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Zeta Goes Gold 311

Posted by timothy
from the obscurantism dept.
*no comment* writes "Be lives! yellowTAB has announced it's 1.0 release of Zeta has gone Gold and has sent it off to production. The word is that in about 2 weeks, you can have your hands on the latest version of this BeOS derivative."
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Zeta Goes Gold

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:40AM (#12809969)
    Catherine was a silver type
  • Anywhere? (Score:4, Funny)

    by SpartanVII (838669) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:41AM (#12809976)
    ZETA costs Eur 99 and is available from our online shop or any of our approved resellers

    So where is the .torrent? ;-)

  • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:44AM (#12809987)
    I remember hearing that there was some speculation that they did not legally have the BeOS source code. While they would never comment on it, some people suggested that they must have had access to the code in order to perform some of the modifications they have done. Other people have suggested that they have merely patched previous binary releases. Now, my question is: do they or do they not have the source code to BeOS? If so, is it legal or illegal?
    • by Hektor_Troy (262592) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:12AM (#12810360)
      While they would never comment on it
      Not sure where you got that idea. I haven't been paying much attention to yellowTAB, but from what I've heard, including here on Slashdot, they bought a licence to BeOS just before Be was sold off to whatever company it was.

      As for their never commenting on it ... I suppose it'd be too much trouble to actually check their website [yellowtab.com].
    • by smallstepforman (121366) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:45AM (#12810446)
      yellowTab were under NDA with Palm in regards to the source code - at one stage they were unable to modify any of the 5.1d generation code, but lately it seems that the restrictions have been lifted, since they've hired kernel engineers to address bugs in the original BeOS. They have fixed the memory limit issues (32Mb addon, 1Gb memory limit, few other issues), and they've added processor specific optimisations (memcpy, memset etc), so that it works on newer CPU's (like the AMD x86-64 in 32 bit mode, the hyperthreaded P4's and such).

      They've obviously got the licence, since it would be suicide to have coorporate offices, 35 employees etc for a non-legal product. yellowTab are legit, they just were not able to publicly speak about the nature of the licence when they first announced Zeta. Now that the restrictions have expired, it would be foolish for them to say anything else (since it would cast doubt on a previous era).
  • by Vobbo (891923) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:44AM (#12809988) Homepage
    The supported hardware list [yellowtab.com] seems to indicate that at least one common laptop maker [dell.com] may not be supported very well (supported inspiron 3200, partially supported LS L400, no other details). Hopefully as they get bigger, they'll be able to devote time and resources needed to get running on some of the newer laptops coming out ...
    • Who are the people in the picture at the top of the supported hardware list page? I sure hope those people are not the developers or tech support agents. That one boy whose face is visible looks to be about 14! I just hope that's a stock picture that was altered to add BeOS/Zeta to the two depicted computers.
    • Mainstream hardware is supported, while exotic cards are probably not. The situation is probably similar to Linux. They have NDIS for network drivers, CUPS for printers, they have active nVidia and ATI video drivers (hardware OpenGL only available on earlier nVidia cards, but that will probably change). All in all, it is no worse than what BeInc faced in 1999. I'd probably state that yellowTab has even better driver support than what BeOS R5 did back in its day mainly thanks to the work from the Haiku d
  • TV Capture built in? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ruiner13 (527499) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:48AM (#12810011) Homepage
    "ZETA comes with everything you need to enjoy your audio and video collection. Watch DVDs, listen to Mp3's or internet radio. If you've got a TV card you can even watch and record television with ZETA."

    Nice. I wonder how well it would perform as a HTPC. The site doesn't seem too detailed or give screen caps that I could find, but not bad. Might have to try it on my old Dell P2 400. Anyone have a beta cope that can speak for how well this feature works?

  • |Poor Be. (Score:5, Informative)

    by Fallingcow (213461) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:55AM (#12810041) Homepage
    Man I wish Be hadn't died. Now THAT was a hell of a desktop OS. Dead simple install, simple UI with a lot unixy power under the hood. Booted super fast. Did things on 1995 hardware that other OS's couldn't do as well until 1999-2000 hardware came around.

    The only downside was app support. If they were still around and had anywhere near the support that Linux does, I'd be back with them in a heartbeat.

