Why do you use Haiku?

First of all, I use Windows, Linux and BSD so I’m no stranger to using non-Windows OSes. What makes BeOS so great? I understand a lot of its advantages compared to the other operating systems back when it first came out. It had a 64bit journaling FS and was tuned specifically for multimedia (whatever that means). I also read it was one of the first true multithreaded systems.

Something must have been awesome about it because Neal Stephenson in “In the beginning was the command line…” called Windows a minivan, Linux a tank, Macs a European car, and BeOS the Batmobile!

So I have a couple of questions. (I am truly - not just trying to stir things up)

  1. Why did you first start using BeOS?
  2. Why should anyone use Haiku vs Linux or *BSD? I understand that Linux/BSD originated and are tailored for being servers and such. BeOS is a desktop tailored. What does this truly mean and what are its true implications.

Thank you!

Ok, I’ll give my answers to this.

And to let you know, that I mainly use Windows, but really like using BeOS too. A few Linux distros are good too (I use PCLinuxOS sometimes too) - though I think BSD is a better Unix choice, but Linux seems to be the popular choice.

  1. I started hearing great things about BeOS 5 at my University. Caught my interest & had to check into it. Once I learned more about it & gave it I try, I started to really like it.

  2. 2 major Linux weaknesses. a) Code not written for SMP or multithreading. Linux will have to start rewritting programs & such. Multiple core is here & Linux won’t be able to effectively use both cores (you’d probably notice this if you run a server or convert videos,etc). b) Xwindows. I really think Xwindows is bloated & slows down Linux. Really needed a better Windowing system.

BeOS is:

  1. Multithreaded (will run fast on multiple cores).
  2. Boots up quick & is very responsive
  3. Has a responsive, clean (unbloated) Windowing system.
  4. Easy to use & understand. (I know what each directory means & what belongs in them).
  5. Also has posix compliance, so posix apps (for console) are easily ported over. (ie: uses gnu tools, libs, etc.)
  6. It generally feels & is a very fast OS.

What does it mean? Simple, it’ll effectively use your system resources to the Max & give the best multimedia performance. So you could run multiple videos or watch HD video even on a lower end system compared to Linux. Bring an older system back to life & it’ll feel faster than running Linux.

Only thing is it lacks drivers & applications at the moment, but has most of the major ones. Developers left BeOS for Linux which was Open Source.

My insight, if you want a server OS then BSD is the way to go. If you want a fast Desktop OS, then Haiku will be the way to go in the future.

Just to note, Haiku won’t shine until R2 or R3. (ie: Then it will really show what it is capable of doing & capture public interest).

As one of the people working on this project my view is highly biased, of course, but maybe I can tell you about my motivations:

I started using BeOS because I read how fast and cool it was. I installed it, was blasted away, and started coding for that platform.

Compared to my Windows and Linux installs, the responsiveness of BeOS was really incredible (today computers got faster and it’s not such a big difference). Another point for me was that I could finally understand everything about the OS from an end-user perspective. It basically mapped my personal understanding of an OS directly to the user experience. In Windows you have the bloated registry and in Linux you have hundreds of configuration files and scripts which, at that time, I often had to edit manually. It was just too much to learn and know, for no good reason. In BeOS you feel like you’re directly in contact with the lower level and at the same time things seem to be relatively easy (well, not perfect, but we’ll work on it). Also, BeOS offers this cool “I move this file here and it just works!” experience, for example, when installing drivers or add-ons. While on other platforms you really need an installer or special helper apps to handle the complexity, BeOS often makes things so simple that you could do it by hand.

What also really made me happy was that BeOS didn’t have totally overloaded configuration dialogs or 1000s of functions. It was kept simple. You don’t have to fiddle. You don’t get annoying system notifications. Plug-n-play is dead easy. Everything just works without getting in your way and you still have all the power where it really matters.

Regarding server vs desktop: I think the point is that our target audience is the home and business user. The desktop must be very easy to use and understand and everything must be more automated. On the server, only few people interact with the system directly and those who do are experts, so usability is not critical for a good app (it’s sufficient if it’s “just” stable and secure).

