If Alpha 1 was baby Haiku, Alpha 2 was it learning to walk.
Alpha 1 was an impressive feat in computing history. The original BeOS was dead, but the very first release by the Haiku Project had proven that the Be desktop was alive. Haiku Alpha 1 was born to the world with a healthy digital heartbeat… and as a newborn in the world of software, the little OS still had a heap of growing up to do.
And so… we reach the next milestone in Haiku’s life: Alpha 2.
Table of Contents
Part 1 (This article): Startup and the Desktop
Part 2: Applets and Demos
Part 3: Applications
Part 4: Preferences
Part 5: Tracker Exploration and Conclusion
Sector 1 of 8: Startup
The first time we see Haiku Alpha 2, we’re greeted by the same splash screen introduced in Alpha 1, which is a black screen with the Haiku logo in color and a row of 7 icons underneath.
As it loads, the faded gray blocks light up with color icons from left to right.
It’s really reminiscent of a cross between the purple orbs in the classic BeOS and Zeta (and I probably reiterate it but there’s a hint of classic Mac in this as well)… and here is what this looks like when complete:
Once the startup splash disappears from view, we are presented with a lovely shade of blue and a white gloved right hand pointer:
And if we do boot from the Live CD (and yes, as mentioned back in the Alpha 1 review, these are live meaning we get a bootable, working system right from the disc), we get the FirstBootPrompt.
This “Welcome to Haiku!” box is a marked improvement over the simple dialog box that first appeared in Alpha 1, and now allows quickly setting the language and keyboard map, which makes the user experience feel much more complete. And this box will be a standard feature of all the releases ahead. The top portion reads:
“Do you wish to run the Installer or continue booting to the Desktop? You can also select your preferred language and keyboard layout from the list below. / Note: Localization of Haiku applications and other components is an on-going effort. You will frequently encounter untranslated strings, but if you like, you can join in the work at http://www.haiku-os.org.”
Below this top pane of text are the new Language and Keymap scrolling lists side by side, which are set to English and US-International from the available choices. The two buttons available are “Run Installer” and “Desktop (Live CD)”.
But either way, whether we install Haiku directly or run it from the disc, we are presented to the Haiku desktop, whose origins can be found in the classic Be desktop.
Sector 2 of 8: Around the Alpha 2 Desktop
In Alpha 2, we have the same Deskbar in the top right corner by default, and the default desktop icons in the top left corner: the startup disk (Haiku), BeBook, Home, User Guide, Welcome, and Trash.
Like all Haiku releases so far, there’s a Haiku logo on the bottom center of the blue background (set by default in Background preferences).
Focus 1 of 4: About box
Before taking a look at the Deskbar and replicants, let’s learn a bit about this release from the ‘About this system’ link in the Leaf menu. The box takes after its predecessor Alpha 1 (and the R5/Dano era box from BeOS).
So, on the left we have the Haiku logo, then Version (R1/alpha2 Revision 36769, GCC 2 Hybrid), Processor (Intel, 2.29 GHz), Memory (511 MB total, 71 MB used, 13%), Kernel (May 8 2010 20:58:31) and Time running (2 minutes, 40 seconds). What’s impressive about this is with less than a year of turn around time, Haiku put out a much improved second public release (remember the kernel for Alpha 1 [Revision 33109] was built on September 12, 2009).
So, now that we’ve seen the About box, let’s resume our tour of the Desktop and examine the Deskbar here.
As mentioned before, the Deskbar sits in the top right corner of the screen (here and in all Be style desktops). At its top is the Leaf menu with the blue Haiku leaf (which does resemble a blue feather somewhat as well). Below the edge to edge Leaf menu button is the applet tray (shown here with ProcessController, the little media speaker, and the time). Next to this is a little handle that allows repositioning it to different corners or along an edge, and the application blocks or tiles for what’s running. So, here we have Tracker (which always will show, as this design dates back to BeOS).
But perhaps the most important element up here is the Leaf menu. Here, we have “About this system, Find, Show replicants, Mount, Deskbar preferences, Shutdown, Recent documents, Recent folders, Recent applications, Applications, Demos, Desktop applets, [and] Preferences”.
