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24 May, 1999 4.40pm pdt
BeOS "Genki" Adopts Open Strategy

BE DOPE NEWS (BDN) At a press conference today Be officials announced that starting with the release of BeOS R4.5 (codename "Genki") it would adopt an open-style license. According to Be, this open license will speed the development of third-party apps and of the BeOS itself.

"The time has come to recognize the advantages of an open development model," said Be, Inc. CEO Jean-Louis Gassée.

The new Be Open Binary License (BOBL) states that anyone is free to disassemble the compiled BeOS and use the resulting code in their own applications. The only catch is that any applications built with BOBL'd code must also be distributed under BOBL.

"This way we can disassemble any applications that make use of code taken from our disassembled code, add it back into our code base if we wish and then recompile the entire thing. It's remarkably efficient," said BeOS filesystem creator Dominic Giampaolo.

The BOBL strategy is a stark contrast to licenses of other companies, such as Microsoft, who make it illegal to use disassembled code in any way.

"Once again, Be has shown themselves to be revolutionaries," said industry analyst John C. Dvorak. "By allowing free access to their disassembled code (and in fact including a disassembler with the BeOS) they are effectively adding the entire earth to their developer team. Rapid progress is the only possible outcome."

"When I installed the BeOS for my grandmother and the first thing she wanted to do was disassmble the kernel and hack around with some video drivers, I knew the world at large was crying out for an Open Binary model," Giampaolo said.

Unlike the draconian GPL (General Public License), under which you are forced to ship raw source code, the BOBL gives users the freedom to use their disassembler of choice.

"It's all about freedom," added Gassée.


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