from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
developer ZETA programming team
License (s) Proprietary
Current  version 1.5 (February 28, 2007)
ancestry BeOS
Architecture (s) x86
Others Development and sales discontinued, language (s): German, English, Japanese, Portuguese (Brazil) a. a.
Price:  89 to 99
  School version: 49 €
  Update: 10 €
magnussoft ZETA

magnussoft ZETA (formerly yellowTAB ZETA ) is a no longer available commercial operating system that came onto the market in November 2003 and was sold until April 2007. It represents a further development of the BeOS operating system, the development of which was discontinued due to bankruptcy. As a result, the majority of the rights to BeOS came to the Palm company , some rights were retained by the former developers of Be Incorporated .

The name ZETA refers to the sixth letter of the Greek alphabet , which also stands for the number 6; because ZETA is de facto the successor version of the last BeOS version 5.0.3.

On March 16, 2007, magnussoft stated that it stopped financing the further development of ZETA.

Main developer and yellowTAB founder Bernd Korz announced on April 2, 2007 that he would stop developing ZETA. In addition, he expressed thoughts on how parts of the software could be released under open source licenses so that they would benefit the Haiku project. David Schlesinger, director of open source technologies at ACCESS, the company that owns the rights to the source code of BeOS, said that such disclosure would constitute the unauthorized publication of a derivative work, and that neither yellowTAB nor Bernd Korz did ever had a license to use the BeOS source code. In response to these statements, the software was discontinued.


ZETA inherited many properties from its predecessor BeOS. It is also capable of SMP , multitasking and multithreading . It also uses the Be file system as the file system (with the option of associative file management ) and is able to access ext2 (reading), ext3 (reading), FAT16 (full access), FAT32 (full access), NTFS (reading), ReiserFS (reading) and HFS - partitions access (read). Also, it brings those already used in BeOS boot manager Bootman with.

Company development

On April 4, 2006 an application for insolvency was filed against the manufacturer of the ZETA operating system, yellowTAB, the insolvency application procedure was initiated, the business accounts were blocked and an insolvency administrator was appointed.

yellowTAB denied in a press release that this would mean the end of the company. It was said that there should definitely be a next version of ZETA, and that support services should also be offered, which, however, should be limited to four weeks. Furthermore, the activation (introduced with ZETA 1.0) should be removed in version 1.2 and the price should be reduced by almost € 10. In addition, it was announced that there will also be further developments at ZETA, even if yellowTAB “ can no longer exist ”. A closer cooperation with the open source BeOS replica Haiku is sought.

yellowTAB has now completely ceased business operations. Due to the lack of bankruptcy assets , the proper implementation of the insolvency proceedings is in question.

After the end of yellowTAB, the company magnussoft became the new distributor of ZETA. On March 26, 2007, the latter declared that it had stopped financing the development team led by Bernd Korz on March 16. As a justification, the company referred to the sales figures of ZETA, which had fallen well below its own expectations. However, magnussoft wants to maintain ZETA sales until at least the end of 2007.

According to an official announcement by magnussoft Deutschland GmbH, on April 5, 2007, sales of the products magnussoft Zeta 1.21 and magnussoft Zeta 1.5 were discontinued. The setting takes place until the clarification of the Access Co. Ltd. Declaration given, according to which neither yellowTAB GmbH nor magnussoft Deutschland GmbH are or were authorized to sell the Zeta product.

operation area

While its predecessor BeOS was regarded as the “multimedia operating system”, ZETA can no longer have such a unique selling point, as the corresponding capabilities of competing operating systems have developed significantly since the heyday of BeOS at the end of the 1990s. The manufacturer describes the operating system still to be particularly suitable for multimedia - applications . However, most manufacturers of multimedia hardware and software have given up support for BeOS, so that the range of applications is small compared to other operating systems.

ZETA is a single-user system for the home. Videos and DVDs can be viewed with the VLC media player , MP3 files can be played with the standard audio player Champion and surfed on the web with Mozilla Firefox . E-mail programs and the office package are included in ZETA.

With POSIX, ZETA provides a standardized interface, which makes porting UNIX applications easier.