    Sad. :(
  • Zeta Beta (Score:5, Interesting)

    by debilo (612116) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:55AM (#12810043)
    They've been selling beta versions of Zeta on German television for months touting it as virus and trojan free, and claiming it was actually "faster than Linux", whatever that's supposed to mean, showing it to run on a (supposedly) P1 with 128 MB while playing 6 video files simultaneously. I always got a good laugh out of that, but I'll probably try it out soon nonetheless. Can anyone comment on the quality of the beta version?
    • Check OSNews.com. There were many reviews of the betas posted there. Some were positive, but some were also quite negative.
    • Re:Zeta Beta (Score:3, Insightful)

      by m50d (797211)
      I can believe that. BeOS always was *awesome* for multimedia. I saw it playing 4 videos simultaneously in clips from '92 or so. It was designed from the ground up to be a desktop OS (it's useless on a sever) with an emphasis on multimedia. The whole scheduler was oriented around providing good multimedia experience. And of course they got rid of any cruft, because there was no need for any backwards compatibility like windows and linux have.
  • The kernel source? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by aCapitalist (552761) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @12:56AM (#12810050)
    So did they ever confirm one way or another if they have the kernel source code?

    I'd feel kind of silly spending 99 euros for an operating system in which these guys don't even have the source - or even legally for that matter.
  • ...when Apple made the decision to buy NeXT instead of BeOS. Discuss. Please provide sources and examples for all points, This will count 10% of your grade.

    (My take: It doesn't matter. The NeXT purchase brought back Steve Jobs, who has been worth, at the very least, as much to Shareholders as OS X (I can't believe Jean Louise-Gasse (sp?) would have been nearly as influential, nor would he (or whoever followed Gil Amelio) would come up with the iPod or iMac). A very conservative estimate would be that the presence of Jobs added $2 billion to Apple stockholder value.)

    • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:17AM (#12810157)
      NeXTSTEP was indeed far more advanced where it came to networking and enterprise-related functionality. But BeOS was the supreme leader when it came to multimedia applications on the PC. While NeXTSTEP provided an excellent platform for Apple to build multimedia capabilities onto, BeOS already had them working and optimized.
    • Yeah, Steve Jobs definitely brought a lot back to the company.

      It was definitely a good move. Of course, I like the CARS article when Al Gore was brought onto the board. Suggesting some sort of recount.

      Which was funny, because Al Gore had just lost, and had demanded a recount in Florida, but that fell through. And they're parallizing... ...

      fine, don't laugh at my stupid joke.
    • by solios (53048) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:51AM (#12810302) Homepage
      BeOS was also (iirc, I'm not a coder so these things slip) a monolithic API, which has proven difficult to reverse engineer. NeXT rode the UNIX virus, got a candy-coating and MacOS compatability layer in the modern era and is still running loose... and heading back to Intel like a pack of X-wings for the Death Star.

      BeOS was founded by Jean-Louis Gasse, an ex Apple employee (who had something to do with marketing in Europe, iirc - someone please correct me if I'm wrong).

      NeXT, well. Yeah. We know what's up with NeXT. Founded by Jobs, financed by Ross Perot, and it GAVE BIRTH TO THE WORLD WIDE WEB!!!!!!! *squirt*.

      What Killer App rode BeOS to fame? Anything? Last I checked, it kind of floundered about due to a lack thereof.

      Not to sound like one of the other kool-aid drinkers, but Steve's an Innovator and Gasse's a suit. An innovator wouldn't have bitched, pissed and moaned about how it was Apple keeping them from running on the PPC 750 - it didn't stop linux!
      • I may be completely off, but I belive Gasse was president of Apple Europe. Jean-Louis and Apple never quite saw eye to eye. When they were looking around for their OS, Be only wanted to license and not sell (they had interest from the clone manufacturers). So instead of licensing BeOS for $10 million/year they bought Next for $400 million and killed off the clone business. I am still not convinced it was the right thing to do, but Steve's the billionaire, not me.
    • Ab-so-fuckin-lutely (Score:5, Informative)

      by Udo Schmitz (738216) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:40AM (#12810431) Journal
      Check this out:

      http://www.openstep.se/jobs/ [openstep.se]

      It is a NeXTSTEP 3.0 demo Steve Jobs gave 1992 (previously covered on /.). It looks almost like my Panther version of Mac OS X in 2005! When I first saw it I was even more pissed of at Bill Gates who I see responsible for depriving us of OS advancement through MSs monopoly actions :(

      1992! Argh (faints ...)

    • 1. BeOS was not a multi-user system. This, in my opinion, is the critical technical issue that killed BeOS.

