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: 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?
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.
Looks like they just investigate bugs/crashes/misbehavings when they occure.
There really needs to be a stress test.
I will have to agree, they don’t seem to have any form of stress test scripts/plans…
Their newer outlook leaves a nice impression on me. Remember people, perfect what you have.
Does Zeta/BeOS have a curses port or some other C lib with similar functionality? Does Zeta/BeOS even have a terminal/console?
If yes which kind of shell (original BeOS? bash port?)?
Is it just me, or is that a promising release date?
BeOS has a terminal & uses BASH as the default shell. Ncurses has been around for a long time. look on bebits for your questions of what does BeOS have.
I believe I remember hearing the same words or similar words from yellowtab last year. Isn’t this what the amiga community has been going through???
I wouldn’t bet much on seeing something this christmas as same expectations were there last year. Only when the product is available on the shelves I’ll believe this.
The big question though… why is the OS provider building the third party apps? Wouldn’t it be wiser to focus on the OS and let others handle third party apps????? Companies like Xentronix for instance.
I’m afraid I must say yT and Zeta doesn’t have a promising future…
Good to see YT opening up to the community more.
I look forward to the release of Zeta!
Yeah and he still doesn’t answer to Eugenia’s question, heh.
Anyway, I really can’t make any comment on Zeta at the moment, not until I actually install it on the HD and play with it. I have played with BeOS and PhOS; it wasn’t that great as I thought.
I believe I remember hearing the same words or similar words from yellowtab last year.
Well, I don’t know if you have worked for a software company, but more often than not plans are not met on time. It pretty much always takes longer than anticipated. I’ve been through this with GEOS, Opera and Sonork, so trust me on that one.
The other thing that I would like all of you to remind yourself of: there are several hundred thousand Euros investment at stake, so I don’t think Bernd/yT is doing all this and not release anything. IOW, they rather release late than crappy, and the feedback they got from the first beta has certainly opened their eyes. Whether you agree with their release date or marketing strategy is another question, which isn’t really up for debate here.
I will buy a Zeta copy as soon as it hits the shelves.
OOOOOOh! sounds cool. Will they work on fixing some holes like DVD support [they’re charging after all] and several of the other readers/writers common on the web. They don’t have to write them, but at least get the Whole package ready to go would be really amazing!
Also, how much work are the OSS standards? Mozilla firebird, OO.org, etc. They don’t have to kill themselves with third parties if the free stuff could be ready to go when they publish…just a thought.
I’m interested, what font renderer was used? The Bitstream renderer previously used in BeOS wasn’t great, though it was very good for its time. Last I heard, Dano used Bitstream’s FontFusion, which is an excellent anti-aliasing renderer. If they used FontFusion, then they probably got the Bitstream fonts as well, which should also be pretty good. So I don’t see where the “bad fonts” comments on the previous article (about the beta) comes from.
The updater sounds a lot like first generation Windows Update. Doesn’t sound that nice…
I’ve been waiting for a good Windows replacement thats not *NIX based in it’s scripting setup etc, since BeOS R5 went out… so long as this thing works on an nForce2 Mobo with GeForceFX graphics, I’d sure love to give this bird a twirl. Keep up the great sounding work guys.
I’m curious what you mean by *NIX-based in its scripting setup? If you dig thru /boot/beos/ there are a number of bash scripts that set up all sorts of things.
re the updater program, it does sound rather amateurish, unless they maybe plan on using https for their update server(s). However, I trust yT way more than I trust MS
> Last I heard, Dano used Bitstream’s FontFusion, which is an
> excellent anti-aliasing renderer.
I don’t know which renderer they used in Dano, but it was terrible. Fonts looked outright fugly. R5’s renderer was way better, but far from what you get these days with sub-pixel AA.
x11 Port ? KDE ? yet an other Linux Distri………..
This will be a mistake. Make your own (better)thing!
Dano was indeed using FontFusion, though it needed some fine-tuning to look good at smaller font sizes.
