Bill Hayden did the obvious: He forked AtheOS (which is technically similar to BeOS) and used its app_server and Interface Kit (without the use of X11) and rest of its kits on top of the 2.4.x Linux kernel. While the AtheOS kernel has some very nice features, by being modular, semi-microkernel, with good preemptive/multithreading support etc., it lacks a solid VM and swap support and of course, it lacks a good driver support, things that the Linux kernel provides. Bill Hayden accounced his fork on the AtheOS mailing list and made known that the “Atheos API has been merged with the BeOS API, there is PowerPC support, gcc 3.0.X compatiblity and OpenTracker/Deskbar as the desktop manager”.Most BeOS programs compile and run with little or no changes and Bill has already ported the BeOS CPU monitor, Pulse, to the system. “Existing Atheos programs will need changes to compile. I haven’t found one that took me longer than a few minutes to ‘convert’. Where Atheos and BeOS use different semantics, I chose the BeOS method”, Bill said. Deskbar and Tracker are reportedly difficult to port as they depend on very BeOS-specific APIs and behaviors, but Bill says that it is getting there, especially because the 2.4.x kernel supports node monitoring.
The AtheOS community took the announcement a bit bitter as they would not like to see a forking of AtheOS, but reportedly, Kurt Skauen (the original author of AtheOS) hasn’t touched the AtheOS source code in five months, as he is taking a break from development for now (which is a usual thing for Kurt, he has done so twice in the past). However the despiration and frustration from AtheOS coders who would like to see more AtheOS development is now at high levels (Kurt does not accept patches or new code for his OS, so everyone is dependant on Kurt when it comes on the AtheOS future).
OSNews featured a review of AtheOS’ latest version some months ago.