Haiku is not lightweight!

Perhaps we should choose something else to be the selling point of it when we advertise Haiku to other people. Because this statement is, simply wrong.

Linux is lightweight, but Haiku is not! Let’s compare.

A frestly installed Haiku 64 bit used around 250 MB of RAM. Yeah, it’s pretty low. But a freshly installed Debian Linux from the text installer without X only consumed around 93 MB! Then if we add X and a lightweight WM it’s still much lower than the number 250 MB of Haiku! Don’t underestimate X11’s WM, they are very powerful. With a suitable customization, they could provide almost if the same level of features of the Haiku’s WM.

Also keep in mind Windows XP, a freshly installed system, only consumed about 98 MB to 128 MB of RAM! This is what the word lightweight really means!

Yeah, I know XP is 32 bit. But 32 bit Haiku used almost the same 250 MB as of 64 bit!

Haiku, when at it fullest potential, e.g: proper graphics acceleration, fully themed and decorated,… will be something as heavy weight as MacOS. I don’t know if we could reach this state or not, but let’s hope, then I could used a MacOS like OS with Mac like experience without anything Apple! That’s great!

Disclaimer: I don’t know if you are officially advertised Haiku is lightweight or not. But I found some blogs and tech sites on the net said so. If it’s not the case, please don’t blame me.

From our homepage:

Haiku is an open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the BeOS, Haiku is fast, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful.

I don’t see any mention of lightweight here. People in blogs and tech website can say what they want about it, we don’t put words in their mouth. Apparently they tend to agree that 250MB of RAM is lightweight. You can tell them if you think that’s wrong, but it’s not our responsibility :slight_smile:


Yeah. Thank you for your clarification. I think you are right. These people used to said XFCE as a lightweight DE, in the meanwhile it used hundreds of MB of RAM! XFCE today is very different from XFCE from the past, which I think it’s now just a slimmed down version of GNOME! Yet these people still consider XFCE as lightweight!

Maybe I’m just a Regular Joe Linux user, but I’m quite sure I won’t be able to fit my Ubuntu setup in 250Mb of RAM (and i disabled almost all the bells and whistles of the GUI)


250 MB of RAM are lightweight in any case. Comparing the RAM used with other installed operating systems is a very different matter. But let’s face it, if you virtualize HAIKU, you don’t do this on a computer with one or two GB of RAM, but rather on one with, at least 4 GB of RAM, so that you can give the virtualized HAIKU already 2 GB :wink: I find the speed of my HAIKU on VMWare with 2 assigned CPU’s and 2 GB of RAM quite amazing.

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Yes, you can’t. Ubuntu is not lightweight in any means. Just go to distrowatch and search for distributions that use lightweight window managers like OpenBox, i3, awesome,… Pick up one distro and give it a try. You could check the RAM used with free -m on the terminal.

I didn’t said anything about speed. Just the amount of memory used. It seemed you are not yet tried Linux distros that use a lightweight window manager. Try it, and you will see 250 MB of RAM is not lightweight in any case like you said at all.

It’s lightweight enough for most uses :wink:. “Lightweight” has no standard definition, so it may mean different things in different contexts.


Hello, I would definitely not like to start a basic question on the subject of lightweight (this is not a good thing in a forum). That is why I stick with my design of “light weight” considering today’s computers and their RAM equipment and you stay with the design of “light weight” or better “not light weight” in comparison to other operating systems. Then we’re both right and we’re both happy :wink:

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So – serious question – why exactly does Haiku take 256 MiB of RAM when BeOS R5 used to run well in 32 MiB?

From a non-programmer and end-user’s perspective, they both have basically the same functionality, except that Haiku is Unicode ready.

Has Haiku become (due to its 15 year dev cycle) – dun dun dun – crufty?

The main (but not only) cause is the virtual filesystem related to the Package Manager. But of course, there is room for improvements.

However, I remember trying BeOS 5 on a machine with 32 MB of RAM, and remember well that the experience was not very pleasant at all. I guess BeOS started to shine with at least 64 MB of RAM.

I remember building P4 computers to run Win2k or CentOS 5, ten years ago, and those had 512 MB to 768 MB of RAM; that was aging and dated hardware even back then. Is anyone seriously being held back from running Haiku on the metal these days, because they can’t get 256 MB of RAM installed?