I have a brand new pc, bios date 21/8/03 etc
prosavage 4 video
via 8233 onboard audio
realtek 100mb ethernet etc
I tried beosmax and their latest release did not support the sound, video or ethernet
if I BOUGHT this zeta thing, will all the above work ?
or will I just be paying someone to stick beos r5 and a few themes onto a cd for me ?
There is FreeType )
I’ll buy a copy as soon as the thing is released, as well. Between OpenBEOS, B.E.O.S., et al and a commercial company developing, it would be nice to see some of the great ideas in BeOS advanced to modern conclusions!
I think there is a need for X11 on BeOS – if you want to port OpenOffice.org it would be initially required, I believe. I also remember someone posting on the YellowTAB site that they would have a rootless X server so it would be pretty seamless with the rest of the system (although I’ll bet load times would be even worse with OpenOffice.org).
I’m looking forward to the release and I’ll buy a copy as soon as its available.
I wouldn’t bet much on seeing something this christmas as same expectations were there last year. Only when the product is available on the shelves I’ll believe this.
Wow… It almost sounds like you’re implying that Zeta is based on Amiga technology! 8)=
Maybe we should start placing bets now:
“Amiga vs. Zeta: Who will be the first to live up to their deadlines?”
is that port dead??? i see sonork listed on yt frontpage poll on wich im you prefer most….
what about that???
.. but then again perhaps I know more about the functional uses of radiation than many of you do…..
. . … Regardless of this, I support the release of Zeta and have no especial concerns relating to YellowTab or any associated members. Kia Kaha! ake ake .. Kiha Kaha!!
I applaud bernd and I hope he gets it out, but I have been waiting for this thing FOR A YEAR! I have stopped going to the zeta bulletin boards because I dont think it will be launched some point soon
BeOS owned me in every possible way. If Zeta only supports my hw (only thing I’m worried about is my GF4 Ti4600) I’ll buy 3 copies, just to support them! Heck, I’ll buy it anyways, and then throw my Gf away…
One question? Are the terms of that “license” from be, Inc. or palm enough to ensure that zeta will be distributed long enough to attract developer attention(provided yellowtab itself is funded or profitable enough to go on).
the problem for be was always applications. there were a number of developers that were alledgedly close to releasing critical product before the focus shift. I am thinking of Bias, who ported DECK for Beos, in particular.
Can yellowtab get these firms to support Zeta.
I sure hope so because i think yellowtab will make some nice cash if they get those application developers back on board.
Plus nothing would make me happier than to do multi-track recording with DECK, or an alternative, on BeOS. Windows XP is still sub-par for audio work regardless of what the windows crowd says. I find the performance really kind of sucks once you load it which is pretty easy to do on even a 24 track mix with a few DSP effects running.
Either way i thank yellowtab for their work and i intend to purchase Zeta.
This man is the -project manager- and founder of YellowTab but yet he makes it sound like the following came as a epithany in the middle of the night as he was fiendishly coding to make everything perfect.
We learned that we never can do a 100% product and that it makes no sense to keep it closed over ages.
At first, I nearly fell out of my chair laughing. The thought of someone undertaking such a monumental task with the mindset that you -could- deliver everything in one shot floored me.
But then I really thought I was going to hurt myself (on my little journey from chair to cubicle floor) I figured out why YellowTab made the same sort of statements over a year ago about a release before Christmas. There is absolutely hardly any expirence in managing any large-scale project, let alone one that will sink or float a compnay.
Dude Bernd, I have a lot of respect for you. It takes a lot of hutzspa to do something like this, and as far as I’m concerned to wager this much on BeOS takes a king-sized pair of brass ones. But I think the biggest mistake you made was in the beginning, not bringing in a project consultant or business director to set you (and the rest of the engineers) on a serious release schedule with a set list of features for R1.
This is like a chapter from a book on ‘how not to manage a software project’.
Props to you for seeing the light, a little reading, a little talking to other more expirenced project managers etc, would have saved you a year of lost potential revenue, and would have put Zeta in my hands -last-Christmas- when I still actually wanted it.
