Make Haiku a usable OS, not a OS to run legacy stuff only

I’ve been following the Haiku project for a bit and I find it quite nice to bring back to life the old BeOS. It was without a doubt a good OS back in the days and I’m sure that if it was luckier and with some more advertisement it would be really bid today.

However there are features that are lacking really bad (and this is my point of view, so please, don’t see this as an attack to the project).

In my view Haiku misses one big issue to make it an OS to the people, it misses a localization kit. Something that will format currencies, numbers, text alignment, dates and the whole texts on the base applications to the language and locale of the user. I think this would break the wall of non english speakers to use Haiku.

I also believe that other kits like XML, multimedia would also allow developers to add more applications to the OS.

And finally for a start a port of the OpenJDK should be a priority, not because of the port itself, but because by doing this we enable people to access a huge amount of software some free and other proprietary that is available for long to everyone on other OSes.

I believe that the localization is a simple kit, maybe reuse the GNU gettext PO file format and reimplement it as a Object Oriented C++ api would be enough, this way we just need to port some PO editor and we enabled everyone to i18n, l10n their apps.

The game kit is kind of confusing to me, i read the code and i see a low level audio player… that’s not a real game api, it’s more a multimedia api. Gaming is an important feature and most of the times a reason to chose an OS, so i thing that we should either pick a free API, for example something like crystal space, of just write wrappers around OpenGL, OpenAL, maybe DevIL and ffmpeg and make those the game API, of course if we go low level like on the second option we can merge the game kit to the multimedia kit i was talking before…

Last but not least keep it simple one major step would also be a multicast dns service like apple bonjour to setup all the network aware appliances.

I believe what you seek regarding a “localization kit” is definitely planned for R2. Since many of Haiku’s users and (more important) developers are international, this will NOT likely be overlooked. In a short discussion with Axel D. in the past, I believe the intent is to have a full localization/regional settings style system that is fully integrated into the OS… not just a “locale kit” that replaces text strings or anything like that.

Haiku (and BeOS) already have a media kit… and I’ve heard people mumbling about an XML kit - I would expect something like that to show up in R2 as well.

A port of OpenJDK is not as easy as you think. There are already some community members working on this (Bryan Varner, Andrew Bachmann). They have already ported a fair amount of JRE 1.4 to BeOS - but weren’t able to finish the port putting it on hold until Haiku is completed. At that point, they will need to take what they’ve done with 1.4 and use it to re-port OpenJDK. From my understanding, part of the dilemma is that the OpenJDK project is not currently setup to handle new ports, only maintenance of existing ports… so we’ll see where that goes.

I don’t know exactly what the current Game Kit is all about in BeOS/Haiku myself - I think that’s where BDirectScreen lives, which gives more low-level access to the video driver… I’m not sure where this will go in the future… and honestly it’s not much interest to me personally anyway.

I don’t know what Apple’s bonjour does, so I can’t comment on that :slight_smile:

With regards to the last part, I never really took a close look at it but yeah, the game kit did provide the direct frame buffer access and some good sound stuff, I suspect the SDL port makes heavy use of it and this is what a lot of game devs used for beos games.

I’m a game coder myself, and I really want to do some work for Haiku though I’m currently lacking free time due to other spare time projects, but in the future I hope to be able to contribute and maybe I’ll help work on this area, see if we can get some useful libs together to make game development easier.

One thing that worries me about Haiku is the porting of OS apps which in turn require ported libs, I’m scared that we’ll end up with bloated systems (not the default install but after installing other software) full of all the various libs each program needs. Hopefully once more people are attracted to the project we’ll get some more native apps appearing on the scene. If if ever win the lottery I’ll be sure to donate a large amount of money to Haiku - I really want it to succeed!

Bonjour advertises availability of devices or services on the network so that you don’t need to know their IP address (“zero configuration”).

Linux has Avahi as its Zeroconf implementation.

Having Zeroconf on Haiku would be handy for setting up e.g. network printers. But I guess it’ll be candy for R2+.

The project doesn’t seem like it is at the stage where it’s looking for developers to create new software, it needs developers to work on the OS itself. Attracting new users and OS developers would probably be better. In general new developers bring new hardware and create device support for it. A larger base of users would speed up beta testing.

The single biggest thing that could be done at this point is to port Firefox and Thunderbird. All of the crucial things needed to get these programs working is in place. The idea of a native Haiku browser is nice, and allows for expansion of the OS itself, but in the end everyone will use Firefox. Porting these programs as soon as possible would attract a new audience to the OS too. With the two most crucial programs on any computer running on Haiku even a ten year old system would become a perfectly good web appliance.

It’s my opinion that failure to port these applications is what sunk QNX as an educational/experimental OS. The photon GUI had all the functionality of any other system, but without a true email suite and tried and true browser it couldn’t become a real alternative to a developed OS. The native web browser in photon was also the basis for the help browser and the file manager. Haiku already has both of these things without a native browser.