Be Inc, the well known OS company that produced the multimedia-oriented OS BeOS, was acquired by Palm Inc. a year ago. The further development of BeOS was stopped, since Palm doesn’t seem to care about it. Will the BeOS spirit survive with the BeOS clones currently flourishing?
Since BeOS has stopped development, a lot of projects started to appear aiming to create a fully functional BeOS clone. Such projects are BlueEyedOS (formerly BlueOS) and OpenBeOS.
BlueEyedOS aims to built a new BeOS on top of the Linux kernel and using XFree86 for the GUI. The project says that they already have the “equivalent” of the BeOS kernel and accelerated OpenGL that they need. Linux kernel also has a lot of hardware support and it is actively maintain by the open source community. Since Linux kernel has already a networking stack, the project will use it. As for programming tools they use Sun Java and GCC.
The project is developing the GUI (graphical user interface) to match the BeOS one, fast and multithreaded, some graphical applications to use the “basic components” like devices, user preferences, network, etc; a new API compatible with BeOS, but with some improvement; a new “structure”;
An architecture providing a flexible OS which can boot quickly and uses servers. Like BeOS, the BlueEyedOS API is composed of kits (BeOS source compatible kits).
OpenBeOS aims to recreate the a fully compatible BeOS-clone from scratch. And of course it would be open source. Individual servers and APIs (known as kits) are being re-written from scratch by an enthusiastic team of volunteers who want to continue the revolution started by Be Inc. The kernel is being based on NewOS, a microkernel written by a former Be engineer, and adapted by a dedicated team of hard core programmers. Under the guidenance of Michael Phipps, the project Head Leader, the project does well; it seems well organized and work is being done.
Already, they reached OpenBFS (BeOS File System) module to beta. It seems to work better and faster than the old once, and it keeps the compatibility. The development continue, we are curious to see what they have next.
A lot of programmers have joined the OBOS team, making the new clone very popular among the old users.
I believe the effort made by both teams are much appreciated. My personal opinion is that the OBOS team approach is better, because they try to create a clone of BeOS as-is, not using a pre-build kernel, like Linux which doesn’t matches the BeOS kernel architecture.
Since Palm won’t develop BeOS any further it is a shame to let BeOS spirit die. BeOS R5 (the latest official BeOS release) won’t run on new hardware (patching BeOS to support AthlonXP or Pentium4 can be complex for newbies), so it would be impossible to keep running BeOS in a few years ahead. Lets hope these projects will give us the OS of the future, as OBOS team claims.