If you have to throw away your girlfriend to support Zeta.. don’t do it, it’s just software!
Seriously, check this out: http://web.inter.nl.net/users/be-hold/BeOS/NVdriver/index.html
too little, too late. Apart from that, why run the risk of being burnt again after being burnt by Be? If there is one thing I learned back then it was “don’t ever again invest time and money into a closed source OS from a small company which doesn’t have anything else in their portfolio to stay afloat”. Not to mention that Zeta reminds me of Frankensteins Monster by now. Take something which was good but is long dead, bolt some stuff onto it and say you created something new.
If I purchase Zeta and they go under I don’t consider myself burnt by them. They’ve extended the life of my favorite OS for another couple years until OBOS or another replacement comes along. At that stage it’s just a matter of software evolution. At least so I hope.
I do hope yT survives and thrives. It would be nice to have a corporate entity that could work on developing something that BeOS sorely needs, namely apps, while OBOS continues work on the OS itself. To me, that would be a pretty good situation to be in.
“don’t ever again invest time and money into a closed source OS from a small company which doesn’t have anything else in their portfolio to stay afloat”
I could not agree with you more. There is no way any SANE person or company would buy into Zeta given the past history of OS companies that died and left their customers holding the bag.
The ONLY way to ensure that you’re not going to get screwed by companies like yT is to go open source…
Call me insane (oh wait, you just did) but if Zeta makes it possible for more people to develop the open version of BeOS (since they’ll have a version that works on their modern hardware) than you’re actually hindering its progress by blindly disallowing Zeta. Food for thought.
“Call me insane (oh wait, you just did) but if Zeta makes it possible for more people to develop the open version of BeOS (since they’ll have a version that works on their modern hardware) than you’re actually hindering its progress by blindly disallowing Zeta.”
I agree with this and i’d add more. My understanding is that the intention of yellowtab is to gradually migrate to OBOS by replace parts of zeta with OBOS code. This will hep get the ball rolling until either a pure open source solution replaces it or (big or) palm comes to their senses and releases the beos. I don’t advise holding your breathe for the last one.
I also think you have to realize that this is a different situation. Be, Inc. was confined in its ability to act due to debt and shareholders (VCs) who were eager to get their money back quickly (getting money back quickly is after all the vc game). The money they sought return on was about $100 million which explains the “focus shift.” Be had a promising future in video and audio and more could have followed but the immediate future of video and audio was utterly boring to the VCs and other institutional stockholders. Audio/video production is a small market that won’t give you 300% return in 18-24 months.
Yellowtab has a finished OS (pretty much) to sell without $100 milion in debt and VC equity to pay back and they have minimal infrastructure to support. Be, Inc. did a lot of things right but my belief is that they drastically underestimated the amount of time that it takes to develop a following/developer base and useful application portfolio. That is really a 10 year process at best. Even Linux is just becomming useful to general desktop users now.
Yellowtab can do this right which means low overhead and focus on early adopter segments (geeks, musicians, developing nations). The idea is you build a larger market by first seeking penetration in specific segments to which you can offer a unique service/feature set. You can target that smaller opportunity because you have lower overhead and minimal debt. Seeking mass market penetration from day one is difficult without hundreds of millions for advertising alone never mind funding for operations.
So no this is definitely not the same thing as Be, Inc. Yellowtab can succeed if they deliver a quality product and if they can get just a few developers to make a leap of faith.
Either I haven’t played/updated freeciv in a while or their version of freeciv is different. The screenshots of the game look slightly different than what I remember.
The idea is you build a larger market by first seeking penetration in specific segments to which you can offer a unique service/feature set. You can target that smaller opportunity because you have lower overhead and minimal debt. Seeking mass market penetration from day one is difficult without hundreds of millions for advertising alone never mind funding for operations.
Ryan, if they had put a copy of you into every DotCom company, I think we would have a lot more companies still in business today. So many of them tried, and failed, to take over the world. Be, Inc. included.
