I used BeOS decades ago, my first non-Windows operating system back during my first collegiate experience. The allure of linux unix never hit me hard enough, or I just didn’t have the chops to get into it on my personal computer yet. I had messed with the lab computers (all linux or unix machines at the time) but BeOS was recommended to me by someone who thought I would enjoy it, so I tried it out on my meager system of the day! It was a wonderful experience of tinkering, learning and generally enjoying the computing experience itself as much as the task at hand.
I remember doing all of my daily home computing in BeOS at the time. Listening to music in Soundplay, using some kind of swiss army tool for cleaning up my music meta data, downloading movies (doh!) in a multithreaded newsgroups app that FLEW, checking email in a program that pulled email down directly into the file system and let me QUERY it with the same interface that i used to find files! There was BeShare, a ridiculously simple app for sharing files between users and also a fun place to chat and get advice from knowledgeable developers (I think it still exists?). There were midi toys, neat drawing apps and probably hundreds or thousands of utilities scripts and programs written on bebits ages ago. I even had a tv card (hauppauge some such?) that I used with CodyCam to grab interval screenshots of a new years party that I livestreamed using Poorman the bundled and brainless webserver! Amazing!
I didn’t even remotely know about the underpinnings that made it feel so snappy, nor did I use the CLI much back then. And naturally there were lots off issues I faced as a non-expert user. I borked file systems back then, I crashed a lot, my friends could do many things much easier in windows, and of course games required the extra reboot for me. It was probably possible to do this stuff in linux back then too, but I certainly didn’t know how, plus by now it was BeOS that had captivated me! I’m hooked!
I was not a developer at all (still am not!) but I got motivated to go to Austin user group meetings, talk about app ideas, feedback, and generally just hanging out with some great peeps that just loved BeOS. Not exactly a noble cause here, certainly not changing the world, but I recall having a great time hanging with some fine people, most of whom were developers and passionate about an operating system, something I never realized would be the glue for serendipitous friendship!
I think about what haiku is today and am simply floored by the level of professionalism and competancy and most of all welcoming spirit of the group that is building this precious operating system in largely spare time. I will just throw a shout out to all devlopers at this point, corny as this is. I do some light scripting here and there for work and for fun, so I know just enough to realize that 100% of my computing stands on the backs of millions of brliiant developers, some paid, some not, giving me the gift of their genius. Daily grinds can be very taxing especially after the last few years of chaos, so someone doing something insanely time consuming and difficult that benefits others is astounding! I respect ALL of the devlopers out there, creating stronger security, increasing transparency, making tools available to all, and doing so in a way that others can understand. (This is no small feat! More developers in politics please!!)
This operating system has some kind of weird voodoo magic that sparked some wonderful loyalty across time. It persists and has zapped a number of individuals wielding copious patience, vision, and steadfastness to their principles. And while they acknowledge the reality and difficulty of their own goals they continue to build this rocket ship, and continue to do so in a way that all of us can ideally both help build it and hopefully one day fly it with them too!
I am posting this after having read a lot of “i need this or that in my os to take it seriously” or “as a user i cant take this seriously if you dont give me X or Y or blah and blah and blah”. All legitamate complaints! Everyone’s opinion is important, and the internet gives us all a voice. But from my perspective the Haiku devs are spending time bolting the foundation and platform down for something I never realistically expected when all the zeta dan0 stuff started unraveling to the point of confusion. They are instilling hope in running a MODERN take of a THIRTY YEAR OLD OS that we still love! Why do we even love this beautiful and lean bucket of bolts?
We are in a time of fortune! If you like windows you can run windows, and if you like windows and linux you can dual boot - boot loaders are so much easier now!! If you hate dual booting and can tolerate beacons you can run linux INSIDE of windows! Or you can spin up windows in virtual box to run turbotax once a year like me!
If you play games you can use Steam or Gog or whatever, and you can play those games in Windows OR linux now! WHAT?! I CAN REPLAY KINGS QUEST FROM THE COMFORT OF BORING DEBIAN STABLE? (sorry osx, afaict games aren’t great there, though maybe all of this new Mseries chip stuff starts making all of that change too!). If you like linux/bsd you have thousands of ways to run it, use it, contribute to the efforts, hell you can even run it on some dorky machine in the cloud now! No metal required! Some folks are so talented they spin up their own efforts like Solus and wild one offs like TempleOS, or you can run your own router os in pfSense bsd. When is someone going to build a minecraft version of BeOS v5 and give everyone a laugh? Hundreds of DEs, millions of applications, what choices we all have! Sure not all of it works perfectly in all of the circles. No need to throw shade on people’s passion pursuits. Help out if you want or find a different ship to lead you to your passion project, it will be a fun wild ride.
As I type this I am contemplating finally taking a shot at using Arch linux, a bit intimidating for a boring Debian stable user that hasn’t even made the leap to testing or Sid. But lo! I am also contemplating throwing virtualbox back on and running Haiku again after 30 years of being away! This time my intent is to get more involved and submit some feedback and generally having a great time with a small cohort of people also infected by Jean-Louis’ OG vision!
Thanks to all of you who did and do so much to keep this Noah’s Ark alive. Maybe its a bit boring of me to say the prospect of running Haiku as my daily driver on bare metal STILL excites me. The hope is enough for me, consdering so many other software projects die on the vine, get bought by the behemoths, or simply get coopted into some lame corporate hot mess with no soul. It may crash on the shore one day, or it may take all to a new land, or maybe it will just be perfect at one thing only, or something altogether different. But who cares? I am enjoying the ride and thanks again!