What do you like in Haiku, but dislike in other systems?

Hello everyone,

I am currently gathering ideas for a blog post (or series of blog posts) in order to showcase Haiku more, and do a marketing spin. This will be mostly related to how and where Haiku excels in comparison to the other operating systems.

We all probably know why we use Haiku, and how usability in other systems would be inferior to Haiku. I’d appreciate if you could all express this with a sentence, not more, in order to keep it simple. Specific points and deep comparisons are also welcome, like, “I hate x behaviour in Linux, but it is much more pleasant in Haiku”, or “x software is nice in Haiku but poop in other OS” etc.

Do not be afraid to bash other OSs, remember we are trying to find their weak spots and instead highlight our features.

I am aware that similar points have probably largely been discussed in the entire history of this forum, but I believe an updated and simpler version will be beneficial. Do not hesitate to make as many as posts as you like, keeping the structure simple. Also vote the points you like, so that we can see what stands out more.

Thank you!

  • Right mouse on desktop to browse the system.
  • linking everything around with functionality
  • no registry like in Windows

Simplicity and speed!

System:

  • Excellent balance between features / complexity.
  • Excellent balance between beginner / power user
  • Haiku packages (mountable, removable, recovery/regressions)
  • Integrated system (messages, translators, paths)

API:

  • decent C++ API for development (doesn’t include the kitchen sink, thats the way I like it)
  • pervasive multithreaded, rich BMessage capability
  • integrated package FS makes porting stuff trivial

User experience:

  • right click navigation
  • open/save panels remember recent files/location (this frustrates me to no end on other systems)
  • different resolution workspaces
  • HiDPI scaling with be_plain_font->Size() makes the scaling better than the multipliers other systems are doing.

Community:

  • you guys are the best. Friendly, knowledgable, community
  • not elitist, humble

Nice to have in R2:

  • different be_plain_font->Size() per workspace (this will also work for different DPI size monitors)
  • actor based API
  • need Vision/BeShare like portal where users ask live questions and get instant response, from User level to Developer (outside of Freenode). Integrated into desktop.
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What I would like to be covered in Haiku reviews:

  • After system update, a new boot environment is automatically created with previous version of software;
  • Extended file system attributes and their use;
  • Scriptable graphical user interface with hey.
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  • Low latency. I hate waiting for Windows/Linux/MacOS to do things. In Haiku (with native apps at least) things happen instantly when I click.
  • Well integrated C++ API allowing to put together a basic working app in just a few hours, and not having to research a dozen different libraries
  • The “it just works” mindset. No obscure configuration files, a limited set of settings for important things, and no more. As an user, it’s great because I spend less time finetuning new installs, as a developer, it’s great because I know everyone will be using a similar environment and I have much less cases to debug or think about when I design an user interface
  • The small team in charge of everything, which allows fixing bugs quickly and not spending years sending them back and forth between software components (my personal favourite is Thunderbird notifications popping up above the screensaver in Linux, I think it’s been 10 years and there is still no agreement between Thunderbird, X11, xscreensaver and desktop environment developers about whose fault it is. Meanwhile, anyone looking at my computer with locked session can still read part of my email).
  • The attention to detail (I remember a specific bugreport about the mouse preferences complaining that some spacing was 5 pixels instead of 3 or something along these lines), plans for long term support and stability, and general attention to writing well-structured and readable code
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All things mentioned above plus the following:
It seems that the dicease of removing the desktop metaphor spreads through Linux distros. Currently in my work computer I have Pop!_Os with elementary’s desktop manager in order to be able to have icons on desktop which I can move and position in pixel perfect way. Enabling Gnome 3 desktop extension didn’t do the job. And what I am using is still not perfect: I cannot drag n drop an icon from the desktop to a file manager window because they are incompatible (as expected)…
And of course spatial file managers is an anecdote in Linux world…

So, long story short: Haiku’s spatial file manager and desktop integration is superior from everything else out there. If you plus Window management’s tile/tab functionality even more.

I don’t think that there is a new metaphor nowadays which is better than the old desktop one and I cannot really understand why there is this trend to remove it without replacing with something better.

Ah yes of course I forgot about the most obvious thing. Spatial file navigation.

It’s motivated largely by the idea of convergence, which is combining mobile and desktop together. While an attractive proposition, in reality the execution is flawed at best and awful at worst. A lot of this has to do with the different input methods and screen real estate.

Personally, I prefer the way KDE does it:
Different shells with UIs designed around the different computing paradigms with shared code wherever needed.

While this is also partially the case with GNOME and Phosh, their UIs aren’t really too different from one another. On the one hand, it’s more consistent. On the other hand, one of the paradigms suffers more (desktop in that case).

Unity (8, now Lomiri) was the closest to achieving a balance between desktop and mobile, however it still suffer(ed/s) from many of the same problems but to a lesser degree.

Speaking of consistency, that’s one aspect of Haiku that I like which isn’t implemented well or done too excessively to the point of hindering UX.

