Archive for 2008

In the EMail that Leszek Lesner pointing us to his Haiku video presentation, he also gave us a heads-up about the availability of an RC1 download of ZevenOS (Leszek is one of the developers of ZevenOS).

ZevenOS, which we reported on this past spring, is an Ubuntu-based Linux distribution that runs a version of the XFCE desktop, modified to have a BeOS-esque look-and-feel (it was originally developed under the name “Zebuntu“).

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A few days back, Leszek Lesner sent in an EMail to let us know that he’s posted a video presentation of the Haiku pre-Alpha release(s). Some of you may have already seen the video, as it’s also linked from the Haiku Movies page on

In addition to providing a good overview of what Haiku is, it also demonstrates a neat feature of OpenTracker that I was (embarrassingly) unaware of – the ability to copy-paste attributes between files.

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A few months back, I posted a request for several apps that I had lost due to a hard drive failure. One of those apps was Dockbert and I owe Oscar Lesta many thanks for sending along a zip file with several Dockbert binaries, along with an archive of the source code.

The only downside was that I could not get Dockbert to run, except with older releases of OpenTracker – which meant missing out on some of the newer OT features. After some trial and error, I did eventually manage to compile Dockbert against the most recent R5 release of OpenTracker (5.3.0 – it appears that OT became part of / integrated with the Haiku project after that point).

In case there are any other Dockbert fans in the same situation, I’ve made the binary available for download – and added a link to the BeBits entry.

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While the primary goal of Haiku’s R1 release is to essentially recreate R5, a portion of the project’s effort has always been devoted to planning for R2 and beyond. Another piece was added to the plan yesterday, as app_server coder extraordinaire darkwyrm posted the second revision of his proposal for the R2 Desktop (the announcement , and is the proposal itself).

The proposal mentions improvements that cover many aspects of Haiku, including visual appearance (as my rather glib title suggests), window management, file management, 3d acceleration, transparency, etc. It also follows the old Be Inc. philosophy that there’s nothing wrong with borrowing ideas from other operating systems, as long as you can implement them better. The proposal is currently in the “Request for Comments” stage – so if you have any feedback to offer, head over to darkwyrm’s blog and post a comment.

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The recent release of Haiku pre-Alpha builds has finally got me motivated to give it a try on some real hardware (as opposed to a virtual machine) after nearly two years. The amount of progress is very impressive, to the point where I decided to try using Haiku instead of R5 for day-to-day tasks – with the intention of writing a semi-review based that experience (and also providing an update/follow-up to 0033’s similar article from March 2007).

It occurred to me that there are probably many others in the same boat – those who follow Haiku’s development, but haven’t had a chance to try it very often (especially on real hardware). So I’m taking requests: if there’s anything that you’d like me to test in Haiku – apps, add-ons, hacks, etc – post a comment or send an EMail to

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Haiku Pre-Alpha Release
Stephen B. - October 29th, 2008

Back on October 22nd, some sharp-eyed Haiku downloaders spotted an interesting new file in the Haiku files archive, tantalizingly-named “haiku-pre-alpha-r28283.raw.bz2.”

Updates to that build have appeared on an almost-daily basis since pre-alpha-r28283 was uploaded – while the newer builds omit the “pre-” before “alpha,” they do still appear to be pre-alpha builds as well. It also looks like the pre-alpha builds contain a number of bundled applications, based on the recently-accepted proposals for Alpha 1.

Category: Editorials, News   -   1 Comment »  


Over on the blogs, Michael Crawford has made a very interesting post about an organization in San Jose, California, which recycles computer hardware that is “obsolete,” but is still usable. The head of the organization also happens to be one of Michael’s housemates – so he came up with a proposal to catalogue the hardware online and offer it to Open Source developers. From the post:

Matt was very excited about my proposal to offer salvaged AGP, PCI and even ISA cards to Open Source developers. They could supply whole working computers, but shipping wouldn’t be economical outside of Silicon Valley. But for motherboards with onboard video, sound or ethernet, it would be economical to ship just the motherboard, CPU and memory.

Sounds like a great deal, especially for Haiku developers – given that much BeOS / Haiku-compatible hardware is no longer available new, and many “obsolete” PCs are more-than capable of running small, efficient OSes like Haiku (I suspect a 1Ghz CPU is already overkill for most tasks).

As a personal aside, another source that I’ve found very useful for buying used-but-still-capable hardware (much of which is BeOS-compatible) is They’re a small company in western Canada who buy up old computer hardware, do some cleaning and testing, re-sell it. The prices are a bit higher than what you can often find on eBay, but I’ve found it much less hit-or-miss than dealing with random eBay sellers (I haven’t had a single dud yet from them).

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