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Magnussoft ZETA

Magnussoft ZETA, previously yellowTAB ZETA, was an operating system formerly developed by yellowTAB of Germany based on the BeOS operating system developed by Be Inc.; because of yellowTAB’s insolvency, ZETA was later being developed by an independent team of which little was known, and distributed by magnussoft. As of February 28, 2007 the current version of ZETA is 1.5. On March 28, 2007, magnussoft announced that it has discontinued funding the development of ZETA by March 16, because the sales figures had fallen far short of the company’s expectations, so that the project was no longer economically viable. A few days later, the company also stopped the distribution of ZETA in reaction to allegations that ZETA constituted a pirated copy of BeOS.

BeOS legacy

ZETA was an effort to bring BeOS up to date, adding support for newer hardware, and features that had been introduced in other operating systems in the years since Be Incorporated ceased development in 2001. Among the new features were USB 2.0 support, SATA support, samba support, a new media player, and enhanced localization of system components. Unlike Haiku and other open source efforts to recreate some or all of BeOS’s functionality from scratch, ZETA was based on the actual BeOS code base, and it is closed source.

ZETA contributed to an increase in activity in the BeOS commercial software market, with a number of new products for both ZETA and the earlier BeOS being released.

However, some critics point to a list of goals for the first release that do not appear to have been met (including Java 1.4.2 and ODBC support). Other reviewers point to bugs that still exist from BeOS, and question whether yellowTAB has the complete access to the source code they would need to make significant updates.

The system also came under heavy criticism from BeOS developers for undocumented changes in the system messaging system. These changes could break compilation of code, and in some cases (most notably Mozilla), break the actual application if any code optimizations are applied, resulting in much slower builds.

Additional controversy has come from their bundling of Gobe Productive in a licensing deal which Gobe had disputed.

YellowTAB promoted ZETA mainly in the German market, where it used to be sold through infomercials and on RTL Shop, and in Japan. Prior to Magnussoft stopping the distribution of ZETA, it was mainly distributed directly by magnussoft.

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