And if you noticed the ‘Deskbar preferences’ link had changed from Alpha 1 or from BeOS Dano here — you’d be right. Haiku Alpha 2 is the first official release (although this idea does borrow from Zeta) to have the Deskbar preferences in a box… and honestly, this just makes sense as the options began to get larger than what a submenu could accommodate.
For instance, consider the new preferences box brings in the recent settings in from their previous ‘Configure Be menu’ location, and puts them in a ‘Menu’ area as a tighter trio of check boxes for documents, folders, and applications. Quite frankly, the purpose of the old box didn’t make much sense (at least to this writer), and in Alpha 2 it is thankfully gone. In its place, there is an “Edit menu” button that opens the menu folder right in Tracker (which feels so much easier). Next to ‘Menu’ is ‘Window’ with check boxes for “Always on top” and “Auto-raise”.
In the bottom half, there’s Applications with “Sort running applications, Tracker always first, Show application expander, Expand new applications” on the left side and “24 hour clock, Show seconds, European date, [and] Full date” on the right. And this new feature in Alpha 2 just feels so much cleaner than the menu that was previously in both Dano and Alpha 1.
Now, as for the application expander, this was also available in Alpha 1 (which is another feature I noticed in Zeta as well). In short, for those who haven’t yet tried this feature, blocks expand out when the little arrow is clicked (or if we opt to have them do it automatically) and we can switch between not only apps but also individual windows.
Also, in Alpha 1, I hadn’t paid much attention to mini mode, but I’d like to do so starting here (mainly because of Beta 2, which may change the classic design of this feature). Mini mode is enabled by crunching the bar down into a smaller corner by dragging the handle. It’s a third way of working with the Deskbar that I really like as it gives an application menu next to the Leaf menu on top, similar to how the classic Mac OS had a menu in the same spot. Under this is the usual app tray… and as you can see it takes up much less space this way:
Like in Alpha 1, recent applications, folders, and documents still open as submenus from the main menu in Alpha 2 as shown below:
Focus 3 of 4: Replicants
Like its predecessor and the BeOS before it, Alpha 2 supports replicants, which basically allow making copies of the running application and like in the classic Be desktop and Alpha 1, these little copies can be dragged around by their handle on the bottom right and remain running after their parent window is closed. Shown below are replicants of Clock and DeskCalc (the default calculator):
And for those new to the Be and Haiku universe, to remove a replicant, we can contextually click on one of their handles and click ‘Remove replicant’ as shown here:
Focus 4 of 4: Find box
Lastly, before moving on to exploring applets and demos in the next part of this look at Alpha 2, here is a look at the find feature in Haiku.
One interesting thing is that ‘On’ and ‘All disks’ seem to overlap here… but otherwise this is the same Find box that we would see in the classic BeOS desktop.
We have a query menu (represented by a triangle), a trio of pop-up menus for “All files and folders, by name, All disks”, a text field, query proxy, and Search button.
When the query drawer is opened, the Find box expands with a new “Query name” text field and check boxes for “Include trash” and “Temporary”.
So, if we do a search for ‘duet’ (since this is the second Haiku alpha release), you can see the system will near instantly return not only the file I have searched for, but it will also generate and store a query for this search as well — thanks to the query support that is built right into the Be File System in Haiku Alpha 2.
And that is it as far as a basic look around the Haiku desktop. In the next sections of exploring Alpha 2, I’ll be looking at its demos and desktop applets, applications, preferences, around a few folders in the Tracker, and the slightly tweaked shutdown box in Alpha 2, so please stay for the next 4 parts ahead!
I really, really like this stuff — and hope you do too! 🙂
And hey, it takes time for me to bring all this together. If you like it, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please support me on Patreon! Either way, again, thanks for reading (especially this part)!
In the 5 parts of the Haiku Alpha 1 review, I took a look at the Desktop, the applications, demos, and preferences set, and a few ‘odds and ends’ around the system as well. And… at last, as an added extra to the review, here’s an extra or bonus article showing the installation process.
As usual, when starting Haiku, we see the logo and the 7 blocks centered on a black screen. As the system loads, the blocks ‘light up’ with color from left to right like a progress bar.
