Big Picture

Dear All,
I am no computer expert at all (I used to use windows until a few years ago, now I am enjoying Debian due to the large number of applications and to the fact that I finally spend more time working than doing system administration!),
I am intrigued by what I read on Slashdot

I am in no rush to try out Haiku (I would not even have a spare box for it right now), but I think I am missing the big picture.
Haiku is written in C++ and the idea is that it should not be pieces of software grabbed here and there but a whole coherent OS, isn’t it?
I found the documentation a bit sparse, so I do not understand the technicalities. Once I install Haiku in the future, will the transition from Debian be complicated? I understood I will have bash, but what about the installation/removal of software? Will I have centralized repositories? And a package manager?
Is the installation very technical now? I heard a lot about VMware (very unknown to me), but I was not able to find a step by step tutorial.
Finally, I appreciate that it is difficult to set deadlines, but what do leader developers say? If they were to bet a month’s salary, when would they predict the release of version 1.0?
If I could install Haiku easily and set up internet, then it would be much easier for me to assess Haiku (for what I want to do). Of course other people have already done that, but I suspect their knowledge of computing in general is in a different league with respect to mine!


Hello …

   I just discovered Haiku a few days ago so I can't really answer your questions ... but what I can tell you is try it out. You don't need to install it.. just download an image file and run it. You do need a virtual machine installed (I'm using VMWare) and the image is just 30 MB... really easy.. no fuss no worries... 


Well, first of all, Haiku isn’t a Linux distribution, in case there is any confusion. If you use Debian, I imagine that you will find system administration to be different, but not at all difficult. There isn’t a central repository like Debian has, but, then again, complicated package management isn’t really necessary like in Linux or Windows. Most programs require just unzipping, plonking the resulting folder in /boot/apps, and making a symlink to wherever you want into the Deskbar menu. More complicated installations have a packaging system similar installing a single .deb file. The second release will most likely have a package system more similar to OS X’s bundling system.

If you want to test Haiku, you can get hold of a free VMWare Server license from the VMWare site. It comes as a .tar.gz, but installation is pretty straightforward (this coming from a guy who swears by apt :).

Testing under VMWare is recommended just because installing to real hardware is more than a little involved. Hope this helps.

Haiku R1 will be similar to BeOS 5 ( from back in 2000 ).

For R1, you’ll have to manually install software. In short, going to Bebits or other websites, downloading the program, unzipping and running it.

No centralized repositories yet ( maybe in R2 or R3 ) - still too soon to say. There is a package manager in BeOS & Haiku should have one too ( R1 or R2? ). It’ll allow you to easily add an application and remove it too if the program is in the package format.

Right now, to install Haiku to actual hardware is somewhat hard but it is very easy to run a VMware image to test it out ( VmWare Player is free & available for Linux & Windows ). The VMware image mainly includes the OS. Haiku at present is intended more for developers and BeOS/Zeta users who have more experience with this OS. I don’t suggest the regular Linux/Windows user trying it out on real hardware until it gets to Beta or R1.

It’s Impossible to predict the actual release of 1.0 but my best guess, I would say Alpha out mid to late 2008 ( that seems to be the goal & likely to happen ). Beta out 1 to 2 years after & Release 1.0 out 1 to 2 years after that. So, R1 sometime in 2 to 5 years time. I don’t believe any sooner than 2 years but anything can happen. ( It’s taking very long because presently there are too few developers doing lots & lots of work ).

When R1 ( & maybe Beta ) comes out; you’ll start seeing a few Haiku distros. These will be good to try out because they’ll include many applications too so you won’t have to hunt for programs to install. ( Official Haiku release may offer something like this too? ).

I am a firm believer in Haiku. I’ve been using Linux now for two years, i’ve done the distro hopping and have to say i’m done. Ubuntu is nice but lacks features, PCLinuxOS is better but makes me wonder if it will be around in a year. Either way I’d never install it for anyone but myself. Linux on the whole while very cool, lacks standards for a desktop OS. This is where Haiku takes over in my opinion. Like Windows or OSX it looks like they will be around for a while, and doing one thing and doing it well. If some of the developers from Linux get on bored hopefully it will get to version 1 fast. Personally I’m almost ready (personal projects aside) to start helping out, that and I’m bugging my roommate to help as well. Anyways just stick it out and lets hope Haiku takes off.

Last night I ran the Haiku VM as my roommate came in, his eyes lit up when I was toying around in the process viewer, TV and Webcam utilities, and a partition/drive setup tool. I’m going to test a livecd of BeOS-Max out tonight on his craptop and see if it beats his Xubuntu install which I have a feeling it will.

"the idea is that it should not be pieces of software grabbed here and there but a whole coherent OS, isn’t it?"
Haiku tries to do everything the MIT way. It wants to be complete and consistent…that’s different from the unix approach where you can just use a command line if that’s all you want and you have the ultimate small OS. But for the general case, haiku should be a lot smaller and easier to work with. In linux you might have some apps that require gnome libraries and some apps that require kde libraries and that results in a lot of bloat. You’d also deal with multiple bug reports.

The ultimate goal for Haiku ( is that you shouldn’t have to install or uninstall anything at all. You’d just download an app, click the icon to run and then throw the icon in the trash to get rid of it.

It’s funny. We talk about GUI’s “oh look there’s a trash can on the screen” but you’re not really supposed to use it. You have to go through some other process to delete something.