Don’t get me wrong. BeOS is far from perfect. Not even very good. Under the hood it’s slow and not very stable. There is no security. We lack important features. Also, I think there is much room for usability improvements. Fortunately, Haiku can fix this.

Our future:

We’re all here to build something new. R1 is just the foundation. Things will stay simple, but we want to introduce better ways of interacting with your computer and we will try to reduce complexity such that you can understand the system much more easily and at the same time get a more powerful platform. How much of this can be done will have to be seen (we’re secretly working out evil plans ;), but we will try to create a platform that makes you more productive and at the same time is very easy to use and not overloaded.

Uhm, I hope I didn’t promise too much. :slight_smile:

Waldemar Kornewald

“2 major Linux weaknesses. a) Code not written for SMP or multithreading”

But there is smp linux kernel for long time:

Most of the recent distributions come with SMP kernel.

Aimed at the first reply:

Okay, well I dont mean to be offensive or anything. But anyone who says they mainly use windows should NOT be talking about the technical weaknesses of linux because they DONT know what they are talking about and its extremely frustrating.

First off, windows has had that non-multithreaded apps problem for YEARS! Dont go off bashing *nix OS’s because the apps arent multithreaded. Actually more apps are written multithreaded under linux than windows, for the simple reason that linux was designed (originally) as a server platform and many servers utilize multiple CPUs.

Secondly, the X Window System (on its own) is probably one of the most lightweight windowing systems you could ever have. The X Window System itself is just really a basis for whatever you want on top of it, whether that be GNOME, KDE, XFCE, Fluxbox, Openbox, IceWM, etc. You have complete and utter control over how bloated or lightweight you want you window manager/desktop environment to be.

Lastly, multiprocessing has been in the linux kernel since the 90’s where windows only adopted it in Windows 2000. Now, almost every single modern distrobution ships with the SMP module enabled by default in the kernel.

Now for my opinion on Haiku:

I mainly use it because, it boots up incredibly fast, its unix, very responsive, nice lightweight desktop environment, nice interfaces, easy to use for most while still allowing advanced users some leeway.

[quote]Now for my opinion on Haiku:

I mainly use it because, it boots up incredibly fast, its unix, very responsive, nice lightweight desktop environment, nice interfaces, easy to use for most while still allowing advanced users some leeway.[/quote]

It’s NOT Unix… it has a Bash shell for commandline usage, many GNU binutils, and POSIX support… but that’s pretty much where it ends.

Hi Alex,

No offense taken. I also use Linux but not as my main system. I’ve gone through many distros. Currently use PCLinuxOS with KDE as 2nd OS. Also have used Gnome, XFCE, Fluxbox & IceWM window managers.

So, don’t look at me entirely as a Windows guy.

My SMP comparison was between BeOS & Linux ( not Windows ) because original poster wanted to know why choose BeOS over Linux/BSD. So, I didn’t inlcude Windows in the comparison.

SMP was available in Windows NT 4 ( maybe even earlier NT version? 3.5? ). NT 4 was released August 1996. Linux got SMP with kernel 2.0 released on June 1996. SMP was improved with Windows 2000 & in Linux with Kernel 2.6.

BeOS was designed to work with SMP systems from the start. Thus, BeOS has Excellent SMP performance on everything that is multithreaded. Linux & Windows have Very Good SMP support in their OS. Applications need to be multithreaded & optimized for SMP systems to take advantage of the OSes capabilities. BeOS apps are multithreaded by design.

As for X Windows being heavy. Well, I was thinking of KDE / Gnome ( window manager ). Most users ( the majority of Linux users ) will install either Gnome or KDE. These are heavy & slow down X windows. How many Linux users do you think use XFCE, FluxBox, IceWM? So, Xwindows itself may be light, but Xwindows + KDE/Gnome combined is heavy & slows down the OS. And almost every Linux user installs one or the other ( KDE or Gnome ), even though there are many other window managers to choose from. BeOS Windowing System is lightweight & fast overall.

I wasn’t looking to bash Unix/Linux. It was just a comparison between BeOS & Linux from my knowledge of things. The original poster wanted to know how BeOS/Haiku stacks up to Linux & I gave my comparison / reasons.