What makes BeOS so special today?

Forum thread started by Interested on Tue, 2009-06-23 07:46

Of course, Haiku is based on BeOS R5. However, I believe there need to be more exposure of knowledge about BeOS to the public to understand what Haiku is. That means we need to have a very good understanding on BeOS itself.

Anyway, what makes BeOS (R5) so special compare to Windows, Linux, or Apple? After all these years of halt of development of BeOS, are there any very unique feature that BeOS has compare to other operating system?

Is it true that BeOS is very Unix-like?

I still remember my old relative being sad about BeOS becoming obsolete. Still today. :(

Comments

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Quote:

Haiku is based on BeOS R5

Actually, this is a very bad way to put it... Haiku is not *based* on any BeOS code at all, it's inspired by it, and compatible with it.

This would pretty much be like saying that FreeBSD is based on Linux... it's plain wrong.

BeOS was only "unix-like" in that it shipped with a bash shell and a full complement of commandline utilities. It also sported a relatively good POSIX compliance layer (Haiku is much better even)... but these do not make "UNIX", and that's where the similarity to UNIX pretty much ends.

Sorry, I feel obligated to mention these clarifications as there is a lot of misunderstanding and misconceptions about these things floating around, and it wouldn't do to let the Haiku forums harbor misinformation without correction.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

umccullough wrote:
Quote:

Haiku is based on BeOS R5

Actually, this is a very bad way to put it... Haiku is not *based* on any BeOS code at all, it's inspired by it, and compatible with it.

Actually, Haiku did inherit some code from BeOS, specifically OpenTracker (for the Tracker file manager and the Deskbar) which was open-source by Be Inc. before their demise. ;)[/quote]

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Fair enough ;)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

From an end-users point of view, I believe it's fair to say that Haiku is 'based on' BeOS, in that for the time being it's a near-perfect copy, so saying 'inspired by' (like BeOS itself was 'inspired by' the Amiga) is a euphemism at best. It's a clone! But that's just terminology.

As to the original question, what attracts me personally to Haiku is first and foremost that it is open source. This means among other things that it cannot die as long as people are interested in it. But let's not dwell on political issues :)

From a technical standpoint, there are a number of advantages over GNU/Linux+Gnome, which has been my main OS for a while now. Some of these probably apply to Windows as well (I was never really a Windows user, so I don't know):

It's an integrated system. A Linux distribution is a put together by a bunch of components from many different places, sometimes in a very bulky layer-upon-layer fashion.

My favourite example here is Network Manager, which is what you use to manage your networking connections on Ubuntu systems, among others, from the graphical user interface. The base Linux system inherited from UNIX a set of command line tools for doing these things (ifconfig, and the various WiFi-related kludges that Linux has later added - instead of adopting the more sensible BSD extensions to ifconfig, but I digress). Since command line tools are deemed 'user hostile' by the general populace, Network Manager was created to do these things from the GUI, but that system isn't perfect, so sometimes you still need to drop down to the command line (for using bridge interfaces, for instance), and sometimes the two end methods end up fighting for control. BeOS has none of this, since the developers think of everything from the kernel and up as a coherent system.

On a related note, all BeOS applications look and operate (mostly) the same, for the same reason: there's really only one way of writing graphical user interfaces, namely by using BeOS's own collection of functionality. On Linux (and to some extent, Windows), developers have access to a wide variety of such libraries for writing user interfaces, leading to the unintegrated feeling once you use something which wasn't written with the Linux desktop environment you use in mind. This doesn't happen on Haiku, since it's a cohesive, unified system from kernel to GUI.

Similarly, BeOS applications were built to speak to one another, and they all speak the same language (The BMessage construct - used for everything from scripting to telling applications that a button was pressed). On a modern Linux system, again, once you venture outside a given desktop environment, things sometimes get a little weird. Happily, BeOS's way of doing things is very sensible and it is pervasive throughout the system, so apps are thoroughly scriptable more or less for free.

Then there's the file system. BeOS allows you to store an arbitrary number of 'attributes' along with files. The canonical example is MP3 files: a CD ripper (or program to dig such data out of ID3 tags) can store things like Artist, Title, Album or Year in a attribute in the filesystem, and then all BeOS applications have easy access to that via a simple and familiar interface. There's no need to make a complicated database format to create an iTunes-killer for Haiku. You can just use the file system.

Also, it's got sliding yellow tabs for window decoration. How ace is that?

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

noisetonepause wrote:

From an end-users point of view, I believe it's fair to say that Haiku is 'based on' BeOS, in that for the time being it's a near-perfect copy, so saying 'inspired by' (like BeOS itself was 'inspired by' the Amiga) is a euphemism at best. It's a clone! But that's just terminology.

