Remember BeOS? Once upon a time around after the middle of '90s there was a company called Be Inc. that made an operating system called BeOS. The company was founded by some former Apple Computer employees with a goal to create a next generation operating system that Mac OS was supposed to become in the long awaited next incarnation first called copland, pondered around throu NeXT by Steve Jobs in his off-Apple days and finally realized by Mac OS X. We could say that BeOS already so early had what Mac platform got just around 2000's with Mac OS X.
BeOS was truly a next generation OS, built entirely as a desktop operating system with focus on multimedia. It featured an excellen and incredibly fast file system that is probably hard to find a match to even today.
Well, I haven't run it first hand as I haven't had my own computer at the time Be Inc. (now property of Palm Inc.) was alive, but I did try the BeOS Max PE which was the latest distribution of the last "personal edition" that BeOS released to the community for free before it was bought out. What I saw was rather impressive. It is true what I've read, BeOS does indeed seem to have the fastest file system ever (BFS).
Zeta corporation got some rights to the BeOS code and is today making their own proprietary Zeta operating system which is basically BeOS improved, but Palm doesn't appear to have any interest in BeOS whatsoever.
Was it a pitty that Be Inc. didn't succeed? Probably if we take the possibility of Be Inc. ever releasing BeOS as Free Software sooner, but that is a mere speculation if not wishful thinking. The thing is that something even better is happening today.
Some of the developers that are well acquainted with the inner workings of BeOS (I think some of them are even former Be Inc. employees) have taken on a project of creating a completely Free Software operating system that would be almost an exact clone of BeOS. It is called Haiku OS and is still in active development to this day. Once it achieves its goal of becoming a complete BeOS-like operating system it will build on it to create a truly next generation operating system that is neither UNIX nor GNU/Linux nor Windows. It is something entirely new and awesomly promising. With the excellent features that were unique to BeOS and are oriented towards desktops and multimedia Haiku OS, once complete, could become the next best desktop operating system ever. I definitely think it has potential.
It is already possible to install the early Haiku OS system, though you have to use GNU/Linux or the old BeOS Max PE to do it. Or you can use vmware or qemu (which is Free Software unlike vmware) to run it under your current OS as a host. There are some cool screenshots here and here so you can see how it looks like.
Alot of info can be found on Haiku OS Forums.
So, if anyone is intrigued and feels adventurous enough to give it a try, post your experiences with it here.
Or maybe somebody has already tried it?