Home > BeOS & Derivatives > Interview With Michael Phipps, of OpenBeOS Interview With Michael Phipps, of OpenBeOS Eugenia Loli 2003-09-11 BeOS & Derivatives 34 Comments The BeOSJournal spent some time with Michael Phipps, who is the Project Leader of OpenBeOS, and orchestrates the entire direction of the project. On other OpenBeOS news, their latest newsletter is out. About The Author Eugenia Loli Ex-programmer, ex-editor in chief at OSNews.com, now a visual artist/filmmaker. Follow me on Twitter @EugeniaLoli 34 Comments 2003-09-11 6:50 pm For about a month – I used BeOS 5 and I really enjoyed it. Motion picture and for the better part, media in generally was great – it was very responsive, and I never had any stability problem. BUT – I had to change back to windows 98 because I simply could not afford the huge cost for software. Let me make my comments clear – it was NOT a lack of Be software, it was the cost of software that I could no longer live with. In saying that – what is the status of OpenBeOS. How are has it come along since BeOS 5? Is there enough ‘free/opensource’ software to suite my needs? I have too machines at work, one is a dell workstation and another is my Windows XP laptop. Now, I spend about equal time on both and I have to admit – I really like Windows XP even in light of recent events. I have turned off Luna and run classic mode with ClearType turned on. It is extremely stable and very responsive. So – what does OpenBeOS offer that either Linux or Windows XP does not? Thanks 2003-09-11 6:55 pm >So – what does OpenBeOS offer that either Linux or Windows XP does not? Nothing at the moment. OpenBeOS is in alpha status, and there is no user releases yet. You should ask this question in a few years, not now. If you liked BeOS and you want something like it, try Zeta from YellowTAB when it is released later this year, until OpenBeOS is in a shape to be used by plain users. Otherwise, stay with XP if it does the job for you. Just use the best tool for the job. 2003-09-11 7:03 pm I consider what OBOS is doing to be wonderful and i await a product from them in the future. I wonder about the legal issues though. I would hate nothing more than to see OBOS finish only to face a lawsuit from palm. My advice to OBOS is to change the name as quickly as possible and to refer to this as a project to create an open source, easy to use, media OS. Drop every single reference to Be and make sure your code is different from that of beOs. Lastly make every decision assuming that palm will sue you because they will. Palm is full of it. Be, Inc. intellectual property saved their sorry rear. If they feel OBOS is somehow revealing their IPR or “trade secrets” they will go after you. I assure you of this. They may go after you if they expect that you will be successful just to stop competition, even if they have no case. America is about lawsuits not business. Reduce your vulnerabilities now. the key is to give palm as little concrete reasons for a complaint as possible to assure they will lose if they try. Take the precautions now and avoid a pain later. Get yourself a legal consultation if need be. Ask the community to donate for the fees. I think they’ll do it. 2003-09-11 7:05 pm its been taken care of, they are awaiting to get it verified from nyc state. 2003-09-11 8:19 pm its been taken care of, they are awaiting to get it verified from nyc state. Wrong, they’re waiting for the IRS So – what does OpenBeOS offer that either Linux or Windows XP does not? Godgiven responsiveness and logical user feeling not being found in any of the 2 mentioned? f you liked BeOS and you want something like it, try Zeta from YellowTAB when it is released later this year, until OpenBeOS is in a shape to be used by plain users. But please also note that yT has sort of dropped the word “BeOS” out of this as they consider their OS to be something else. So whatever your impression is of Zeta, please don’t let yourself be confused with it and say that this “new BeOS” isn’t what you expected. Many BeOS enthusiasts is not so enthusiastic about Zeta as you might think… 2003-09-11 8:21 pm > But please also note that yT has sort of dropped the word “BeOS” out of this as they consider their OS to be something else. The word “BeOS” HAS to be dropped, because otherwise yTAB will have a reason to stand trial as the word belongs to PalmSource, not to anyone else. 2003-09-11 8:23 pm How long did it take Kurt to get Atheos to “R1 status”? Same question for Robert’s SkyOS? I’m certainly not trolling or complaining; on the contrary: If these other OS projects got off the ground in less time than expected (and these are “one-man-show projects” no less) what did they do differently? Can OBOS do the same? Bah. Whaddo I know — maybe Kurt and Robert (and others of their ilk) *are* really *that* prolific. Maybe these OS projects of theirs spent years in private development, working and reworking, blind alleys and all, before anyone ever saw them. 2003-09-11 8:34 pm “its been taken care of, they are awaiting to get it verified from nyc state.” I assume you refer to the name. that is good. But the legal issues cannot possibly be taken care of because the OS is not done. The legal threat is a lot more than a name. It is the intellectual property and the possibility that someone will write code that palm