Possible Solution to Office Suite Problem and Lack of Apps

This morning I had a brainstorm. One big problem that is plaguing Haiku is a lack of major productivity apps, especially office suites, photo editing, and other stuff. There are quite a few web apps that fulfill those tasks. However, Haiku browsers may have problems displaying those sites because they don’t exactly use the latest tools. To fix this I think we need to look at creating a site-specific browser. There were two projects that I know of that do this for Windows and Linux: Mozilla Prism (discontinued as of 2011) and ICE. There is another project that allows developers to create an application using web technology and run it on different platforms named Electron. We need something like this to add apps to Haiku without having to go through the monumental effort of posting large applications and the frameworks the depend on to Haiku.

Thank you for your time. I will not hand over the discussion to the experts. I have never programmed a single line in my life, so my preception of easy is probably way off.

A web browser is already one of the largest and most complex pieces of software to port. This is why WebPositive isn’t working all that well, despite all the efforts put into it. It would be nice if it was not just me trying to keep it up to date, however :slight_smile:

Search the forum: it’s been discussed before.

I had a look at Java-based browsers a year ago, seeing if any could be coerced into such a role. Sorry, no, the font-handling was nausea-inducing.

Our main problem is that we don’t have enough people. Whenever a new face arrives on the scene with C++ chops, they get sucked into the main project.

But I have a problem with the idea. If I want to run Google Docs, why do I need Haiku? It may work as a stopgap, but the long-term ideal must remain to write native applications. Not QT ports, not Java ports - genuine native Haiku apps that offer something you just are not going to get anywhere else. Note that I don’t care if they are written in QT or Java. Just so long as they offer something so attractive that people will install Haiku just to run it.

The computing scene at the moment is incredibly boring. No. really. Back in the dark days of DOS, whether you used WordPerfect, XyWrite or WordStar was meaningful. They were not just slightly different implementations of the same idea, they were different philosophies.

From a productivity POV it is great that three guys running Windows, MacOSX and Linux can all use LibreOffice and GIMP, but then why bother to switch? This is why Linux can’t break through that 2-3% on the desktop IMHO. It is now just another platform for the same old apps, so you might as well stick with the one pre-installed on your PC.

On Haiku we still have a chance to ask “How can this be done differently?” A small example. There are now three IDE’s for yab development available: The official one maintained by bbjimmy, mine and Lelldorin’s. There are deep differences between them, completely opposite ways of looking at the simple process of writing a script. In this tiny community we can put our ideas forward and may the best app win. Or more likely, let people use all three for slightly different purposes.

Look at the old Gobe Productive. I don’t agree with every decision they made, but they had the space to try out innovative ideas. Look at Wonderbrush, the program that can’t make up its mind if it is a vector or a bitmap editor :slight_smile: We should not focus on playing catch-up with other OS’s: we should be focusing on what Haiku makes possible.

But we need people. To quote a former Microsoft CEO, “Developers, developers, developers!” So the best thing you can do about the lack of apps is to introduce haiku to every nerd, geek and techno-dweeb within a ten-mile radius.


WebPositive IMO is a great browser, it is a little rough around the edges, but at least it doesnt spy on you like Micro$oft Edge.

One of the best things about Haiku… No spying.

I’ve just discovered an office suite that’s opensource and seemingly based on the Qt toolkit.


I’m using it on my mac and it runs so smooth. Good compatibility with MS Office.
Already ditched Libreoffice.

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https://github.com/haikuports/haikuports/issues/1115 the issue about it at Haikuports.

It’s a pity. That would be great app to have.

wps ?Be based on qthttp://mo.wps.cn/images/ai_android_banner_img.jpg

Not open-source. You can petition the company to port it, I suppose.

Well, the Linux version is not updated for a long time

Apparently there is a Haiku version of the REBOL 3 programming language (dated 2014). So that could be another avenue for Internet browsing and app building.


How can rebol help here?


You are describing the root of the nearly eternal - native / ported application debate:

From a productivity POV it is great that three guys running Windows, MacOSX and Linux can all use LibreOffice and GIMP, but then why bother to switch? This is why Linux can’t break through that 2-3% on the desktop IMHO. It is now just another platform for the same old apps, so you might as well stick with the one pre-installed on your PC

For people to switch operating system, there must be an application, tool, or underlying programming paradigm that does not exist in the other systems. At the same time, the documents/media created on the desired platform must be smoothly interchangeable with those on the other platforms.

