Analysis of Haiku GUI: Part One

I have stumbled upon many posts, both here and netwide, that suggests that the Haiku UI is outdated and lacks the graphical flair of Windows, OSX and Linux. I also see this discussed regarding other systems, such as AROS, MorphOS, AmigaOS4 etc. After some intense thought, which did produce a lot of heat and smoke rising from my poor, overworked brain, I present to you: Haiku GUI: or how old can still feel fresh. Part One

Remember, these are my opinions on the user interface, your opinion may differ :wink:

Well-said. Also a good introduction to Haiku window management, at that.

Nice first part, rixard!

Two small remarks: the “virtual desktops” are called “workspaces” under Haiku. And the “maximize” button is usually refered to as “zoom” button, because the app decides what’s best when pressing it. Tracker e.g. resizes to optimal size.

Another very nice feature that is a bit hidden: A quick way to move or resize windows. With that you don’t have to exactly aim for tab/border/resize-corner. Double-clicking to hide and right-clicking to send to back also works with that.

Good work! Can’t wait to read the next part!


Humdinger: Thanks alot for the feedback. I’ll change the wording to make it consistent with other documentation.

As for the more advanced ways to move and resize windows, I know about them and they will feature in Part Two or Three. Again, thanks for the feedback.

People who say, “It needs an update visually!” would do better to give specifics. Personally, I would like the close window button to more clearly be identifiable. Scroll over color change. Big X perhaps.

Excellent article about Haiku GUI. Been using Haiku for while, i never thought of it’simplecity before.

A brilliant article regarding design - specifically Haiku’s GUI. I am looking forward to a Part Two already! rixard has some great ideas and opinions! A really good read for those interested in interface design like myself. As they say, simplicity is elegance!

I mostly agree with your points, but I think it’s kind of an over-simplification to say that graphical effects get in the way. You give the right examples though – except for one. Drop shadows are not just gimmicks, they actually have a positive effect because they add depth to the image and make it easier to grasp the “order” of windows on the screen. I agree that the yellow tabs are useful (and beautifully unique!) though. :slight_smile:

Also some (simple!) animations help the human eye to understand concepts. For example currently if you switch workspaces via keyboard shortcut (e.g. Alt+F2 which would bring up a run dialog on most Linux desktops) your windows will just disappear which may leave you wondering what just happened. (Think of first time users)

Same thing goes for minimizing windows through double click on the title bar, which is radically different from the behavior most computer users know from Windows. Again, new users might be left wondering where the window has gone. Not saying that users would be too stupid too figure out eventually. But a very simple animation can help in both cases.

Nevertheless I really like the Haiku UI and don’t feel it looks dated at all.