Notes on confusing things/improvement possibilities/possible bugs

Hello Haiku!

Been a while since I’ve been active. Decided to come back and see whats up!
I’ve installed hrev56792 in a VM, and took notes on things that occur to me. So here they are, in loosely time-organized order.

I’d like to clarify that I’m not bashing on Haiku but rather trying to provide meaningful feedback :slight_smile: I’d like to hear the opinions of community/developers on these things, and see if I can contribute to fixing some of them.

PS This was going to be just a few small notes but they seem to have expanded…

Welcome Screen

Where you can select to install/try Haiku. Fonts are small and hard to read. I’m assuming they are 12. Could be bumped to 14 for a better first-time experience.
Ticket: #18285 (Increase font size in Installer to 14pt where resolution allows) – Haiku

Mouse is laggy to move around (due to VM, but I believe it doesn’t lag same way during e.g. Fedora install. Not sure tho)

Once I click Install Haiku, I get a popup telling me what to do. But after I click it away, I don’t know what to do next (assuming I skimmed through the popup and didn’t read too carefully). Would be a good idea to have some text saying what to do (figure out partitions).

I can trigger Show/Hide optional packages on MOUSEUP, not (only?) MOUSEDOWN.
I could get the arrow to be in a turned state by clicking elsewhere, and moving my mouse over the text and then the button below.

(Install) Onto – shows grayed out source drive. Nobody will realistically install over the source drive. Maybe if the installer partition didn’t take up all the space, but I don’t think this is a very common occurence. I think the grayed-out source drive should not even show up in the Onto dropdown.


If the whole drive is empty, it would be very nice to be able to select it in the dropdown. The installer could then put a partition table, make a partition that spans the whole drive and init the FS. Makes it much easier than having to figure out partitions yourself.
On that topic, it’s confusing how to set up partitions.

  • Choose Intel/GUID map
  • Create partition, give it a name
  • Create a FS on the partition

As a user I don’t know which to choose – Intel or GUID? Intel Extended is grayed out, and has been as long as I can remember.
I choose a name while creating a partition, but it is not shown anywhere. It only shows up once I create a filesystem, then I can even change that name.
Perhaps creating the partition should by default initialize it to BeFS. Why would a user put anything else there?
Why have the name edit in both partition and filesystem creations?

The way Onto dropdown works can be confusing further while figuring this out.

  • If I don’t touch the disk, it doesn’t show up
  • After I init GPT, it shows up grayed out
  • After I add a partition, nothing shows up
  • After I init a FS, it finally shows up and is selectable

After Install

ssh-keygen pops up and stays there for ~5 seconds. It shouldn’t take 5 seconds to generate ssh keys, right?

There’s no logo on first startup. It shows up after a restart, but is not centered. I think it should be there from the first time, and centered by default.

Fonts are small and hard to read (same as during install). Default font size of 14 would make sense I think. Those who don’t like it can always make it smaller. But having small by default makes reading and nagivating significantly harder and a worse experience.

Windows are hard to resize (e.g. ActivityMonitor) since the resize handle is so small.

Combining windows leads to graphical glitches. When de-attaching a window, dragging starts from a weird position, not at the window’s title.

Right click CPU widget → disable processor #1 (of 2) leads to everything hanging, one by one. First cannot click, then mouse pointer stops moving. Have to force restart.


Changing font sizes. Some elements update right away (e.g. window titles), others do not. It’s confusing. Restarting apps gives them correct sizes, but Deskbar requires a reboot. I think Deskbar should automatically respond to font size changes and not need a full reboot. For the time being, I think there should be some information text stating that apps need to be restarted for changes to take effect (or full system reboot so Deskbar changes too).

How do I change cursor size?

I remember long ago there was some discussion about scaling based on percentage (e.g. 100%, 125% etc) vs font size. I’d like to be able to change font size without affecting scale of the UI. I’d rather have a scale factor that scales everything, and font size can be changed separately from that. Scale factor can still influence font size (e.g. font-size: 12px, scale: 200% → actual font-size: 24px).

