One week with Haiku


Why does it needs to be an app? It can be a simple html site…

hey can resize and center window, maybe @PulkoMandy already implemented a way to disable the URL bar with the icons in WebPositive.


It is a yab Script, not an app


On ctrl vs alt: this has already been discussed countless times, and the current compromise is unlikely to change.

In the Haiku community, we think:

  • Using alt is actually easier to reach once you are trained for it,
  • It matches what both BeOS and Mac OS did,
  • The alt key at least has a fixed position on all keyboards, whereas ctrl is sometimes replaced with a specific “fn” key on laptops,
    So it is a sane default. We do understand the complaints of people with years of Windows or Linux muscle memory training, so we added a setting for them (a setting that was not strictly needed, one could just swap the keys manually in the keymap).

As for adding a configuration wizard at first boot, I’d say this is getting in the way when the user wants to use the computer. We made lots of efforts to keep the initial setup easy, by just asking for a language anda keyboard layout. We cover the setting in our documentation, in our welcome page which is linked from the desktop and also the default start page of the browser, and we also probably have a faq entry about it.

So there are two cases: either you are a complete beginner, and we can train you to use the right key from the start. Then you can gocomplain to Microsoft as they don’t use the same key and in their case, it isn’t even configurable. Or, you already have some experience with computers and we expect that you can either read the docs, or find the setting by yourself.

The persona you evoke, one that would be trained to use keyboard shortcuts on Windows, but unable to find a setting in the preferences, does not exist. Or if it does, the fix is reworking our preferences and settings to make them more discoverable (and at least in the case of input devices, this is something we are already thinking about)


Well, Microsoft, really. :slight_smile: Although Gnu/Linux (Chromebooks included) and several other operating systems like ReactOS or DEs like KDE, Gnome, or Neutrino use Ctrl as well. And yet there’s other systems use Meta. But nevertheless, like the OP was mentioning, a majority of the market uses the control key.

Apple is kind of the exception — because they have the Command key on the Mac and iOS hardware keyboards in the same place as the Alt position on a standard PC keyboard. So to me as a Mac fan, it’s no change at all to jump on a Haiku or BeOS machine. In fact, it’s instant muscle memory for me to press Alt+C, Alt+V, etc.

Also, option (the equivalent to ‘alt’ on an Apple keyboard) is where Meta or Super is on a PC keyboard for the unaware. And for the curious, Palm OS hardware keyboards have a Cmd key too. :slight_smile:


Yes! ^ This. This is exactly the one of the things I’ve been trying to convince Haiku of. We need a welcome box for newbies.


I gave @PulkoMandy some hints, but the welcome screen I thought about would be a bit different - content-wise. I’ll sketch it up when I’ll have a better view on what should be there (in my newbie opinion) and we’ll see if either one of us will do the yab programming.

This thread has become quite long, so I suspect not everyone will carefully read everything already written. So on resizing windows and Ctrl-vs-Alt here’s a summary of my view: I don’t think Haiku needs to switch the defaults, but it can either (1) offer full options to switch to other settings for people who really need them, or at least (2) offer them a “Welcome” program/script/page on the first boot, that’s accessible somewhere in the menu at any time later if they want to look for details there.

(1) is mostly done already, with the Windows/Linux mode, which can easily be advertised along with the mention that the terminal has some differences;
(2) is shaping up nicely and hopefully I’ll add some useful thoughts and info once I have some spare time to clear and refine my thoughts.

The first boot only happens once, so it’s really not a problem if it shows up. :slight_smile:


I’m sorry, but these only seem to be links to some pages, that are already in the Welcome page. Is it about not having to do that odious reading of those paragraphs of text? The page’s links being bright red, they are easy to spot, if one isn’t interested in context.

I thought what’s actually wanted - and what makes sense even to me :slight_smile: - is a Quick Tour document ( which could very well be HTML and thereby also available online) or video introducing Haiku features for newbies. Something like a very abridged user guide.

By all means, guys, go ahead and identify the areas that should be covered (not too many or our easily bored/distracted users wander off), maybe condense what’s on it in the user guide, and create a QuickTour.hpkg that we can add to the default image.


Spot on! That’s what I want to come up with. A rough outline of what I think would be useful is this:

  1. Major differences between Haiku and other operating systems
  2. Program names for the most popular tasks
  3. Managing software (install/remove/update)
  4. A few words on having a multi-user Haiku
  5. Basic window management (maybe)
  6. Useful keyboard shortcuts
  7. etc

Each topic should be covered in <200 characters if possible, to make it very easy to read for everyone. The details would be linked to the existing documentation. So there’s no need to reinvent the wheel, but simply reach out to the new comers.


This makes no sense, we have a UserGuide and all infos in there. Thats too much.

I add the most importand links and a tour, descript the system specific things (i fogot to add ctrl to alt switch

  • position of the menu bar
  • menu overview (Applications, Preferences and Desktop Applets)
  • change icon size (context menu)
  • browsing the system using the tracker (right click)
  • window option change because in default you get every time new window to open
  • Mounting harddisks
  • ** later to add ** switchalt to ctrl


But it makes perfect sense for new comers, who need a “soft landing” in an operating system, especially in one having significant differences compared to everything they used so far. Haiku was, is and will be tried by people with different levels of knowledge, so a quick tour can help them a lot getting off on the right foot with Haiku.

So the quick your + the links you put in that interface would do them a great service. Right now I don’t have the time to shape up that quick tour, but I’m sure you’ll have a better opinion about it when you see it.


I find a welcome box, as this one I have created shortly ;-), not bad. This also does not spoil the existing documentation. It does not matter if things happen again. I find a firm gui here very suitable because we are then independent of the browser. Also, a fixed icon in desktop applets would do just fine for that.

Since all documentation is currently written in HTML and is currently not fully contained in the system (Nightlies), an online connection is required. That would be irrelevant with a solid gui even then.

And why not want to take something good from Linux?

Unfortunately, there is still too much developer-relevant thought and not user related.


Did you install my FirstStep and looked at it? There is already a related tour included.

I see my FirstStep as a “show a way to do”. The rest by the Haiku Team now.


I’m still juggling through some tasks, so I didn’t have the time to take a look at it. But I have the feeling you missed this: “<200 characters”. That’s the whole point of the quick tour I envisioned - to be very brief, but on point. And each topic should have a link to the online documentation, for those who actually care about details.


Something in the same direction is Tipster, BTW. You find it at HaikuDepot.


Then maybe you should take the time. Otherwise this makes no sense here.


Ok, I just went through the tour - nice, but it needs refinement. The thing I missed the most is the ability to pause and navigate through it, because some slides were a bit fast for their content.

When I’ll have my version ready, I’ll let you know.


The problem here is that you does not can see the welcome page or userguide if you delete the links from the desktop. There is no official documentation folder over the menu-bar or in the userguide and welcome site in system/documentations


I was a very quick work in progress on one night. I know there are things to do better.

Let me know


Args i see that i does not change one bug. User Group is User Guide, i was probably too tired yesyesterday


Well, now I’d say you’re thinking like a Mac user! :smile:

Take a look at these as examples…

Windows switchers:

What’s new:

There’s also a “Learn the Basics” tour similar to this in Yosemite onwards, as an improvement to what’s been in Mac OS since the Classic days (8.6 on).