Bundling vs. User Choice

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.

Me and you we are power users or nerds or hackers. It’s a good thing to be able using IT in an advanced and smart way. And I personally hate OSs which are to “protective” if you know what I mean. But I know a lot of people who have big knowledge and talent in non-IT areas. These people can use a computer for their purposes but can’t and don’t want to learn technical stuff. You can look down on them. Or you can take them serious. It has always been the attitude of tech people to look down on not so technical people. Like Unix hackers looking down on Windows users etc.

And about bundled: The user needs a browser to search for and download a browser. So why not bundle the best browser in the first place?

The high level Javascript-based frameworks are for people who like bloat because that’s the current way of mainstream thinking: “Oh why not another layer over the existing software, to run all apps on all systems!?” These people don’t mind resource-intensive computing. So there’s no point in creating a native port of those frameworks. As always I may be wrong with this.

You are right: Photo wallpapers are resource-hungry.

Why do you need a browser to use HaikuDepot? It doesn’t even need JavaScript? I don’t think it uses Web+ internally even! It’s totally independent of browser technology!

When European courts forced Microsoft to debundle IE6, it was a good thing. Why make the same mistake?

As I understand it one of Haiku’s goals is to provide a coherent operating system where the OS and applications work well together and so the user experiences a system that does not look cobbled together from all kind of parts with different look and feel.

I think for this it is important that the OS provides a set of default applications so it is immediately usable after installation. One of the most important applications for any end user OS nowadays is a web browser. So providing a well integrated web browser that is usable for the modern web would be desirable.

I don’t think the existance of a pre-installed web browser hinders anyone from installing some alternative if they want to.

If we’d follow this logic of not having a browser pre-installed that could likewise be applied to other software, and in the end Haiku would ship with nothing installed. That doesn’t sound like a pleasent experience.

And even if you offer the choice directly on installation, how is a new user supposed to make this decision? How should someone who installs the OS for the first time make the choice between WebPositive , Otter and Epiphany?

Not every user wants to evaluate every possible alternative of each software they have on their OS. If there is a default browser or a default text editor and it does what I need things are fine. If I find out, after using it a bit, that it does not fullfil my needs I can go looking for an alternative that does.

Haiku is a very, a very, long shot away from the situation Microsoft was in. There is currently zero chance that Haiku’s market dominance will threaten browser competition in a way that negatively impacts Innovation of the web :rofl: Not even MS is in this situation anymore.


I’m wondering if the web can be negatively impacted anymore. Let’s be honest, the problem are websites. The other day, I was watching a serie that is only available online and only during night. I had to allow more than a dozen of sites to watch a single video (I’m using NoScript). As long as companies running these sites don’t understand that they are compromising their security by doing such things, it will never end.
On browser side, the consensus is to display whatever crap people will put online because it’s freedom. But seriously, there should be a limit to insanity.