Haiku Alpha impressions

Like many others who recently tested Haiku Alpha live cd would like to share my experience.
PC specs:

  • CPU: AMD Sempron 3400+
  • RAM: 1GB
  • audio: Creative SoundBlaster Live! 5.1
  • video: GeForce 6600 GT, AGP 8X, 128MB
  • ethernet: nVidia CK8S Ethernet Controller (integrated in Gigabyte motherboard)
  • display: Philips 190X (DVI connection)

The Good:

  1. Screen resolution and refresh rate were automatically correctly set (1280x1024@75)
  2. Audio worked out of the box, had sound from front and rear speakers (5.1 system)
  3. All my partitions (ext3, NTFS, FAT32) were mounted with just few clicks
  4. 90% of the videos tested played (ogm, mkv, avi containers)
  5. Whole system felt really responsive
  6. Typing in my native language (lithuanian) worked
  7. Launch box and workspace applets are really neat apps (especially liked dragging windows between workspaces in workspace applet)
  8. Deskbar auto raise when mouse cursor is in upper right corner
  9. Separate desktop backgrounds for each workspace
  10. BePDF: loading and navigating pdfs seemed to work really fast
  11. Modern os look
  12. Desktop icon size changing
The Bad:
  1. During boot, just before the desktop should show up, had no signal from VGA for few seconds
  2. Not only ethernet card didn't work but Haiku magically caused connection errors (don't remember them now but it's easy to reproduce if anyone cares) in linux... and magically booting win xp fixes this. And yes, I am sure this is caused by Haiku live cd as i tried few time.
  3. Alt+TAB doesn't change active window (all the other WMs I tested (metacity, kwin, openbox, fluxbox, xfwm4) have this functionality)
  4. BePDF: selecting text doesn't work
  5. BeZilla: really long start-up time (what's current webkit port status?)
  6. Calculator: redraw issues when selecting/deselcting "show keypad" option
  7. Mail: doesn't work with gmail
  8. If network status is added first and then process controller is added to the deskbar, network status disappears from the deskbar
  9. Deskbar doesn't auto-hide
  10. ext3 can only be mounted as read-only
  11. Screenshoter: can't take active window screenshot
  12. USB flash drive was mounted twice, screenshot: http://img89.imageshack.us/img89/1452/screenshot2dp.png
  13. Finder: Large icons + Clean Up results in icons stacking on top of each other, screenshot: http://img98.imageshack.us/img98/6861/screenshot1uz.png
  14. There could be more icons to identify different file types (compressed files, video files...)
  15. When playing high resolution video in fullscreen (cpu usage around 100%), audio started stuttering (video played without issues)
  16. Media Player: must be the most bugged app in Haiku. It crashed when forwarding/seeking video, it crashed when opening files, crashed for no appearant reason, freezed and didn't want to close the normal way - had to kill it. Imho, scale movies smoothly option should be enabled by default. There could be an option to make playlist part of the main window.
  17. Media Server: Not sure it's media server's fault but after restarting it though I didn't get any errors Media player couldn't play anything. BTW, what should changing output channels do?


  1. It would be nice if center speaker in 5.1 speaker system would mix right and left channel sounds when playing stereo songs
  2. Fix enumeration in forum ordered list?

PS: if any of the bugs mentioned in this post are not already reported, I can create new bug reports.

I’m running Haiku in a 3GB partition on a home-built computer with an AMD Sempron 2600 CPU and built-in Intel graphics on the motherboard.

My initial impressions are very favorable. I think this is more of a beta than an alpha: compare it with Syllable, which refuses to start most of the time and frequently crashes when it does. I had to do some tricks to get on line, but that’s due to bugs in my router: even Linux gave trouble with it until the latest release. I particularly liked the simple keyboard configuration, having evolved my own non-standard layout.

The chief fault I’ve noticed is, of course, the media player. No support for flv, garbled display of wmv, and only the first part of of a concatenated mpg played. It would also be nice to have the workspace indicator on the panel, rather than the desktop, and to have a key-stroke for bringing up a buried window.

I can’t offer much aid to the project — my programming never got beyond Basic — but I shall cheer from the sidelines and sing Haiku’s praises when I get the chance!

Running under VM on an HP m8020. After installing it runs well for the first boot. After that reliability seems to slowly degrade, issues seem to be with both VM and Haiku. I’ve given up running it for now, will try to run in native mode when wifi is working.

I do like Haiku, it just not reliable on my system yet.

VirtualBox by chance?

Haiku runs extremely reliably on most native hardware I’ve tested it on.

Hello everyone. New here, came over from the Freespire forum. Ran the Alpha release and was very excited. Seem to work without any problems. Now we just new a good office software program (open office maybe). I couldn’t local a dial-up program. Some of us live in mountain and still have to use the old method of connecting to the internet. Any suggestions?

For The Bad: 3

The ALT and CTRL keys are swapped around to what they usually are used for in other WMs/OSes.
Use CTRL + TAB to switch windows with twitcher.
Use ALT + A to select all text and ALT + X to cut that text.

Follow me?

Open Office would be a bad choice for haiku, since it is too big and not nativly running with
Haiku. There is Abi Word and Gobe productive at the moment.

Unfortunelly there is no dial-up at the moment… I really miss the dial-up too since, plenty of Asian Countries too miss this most…

Alt+C= copy
Alt+V= paste
Alt+A= select all

Ctrl+Tab= switch Window (click once to switch to the last used window, click twice to show the last two used windows) hold for Tracker switch.

Ctrl==Strg (Steuerungs Taste on German Keybords)

Also, CTRL-~ allows you to switch between windows belonging to the same Team (such as terminal windows, Pe windows, Tracker windows, etc.)

@DavidMcCann: BASIC programmers can have fun with Haiku too. Try yab (http://www.haikuware.com/directory/view-details/development/language/yab) - no, yab applications will never make it into Haiku itself, but there is a small but enthusiastic yab programmers’ community writing Haiku-native GUI applets on Haikuware. Indeed, yab may be to Haiku what VisualBasic 3 was to Windows95: a way to get lots of simple but useful apps out there quickly.

Yes, this is very neat.

Click and hold for a little while (ctrl+tab or ctrl+~) to get a graphical interface of the switching. Within this interface you can tap both tab and ~ if you want, try it to see how it works. As you would expect, holding in the Shift key in addition to Ctrl reverses the navigation.

The ~ key is located just above the tab key on US layout keyboards. So for those who don’t use this type of keyboard (layout) - try the key just above tab to be able to switch between the current application’s windows.