I don't personally consider it a "clone" either... If anything, it's simply "compatible".

With the massive improvements over BeOS in POSIX, performance, and the availability of GCC4 compiler - Haiku is already well past the "clone" stage IMO.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

umccullough wrote:
noisetonepause wrote:

From an end-users point of view, I believe it's fair to say that Haiku is 'based on' BeOS, in that for the time being it's a near-perfect copy, so saying 'inspired by' (like BeOS itself was 'inspired by' the Amiga) is a euphemism at best. It's a clone! But that's just terminology.

I don't personally consider it a "clone" either... If anything, it's simply "compatible".

With the massive improvements over BeOS in POSIX, performance, and the availability of GCC4 compiler - Haiku is already well past the "clone" stage IMO.

A programmer would care about POSIX and GCC4. However, most laymen wouldn't care or necessarily know. I think you really need to come to terms with the fact that people will view Haiku as a clone or copy of BeOS and just go with it. Trying to nitpick exact terminology is just going to bog down Haiku's PR and confuse people. It's also going to appear adversarial if someone asks about this BeOS "clone" and random people start "clarifying" how they should refer to the OS rather than giving any useful info or help.

I'm just sayin'... there are better fights to fight than getting in a tizzy about clone or based on or inspired by, etc. Especially when you get more popular and are trying to attact new users with limited attention spans.

The only reason I want to try out Haiku/OpenBeOS sometime is because I always wanted to play with BeOS and had heard great things about it. So Haiku's got that halo effect from YEARS ago. Trying to distance yourself from BeOS is only going to sabotage any PR efforts leading up to your first real release. Use that any way you can and put aside some of the programmer mindset of trying to precisely define and clarify terminology in cases where it honestly doesn't matter. Engineers are like that too. ;)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Scrotos wrote:

[However, most laymen wouldn't care or necessarily know. I think you really need to come to terms with the fact that people will view Haiku as a clone or copy of BeOS and just go with it. Trying to nitpick exact terminology is just going to bog down Haiku's PR and confuse people.

Great - and as I said before, FreeBSD is *not* a clone of Linux or vice-versa - so we should be correcting this misconception every chance we get.

Natively-compiled Haiku software will usually not run on BeOS, and eventually BeOS software will not run on Haiku (post R1) - and other architectural changes will occur at that point as well, making Haiku further and further away from BeOS.

The concepts behind BeOS serve as a "starting point" for Haiku, but it doesn't aim to be a clone. People continuing to purport this as the goal are only lying to themselves and others.

I think you're simply speculating based on how stupid you believe people are. People can be educated, it only takes people willing to start doing it :)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away".

I love the elegance of BeOS/Haiku. The file system layout is amazingly intuitive. The interface is minimalistic, yet perfectly functional. Everything is cohecive, well integrated. BeOS was ridiculously smooth. Haiku is open, and the BeOS/Haiku community is absolutely amazing. We've stuck together for the last 10 years now!!!

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

umccullough wrote:

Great - and as I said before, FreeBSD is *not* a clone of Linux or vice-versa - so we should be correcting this misconception every chance we get.

Natively-compiled Haiku software will usually not run on BeOS, and eventually BeOS software will not run on Haiku (post R1) - and other architectural changes will occur at that point as well, making Haiku further and further away from BeOS.

The concepts behind BeOS serve as a "starting point" for Haiku, but it doesn't aim to be a clone. People continuing to purport this as the goal are only lying to themselves and others.

I think you're simply speculating based on how stupid you believe people are. People can be educated, it only takes people willing to start doing it :)

Oh, I'm not speculating! I'm in IT but not a programmer. This means that I deal with executives and external and internal customers and attempt to train them to do complex tasks like put their fingers on a fingerprint reader and wonder why they decide to randomly change what finger they use and complain they can't get logged into our system.

A programmer is more insulated in that they typically interface with people who know how to relate to them and speak their language, who understand their mindset. Whenever our on-staff programmer attempts to work with our employees to tweak or create an in-house program, invariably one of the non-programmer IT guys has to be a go-between to translate concepts between the programmer and the regular person.

I ran across a US government agency with ambiguous file format specifications. Files could be submitted as ANSI, but it didn't say what kind of ANSI. 7bit, 8bit, the lower 128 characters, a specific character set, a specific ISO standard, what? So some files were getting rejected that should have been valid based on several interpretations of the ambiguous "standard". However, the people I tried to talk to about tightening up the standard were not programmers and could not understand where the problem was.

