Last Sunday marked not only Haiku's birthday but also the sixth Haiku Down Under conference, held (you guessed it) where people are always upside down, toilets flush the other way around but where a BMW's X6's globe box still opens just fine, Australia.

Sikosis has just published his report over at the Haiku website and though there were some glitches during the procedures (conferences and such are like software itself, never bug-free), it went quite well, reaching at one point 39 live viewers. So head over and read his full report which I'm sure you'll enjoy and of course, you can watch it here.

It's August 18th (at least in this part of the world) for a little bit longer, and in case you're not aware, that means today is Haiku's birthday. That's right, Haiku turns 12 today, so it's a pre-teen now, pretty soon it'll start rebelling and thinking it knows everything there is to know. But for now, let's enjoy these interesting times in Haiku's life.

Beta 1 is closer than ever, seeing as Package Management is moving forward by leaps and bounds (sometimes steps and strides), thanks to the ongoing contract with Ingo and Oliver and, in other also exciting news, there might be two new development contracts coming soon, though for now you'll have to stay tuned during the coming weeks to know more about it. BeGeistert is coming as well, only a few weeks away along with a coding sprint, so you know what that means, more commits and bug squashes, just what the doctor recommended.

So join me in wishing Haiku a very Happy Birthday and here's to (at least) 12 more years, though by then, we of course expect total world domination.

As you're aware, Ingo and Oliver have an ongoing development contract and they've been working on Package Management, arguable the last big hurdle before Haiku can release Beta 1. They've provided us updates through blog posts and Ingo has now posted the latest one.

A couple of things in the update the pop out, hybrid builds are working again, along with them having added support for bootstrapping Haiku to the build system. And... there's a repository!! Yep, Haiku now has a software repository. You'll use the new tool named pkgman to work with it and it works pretty well, tried the latest PM build, available here (thanks to Matt for posting the link) and enjoyed it. Stephan in the meantime is working on a frontend for it titled HaikuDepot.

Good news for Haiku, who knows, by the time BeGeistert rolls by, Beta 1 could be announced! Wait and see, wait and see...

Ingo (aka bonefish) posted a new update on his and Oliver's current work on Haiku's Package Management. In it he does go over the changes/improvements since his previous update - which include for example aesthetic changes and also the ability to build multiple packages per port, and outlines in some deeper detail changes they made to the core system of the package management.

The big news though, and this is together with a new post just published at Haiku's site, both their development contracts have been extended! Oliver will continue working for Haiku for at least 4 months, at a rate of 80 hours per month. As for Ingo, his will be an open-ended contract at a rate of 160 hours per month, meaning that, as long as Haiku has the funds, the contract stands. For now and with the available funds, it'll stand for 3 months.

Awesome news for Haiku, having two core developers extend their contracts, allowing them to keep working on the project. But, as mentioned before, one of the contracts will last for as long as there are funds, which means, they need funds! So head over to the donations page and share some wealth their way, c'mon, you know you want to, it'll make you feel all warm inside, promise.

Over the last couple of days, Haiku has made available three new ways for everyone interested in the project, to be able to donate to it, namely Goodsearch, Flattr and Bitcoin. Goodsearch is a search engine powered by Yahoo and with every search you perform (after choosing to whom you'd like to donate), a penny gets donated. With Flattr you can set a  monthly donation budget which you can then divide amongst the ones (people, organizations) you wish to "flattr". Bitcoin dispenses any introduction really, it's a digital currency which usage and acceptance has been growing as time goes by. Haiku's bitcoin address is 1CvgfZCz9Scw3711zU1SN59Q8rvas3FgU1.

Great to see Haiku Inc. giving its supporters new ways to donate and by giving them more ways to donate, hopefully the total amount will increase as well.

TuneTracker Systems has been, for years now, the most successful commercial enterprise, when it comes to BeOS (and now Haiku) software, as I'm sure you'll agree. The first version shipped almost 13 years ago, in June 2000, and it's been a long road to reach the new System 5.

With this new version, TuneTracker is finally fully running on Haiku, the team having felt it's now mature enough for 24/7 operation (though Fair Harbor Radio has been running on Haiku since 2011). Not bad for a Alpha branded OS, is it? With Haiku they can, for example, offer their clients the option to get a system with up to 4TB drives.

I've said this before, time and again, but once again this is amazing work by Dane and his team and we wish them continued success, for many, many years. Here's a TuneTracker history lesson and click below for their press release.

As you're aware, Rene Gollent (the yak man) has been working away on improving Haiku's debugger, an essential tool for developers. ICO has written about it in the past, at last year's BeGeistert. Rene recently wrote a post over at Haiku's site detailing some of the new features he introduced to the app.

Some of them are Return Values, Improved Typecasts and Array Ranges, among others. It's a long post and, I confess, too technical for me, but judging from the reactions I've seen all over the place, it's not only impressive work, it'll prove very helpful to developers working on Haiku/3rd party applications. Nice!

There have been some happenings in the Haiku world, development related. On one hand, Ingo posted an update to both his and Oliver's contracts, regarding Package Management. In it he describes the progress so far and what's coming down the road.

On the other hand, Pawel posted the news that Haiku now supports both ASLR and DEP. ASLR is "address space layout randomization" is always enabled from now on and as the name says, makes sure all areas in an app's address space are random, which helps in making overflows harder to exploit. DEP stands for "data execution prevention" and its main goal is the same, to increase security in the OS.

Great job everyone, keep it up.

After 6 straight years as a mentor organization, unfortunately Haiku wasn't selected for Google Summer of Code 2013. Haiku's participation of GSoC had its ups and downs, but last year was its strongest, hopefully it won't be long until Haiku is back in the GSoC game. Thanks to those who took part in the effort to get Haiku selected, it wasn't meant to be this time around.

Out of 417 total candidates, 177 organizations were selected, best of luck to them.

Michael Lotz updated last night Haiku's implementation of the wpa_supplicant, the wonderful piece of software that allows us to use our wireless connections while using our favorite OS. This brought it up to version 2.0 but more importantly than version numbering, it brought some big changes, where the users are concerned.

A small but most welcomed (at least by me) change was giving focus on start to the password field. Small thing I know, I just found it annoying. A big change is implementing leaving a network but an even bigger change (the big one) is "storing of the password using BKeyStore"!

I spoke with Michael this afternoon (thanks for taking the time) about these changes and one thing he mentioned is the work that still needs to be done, fixing the existing problems. His next target is to fix the autojoin logic. This is caused by the net_server initiating random autojoin requests which (if the password is stored) breaks the connection, though it's not noticeable by the user. This is a tough one, since the joining process is asynchronous, making it very hard to choose the right moment when to start an autojoin, especially when, as Michael mentioned, the wpa_supplicant isn't providing useful feedback.

One other thing Michael mentioned, for the (near?) future, is the possibility of integrating the keystore server into the registrar or the app_server. This would not only mean one less server running but also, seeing as the registrar already handles user management along with encrypted passwords, a very nice fit.

A couple more items were mentioned, the encryption of the keystore, seeing as at the moment it's in plain BMessage and making applications fully verified. Encryption of the keystore pretty much explains itself, you store keys, you want them to be encrypted. As for applications being fully verified, it's important since its goal is to prevent rogue applications posing as another and gaining access to its keystore. One possibility mentioned by Michael is to run a checksum over the running application which can then be queried.

Lots of interesting stuff in there, a big thanks to Michael for taking the time, I hope you enjoyed reading, I did.

Update: Michael just committed to Haiku's source some changes which include a workaround improving the autojoin handling problem mentioned above.