And… as covered in the main review, since we’re booting up from Live CD media, Haiku presents a dialog that reads: “Do you wish to run the Installer or continue booting to the Desktop?” with buttons for Desktop and Installer.
Of course, we want to install with Installer, so I’ve went ahead and selected that. Doing so presents me with a “Welcome to the Haiku Installer!” window with a ‘read me’ of helpful tips and advice for installation which replaces the software license agreement window from the BeOS. At the bottom, we have Quit and Continue.
When we do continue, we’re brought to the main Installer window, which is very much faithful to the BeOS, albeit with differences in some parts of the design, thanks to an evolution of what R5 would most likely look like in 2009. The Haiku logo is larger than the Be logo of the past, and the status text (“Choose the disk you want to install onto from the pop-up menu. Then click ‘Begin’ ”) appears in the same top section instead of being in its own box.
Below that, the Installer window gives us an “Install from” pop-up menu (shown here as “Haiku — 379.9 MB”) and an “Onto” pop-up menu below that, where we can choose the disk we’d like to install to. There’s also a “Show Optional Packages” collapsible pane (expandable with a right-facing triangle widget), and “Setup partitions…”, “Write Boot Sector”, and “Begin” buttons.
Compare this to the Installer window in R5 and one can definitely see both the family resemblance and also the differences between these two installation boxes. For instance, in addition to the visual changes, “Setup partitions…” only appears if “More Options” (the Optional Packages switch in Haiku) is clicked, and Haiku Alpha 1 has a “Write Boot Sector” button where this doesn’t.
That said, let’s move on with the installation and get to setting up partitions. As mentioned in the main review, the DriveSetup application in Haiku has received a visual makeover from the classic version in R5 and Dano. Here, we have a graphical preview pane running along the top to show what the volumes or partitions look like for the selected disk, and a columned list of disks at the bottom (with Device, Filesystem, Volume Name, Mounted At, and Size columns).
Like the classic version, disks are collapsible, but thank goodness and the developers, this version gets an upgrade in that we don’t have to deal with the quad partition map anymore — we can click the partitions under a drive in the list directly and deal with them that way like one would expect in a modern age.
And lastly, the menu system itself has been cleaned up. There’s now just 2 menus: Disk and Partition. To get started, we’ll need to open Partition. There, we have Create, Initialize, Delete, Mount, Unmount, and Mount All entries, and under Initialize, we have Intel Extended Partition, Intel Partition Map, Be File System, and EFI GUID Partition Map. Since this is a legacy machine with BIOS, we’ll choose the Intel partition map (otherwise known as the MBR or ‘master boot record’ table).
We’re then warned in the form of a dialog box: “Are you sure you want to initialize the partition ‘Haiku’? After entering the initialization parameters, you can abort this operation right before writing changes back to the disk” with Continue and Cancel buttons.
And after clicking Continue, Haiku double checks with yet another alert: “Are you sure you want to write the changes back to disk now? / All data on the disk ‘Haiku’ will be irrevertably lost if you do so!” with Write Changes and Cancel. Irrevertably? That’s the first time I’ve heard that word… anywhere. In fact, I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen it elsewhere in the Be universe. I like it!
And now that the MBR (or Intel map) has been written, I’ll open Partition again and click Create for the next step. I will say honestly that it’s pretty clear this was built for people already familiar with DriveSetup or the Be universe, as to someone coming to Haiku for the first time, I could see where Create and Initialize could look pretty similar to each other — but perhaps this is just me.
But anyway… the Partition Size appears when we click Create. Here, we have a slider where I can choose to use all 8191 MB of disk space here, or otherwise use a piece of it. There’s also a grayed out Partition Name text field, Partition Type pop-up menu (set to “Be File System”), Active Partition check box (which we need to ensure is enabled), and in the bottom right, Cancel and Create buttons.
And once again, after clicking Create, Haiku warns “Are you sure you want to write the changes back to disk now? / All data on the partition will be irrevertably lost if you do so!” with Write Changes and Cancel buttons again.
Yet another dialog mentions: “Are you sure you want to initialize the partition [blank]? After entering the initialization parameters, you can abort this operation right before writing changes back to the disk” with Continue and Cancel.