I'm not saying programmers are bad or anything, just that I recognize that there's a certain mindset that good programmers tend to have and it's not always conducive to relating to or communicating with non-programmers.

You say FreeBSD isn't based on Linux. I say it's primarily a CLI with some random window manager slapped on depending on what distribution you use. And what is it, really? It's being represented by whatever quirks and abilities the default window manager is; that's what a "normal" user identifies with.

Technically correct that an app made for Haiku won't run on BeOS R5. However, for all practical purposes, people are waiting for Haiku to be released so they have an updated BeOS, not so that someone makes a new app for them to try to run on their BeOS R5 or R4 install from 5+ years ago. So I say, the fact that apps made for Haiku won't run on BeOS is confusing and getting in the way for a new, novice user.

Of course, do whatever you want, but I am voicing this as I fear attempts to evangelize this OS might get bogged down with exactness at the expense of simplicity and clarity. It doesn't matter that FreeBSD isn't a clone of Linux. What matters is that neither one of them are Windows or Mac OS X and Haiku is something different (BETTER) than all of the above.

If you're talking to other technical potential end-users, you can be as exact as you want but probably those users will already know that type of basic information. If you're trying to grow your potential userbase with regular people, i.e. the ones who care if you have a web browser and an office suite and an mp3 player, you need to take a different approach. I hope when it comes time to do a PR blitz, you get someone who isn't very technical to help out. Or maybe find a technical writer who writes instructions/manuals for end users (as opposed to professionals--think office and photoshop manuals versus Oracle manual or linux man pages) and have them be a filter to make things simple for regular folk to understand.

And just to be clear, I'm not taking issue with you, personally. Just with the approach I see you expousing and I can see how that could easily become the overall Haiku PR mindset when doing PR-type stuff. I think that would be a mistake, is all.

(sorry for the verbosity, I tend to get long-winded)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Scrotos wrote:

And just to be clear, I'm not taking issue with you, personally. Just with the approach I see you expousing and I can see how that could easily become the overall Haiku PR mindset when doing PR-type stuff. I think that would be a mistake, is all.

I personally don't believe that distinguishing Haiku from BeOS is bad PR... I believe it's damage control. I believe there are far more people who believe BeOS is dead and shouldn't be revived... or have never heard of BeOS than there are die-hard BeOS fans waiting for its revival.

Please keep in mind, I *am* that go-between guy you were referring to. I translate customer requirements into technical requirements every day. Worse, I work with people in the insurance industry... I know what you're trying to say, but I don't agree that it is better to continue stating that Haiku is the same as BeOS.

I believe Haiku needs its own identity. Without its own identity, it will not grow and become something great by itself.

I hear what people say, I know what their perceptions are, and I have heard plenty of misconception that needs to be corrected. The last thing we need is for someone to identify Haiku as BeOS, and skip it thinking: "I used BeOS for a while, it was neat, but irrelevant now."

Haiku needs a message of its own... that it takes the best features of BeOS and goes beyond.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Besides, most people don't start arguments over this. When it's quickly explained why Haiku is not a BeOS-clone, most just say, "Oh, I see. Neat. Where can I download the ISO?". :)

"What makes BeOS so special today?"

No. 1 (of 1000): My main Ubuntu system is so unintegrated that I can't drag an attachment from an email onto the desktop.

No.2: Every app in Ubuntu quits with a different key combo: CTRL+Q, CTRL+W, ALT-F... it's insane.

I could go on and on, but there's no reason to get myself worked up over it... :)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Humdinger wrote:

Besides, most people don't start arguments over this. When it's quickly explained why Haiku is not a BeOS-clone, most just say, "Oh, I see. Neat. Where can I download the ISO?". :)

Or, the person doesn't want to deal with the hassle and never downloads the ISO. 'tis my fear.

I dunno. I guess we'll see how things play out when a release is ready. I tend to evaluate based on worst-case scenarios, though, so perhaps things will go smooth.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Humdinger wrote:

No. 1 (of 1000): My main Ubuntu system is so unintegrated that I can't drag an attachment from an email onto the desktop.

It's pretty simple for application developers to get this right, so I suppose it is merely a bug unless you are running some text-only mail client from a terminal. There were of course a great many bugs in BeOS. "My mail app has a bug" seems like it's not something special about BeOS OR Ubuntu.

I suppose it's conceivable you just couldn't figure out how to get it to the desktop. On my system I can drag the attachment icon to the workspace switcher, hover for a moment over a workspace and it is opened for me to drop the icon. Similarly if I drag it over the title of a hidden window, and hover, the window is brought to the front for me to drop the icon onto it.

