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Gassee on open source BeOS

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Jean Louis Gassee has given a brief interview to Dan Gillmor of the San Jose Mercury News, in which he discusses the possibility of Be Inc releasing its jewel of an OS as source form.

Last year Be registered the openbeos.com. .net and .org domains, although whether the intent was to really to free the source, or simply to pre-empt cybersquatters, remains to be seen.

And the epigrammatic Frenchman doesn't give us too much of a clue here.

"If I felt it was a way to make my shareholders happy I would do it in a heartbeat," says Gassee. Which as Dan concludes, "Sounds like a 'No' to me."

Gassee mentions that BeOS contains elements licensed from third parties, although this doesn't make open sourcing impossible - merely difficult. Ironically, it was exactly this issue that dissuaded IBM from licensing OS/2 more widely, after it too realized it couldn't compete on the desktop.

It's not unconceivable that Be could adopt some sort of a halfway house, which would encourage much needed driver development (ATA 100 and SCSI 160 aren't supported for example) without exposing BeOS' private parts. But with six months cash left before the company closes its doors - assuming it doesn't get new financing - Be's got other fish to fry. ®

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