Haiku OS license

According to wikipedia, Hakiu OS is MIT License and Be Sample Code License. What does that exactly mean?

Are users free to take Haiku OS and modify it and make it proprietary if they wanted to?

Yes, that’s what the licence says. With a few caveats:

  • The Haiku name and logo are trademarked, so forks/distributions are not allowed to use them. The default configure options will build a de-branded Haiku to make this easier.
  • Some 3rd party code bundled in Haiku (for example the ntfs filesystem) is under different licences. It is up to people making a fork to investigate this and replace these components if needed.

@PulkoMandy Thanks man :slight_smile: But what does it mean by MIT License and Be Sample Code License? That bit is a bit weird?

Both licenses come up as first results on any web search engine. Here are the license texts as they are included with ever Haiku install: Be Sample Code License
and MIT License.

And it’s always “Haiku”, never “Haiku OS”.


I think that this is overstatement. And it is unnatural. No need for tension. For me “Haiku” and “Haiku OS” are synonyms (see …haiku-os.org). Give people some slack.

How often do we have to talk about that?
We named our project “Haiku”, not “Haiku OS”. In every official document it is called “Haiku”, even the wiki joe232 looked at got it right. The trademark is for “Haiku”, the logo says “Haiku”, the AboutHaiku says “Haiku”.
If someone makes the mistake of calling it “Haiku OS” I point it out. I always do so politely and without any intended tension. When doing so right at the start, they don’t get used to the wrong name. I missed that opportunity with you, evidently. :slight_smile:


So users are NOT allowed to make their own distribution and make it proprietary and sell their own distribution if they wanted to as it states in the Be Sample Code License:

The name of the author may not be used to endorse or promote products derived from this software without specific prior written permission.

And do I always have to provide a copywrite notice in my own distribution as well? Is it a legal requirement?

‘Haiku OS’ is not a mistake, it is a fact. And I do not agree with you.

Haiku OS
Haiku Operating System
Operating System 'Haiku’

— are names of this project! and I do not agree for less.

I remember making that same mistake initially.

What is confusing for newcomers is that the project name is Haiku and the website is haiku-os.org. At some point in time there was a post explaining that the reason for haiku-os.org. If I remember correctly, it was because there was another web site named haiku.org about the poetic form.

I am afraid that the “name discussion” will come back once in a while. Maybe there should be a short pinned post about it?

There is an entry in the website FAQ. Haiku.org is owned by a “domain parking” company, and they want 5000$ or more out of it. We don’t think a domain name is worth that much.

Back on topic: the Be sample code licence says you are not able to use the “Be, inc” name (the author’s name) in your work based on these sources. This seems like a fair restriction.

Do I have to also put some copywrite text file within my own distribution by any chance?


Basically keep AboutSystem contents, hpkg files metadata and /system/data/licenses intact and you should be fine

BTW, did you saw that:

Sadly, it comes quite up in resultats when googling “haiku user guide”…

a post explaining that the reason for haiku-os.org. If I remember correctly,
it was because there was another web site named haiku.org about the poetic form.

But it seems haiku.org is now free again.
Maybe it’s time we try to secure it, no?

Unfortunately no, while there doesn’t seem to be anything there right now, the domain is registered.

Oh damn. I wonder by whom…

Distributions that comply to the following compatibility guidelines are allowed to use the “Haiku Compatible” logo which will become available when we release our base distribution.

You must not change or extend the API of the Haiku system libraries in any way.
You should not change, move, or rename any of the files and folders that are part of the base distribution’s “system” folder without good reason.
Provide a version of AboutSystem that identifies your distribution and contains a disclaimer as described in this document.
Use the same GCC version as the official distribution (X86 GCC 2.95.3 Hybrid with GCC 4.x alternative GCC libraries) and run the “configure” script with the parameter “–distro-compatibility=compatible”."

This means that if I don’t chose to use the compatibility logo, then I don’t have to comply with this shit, am I correct?

Yes, exactly. This is only to protect the “Haiku” name. If you are interested only in the code and not in using the “Haiku” name, you can ignore all of this. Only the licences matter then.

Do you think it is better if Haiku switched to either WTFPL or Unlicense instead of using MIT? It makes it even more free?