.
Translators: I can't understand why noone has copied this already. We're in 2009, and we're still focusing on *programs that open formats*, instead of just file types.

Reply Parent Score: 5

RE[3]: But why?
by izomiac on Thu 12th Feb 2009 02:22 in reply to "RE[2]: But why?"
izomiac Member since:
2006-07-26

No one really cares about this since no one really resets his computer 10-20 times a day to see the difference.
Sure it matters, I'd be pretty pissed if my TV took 2 minutes to start up, and I rarely use it. Different expectations and all. OTOH, people that reboot 10 times a day tend to be dual booting... which I think is the target audience for now (that and VMs).

Linux/Vista feel fast on Core2 Duo with 4GB of RAM... MacOS X is fast too.
I'm using the Windows 7 beta, and while nicer than Vista, it's still an order of magnitude slower than the BeOS or Haiku. If you're just comparing Linux, MacOS, and Windows then you lack a good point of comparison.

* easiest software distribution model...
MacOS, maybe Linux?

Meh, different strokes for different folks. Personally, I hate the way Linux does that... "ipkg install package-3.2452.123.1"... Ok, looks like it worked... now what just happened, and where did the executable go?

Besides multiple monitors, who need independent resolutions for different virtual desktops?
Web developers, people that prefer working at a lower than maximum resolution for most day-to-day stuff...

Uhm, Linux?
Ya know, just because Haiku exists doesn't mean you have to stop using Linux. Also, OSes borrow features from each other all the time. And competition is a good thing.

* powerful and efficient file-system
Linux? OpenSolaris?

Having is not the same as using. Tracker queries have been a major feature of the BeOS for a long time.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: But why?
by renox on Thu 12th Feb 2009 06:37 in reply to "RE[2]: But why?"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

* less than 10-sec boot time
No one really cares about this since no one really resets his computer 10-20 times a day to see the difference.


Curious: whenever there's a discussion about whatever improvement in boot time, usually the following discussion contains *a lot* of messages: people do care about fast boot time.

* no lagging, no latency in user interactions Linux/Vista feel fast on Core2 Duo with 4GB of RAM... MacOS X is fast too.

1) So this means that to have a fast desktop on a laptop you have a battery life measured in seconds?
2) No everybody is rich: think about the OLPC..

As for the rest, I agree with you, BeOS is no more superior to the competition on these points.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: But why?
by Vanders on Thu 12th Feb 2009 11:30 in reply to "RE[2]: But why?"
Vanders Member since:
2005-07-06

* powerful and efficient file-system
Linux? OpenSolaris?


Linux and Solaris have some great filesystems (XFS, ZFS) but until user-space catches up with them and actually starts to make use of the advanced features they offer, you may as well be running ext3 for all the difference it makes to the user.

The interesting thing about BeFS (& AFS, which I have to mention of course) isn't just that they support neat features such as arbitrary meta-data streams, it's that the user space and applications have been designed to take advantage of that support.

Reply Parent Score: 6

RE[2]: But why?
by NexusCrawler on Wed 11th Feb 2009 13:31 in reply to "RE: But why?"
NexusCrawler Member since:
2009-02-11

By the way, there were some wonderful demos of BeOS that should be still amazing to watch today. It was something like that :

(1) Open a video in a media player. (opens quickly and plays flawlessly, of course)

(2) Drag the image of the video on the desktop: a shot of the video at that moment has been taken and recorded in a file stored in the desktop.

(3) Now select some portion of the video and drag it: this time you got some audio of the video, just the part you selected.

(4) Instead of dropping on the desktop, you can drop into another application and the other application directly works on the tidbit you selected.

(5) Of course all these applications runs together with no lag at all. Especially none in user interactions.

I remember playing simultaneously ten or twenty MP3 files at the same time on some Pentium 120MHz with 24Mo. No problem at all, while it was quite impossible with any other OS. (not to mention that at the time these other OS couldn't even play simultaneously several wave sounds but hey...)

