Saturday, October 15, 2005

Zeta and BeOS

Yesterday and today I tried Zeta, the successor of BeOS by YellowTab, on three different computers. The impressions are mixed. One can see that yT put a lot of effort in it. It runs now fine on a centrino and recognizes it 10/100/1000 ethernet card. The overall impression of speed and usability is fine. I dislike however the GUI changes that were done, I think they are only for the sake of looks (the highlight in the menus for example, the scrolling pane at the left in the new preferences application and other similar details) and which also clearly affect speed. On a Pentium II one can materially see those "new" widgets redraw (especially the menus) in a quite unacceptable way: even gtk on freebsd is faster on that box. Many applications themselves impress with their speed and typical BeOS style (like the email reader for example or the old but trusty Netpositive). Startup times are often negligible. The Gobe office suite is nice and light. Thus all-in-over I think there is improvement although the whole picture is "patterned" between old and new and slow and fast in performance. I hope yT will offer a real "old school" fast theme again (the current one isn't good) and fix perfomance issues here and there. Once notices "non native" applications like Firefox quite immediately for their slower speed and slightly different look (but this could open a big discussion for most platforms). The new joined preference panel is a good idea (except for the pane at left) since now settings are clear and grouped. The old-style system, very reminiscent of old Macintosh times, isn't handy for managing many settings.

On the Unix flavor side... the experience wasn't so good. I tried to compile jikes and it aborted compilation with some wide-char type problems (possibly a jikes problem) and then pico server ( which aborted compilation due to missing unix-style sockets. Thus for now I can't do any testing on how kaffe would work here...