Whither Haiku? A Point Worth Pondering

I think I like the direction that question is headed, because it begs the point, “Is Haiku destined to be the ‘generic desktop OS of hobbyists,’ or will it *also* have a noted area of strength that gives it special appeal to a particular audience?”

Windows is a dominant, general purpose OS that’s used for everything. The Mac has appeal to creative people like graphic artists, publishers, videographers, etc. Linux, appeals to geeks, programmers, and businesses looking for cheap servers and office software. What does that leave us?

Let’s go back to our roots to see if we can find the answer. If Haiku were to follow in BeOS’ footsteps, it would be a desktop-focused OS indeed, but with a specialty in the handling of high bandwidth media; especially audio and video. I think it could be again, and with much greater success this time around.

Major audio developers who were sick of Windows were lining up to write software for BeOS at the time of the great “focus shift.” Be, Inc. had many of the top names in audio right at the brink of porting important, serious stuff to the platform when Be pulled the rug out due to financial trouble. If a respected, growing, open-platform OS were available that offered good hardware support and a strong base of dedicated volunteer developers (showing it has a future), I’m confident audio companies would begin lining up to create products for it.

At its peak, lebuzz.com, which focused on BeOS audio development, was getting over 1,000 hits a day, and I believe a lot of the enthusiasm for using BeOS (Haiku) for audio is still there, ready to be tapped. Just the existence and hope of Haiku and its growing prospects of successful emergence have already kindled fires under the boiling pots of a number of audio developers, at least one of which has interest in commercial development for the platform. Hobbyists have also been dusting off promising old BeOS audio projects and begun working on them again. Chatter in the e-mail groups is also noticably audio-related again.

And there’s TuneTracker. Without overstating its role, it’s probably safe to say that TuneTracker has established a certain notoriety for BeOS among audio people. Maybe we can build on that by trying to give Haiku an audio focus, as BeOS had; getting the media kit in great shape, and putting strong emphasis on driver support and enhanced audio capabilities.

At least, it’s something to consider.

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