And since we do want to ‘Continue’, the next window is a box with a Name text field (‘Haiku’ by default) and Blocksize (“2048 (Recommended)”) by default with Cancel and Initialize buttons.
The “Are you sure you want to write the changes back to disk now? / All data on the partition will be irrevertably lost if you do so!” with Write Changes and Cancel.
At long last, we finally get an info box after writing changes that “The partition ‘Haiku’ has been successfully initialized.” So let’s click ‘Ok’ (and from there, go back and close DriveSetup).
And thankfully, the Installer window now indicates we are ready to go with a fresh “Haiku — 8.0 GB” disk showing in the Onto menu and “Press the Begin button to install from ‘Haiku’ onto ‘Haiku’ ” in the status area.
When we click Begin, “Starting Installation” appears in the status area, all the controls go inactive and gray out, and Begin switches to a Stop button.
Installation itself looks like in the screen capture below. The status area reads “Performing installation” and above the status bar (with a soft light blue gradient progress fill and white background), “Install Progress:” with the current file name and file x of y appears. So in this case, it’d be “Install Progress: TGATranslator” and [file] “6499 of 16835”.
Refreshingly, unlike with the classic BeOS, there’s no Be boot manager (bootman) utility to run afterwards. Haiku handles this nicely, and we’re informed in the top right: “Installation completed. Boot sector has been written to ‘Haiku’. Press Quit to restart the computer or choose a new target volume to perform another installation.”
But to be on the safe side (as I have learned from personal experience messing with the alpha releases on both virtual and real hardware) I’ll go ahead and click the “Write Boot Sector to Haiku” button just in case, which returns “Boot sector successfully written” in the top area, and with that… now I’ll go ahead and quit.
And that is a look on how to install Haiku Alpha 1!
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
And if you like my work, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please link to or follow my page, or support me on Patreon!
At last, we’re closing in on the fifth part of this review of Haiku Alpha 1, after looking at the Desktop, applications, demos, and preferences in previous articles.
While my main focus here will be opening folders in Tracker, I’ll also take a quick look at the Team Monitor, Terminal, ProcessController, TextSearch, and the shut down box as well. And with that said, let’s get started!
Sector 7 of 9: Tracker folders
I’d taken a look at Tracker, the default file manager on both the BeOS and Haiku, back in the first part of this review. Here, more accurately, this really is OpenTracker rather than the original, but nevertheless, it is Tracker.
Holding down a click on a disk (or doing a control-click or ‘right click’) brings up a contextual menu. Here, we can use the very nice drill-down feature, where we can browse the file system with a series of menus right on the spot. It’s also possible to click “Open, Get Info, Edit Name, Mount (via a submenu), Unmount”, and of course, use the available Add-Ons.
The home folder has config, mail, people, public_html, and queries folders inside. There’s also a sample text file I made, a tile for the background, a Bash history file, and some media samples (i.e. the ‘Girl with the Flaxen Hair’ file) for testing MediaPlayer.
Here, I’ve gone into the config folder, where there’s add-ons, be, bin, boot, etc, fonts, lib, and settings.
And I won’t cover everything in the settings folder, as that’d take too long, but starting with folders first, visible in this screenful of files, we can see:
Beyond the folder of configuration or settings files, there’s other folders in here as well such as a place to put add-ons for the input_server, kernel, Screen Saver, Tracker, and (file) Translators.
Here, for instance, are add-ons to ZipOMatic and FileTypes.
So, since I’d like to cover some of the main folders, I’ll make things a bit easier and start with a montage of folders here to save article space and reading time. Shown below, we have…
The startup disk, which has apps, common, develop, home, optional, preferences, and system folders on it.
apps, which doesn’t contain the main application set, but does contain folders (and binaries, etc. inside them) for BePDF, BeZillaBrowser, Pe, Vision-0.9.7-ff-090826, and WonderBrush… basically the extras bundled with the Haiku system.
common, which contains add-ons, bin, boot, build-1, data, etc, fonts, include, info, lib, libexec, man, settings, share, and ssl.
And finally, optional which has system and preferences inside (empty), and develop, with abi, etc, headers, lib, and tools.
