All of us here at ICO, and by all of us I mean myself, Frank, and all the sheep, would like to wish everyone out there a very Merry Christmas. Good or bad, nice or naughty (at least one I know of), hope you had/have a great time with the ones closest to you.

Merry Christmas!

Some of you might remember LeBuzz, a blog created last century to report on BeOS, especially audio related news. It became quite popular among BeOS users/enthusiasts and for a few years it was one of the main sites among the community. Unfortunately it drifted away (as so many other BeOS/Haiku sites have), but Dane (from TuneTracker Systems) has now brought it back! It sports a new look and Dane is hoping to update it regularly and he's started doing so.

So head over and take a look and give a 'Welcome Back!' to LeBuzz.

After being delayed for a few weeks, the new target date has been met and Haiku is today releasing its Alpha 4 into the wild! Over a year has passed since Alpha 3, 16 months to be precise and lots of things have changed since that previous release, a couple of examples being the support for most Radeon HD cards and WPA/WPA2 support.

Of course, many more changes, additions and improvements have been put in place by the coders of this longe period between the two releases, so if you haven't had a chance to try out one of the latest nightly build, or even if you did, why not pop over and download Alpha 4? Better yet, why not order a comemorative CD for you to keep, while at the same time helping the project?

Happy Alphaing!

Update: Haiku just announced last night the availability of the update Alpha 4.1. When Alpha 4 was released, a couple of critical bugs were found to be affecting several users/testers, issues which unfortunately slipped through the testing process (even with Alex for example testing on his 5 machines). One was causing the Deskbar to freeze once Haiku booted, caused by a deadlock in the network stack. The other was a trip to KDL, caused by some improper sanitization of pci bus device nodes. But fear not, patches have been applied and Alpha 4.1 is now available.

YABGR! Yet Another BeGeistert Report! Rene (the yak man), after travelling for 245884683 hours finally returned home in the US, fresh from his Coding Sprint in Dusseldorf. As mentioned before here at ICO, he was working on Haiku's Debugger, fixing bugs and adding features, such as typecasting.

He has now wrote his report on his efforts while at the youth hostel (by the way, if you're visiting Dusseldorf, even when it's not for BeGeistert, I highly recommend it), going into deeper detail on what he's been working on and also giving examples on how to use the new features. So head over and enjoy his report and the pretty pictures!

After last weekend's BeGeistert took place the Coding Sprint and after the Coding Sprint we now have Adrien's report (although technically the sprint is still ongoing, seeing as Adrien's still in Dusseldorf). In the report Adrien covers the areas which received the attention of the present developers, namely the ARM port, FDT support, BMenu rework, Web+ Service Kit integration, Debugger improvements, S&T + ALE and also some old apps Adrien himself is working on. Adrien's report covers all those topics and provides a lot of information, some of which I was actually unaware, such as his work on Netsurf. On a personal note, I have to apologize to Alex for behaving like a giddy little school girl from the moment he told me of the work on Webpositive's backend and getting it to integrate into the Service Kit (imagine if we'd been talking about sheep...).

As for the ARM port, it has received a lot of attention this week here at ICO with two posts back-to-back and here's more information about it, this time straight from the horse's (aka Ithamar) mouth. He wrote his ARM progress report on his work over these past few days (he was supposed to leave on Monday, then Tuesday and kept postponing it again and again. That of course meant more time at the Sprint which equals more coding time) and what's lacking and what the next steps should be. It would be awesome to see Haiku running on my tablet, heck, on any tablet of course. And on the Raspberry Pi too for example!

So, if you're interested in the ARM port, dig in and start coding. If you're not, join in all the same and work on another part of Haiku! As someone else said some time ago: DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS!

That didn't take long now did it? If you've read yesterday piece (the one right below) I mentioned a goal Ithamar had before leaving the Coding Sprint, which was "to have Haiku boot all the way until it complains no boot device was found". Well, guess what? I just received a nice e-mail from Ithamar with a new screenshot. And a new kernel panic message. That message reads: "get_boot_partitions failed!"

That's it! Goal reached! Ithamar again was helped by Rene and this time they also had the assistance of Adrien (Pulkomandy), so hats off to all three, amazing job guys, just awesome. I asked Ithamar what his plan now was and he said it's "to look at FDT (Flattened Device Tree) so we can make it easier to add support for other devices".

Now, this was reached in under 4 days of work, imagine if we had more BeGeistert weekends and Coding Sprints. Imagine if I won the lottery and donated that £1m pounds to Haiku!

Well well, what do we have here. If you've read my previous post, the report on this weekend's BeGeistert, you'll know Ithamar spent all weekend working (minus some smoking breaks and one or two meals) on the ARM port. Last night Rene sat next to him (I moved chairs or he'd have sat in my lap, he's sneaky that way) and the two started working around some bugs on the kernel.

Ithamar, since early in the weekend, set himself a goal and although quite not there yet (hopefully he'll reach it before leaving the Coding Sprint), the progress has been been impressive, as I'm sure you'll agree. What you see below is a WORLD EXCLUSIVE (had to) of Haiku booting on ARM. It's in QEMU and as you can see it panics and goes into KDL, but the icons are starting to light up!

Now, the goal I mentioned? To have Haiku boot all the way until it complains no boot device was found (which is to be expected). Can Ithamar reach it? Knowing him, I'd say we have a pretty good chance of that happening. Awesome work.


Wow, these past two days just flew by, I'm now back home, tired (not having much sleep does that to you) but having had a great time in Düsseldorf in the company of fellow Haiku'ers. The weather wasn't great, the internet access was even worse, but everyone had a good time and now it's time to sit back, relax and wait for the next one. Unless of course you're one of the 6 still there, now taking part of the Coding Sprint.

After the break you'll find my report of what happened during BeGeistert 026, hope you enjoy it, I sure did!

It's getting closer... if all goes according to plan, we'll see Haiku Alpha 4 available on October 15th! Just over a week away, so start prepping those CD-R or USB sticks for the installation.

Update: So, as I'm sure you've noticed, October 15th came and went and no Alpha 4. Not everything went according to the plan it seems and as such, we'll have to wait a bit longer. Will it be before BeGeistert? Will it be at BeGeistert? Or will it be during/after the Coding Sprint which follows BeGeistert? And how many more times can I write BeGeistert in this update? Stay tuned... see you at BeGeistert!

Update 2: A new release date has been set! Kallisti5 has just sent an e-mail to the haiku-development mailing list with the announcement. The date is now November 12th. He's now working along with Ryan, sharing the role of release coordinator. This will also allow a final rush of bug squashing during the BeGeistert Coding Sprint, and that can only be good news. Mark your calendars (again)!

Oh happy days! Haiku just announced that two new development contracts will soon(ish) be starting. Two contracts for two developers for two months each, awesome. Ingo and Oliver will soon start their new contracts (probably around the end of the year) and both will be working on package management, that will bring it way up to speed, no doubt about it.

On a related note, Matt posted a new blog entry precisely about Haiku's package management, highlighting some key aspects of the upcoming Haiku system, a good read.

Can't wait for the end of the two contracts to see the results of their hard work. As I said earlier, awesome.