How much does the Beos license cost today?

Hello members of Haiku,

I have two questions about Beos: Who owns the rights to license Beos in 2021? and How much does the Beos license cost?

Waiting for an answer, I wish you an excellent day.


Are you interested in software or in the source code?
You probably can find pre-owned original install CDs on the net for few bucks.
Access (the owner of the source code) is probably not interested in licensing the sources.

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I am reasonably sure that BeOS has fallen in to abandonware. The Be Inc organisation no longer exists and I don’t know if Palm (Access) bought the rights to the existing software, or just the future software. If you are building from source, they are going to want to sue you, but if you are distributing old binaries - I guess it might be okay. Certainly, there are multiple copies of the install media archived online, and no lawyers are hunting down the sites or uploaders. If you have a machine that runs BeOS still, you are doing well. All my intel hardware from that era is defunct now, and save for my Macs, I have no way to run BeOS except under emulation.

Access still very much own the intellectual property of BeOS material and granted us the right to use and distribute the Be book and Be newsletters under a creative commons license, for example. We are in the process of trying to get a less restrictive license (without the ND clause) so we can update the Be Book and merge it with the Haiku book.

So, it is very much not abandonware in that sense, and it’s probably a good idea to respect their intellectual property here if we want these discussions to work out.

However, yes, they don’t sell licenses for BeOS anymore. It’s been 20 years. Only a handful crazy people would buy it, and then they would ask for support for it, that Access won’t provide.


Given I own a licensed copy, it doesn’t really affect me either.

Nice. The don’t have some drivers they can release with MIT licens? Drivers should be easier to see if any therdparties are involved… (not that I miss BeOS driver)

Here is how it usually goes. Someone says “ACCESS own the right to BeOS source”. Then the comment “why can’t they release drivers/apps/the OS source as [insert open license]?” The answer is, because they don’t want to and have no incentive to do so. The source is not clean. It was a commercial closed source project. There was a lot of code in it licensed from third parties. There was a lot of legacy and shady use of GPL code. It’s just not going to happen whilst there is no incentive for them to do so, and I guess unless someone can stump up enough cash to buy or license the code (which would also then need rights to then open it), it is not going to happen. Even if someone had the code today in their hands - if it is used to do anything to do with Haiku without official licensing, that would seriously put Haiku in a very precarious place legally. The BeOS code, leaks and all, is of no serious practical use to Haiku, whether or not some of it might help write missing drivers or add missing features.

That would be my biggest question: At this point in time, is there anything of value in the BeOS sources to Haiku? I could see it being a big deal in the early days, but not so much now.

Added: I guess I could see a sort of curiosity side to it. Like, “We did it this way, how did they handle it?” kind of thing.

Exactly. Maybe there is an app somewhere in the tree that might be useful. But really, it is too old and crusty now to be of any real interest.

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Not for Haiku, but somebody repeatedly asked for the 3DMix sources here. So the applications boundled with BeOS could be interesting for somebody, but basically we got more programs open sourced (not from BeOS but for BeOS) tha we can maintain.

So basically none.

Ah, yeah, okay. I can sort of see that (I had totally forgotten about 3DMix). Still, it seems more like a good exercise for someone wanting to write programs to clone things like that.

For fun I just downloaded DR8.2 for Mac to see if it would boot, but it looks like it was timebombed and expired in 1997. Plus the Mac I was running it on didn’t seem to be supported. Shame.

Indeed it was: “In DR8.2, the font renderer had a limited license that required us to have a termination date, past which the OS wouldn’t operate. We’ve changed font providers, and this requirement has been removed.” Therefore, DR8.3 was released in March 1997.

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I wonder if there is a DR8.3 install disc somewhere online? I can only find updates. Doesn’t matter my Umax is not supported so I probably won’t install on my 9500 as that is SCSI only.

Set time before expiration?

The expiration date was April 1st, 97.
Be provided a patch to 8.3 to fix the issue.
There was a disc labeled dr8.3 produced in Japan but the insert states it’s the same as dr8.2.
It’s only for PowerMac machines.

Umax C series were only supported starting with the Preview Release, yes.

I can confirm this as I got the PR2 and R3 installers to boot today. I need to move my SD to IDE adapter to the floppy drive so I can change the card more easily, because I now play to set up a card that boots PR2, R3, R4 and R4.5 for no reason other than nostalgia.

I forgot that the buttons on the tabs disappear when the window doesn’t have focus… that was such a cool feature from PR2/R3.

I did, but I get the error about machine not being supported.

Even then, what you will get is old sources that have been untouched for 20 years and probably won’t work with modern compilers, require 64bit fixes, …

At which point it might be easier to just rewrite the app (we did it for all the other things in the OS, why couldn’t we do it also for 3DMix?)


3DMIX would be awesome, but indeed rest of the OS would be mostly useful for reference I guess. Having said that it would be nice to be able to freely replicate GUI that late version of Tracker had in Dano with snake like multi-level visual guide in navigation - no?

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