According to Thom Holwerda at OSNews.com, the developers of the Haiku operating system have tentatively scheduled their first formal release. I’ve written before about Haiku, which is one of my favorite open source products, and in February of this year I said I thought the developers should just call it an ‘alpha’ already. Well, assuming nothing goes horribly awry, Haiku will make its first ‘alpha’ testing release on September 9.
Haiku is a free, open source operating system inspired by BeOS—a commercial operating system that made technical waves in the late 1990s but never caught on in the marketplace. The doctrine behind the system was always one of beautiful minimalism. The system did what it needed to do, and little more. It was also technically cutting-edge, able to handle multitasking with a stable aplomb that neither Windows or Mac OS achieved for years to come. Haiku follows in these footsteps, targeting an audience that wants a lightweight, user-focused computer interface without a lot of unnecessary ‘features’ getting in the way.
Right now, the only viable open source operating systems are Linux and BSD Unix (and their various derivatives and distributions). Both are excellent systems for what they are, but they were not designed from the ground up as consumer, desktop operating systems. Haiku, on the other hand, is being built from scratch for the desktop and the user. I see Linux and BSD as solid server systems and passable desktop systems. Haiku, however, will be the other way around. Both have a place in the open source ecosystem.
The alpha release is a huge step toward Haiku earning its place in the operating system universe, and will be Haiku’s first opportunity to begin reaching beyond crazy enthusiasts (like me) who have been following its development for years. The alpha(s) will lead to betas, and finally a full, formal, official, 1.0 release.