The way BeOS hardware compatibility is represented (at BeDrivers; the only source/resource for hardware compatibility?) and the way some software is made available (BeBits; the only source/resource for BeOS software?) is, I tend to feel, woefully inadequate for those of us who are trying to get into (or back into) the BeOS scene, so we can be ready for Haiku when it’s ready.
I have all BeOS compatible hardware, but at several junctures in getting it set up, I was almost fooled into believing some (or all) of it WASN’T compatible! I’ve been away from the BeOS scene for so long, I’d even forgotten how to get disks to appear on the desktop!
If I simply list the bits and pieces of my hardware as compatible (which it is) and someone comes along and puts the same list of hardware all together and it DOESN’T work, that makes me look like a liar or, at the very least, makes for a very confused and upset wannabe (but maybe NOT gonnabe) BeOS user. Get my point?
If (hypothetically) I upload a new compiled version of FireFox (Net_Server version) onto BeBits and a BeOS user comes along, downloads it, and tries to run it, and all it does it blip, stick itself into the dock, and doesn’t run (and makes itself unremovable from the dock (even by trying to force-kill it)), that makes for a rather upset BeOS user, doesn’t it? Oddly enough, that’s one mentioned bug in the version I downloaded! Get my point?
It’s not enough to say A, B, and C hardware is compatible with BeOS. Because D, E and F hardware (which is also “compatible”) may possibly somehow conflict with A, B, and/or C, causing one or more problems no one has mentioned, because those people were using T, M, and Z (or any other number of lettered hardware of the alphabet that is also known to be “compatible” with BeOS), which works perfectly in their situation!
“BeOS/Haiku Hardware Compatibility” should be detailed and explained down to such a degree, that problems setting up BeOS on the same hardware simply DON’T exist any longer. If you follow the instructions stated by a given user, who set up their conglomeration of “compatible” hardware into a working BeOS system, you’ll end up with a working BeOS system. No If’s, And’s, or But’s about it. You’ll have to make sure it’s all the EXACT same hardware, but would you rather have a bunch of hardware and setup instructions that absolutely work, or would you rather bang your head for hours on end, trying to get a list of “compatible” hardware to REALLY be compatible, because of one or more aspects in those bits of hardware are casing problems that no one has mentioned… anywhere?
Software that’s made available (BeBits or elsewhere) should “just work”. All the time… EVERY time. No programs that you click on and they do nothing but make you have to force-reboot to get rid of them. A program that works poorly is better than a program that doesn’t work at all. It’s bad enough I can’t locate a Web Browser that works well enough to make it even really worth USING BeOS to go online. I surely don’t need to download one that doesn’t even run (but it happily sticks itself in the dock and laughs at my every effort to remove the little worthless, do-nothing, binary monster)!
I’m not suggesting something that’s impossible to achieve. Just something that takes time and effort by each individual, to insure others following our footsteps of enthusiasm don’t walk away from BeOS/Haiku, wagging their heads (and going back to Windows) because the pile of “compatible” hardware doesn’t seem at all compatible and/or the bunch of software they downloaded either “kinda works, but mostly doesn’t” or doesn’t work at all… for whatever reason.
Something to consider, I’d say…