Quote:

No.2: Every app in Ubuntu quits with a different key combo: CTRL+Q, CTRL+W, ALT-F... it's insane.

And how does BeOS prevent this? Well, that's maybe a trick question. Of course it doesn't, the method of quitting applications in BeOS varies too. It's under the control of the application developer, just like with Ubuntu.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Scrotos wrote:

Trying to distance yourself from BeOS is only going to sabotage any PR efforts leading up to your first real release. Use that any way you can and put aside some of the programmer mindset of trying to precisely define and clarify terminology in cases where it honestly doesn't matter. Engineers are like that too. ;)

Actually, it was not the engineers, but the former PR guru (me) who came up with the "inspired by the BeOS" thing. :) This was intended to be the articulation of a two-pronged "cherish the legacy but pursue our own identity" approach thought out for the development stage of Haiku that mainly targets former BeOS fans, developers and hobbyists.

The reasoning for this approach was that claiming to be a mere clone of a dead OS from the 90s had negative implications. So we chose to create a loose connection with the BeOS (to cater to former BeOS user base) while leaving the door open for developing Haiku's own identity as it matures in the future.

As the OS matures and sells itself on its own value, the BeOS legacy will become less relevant and more of historical trivia rather than a selling point. When that happens, arguing whether it is a clone or not will become irrelevant. So, like Humdinger said, don't get worked up guys. It's mostly about the code anyway. :)

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Hi NoHaikuForMe!
How was your vacation? Haven't seen any demotivating comments from you in some time. :)

NoHaikuForMe wrote:

It's pretty simple for application developers to get this right, so I suppose it is merely a bug unless you are running some text-only mail client from a terminal.

It's Thunderbird, so it seems to be a screw up in the system integration. Had it since I started with Ubuntu 7.10. Several reinstalls and Thunderbird updates didn't cure it. I guess there's some config file somewhere, but I don't know where to even start looking for it.

Quote:

I suppose it's conceivable you just couldn't figure out how to get it to the desktop.

I may not be your biggest computer buff, but I do know how to sucessfully drag&drop. :)

Quote:
Quote:

No.2: Every app in Ubuntu quits with a different key combo: CTRL+Q, CTRL+W, ALT-F... it's insane.

And how does BeOS prevent this? Well, that's maybe a trick question. Of course it doesn't, the method of quitting applications in BeOS varies too. It's under the control of the application developer, just like with Ubuntu.

Yes, but with Haiku, there's only one desktop environment/windowmanager. If a programmer wants to conform to Haiku's interface guide (and everyone so far does), there's ONE correct way. Under Linux there are many "right" ways, depending in what environment the app is run.

A "uniform" system is what makes Haiku special.

Just for fun, here's
No. 3: I take a screenshot, tell it to copy to clipboard, but pasting into Gimp doesn't do anything. Copy text from an app to the clipboard, close the app, try to paste into another app. Doesn't work.

Why is it so hard for you to concede that Haiku does have a nice integration of system technologies that just isn't matched by the diversity of Linux distributions?
You know, you can still dislike the Haiku project in general while admitting to some positive aspects now and then.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Humdinger wrote:

It's Thunderbird, so it seems to be a screw up in the system integration. Had it since I started with Ubuntu 7.10. Several reinstalls and Thunderbird updates didn't cure it. I guess there's some config file somewhere, but I don't know where to even start looking for it.

I don't have Thunderbird. I'm not sure I know anyone who uses Thunderbird. I guess it's a bug, I'm not inclined to install Thunderbird to try to investigate a bug when the thrust of your point was that somehow a bug in Thunderbird (a cross platform piece of software which could just as well be running on BeOS) means BeOS is better integrated than Ubuntu.

Quote:

Yes, but with Haiku, there's only one desktop environment/windowmanager. If a programmer wants to conform to Haiku's interface guide (and everyone so far does), there's ONE correct way. Under Linux there are many "right" ways, depending in what environment the app is run.

Now you're talking about Haiku. The question was about BeOS. So, where's the HIG for BeOS? Oops, another trick question. In reality BeOS applications varied a great deal, it's no harder to find interface inconsistencies than in Windows. Only if you set out to declare everything consistent and turn a blind eye to the exceptions can you make your argument - but this same approach works on any platform.

Quote:

No. 3: I take a screenshot, tell it to copy to clipboard, but pasting into Gimp doesn't do anything.

Again, this works perfectly for me. Indeed The GIMP even has a menu option specifically for creating a new image from the contents of the clipboard, but of course you can also paste into an existing image.

However perhaps I know what you did wrong here, did you close the program which took the screenshot before pasting into GIMP?

