• Haiku: Open Source BeOS clone

    I usually listen to podcasts on the excellent network and it goes without saying Floss Weekly is one of my favourites. A recent episode covered Haiku - an open source operating system based on the design of the old BeOS. What’s very interesting about BeOS is the design, an integrated all in one operating system - and the fact Apple almost purchased it. That’s amazing to me, literally in one fell swoop, if Apple had of offered the 200 million Be Systems wanted, there would be no NextStep into Apple and by extension - Steve Jobs. It’s especially poignant since Apple just surpassed Microsoft to become the second most valuable American company.

    The most spiritually similar of todays operating systems would be Mac OS X, as it brings the integration BeOS was after. I’ve only played with Haiku in a virtual machine, but already I am impressed. It’s a well designed system, not as buggy as I expected - it’s only on alpha2 after years of development. There’s already a lot of applications, all native and therein lies the fault. The Web browser (not surprisingly) is the buggiest of all the applications I tried. Most apps are small one purpose apps, not hard to see a unixy philosophy. One of the developer’s mentioned a port of QT, which could bring QT based apps such as Skype, KDE apps.

    Apps or Web?
    I think the biggest use of Haiku could be on net-books, it performed extremely well in limited virtual machine - so it’s a pity there’s no commercial sponsor to push it out. The developers mentioned a port of Java or GTK is not on the radar, so you can kiss good-bye to any Gnome or Java apps (Firefox, Chrome,, but they mentioned they will target web apps. This seems very curious without a major web browser, as anyone knows the web should be standards based but how often have we seen “Supports Chrome 3+ Firefox 3+ Safari 4+ IE7+” so if this is the agreed upon approach - they really need a major browser. As a computer science person, the design of the system interests me the most, vs others, but I haven’t dug too deep yet, when I do, I’ll be sure to post.

    Hardware Support
    I haven’t dug in to this either, but anecdotally a good guess would be hardware support would be poor. The main hurdle and the majority of code in Linux is purely based on the millions of hardware combinations PC-based (X86) have to use. This is why for any traction for Haiku, I think hardware support needs to be OEM based, possibly like the white-label EEE PC netbooks.

    If you like trying different operating systems, have a copy of VirtualBox or VMWare (and by extension a decently fast computer) give Haiku a try!

  • WebM promises Open Web Video

    I’ve written about my desire for open web video before, and now it looks as if it’s finally going to happen. Lead by Google’s acquisition of On2 technologies, the VP8 codec has been renamed as “WebM” and open sourced. Vorbis will be the audio. Matroska the container for the new format. An Open Source developer for x264 does a great teardown of the format vs. h.264 here. The patent minefield stateside is still not clear by any means, but with a strong backer like Google, it’s probably the best protection your going to get. Announcements, including links to nightlies, dev and beta channel browsers with WebM support are below:<

  • Honda Bros Motorcycle

    I recently purchased - known as a cult motorbike - a Honda BROS (known in the US as a HawkGT). It is a 400cc V-Twin 1991 model, with 33BHP / 24.6Kw out of the factory. That put’s it under the legal limit for a learner motorcycle in the A category of license in Ireland. I’ve been progressing through bikes, slowly gaining confidence and experience. I posted about my Yamaha YQ50, My Yamaha YP125 (Majesty) and now it’s a Honda BROS’ turn!

  • A Bit of Bau

    This is a 3rd Graphics project we presented as a group for Computer Science. I’d like to thank Mark and James, my team members, for all their hard work! The subject of Bauhaus was previously discussed in my graphical representation of a 3D chess set. The music is courtesy of Jamendo, and is free ;) Enjoy it the video!

  • Donating to Charity

    I’ve been meaning to write this blog post for a while, probably since 2006. (Almost) everyone that I know of donates to charity on a regular enough basis. I’m a college student so I don’t donate as much as I should. But it really annoys me how the “main” charities run a campaign of guilt and spend millions on it. I’ve donated money to all of these charities, the third world aid charities. All of them spend far too much on paying people commission and advertising. One that I can think of off hand is asking people who donated more than €250 to sign a form and send it back.

    This to me is astonishing, do people ignore letters from the charity asking for a simple tax refund (a tick box affair). This leads me to a few scenarios:

    • The Charity constantly bug people for money by letter - leading to people ignoring them
    • People have no emotional and very little other connection to the cause - merely donating for self appeasement

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