“The bells fell silent
In the evening silence suddenly
Sakura smells “
Without Google, I certainly won’t put together who wrote this haiku, however, for some reason, if haiku is said, it is these seven words that pop up in my head. They’ve been there ever since the gym, the brain is an amazing storage device. The operating system of the same name jumps in second place, because at the time when I was at the mentioned gym, it did not exist yet.
At the time, BeOS was roaring: when I started studying, it was a promising novelty, when I graduated, it was already a dead horse. Haiku is his open-source tombstone, I read about it for years, sometimes I even write about it, here and there I try it in a virtual machine. I regularly meet one of the authors (that is, I met before they forbade it) on an 8-bit demo party. But I never spent more time in it.
Is that what you call an alternative systems promoter, Martin? Haiku is used by average grandmothers of average readers and you still cling to something as mainstream and dull as Void Linux PPC on ppc64le?
Fortunately, I got my hands on a quick repair laptop, which is already a good ten years old, but it contains at least a second-generation Intel Core i5. This is the HP EliteBook 8460p, the last four-digit numbered model before HP stopped making these bucumbers and switched to the more modernly designed three-digit EliteBooks. Only 4 GB of RAM is true, but if that’s enough for light browsing in Windows 10, it certainly won’t be enough in Haiku. I didn’t want to erase the internal drive, so I fished out a car, found by a SanDisk Cruzer with a capacity of a huge 16 GB, from the bottom of a drawer on the street and started the installation.
Right from the first boot from the installation media, it is possible to switch everything to Czech, not that I need it, but I guess that given the originally mentioned targeting of grandparents, it could be useful. So I choose this option. Later it turns out that it’s not 100%, but it’s definitely not bad at all. Considering how long it took Mac OS X to arrive officially in Czech, it’s actually a great job.
Installation is simple and fast. The user only wants to know where to install where, if (as in my case) no “where” exists, there will be a prompt to repartition the disks. Done in a few tens of seconds with the Be file system format and then it’s done so fast that I almost didn’t have time to take a screenshot.
The boot, not only the original one but also all the others, is also fast, tens of seconds at most, and the flash drive was not a miracle of speed, even when it was new. The display resolution of native, wired and wireless ethernet detected correctly, the sound system sees the sound system. I didn’t even expect it myself, time to try the application.
Application number one, two and three today is the browser. With the system installed, WebPositive is the moral successor of the original BeOS browser called NetPositive. Fortunately, it is not technologically its successor, it is based on the native port of WebKit, which corresponds to its capabilities. In short, I haven’t encountered a more serious problem, among the minor problems I would mention that some videos on YouTube could not be played without it being obvious why. I just found out that it didn’t work, the subsequent compatibility test told me that everything was fine, but again nothing was played. However, there is a solution to this problem in the form of a plugin enabling playback of YT videos in the system media player.
For those who would not like WebPositive, they will find NetSurf and OtterBrowser directly in the HaikuDepot repository. At least over the former but WebPositive wins.
Speaking of which, I’ll mention the HaikuDepot packaging tool. After installation, it contains two sources, namely Haiku and Haiku Ports. These repositories offer 3088 packages, which is an order of magnitude less than in rather smaller Linux distributions, on the other hand, it is definitely not an empty set. You will find a lot of multiplatform applications like VLC, Mplayer, Audacious, LibreOffice, digiKam, Blender, KeePassX, Telegram, DOSBox, gVim and others. There are also many applications developed specifically for Haiku or the original BeOS, such as the Becasso graphics editor, the BRIE development environment, or the BePodder multimedia aggregator. Of course, hundreds of utility ports from unix-like systems, compilers (gcc, fpc, sdcc, llvm), scripting languages (PHP, Python, Lua) and more.
I randomly installed two things from it: the two-panel file manager BeFAR (I’ve been using the windows version for almost twenty-five years) and the LibreOffice office suite.
There is no need to add anything special to the latter, I wrote this whole article in it, it looks and works like anywhere else – if you have / know / use, then you will not notice a problem. If you’re used to Microsoft Office, but what – this song has been played many times already…
However, the former was surprised. This is not a direct port of FAR Manager from Windows, but mostly new software. I didn’t even know from github how much of the original FAR was actually used, but it seems that no one has touched the sources for many years – even so, the program is 64-bit and multithreaded, so it does not lag behind its model in this regard. But it does not have more advanced features. It wasn’t until a while later that I realized that he was drawing icons in a window that looked like plaintext.
I normally spend most of the day in a terminal, in Linux I do everything in it faster that I would click somewhere slower. But here I just wandered around, I tried to shoot down a frozen music player (it did not do well OGG stream) and verified that the SSH client is present, functional and it is not a problem to connect somewhere where I know and can use it.
How about hastily before the owners arrive for EliteBook to try again? Although the Quake II port is among the packages, I don’t have the original game files on hand at the moment, so I can only believe that it works. So at least DOOM. Since then, I have a shareware episode on hand at all times, so I installed GZDoom and tried it.
During four hours of experimenting, I lost several applications (especially Media Player). I also dropped Haiku twice so that the kernel crashed and started the debugger – but it’s a developer nightly version, so I’m not angry with him for that. But it’s not a system I could switch to tomorrow morning and never look back. I’m used to my Unix practices, here I would have to learn a lot of things again. I’m used to when I want a program, I find it either in the repository (in Void Linux) or it’s SlackBuild (in Slackware) for it.
There just isn’t a lot of it here or it has to be found somewhere, and I got used to it a long time ago (and the authors probably also, that’s why there is HaikuDepot). I would compare Haiku to other peripheral operating systems used mainly by light users, or those who started a long time ago and will not change their habits every twenty or thirty years – for example, MorphOS, RISC OS or Arca OS.
But I can imagine him on some small SBC connected to the television, I don’t know tomorrow. However, it is also MorphOS, RISC OS or Arca OS…
PS: I can’t believe I came this far and didn’t mention one annoyance – Haiku uses Alt for keyboard shortcuts wherever other systems use Ctrl or a special key. You can probably get used to it, but at least in the beginning it’s awful
Source: Diit.cz by diit.cz.
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