Haiku has surpassed BeOS in quite a few areas, for example, localization (ICU), layout management, vector icons, AGG graphics backend, security measures, package management, better networking, better hardware support and probably some more I forgot.
All features that demand some ressources. I small price to pay IMO, especially if you compare todays computers’ specs to the ones BeOS ran on 20 years ago.


Given your recent posts I really wonder if you’re a trolling champion or stressed to death.

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I am a veteran linux user and have used linux since kernel 2.4 was fresh, Haiku fits the definition of light weight in my book for the current era. Comparing a bare bones stripped down linux with nothing but the kernel and a raw X window session is hardly fair as you can do virtually nothing with it at that point, where haiku is a full fledged system with everything you need to get by. and XP consuming “98 to 128mb” you say? In my experience maybe if you stripped it down hard and turned off all the graphics and did absolutely nothing but stare at the desktop. A usable XP install needed at least 1GB.

BeOS 5 on 32mb would have been painful, I needed at least 128 in most scenarios to do anything prouctive. Given haiku’s use of fully packaged and virtual file system it’s still an impressive allocation of resources.


There is a difference about how much is took after boot and how much is needed to run it. A good OS should always use 100% of it’s RAM the same way it should use 100% of it’s bus usage and clock speed if that help to compute faster. The problem arise when it waste the RAM. Does Haiku waste right now, surely as it was never seriously optimized as far as i know. I don’t think it will be 64M like R5 was because it just is more than R5 but i hope 128M will be more possible than the current requirement.

I think if haiku was wrote from scratch without the current disease that plague all OS, called libraries, and lower the place where OO is used to a strict minimum it could be made at around 8M requirement (if you ignore the web browser from this).

For me lightweight is QNX demo disk or Amiga OS, contiki etc… I don’t even rate WindowCE as lightweight.

Haiku has surpassed BeOS in quite a few areas

In addition to that, two extra points:

  • Haiku is still in beta and our approach is to make things work first, and optimize later. So, we could reduce the RAM usage, however…
  • BeOS was designed 25-20 years ago, at a time were RAM was limited. They had to make compromises which make no sense today. What’s the point in making the OS fit in 32MB? Do people seriously intend to run it on machines with 32MB of RAM? Certainly not. While 250MB is maybe larger than we’d like, it’s reasonable to assume anyone running Haiku has at least 512MB of RAM installed (that’s what I had in the first computer I assembled for myself in 2003, and it was built on a budget out of pocket money given by my parents and spared over a year or two, so it was far from the best configuration available at the time already).

So, we have different priorities. There is no point in optimizing Haiku to run with less than, say, 128MB. That will not enable more users. That will not enable a lot of existing users to do more with their computers. So, we have different priorities, and 250MB in the current state (of a beta version with few optimizations) is reasonable.

Also, note that the memory usage decreases a bit on machines with less RAM (or increases with more RAM). That’s a known issue due to inefficient management of free RAM (yes, we need some RAM to store data about the other parts of the RAM). And that is just one single example of things that can be optimized.


All this discussion reminds me of my first BeOS workstation for the 3.0.
Dual pentium-II 266 MHz, Asus P2B-DS motherboard, 4.7 GB hard drive, 256 MB of ram and Ati 128 pro.
Good old time.
Nowadays a Raspberry Pi 4 does not come with less than 2 GB of memory, that’s plenty for Haiku.

There’s a bit of over-reaction for most platforms when people use rose tinted glasses to look at memory usage. A 1920x1080@24 bit colour depth display needs 8Mb of Dram just for a single frame buffer, we dont run 8x8 pixel bitmap fonts no more, we dont display 32x32 pixel icons no more, each 4kb memory page needs to be tracked (therefore a 16Gb computer has 4 million such pages, so even at 32 bytes per page the system needs 128Mb to track that), each disk storage block needs to be tracked and cached, each thread and semaphore needs to be tracked, etc. My first BeOS 4.5 Intel box in 1999 had 512Mb of RAM, and supported much less then, than what Haiku supports today in 512Mb. It’s lean.


May be stressed to death. I have created a mess by forcing Haiku to be the way I want. The fact is they want to be their way and will continue to be their way and focus on developing Web+ only. I want PaleMoon but they don’t want. I can’t force them to work with the PaleMoon community since they don’t want to. That only caused more distant between the two community without got the porting of PaleMoon come true. I’m too tired indeed. I will just back to OpenIndiana which I found comfort with and left Haiku. Please remove this account.

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