The "Haiku way"

I know this may sound frivolous, but since many other OSes have their own “way”, which in addition to specifying the underlying philosophy of the operating system also defines the identity of their community, I was wondering if Haiku users would care to share their thoughts on what the “Haiku way” is (or ought to be), at least in their understanding. Haiku’s simplicity, responsiveness, etc. have constantly been emphasized from the very beginning, as far as I understand, but I think it would be worth if Haiku developers and users make a further attempt to spell out in more detail the philosophy, strengths, etc. of Haiku, as they understand it, and what their expectations are.

Some guiding questions may include: what is the Haiku philosophy? what most do you expect from Haiku? What are the things/qualities you absolutely would require from Haiku? What you would never want to see happening in Haiku?

This thread is meant to elicit as many ideas as possible, and to serve as a rough census of our opinions.
It would be nice to collect, comment, further elaborate all the users’ input on the above-mentioned issues well ahead of the final R1 release.

So, what is your take on the “Haiku way”?

The reason I look forward to Haiku and using it on a daily basis is twofold.

It’s a breather of an operating system. If you think about it we only have three choices, each restrictive in their own ways. Windows and pray for the security gods to be kind to you. Linux/Unix and roll up your sleeves to tweak it. Apple’s OSX is the closest to what I’m looking for but it’s still dictated by one person and has strange quirks that should have been ironed out a long time ago. Haiku is that extra choice that is tweaked by its users with a terrific community.

The second is very personal but I love the look and feel of Haiku, having been an early adopter of BeOS. Plus, it helps it’s fast, quick and very responsive.

Hey, it’s a start…


With speed it runs.
Windows are closed.
Linux weeps!

I see BeOS, and now Haiku, as a continuation of the UNIX tradition of many small utilities that each do one thing and do it perfectly. If you want to do a variety of things to your data, you tie up your small utilities with pipes and redirects. In UNIX, this was always a command-line affair. BeOS/Haiku brngs it into the graphical world.

Before anyone even asks, No, Linux has abandoned this tradition in the GUI space (it’s still there on the command line). The GUIs and graphical programs you can get for Linux all try to compete with Windows head-on, leading to bloated monstrosities like OpenOffice. Haiku offers us a chance to do better.

‘The Haiku Way’, I’d say it’s simply ‘the elegant solution’. It’s obvious that the Haiku devs (like the Beos devs before them) are obsessed with a clean, no-bloat system, and are always aiming for the technically most elegant solution to each and every problem. Which is why it can offer so much while using such a small amount of system resources, despite coming with a fully featured integrated gui.

As for the gui itself, I find it very well designed and truly solid. Some personal nitpicks though, I would prefer icon views being displayed in a forced grid, I miss a thumbnail preview mode and while it’s pretty cool that clicking on icons are actually pixel-perfect, in practice it gets annoying when your click lands between in the white space between the icon name and the icon graphics and fail to register as a selection. I’d much prefer a simple boundary box check here.

From a technical standpoint, Haiku has all the makings of becoming the best open source desktop OS, from a practical standpoint it sorely needs better hardware support and even more so better software support. I’m really looking forward to the day when I can use Haiku as my day-to-day desktop OS, still ways to go but I’m definitely along for the ride.

It was already stated that Haiku Way is:

Software Done Right ™

That (“right”) means academic approach to OS development (and probably more).

I’m about to try. To be useful to me, I need to be able to write manuscripts and do high end layout and formatting, i.e. LibreOffice. I don’t see any information about this. I also need GIMP-type graphics editor.

Lean, mean and green is good, but if I can’t do my work, it doesn’t work.

It is amazing to me how Haiku is so light and fast, especially since all those small perfect utilities are GUI and not CLI. As far as I understand it, the popular opinion is that GUI apps consume more resources and are bulkier than CLI ones.

I suppose that was one of the greatest facets of BeOS at the time. Now that Haiku is continuing in the BeOS tradition, it inherits BeOS’s qualities.

I couldn’t agree more! I was introduced to Linux in 2003 through a mail order PC repair course. Having a Linux install was one of the requirements of completing the course. My computer at the time was a Micro-way pc, 1.2 ghtz AMD processor, 128 megs of ram! Mandrake 9.1 running Linux 2.4.16(mkd). I think mandrake used maybe 94 megabytes of ram, tops! I have the latest nightly running in virtualbox with less than 90 megs. Below is a link to a screen shot of Haiku running with 80 megabytes of ram and using 60!

Part of it is knowing when it’s good enough, that point of diminishing returns.

Some people attach surprising importance to the graphic look of their computer. I’m near the other end of the spectrum on that (I mean, hello, it’s a computer?), so don’t necessarily understand it very well, but I think I’m talking about a tiny minority who for the mutual benefit of all concerned should probably stick with MacOS X or Linux, where they can strive in their way for the absolute perfection their esthetic senses demand. MacOS X’s “Aqua”, for example. It could never have happened on BeOS, priorities are different - you get something that’s pretty good and it’s time to call it a day.

The user experience is economical, too - not a lot of icons or other on-screen controls, no animated effects, few buttons. About as minimal as it could be without sacrificing functionality, and I believe that’s good for usability over the long term.