Quote:

Copy text from an app to the clipboard, close the app, try to paste into another app. Doesn't work.

For this to work you need a third program to hold onto the contents of the clipboard when the first program exits. There are no good alternatives here, although the most obvious alternative looks superficially attractive until you try it on real users (X used to offer a solution which took this alternative, but it was limited to short snippets of text for reasons that will be obvious if you understand what's going on here). You can get such programs but I don't use one, and it seems you don't either (at least in Ubuntu).

Quote:

Why is it so hard for you to concede that Haiku does have a nice integration of system technologies that just isn't matched by the diversity of Linux distributions?
You know, you can still dislike the Haiku project in general while admitting to some positive aspects now and then.

I don't really see this nice integration you're talking about. Of course I could write positive things about Haiku, just by choosing a low benchmark - BeFS is so much better than Amiga FFS, or isn't it wonderful how in Haiku you can keep working even if an application hangs, unlike RISCOS. I can't think of any reason to do that.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

NoHaikuForMe wrote:

I don't have Thunderbird. I'm not sure I know anyone who uses Thunderbird. I guess it's a bug,

Yeah, damn, if only there were another Thunderbird user, that problem would have come up in the past 1,5 years...

Quote:

Now you're talking about Haiku. The question was about BeOS. So, where's the HIG for BeOS?

The argument isn't that there's a HIG. Afterall, everyone is free to ignore HIGs. It's the one "windowmanager" in BeOS/Haiku that establishes a standard as a consensus. Having more than one which define e.g. shortcuts differently, there's no consensus what's right and wrong.

Quote:
Quote:

No. 3: I take a screenshot, tell it to copy to clipboard, but pasting into Gimp doesn't do anything.

However perhaps I know what you did wrong here, did you close the program which took the screenshot before pasting into GIMP?

No.

Quote:
Quote:

Copy text from an app to the clipboard, close the app, try to paste into another app. Doesn't work.

For this to work you need a third program to hold onto the contents of the clipboard when the first program exits.

Yep. That is called a "crutch".

Quote:

I don't really see this nice integration you're talking about.

Obviously. For you a third app passing around what should be in the system's clipboard is integration enough.

Quote:

Of course I could write positive things about Haiku, just by choosing a low benchmark [..] I can't think of any reason to do that.

I could really start to wonder about your motivation to post here at all. I won't dwell on that though, because I suspect you're just here to troll, scare away interested visitors and at least waste everyone's time.

One last question before we can go back ignoring each other: you don't happen to be German, are you? I knew an ex-BeOS dev who got very frustrated way back. I could imagine if he let his vitriol simmer for 5 or 6 years he might be jaded enough to invest that much time to sabotage our project.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Unix is like a tank - heavy iron, big engine, trained staff, specialized. Linux came from Unix, so the design is (for/mostly) the same. You can take the turret off, of course, and add some colors in and out, maybe install a wooden trim, hide the heavy levers behind user-friendly dash, hide most of the buttons-knobs-meters so user thinks that speedometer is all she/he has/needs, install comfy seat, call it 'puppy' or other cute names. it's stripped but still that heavy-duty tank underneath it all.
Unix was a tank. alternative was a hyped-pimped soap-box car with big price tag called 'Windows'... so Linux came to be what it is today.

Unix and Windows both were quite successful. Both had clientele. Both had different selling points. Who is the clientele for Beos and for Haiku? Are they the same? Can You (and do You want to) sell same product to people who buy with eyes/emotions and to those who buy with brains? Which kind of people are there more? So may questions to think about...

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I would say that it's less unique that in used to be, but that's only because the development target has been copying R5. After the first release, I'm sure that we'll see much more that sets Haiku apart from the crowd. Haiku is in a lot of ways what Zeta tried to be. There are numerous differences between R5 and Haiku ATM.

What makes it unique? Aside from overall speed, queries, and its licensing, there aren't too many individual features that make it unique. The integration and combination of features present in other operating systems, however, is. Ease-of-use from the Mac, a heavily UNIX-like foundation, and Minesweeper from Windows.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I'll say what I think makes BeOS so special after all this time -

even after all this time, and all the problems, people are still talking about BeOS, and are passionate about it. The fact that this passion is being used by developers working on Haiku is proof of this.

If it wasn't so darned special no one would give a rodents behind any more, would they!?

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

phatpenguin wrote:

even after all this time, and all the problems, people are still talking about BeOS, and are passionate about it. The fact that this passion is being used by developers working on Haiku is proof of this.

