Comparison with other OSes

Hi, I know almost nothing about Haiku, I just wandered in here a few years ago (and I’ve also been watching ActionRetro’s videos on Youtube) - what can Haiku do that Windows and Linux can’t? Or Mac?


Haiku was written ground-up in C++ as a spiritual successor to BeOS, and as such, has similar UI, and is API- and binary-compatible.

  • Haiku has a unique interface, and many like the way it looks and works.
  • Haiku is very fast, faster than Linux, even on slow hardware.
  • Haiku has a lower barrier to entry for contributing.
  • The Haiku community is very welcoming.

Maybe the question could be done in the other direction, what can other OS’s do that Haiku can’t? :wink:


Ship? Haiku can’t even manage the miserable drip-drip-drip of one beta per year.

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And that is a problem because? I’m fine still running R1B4 on 64bit.

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There’s probably tons that other OS can do but Haiku can’t. Where they fail miserably, however, is putting a smile on my face. :slight_smile:


Question would be then, does the average user need those? :smiley:

What’s certain is that you can’t compare with commercial OS.
Companies are tending to make releases for business reasons. Make cosmetic changes, change the number, sell it as a revolution. Best recipe ever, it works every time. If you’re not convinced, watch queues at release of some products and prices people are ready to pay to have them before everyone else. OS are a product like another, they do not escape it.
And in this case, resellers have the smile.

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“Miserable”? Debian puts out a stable release every couple of years. Give me reliability any day.

Edit: to answer the OP, Haiku’s reasonable size, excellent performance and support for old hardware are features. That’s what Haiku does for me: it runs perfectly on a machine that other operating systems have long abandoned. And it does that without sending me to the user manual every couple of minutes. I say this as someone who’s tried NetBSD more than once: sometimes you just want to turn on your computer and get work done. As for missing features? Not all computers must be able to do everything. If all my hardware was interchangeable, I would only need one PC and a spare for emergencies.

Haiku fills a unique niche, with a combination of traits no-one else has. That’s the whole point.


I caught the drift from one of ActionRetro’s Youtube videos (if you know who that guy is), that a BROWSER on Haiku (forget which one he was using) is FULL-FEATURED!!
That really solves ALL problems! :smile:

I’ll try and find that video again.

debian releases every two years since lenny 2009, so not really fair here :wink:

haiku R1 beta4 is still very usable, and there are the nightlys, too, so i do not really see a problem ( even if i would love a beta5release and R1 next year? :wink:

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Actually, the question is more about what you shouldn’t do with Haiku. Since things are still run as root, you shouldn’t do things that are requiring high degree of privacy. Managing your bank accounts on Haiku, even if a browser allows you to access your bank website, would be a bad idea, for example.

Not only do we know, but he reads this forum and posts from time to time.

If you can handle some salty language, this guy says it best:

  • Window$: I’m not going to seriously compare Haiku with the worst operating system ever. Let’s just say Haiku is way faster using way less resources, and without the massive spyware. It’s day/night difference.
    I still have a Window$ partition and every few months I boot it, just out of curiosity (to check if my libraries still work there). Each time I barely tolerate the awful experience for half an hour, and each time, no exceptions whatsoever, it feels like a torture.
  • Mac: Closed proprietary ecosystem with unacceptable policies that would put even Micro$oft into shame (although Micro$oft tries hard to catch up Apple’s policies). Made for ridiculously expensive hardware as well. So no, thank you.
  • GNU/Linux: It has better hardware support and more software available (although the latter is not much of a problem nowadays). However Linux is already bloated, not to mention crapware like systemd (or parts of it, like elogind) are mandatory in almost every distro - with just a few exceptions. Linux used to be promising, but with all those “Linuxisms” adding up, it becomes more and more annoying.
  • BSDs: All BSDs seem to be the closest thing to Haiku in terms of performance/resources ratio. Not bloated, great documentation, excellent packaging system. Still, Haiku is snappier.
  • Other OS (like Menuet, AROS, RISC OS incarnations, etc): Some of them are impressive in what they can do with so little resources, but far from being capable of replacing your daily driver. Others are designed specifically for niche hardware (like PowerPC and Amigas). All of them are definitely interesting but, with all due respect to their developers, not really an alternative operating system for everyday use. I don’t think that’s their goal, anyway.

I second that, and I am sure I’m not the only one.
As an example, take an old PC/laptop that can run Window$ XP - maximum. Install GNU/Linux: with the right distribution it will work well, albeit a little slow. Now try FreeBSD instead: it will work better, it will actually be a pretty decent solution. Finally, try Haiku: old hardware that was good only to gather dust in the attic suddenly becomes snappy and quite nice to use. You will feel the difference right away. You don’t have to believe me; just try the little experiment above and you will see for yourself.

Now, that being said, Haiku is not my daily driver either. But it gets closer and closer to that. A big part of my daily work is already done there, even if my main PC is nearby. Why? because it gets the job done, and it is really nice to use.


Running things as admin has more to do with protecting your system than your data. Online banking on Haiku would only be dangerous if you expect your bank’s website to infect your system with a virus, which can then spread to the rest of your system because you are running as admin. That virus would also have to be Haiku-specific.

I think this xkcd comic explains the situation pretty well.

In terms of privacy, the lack of ad and tracking blocking in some of our browsers is a concern, so running something like Pi-Hole or Adguard Home would be advisable if you’re using something like WebPositive.


Still, your original question remains unanswered

Until now

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That’s perfectly fine, if R1Beta4 covers your needs. In my case, just a few things were missing. I switched to nightlys and didn’t regret it. I am aware of the risk, but so far I find nightlys surprisingly stable.

Stack and Tile is one of the answers (by the way I recommend your channels to anyone new to Haiku). But it’s not the only thing Haiku can do and other operating systems can’t. People already mentioned Haiku’s performance which, to the best of my knowledge, has no equivalent (putting aside niche operating systems written entirely in ML - which are arguably faster but very short of features). There are a few GNU/Linux distros and BSDs that come close, but even then Haiku has a better performance/resources ratio, clearly visible in old hardware.

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Main reason to stay on R1B4 is that for building packages I need to be sure they also build on the buildmasters for 32bit and 64bit (mind you, I still have a nightly 32bit on bare metal), but I tend to check build these days in Qemu for 32bit also (on a 64bit Haiku).

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