The Latest News from the BeOS Front

Most of the big BeOS news sites are down (mostly server hardware failures), so OSNews is taking the initiative to publish an all-around BeOS news article. First of all, a whole lot of nice software has been released on BeBits recently. Sequitur 2.0 is here, Palm Reflections, i.Scribe and even a new version of OpenTracker. is reporting that Apacabar is selling out its BeOS-related software, offering among others, BeOS 5 Pro and even T-Racks ($299 original price) for 99 French Franks (about $13 USD) each. I sent to Palm’s CEO, Mr. Carl Yankowski, 5 questions for a mini-interview (questions that most BeOS users have in their mind these days), but instead, Marlene Somsak, Senior Director at Palm, replied:

“Thank you for your inquiry. We have heard from many, many Be fans.
We’re not able to answer many of the questions you asked at this time. I’ll keep this in my active file and as we are able, we’ll provide updates. Our first priority is to the Palm OS, but we understand your request.

Marlene Somsak
Sr. Director, Corp Comm”

In the meantime, a team of BeOS developers had come together under the umbrella of the Open-BeOS initiative which has the goal to create a new Operating System that would be both binary and source compatible with BeOS 5. They have chosen to use the NewOS kernel as their basis, a kernel written by Travis Geiselbrecht, an ex-Be engineer, in his free time.

Our Take: I am sorry if I sound negative, but after discussing details about the Open BeOS project with several ex and Be engineers the last few days, they all came to (an easy for them) conclusion that this project is going nowhere. Exactly because there are shortcomings in the BeOS design, and because not all bugs or features of BeOS are known from outsiders, it will be impossible to replicate the technology without having the original BeOS source code. But what the team CAN do, is to aim for source compatibility, not binary. While the threading, bugs(!), locking and other details will behave differently between the BeOS and OpenBeOS, it is already times easier to port BeOS applications to OpenBeOS than trying to run them unmodified. This way, if the team become really dedicated, we may see some good progress in less than a year, othewise it will take years to come even into an alpha state.


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