How is Haiku Compared to Linux?

I’ve been using Linux for the last 9 years, and although it’s okay to use (if you’re willing to learn how to use it), and it gives you more freedom on how you can use it than Windows and Mac do, and doesn’t data-mine or have any back doors like Windows and Mac do (stock Android and ChromeOS are the only two exceptions because they’re made by Google), I still don’t care for it. Part of the problem is Linux only makes up a small percentage of the market share, and therefore, doesn’t have the support it needs for games, hardware, 3rd party software, drivers, etc. The other part is Linux itself being fragmented from a lack of standardization, and having a diverse amount of distros, software libraries, package managers, configurations, desktop environments, etc (which is why I see it as the OS equivalent of Frankenstein’s Monster). I just want an OS that’s standard, stable, open-source, made with the average computer user in mind, doesn’t abuse me like Windows and Mac do, and has printer drivers that work, audio drivers that work, and its own library of games. However, asking for that feels such a tall order because I haven’t seen any OS that does those things perfectly outside of Windows. The ONLY time I’ll ever go back to Windows is if I’m running it in a virtual machine in order to print something, to game, or watch DVDs (and I really shouldn’t have to be that desperate). Because of all of that, I’d like to know the following:

Does Haiku have a single desktop environment, software library, package manager, and configuration, or are there various distros with their own?

Does Haiku have support for drivers?

Does Haiku have its own library of games?

How stable is Haiku?

Was Haiku made with the average computer in mind?

How easy is it to learn how to use Haiku?

Does Haiku have a mobile version? If no, is the development team working on it?

Can Haiku play physical media?

(Even though I’ve appreciated the help I’ve gotten from the Linux community,) Is the Haiku community known for having toxic members?


Haiku is still in beta. As such the driver support is still being ironed out. The stability is still being ironed out though it’s already quite good. The GUI is uniformly standardized though it’s not the same as Windows or Mac GUIs (referring to the stack and tile features). No mobile version will be started before the desktop is finalized and ARM is presently regarded as a tier 2 architecture after x86 and AMD64/x64. The only toxic members I’ve met so far are impatient ones like us. :wink:

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Linux is such a disappointment. Yes, it’s powerful, but it’s for anarchists. Instead of working together to produce something good, they keep splitting off like amoeba and setting up YET ANOTHER DISTRO.
It’s madness.
Haiku is the complete opposite. It’s a single, coherent, unified OS which is both simple and powerful.
However, it’s still in Beta, and not quite ready to be offered to the world. Nonetheless, download the latest nightly (which is effectively the latest version of the OS) and give it a whirl. It’s fast on old hardware and positively flies on recent computers.
Just bear in mind that drivers are an issue. Exotic hardware may not be supported, but popular PCs and laptops (especially Thinkpads) from around 2012 are likely to work well.
Good luck.


Yes, but there aren’t many drivers around. Generic drivers are used in many places (e.g. many of us use VESA to drive our displays) and good luck trying to get a random printer to work.

Many Linux games have been ported over! We don’t have 3D hardware acceleration for most cards though, so some 3D games might run very choppily.

Also, Chromium/Blink and Firefox are not available on Haiku. We have our own WebKit browser that works in many situations, but certain web apps are going to break. Depending on your needs that might be a dealbreaker.

That said, Haiku is a fine system that has been quite stable every time I run it. Apps look unified and are really snappy, and you can’t beat the nixy package manager.

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Its unfortunate that it has an even smaller userbase than linux does, otherwise the flaws would’ve been ironed out a long time ago. Perhaps the development team could hire on more staff (if they haven’t already).

Even though Haiku’s still buggy, I’m glad it’s the exact opposite of Linux


Considering Mozilla has recently come under fire for censorship and cancel culture, I refuse to use FireFox, and now use a fork of it called LibreWolf. Being that it’s a fairly new development, I imagine it won’t work with Haiku for a while (at least until all of the flaws are ironed out).

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Compared to Linux?

I have used Linux and BeOS since the '90s and there never was a comparison in the consistency and tight integration of the entire system in Be/Haiku and the lack of uniformity and integration in Linux. No need to have 10 window managers, 10 desktop environments with 10 incompatible widget sets for the same button etc. I half jokingly say that the Linux motto should be: “Linux-The Cure For Hope”

Haiku chooses optimized defaults over system bloat and redundancy.

Linux paved the way and may have saved the world from a tech monopoly but haiku is like traveling to an alternate universe where people do things because they love to do them. And they love to help others to do cool things too. There’s no greed or competition in this world. We don’t care what the rest of the world does, we love this world.


There is also an alternative called Waterfox that I like using for the same reasons

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That’s interesting. I might check that out.

Only an ancient fork of Firefox 2 (two) is available for Haiku, so this shouldnt be a problem.

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Some of the worst operating systems I have ever seen were the result of being overstaffed to the point that duplicated effort is not considered harmful. That’s what got us into this mess in the first place.

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Please stop recomending new users to download the nightly builds, it is explicitly unstable and not ment for casual use.
Just use the beta builds.

It can play audio cds for instance, look like a folder… that was always a nigh impossoble task for me on linux

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Oh, nevermind then. It was just a thought. I was looking at other operating systems as well, and FreeBSD caught my attention. Whether or not I go with depends on the features it provides.

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Yes and no, we have gutenprint included, so if you know your printers model it will likely work with it via usb. We don’t have network discovery for printers though, you might be able to use gutenprint with ipp or so too but it is a bit more involved.

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Don’t get me wrong. I’d love for more Haiku developers to quit their day jobs and just write Haiku full-time. I just think that adding more inexperienced developers would just make us into another Linux.

Game developers don’t start out by writing reusable engines. They start by writing games. So likewise, writing a reusable operating system comes from finding what an application needs to run as a minimum.


“Inexperienced developers” meaning developers who aren’t familiar with Haiku?

Partially but mainly people that don’t understand the side-effects of mindlessly trying to blindly add redundant features to an operating system. One principle of reusing code is “don’t repeat yourself”, often abbreviated as the DRY concept. If code only serves one purpose and can’t be abstracted to other purposes it should be an external library unless something else depends on it in the OS.

The DRY concept keeps caches running at peak performance and prevents needless swapping to the hard drive in lower amounts of memory. That’s just one example of how OS development needs to be different from application development.


Haha so true :rofl:
Linux completely wandered off from the original idea and ended up kinda lost.
I still use Mint though, because I have no other option atm (I am sick of both Mac and Windows lol)… Haiku still can’t provide what I need for my everyday tasks, due to missing drivers. But, I am patient and I hope I will be able to fully move to Haiku one day.
On the other hand … I hope Haiku will stay as it is and greed/too many ‘‘ideas’’ never destroy this unique realm like it happened with Apple.


I’d be interested to hear more views on this. My experience is that whilst nightlies fail occasionally, they are usually a big improvement over the latest Beta (unless its very recent) because they contain more bug-fixes and other improvements.

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