Haiku Menu Should Be Changed

I doubt that many beginner users use right-click menus.

The problem with adding options is that the cure can be worse than the disease. If the KDE project has proven only one thing over the past decade it’s that adding lots and lots of user-configurable options doesn’t lead to a sensible, well-thought-out, easy-to-use UI with sane defaults.

@DasFox: I think you need to read this: http://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/deskbar.html

As halo said “The “main menu” is on the leaf button on the Deskbar, which has an applications menu, recent documents, and everything else you’d expect from an OS menu. The menu you are talking about is really a shortcut for opening Tracker, Haiku’s file manager, quickly”

Uou can read more about the spatial shortcut menu here: http://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/tracker.html#navigating

Most people such as myself are not use to the spatial system, thus we change Haiku to the Single Window Navigation system. As the Haiku user guide put it: "You can set Single Window Navigation, i.e. a double-clicked folder doesn’t open in its own window, but inside the already open window instead, replacing the view of it’s parent folder. This is not the same as clicking while holding the OPT key, as described above, because you’ll lose the per window saved position and size. "

At the same place it points out: “Before you switch Tracker to Single Window Navigation mode, because that may feel more familiar to you, we recommend giving the menu based browsing a try first, as that may actually work much faster for you after getting used to. On the other hand, single window browsing offers a Navigator where you can enter or copy&paste a path name and use back, forward and up buttons.”

You can find more info about this here: http://www.haiku-os.org/docs/userguide/en/tracker.html#tracker-preferences

It seems to met too that DasFox haven’t figured out the difference between Deskbar menu (= ‘Start’-menu) and desktops right-click menu: “One, a simple menu only showing applications, system and admin preferences, the basics like you find in Windows or Linux and then the advanced menu for those that prefer this menu view showing the systems direcs and folders, etc…” To me it seems that DasFox is describing the way things actually are currently in Haiku!
What he also might be referring to is an application menu as it is in linux desktops like Fluxbox or XFCE, where when You right-click on desktop You get a regular Deskbar-type of menu which is also very fast and not a bad idea (as a configurable option).
IMHO whether there is this quick browsing option on top of the right-click menu we are mostly all taking about here or not could be configurable in tracker, Deskbar or in whatever settings. So if I really, really hate it I could switch it off.
Having an excellent OS and desktop as BeOS was and being able to configure it to Your needs is not the same as having crappy GUI on top of bulky unix shell (like KDE/Kwin on top of X-windows on top of ksh or whatever…). Even BeOS had some tweaks and tunings done as time went by. Configurability is not a bad thing but it’s not a miracle-tool that can make a turd look like a diamond. Nice disaster it was when it was decided to dumb-down Gnome and all the configuration was hidden in gconf database and there was no simple way to change things. Not a way to go.

So as I read the original post I was thinking “hmmm, what could DasFox think is so wrong about the Deskbar menu?” Then I saw the screenshot.

Sorry, DasFox, but you are just CONFUSED. You have made an assumption that the Tracker right click menu is used for launching applications based on your knowledge of Linux right click desktop menus of the past. But this Tracker menu is totally and completely different than an application launcher. As many people have said it is a method of navigating the file system. It is also very useful and one of the favorite features of Tracker for many, many users, so there is basically no chance in hell it is going away.

Haiku is open to suggestions for improvement of the UI, but not if they are based on confusion or bad assumptions.

No one is confused here, I thought I made it clear what I was talking about.

The ‘Right Click Tracker Menu’ as being clutter, it’s HUGE, that’s all.

So then later what I said is, maybe the Haiku team can have an option so that you either see it or you don’t, like having a choice to get a ‘Simple’ tracker menu for new users and then an ‘Advanced’ tracker menu for those that like this…

Ok are we clear now? :slight_smile:

I never thought I’d see this long a thread on this topic…

What I can’t fathom is, if anyone doesn’t like the right-click-menu-navigating, why doesn’t he simply ignore the first entry (+move/copy/link further down when invoked on a file) in the context menu and goes on with his traditional habits, i.e. clicking through folder after folder after folder until you’re at your destination?