The system folder itself (which replaces the ‘beos’ folder from the classic BeOS) contains add-ons, apps (the main application set), bin, boot, data, demos, documentation, etc, fonts, lib, preferences, and servers folders inside. This is also where the Tracker, Deskbar, NewOS/Haiku kernel (kernel_x86), haiku_loader, and runtime_loader all reside.
Inside the servers folder (as I’m sure every Be/Haiku enthusiast wants a quick glance in there), we have app_server, cddb_daemon (for querying CD info), debug_server, input_server, mail_daemon, media_addon_server, media_server, midi_server, net_server, print_server, registrar, and syslog_daemon. If you are coming from R5 or Dano, you’ll definitely notice that like with some of the preferences and applications, there’s also icons here that have changed.
The contents of add-ons inside the system folder is a bit different than the simpler one inside the personal or home configuration folder. Here, there’s: accelerants, disk_systems, input_server, kernel, mail_daemon, media, opengl, Print, Screen Savers, Tracker, and Translators.
The bin folder contains a folder full of useful binaries, and I’ll just go ahead and list the first part of what appears on screen:
The boot folder contains Bootscript, Bootscript.cd (the Live CD version of the boot script), InstallerFinishScript, InstallerInitScript, Netscript, and SetupEnvironment.
Under data is the artwork folder (this is where the default backgrounds go), plus Canna, KeyboardLayouts, Keymaps, licenses, sounds, synth, and timezones folders.
And… under etc, there’s bash_completion.d, fortunes, vim, word_dictionary, word_index, bash_completion, group, inputrc, passwd, profile, sysless, sysless.in, teapot.data, and termcap.
Finally, here is a list of Tracker add-ons (Backgrounds, DiskUsage, FileType, Mark as New, Mark as Read, Open Target Folder, OpenTerminal, TextSearch, ZipOMatic) and some of the screen saver modules (which include DebugNow, Flurry, Haiku, IFS, Message, Spider).
Sector 8 of 9: Odds and ends
And… I think that’s enough folder surfing for now. Let’s move on and explore some other parts of Haiku Alpha 1!
Like the classic BeOS, Haiku has the Team Monitor, where it is possible to see a list of and force quit running applications and servers.
The layout is pretty simple and takes after the layout from BeOS Dano. At the top, there is the list of processes (with little icons next to each that I’m guessing are 8×8), a “Kill Application” button, info and directions that read, “Select an application from the list above and click the ‘Kill Application’ button in order to close it. / Hold CONTROL + ALT + DELETE for 4 seconds to reboot”, with “Force Reboot” and Cancel buttons at the bottom.
And since I can expand out the monitor, the full list reveals registrar, debug_server, net_server, app_server, syslog_daemon, input_server, Deskbar, media_server, midi_server, print_server, cddb_daemon, and media_addon_server. System processes are listed in blue.
Lastly, the “Restart the Desktop” button will appear next to the ‘Force Reboot’ button if Tracker or Deskbar are quit.
Here, I’m just doing a little bit with the Terminal. By passing various flags to uname, we can see our machine is BePC, its name is ‘shredder’, the hardware platform is ‘unknown’, and the operating system is Haiku. pwd shows our starting point at our home folder is /boot/home, and whoami reveals that we are running as user (albeit with full system access).
Some of the thread names get funny — for example, there’s “big brother is watching you” in media_server and “Yeah, baby very shagadelic” in media_addon_server.
But if we are talking about threads…
… then we really need to head to the very useful and versatile ProcessController utility, which lives in the Deskbar in Haiku Alpha 1. From earlier articles, you may remember or recognize this… and now it is officially part of the system.
ProcessController consists of a series of menus; the main one gives three submenus (“Quit an Application, Memory Usage, Threads and CPU Usage”), a link to open a “New Terminal”, a “Live in the Deskbar” check option, and “About ProcessController…” If we get into the ‘Threads and CPU Usage’ menu, we get a list of running teams (which are the same ones seen in Terminal and Team Monitor), with nice utilization meters to the right of each. And if we go down a level into kernel_team as an example, we get a list of threads that branch out of it. If we were to go further down, we could, but for now I’ll stop at this first list of threads.
