One week with Haiku


There are some real usability problems like the chaotic icon placement on the desktop, and the lack of user-visible consistent drive identifiers (C:, D:). And then there’s Ctrl vs Alt. Seriously? They do the exact same thing and there is a reason for Haiku to stick to Alt.


I take it you only use Gnu/Linux or Windows. :slightly_smiling_face: As a guy who uses Mac alongside Haiku (and Gnu/Linux), there are remedies to the stuff outlined above:

  • Icons on the Mac desktop can be auto snapped, arranged, stacked (in the Dock in Leopard up) or right on the Desktop in Mojave, and since Lion, you can select a group of items and press a keyboard shortcut or “New Folder from Selection” to create a folder from the items automatically. Nothing else mainstream does all this. Can’t think of a desktop with more options than that.
  • Internal, external, optical, and network volumes/drives show on the Desktop only if you want them to since Panther; in Finder preferences, you can turn this off. Otherwise, they’re in the sidebar of the Finder, Computer view, and Disk Utility only. But, once you’re used to *nix-like systems, I think the main question is why an alphabetical system like C: and D:? That’s grossly inferior to the way Mac OS 10.0+ works with /dev/disk0, etc. or how Be/Haiku works as well. An not only are there disk identifiers, but volume identifiers as well, further expanding the power of *nix.

Finally, if it’s visibility the user wants, drives can have usage metadata displayed on the Desktop in View preferences, and drives can be visually organized by color labels (or tags in Mavericks onwards).

  • Alt is in the same position as the Command key; the Mac doesn’t use ctrl. However, in Mac OS (I think Tiger and later) you can switch the Command key to control at will, just like you can on Haiku with Alt. So both the Mac and Be/Haiku have preferences to change to Ctrl in order to adapt to Windows usage, although this is something done out of kindness. Overall, I think users should be adaptable to the system they are on.

Hope this clears all this up for you. :wink:


Uhh, I wrote a half-long reply, got an “internal server error”, then when I tried to repost it, the forum complained that the “body is too similar to what you previously posted”…


Update my firststeps Script. Add changing of ctrl and alt and use longer wait comnand.



This was about Haiku, not OS X.

Icon placement on Haiku is very chaotic and icons often end up on top of each other and sometimes below the Deskbar. While there is a “cleanup” feature, it shouldn’t be necessary to use this. All I want is for icons to be automatically placed on a grid.

About disks, on Windows, if you have two disks named “Data”, they will be presented as “Data (D:)” and “Data (E:)”. On Haiku the user is only presented with the disks’ “English” names. So the first mounted disk will only be presented as “Data”, and the second mounted disk will be presented as “Data-1”.

This is confusing and it creates problems if you have something configured with absolute paths. We don’t need alphabetic identifiers (C:, D:) per se, that’s not the point. The user could be presented with “Data (hdd1)” and “Data (hdd2)” instead. The point is that it’s currently hard to know which disk is which.


I think Haiku should allow renaming volumes in the right click menu or with a simple click… Right? Because hdd1 and hdd2 also not very descriptive, enumerated at boot or at attaching the device so it is also meaningless. Give a proper, meaningful names to your disks, problem solved.


Maybe getting new users (non-developers) involved is not the biggest goal at this time. Maybe there could come people who have their own ideas on how to transfer Haiku into what they think Haiku should be without understanding that Haiku is already Haiku and want to tell the developers.

Maybe getting new developers involved is a good goal at this time. Maybe donations could help… who knows. :face_with_monocle:


Lol, funny, pretty sure that when you install R5 it had all those links on the desktop… lemme have a look see…

Yup, right there, bebook and welcome to BeOS… had all the stuff you needed to get started. Better or worse? It’s different, better or worse depends on what your preconceived idea is of better.

It’s different, sure I’ll grant you that, but it’s a different that i like. :wink:beos


You know, that the nighlty Haiku versions doesn’t comes with preinstalled guides, help and localized documentation, linked on the desktop, but the releases always had and will have that?

On nightly, you can install them from Depot.


[quote=“Vanne, post:69, topic:7024”]lol, funny, pretty sure that when you install R5 it had all those links on the desktop… lemme have a look see…

Beos was a release and not a development alha version. There is no current haiku Release sience alpha 4, so here you can say thats wrong :slight_smile:


I think no one argued against this. We already have a welcome page, and we do include a link to it on the desktop in our releases.

Nightly builds are not releases. They are meant for quick download and testing. As such they are made as small as reasonably possible, and do not include user documentation, and not much software. The beta1 release will, of course.


The names are meaningful enough on Windows since they contain the same kind of files, but you can still differentiate them because of the consistent drive letters which are always displayed. A lot of the time you could even reinstall Windows and the drive letters will still be what the user expects.

Why would a technical identifier be enumerated at boot or when attaching the device? Surely there must be some kind of internal identifier which can be presented to the user. How does DriveSetup differentiate between disks?


That would be the partition label, which is supported by virtually all operating systems under the sun. In Windows, changing the label is easily done from the partition properties. The same could be done in Haiku.