Personally, I love the feature and even have my home folder linked into Deskbar as a starting point for navigation so I don’t need access to the Desktop.


I think this is great, it shows people care, and new people are becoming involved

Sorry DasFox, but you are confused, It’s easy to tell your point of view and lack of BeOS experience is clouding your judgment. Thats no put down in any way, glad to see new people taking interest. As you use it more, and get more accustomed to it, you’ll realize why and how your confused

Like I said, Haiku has added to it, and that does make it look a little busy, if you used BeOS, you would find it cleaner and nicer. But haiku is in no way done yet. I do hope they will make it exactly like BeOS was, and not so busy

When the custom tracker was released for Be, I didnt like it as much, but used it because it had more options and features. I hope Haiku goes the same way, I hope they make the release simple and clean, and then let some other people make custom options

After they see whats good and whats not, they can add some options to Haiku in the next release. But right now they really need to concentrate on speed, simplicity, and drivers
So I hope they dont try to add or fix anything until that is done

Its great to have Haiku running on my computer again. I tried using BeOS max etc
But could not get behind that mess
One of Be’s greatest points was it had nothing, I decided what I would add by downloading what I wanted, Nothing but the frame was included with the install. And Be themselves said, they will provide basic tools, email and web browser ect, and purposely keep them small, so other people could write grand programs and make money
They didn’t want to play the M$ game, of making the OS, and trying to make everything that ran on the OS also
And that was great, Be came with a tiny browser, tiny email program etc
And then if you wanted more or better, you could download anything you needed from BeBits

Loading Haiku, and seeing it had 20 folders and programs already loaded, kind of put me off
Leave that for other people, let people write great programs, and sell them to make a living for themselves, while still giving people the basics, to get on the web, get email etc. I dont need a PDF program loaded. I dont need games or anything else. I f I want a game, I’ll download it. If I ever need to open a PDF file ? I will download my choice of PDF program
People like me wont touch a PDF file with a 10 foot pole, so why make me have to uninstall programs I didnt ask for in the first place ?

A great idea, is simply make a CD or download, that has nothing but the basic OS
And make a second CD or download, that is filled with freeware and shareware

If Microsoft would have made Windows on 1 CD, and then had an extra CD in the same package, that had Internet Explorer and Outlook Express etc, for people to install after the OS install. No one would have ever complained, or taken them to court

They screwed up by forcing people to have it, and building it into the OS
A simple CD, that when inserted poped up a window and said here is some free software for you. Just click on each program you want to install, and hit next
Would have changed everything

The only thing that should have been on the Install CD, was the core OS
And thousands of known drivers

I’m not confused about anything and if you’re reading what I’m saying, then I’m not getting it from you…

What’s so complicated about this screenshot?


I don’t like navigating through a menu, is that hard to understand?

That is what I’m talking about, just like you said, give people choices and make just a basic simple OS install. Ok so I’m with you on that, but are you with me also on my point which is basically your point, give people choices!

If people want to use a menu to navigate so be it, if people want to navigate other means, then let that happen as well.

I’m simply saying give people the choice to have either a simple menu or an advanced menu, the advanced menu would of course be the menu that allows navigation through out the system with it, where as the simple menu would not allow for this, it would just be a basic menu with access to the applications and system functions and some of your folders…

So this is confusing?

P.S. I used Be when it came out too… :wink:

I think the confusing part is that you’re the only one asking for a right-click menu on the desktop that takes you to the contents of the deskbar…

The right-click behavior on the BeOS/Haiku desktop has always been one of my favorite features–I can quickly and easily get anywhere in the filesystem! I’ve always missed that feature in Linux and Windows…

Maybe DasFox doesn’t realize there is a menu on the deskbar:


I’m not asking for a right click menu, I’m just saying for this Tracker menu, to have options to simplify it is all…

Whilst I love the drill-down menu as do many of ex-BeOS users, I can see the point here. It does not help much ordinary user who might me intimidated because of the stuff like /boot/system/add-ons/kernel/. Moreover, it might not even be advisable for them to go there.

