BeOS Legacy vs. modern Haiku OS legal solutions

I think it’s time to either buy the rights to BeOS or obtain the appropriate licenses. In my opinion, the main problem of development, not only of the Haiku system, but
Also, the software is assumed by the owner of BeOS, so everything will be made available for free on an open source basis. In my opinion, this is a dead end for Haiku development because no commercial software is being developed for this system.
I would like appropriate steps to be taken that will lead to more than just development
the Haiku system but also the number of developers.

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I have difficulty parsing this.
You think we need a license to BeOS, not to get our hands on 20 years old code, but to attract commercial software houses that at the moment don’t develop for Haiku, because they are under the impression that they would have to release their code as open source if they do?


I think I understand Haiku Inc’s initiative, i.e. moving in the Open Source space, that development will be slow because

  • dependent on “freeing” the sources of various programs and relicensing them under the wing of the GNU organization
  • porting existing programs on general open source principles

However, most people want to develop and compete with Linux or even Windows. That’s why new users come and go, waiting to see what happens.
At the moment, opensource is developing very slowly, unless we look at Ubuntu
which is looking for new developers (for money), but in my opinion
the owner of Ubuntu wants to become the second m$, time will tell if this is a good path.

  1. GNU is just part of the open source movement. Haiku is not managed by GNU.

  2. You can port programs as you wish and they can be any license you want, Haiku does not limit this in any way.

To use the analogy of Microsft OS’s (if they focus shifted in the 90’s), this is akin to asking the open source developers that developed a open source WinNT 5.x+ to buy/license Win95. Its nowhere near as feature rich, old crufty code base, old/limited C++ support etc. This is ignoring the money issue, talent issue, and in reality is not appretiative of all the wonderful work the devs have invested in the last 2 decades making something 100* better than what R5 ever was.

I doubt anyone here would want to abandon better Posix support, slab vmm, xhci, pcix, nvme, vector icons, packages, translations, etc to get an open source licensed R5 back.

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  • we partly use the BeOS heritage, which makes it seem impossible to develop
    GUI with a ribbon interface
  • and “zen of law” is an organization for GNU, I did not write that Haiku inc is part of it

It was discussed many times before in the forum. I don’t see how a 20+ years old code base could help either from a development or commercial perspective. Haiku is much more advanced than BeOS ever was.
I don’t understand why the open source nature could harness the attraction of new devs. It’s quite the opposite to me.
Let the dead rest in peace.


Maybe it is worth a bit of history of why Haiku is open source first.

When the project started, back in 2001, it was very unclear what would happen to BeOS. All people knew was that Be would stop development. It was not clear if they would let someone else continue.

The project was started with that in mind. There was a possibility that someone would buy BeOS from Be, and resume development where it had briefly paused. What would become of the work done in Haiku, then?

This is one of the reasons why an extremely permissive license was chosen. Basically, if someone bought BeOS from Be, they could also take the sources from Haiku and merge these in there. All they needed was to put “some code developped by the Haiku project” in their about box.

Well, this didn’t happen. BeOS was bought by Palm, who then started a quite different OS project based on some of the tech in BeOS (PalmOS Cobalt), and that never shipped anywhere. So, Haiku continued on.

As you can see, this license was chosen, not because of opensource militantism, but because it was a pragmatic choice for what Haiku was doing, and what could possibly happen with its code.

Note that this applies only to Haiku itself. Developer of applications can do whatever they want, there is no pressure at all on them to release everything under open source licenses. Why is there so many open source things, then? Because we kindly asked some old BeOS apps developers, and they say “oh, certainly, I didn’t touch this code in 20 years, you can have and publish it if you find it useful”. There are some who said no. There are some who said they didn’t have the code anymore. Finally, there are some who didn’t want the code to be published, or couldn’t because of intellectual property reasons (like bundling someone else’s code in their apps), but allowed some people to access it anyway and provide updates for Haiku (this is for example the case for the old liblayout, which was obsoleted by Haiku’s own layout system).

So, why don’t we see many apps ported to Haiku then? Well, because it is an incredibly small userbase. What are there, maybe a few hundred users? A thousand? That’s way too small a market for anyone intending to sell an application. Buying BeOS property would not make that userbase any larger.

