More on BeOS/Cast Out the Heretic!

I know loyalties can run pretty deep but I never imagined I would wear out my welcome at OSNews so quickly. It’s a little disheartening considering I attempted an approach that sought to avoid a “my OS is better than your OS” skirmish by pointing out my respect for BeOS’ technical merits and my admiration for those working on Haiku. It’s not surprising, though, that someone would respond like this as if I’m trying to rob him of his joy or that this is an all-or-nothing battle for the “souls” of computers:

What are you afraid of, that Linux will lose the battle? You like Linux so much, then stick with it and let the rest of us enjoy BeOS/Haiku.
–tonestone57

Well, I do use Linux for the most part. I also use OpenBSD and Windows XP (very rarely for work), and I have an old computer with NT Workstation that never gets used anymore. For a long time, I ran BeOS PE on this very computer and even added a BeOS partition to the NT computer. I’m not tied to any single operating system. I’m no fanboy, I’m no zealot. I have no fear of Linux “losing” anything, nor do I fear Haiku or any other OS ascending in usage. I just doubt that’s going to happen. (See below: I’ve heard this tired refrain for years. How long will you sing it while the rest of the world passes you by?)

I suppose shit is always going to hit the fan when pointing a true believer to facts and a reality he or she just won’t face. BeOS is dead. Blue-Eyed OS is dead. Cosmoe is dead. PhOS was never supposed to be released, but is dead. Zeta may or may not have been legally developed, but it’s dead. All of it’s dead because there wasn’t enough interest for any of it to be feasible from a business stand point or even from a hobbyist’s/ free developer’s standpoint. You can whine all you want about “what might have been” — the problem is things didn’t go that way. It’s called reality. Are you in touch with it?

BeOS was abandoned (dead!) in 2001; had it continued to today, then it would have been a different story.
— tonestone57

I don’t care for such circular reasoning or impractical hypotheticals. It’s not a different story because it didn’t happen the way you wish it had. Things turned out very badly for Be, for BeOS, and for BeOS fans.

So that leaves the world with Haiku. I wrote that I admire Haiku. I also know its current limitations, which I believe will have a bearing on future limitations (as it relates to adoption). Guess some people don’t care to hear or accept them. Fine, keep your blinders on and remain so blind to reality that you see only the “potential” without getting bogged down in details like these:

  • It lacks a fully functional network stack.
  • It can’t run on its own yet.
  • It’s not scalable.
  • It’s destined for the desktop with no roadmap to mobility.
  • There’s no groundswell of interest in it outside those who’ve used BeOS.

It’s also way behind Windows, Linux, and Mac in every single one of  those measures — not to mention the measure of user adoption.

I think Haiku will make it, but won’t happen in 2 years, but take something like 5 years to start being noticed *and* Linux / Windows will lose users to Haiku. 
— tonestone57

This is like a broken record I’ve heard before. It first came from Be and from the Be Users Group — I was a member in the ’90s, but I wasn’t a true believer. I heard it all. Seems like yesterday. I kept waiting for it to happen — the impending wildfire when everyone suddenly would wake up and realize BeOS was technically better than Windows, remarkably easier to configure than Linux, and cheaper than a Macintosh. It never came.

It didn’t seem to matter to the true believers that BeOS never really had “mature” applications, that it wouldn’t work with stuff like that old handheld scanner, that it lacked support for even much of the new hardware it was designed to work with, and that no matter how clever and cute it was Be, in the end, couldn’t even give it away for free.

What relevance can something designed for the desktop have in the wireless age, where mobility counts? What will Haiku offer that isn’t already accomplished with other mainstream operating systems, including Linux?

The answer is the same to both those questions. Nothing. None. Nada.

The people I met at my BUG have moved on, grown up. Most of the people I still keep in touch with and see regularly went back to Macs (all the true believers are now back in the Mac cult). Some are using Linux. A few use Windows. Nobody uses Be, at least they’re not openly admitting it. Nobody’s clamoring for Haiku beyond those who stubborn few who’ve clung to the hope that BeOS would be resurrected and made relevant again.

Only one problem. It never really was relevant.

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