My proposals/suggestions for the upcoming beta

Hello everyone, with the beta coming soon, I felt inspired to share my ideas for consideration. While I still admit I am not a low-level guy, I love user interfaces and experience. And, I know I’ve posted on this before, but I thought now that the beta is nearly here of re-posting my suggestions one more time…

These would be:

  • Add a default background. Haiku is very sleek and simple, and a background would help show it better. As just two primary examples, Mac OS has included desktop pictures since v8.0 (for the sake of argument, made it default in 8.6), Windows since XP (again, for argument; 9x also had wallpaper)… and there are many other examples like AROS, various *BSDs, Linuxen – or even ‘BeOS Max’ that I could also refer to. In 2018, there isn’t a serious graphical desktop OS without a wallpaper, (except embedded/legacy usage, etc.) If it is scaling the Haiku team is worried about, Haiku can use a tiled wallpaper like CDE, Win 9x, or Mac OS 8 did, or make it scalable with different sizes (at the cost of image size).

  • Gray forever? Like the backgrounds, this is a need. One of the radical changes Platinum made to Mac OS 8 wasn’t just 3D-izing bevels. It was adding color to a rather colorless land. Haiku has a really beautiful UI, given color. Add varying blue highlights to scrollbars, buttons, lists, and menus, akin to Aqua or Aero, or the lavender blue more akin to Dano, and it will make a huge difference.

  • Show a getting started page. BeOS had a ‘Read Me First’ file that popped up after install; Haiku does have the ‘Welcome’ box and document, but not the read me that BeOS used to bring up. There is no ‘tips’ box for a new user, or anything mentioning ‘know or do this first’ before using the system, like (Linux) Mint or more recent versions of macOS will do (via a toast notification). Most people who first see Haiku may be upset with the Haiku UI at first (take this post excellently written by @kneekoo when first trying Haiku), which is outlined better than I could have put it here! And random Haiku video reviews by others I’ve watched for fun also kind of display a sense of being disoriented. It’s clear something is needed to help newcomers.

  • Include tips/‘simple help’ pages. We have the Be(-inspired) documentation, and of course the BeBook, which is always a pleasure to read… if someone already loves Be. :wink: In tandem with my earlier suggestion, having a ‘simple help’ or a ‘tips’ guide alongside the nicely detailed docs would be big for a general audience.

  • Include SuperPrefs (suggestion). I tried this with the Nightly and it made the experience much more modern, yet oddly, it is a third-party package. I personally believe instant search for app and pref names is where the BeOS would have went with R6, given the pioneering work done with the BeFS and search already; it’d be a Be version of Sherlock/Spotlight much more efficiently implemented in practice and usage… and ahead of its time. While not the same as the above (SP is a third-party package), adding it shouldn’t require any coding changes other than to the jam rules, and would really help.

  • Preflet ideas (very optional; probably save for R2). This point not everyone will agree with me on, and I’m not sure if I’d do this or not until later, but it’s an idea. For example, the act of setting a background with the Backgrounds preflet is reminiscent to me of doing it on Mac OS 8 or 9. It’s multi-step, confusing for new users, and is something I’d be willing to fix. To explain, set a background/wallpaper on Mac OS X 10.0 or later, Windows Vista or later, or something like webOS, iOS, or Android. The solution would be to add a ‘modern’ JS or PHP powered ‘Backdrops’ preflet alongside the traditional one, maybe with timed loops. The other suggestion would be a preflet for color themes, but that would take much more effort and time than just Backgrounds.

If you guys would like me to mix in these ideas into Haiku, I’d be happy to join and do so. I’m not talking about my own personal idiosyncrasies here, but universal things that I believe would help Haiku. I would ask, though, that if the answer is ‘go ahead’, please don’t merely overwrite changes.

(One last area worth mentioning are basic accessibility features (and rather dreamily, persistence like Apple Lisa or Palm OS), but I know this would require a lot of time and effort the Haiku team does not have to spend.)

Anyway, thanks for reading, all! :smiley: It’ll be interesting to read what everyone thinks about my ideas, as I don’t plan to list them all again (this is the second time I’ll be talking about it)…


About the tips, there is already an app that could be included in the final release:

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Install the user guides, they will be included in beta.

Boot R1A4.1 to see what will be included.