Consider bundling Inter fonts/using them by default? I haven’t tried them in Haiku specifically, but they look very nice for UI.

File Browser

Small font size in the columns. Columns are a different style from the rest of the system


The font size does increase when I change system font size, but it still stays relatively small.
Opening a new folder opens a new window. This unnecessarily clutters the desktop. Default behavior should be to open in the same window. And perhaps also show the navigation by default? The nagivation header is kinda huge.
Switching to Icon View is broken.


Icons don’t rearrange themselves depending on window width.
I can only select a file by clicking on its name, size, moddate… I’d like to be able to click on the general row and select a file that way. There’s now hover highlighting of rows either.

Calendar Popup

Clicking time in Deskbar opens a calendar popup.
Click any other item in that row (CPU, network, sound) creates a popup right under the mouse cursor. The calendar is always below the row and always has padding on the right. That’s inconsistent.

Day numbers are not aligned in boxes (too low).
I can click individual days but nothing happens. I’d expect a calendar app to start up or something.
-/+ are used to change month/year. It would make more sense to use < and >
Month is not centered between its controls. Either it should be centerd, or + should be moved closer to the month.
- looks to be lower on the line than +.
It’s not clear where clickable area for -/+ starts and ends. e.g. buttons in file browser’s nagivation have an outline when hovered, but not here.


Week starts on Sunday by default. I found no easy way to change this.

Volume Control

Always found it confusing. decibels? green/red?
I think I understand now what the idea is. Red is “overdrive”, i.e. >100%, while green is 0-100%. 0db is then offset from 100%. Very confusing compared to the usual expected 0-100%.


Insane tearing and rendering glitches.


Tries to render XML as HTML, e.g. Haiku Project
Right-clicking a nagivation button triggers it, rather than open a history list, or at least do nothing.
The toolbar, header, etc together are HUGE.
Renders wrong (you can see a scrollbar). It adds extra padding on the right. Not there in Firefox. Default browser size seems to be 901x541 px.
Ctrl +/- don’t zoom in/out. Ctrl- scrolls down in small steps instead.
Image at the bottom of looks wrong.


Here’s another weird thing. I can select text despite my cursor not being over it:



Sliders are vertical and end up in a scrolled area. They could be horizontal, which would minimize amount of empty space and look better.


It would be very nice to have a search. Think Spotlight, KRunner, even Windows search. Something to quickly search apps at least.

Right-clicking the desktop will always lead to a flash.


Switching to Mini Icon View is just broken. I think it should automatically do a Clean Up when switching.


I did right click → Clean Up and this happened


Some more stuff


Dragging it clips text


Apparently I can resize Deskbar and move thigns around. The handlebars for doing so are very hard to see and I noticed them mostly by chance. Dragging feels confusing, I’m still not sure what I’m actually dragging.

WebPositive/File Manager do not handle mouse back/forward buttons.
Right-clicking often (but not always) works like left-clicking. Is this intentional? It’s confusing, and sometimes incosistent.

In some windows, switching tabs resizes them to fit content. Other windows only resize to fit larger content but do not shrink (Network). Others still do not resize (Media).

It’s confusing when I click a menu and it disappears. e.g. Quit an app, Mem usage. I get that with, say, Applications you can open it as a folder and launch apps from there. But other menus that don’t do anything shouldn’t just close when clicking them.

I’ve managed to add a calculator applet but idk how to remove it. The icon to add it (little orange thing I had to drag) is very tiny and confusing.

Some actions trigger on MOUSEUP, not MOUSEDOWN (e.g. dragging an applet onto the Deskbar button)


Apparently applets are called replicants and I need to right-click the tiny-tiny orange icon to close them.

Adding and removing AutoRaise crashed Deskbar. I didn’t want to debug so here is a screenshot of the debugger info

I cannot easily full-screen apps. Yes, I can expand them but they dont go over Deskbar, and there’s a lot of awkward empty space.