Haiku UX is very consistent and uniform, but not to the point wherein it hinders the user too much. The closest thing to this was the old Mac OS, which I guess tracks given that it has roots in BeOS design (from ex-Apple folks).

Haiku can be simple to use by default, but it can also be very powerful when necessary. It tries to make using a computer simple, but not to the point of assuming that the user is a toddler; admittedly that’s a bit hyperbolic, but hopefully it gets the point across. On the Linux side, KDE gets the closest to this aim however much work still needs to be done (it’s happening though); this may also explain why KDE software on Haiku often fits in well with the rest of the system, as both have similar design goals.

Package management is another thing which Haiku does really well, compared to other OSes. It has a good hybrid of both traditional and containerized package managers. It works similarly to (or seems to) OSTree and Flatpak, however still uses shared libs in a way more reminiscent of traditional package management. Also, it’s generally faster than typical containerized package managers in my experiences. Making packages is also relatively simple, in contrast to most other package managers; exceptions to this are AppImage and source-based package managers.

Stability is one of Haiku’s greatest strengths over many other OSes. It’s renowned for being very stable during the alphas and even on nightlies to this day. Meanwhile, other OSes can still get very unstable on so-called stable releases.

Lastly, snapshots are something which Haiku does rather well. Most other systems use separate partitions, filesystems with snapshotting, or both. Haiku needs none of these for its solution, or at least I don’t recall BFS itself having snapshots (please correct if wrong). It should be noted though that Haiku is gradually gaining support for BTRFS, a filesystem that does have snapshotting.

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Haiku can be built easily from scratch to a full operating system.

That’s about it. I cannot honestly think of anything Haiku does better than other operating systems.

Stack & Tile

“Haiku’s user interface provides a unique feature that puts the fact that windows have a yellow tab instead of a full-width title bar to perfect use. It’s called “Stack & Tile”.” (Borrowed from the Haiku user guide).
It is a really nice fature.

Well that is actually a nice innovation!

It could be more easy to use though, like “magnetic drag” on some interfaces (e.g. chrome).

Yes !
Even when someone is trolling (intentionaly or not) in the forum, knowledgeable members are answering witth calm in a very polite and intelligent manner.
This is the friendliest community (and I have been browsing linux forums for 15 years now, witnessing a lot of different open source communities)

Process Controller

It shows “the activity of your CPU(s) and the amount of used memory. It allows monitoring of individual teams, change their priority, and kill them if the program freezes. In multiprocessor environments it allows you to disable individual processors/cores.” (Borrowed from the Haiku user guide)

ProcessController provides a very detailled view of what’s going on in you system, better than Htop or all the process managers I tried on linux.

It also provides a very clean way of terminating rogue applications, preventing system crashes while doing so

Tracker’s just a godsend compared to most GUI file-managers out there, really. It’s faster, got a much more user-friendly UI (instead of the side-bar, menu-bar, icon-bar, user-hostile mess of most), and ofc spatial management. A lot of little things usually ignored or done wrong are done just right (like right-click drag for symlinks, great type-to-select functionality), etc.

Haiku’s interface is also the most usable one I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with-- it’s quick, pretty flexible, consistent, useful bindings, tabbing windows coupled with workspaces, etc.

Thanks for your explanation, I think it makes sense. In Linux world, for many years I am using Gnome due to its UI simplicity although not agree with all choices. Was avoiding KDE due to heavy options (and that ‘Apply’ button everywhere which I hate) but may deserve some re-visiting…

Thing is the more I am using Tracker the more annoyed I get with what other OSes offer…

I’ll keep this in mind for my Beta 3 review :smiley:

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I was always interested in computer,used windows, mac, linux and bsds for years on my computers, and while i have seen some nice ideas, i slowly lost my faith in their developers and nowadays i just ragefully hate them (also the program developers).

Somehow those developers thinks it is ok if the user struggles with their flow-breaker design choices but actually the computer, the os and the programs should struggle to carry out my orders.

I had to spoonfeed programs (free and unbilivable expensive too), i think consumer computing went in a really bad direction, i am disgusted by it.

Computers, os’s and programs were meant to help us, but they became crimes against humanity, their developers should be fined, their managers should be jailed. No exception.

Haiku is miles better than them.

In same time, I hate when they suddenly decide to change everything that you painfully learned because, you know, it’s better for you.
Also because they are aware that learning is painful so interfaces must be identical on every device from watch to desktop with triple 4k screens. You won’t have to learn it multiple times.
At the end you have, phones that can do everything but making a call is impossible if you have low static electricity in hands, watches that won’t work alone either because they are connected with other devices, and the list is longer everyday.
Hopefully, plane constructors have their own software providers otherwise it would raining metal…

Good day,

Things I like, customization, speed, simplicity… though there is, imho, still plenty of room for improvement.

The thing I miss most is seamless multilanguage support. I still can’t seamlessly change input language from latin based to cirillic to chinese… :cry:

Regards,
RR

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