Maybe there’s a need for something like “Simple drill-down menu” after all? Maybe it might be a good idea to remove boot disk from drill-down? Of course, since desktop and ~ (possibly others) are on the /boot the solution needs to be carefully thought out to avoid inconsistent mess. For example: if the option is enabled, there would not be drill-down from disk icon and starting from desktop there would be two root items: Desktop (without boot disk) and home. Copy/Move to menus would be similar and without parent/current options.

I’m not even sure what its called, but when you do the right click, and then follow out a menu or tree. there is a point, where you can see a redundant tree
A part where the menu shows the top or root ? or desktop or something
Basically showing a part of the tree most users will never use or need to see

BeOS did not have this, and it does make the tree look sloppy and busy[/quote]

I have long wondered what exactly you mean. I now think I know: it’s the move/copy/link entries when right-clicking an object. The Current/Recent folders can be a bit confusing. See ticket http://dev.haiku-os.org/ticket/4216 for a discussion on this.

Loading Haiku, and seeing it had 20 folders and programs already loaded, kind of put me off
Leave that for other people, let people write great programs, and sell them to make a living for themselves, while still giving people the basics, to get on the web, get email etc. I dont need a PDF program loaded. I dont need games or anything else. If I want a game, I’ll download it. If I ever need to open a PDF file ? I will download my choice of PDF program
People like me wont touch a PDF file with a 10 foot pole, so why make me have to uninstall programs I didnt ask for in the first place ?[/quote]

I give you the demo folder. I bet that will go for beta/R1.
Other that, i don’t see what applications are redundant for a developer released alpha. All the dev-related programs will stay in their optional packages when it comes to beta/R1.
WRT to PDF: are you serious? Half the documentation on the net is PDF. Research papers, every other invoice from an online purchase comes as mailed PDF… It’d be like shunning GIFs.

That said, the exact range of bundled apps will always be a matter of discussion. Do you “need” LaunchBox, ProcessController, DeskCalc? Or even the Workspaces applet, TouchPad prefs or the newly imported Ex-SpiceyKeys?
Surely, you can download it all individually. And with the advent of a powerful package manger, this may even be easily done at install time. Still, bundling some essential stuff simplifies stuff as well.


I’m starting to think that users only need to see ~/home/user and below on trackers right click menu, or maybe /common and others as well.

On the other hand, I think baron should always see everything.


On the other hand, I think baron should always see everything.[/quote]

Indeed, in the future when there are also other users besider baron, should they see the whole /boot/system in Move to menu? Then again, there’s no reason why end users should be restricted from drilling to /boot/system/apps and let’s not forget the volumes that are mounted on the desktop by the end user. But all those drivers, input layouts and suff in the /boot/system/. It is much more complicated that it seems at first. Maybe indeed hard-code some directories to be excluded from drill-down (system, common &c). This also required end user apps to be placed outside those directories.

I do not think users should ever touch ~/system/, the Haiku user guide puts it that “…you should not alter what’s inside”. If you should never alter by modifying and adding/removing files from ~/system/, then why should it be in the quick menu, for what use would it be?

This does not mean that I think that /boot/system/ should not be shown in tracker under /boot/, but that the quick menu should only be used to access/modify the files/directories that the user owns/co-owns.

Firstly as said above and secondly I have a solution to this problem if an idea is implemented, this that there was talk[1] about letting the desktop be shown in ~/home/.

If the quick (drill down) menu entry point was then moved from the desktop to ~/home, you would find the contents of say usbflashdrive1 at /home/desktop/usbflashdrive1 on the quick menu. If this was done at a later point, the quick menu entry point would be moved to ~/username and the contents of usbflashdrive1 would be found under /username/desktop/usbflashdrive1 on the quick menu.

