What do you think of Haiku's UI?

Hi all, just a poll to gauge what people think about Haiku’s UI:

What do you think of Haiku’s UI?
  • I love it!
  • I love it, but it needs improvements
  • Haiku really needs a complete UI redesign
  • Yes, Haiku needs a more modern UI (like FlatLook but built-in) but we should also keep the current one too

0 voters

Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss below!


It is perfect the way it is.
Haiku’s look is the main reason why I’ve found ‘refuge’ from other OSs that are PACKED with unnecessairy and useless bells and whistles,fancy flashy GUIs with loads of garbage apps nobody ever uses (especially Windows and Mac lol). Majority of people always use alternatives to domestic apps.

Haiku is only OS (except some Linux dstros) I’ve used that actually provides everything you need pretty much.
If anybody decides to change current GUI (for whatever reason), please at least provide option to choose between that and current one.


Yes, that would be the best solution in my opinion as well if we were to do such a thing - we don’t want to force users to use certain features, we want to let them choose.


Or maybe we don’t want to.

One thing to take into consideration is that all options means more opportunities for software to not work, or not behave as designed.

Here are a few examples I can think of:

Some OS like to put the menubar at the top of the display instead of inside windows. Supposedly it is because of Fitt’s law and making the menu items easier to click. However, if you have focus follows mouse enabled, when moving your mouse towards the menu it is likely that you will accidentally activate another window than the one you were aiming at.

Some OS have window decorators that can’t be conveniently stacked together. As a result, applications cannot rely on the OS to do that and they have to implenent their own tabbing.

In general, adding options for everything means application developers cannot rely on anything. And they will end up developing their own solutions because they can’t assume anything about how the OS is operating.

Now, if you are talking only about the look and not the feel, it is a bit different. But it is still a lot of work to make sure an application looks correct in all different themes. There are cases I can understand (dark mode vs light mode for example) and others where I think it’s a waste of time (making things look like other OS instead of our own look).


Personnaly, the only UI I would appreciate to see living again is the Mac OS 7-9 UI.
But Haiku’s UI is very similar and I love it, I feel confortable with it, it’s clear, efficient, … magic!


I totally agree.
The way it feels now is perfect … to me, Haiku feels like FREEDOM … in every aspect.
Fiddling with the feeling of GUI in any way would ruin the experience in my humble opinion.

The way GUI in Mac and Windows feel (especially window behaviour and management) is perfect example of how NOT to design GUI lol
I have a perfect example for that :rofl: :rofl:

Why the f*@$ would anybody want separated panels … and that’s the case with quite a few programs under Mac OS.
Basically, if I keep CSP (in this case) open on my display tablet and click anywhere on another screen, the main window (canvas) disappears, with other panels only floating around lol
Not to mention that the freaking Dock is always in the way, no matter what you do. Yes, I know … you can auto-hide it, you can change position or size, but even then the dumb thing decides to suddenly ‘teleport’’ itself to another screen … as in ‘Here I am! Did you miss me?’ :sweat_smile:
And ofc … it resizes the window upon ‘teleporting’ in order to accommodate itself.

In the case of Windows … it’s too FLAT … it’s kinda dead. I don’t have good enough terms to describe it, but window management is simply terrible, especially when it comes to more ‘advanced’ things like splitting the screen or stacking opened windows.

Linux does it much better, but
Haiku does it perfectly! It is such a simple (visually) solution, but so powerful … and I am talking about the ‘magnetic’ feature of window management, sticking windows to one another or stacking them like tabs in a web browser.

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Yeah, I was talking about the look when I said we would let users choose - although I was thinking more of a situation where we have FlatLook, which is still based on Haiku’s current UI and has both light and dark mode support and the current UI (plus maybe the dark mode support added) co-existing.

One thing to remember for flat look is that we should not base the decision on what’s trendy or looks nice, but rather on user experience research.

In particular I have read about someone doing training for people who don’t know a lot about computers. In the modern user interfaces where everything is flat, they find people are very confused: you never know what’s a button, what’s a link, what’s just a label. And so your only way to discover things is to click everywhere to see if something happens. It sure looks nice, but it isn’t as convenient to use.

And this also apply in a different way to experimented users: having clear hints about these things helps to “read” an user interface a lot faster.

How does the flat look work from thjat point of view? Is it a step forward, a step back, or does it not change much about this?


Flat look actually just changes the styling of UI elements in Haiku - nothing much changes apart from that. It’s basically just the current UI with a modern feel to it. The person who made it seems to have thought it out really well and has gathered feedback on the forums, and you can see screenshots for yourself here:

I should note that there is a clear distinction between what is a button and what is not, so even though it has a “flat” look the buttons still look slightly raised.

On the contrary, separate panels in macOS software gives you the maximum customisability. Most Haiku software follow this pattern as well, which is use separate windows and do not occupy any more screen space then you’re supposed to. Also zoom functionality allows you to maximise the occupied space according to the content.

Most full-screen programs use space just for the sake of using it. It is bad.

Yes, some haiku programms have functionality in different independant windows, I actually like this and would like to see it a bit more, it’s a very good use of the S&T functionality which is somewhat unique for haiku. (for example i want to have a video-provider search window that stacks itself next to mediaplayer to allow easily viewing/enquing remote media, while still having all the neat things Mediaplayer can do)

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I thought I might also post this UI concept from 2008:

Gives a bit of food for thought… maybe the main ideas in this mock-up could be considered for implementation?

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We have swappable decorators and controllooks, you could build one in this style (maybe call it GlossyDecorator and GlossyControlLook)

I love the haiku UI! The UX too! But i think that needs some trendy features (like flat and dark) to users than only wants that, a touch of modern feel. In case of FlatLook i have some things doit that cover my eyes expectations :stuck_out_tongue: , but im waiting the beta3 release to package it (right now the source haiku code, changed a lot).

Some things that we need to be “more modern” (and this has nothing to do with usability, i only talk about eye-candy)

  • Animations (maximize, minimize, menus,etc).
  • Gradient and rounded support (the actual support causes many glitches in cases)
  • Transparencies
  • Shadows

As us can see, all we need is (or all depends) graphic acceleration.

They still don’t respond the same way they do in Mac.

which is use separate windows and do not occupy any more screen space than you’re supposed to.

See right there … that is where Mac f*#@$ fails hehe

If you have multiple windows open … even if they are mere file explorer, they ‘bury’ each other rather than just OVERLAP eachother like they do in any Linux distro I’ve used (even in freaking Windows! they did it properly lol )
So basically, you have to physically move or minimize every window to find the one you need in the pile of windows.
There are so many failures in Apple’s designs that nobody should ever look up to for the love of God …

Not really, some of that would need compositing maybe, but not really graphics accel.

as for dark mode, atleast for me, it is an important accesibility feature not so much about beeing modern.
I think the default controllok already fits fine with a dark mode too, if it doesnt in some places it can be fixed (like i did to the menu colors)

I am not sure I follow. I am a Mac user and my Finder windows always overlay nicely and remember where I left them.

There are many things that Haiku needs at the moment, and a change to the GUI is emphatically NOT one of them. It works, it’s simple, and it’s distinctive. Let’s discuss something useful.


I don’t know … I’m not Apple fanboy lol
It never worked for me. I’ve tried to explain the best I can, but it’s hard without demonstrating it … I’ll see if I can find some screenshots or something, because I’ve stopped using it.

Compring Macos with Haiku reminds me of something i read recently…

“(reffering to haiku-tan(personification))She is friends with almost anyone except Linux-tan who hates her de-inhibited behavior and is particularly fond of Tiger-TAN to the extreme that she actually develops a crush on her.”