Somehow a few notes turned into a quasi-article.


because of the partition named “haiku esp” which is fat32 file system. the rest part is empty status. you can see the truth with the application named driversetup.
i want to build a customization usb-live-system directly from it , but failed for this reason.

it is better than before.

i haven’t seen it in my real computer.
maybe you can test haiku with a real computer which is your old one.

There has been a new HaikuWebkit release since B4 - did you update via the package manager? This addresses some of the rendering issues in Web+

Lots of your other comments would be worthy of either bug or improvement tickets on trac, but it is worth checking to see if they have already been logged.

Some of these are already adressed as tickets, some are design decisions and some things are fixed. (and some of these bugs are specific to the VM)

For the relevant parts please open tickets at

It’s not really essy to reply intermindled to such a big post.

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Certainly could be, just showcasing out my experience.

Fair point! I tested with an old x230 – same result:


pkgman update solved it! I thought the packages were already most recent since I got the most recent hrev but apparently not. There’s still a lot of tearing but no flashing, significantly better than before.

@nephele fair enough. I agree that a giant list is not the best way. This is mostly to see opinions on things that are design decisions, and see if there’s something I’m missing (e.g. like the package update above).

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The hrev is the one beta4 is based off, the number with the plus indicates how many additional patches are installed.

Anyhow haikuwebkit is versioned independently and the new version was released after beta4 was.

Did you read the Quick Tour? Some of these behavioral items are covered in there.

Not many people seem to think 12pt font is too small, at least I think it’s just fine. Most other OSes seem to have similar defaults.

Live updating of font sizes doesn’t work yet, indeed.

Haven’t read it before. Looked through now – it does indeed describe replicants and their use. My other comments still stand – the little replicant icon is, well, little :smiley:

Actually i’ll have to agree with accessay on this one, they do look tiny even on a low res like 1024x768 and it’s hard to read, 14pt might be a good size for the initial install GUI.


try to use otter/Epiphany
if the same result , it may be the problem of hardware compatibility.
if better, yes, wait for webpositive’s updating.

Thank you accessays, most of your feedback is correct, little annoyances that add up. As others have already mentioned, adding them to the bug tracker will make them discoverable to devs.

Most of these issues can be fixed by new developers looking to start Haiku dev, great “on-boarding” tasks.

IMHO, the biggest bang-for-effort would be for the font preference change to immediately notify deskbar and tracker (and other potential observers) to refresh. A couple of BMessages to these apps and a quick commit and immediate improvement to Haiku experience. However, devs being devs, start thinking about global system broadcasts and get stuck assessing various design compromises. So instead of just adding 2 lines of code to the preference app (with immediate visual feedback), we get stuck debating about “best possible” solution for global broadcasting so that ALL apps get notified. :slight_smile:

Yes. That’s the difference between cobbling something together that sort of works for some things, and developing an OS that delivers a future-proof service applications can depend on.
Also, you just know that if you’ve managed to solve the live-fontsizing for Tracker & Deskbar, people will immediately start to demand the same for all other apps… :slight_smile:


I will not do a detailed reply because, as entionned, it’s impossible to do so under a single message like this.

So here are a few random things only:

The font size issue: the problem is we have very low minimal requirements for Haiku. It should work on a 800x480 display (for the eeePC, which some users are running, and similar machines). If the default font size was 14pt for everyone, the First Boot Prompt and Installer windows wouldn’t fit on the screen there (it’s already a tight fit). Personally I use 12pt on my FullHD display now, but on my previous laptop I would go down to 10pt to fit more things on the relatively small 1280x800 display. So, there’s no perfect font size, and 12pt is a reasonable default. What we could do is make it larger on first boot so that the FirstBootPrompt and Installer windows are larger on high resolution displays, but keep it smaller on lower resolution displays so the window still fits.

Regarding the flickering in Web+: just update your system, this was fixed shortly after beta4 and included in the maintenance fixes deployed to the beta4 branch.

For everything else I think it is better discussed in separate tickets so that the discussion remains manageable. Thanks for your feedback in any case :slight_smile:


My plan is indeed to organize this feedback into several tickets :slight_smile:

I have some ideas wrt font size, but I’ll put them into a ticket and discuss there