can later claim infringes on their own code. That is problem. That requires constant vigilance above all else and precaution that you don’t write something that is too specific in its similarity to beos code. 2003-09-11 8:43 pm I’m not sure either, but maybe that’s because there is a lot of difference between those OS’s you named; there is a lot more pressure on the OpenBeOS guys than on Robert (don’t know much about AtheOS though, thought AtheOS was dead, not sure though…), simply because more is expected from OpenBeOS. BeOS users (like myself) are used to this high quality OS. So when someone says “We’re gonna recreate and extend BeOS”, they will have to meet the standards BeOS users are used to. Although I’m a huge fan of SkyOS (5.x is gonna rock!), I don’t think SkyOS r1 was as advanced as OpenBeOS r1 will be. No offence, Robert…? Correct me if I’m wrong, though! 2003-09-11 9:05 pm It took Kurt about half a decade to take AtheOS to its first public release. If I remember rightly, he dumped his first effort after a couple of years and started rewriting it from scratch, and ported GCC and KHTML and made his own 64bit filing system while he was at it, so you can do the maths Probably the reason why AtheOS was put together so fast was because it was made by one very talented individual rather than a committee. Anyway, AtheOS hasn’t quite died: http://syllable.sourceforge.net 2003-09-11 9:10 pm Of course, AtheOS ‘became’ Syllable… I knew that! Whoops… 2003-09-11 9:27 pm I donät think so. Zeta -is- BeOS. In all apsects, at it’s best. 2003-09-11 10:12 pm Of course Kurt may be developing AtheOS in secret, because that’s how he may want it. The name AtheOS, gee that is such a Godless OS. 2003-09-11 10:13 pm > Of course Kurt may be developing AtheOS in secret, because that’s how he may want it. He isn’t. I asked him two days ago. He is working too much lately, and he flies his plane and lives his life happily ever after. There is life beyond coding.. 2003-09-11 10:13 pm I guess I should post immediately before my last comment explodes into 120+ posts In Greek A-theos mean a person who is Godless or doesn’t believe in any God. 2003-09-11 11:03 pm Eugenia, try and see if the persons who are/were developing Yoctix or VSTA are still active. 2003-09-11 11:08 pm I don’t know what that is. Plus, we are getting off topic. 2003-09-11 11:36 pm I’ve been waiting on OBOSs new web site for a long time now. Hope the new name r0x. 2003-09-11 11:46 pm I like that. 2003-09-11 11:47 pm Well, that interview was certainly a nice read (though im bias). The new name is just waiting on the US legal system – I’m an Australian and I find it very weird how long this has taken – however, when it comes, I think you’ll be impressed. 2003-09-12 2:47 am In the interview there was the following question and answer. Q : Quite some time has passed since the Be engineers were removed from regular BeOS development at Be Inc. Do there still exist any NDA or legal problems in regards to them working on OpenBeOS now? A : I can’t answer that – I have never seen any of the NDA’s that Be used. I would be surprised if any of them were still in effect, but I really do not know. I am not implying ex-BeOS employees would do a better job, but when if ever would an ex-BeOS developer ever be able to contribute to such a project that is aiming to re-create an OS they were working on. I think Palm would object, but what if they were to work with YellowTab instead. 2003-09-12 3:35 am AtheOS is named after Athena, the greek goddess of wisdom. 2003-09-12 3:47 am >>>when if ever would an ex-BeOS developer ever be able to contribute to such a project that is aiming to re-create an OS they were working on. You are assuming that ex-Be employees actually care about BeOS itself — that’s a big assumption. Most of them don’t care about BeOS after their departure from Be Inc. Anytime an ex-Be employee (i.e. Eugenia’s husband and Baron Arnold from this week’s beosjournal interview) is interviewed by be-related websites, none of them follow OBOS, yellowtab,…. As Baron said, “mediaOS” is “all lies, lies, lies.” And as Eugenia said JBQ and a bunch of fellow ex-be workers are laughing at obos, yellowtab and beunited…. 2003-09-12 6:33 am I think you’re being kind of cynical there. I don;t think it’s that they think it’s a joke and shouldn’t be tried, but rather that they have moved on and just don;t care anymore. Which is kind of sad – were they in it just for the money, or lost the vision, or something. Perhaps that’s something OSS projects have over commercial ones – the drive of its members to work on it, rather than just the profit motive. 