Viewed with tracker, usbflashdrive1 would be found at /boot/home/desktop/usbflashdrive1/ and /boot/home/username/desktop/usbflashdrive1/ respectively.

[1] [haiku] Desktop folder disappears from /boot/home - haiku - FreeLists

Then again, normally right clicking on the desktop brings up the context menu, with the quick (drill down) menu starting at the entry point of the desktop. The removal of this would also remove some logic from this.

Reminding yourself of the below should remove some of the complication in mind.

What happened to /boot/home/apps/ ? :stuck_out_tongue:

What happened to /boot/home/apps/ ? :P[/quote]

Nothing, I presume :slight_smile: There is /boot/system/apps though.

I do not think users should ever touch ~/system/,[/quote]

Shouldn’t that be /boot/system/? I agree that end users should not mess and currently there is a warning about wrting to /boot/system/. Therefore Move/Copy to paths would be irrelevant in such case but should it be if one wanted to open some nested folder to see the contents (as in drill-down from ‘Volume’ or Desktop, not from specific file)?

In general, if Desktop would be visible inside ~/ then it would solve the problem together with /boot/system (with the exception of /boot/system/apps/) being removed from the path.

There’s still the case of multiple systm volumes available (which can be selected either from boot loader or boot menu) but my guess is that whoever has those wouldn’t need “Simple drill-down” anyway.

What happened to /boot/home/apps/ ? :P[/quote]

Nothing, I presume :slight_smile: There is /boot/system/apps though.

I do not think users should ever touch ~/system/,[/quote]

Shouldn’t that be /boot/system/? [/quote]

By ~/ I meant “whatever the path is, I’m too lazy to write it”.

I was using ~ in a DOS-esque fashion, without knowing that it means something else in Unix and the likes.

So yeah that should be /boot/system/. Sadly I can’t go back and fix up my last comment on this topic.

I am yet to make up my mind here. Only letting the user see files under /boot/system/ feels very wrong, yet at the same time I can see no other way.

All the files in /boot/system/apps/ can be found in the deskbar, So I can not see why someone would need to see them outside of it.

I’m very much in favor of keeping Haiku’s hierarchy at maximum transparency for the user. That is, don’t hide anything from him (Desktop is an aberration that should be fixed IMO). There’s one simple rule, that can be expected to be learnt: Don’t touch /boot/system, put your stuff into /boot/home/. If anyone feels uncomfortable with the (very clear IMO) hierarchy above /boot/home/, just don’t stray there. Use Favorites to start your navigations within the save harbour of your own /boot/home/ hierarchy. (BTW, I don’t mean “You”, literally…)

Also, if the Desktop were not the root of mounted volumes, it wouldn’t be the constant re-direction when navigating. You’d have a simplified context menu as described in #4216 (Simplify the Move to / Copy to / Create Link context menus) – Haiku. Such an entry could also be put into Deskbar to serve as a navigation starting point without relying on the visibility of the Desktop.

Put a link to mounted volumes on the Desktop, if you must, but don’t put them there by default as soon as they’re mounted. There’s always the option to only put the Disks icon up there.

Not true. Apps that are 99.9% of the time launched via doubleclicking a data file, like ShowImage, TextSearch, PackageInstaller and the AboutSystem, aren’t in Deskbar. Rightly so, but hiding folders is wrong, in case you do need to access them directly. For whatever reason.

One thing, that often comes up, but is worth repeating: Newbies are new only for a very short time. It’s essential to welcome and accommodate them as best as we can, but we should never compromise the everyday usability for all who have settled in.
Of course, finding the right balance is the art of it… :slight_smile:


Even if I was not convinced of what I was saying above; you Humdinger and the others writing in that ticket, have very much convinced me otherwise.