Criticism and shortcomings

The properties of ZETA are sometimes controversial. Critics see no real advancement over BeOS. Many of the advertised properties and advantages of ZETA are of a trivial nature. The distribution of unfinished versions of the software on a home shopping TV channel has also raised doubts as to whether the manufacturer is in a position to continue the project financially.

Another point of criticism is the lack of contemporary software. The supplied GoBe Productive office suite is version 2.0 released in 1999. Since the manufacturer has discontinued BeOS support, the product will no longer be developed. Also, the Flash Player and RealPlayer are available for the same reason, only in versions of the late 1990s. From today's point of view, many of the available programs offer inadequate properties. B. not printing from the supplied BeOS port of the Mozilla Firefox browser , while the BeOS own browser NetPositive does not offer modern HTML support.

The Java Runtime Environment from Sun is no more available such as OpenOffice.org . Porting of both packages has been announced repeatedly, but in no case has it resulted in a publication.

The small selection of supported hardware is also criticized. It is sometimes not possible to install ZETA on today's standard PC without restrictions.

With ZETA, as with Linux, Windows and Mac OS, it is possible to play several films at the same time, but since the manufacturers of the graphics cards for ZETA do not offer their own drivers with hardware acceleration , other systems (e.g. Windows, GNU / Linux) are also included Optimized video decoders are better able to play more videos at the same time smoothly than ZETA even on older hardware.

The WLAN support is also incomplete. For example, the WPA encryption standard is not supported; ZETA users have to be satisfied with the older and insecure WEP .

Legal issues

During the entire development period, there was uncertainty in the BeOS / ZETA user community about the legal status of ZETA. Neither yellowTAB nor magnussoft made any specific statements about the license conditions under which they sold the BeOS-based system. It was speculated that the developers had no access to the source code and that further development would only consist of modifying or exchanging binary codes. On the other hand, it was assumed that illegally published source code of a development version of BeOS (dano) would be used. Another assumption was that yellowTAB had concluded a license agreement with them shortly before the BeOS manufacturing company Be, Inc. was dissolved.

yellowTAB only commented on the speculation that it was not using any illegally published program code. It was not explained whether and, if so, under what conditions original BeOS code was used. At the same time, nothing was known about legal action against yellowTAB.

On April 4, 2007, David Schlesinger (Director of Access / PalmSource) announced on Bits-of-News (BitsofNews.com) that YellowTab / Korz had never had legal access to the BeOS source code and had no license to publish BeOS software own. Furthermore, according to Schlesinger, Korz does not have the right to publish the source code of BeOS / Zeta. Schlesinger justified the lack of legal action with the complexity of the German legal process and the lack of economic interest. ACCESS itself does not generate any income with the BeOS source code and due to the presumed low financial strength of Bernd Korz / yellowTAB, legal steps would not promise any profit. Nevertheless, Bernd Korz was repeatedly sent injunctive relief orders, which were ignored. With effect from April 5, 2007, the company magnussoft, under whose name the Zeta versions 1.2.1 and higher were sold, ceased sales until the legal basis was clarified.


Pre-release versions RC1-RC4

Before the release of the final version 1.0, the ZETA operating system was initially released as a release candidate (RC). This began with RC1, with the later RC2 already showing significant development progress since BeOS version 5. Among other things, new hardware was supported, including USB devices, but also many new programming languages ​​and new applications from many categories were included. From June 9, 2004, the third release candidate of the system was available.

On October 15, 2004, a fourth release candidate was released under the name Neo. Among other things, this brought better hardware support through more drivers (including the elimination of the 128 gigabyte limit for hard drives), full USB 2.0 support, a new media player called Champion and an Internet telephony program called Whisper. Since various bugs occurred after Neo was released, yellowTAB released a service pack for this version.


ZETA 1.0 is the final version of the operating system and was presented by yellowTAB at CeBIT (March 10-16 , 2005 in Hanover ). The delivery was delayed by a few weeks, CD production began on June 9, 2005. Like Windows XP , ZETA 1.0 also has a product activation for the first time . A registration key is sent to you by post and you then have to enter it and the CD serial number in a window under ZETA so that you can continue to use ZETA.

