Raspberry Pi Zero

Hi all. I’m using Raspberry Pi 3B+ / 4B with a youth group I volunteer with as they’re powerful enough as a general desktop for the apps we need, and yet support a dev environment.

I’ve avoided the Raspberry Pi Zeros because I know from using Raspbian that its too slow to run a full desktop environment.

It occurred to me earlier though, Haiku may well perform much better. (Assuming we get the ARM build all working of course).

I was wondering if anyone could comment on how it’s like to use Haiku on a similarly powered (if different Arch) computing platform?

Apps will basically be text editor, web browser (youtube, github, outlook web mail, sharepoint, wordpress website), git command line, playing local MP4 videos. Nothing too drastic.

Thanks in advance.


For an almost unfair comparison (but a close one) I have tried Haiku on a LattePanda Alpha which is an Intel-powered SBC which is like a Raspberry Pi in size, but runs on a different architecture (Intel) and is more expensive.

Haiku running on the Raspberry Pi or a similar form-factor running the ARM architecture makes sense since not only it is significantly cheaper, but it would also be a friendlier entry point into computing for children (due to the Raspberry Pi mindshare) and even the apps listed above should be suitable to run on ARM with the desktop.

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512M of RAM is a bit too light for running a modern web browser. But more annoyingly for such platforms, the single USB port is a problem. You need to plug, at least, a keyboard and a mouse. So you need an USB hub. So you quickly have a cable mess on your desk. Is that how you want to show Haiku?

I would put a few dozen euros more to get a platform with more USB ports, more RAM, and a case because bare PCB is not great :slight_smile:

Also, I think you may try to run RiscOS on such machines, if you want a light operating system.

I was just thinking of a solution for our impoverished kids! :smiley:

We have Raspberry Pi 3B+ and 4B in my local group anyway, so should be blindingly fast for Haiku once its all working on arm well.

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I’ve said that before. Haiku is a modern desktop operating system, and needs a decent desktop hardware to fully express its strong sides. I have used Haiku on a 4GB RAM 2-core Intel CoreDuo 2.4GHz system, and though the operating system booted up smoothly, the browsing was a real pain. Now I have an i5 at 3.5 GHz with 32 GB RAM, and don’t even think of booting my second (more powerful) computer with Windows, though browsing still is painfully slow, due to lack of hardware acceleration.

My point is: Haiku loves great hardware. Running it on anything less than i5 with at least 8 GB of RAM, in my opinion, is torture. Believe me, I tried it at home. It will not reflect all strengths of Haiku as the modern desktop operating system, and cause frustration. Raspberry is less powerful than i5, and has less RAM, ergo, running Haiku on Raspberry is not a viable option.

Ah, the days when BeOS was running on hardware that Haiku no longer will. Not a matter of “should you”, but CAN you? I believe there should be a version of Haiku that is so svelt in build, it will run on any system that BeOS ran on. And I remember running BeOS on a Pentium 75 system 15 yrs ago or so. It didn’t run great, but it ran reliably! :smiley:

Lol, we should look forward and leave too old Hardware behind us. There would be a point we can not take save support of very old Hardware anymore.


This is like saying “Mac os 6 runs fine on my Macintosh Plus, why the latest Mac OS Catalina (or whatever they are at now) doesn’t?”

It is a bit disrespectful for all the work we put in Haiku over the years to make it a modern system, designed to run on “modern” hardware. It is also a lack of respect for the still relatively light system (as mentionned several times, it would probably run, slowly, on a 512MB machine just fine). So, yes, you can, there is no need to debate that. Hence why the debate is on the “should”.

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Notice I said a VERSION of Haiku, not Haiku as it is. You know, like a “hacker project” of sorts, to prove it still CAN be done. There’s always stuff like that going on with different platforms. Didja know that there are VERSIONS of Linux that fit… ON A FLOPPY DISK?!? Yup. 1.44 MEGAbytes, not GIGAbytes! There are other multitasking, GUI-based OS’s that also do this. And they run on older hardware! So, “Micro OS’s” do exist. So it’s not impossible… :smiley:

And, remember… “modern system” is an ever-changing goal post. And, as it changes, unless you keep drivers and such “older data” archived for people, you eventually shove older compatibility out of the system (which is an expected outcome) and it no longer works reliably (or at all) on older hardware, and never will. So, there should always be an avenue for people to be able to keep their older systems operational, or make an older system useful again. Even if just to tinker with… or whet their appetite for what Haiku is actually capable of on more modern hardware.

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Needless to say, I ran a very recent (a couple weeks ago at the most) revision of Haiku on my HP laptop (UEFI) and was astonished how fast it booted from the flash drive! Less than 30 seconds… I’d say maybe 10-15? Ran all four cores and had sound and the wifi worked and… and… I was stoked! Except that things kept crashing. And not working. And flaking out. Which always puts a damper on all my initial excitement. :frowning:

But it’s progress, nevertheless! UEFI is the new standard! And it works on my HP laptop. So, hail to the king, baby! Haiku is gettin’ better and better! Keep up the good work, guys!

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I’ve not heard of a modern version of Linux that will fit on a floppy, the kernel is too big these days. You would need to cut it down to the drivers for your exact system and nothing else, and even then it probably wouldn’t fit. The compressed kernel on my machine is 8MB, and that’s with a lot of drivers not compiled into it but living in modules. You could make it quite a lot smaller by building for i386 instead of x64, but the best you could hope for is maybe half the size. And then you have to get some actual applications software on to the floppy as well…

Tom’s rtbt is based on linux version 2.2… which is like 25 or more years old!

Of course menuet OS still fits on a floppy… but it’s written in assembler http://menuetos.net/

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You are talking to the maintainer of the Amstrad CPC and Bitbox port of Contiki which needs about 29 KILObytes of RAM (not MEGAbytes, KILObytes!!!).

So yes, it’s possible. I strongly advise against using Haiku for this because it is not designed for it. Our kernel does not fit on a floppy. We manage to cram it down to about 3 megabytes, but won’t get it any smaller than that.

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RISC OS is a fine OS, but very limited today. No multi-core, no wifi, no disk partitions, no pre-emptive multitasking, no memory protection, no virtual memory, etc. etc.

But a good fit for a RasPi Zero, yes.

It struck me a while back that Acorn and Be really should have worked together at the end of the 1990s.

But the RasPi is not old hardware. It is brand-new, current hardware.

Indeed. The single most impressive demo of such that I ever saw was the QNX demo disk.




I have a many many thoughts. Maybe a Haiku Developers wait to “what’s m$ do about ARM and a Windows”. It’s a smart to wait because m$ don’t take a ARM Haiku code.
And we will not wait a process Haiku INC vs. M$. hehe