Getting Started


I’ve been following this project almost since its conception as OpenBeOS. Though never a real BeOS user (played around with PE, thought it was interesting, but thats about it), I really like the idea of recreating BeOS. Why? Because I see it as one of the few open source OS projects thats currently NOT in a mature state (like Linux, *BSD, and now OpenSolaris) that I can really see getting off the ground. The big advantage being that there is already a strong BeOS community along with a host of BeOS apps and drivers, both open source and proprietary. Achieve binary compatibility, and you instantly have a viable platform capable of doing lots of cool stuff. You also have a whole bunch of users who will be jumping at the chance to try it, report bugs, and make suggestions for extending it. Haiku also has a more feasible goal than a project like ReactOS, because the OS it seeks to recreate is well designed, clean, and clearly spec’d out.

Ocassinally checking this site, haikunews, and most recently- axel’s blog- inspired me to finally devote an entire machine to BeOS, and really try it out as a fulltime platform. I downloaded Beos Max PE v3.1 from BeBits, and in no time I had my old Duron 800mhz box up and running in BeOS! It detected almost everything-- the AMD patch must’ve worked, I even have sound. Unfortunately, this frankenstein box of old parts doesn’t have a network card in it. I’d like to get it connected and just force myself to use BeOS for a month or so, and see if it lives up to the hype. (Currently a happy Debian user). What PCI network card should I purchase that will work ot of the box, or near so, with Max 3.1?

Also, as a C/C++ & assembly programmer, what development resources does everyone out there suggest? I see BeOS still uses gcc 2.95. What do people usually edit in on BeOS? Is there a port of Emacs? =) I’d like to get a feel for the platform and developing on it. Assuming I have a good experience, I want to start contributing to Haiku when I have the time. Co-oping and taking classes at GaTech is no small order; I also do a lot of web dev contracting on the side. I’m sure I could find a few hours a week though-- and when summer eventually rolls around, I should have tons of time!

Smart people are at work on Haiku, and progress seems to be being made. Thank you for answering my above questions, and giving me any other advice that you think might prove useful for getting started.


As far as code editing goes, people use a number of things. Some people like using BeIDE for their development, although I personally can’t stand it (not that I have anything against IDEs in general). I wouldn’t recommend getting a attached to BeIDE since we aren’t recreating it and won’t be useable after we break binary compatability. I personally use vim, but there is a port of emacs for heathens like you :wink: Check out for lots of BeOS software. It also has drivers, some of which aren’t included with BeOS MAX. I haven’t purchased an ethernet card in years, so I can’t make any recommendations of things that are currently on the market. You might want to try looking through the list of drivers for ideas. Something that uses either the tulip or intel 3c59x drivers under linux should have drivers available (one of my machines has a builtin ethernet that uses 3c59x under linux, but needed the BeBits driver that was marked something like 3c920).

Check out this link for info on getting the source code and building haiku

News about drivers go to

and check for hardware that are supported

wmware has a player for windows and linux that can “play” the haiku image made here. (image avery 6 hours)

you need a vmx file copy this to a file

I’ve been searching around for emacs on haiku (including on bebits, where i believe there’s a problematic link to some version of xemacs).

I absolutely, positively do not want to spread any misinformation, but i think that as of the time of this writing, emacs does not yet exist on haiku, but that Alex Botero Lowry is working on a port of some version.

So i don’t think it’s here yet.

But on the other hand, haiku is certainly moving along: I was unable to install r1 alpha2, but i was able to install r1 alpha3 on two different machines.

So hopefully we’ll get an emacs sooner or later.

[quote=california_dan]I’ve been searching around for emacs on haiku (including on bebits, where i believe there’s a problematic link to some version of xemacs).

I absolutely, positively do not want to spread any misinformation, but i think that as of the time of this writing, emacs does not yet exist on haiku, but that Alex Botero Lowry is working on a port of some version.

It’s available if you know who to ask. He has an older version that includes some of my work. I’m the one that’s currently maintaining a patch to allow it to build the bleeding edge version. It’s quite rough around the edges though. The dumper and the GUI aren’t functioning, only the TUI.

Afaik mmu_man had a working port of emacs for Haiku.

That’s the version he was talking about from bebits. It’s Xemacs not GNU emacs.

Thanks augiedoggie for the info.

So . . . do you have a tar ball i can download from somewhere? TIA if so.

And a TUI (which i guess is a text-user interface?) is enough anyway: for me, emacs is just a very convenient tool for viewing and editing files, running shells, compiling, and debugging. I don’t really need it in the form of a GUI application, just in a form good enough to help write GUI applications. (I think that is why NeXTstep and Mac OSX both came with TUI emacs, but if you wanted it cast as an application you’d have to get it from somewhere else.)

And if it’s rough around the edges, that’s ok.

It’s not exactly reasonable for me to ask for a perfect version.


You’ll need these two packages.

For both of them just run: unzip -d /boot
(emacs is configured to live in its own directory /boot/common/emacs)

There are other issues that I haven’t mentioned either. Terminal color handling can sometimes be a bit odd although usually ok. The Haiku app_server automatically eats alt keys. So you’ll have to use the ESC-key method instead of M-key. You can find me on IRC to get hacked versions of Terminal that can work around these issues.

Thanks augiedoggie.

I downloaded and unpacked the zips, and moved the emacs to /boot/common.

It very nearly works for me — i can verify that there’s nothing obviously wrong by doing
/boot/common/emacs/bin/emacs --version

It doesn’t quite work for me because it doesn’t seem to know exactly where to look for some of its lisp files.

When i start it, i get the old
emacs: Terminal type xterm is not defined
message, even though
certainly exists.

On the other hand, i think i have emacs in the right place because leaving it in /boot results in many more errors.

So i’d appreciate a clue there if you (or anybody else) would please provide it, and thanks in advance.


Yeah, I always have TERM=xterm-color. Well, not always. I have an older build of terminal that works well with TERM=xterm-256color. It’s odd that it doesn’t start though. I wonder if it’s something with that ncurses build.

And /boot/common/emacs/bin/emacs is the correct location