      2. NeXTSTEP/OpenSTEP already had important developers on the platform (like Adobe, Aldus, etc.) in markets that were critical to Apple's user base. The only really cool application I remember seeing running on BeOS from a major company was Steinberg's Nuendo.

      3. The NeXT system had a proven track record of success in heavy-duty custom application development, thanks to the superior development tools (
  • So there are... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by hoka (880785) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:10AM (#12810118)
    No screenshots. No comparisons. The forums lack any real information except "Does this work" and "It's broken". I'm particularly not impressed. I don't want to toy with anything, let alone pay for it, without being able to see what it is.
  • Icon (Score:5, Funny)

    by vinn (4370) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:18AM (#12810166) Homepage Journal
    I'm less amazed that Be's still alive than I am that you have a graphic for it.
  • Why should we care about this OS?
    (Ok, apart from the fact it's fast on old hardware and can't get any virus or trojan known to man, yet)

    (Serious question. Not trolling.)
    • by CyricZ (887944) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:29AM (#12810217)
      1. It's an alternative to Windows. 2. It brings extreme multimedia capabilities to the x86-based PC. 3. It features a heavily multithreaded microkernel and GUI that will inherently benefit from multicore and hyperthreading CPUs. 4. It provides a POSIX layer that allows UNIX, Linux and *BSD applications to be ported with ease. And that's just a small sampling of the many reasons why you should care.
  • As I recall, back in the day BeOS was designed to run on a system with 4 or 8 PowerPC processors. At some point, they made the same switch that Apple is now doing... perhaps it is an inevitable thing?
  • by H0p313ss (811249) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @01:34AM (#12810240)
    Who is going to spend time and money on this thing?
    • It's almost as expensive as XP Home edition and half a dozen different Linux distros can be had for free.
    • Who's going to pay 99 Euros for a squeaky new OS?
    • Are there even any applications for it?

    Free I could understand, we hobbiests are crazy, but 99 Euros? WTF?

    • It really isn't a new OS. It is based on the decade-plus old BeOS.

      And yes, there are applications for it. See bebits.com for applications.
    • by smallstepforman (121366) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:59AM (#12810491)
      Some people like to support the underdog. I have purchased the Release Candidate of Zeta, knowing more than likely that I'd be throwing money away. I think of it more like a donation, to ensure that an alternative to Windows and Linux continues surviving. Bernd seems to be managing the company quite well, so it looks like yellowTab just might make it. Once they have the 70 employees Bernd has been talking about, expect a full on revival of BeOS (awaken from the dead :-).

      Plus, Haiku is getting closer, so by supporting the successor to BeOS, I am indirectly supporting Haiku. By showing that there is money to be made with BeOS, developers are more than likely to start offering software for another viable OS.
    • Well the people who are like me for example and im not alone. I have been wanting a fast, efficient stable OS for ages but the closest thing ive come to contact with so far is QNX and BeOS. Ill bet there are millions of users who are fed up with Windows XP and just want to surf and play around. They arent enough interested in computers to try linux because what they really want is to play with the apps, not the OS.

      I think Zeta should work as hard as possible to get Zeta OS bundled with computers. Start a r
  • by waynelorentz (662271) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:08AM (#12810341) Homepage
    So, I've looked at all the screenshots and read much of what's available, and I'm still not sure why someone would want to run Zeta on a modern machine. I can see it for an older piece of hardware you have laying around that might not have the oomph to push Windows or a robust Linux. But will anyone make this their primary OS?

    I'm all in favor of choice (Hell, I use a Mac so I'm automatically a minority), and it's great to see another alternative to Windows, but it looks like a Playskool version of OS/2. Will the average Joe take this seriously?

    It appears to be very geek-friendly, but I don't see grandma wanting to know about mount points and such. Further, to use a 1990's phrase, what's the "killer app?" What can Zeta do on the average 2005 desktop machine that Windows or Linux can't? Everything I've seen in terms of software offerings (CD player, CD burner, video editor, AIM client, e-mail, Firefox, etc...) are things that already exist in Windows and Linux. What's the compelling reason to switch?
    • by smallstepforman (121366) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:54AM (#12810478)
      What can Zeta do on the average 2005 desktop machine that Windows or Linux can't? Everything I've seen in terms of software offerings (CD player, CD burner, video editor, AIM client, e-mail, Firefox, etc...) are things that already exist in Windows and Linux. What's the compelling reason to switch?