Javascript has no place in the desktop, especially of a system like Haiku which strives to be hyper-efficient. JS is most definitely not performant unless using asm.js; even with that, it still remains inefficient for tasks when compared to natively compiled code. That’s not to mention the obtuseness of the language itself; although, PHP suffers from this considerably more IMHO. JavaScript in the desktop often leads to slowdowns; just look at GNOME Extensions for a very good sample of its consequences. Could you please define what you meant by “modern” when it comes to JS?

If you still want something that’s like JavaScript yet still fast for the desktop, I’d suggest using QML instead. It conforms to ECMAScript, which should help JS developers use it due to the nearly identical syntax. It can be compiled into native C/C++ programs. Numerous user interfaces have already adopted it without noticeable slowdowns, with the most notable one being KDE Plasma 5; in that example, it continues to become more performant over time despite deep integration of a markup language.

Additionally, Qt already integrates quite well with Haiku. In many cases, they look almost indistinguishable from those developed for Haiku/BeOS. Making anything with it look native and coherent with the rest of the OS shouldn’t be of too much difficulty.

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I could see an argument for including QuickLaunch, but not SuperPrefs. This is not where we want to go with preference panels, although there are plans for simplifying them still.

Color themes is definitely something we need to do. The current Appearance preflet is too technical to be useful. Too many little buttons and not everyone is a graphic designer willing to tweak every subtle shade of color.

As for adding more colors to the UI, I actually like it the way it is, for the most part. I made some changes in my local install but we can’t agree on something with everyone. Aqua was definitely too much colors, however.

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Its going to be a Beta… so what?!
Including QuickLaunch in the start folder by default I agree…
If someone does not like it they can delete it if they want by themselves…

It would be fine if the system take clean. I think we need two images. First one is the plain system with the system tools and drivers (no development Tools) and the second one with all tool for productive work and development.

I wish you would be more considerate of others in how they wish to use and customize their systems. Haiku doesn’t exist solely for you :stuck_out_tongue:

I have no problem with customizations, but this is a topic about what is included by default.
This is why some of these things are 3rd party apps and you can choose to use them, or not.

Nowhere I asked that these are removed from the repos or discouraged people from using them.

Now that we have a package manager, there is not really a need to include a whole bunch of apps nor development tools in the downloadable default image. All of those things could be highlighted in the HaikuDepot featured packages list. It is sufficient to inform the new user what apps and tools are available. My suggestion would be to concentrate on making sure the default drivers, apps, preferences, and demos on the default image all work as good as possible,


I’m sorry, I should of been more clear. I was not replying to you in regards to 3rd party applications. I was replying in regards to:

I could see an argument for including QuickLaunch, but not SuperPrefs. This is not where we want to go with preference panels, although there are plans for simplifying them still.

Color themes is definitely something we need to do. The current Appearance preflet is too technical to be useful. Too many little buttons and not everyone is a graphic designer willing to tweak every subtle shade of color.

As for adding more colors to the UI, I actually like it the way it is, for the most part. I made some changes in my local install but we can’t agree on something with everyone. Aqua was definitely too much colors, however.

When I hear “simplifying” these days, I think of features, options, etc. being removed. I would not say the appearance preflet is too technical to be useful as it is after all, useful. While the appearance preflet is rough and in need of some tender-loving-care, I hope that none of the color options are removed and I hope that more color options are added.

So, from what I have read, it’s a soft ‘no’ for color.

And per @extrowerk there’s no need for tips to accompany the documentation, as the image already has docs.

Before giving up on this thread, however, I did want to show what adding colors and backgrounds (KDE stripes and Gnome terraform blue backdrops used to avoid copyright issues) can potentially do for the look and feel:

Default look (current)

With the grays, solid backdrop, and compact tabs, Haiku is nicely reminiscent of a 90s workstation (and R5) – which both are not a bad thing if the user appreciates this design. My concern is for new users when they see it, and as I’ve mentioned in my own screenshot sets, Be/Haiku have a nice UI as everyone can see:



Saturation tweak (preferred option)

But the idea is to play a bit and add some color. So, here, slight changes update the old look some with larger fonts on tabs, controls accented with 90s inspired blues (similar to Dano, Platinum, Rhapsody), window borders take on a yellow accent all around, and the menus are slightly lighter than the panels, which still retain a gray look. At least some of this colorization is what I would hope for, and imho, I think this is close to being a not half-bad option.



