Multiuserland in Haiku

BeOS (Haiku is an open source rewrite from scratch of BeOS) was created back in 1993/94 and released around 1994/95. At the time the internet was just starting to become a “thing” and we didn’t have to worry about viruses or people remote hacking our computers.

BeOS was also created as a business operating system for companies that did a lot of video editing and needed something fast that had true multi-tasking so that you could work on multiple things at the same time without it crashing (like DOS/Windows did a LOT).

Note that DOS was not multi-user either and Windows 3.1 was a graphic user shell on top of DOS unlike Windows NT which had DOS built into it but it was no longer DOS.

It was in this world that BeOS was created. And it was a miracle of its time and it scared the HELL out of Microsoft because they could see how disrupting this OS could have been if they didn’t stop Be (the company that created BeOS) from being installing on computers from factories (like HP or DELL, etc).

I was going to suggest having full/whole disk encryption but SCollins beat me to it.

Note that there were plans to make BeOS into a mult-user OS but it went bankrupt before they ever got that far.

A guy name Michael Phipps liked BeOS so much and was so upset that the company went bankrupt that he decided to do like Linus Torvolds who created Linux and make an open source version of BeOS which became Haiku.

Note that in 1995 there was a video made by Be Inc (makers of BeOS). Take look at BeOS DEMO VIDEO - YouTube for the official introduction of BeOS by the marking person at Be Inc. People liked BeOS so much that someone wrote a theme song for it. Which you hear in the video.

I bought three version of BeOS back in the mid 1990s and still have the boxes and disks which I will part with over my dead body (don’t get any ideas!). It was the first and ONLY OS that I truly LOVED to use. OS/2 is second. MacOS is third. Linux maybe 4th or maybe 8th , 4th through 8th are close and Windows is some where down around 480 something. Hate it!


Uh… virusses had been spreading on floppy disks for like 10 years before that…

Also, this is not related to multiuser support. People assume (because UNIX works that way) that the two goes together. But, not really. There are ways to protect a single-user system from virusses and remote hacking (for example look at Android). And there are ways to do a multi user system without any security (for example look at windows 98).


the only way to have a truly safe computer, buy an asteroid, install deathstar defenses, don’t forget get to shield the reactor venting, jedi mind control palpatine to be your guard dog, and don’t connect to the internet.and your data still isn’t truly “safe” .


Probably worth mentioning that disk encryption is a thing on haiku, but it has not been merged and does not work on the boot drive, as far as I remember. GitHub - axeld/driveencryption: DriveEncryption for Haiku


Yes, the OP might indeed look at Genode as a “safe” system which has some following amongst the Haiku community.

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I’m so sorry …
Linus Torvalds wrote the Linux kernel for cheap PC machines to have a UNIX-like clone for people who owns a PC, but any bigger class computers.

I would say not meant for a mainframe – that era’s ( last century ninety’s ) most complex and expensive computer class … so that was finally was ported to there as well was a progressive success that lifted the Linux distros to almost everywhere !..

Look at that Risc-V platform as well … the running OS on it also some Linux distros …

[OFF topic - Begin ]

It makes no sense to hate any OSes – it is the same as always : don’t use it !.. if you are not satisfied with it basically or after using for a while, but anymore.
You can spare unneeded sorrow feelings if you leave such stressful stuff easily without hesitation and long lasting negative emotions …

[OFF topic - End ]

Linux, Linus Unix, get it

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They were spreading via sneaker net and unless you didn’t use Word (we didn’t) the chance of a virus was drastically reduce. But we did have things in place (AV software when it did come out) to reduce the chance of viruses.

I was wrong the way I said it. If you use non-Microsoft software, especially if you use something where not a lot of people use it, and you can control where the files live and what files are allowed to be added to your system then the chances of getting a virus are/were drastically reduced.

The organization that I USED to work for let me pick what OS and what programs we used as long as they were compatible with the file types of things that people sent us. We stripped out macros from files and unless that macro was required they didn’t get the macro. And if they really need the macro I put the file on a “spared” computer which I took off the network and analyzed the macro to see what it did and if it was safe to run. Then I let them have it.

It didn’t take much of my time so it was never a problem. But you are correct, there were viruses but we escaped them unscathed.

The way Haiku probably needs to go on security is to be more like recent versions of macOS and have the OS control access to certain directories/folders, prompting the user when software wants access to one of their directories. Similarly for network access. The nice and generic way to do this is with something called capabilities, which is actually a pretty old idea but it has had more of a resurgence in the last decade or so.

Capabilities could probably be added to the necessary syscalls that the kernel would enforce with maybe a userland server (registrar probably) caching capability choices per application.

Add a simple and secure login system for a single user plus disk encryption and I think things would be pretty secure (beyond of course bugs that could be exploited.)

Having multiple users would be lower priority in my opinion.


Something like built-in Veracrypt would be a great feature.

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Is it possible to port cryptsetup and dm-crypt from dragonflybsd ?

@wotef and @Akakor as mentioned a few posts up disk encryption already exists in the DriveEncryption tools and driver developed by @axeld. I believe it is already a working solution but am not sure what is blocking inclusion into Haiku.

If I recall correctly, DriveEncryption can’t encrypt Haiku’s boot drive.

Yes, I said that in the post above. We are unnecessarily repeating information that is already available less than 10 posts up :crazy_face:

I guess it’s mostly a matter of time, or rather, the lack of it. There also might be issues with the license of some of the encryption algorithms; DriveEncryption has to use the TrueCrypt license. I’m not sure, if that has been discussed yet.

I improved the situation a bit in recent months, at least it should now work fine in 64 bit as well, and compile with GCC 11, and I’ve also separated the encryption code better from the driver code.


Something that could be useful is that HaikuDepot behave differently as user or superuser. Not forcibly different installation paths (even if they already exists), but in user mode the updater wouldn’t ask questions and instead automatically chose the conservative option (the one that don’t uninstall more packages than those supposed to be updated).

BTW, in my opinion, even without boot encryption, that functionality would be very useful.

besides it dm-crypt full disk encryption methods look more impressive.

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The TrueCrypt license:

But AFAIK, the original TrueCrypt is abandoned/dead and it’s been forked and improved as VeraCrypt?
Would the original license still matter?

use haiku methodologies make a Cypher KIT?