ZETA 1.0 was in delivery from June 24, 2005; The distribution of version 1.0 was officially confirmed on July 1st on the company's website.


On October 17, 2005, a service pack of around 50 MB (installed around 150 MB) was released , increasing the version number to 1.1. With this new version it should be possible to boot ZETA from a USB drive. Furthermore, ZETA also supports dual-core processors .

ZETA R1.1 and R1.21 LiveCD

On October 21, 2005, in cooperation with freenet.de , a 174.5 MB (unpacked approx. 550 MB) free live CD was released, which makes it possible to test the operating system without having to install it. However, commercial programs that are only included in the paid full version have been omitted from the Live CD . Further restrictions are that ZETA cannot be installed on the hard disk and cannot write to drives with BFS , ZETA's own file system. From September 2006 the new, also free ZETA Live CD 1.21 was available for downloading, with a size of 223 MB.


Shortly after the bankruptcy petition was announced in April 2006, the manufacturer announced version 1.2. On April 22nd, the RTL Shop began selling this version as a distribution partner. This version brought some innovations, such as full SATA support and porting of the Yahoo Messenger for the first time .

ZETA R1.21

ZETA 1.2.1 was originally supposed to be released in June 2006, but this was prevented by the insolvency of the manufacturing company yellowTAB.

After the bankruptcy, the software house magnussoft, which was initially referred to by yellowTAB as an "exclusive worldwide distributor", took over responsibility for the further development of the operating system. An independent ZETA programming team was created for the actual development work, including the founder and managing director of the insolvent yellowTAB , Bernd Korz. Magnussoft takes over sales and marketing with the support of a former yellowTAB sales representative.

According to announcements by magnussoft for the Leipzig Games Convention in August 2006, version 1.3 of ZETA should actually appear. Instead, only a beta version (Beta 2) of a version named version 1.21 (without the second point of 1.2.1, which signals a “ minor release ”) was presented. The first professional computer games ported on behalf of magnussoft were then presented there for the first time.

The final version was published in the first half of October. However, there was no noticeable media coverage. Neither heise online nor Golem.de , slashdot or osnews.com mentioned the release.


On December 24, 2006 version 1.5 was released to the media and other interested parties. The official start of sales for end users should be January 15, 2007. However, it was later postponed to the end of January 2007. According to magnussoft, the delivery of ZETA 1.5 to dealers began on February 28, 2007. Version 1.5 is only supplied as an upgrade to an existing Zeta version. The distribution was discontinued on April 5, 2007 due to legal uncertainty (rights to source code / access). An update announced for April 2007 with version number 1.5.1 was no longer published due to the discontinuation of sales and development.


Web links


  1. a b Golem.de: BeOS successor Zeta is running out of breath
  2. Golem.de: BeOS successor Zeta at the end
  3. Heise Online: BeOS successor Zeta could become open source , April 2, 2007, archived copy ( memento of the original from April 6, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.berndsworld.com
  4. a b Golem.de: Zeta a pirated copy? (Update) April 4, 2007
  5. zeta-os.com: Magnussoft cease distribution of Zeta ( Memento of October 7, 2007 in the Internet Archive ), April 5, 2007.
  6. Golem.de: ZETA 1.2 - Magnussoft takes over distribution Sales continues - but what about yellowTAB? May 22, 2006
  7. zeta-os.com: Continuity of magnussoft ( Memento of the original from October 30, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , March 26, 2007 Zeta, reviewed March 27, 2007  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.zeta-os.com
  8. Bits of News: ACCESS Confirms Zeta BeOS Version Infringing , April 4, 2007 BitsofNews.com ( Memento of the original from April 8, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was inserted automatically and has not yet been checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / www.bitsofnews.com
  9. Golem.de: ZETA - Update to 1.2.1 is delayed. The new version should appear at the end of July 2006 . June 22, 2006
  10. Golem.de: ZETA's wild ride: yellowTab without employees. Magnussoft and yellowTab boss plan new company and Zeta 1.3 May 24, 2006
  11. Golem.de: Zeta 1.5 with user administration, more drivers and a new look December 27, 2006