Haiku alpha: Wow. Just wow.

I got riled up about five months ago because ReactOS, the wannabe Windows mimic, was making strides toward actual usability. So you can imagine my excitement after trying the Haiku OS alpha, and getting this on my Inspiron.

I understand that this was built, sort of, from the remains of BeOS, and I will admit a very, very brief run-in with BeOS about 12 years ago, if memory serves. I had only an oblique interest in it and I quickly reinstalled Windows after tinkering for an hour or two.

This is a horse of a different color though. Exceptionally smooth. Native resolution, mouse support, hard drive access, reasonable 3D acceleration (in a manner of speaking), USB access, and so forth. Lightning fast too — boot times in under 20 seconds to the desktop, a number I can’t reach with Arch Linux and not far off what I get from a customized Crux system.

My only issue was with networking — Haiku found my Intel wired connection with no problem, and even managed to connect and get an address. But for whatever reason, ping and Firefox both couldn’t find the connection, and I didn’t have time enough to track down the issue and solve it.

For alpha release software, this is a very promising show. I like almost everything about this — the size of the installation, the desktop look, the clean way the system applications and desktop widgets handle themselves. If I can track down why the network was inaccessible I definitely plan on reinstalling it and giving it another whirl.

13 thoughts on “Haiku alpha: Wow. Just wow.

  1. leosolaris

    I was playing with this a few days ago when someone mentioned it on the Arch Forums. It was a lot of fun, and this non-Linux open source has some real potential. Since it doesn’t have to worry about legacy support it will be pretty lean and mean for a while. Haiku will be one to watch for the next 4-5 years.

  2. Jeff Flowers

    I absolutely loved BeOS. I had to leave it behind when I upgraded to hardware that it wouldn’t run on, so you can imagine how happy I am to see Haiku reach Alpha status.

    Here’s a screenshot:


  3. LinuxLover

    I salute the effort, and think it’s a worthy project, but as of now, it looks like 1998 all over again. We’ve moved past this dated look. I’m sure a lot of updating in the future will move it along, but for now, it’s an OS to watch. I look forward to the day when users can choose a FreeBSD distro, Linux distro, Haiku, MacOS, ReactOS, or Windows… Competition is always good!

  4. Duncan Snowden

    To answer both leosolaris and LinuxLover in one, the idea of the Haiku project is to get a binary-compatible clone of the last release of BeOS first (ie, it does have some legacy issues, but of a different nature, and a lesser extent), then update it to modern standards, rather than get caught in the same trap as, say, ReactOS, of chasing a moving target, which – given its small dev team – it may never reach. So yes, it does look like 1998; that’s the idea. 😉

    I should add that I have no connection to the project, I’m just an interested follower like K. Be always seemed like a good idea to me, but I couldn’t afford it at the time.

  5. Zoltan

    Haiku is the only one project that grown out from nowhere, and alpha has very much potential. Think about it. Beos shaked the OS world, and everybody says the same: BeOS was really nice, and powerful. But Haiku gains support from linux communities between the times of netbooks, then it could blow up again in base. So, keep fingers crossed, and hail to you guys! Long run, be grown to legend!

  6. shae

    This is actually something that is completely new to me as I never experienced Be. It does not look that dated, especially considering their goals! I think that they could make a really cool OS to try. I can’t wait until their stable comes out and plan on at least giving it a shot.

  7. Gen2ly

    Always wanted to try BeOS when it was out but never had the hardware for it. Gonna give it a try. I wonder why they didn’t think about using the linux kernel though, would love to see it as a DE in Linux.

    1. vadim bobkovsky

      No fraking way. Please keep Linux kernel for GNU stuff. Haiku’s own microkernel is much better for the desktop and boy, it will be even cooler over time.

      1. K.Mandla Post author

        I have to agree. I think if Haiku “morphed” into something Linux-based it would lose a lot of its purpose, and a lot of its following. And then it would just be another desktop environment. Goodness knows there are plenty of those already. 🙄

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  10. Ken

    I recently tried Haiku on a VirtualBox instance and it was simply a pleasure to use. I’ve heard people say the GUI looks “dated” but I found it at least as pleasant as the current version of Gnome. What I like about it is that it doesn’t bang you over the head with confusing metaphors and painfully slow but pointless alpha blending (ala KDE/Gnome).

    Unfortunately, when I tried to boot a live CD, I got a “kernel debug” console with no instructions on how to report the problem. Linux’s kernel crashes aren’t better, but they are rare.

    I have a couple of reservations though. First, I’m worried about the security model. Since it’s a single-user OS, how do you run a process in a contained environment? Second, since I develop server software, I wonder how I could really go about in testing and developing it on a Haiku box.

    But still, I agree – wow. It’s beautiful and genuinely simple to use and understand.

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