It's just... So easy, so natural, so efficient. It's not about something that other OSes cannot do, it's about how things should be done.

Well, whatever. I'll stop bragging for now and we'll see in one year or two where Haiku will be then. :-)

Reply Parent Score: 4

RE[2]: But why?
by silix on Wed 11th Feb 2009 14:33 in reply to "RE: But why?"
silix Member since:
2006-03-01

As very well highlighted by the article, BeOS was well ahead of its time back in its days.
[...]
But I agree that it's somewhat difficult to imagine what is so extraordinary here if you never tried BeOS/Haiku before. :-)
i agree with you on this, but...(cont.)

However like you and others, I'm not sure that Haiku will succeed because of the smaller software base. But this may not be an issue... People just "need" to port all of the free open source software that made Linux famous and the software base should be there.
... i'm afraid you're overlooking the fact that existing userland software written to run on linux or to be multiplatform, is implemented in a way that results from the relative scarcity of assured high level facilities in the main platform - resulting in the rise and use of complex, large, all- encompassing toolkit libraries, that in turn need further code layers (themes, wrappers or "engines") to adapt to the specific platform they are deployed to, or appear adapted while not really being so
porting existing applications like KDE ones or openoffice would require porting their base framework for the most part
the problem is, merely doing so would result in applications that would exploit little to no native feature (distinguishing ones like the translators you mentioned, in particular), would feel evidently "alien", and worse, would defy the goal (minimalism and efficiency) of the system they're ported to (due to the unnecessary layers - own framework plus "native look" skin engine - they'd retain between the app's main code and haikuOS native gui library)

in order to avoid the bloat resulting from this, differentiating (branching) the application main code, instantiating native classes instead of, say, OOo ones in platform specific code paths, would be a sensible approach from a SW design point of view
but it would effectively be the same as redesigning the application from the inside, i suspect it's unlikely it will ever be done for large applications (paradoxically often the most useful ones)

So why not? :-P It's a bit like an ARM port of Ubuntu. If the software base for ARM Ubuntu is fine...
in Ubuntu's case is fine because you already have an all - linux software base, and problems would only come from architecture dependent software ... with porting (better, converting) linux SW to other OS platforms (even on the same architecture, say X86) that may have their own special features or idiosincrasies, it's the other way around

, then it should be for any OS thanks to the open source model. :-)
the open source model concerns distributed development and code sharing
it doesnt say anything about the elegance and cohesiveness that goes in the *design* of code and in the management of a project, or the skills of people designing code, or that people tasked with porting a package will choose the best overall approach *for the target platform* (and not just for the application, or for themselves)

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[3]: But why?
by NexusCrawler on Wed 11th Feb 2009 14:45 in reply to "RE[2]: But why?"
NexusCrawler Member since:
2009-02-11

Right, right, right, you're completely right from the first to the last sentence.

However what's sure is that only time will tell what kind of software support will have Haiku in some years. So I have the right to dream and drool a little... :-)

By the way, I'm more concerned about hardware support than about software support. Drivers have always been an issue for any "alternative" OS and it's definitely the case for Haiku, as it has been for BeOS. On the other side, there is a lot of wonderful software that does an amazing job already available for BeOS/Haiku and more software is to come everyday. You can still switch to another software and change your habits (and it happens that it's for better not worse). While chances are high that any random computer does not have the proper drivers and it's not so easy to switch the hardware parts... :-(

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: But why?
by rcsteiner on Wed 11th Feb 2009 18:12 in reply to "RE: But why?"
rcsteiner Member since:
2005-07-12

BeOS had some very nice things going for it (and I still boot into an R5 desktop from time to time), but most of the things BeOS did were also being done by OS/2 at roughly the same time. And OS/2 did many things BeOS could not.

I think people are overstating BeOS's capabilities and level of innovation here, but OSNews has always been very much biased towards that OS for reasons I don't completely understand...

Reply Parent Score: 3