2003-09-12 8:24 am Which is kind of sad – were they in it just for the money I can only assume you’re joking here. Working at Be was incredibly strenuous, and these are all people who would have had no problem getting jobs elsewhere during the boom. or lost the vision, or something No, the real reason is simple: they know the BeOS in and out, and they are honest about its limitations. That’s just not something that can be said about the BeOS community, which is all too willing to spread the “lies” (to quote Baron somewhat out of context) about how perfect the BeOS was at just about anything. A community that says things like replicants are insanely useful (riiiight), that they’ve never had it crash (riiiight), that it handled media wonderfully (it didn’t; those multiple-videos-at-one-time demos were all done back on low-res videos and very simplistic codecs. The MediaKit couldn’t handle almost any modern type of file without at least some syncing problems), or that they can do everything they need to on the BeOS (they must have amazingly simplistic needs). In other words, the BeOS engineers know better than anyone what the BeOS brought to the table, and though it was wonderful in many ways, it’s simply no longer impressive. XP, OS X, and increasingly Linux are doing things that you can’t even dream of doing in the BeOS. Put simply, the engineers have moved on because the world has, too. 2003-09-12 8:26 am Pardon me. The title of my last post should read “RE: zephc”, not “Ryan”. 2003-09-12 11:08 am What I get kind of sad about is when the ex-Be luminaries now talk about the BeOS like it’s actually just a piece of crap. Please don’t forget that at the time, it was a truly amazing piece of work. When people say “My Windows machine can do that just fine”, they forget that this computer is easily an order of magnitude more powerful than the machines that were around when BeOS first appeared. BeOS blew me away when I first saw it. And that’s not because I hadn’t seen anything else. Yes, Linux and Windows have caught up. But it was BeOS which raised the bar. 2003-09-12 11:23 am “Yes, Linux and Windows have caught up. But it was BeOS which raised the bar.” There’s more truth in that than when you say “one and one makes two.” If OpenBeOS can really get their r1 to be as good as the ‘original’, then their follow-ups are gonna rock the OS-world… Or am I overreacting now? 2003-09-12 11:36 am yes beos is not perfect, but OS is about the less problematic one, for me it’s the BeOS. Take replicant for exemple, you say they are not usefull. Replicant as they are used by most app (paste on the desktop) is only usefull for some app. This was one of Be error, only implementing the desktop as a demo to what replicant can do. They should have build most of their demo app and small utility with that in mind (starting with a more powerfull and flexible deskbar replicant model). My guess about why most Be employee don’t follow the scene is that some have been pissed by management or were not happy to have the OS not having stuff implemented as they wanted. The rest is probably tired of working on OS at all (i can understand that in a x86 dominated world with no more custom chip). 2003-09-12 4:49 pm ” As Baron said, “mediaOS” is “all lies, lies, lies.” And as Eugenia said JBQ and a bunch of fellow ex-be workers are laughing at obos, yellowtab and beunited….” Ever used IZ technology’s Radar multi-track audio recorder Sam? Apparently not. I have and i have also done audio work on windows 98/XP. What i can tell you is this Radar works very very well. It uses the media OS. The media OS performs very well. I expect some bitterness. Be, Inc. pretty muched screwed over everyone developers, customers, shareholders and employees. People that thought they’d become millionaires saw their holding become worthless as be sold for really nothing. developers were screwed. Suffice it to say that the media OS (be) does a better job at media than the other OS (windows) and possibly even OS X (have not tried it can not comment). 2003-09-12 5:22 pm >>>Ever used IZ technology’s Radar multi-track audio recorder Sam? The discussion is about what ex-Be employees think about BeOS, not what I think about. 2003-09-12 6:45 pm “The discussion is about what ex-Be employees think about BeOS, not what I think about.” Actually i thought the discussion was about Michael Phipps of OpenBeos. I’d add that i really don’t care what the former Beos employees think about OpenBeos,yellowtab or beos itself. In the grand scope of things it really does not matter. The only thing that counts for openBeos is to produce a solid OS that has features that are of interest to those of us that may use it. 2003-09-12 9:41 pm >>>I’d add that i really don’t care what the former Beos employees think about OpenBeos,yellowtab or beos itself. In the grand scope of things it really does not matter. The only thing that counts for openBeos is to produce a solid OS that has features that are of interest to those of us that may use it. Actually it really does matter. They are the people who actually know how long and how difficult it is for these post-be projects. And pretty much every ex-be employee who were interviewed has said that it will take a lot more manpower and a lot longer time frame than these projects are claiming. 2003-09-15 9:46 am I expect some bitterness. Be, Inc. pretty muched screwed over everyone developers, customers, shareholders and employees. People that thought they’d become millionaires saw their holding become worthless as be sold for really nothing. developers were screwed. A very interesting detail is that way back when, JLG was interviewed about his new start-up company, Be Inc. He was inevitably being compared to NeXT, and to the question what the difference between Be and NeXT was, JLG answered “We don’t screw our developers.” At that time, NeXT was charging an outrageous amount of money for their development kit, so that’s probably what JLG was aiming at, but it’s a sour comment when looking back.