Interview with YellowTAB’s Bernd Korz

Tonight we had a quick chat with YellowTAB‘s Bernd Korz over the Zeta OS. The German engineer, manager and spokesperson of YellowTAB is speaking of the release date, the changing goals of Zeta and more. Read more for the interesting transcript.1. So, how is the Zeta release schedule at the moment?

Bernd Korz
Bernd Korz: The RC1 is almost done and we have started to fill the Editions with third party packages. Our in-house apps we made are almost good enough to burn them to CD for the RC1.

2. When do you think the final will be ready, a rough estimate?

Bernd: We want to finalize and start with selling before the end of the year, before Christmas (this is our goal).

3. What new features were added to Zeta since the last beta we previewed in May?
Bernd: New drivers, new tools, new Decors, better LocaleKit, better Font Rendering, JavaScript, tons of bugfixes… the Beta from May is WORLDS away from that what we have now.

4. What is the current status of USB 2 port? Does it work as expected?

Bernd: The bus manager from USB2 is working almost perfectly now. We only have some smaller stuff to fix for the mass storage and some bugfixes to have a first version of USB2 running. We started also to add drivers for USB2 devices.

5. Do you have a formal plan on testing, or you simply investigate crashes/misbehavings? Do you have proper test plans to stress test your code?

Bernd: Yes, we have now a large team to test Zeta everyday. We have well known people from the BeOS community too, from OpenBeOS, and other plain users to test Zeta. Especially the installation will be as easy as possible. And we have a lot of old and new hardware to test it on. In Germany we have different companies who are using Zeta every day now…

6. This does not answer the question about proper test plans and stress testing though…

Bernd: We have a bug website which is accessibly by any tester, we write down what should be tested next and what was tested and with what results. Every developer gets directly an email about the status and can work on these parts then.

7. In your opinion, what will be the biggest problem of Zeta when it is out? What part of the product will be the “weakest” (for any reason)?

Bernd: I would be blind if i would say Zeta have only one problem. Zeta needs more apps (power-user apps) and we have to fix the 1GB RAM limitation, but this is a lot of work and we have to wait until R1 is out for that. We have not the man power to fix that right now. We hired now new coders and plan to do that post-R1. The plan is to have 10-20 coders in the next 6 months to work on Zeta itself.

8. Do you plan an integrated X11 port, like QNX’s or OSX’s to port OOo, Gnome and KDE apps on top?

Bernd: We plan this, yes. But it is not on the high priority list today.
You see, we made a “mistake” in the past: We added too many new things that we really wanted to have in Zeta. We thought it must be 100% perfect before publishing it. We worked really hard every day. But then we have seen that we have to stop the new features and fix the stuff we worked on so far. After several problems with the old Betas we fixed all the knows bugs! Today we can say the product looks really nice.

9. From the things you have already announced, e.g. the Word clone, or the iTunes clone, won’t any of these make it to the final Zeta R1?

Bernd: The music application has made huge steps and will definitly be in in R1, and I think that most of the new Zeta applications we announced lately will also be in. We plan to publish R1 that everyone can use, and then give quickly an update, something like R1.01. We learned that we never can do a 100% product and that it makes no sense to keep it closed over ages. Let the people use R1 and give them the updates you worked on step by step.

10. What kind of online updating tool do you have? Do you have something like OSX’s?

Bernd: We have an updater. But this one will not be in R1. The plan is that you can download that updating package from our website as soon as it is like we want it. The updater is downloading a list from our website and looks on your system what you have installed. Then it opens an HTML file for you and show you what files are new. You can click what you want to update and then it uploads that list for you and download the new files. It updates them on your system and does a Backup of the old files. You will have always the control of what the updater does.


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