But this is only as special as Atari, Amiga, DOS, NeXT, OS/2, RISC OS and so on. There are people who are still passionate about those systems too, practically any system with more than a handful of users attracts this sort of retro-computing interest.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

It depends on the application. It's still very useful as a practical and super-fast tool. In fact, in my opinion it's still the first choice for a radio station on a small budget. We've been using BeOS for years now to run our FM radio station's automation (WJIH 95.9 Oneonta, NY). We first installed it on a $50 Dell Optiplex P3 500 Mhz machine. It ran for two years straight without a hiccup, shutdown or anything. On power outages, it would simply restart by itself and continue where it left off. We updated to a newer computer only because the sheer raw power of newer processors allows faster generation of daily 24-hour playlists. On the old Optiplex, I accidentally opened 40+ songs at the same time and it ran all of them simultaneously. Maybe now other OS's could do that as well, but not at that time or at least not as well. Responsiveness in changes to audio settings such as changing EQ settings is instantaneous, as if you were changing settings on a physical EQ. For a radio station, opening and playing media instantly is critical. I can't wait to try Haiku's alpha when it comes out.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

BeOS isn't special today. But Haiku is!! Awesome work everyone. This is simply astonishing. I never believed it would ever be this good!

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I know I'm a bit late in posting.

What makes BeOS so special today? My short answer is, it isn't really special outside the fact that it harnessed many qualities and features that most operating systems today are just starting to tap into. But really, we're not talking about BeOS here, anymore. We're talking about Haiku.

What makes Haiku so special today? My short answer: It makes sense.

Longer answer:
I have been waiting silently off to the side for a release of anything Haiku -- be it alpha, beta or stable, I don't care. BeOS really captured what I, as a user, really wanted in an Operating System: Ease of use and powerful multimedia capabilities. It had speed, UNBELIEVABLE SPEED, too. Haiku, just judging on my computer, captures almost exactly the same feeling, but with a nice twist - Modern OS potential.

I am a FreeBSD user (for both desktop and server) as well as a Linux user. I'm actually quite tired of Linux's attempts to be a great Desktop OS. It just isn't there. It can be used as a desktop OS relatively easy, however there just isn't a consistent environment. Graphics drivers are absolutely horrid on Linux (sorry guys, but they are) and Xorg just isn't modern enough. Haiku gives what Linux or *nix systems have been trying to accomplish for how many years? Everyone says "Linux is great on the desktop". Maybe. But when you have a problem in the linux community and criticize how some things are done, the new slogan is, "Linux is for power-users". . .

Haiku, as I mentioned, eliminates much of the headache. You don't need or should ever need to use the command line. Ever. It's simplistic in nature. It just makes sense to use this system as a catapult in the new direction of Open Source Desktops and what the open source community is capable of making.

Anyways, /end rant.
Congratulations to all involved with Haiku Project with this new Alpha 1. It's very impressive and the wait was worth it. Let the coding continue!

-10

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I'm new to Haiku, but I did at one time bounce between AmigaOS and BeOS. I must say that Haiku is coming along quite well. BeOS is special today because it was one of those OS' that really brought something new to the table. New ways of doing things and a new style. And it did it early on, relatively speaking.

Haiku seems special to me for several reasons.

1) It has a dedicated user base before it's even released.
2) It's not just another Linux/BSD variant.
3) It has that special BeOS style.
4) It's just as easy to poke around in as most other modern OS'.

I have to digress for a bit and reply to this:

"But this is only as special as Atari, Amiga, DOS, NeXT, OS/2, RISC OS and so on. There are people who are still passionate about those systems too, practically any system with more than a handful of users attracts this sort of retro-computing interest."

At one time, there was this OS called UNIX. And then along came someone who decided to create his own OS that was free of licensing issues. He was inspired by UNIX. He called the new OS - Linux. (UNIX-Linux, BeOS-Haiku)

I guess in a sense, we are all into 'retro-computing'. UNIX has been around how long? How much of OS X still looks similar to Mac OS 7? Windows...

Anyway. It's nice that we have so many choices now, and so many of them are free.

Thanks to the Haiku team for their hard work!

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I started with BeOS in the 1999 and used it as a 2nd development station where I worked. It was fun to play with.

What brought me to it at the time was hearing another developer at work talk about it and he was pretty into it. I did some searching on the net and found some demo videos that showed it's multimedia prowess. I thought that what pretty cool. I was just getting into film at the time and I thought that an open source competitor, even if not as evolved, to Final Cut Pro would be something to get into.

By the time I did get around to installing, the emphasis and focus had changed and it seemed that Be, Inc was moving away from that capability and targeting more of a general audience. That isn't a bad thing, mind you. Just that the strong multimedia, small footprint, capability was a big selling point for me initially.

