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Haiku OS Beta 1: Simple Is Beautiful

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After years of quiet but steady development, Haiku OS finally has its first beta. Here comes a new competitor for the desktop -- not just with Windows or OS X, but Linux,too.

The Haiku Project rose from the ashes of the widely-admired but commercially-unsuccessful BeOS. There was a lot to admire: it was clean, lean, ran fast, had great programmer friendliness and had been written from the perspective of end-user access. And then it died, and what seemed like a great project came to very little indeed. Years later, the original BeOS APIs were reincarnated in the Haiku Project -- but as a starting point for something with potentially greater reach.

I've been following Haiku's progress on and off for a couple of years now. It's still very limited in terms of hardware support, applications, etc., but the pace of development is starting to pick up. Both the OS itself and the apps for it:

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Haiku giving life back to BeOS If you’ve been around long enough you will probably remember the Be operating system. Be began life in 1991 by Be Inc as an operating system for BeBox hardware. There was a lot of excitement about this operating system as it was going to be the be all end all OS for multimedia. The operating system was written specifically for multimedia and promised it would have features to to take advantage of modern hardware like no other operating system could. Unfortunately this project fell through and Be was purchased by Palm. Since then Be had little interest, save for a few enthusiasts.

But it looks like those enthusiasts have given life to Be in the form of Haiku. The Haiku OS has been releases as an alpha and is installable on x86 hardware. It is an open source project and, from the looks of it, has a lot of promise. I have installed the alpha and have worked only briefly with the desktop. From what I have seen it has promise. It’s far from ready for public consumption, but if developed correctly, could be something special.

The Haiku projects’ aim is to create an operating system focused specifically on personal computing with features like:

* Custom kernel designed for responsiveness.
* Fully threaded for multi-core CPUs.
* Database-like file system.

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