Lately, there have been discussions about having bundled native browser vs. a downloaded non-standard port. There have been discussions about bundled wallpapers rather than packages on the HaikuPorts. Underlying this, I see a trend where mainstream OS developers and their bosses have conditioned consumers to think like sheep instead of intelligent human beings.
If we could know that the trend of native apps develped from web technologies, ie. React Native, Dart Native, etc., would upend the web as we know it, we could agree that having a web browser that uses a native GUI vs. one that uses a wrapper of a ported GUI would be like arguing about the arrangement of the deck chairs on the Titanic. The fact that we don’t know what the future will bring necessitates looking at a deeper requirements list. WebKit, regardless of whether it uses GTK or Haiku Native GUI, requires more processor and memory consumption than any of the other apps that come with Haiku. This being the case, perhaps it is wiser in the long run to make React Native and Dart Native’s Flutter framework render to native Haiku widgets instead of browser based technology.
Likewise, when it comes to background artwork, using a pretty PNG file from the internet is no different than the ones that come bundled with Windows or Linux. What does make a difference is that SVG can display line art and vector images in much less storage than a PNG regardless of how pretty it is. We can take that to a farther extreme. If a bitmapped piece of artwork uses all shades of the same color using achromatic highlights on top of a single background color, it could be rendered to a grey-alpha 16-bit PNG color mode. The background color would show through the blending of the alpha channel so that only the highlights and shadows would need to be rendered as a greyscale blend. The advantage of using a grey-alpha color mode in the PNG is that the pixels take half the amount of memory and probably would shrink the size of the file by half. Also, it makes it more flexible for the user to choose their own background color for the PNG to blend with.
What these discussions have in common is that by using some clever thinking and judgement, we can make Haiku more efficient and fast than the other guys. We just need to quit thinking about the time invenstment that’s already been spent but rather think about what will get us the best return on time investment in the future.
The big guys are making the same mistakes as totalitarian governments throughout history. Let’s learn from history and avoid those mistakes. Let users decide for themselves what works.