Legal to upload and share BeOS?


#1

As I understand it, BeOS is abandonware, as the original company that had both parented and maintained it is long defunct… and that the rights to the code ultimately reside with Access after the fall of Palm, Inc. I know there’s the DMCA and all that, but who would protect the rights and/or take action on distributing a historical image of BeOS R4, R5, Dano, or even the “Max” edition?

Then again, I know full well the history of Zeta and it’s eventual collapse… but that was due to taking and using the actual code from BeOS and distributing it without permission… not a re-implementation. And it certainly was not for sharing an original BeOS (binary-only).

I mention this because I’d be willing to upload the VM images somewhere and share them as links on here, maybe even the multi-session CD images, as people even do this sort of thing uploading ISOs and disk images of Windows 95/98, Warp/2, Open/Nextstep, etc. nowadays (and that’s with Microsoft, IBM, and by relative extension, Apple, alive and around). But before doing that, I’m curious as to the legal advice or suggestions on this idea first…


#2

As you say, it is “abandonware”. This means, the original license still applies, but probably the people owning the rights don’t care anymore.

So, it is not legal to distribute them - except maybe for BeOS 5 Personal Edition, I can’t find the exact license terms and wether they allowed redistribution or not.

As Access has been somewhat supportive for the Haiku project (for example they relicensed the Be Book under a BY-NC-ND license to allow Haiku to redistribute it): https://www.haiku-os.org/news/2007-04-03/access_co_releases_bebook_and_be_newsletters . So it would be nice to not ignore their rights on the other parts of BeOS (code, etc).


#3

BeOS 5 Personal Edition was released for free, so there shouldn’t be any problems there, BeOS MAX was based on this with community made patches and free software included so likewise, there shouldn’t be a problem there either.
Where you might have problems is if you distribute Dano and distributions based on it like Phos or Zeta, Dano was never released as you know and remains under lock and key.
If you were to distribute these, my advice would be to stick to private PM only.


#4

Thanks for the replies, everyone. Unfortunately, I’m definitely aware of the “Dano” situation, which is a shame because the 5.1 beta was actually something special. I wish everyone could take a look at Dano on their own machines personally, but understand that won’t happen… I’ve got a copy of it which I run on an old Pavilion (and in kvm, as shown below…)

If nothing else, I could just leave a link to a virtual image for plain R5 (Maui) and share that, so at least anyone with a proper VM setup could see for themselves what Haiku is really all about, why it cares about its mission, and who its parent was. For instance, users that complain about the Haiku UI do not actually know what the original appeared like. At any rate, I doubt that would be as bad as distributing a CD image of it. Even then, it’s 16 years old, so I doubt Access would be offended, if it were done purely for historical and/or archival purposes. To me, it just seems like something worth doing, as with each year, the number of people (particularly in the Gen Z crowd) that know and/or care about BeOS, its legacy, and why it was unique appear to be dwindling. But ultimately, it’s up to everyone here if if the idea would be ‘safe’ legally, which is why I’m asking about it first.


#5

I agree Dano would have been something special if released, it still is even in its pre release state. I have used Dano and Phosphor OS which is based off it and love them, I always end up going back to MAX though, there is oodles of usability in that and a lot of thought and work was put in to it. It still pains me to think of Be’s demise, damn Microsoft, we all could probably have been running BeOS 10 by now if it wasn’t for them corrupt scammers!


#6

So I have a question I’ve been pondering lately - what is the best version of BeOS to try out? I assumed it would be Dano, but apparently Max has advantages over it? Max is the last version that I used way back when. Can you install BONE on top of Max and get the advantages of Dano, or is there more to Dano than just the network stack?


#7

I would say MAX is the best way to start out. You can install Bone in MAX but if you do it will affect other things, Printer Preferences stop working and won’t open, some software requires a version that’s compiled against Bone etc.
There is a patch out there for MAX with Bone that tries to solve the printer preferences problem, I haven’t used it though so can’t comment on its effectiveness.
Dano is nice in that it shows where Be were heading with BeOS before it was canned. It is however unfinished Beta software and it shows, it crashes quite often and things have a tendency to not work as they should.
Go with MAX and forget about BoneYard to begin with, use it as standard until you get used to it and then install Bone if you want to try it, there is a un-install script for Bone if you decide against it, and returns you to a standard Net Server installation.


#8

Anyone got a link to Max v4b1? I can’t find it anywhere (ironic, as I seem to be able to download most of the non-free releases).


#9

I’m biased and would definitely say Dano, but despite the feature previews (makes me wonder if 5.1 would have eventually been R6?), it is definitely true that it isn’t as stable as R5 (Maui) or Haiku is. Max is okay, as it is PE & adds in a lot… but to me it’s always felt like one of those huge remixes of Windows or Linux out there, stuffed with programs. :slight_smile:

As for any uploads, I’m thinking that I’ll probably just link to a page where I’ll have links to any images. That way, I’ll be responsible for any liability for them (and maybe might be able to upload Dano).


#10

You can find max here (torrent):
http://tracker.agmsmith.ca:6969/stats.html?info_hash=12e4994db51b9c1f9420a1772cc594977845c27e
"beos_5/community_updated_distros/beosmax/BeOS5PEMaxEditionV4b1.zip"