      BeOS / Zeta has a certain feel which cannot be benchmarked or reviewed, it can only be experienced. It's one of those mythical quantaties which stirs a type of passion which is missing in both Windows and Linux. It's weird, kind of like falling in love - for everyone else, the lady in question is but another female, yet once you've tasted the forbidden fruit, you love every aspect of her - her smell, her smile, her hair, her skin...


      BeOS feels smoother and more responsive than any other system we've tried (and we've tried a lot of systems). It's like a sports car which handles curves very well. It's useless for family people since the sports car has no back seat for the kids, its useless for the tradesmen since it has no space in the trunk, but man, for us sports car geeks, it gets the heart pumping...

      • BeOS / Zeta has a certain feel which cannot be benchmarked or reviewed, it can only be experienced.

        To the skeptics in the audience, there is nothing mythical about this. It's not that BeOS's feel can't be benchmarked, but rather that existing benchmarks don't test the right things. The best part of BeOS is its scheduler, which does an incredible job giving exactly the right time slices to exactly the right processes. Further, it's got a GUI API that's aggressively multithreaded, so your GUI never gets stu
      • It's the scheduler. BeOS was entirely written as a desktop multimedia OS. No concerns for versatility, fitting into embedded or server space, or backwards compatibility. That's why it's so responsive, and that's why it's still the best multimedia OS around, even though it hasn't been updated much since about 1993. It's like the ck patchset for linux on steroids, and with the whole OS written to support it.
  • yellowTab (Score:4, Interesting)

    by smallstepforman (121366) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:19AM (#12810380)
    I've been following the progress yellowTab have been making, ever since they licenced the rights to distribute BeOS R5PE and Pro (when they acquired the rights from Koch Media). yellowTab have some small mistakes as they were trying to learn how to stand on their own two feet, but lo-and-behold, they are now a company with 35 employees (and rising). Unlike BeInc, yellowTab know a thing or two about marketing, and are slowly generating enough revenue to employ 70 employees. They have a few of the old BeInc engineers who originally worked on the BeOS, and they have managed to hire / contract some of the Haiku (former OpenBeOS) developers to work on some of the Zeta components.

    If yellowTab play their cards right, they will have enough finances to employ the targetted 70 engineers, and work on Zeta R2, which for all intentional purposes can be regarded as BeOS R7.

    The more the merrier, I say, and I wish them luck.
  • by tmk (712144) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @02:45AM (#12810448)
    In Germany you can buy Zeta for several years in homeshopping channels as "alternative for windows". They sold even the Betas without mentioning the beta status. The price: 100 Euro.

    Look for details here [rtlshop.de].
  • Haiku-os (Score:2, Informative)

    by atlep (36041)

    Haiku-os is another Be derivative. "The goal of Haiku R1 is to be source- and binary-compatible with BeOS R5."

    Now, will Haiku and Zeta be compatible in any way?

    http://haiku-os.org/learn.php [haiku-os.org]
  • Too late for me! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by The OPTiCIAN (8190) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @03:53AM (#12810632)
    Once a 100% BeOS user, I played around with Be again a fortnight ago, hoping to get into working on the very very cool instant messenger kit. But it was too hard. I couldn't get SSH to work, there are problems with some tools (eg: Bethon) only working with R5, others only working with post-BONE releases, etc, etc, and the browsers are too heavy to run nicely on my compatible hardware (dual p2, 256MB) and I got sick of it. Until the community can get to the state where you can get a development workstation set up without having to bleed and until the distributions can get support for basic hardware like SATA (or else applications that work nice on the old compatible hardware), it's not going to get much momentum behind it.

    This is a shame, because the interface is a damned side faster and lighter and nicer than either gnome or mac os x (and in spite of the yucky bloaty skinned rubbish that zeta has replaced the old beautiful elegant fast LAF with), and it used to be much easier for young developers to get used to the environment than linux (at least it was easier for me).

    The coolest thing about Be though was the filesystem. Check out this: http://eiman.tv/imkit/use.html [eiman.tv]. This is an instant messenger system that's based on the filesystem. So each user's icon... is a file with metadata! Neat! All written by the same guy who's written this new metadata file system that's shipped with tiger.

    Anyway - it's too late for me now. I only had one computer left that would run Be or Zeta (my newish mac and newer SATA x86 box won't run it. :( ) and my experiences trying to get basic tools up and working a fornight ago put me off one time too many. I installed debian stable on that on Sunday so it can replace my mailserver.