I've just downloaded the alpha and will be installing Haiku today.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

[quote=gnarlyc]
At one time, there was this OS called UNIX. And then along came someone who decided to create his own OS that was free of licensing issues. He was inspired by UNIX. He called the new OS - Linux. (UNIX-Linux, BeOS-Haiku)
[quote]

To be correct, Torvalds cloned MINIX not UNIX. So a clone of a clone of UNIX. He didn't create his own OS, he only created a kernel. What licensing issues is Linux free of? I can think of plenty of hell the GPL causes. I can't help but wonder how many people are illegally using NVIDIA's or ATI's drivers...

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

I always liked the BeOS for a few simple reasons. First, it favors function but doesn't neglect form (GUIs are simple, applications are powerful). Second, developers seem to be mature enough to adhere to the OS standards rather than reinvent the wheel even if they think there's a "better" way. Third, it's a desktop oriented OS rather than a server/desktop/enterprise hydra. Fourth, it's simple; I have had major issues with every OS I've tried and the BeOS was always the most straight-forward to fix. Fifth, while it may lack application choice, the best choice is usually there (recent example: I was looking for PDF annotators, of which Windows has like three and Linux has only Adobe; I laughed upon noticing BePDF does have this feature).

Actually, I think most of that can be summed up with "it's a desktop OS" and subsequently developers tend to focus their efforts on the same problems, leading to consistency, interoperability, simplicity, and well thought out applications.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Nice one, Izomiac. I would add that UNIX has long had a philosophy of lots of small utilities that could be strung together - command-line UNIX, that is - the GUI side of UNIX and its lookalikes (incl. Mac OSX) has quickly become bloated, complicated and slow. Moore's Law is all that keeps them afloat. BeOS and now Haiku was the only desktop OS to attempt a similar philosophy on the GUI side, and I hope we can maintain that. Resize a graphic? Use TAResizer. Convert a graphic to another format? Use PicConvert. And so on. (this is from memory; I'm not on my Haiku setup right now). Small, fast, well-designed programs that do one thing and do it well.

Which, BTW is why there is a lot of resistance in this community against the idea of OpenOffice for Haiku. In fact, most of us are looking forward to a simpler browser than Firefox.

I've heard good things about AmigaOS and RiscOS, but I've not had the chance to work with them. BeOS, when I encountered it, was like seeing a Mac for the first time back in the DOS days: "Yes, that's how it should be!"

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

It's Amiga, not AmigaOS.

Check out.
http://aros.sourceforge.net/
http://www.morphosppc.com/

I don't know much about RiscOS, so I can't point you in the right direction there. I guess Risc is still being developed though. The original Amiga still is too, but you need legacy hardware for it.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

No, it's AmigaOS not Amiga. Amiga is the hardware. AmigaOS is the operating system.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AmigaOS_versions

Michel was right in saying AmigaOS.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Ah, Terribly sorry.

I really should have known that. My first computer was an Amiga... I feel like a bit of a jerk.

Try not to use wikipedia as a source. At least for me, I don't consider anything on it to be true and I immediatly disregard it.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

@kameo76890

No worries, it happens. I'm sure we can forgive you.

Wikipedia is very good source of information. I find it mostly accurate. It is a good resource to start with, for general information, but always a good idea to search internet too to confirm. I really believe checking Wikipedia as a basic reference is a good habit to get into.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

Oh yes, as a base source it works. I was just suggesting don't use it as a reference, like when you pointed me towards my mistake.

I've found many errors, mostly in biased information which tends to pop up every now and then. There are several "flame wars" that take place on Wikipedia. Usually between processor types, compilers, operating systems and licenses. Well at least that's what I see. There are topics which are near immune to such issues, and topics that aren't faced by such issues.

Back to the actually topic of the thread. Here's something I realized today, BeOS was rather free from ridiculous licensing policies and terms of use. Examples include Apple's policies on development and tools. How can it be a security breach to take a screen shot of beta version of XCode? This same policy applies to some Microsoft products. In regards to the GPL, you could legally use non-gpl code in the kernel, such as NVIDIA's and ATI's drivers, without relicencing.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

BeO is special today because there are no commercial applications for it.

No? Well, maybe there is, but I cannot find any apps that will be useful to me besides the Firefox version. I downloaded a ftp positiv app - didn't work.

What I would love is the simplicity og Haiku or BeOS, you may call it whatever you like, and a picture browser with IPTC editing and a small picture editor that can ftp to clients.

If you can put it into one app that would be great. And of course wifi.

