I just found this interview with Michael Phipps at osnews, from 2001, and one thing I cannot help but notice is the last Question and Answer:
10. Are you going to implement BeOS exactly as we know it, or you may introduce new elements to the system, for example new widgets and functionality?
Michael Phipps: Yes. The goal for R1 is 100% compatability. Some things that would not effect that (new widgets, for example) could be added if time permits. But we are focused on getting a release out, not improving R5. Some things will be better as a result of the rewrite (the kernel and bfs come to mind).
But wait until you see R2. (Emphasis mine).
Haiku has already improved R5 too much by now, in my opinion.
To name a few things:
- Package Management
- etc, etc, etc...
Yes, of course, all of them very necessary to modern computing needs, but…
And there’s always a but…
I guess This is History by now…
(NOTE: Post not to be taken negatively, and also not intended to start heated discussions-or not-about when R1 will come out-if ever… However, one cannot help but wonder…)
Well, there are three possibilities.
- R1 is never reached because the number of core developers committed to the project diminishes and the core goal of meeting R1 gets lost with that.
- R1 is never reached because, although everyone remains committed to the project, there never comes a point where the developers can agree that 100% compatibility has been reached.
- The developers reach and release R1, the remaning blockers are fixed and there is consensus that compatibility is close enough. HOWEVER. At this point, there will be AT LEAST a few people that are not satisfied, and will moan that it’s not really 100% compatible. The reason is, Haiku is a different operating system, ultimately, and it has a different codebase. Even if you reach what appears to be 100% compatibility, it will actually be something like 99.99985% compatible, and there will be 3 people that complain loudly about the 0.00015% of missing functionality that they consider absolutely necessary for R1 - but who aren’t ready to contribute themselves to do the total rewrite of subsystem X that would satisfy their demands, but in reality only make the system 99.99987% compatible.
I think Possibility 3 is the most likely. As for when we reach that stage, it depends on everyone. If I were a bit younger and had different priorities, I would definitely be working on this project myself too, rather than just the odd comment.
Even different BeOS versions not 100 % compatible. I think, reaching level above 90 % compatibility (HOS with BeOS) is good enough.
I think, main problem for reaching R1 is system stability.
I remember the discussions at BeGeistert where decisions were made on Wifi, and on making it possible to update Haiku. This was right after the Alpha1 release, it looked like R1 would be quite close and we could sneak in a few extra features.
I was one of the supporters for these two, and I must admit if I knew it would take 7 years to get them done, I would have voted differently. I think we have all been a bit too optimistic at the time. But, it's now too late to revert the decision, so let's live with the consequences.
The availability of package management (which is the answer to "ability to upgrade the system") makes it possible to release an R1-beta1 even if we are at only 80% or so of our initial goal in some areas (and past 120% in others). Then, people will complain loudly about the missing 20% and we can fix the issues and improve things in the R1 branch. Meanwhile, new developments happen in the R2 branch.
Maybe, R1 will never be reached, and we will be stuck in eternal beta state until everyone loses interest about the R1 branch and moves on to R2. Yet another possibility for the future of Haiku.
There is truth in what you say. I also feel that the Haiku project has over-reached into areas that aren’t fundamentally important to R1. With this, some momentum has been lost. Momentum is an intangible quality and hence very easy to deny, but to my mind, open source community projects live and die by it.
That said, we are lucky that:
- Haiku OS is damn great at the moment!
- We don’t have a destructive psychopathic figure like Pottering in the Haiku/BeOS movement.
So, all things considered, I think we have reasons to be cautiously optimistic.