Hi all, this is one of my first posts here. In one sense, it is my first real post, as I actually spent the time to try out Haiku to see if it lived up to the claims. If anyone here has seen it, I wrote the “Insidious Creep of Latency Hell” article which appeared on the front page of Slashdot recently (and found the Mandelbulb if that rings a bell). I mentioned Haiku too obviously, and at the bottom of the latency article, timed various GUI operations for Linux and Win7. Every millisecond matters.
Latency is one of my biggest beefs with Windows or Linux. Whether it’s opening a file requestor or clicking a button, everything should be instant, less than 30-50ms preferably. I was really happy to find this to mostly be the case in Haiku. However, it’s not perfect, and I’m going to say why, and it’s everything to do with mouse button down versus mouse button up.
Imagine typing into Notepad or StyledEdit and the characters only register on screen when you lift your finger off the key, rather when you press it. It would be bad, and would feel wrong. That’s what it feels like when mouse-button-up is used instead of mouse-button-down for various GUI interactions. Notice how clicking top menubars does it the ‘right’ way. The effect is instant, and it feels good. I understand that on some occasions, ‘mousedown’ is used to drag components - that’s fair enough. However, mouse-button-up is used unnecessarily in the following cases:
- Selecting a program from the “applications” dropdown under the main ‘feather’ menu
- Maximizing a window
- Selecting a file in a disk window (yuck)
- Clicking radio buttons
These are just a sample - I’m sure there are many others. According to the speed of the person clicking, they add at least about 40, and up to 250 milliseconds to any action.
In a related action, you need to double click a folder to enter it. On the Amiga, only one mouse-down click was required, and it feels much better. I understand you need a way to highlight a folder for copy/paste purposes, but RMB (bringing up the menu at the same time) or even the middle mouse button can be used here. In the Notepad++/EditPlus/Visual studio text editor, you can also click to the left of lines to highlight that line, so an approach like that could be used also/instead.
Any thoughts on this - I’d love to see Haiku not just very fast, but LIGHTNING fast.
Switching to some praise now, I love how in Haiku how RMB sends a window to back. Also how RMB lets you drag the position of the window’s scrollbar ‘inplace’. This is a feature sometimes only found in Amiga apps, and I’ve always wished it to reappear. Whoever suggested/implemented that for Haiku - I give my hearty congrats. Aesthetically, the 3D bezel effect is really nice in general (see say, Wonderbrush for a good example). The slightly darker shade of grey also used for the GUI is also much more sensible, unlike the too-bright-white that Windows 7 employs by default (which makes the real white barely different).
On the more negative side, there are lots of things which I would request (single-click launchbar/program switching, better font anti-aliasing, resizing windows from all edges), and even a bug or two, but I won’t post them here, as it makes more sense to put in the suggestions subforum. Metadata is another issue I want to speak about, but I probably need to install Haiku to my HD, rather than just run the live CD to learn about that more before I comment on it.
Cheers all for this amazing OS! I hope it develops and overtakes Windows in the future.