Something like PhotoMechanic and Lightroom ;o)

I don't need a flying teapot.

So, please forget all the small apps that you can sit with your nerd friends and show off, I don't need them ;o)

Oh, and can you develop a version for the iPhone?

I never tried BeOS but I always liked the interface and simplicity. Now I have installed the Alpha on my Macbook Pro and it is like going back in another century, positively meant. Lot of issues of course, it won't recognize all my RAM for instance.

But keep going on and call it whatever you like, just keep it simple and fast.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

myyr wrote:

Unix is like a tank - heavy iron, big engine, trained staff, specialized. Linux came from Unix, so the design is (for/mostly) the same. You can take the turret off, of course, and add some colors in and out, maybe install a wooden trim, hide the heavy levers behind user-friendly dash, hide most of the buttons-knobs-meters so user thinks that speedometer is all she/he has/needs, install comfy seat, call it 'puppy' or other cute names. it's stripped but still that heavy-duty tank underneath it all.
Unix was a tank. alternative was a hyped-pimped soap-box car with big price tag called 'Windows'... so Linux came to be what it is today.

Unix and Windows both were quite successful. Both had clientele. Both had different selling points. Who is the clientele for Beos and for Haiku? Are they the same? Can You (and do You want to) sell same product to people who buy with eyes/emotions and to those who buy with brains? Which kind of people are there more? So may questions to think about...

The main "clientele" for Haiku will initially be the many that remember how without dedicated 3d hardware BeOS R5 was capable of rotating multiple video clips on a 3d cube in realtime on a Pentium II 400Mhz with 128 MB of ram without a stutter while the mere concept of video running while 3d was drawn on Windows 98 was but a pipe dream. A system built for parallelism ahead of its day that is now relevant because of the pervasiveness of multicore processors, where the apps themselves do not need a "Grand Central" for them to multithread efficiently, the OS takes care of it for you and also the notion of a fully integrated OS environment that provides common ground for apps to have consistency in more than just looks, but operation and interoperability between running apps the OS and the user files is something that I'm sure will push Haiku forward.

If Haiku stays true to the original tenants of the BeOS philosophy you are looking at Metadata for Any and ALL FILES becoming mainstream (and actually useful!) and something that goes beyond a "Me Too!" type of patch-up procedural seen in most OSes and Files Systems today or something that instead of a software feature should be standard in every OS. I mean even Google is making a push on metadata plugins for file systems these days, we have it right out of the box!

And once that the OS has a bigger hardware base for deployment and more and more configurations become available I'm sure a percentage of Linux users who were never too comfortable with how Linux has held the user experience as a second class citizen will perhaps come over, try Haiku and maybe call it their Home OS. Because the User Experience really, really matters. I cannot stress this enough. Just ask any machead about it and you'll soon realize that you will only pry their macs away from their cold dead hands. We will have to improve upon what we started with. You only go onward from here and we can expand greatly from what we have now, but first things first.

Finally, we will, as a community of Users and Developers, at some point in the near future have to relegate BeOS as the "where we started as an idea" point and focus on the "Where We're Going as a Platform" full time. Just like NeXT and OS X. NeXT is where OS X comes from, but you now focus on OS X and NeXT, even while it was a great OS is hardly ever mentioned. And the sooner we do this the better. This not only for the sake of direction, but because this will be the image of Haiku.

I apologize if I sound preachy, but I really like the ideals behind Haiku, and I want it to succeed.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

“A system built for parallelism ahead of its day that is now relevant because of the pervasiveness of multicore processors, where the apps themselves do not need a "Grand Central" for them to multithread efficiently, the OS takes care of it for you”

Grand Central Dispatch is an OS-provided thread pool with some compiler support to simplify task parallelism. BeOS / Haiku simply doesn't provide an equivalent.

Re: What makes BeOS so special today?

NoHaikuForMe wrote:

Grand Central Dispatch is an OS-provided thread pool with some compiler support to simplify task parallelism. BeOS / Haiku simply doesn't provide an equivalent.

GCD is also open source and in general a pretty simple concept above and beyond the C blocks. Adding it or something similar to Haiku would be pretty easy.

In addition GCD still requires programmers to understand the complexities of multi-threaded programming and it does not solve any of the usual locking problems associated with shared data and multiple threads. Plus Mac OS X still has a single UI thread which programmer's will still find a way to block occasionally (GCD or no), producing the much loved "pinwheel of death."

Since for better or worse Haiku inherited BeOS' highly threaded approach, app UI lock-ups or pauses are less likely. Of course deadlocks and other thread errors are always a risk in complex threaded code.