In the early history of personal/workstation computing, people where purchasing PCs for business and engineering applications, Macs for desktop publishing and graphics design, Amigas for multimedia production, Symbolics for AI research. The underlying operating system was integral part of the application being purchased and had to be accepted whether hated or loved.

From the BeOS foundation, Haiku has a number of distinctive features notably database driven file system and ultra-responsive user interface. What can be conceived with these features that cannot be easily done with Linux, MacOSX, or WIndows?

Replicants. We use it only in the Deskbar and on the desktop ATM, but any app can be declared replicant-aware. Imagine a DTP-type application that is really just a replicant container. Drop a graphic in it. It can now be edited by any existing bitmap editor on your system. Install a new bitmap editor and it instantly becomes available. Drop some text into the container. Right-click on it and choose which text editor to edit it with.

hey. Right now it is user-hostile and underdocumented. But if someone figures out a decent UI for it, it could be revolutionary.

The Haiku packaging system is really the most elegant solution to un/installing apps. Move a file into the right folder. Boom, it is installed. In my app FontMonkey I have tried to leverage that. Also in the latest version of Yabadabbadoo.

The database driven file system was great shakes back in 1995, but the overwhelming response to it seems to be “what can I do with it that I can’t do with SQLite?”. Maybe there will be something new in R2.

I appreciate your description of what can be done with Replicants. I never quite figured them out, and their power,
from the available documentation.

Mixed feelings about the current Haiku packaging system. It is approaching what RiscOS (and replication ROX) have been doing with the “zero-install” concept. An application is essentially contained in a folder with a “!” first character specification.

As for the database driven file system, I’ll quote from Scot Hacker’s Tales of a BeOS Refugee:

The combination of the database-like system (BFS), Be’s extremely efficient media handling capabilities, and the exceptionally flexible SoundPlay make for an unbeatable combination.

This was in comparison to iTunes circa 2001. By it-self, BFS appears no longer to be an extraordinary feature. However, with applications making use of it, who knows.

I still see people using Linux/KDE and complaining about Baloo (the file indexer there) making their system slow to a crawl for no appearant reason. This is something BFS can fix, because we don’t need something scrapping the disk to update the index.

As you mentionned, it works great for managing a collection of media files. It works quite well for e-mail, too (but we would need a modern client for that, with threading, etc).

What it really lacks is integration with the web or networks in general. Attributes get lost when you get a file from an HTTP server. So you have to re-create them locally or maybe encapsulate them to protect hem from HTTP (for example in a zip file). Then you can do great things, like sharing a directory with a properly configured layout (custom background, icon sizes, whatever), sharing an e-mail thread with all the metadata, or sharing parts of your music collection with other people, with all the data included. None of these are easily possible when your metadata is stored separate from the file (eg. in an sqlite database).

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It seems that many of the file systems for other operating systems claim to support extended attributes and very little is mentioned about what one use them to their full potential.

I have seen a few applications which can be used to “tag” files. So far, I have only encountered ones which add the tags to the file name rather than as separated extended attributes. I guess this is because of the “non-transportability” of extended attributes across the platforms in general.

On the long term, it may be worthwhile considering the packaging of a file with its extended attributes - say via an “export” function which would take care of zipping them together for copying/transfer to a foreign file system/operating system. There may not be the need to have an “import” function unless there is some reciprocity in the handling of extended attributes between the operating systems.

For transport via FTP, it is presumed that a FTP server running from a BFS partition could query if the recipient file system is BFS. If so, then the FTP server could provide the file as a native BFS file for a BFS recipient?

For transport via FTP…

The attributes are saved in a few protocols, if you have the right software. There’s the Campus FTP server and NetPenguin client, which can transfer attributes. The mail client can save attributes of attached files as extra MIME attachements, though some other e-mail clients are confused by this, so it’s usually left turned off. And finally, .zip files in Haiku/BeOS support attributes, but don’t work for 2GB or larger files.

Though I wonder if you could use .hpkg files as an alternative to .zip (besides packaging up software, you can also treat it like an archive file format and decompress the contents rather than mounting it as a package); does .hpkg support huge files?