QNX, Palm, Scitech, Trolltech, and Ximian are examples of companies that stay in business by targeting only unique opportunities. However, they also have technology that would carry over well to the desktop. Bring them together, and I think you could have one killer OS.
I think we can all forgive mistakes, especially those made out of lack of experience and excitement for the goals. But we shouldn’t forget them; people are supposed to learn from their mistakes. I am glad to see Bernd admitting to having made the mistake of trying to accomplish too much all at one time. I hope he has advisors today that will help him avoid such pitfalls in the future, and I hope that he listens to those who advise him and takes their advise seriously.
I admit to a large amount of skepticism myself in regards to yellowTAB. I often get the impression that they are people who have the will and the resources but not the know-how. Ever so frustrating are the things that “you and I” feel that we already “know better” but we still have to wait for “them” to “get it” on their own.
Still… I am one of the many BeOS users that will be happy to try Zeta, with the hope that it will at least be an acceptable update of the OS to make our wait for OpenBeOS be less frustrating. At best, though, yellowTAB could become a sucess (there’s always the chance).
Continue to be critical, but don’t shovel dirt on them when they’re still alive.
I cant wait to get it, I wonder where you can sign upto be a tester, Eugenia if you know get me some contact info for the man.
According to Bernd, the beta testing is currently closed for Zeta R1 ( for 2 months it has been closed ).
I suspect they don’t work much on the OS itself but they load
it with apps, most of them useless. They need a reason to
justify the cost…
This is the kind of negatavism I just don’t understand. Why don’t you wait until they’ve released something before you tell us what they’re doing? I don’t understand all this bitterness…?
stop moaning will you? damn!!!
lets just wait till zeta gets released, i know they are doing a good job… but stop flaming till you get your hands on zeta and you prove that is not as good as you were expecting…. then you can moan all you want…
just a couple of months folks, i know, many of you are angry because youve been hearing this for over a year, but oses are complex and even more for a small team like yt…
and like many of you said, zeta is a interim release till we get to openbeos or blueyedos!
i think zeta will do great. i think this the right time to come out and show what zeta can do. another security hole was found
on Windows and users do not like that. a friend of mine lost
all his data because his computer got a virus. he was asking me for options right away and i told him to switch to Mac.
zeta is a great alternative to Windows and Mac. I am buying it.
Hehe, I meant throw away my GeForce, not GirlFriend
And thank you VERY much for that link of yours! o/
if Zeta makes it possible for more people to develop the open version of BeOS (since they’ll have a version that works on their modern hardware) than you’re actually hindering its progress by blindly disallowing Zeta. Food for thought.
Think about what you are saying here for a minute. Using a commercial OS to build an open source replacement… So you agree! Your only reason to buy Zeta is to use it to kill Zeta. Why have Zeta at all then? Why not simply just help the open source BeOS projects?
What possible motive would yT have to replace its Zeta parts with open source parts, so they can shoot themselves in the foot and make their own product worthless? That makes not sense. yT is not interested in helping to create open source BeOS, they fear it, and with good reason for the same reason that MS$ fears Linux. The only hope yT has is that they release Zeta so far ahead of OpenBeOS that noone will be interested in working on OpenBeOS and Zeta becomes the standard. After all, OpenBeOS is the only competition that Zeta has (since noone in the rest of the work knows about BeOS) and yT can wait to release Zeta for as long as OpenBeOS is not ready…
As for attacking a specific market niche and expanding yT has no public plans for any specific market at all. They seem more interested in trying to create the most general OS based on BeOS ever… which makes you wonder who they are going to convince.
None of this has anything to do with the point I was making earlier which is that I agree with the view that an OS that is closed and owned by a small company is something that I, and many others, will never be involved in. Open source is the only way to be released from this problem where your time and investment is not locked up in some lawyers vault because the company made poor business decisions and they rest of the users that invested their lives in the OS can just all go to hell… poor sods. Well that is that last time that happens to many of us.