Blue paint everywhere! (more extreme)

This next set plays with the colors liberally… (and imho, maybe a bit more than it should). But it’s closer to the blue obsession of Plex, Aero, or Aqua. Menus and panels are bright, buttons are notably blue with electric blue highlights, and lists and title tabs are washed out.



Overall, whatever one’s taste, whether it’s for tradition, something like the middle set (which again, would be the look I’d advocate for), or a more crazy color change, I still think nevertheless that Haiku would look more attractive and appealing to new users with more color.

As for my appeals to add basic help in addition to the documentation, I can only mention what I have already, in that users could use a gentle guide in getting started with their new system. But if the docs will do, they’ll do.

But overall, there is nothing more I can really post on this topic. If there’s no need (or desire) for me to contribute anything in this way, I don’t plan to bother anyone with my opinions.

Thanks for reading/listening, all.

Saturation tweak isn’t half bad (meaning: is not bad). Some aspects could be implemented as a BeDecorator, I think? Just have a few decorators that work with Stack-and-Tile would be nice.

Of course, I should look at the decorator code and try to do this (as an hpkg?), as I never examined it enough to understand how to make changes.

  • Default background. How will we handle different resolutions of different users (and/or workspaces)? Just live with the blurriness? Where are these freely licensed backgrounds?

  • Your colour suggestions. I get that different people like different colours. I’m not a big fan of your every choice. If we had a kinda theme management in Appearances, we could ship a few, but we don’t.

  • Getting started page. If you have such a Quick Tour which is short, concise and well put together, submit it and we could add it to the Welcome page.

  • Tip/simple help. Same as the Quick Tour. Let’s see it and maybe it’ll be added. Then there’s Tipster, as miqlas pointed out.

  • SuperPrefs. There wasn’t a poll among the devs, but I suspect it’s not a favourite. I know I don’t like it… It’s in HaikuDepot for its fans, but I wouldn’t like it as default. My opinion, as is everything I write.

  • I don’t see the need for your preflet vision. Maybe if see it running… is the code available somewhere. Otherwise, how could it possibly make it for the beta1?

There is Haiku Theme Manager… I think most of the themes should be updated, but I don’t understand why nobody use it. If there are problems we can improve it.

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Right. People should submit their themes to ThemeManager. Let’s add the best 3 to the hpkg and add TM to the beta.


apgreimann, maybe you can contact the creator of past BeOSMax editions ( Vassilis ‘vasper’ Perantzakis ) and work together with him? You even have experience with developing your own distro(s), and you could add your preferred tweaks in a HaikuMax that would be based on a neutral Haiku R1. I’d welcome a HaikuMax, at least.

Be careful with the name choice:

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To answer this concern, I’ll quote what I’d mentioned earlier in my original post…

Tiling (option 1) would probably be the better choice, mainly because if Haiku did make it scalable, in that the background is selected based on resolution out of a set (option 2), it would take implementing said feature, (and also precious space on the distributed image, what I meant by ‘image size’).

Totally true, and that’s okay. I’m not saying ‘my colors’ have to be the ones that go in. But it’d be nice to have a shade of color accented on controls, etc. and that’s really what I’m trying to show. I know not everyone will agree on the same shade of blue… and mine probably don’t have the feel of Haiku’s official color palette. So, what about just picking the shade Be used from Dano instead of mine or someone else’s? No one would argue with that logic, maybe. I just don’t see how we can go with gray forever.

If you’re serious about your offer, so am I. I do not have this finished, but could easily have a Read Me First page and Quick Tour ready probably this weekend to submit for consideration.

While I kind of made a mistake listing this versus the title of my post (proposals for upcoming beta), but also, I realize this can’t be ready in time for beta1. This is why I wrote next to said section:

While I could demo switching themes and backgrounds inside Web+, technically, I haven’t got a nice, working solution yet that would be worth sharing. Realistically, I’d have to spend a while working on these for them to work.

Thanks for your reply; again, I’ll try to get the basic help done soon.

It is not the image size. Technically a scaleable bg doest have to bigger in file size than a good quality 1080 wallpaper.
But Haiku doesnt support scaleable wp, and it is not planned beta feature. Let me set my wallpaper, and i am ok.

Please, dont. Just dont.
Why do Haiku even need “themes”? I dont care about anybody else and about their favorite colors, why should i? Just give me the otion to define my ui colors, and i am ok. Themes are lame.

Please check the user guide, it is short but well written. Why dont you extend that? Why the redundancy? I dont have ADHD.