I’ve been into ‘alternative operating systems’ for about as long as I can remember. I was using BeOS (x86) back when the company still existed and had to spend hours downloading it over a slow Modem. I’ve been reading over the current state of Haiku on and off for a while, mainly through posts on the forums and mailing lists that pop up on Google.
Here’s sort of the feeling I’m getting about the current community, which is sort of driving me away from wanting to get involved. Just to be fair – I’m going to mention all of the reasons I like Haiku and originally wanted to get involved.
- Haiku is still a small enough project that a little bit of work goes a long way
- The Kernel is written in C++ and all of the code I've read through so-far is nicely commented
- Open Source! (This should have been #1 :))
- The company/organization behind Haiku appears to be very well organized -- at least very good at looking organized. You guys have a great way of presenting information. And your site looks great!
- I loved BeOS (back in the day) and I'm very excited to see the work resumed.
- Many members of the 'community' are very excited about Haiku which is always a great thing.
- Some people are very anti-Linux. I don't understand the reasoning behind this. I doubt many (if any?) Linux users would ever have a negative feeling about Haiku. Each operating system serves their own purpose. Before you think I'm crazy for saying this, search through the Forums and read a bunch of posts that mention Linux.
- MIT is a great license. However, so is GPL. They each serve their own purpose. I'm never going to force someone else to choose a license. I have my personal ethics and so do other people. Unfortunately, I think if I wrote anything for Haiku and distributed it under a GPL license, people in this community wouldn't be very happy (or appreciative). This, again, is just the feeling I picked up by reading various forum posts.
- Here's my biggest gripe. However, I'll admit -- we've all been guilty of this before. It's just extra prevalent in the community posts I've been reading here. Granted, it was exactly the same way in the Linux community just a few years back: A lot of people have a lot of ideas. Some are great. Some are far-fetched. Some demonstrate a total lack of knowledge. Many people take their ideas and start designing fancy pictures or go into details on how they would see something working. Unfortunately, the development "team" (is it a team, or is it community members? I'm still vague on this one) has a ton of work before them and an obvious lack of manpower/resources. If everybody who wanted something done in Haiku just did it themselves, there would be a lot more done and a lot less people complaining/asking about getting something done. Some of the posts are just insane -- like people demanding drivers for Nvidia cards and then not understanding that (without reverse engineering) it's practically impossible and refuse to simply vote with your money to show companies what is important for you. I can't tell if people here are serious about using Haiku or if they (like I am now) simply drop in, play around for a bit, make crazy demands without offering anything in return, and then get bored and leave.
So this leaves me to ask the question: What are the demographics of the Haiku community? I’m not asking about region, age, etc… I want to know, with all of these users (which there is a fair amount), what do you use Haiku for, how/why did you come to Haiku, and what do you want to give back? Feel free to answer this question or take it rhetorically.
By the way, I want to give props to the developers and community leaders. You are doing an awesome job on this project. I really want to throw a little bit of development time in when I’m not busy with work – but other than for my own benefit and those who will be appreciative, I’m still debating with myself if it’s worth it.