What possible motive would yT have to replace its Zeta parts with open source parts, so they can shoot themselves in the foot and make their own product worthless? That makes not sense. yT is not interested in helping to create open source BeOS, they fear it, and with good reason for the same reason that MS$ fears Linux.
Bzzt, wrong. yT have publically stated that they will continue replacing proprietry parts of BeOS with OBOS code (when OBOS code is better or similar to BeOS code). yT are positioning themselves to be the RedHat of the OBOS world. They work hand in hand, and need each other. Some OBOS contributers are also contracted by yT. So your saying that they fear OBOS is FUD. yT need OBOS more than OBOS needs yT, and Bernd has shown great wisdom by aligning yT with OBOS future plans. Watch this space, yT will be just like RedHat.
I think the title say’s it all.
I am holding my breath for Zeta but that is because I’m a musician and I can’t stand working on Windows. If YT has really learned from their mistakes then they would soon have the core OS released with applications to be available later down the track. Developers need the OS to be able to develop for. I want Steinberg to get their hands on it and release Nuendo/Cubase SX for it. They had a beta of Nuendo running on BeOS so I’m sure they can get version 2 happening on Zeta.
That would be great.
Anyway, I hope to be seeing it soon and for great co-operation between OpenBeOS and YT for the future.
“Some OBOS contributers are also contracted by yT.”
I surely hope not. Then the OpenBeOS source could be contaminated by licensed code! I hope you’re wrong or we’re all set for another “SCO attack”.
They had a beta of Nuendo running on BeOS so I’m sure they can get version 2 happening on Zeta.
But why would they want to? Think of all the time (read: money) they lost making the first worthless port. That was to an OS that was supported by a real company with real investors, however small. yT is nowhere as powerful as Be was, has nowhere near the money, talent, or name recognition. Why on earth would they want to make that mistake again?
It’s not like software developers sit around thinking, “man, I really hope I get to port my software to yet another OS.” Think of how long it took major developers to make Mac OS X ports, and that’s an OS with a guaranteed userbase of hundreds of thousands more than Zeta is ever likely to get.
Because it has a better chance of survival this time round.
You have YT on the one hand and OpenBeOS on the other so your investment will not be wasted and not doing anything with the work they did previously would definately be a waste.
Zeta/BeOS is a much better platform for this type of work and I would love to be able to piss Windows off and use Zeta as a replacement with the advent of 2 things, Nuendo/Cubase support and some way of getting Il2 FB running on it.
Now I know that both of these are possible and before scoffing remember the Co. that was making DirectX possible on BeOS. Search the archives and you’ll find the info. Couple with OpenGL we could have a great MS free platform which is simple and powerful.
“I am holding my breath for Zeta but that is because I’m a musician and I can’t stand working on Windows”
My exact sentiment.
bkakes asks why anyone would want to port their app to beos this time? Sales my friend that is why. I sincerely doubt the growth rate for audio multi-track sequencers is particularly high at this point. That happened during the 1995-2000 period. now the music vendors are looking at a low or even zero growth market. A beos version could increase sales. By contrast the music software vendors are really just adding a lot of questionable bloat to their packages today to get users to upgrade. I am not sure if the users are really jumping on it. Performance is more important than 10,000 features we’ll never use.
A musician could get a lot of work done with just a multi-track app on beos (main value=stability). Now if you throw in even just one package of VST effects (say waves or TC works, steinberg, or Universal audio, etc, etc.) then you’ll really have something special. I don’t think it is particularly difficult to port VST between platforms. Of course i also don’t know the state of VST for beos anymore.
After seeing a Cubase run at a friend of mine’s place under WinXP,It’s obvious to see why there would be great interest in porting this system to a BeOS platform.Under Windoze he’s lucky to get more than a couple VST FX running at once without something hiccupping.Under BeOS,on the other hand,I had some rather large chains of effects running (in SoundPlay and XRS) on a system less than 1/3 the size and power of his.Coupling this with the ability to record onboard from the line out with a SoundBlaster Live In BeOS and the included 3DmiX,I was able to do just as cool of multitrack projects as he did with his cubase,although that external board woulda been sweet!