BeOS fans resurrect OS

Posted by Humphrey Cheung

Los Angeles (CA) -  BeOS fans are bringing back their favorite operating system as the Haiku OS. A small group of developers have reverse-engineered the operating system and showed off a "pre-alpha" version of Haiku at the recently completed Southern California Linux Convention. Like a proud father showing off his newborn baby, the devs boasted of binary compatibility and ran decade-old apps to prove the point.

According to the developers, Haiku is designed to be a very lightweight desktop-oriented operating system. The user interface is tied into the kernel and all windowed applications are multi-threaded. They add that the tight kernel should allow the operating system to run old older hardware, but users should use at least a 400Mhz processor. Developers told us that Haiku is "binary-compatible" with the old BeOS operating system which means all the old BeOS applications can run on Haiku without modification. In fact, during our conversation, one of the developers proved the point by firing up "Moho", an inverse-kinematic animation tool. "You don't have to rewrite the program, it's running here like normal," said one developer.

BeOS was first made for AT&T "Hobbit" computers, but gained most of its fame with PowerPC's Apple clones in 1996. While many fans took a liking to the lightweight nature of the operating system, it died a slow death and was eventually sold to Palm, Inc.

Michael Phipps, one of Haiku's developers, told TG Daily that the operating system is in a very "pre pre-alpha" stage, but that interested folks can play around with the OS by downloading code and VMWare images at their website. He won't say when a final version will be out, but we have no doubt about his commitment. "If I didn't have BeOS, I'd pack up all my computers and move to an Amish community," said Phipps.