I hope you find this insightful…
First, a log of my experience so far. Note: I have never used beOS, or even heard of it until a few days ago. I have experience in windows, mac, and linux, but not much in mac.
-first heard about it on wikipedia a few days ago
-today, install disk failed to boot on my new Dell Inspiron laptop with Dual-core Athlon CPU, 4GB RAM, ATI Radeon graphics card.
-today, successfully installed in a small partition on my old Pentium 4, tried it out a bit.
Now for my first impression of the pros, cons (aside from general alpha-state bugginess) and a few general comments and suggestions.
-lightweight runs, fast even on old hardware
-nice UI, more elegant than the X11 stack of Linux/BSD
-surprisingly, 3D acceleration works better here than on the Debian Linux on my laptop.
-seems to have a strong “breakout potential” of suddenly becoming relevant and mainstream (mainstream in the sense that linux and BSD are mainstream, not necessarily Windows mainstream), if only more focus was put on making high quality native-ui ports of recent opensource software.
-Development seems to have misplaced (in my opinion) priorities. Very devoted to getting binary compatibility with 10 year old closed-source software, even if it comes at the expense of focusing on facilitating the porting of recent open-source software.
-I’ve heard that it’s using OpenGL 1.5 or something like that. I’m no expert but I think that means that programs relying on newer versions of OpenGL won’t compile, or at least won’t run, on haiku.
A suggestion: I think it would be a good idea, while this is in alpha, to get some “infrastructure” ports in place, of shared libraries such as native ports of the gtk+ and the Qt which call directly on haiku’s native windowing system, a newer version of OpenGL, etc. so that modern apps can be easily ported later on. In fact, I think that someone has already has made a port of Qt, as part of a full package port of KOffice which I saw on haikuware, so it is possible. I think that more of a focus should be put on that sort of thing than is put on it now, if haiku is ever to become relevant. Without software, the OS will not thrive. If the OS does not thrive, neither will native development. The only way to break the chicken-egg dilemma is through ports, and lots of them. Ironically, the only way to get native development thrive is by making as many ports as possible, in my opinion.
I’m not an expert of course, and not very invested in this, but that’s what I think, and you can listen to me, or ignore me, whatever you think is best.