    But I'm guessing that in ten or fifteen years we'll start getting to the point where kernels are interchangable, so I hope Be people keep up their good work because it was one hell of a fast exciting system back in the day.
  • Summary (Score:4, Funny)

    by kahei (466208) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @04:28AM (#12810719) Homepage

    Some group of people struggle against all odds to produce (well, update) a whole modern independent OS free of Windows and Unix baggage.

    Slashdot responses summarized:

    --It's not free/Unix/OSX/real.
    --I already have Linux. Why should I care about anything else?
    --LOL BeOS is so dead!!11 pwned! noobz
    --I don't know what it is, I don't want to find out, and I don't like it.

    I think this provides a strong clue as to why human society has not yet attained a state of nirvana-like perfection and happiness :)

  • Finally an OS for x86 thats fast and resource efficient! Ive placed my order. I almost cried when BeOS whent tits up. BeOS and now Zeta OS is faster than anything ive ever run on x86. Its a real shame its not free but ill buy it anyway just to get some competition going.

    I do hope Zeta will take off. I do think it have a much better chance of success than BeOS because of all the open source applications. The applications barrier is so much smaller today than when BeOS was trying.
  • Money??? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by el_womble (779715) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @06:41AM (#12811101) Homepage
    I can bearly justify Tigers hefty price tag to myself and thats for a well established, stable, powerful operating system that is supported by the likes of Adobe and Microsoft. How can this compete with Linux and BSD with a 99 Euro price tag and limited application set? That has to be a typo right?
  • What about Haiku? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by starseeker (141897) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @07:45AM (#12811342) Homepage
    The old OpenBeOS project is now called Haiku: http://haiku-os.org/learn.php [haiku-os.org]

    Personally, I'd rather wait for them to succeed, or if they don't learn from the ideas and move on. I don't see the point in another commercial BeOS effort when the first one, with an admittedly GOOD product, crashed and burned. OS lockin has gotten stronger, not weaker - WinXP is stable enough for quite a large number of people. (I.e. that's not their major complaint any more.) I know it's rife with virus and spyware issues, but those problems are as much a function of user habits as anything - as demonstrated by the success of a mechanism (email viri) which requires the active help of the user to run.
  • by mattr (78516) <mattr @ t e l e b o d y . com> on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:24AM (#12811929) Homepage Journal
    I met an officer of Zeta and they were showing a wide screen monitor running zeta, and it looked wonderful! And apparently they have sold a lot in Germany, anybody bought and used it there? It looks pretty much like BeOS did when it was running on my 9600 Mac with dual 200MHz 604e cpus. Which I have to say, was much, much smoother multitasking/multimedia wise than my 128MB, mobile Pentium III 450 MHz Dell Inspiron 7.5K with RH9. I wonder if the latest linux kernel can match the smoothness of performance I had then. Anyway I found Pulse (the cpu monitor) somewhere in the app bar, it comes with a lot of apps and has a nice greek ZETA. What more could you want? Seriously I remember when my Mom bought a dedicated word processor at Staples years ago, it was $70 bucks and a pretty clunky green screen but it worked great. Then advanced to various macs. I'd pick an iMac for my Mom again if it wasn't a matter of money, but Zeta for wordprocessing probably would be great for Mom too. Apparently Zeta uses CUPS so it can handle "lots" of printers too.

    Actually I would really like to have Be's live filesystem query in a rightclick popup for windowmaker. Anybody know if that tracker project makes it so?
  • by KingBahamut (615285) on Tuesday June 14, 2005 @09:53AM (#12812238)
    Will be apps.

    There is a limited application set, the development of which is rather difficult in nature. If you read their forums, many of the users that have supported Zeta during its slow development binter and banter back and forth about what they want, and what they are getting.

    Linux users get the same way, perhaps not as vehemont as Zeta followers do, but they do.

    The problem is going to be finding developers that are willing to develop in that envoirnment. I believe that C++ is the only language for which you can use to develop in Zeta. The lack of language variety is going to make getting developers difficult, and a rather centric group of developers will build the OS, giving it a rathe r lop-sided or narrow build.

    At the current time however, their forums are being /.'ed -- http://www.yellowtab.com/phorum/ [yellowtab.com] .

    It looks nice, it may work beautifully, but the limited application set sort of deters me from wanting to use it.

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