And, also, why is Haiku so slow in development? Because we have no money. We can have only one full-time developer. Imagine trying to develop Windows or Linux with one single developer. Not going to happen, right? So, how is the solution to that spending the little money we have in buying BeOS? What would we do with it? I guess the answer is… we would publish it under an opensource license, which goes completely against what you want to do with it. And I don’t see the point of buying it and then keeping it closed so no one can see it. If that’s what you want, well, it can stay in ACCESS Co hands?

I don’t understand at all. If you want to make an app with a ribbon interface, you can assemble one pretty easily from a BTabView and a BToolBar, right?

How is that related to buying BeOS?


This is a History, I think about Future.
And the “code mix” is depends of a skill programer.

I fund this threat only for law practices and principles

ACCESS would not be able to open the BeOS code base even if paid to do so.

It is absolutely full of other peoples code licenced in - Intel, Metrowerks (NXP), Headspace (whoever owns Beatnik’s IP now) and Bitstream (Monotype) within the core kernel and servers; and a huge amount of commercially developed drivers either by a third party driver developer or paid ports from Linux by the original Linux developer.

It would cost them a huge amount of time (and hence money) to remove these and the resulting code would not compile. That is if they even have a compiling version of the code to begin with.

Any value in having the BeOS code opened is long since gone. If it had been opened in 2003 or so it might have been helpful - it isn’t now.



  1. They’re probably shocked when they hear about quantum computers because their programs won’t work!!!
  2. Old Mathematics is free, no one is questioning who invented the wheel, you can follow this path and give away the rights to BeOS for free.

YoU aRE INC incorporated !!! (HAIKU). Sony PS also has problems with licenses and it copied from you the list of everyone who participated in a given software.

You clearly don’t understand any of the law about this, at all.

I realize that life costs money and someone pays for it.
However, helping in the field was never paid among farmers!
And you chose BeOS because it’s cool (I also had a similar approach) after so many years of entries and thoughts. I can at least write a few words from myself.

I think the biggest problem is that you have to deal with HaikuDepot, e.g. With HaikuPorts we can only provide open source content.

Yes, there are other repositories like our BeSly Software site, but Haiku itself doesn’t have this.

But ultimately every company can develop software for haiku and offer it on their own website.

miniBAE is at least under BSD license: GitHub - heyigor/miniBAE: The platform-neutral Beatnik Audio Engine, Mini Edition (miniBAE) is an exceptionally mature, well-rounded, and reliable computer music and sound system specially customized for small-footprint and embedded applications.

As explained, anyone who wants to develop and sell some software for Haiku can do it, closed source or not. Buying BeOS wouldn´t change that in anything, and would be a waste of money.

One doesn´t need to buy PalmOS , for exempl, to develop and sell some recipe keeping software for it. If somebody would pay for that software, that is between developer and customer.

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When I read your answers, it’s like I traveled back in time
Sorry but PalmOS and Lumia Fails.

I answered the same for him

there’s no so wide user base on Haiku actually to be a target for a profit-oriented enterprise

on another thread about High Performance 3D.

But from these posts here it seems my sentences won’t reach him at all.

Any wise and accurate answers will be waste as we could see at others who iterated/iterates their own belief and had not let open ther mind for the right answers - even for long years.

For them the reasoning is
censorship or staying in the past …
unless the many modern services in Haiku NOW.

It is really sad because they want also good for Haiku basically,
but their perspective or attitude is at least not right or sometimes rather wrong.

All of my congfratulations for long time devs for their patience !

I follow Haiku passivly* on forums since 7-8 years (*I mean I was red everything but not interact at all), actively lesser when I became member, and use Haiku daily for about 2 years … but even for me very strange their ambivalent connection to Haiku.

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Maybe buying the whole thing is not cost-effective. And buying only part of it? That could improve documentation.

What documentation requires seeing the source code of BeOS at this stage? Haiku is API compatible and documentation can be written from that.

Most of the more obscure bits of the OS are not worth huge efforts - I’m thinking of the R5 media kit bits, where there is a better way to do it anyway. Compatibility with binary drivers from nearly 25 years ago isn’t worth chasing if its even a problem.