Memory Usage shows “System Resources [and] Caches”, again with utilization meters like in the ‘Threads and CPU Usage’ view. Here, however, the focus is different as the focus is on the memory use for each app and server, as shown below:
The third menu option, “Quit an Application”, works like an instant click of the ‘Kill application’ button in the Team Monitor. All the applications and servers are displayed just as they would be there, and by clicking a running application name, this will tell it to force quit.
TextSearch is a very useful utility in Haiku; I won’t go through the menus (File, Actions, Preferences, History, Encoding) here to save time… but I will really quickly demo it.
While TextSearch can run standalone, it’s really useful when summoned as an add-on from the Tracker. Here, I have two files: dano and maui… and I’d like to see if a particular word or phrase appears in both — and this tool makes that really easy.
I simply type ‘r5’ into the box and press return (or Search) and TextSearch does the rest just like a graphical version of grep. As shown below, it finds the line where I’ve used R5 in both documents, and from there, I can easily open and edit them.
This comes in super handy when working on a project, either when writing documents or writing code, as the computer can visually find every occurrence within the folder someone summons this from.
The about box reads “TextSearch / Created by Matthjis Hollemans / Contributed to by Peter Hinely, Serge Fantino, Hideki Naito, Oscar Lesta, Oliver Tappe, Jonas Sundström, Luc Schrijvers and momoziro”.
Sector 9 of 9: Shutting down (and Conclusion)
As mentioned in a previous part of this review, I really love this shut down box! Again, this is probably because it reminds me so much of the Mac; somehow the single question of “Do you really want to shut down the system?” makes me feel at home, and maybe that’s because I am running this on a Mac. But I also believe that my like for this box is because of how compact and straightforward this is regardless.
Upon clicking Shut Down, like the BeOS, shut down starts instantly and we get a Shutdown Status box where it’s now “Asking ‘Tracker’ to quit”.
This message changes as the system shuts down more services (again, like in BeOS), so here, it shows “Asking ‘Deskbar’ to quit.”
Here’s yet a third screenshot where it reads, “Asking other processes to quit.” Keep in mind on a fast enough machine the shutdown process happens within a few seconds.
Once the system has shut down, in true Be tradition (and shall I say, retro fashion as other systems circa the classic BeOS like Apple’s System 7 and Microsoft Windows 95/NT did this as well), Haiku presents us with: “It’s now safe to turn off the computer.” And… we get a nice ‘Restart System’ button.
I really wanted to focus on this, because this release is the only Haiku where this feature will be; Alpha 2 and later drop this. A part of me wishes there was a “Enable safe to turn off message” check box somewhere for fun… but all things must grow and change…
Alpha 1 remains one of my favorites in the series to look at — mainly because of little details like the “System is Shut Down” box that were quietly phased out later on, and also because Haiku’s Alpha 1 really was the debut release. From the window decor to the details in the icons, it’s clear a lot of love went into shipping this first release. Keep in mind that minus pieces like the Open Tracker, and parts integrated in from other free software projects (like the GNU coretools and Bison), this was a complete re-implementation and really did take a lot of work to successfully put together into a running, public release.
So, in summarizing the opening article of this look at Alpha 1, I do believe that Haiku succeeded in doing what they set out to do with this release: keeping the BeOS alive by giving it a solid, open platform. Overall, Alpha 1 really was Haiku trying to establish and find itself in the world of operating systems, and as we will see as we continue through the Alpha release timeline, a lot still needed done in order to bring it into the modern era.
And I think as my closing comment for this look at the first Haiku, I can say that even as I look at this fledgling release a decade after its debut, it still is unique… and beautiful.
Until next time, classic Haiku — see you in Alpha 2!
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
And if you like my work, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please link to or follow my page, or support me on Patreon!
So far, we’ve looked at the basics of the Haiku desktop, the application set, and also the demos, and this finally brings us to the fourth part of this look at Haiku Alpha 1: the Preferences set.
Sector 6 of 9: Preferences
Just like with the applications, we can either pick preferences from a list in the Leaf menu, or we can click the folder directly, which will open the Preferences window in Tracker. It appears here as a list, but again, I really like the icons, so let’s look at it in more detail…
And after switching to Icon View, everything becomes so much crisper and cleaner. Like the applications, all the preferences have new, beautiful vector icons, which means they have cleaner lines and colors, can scale without pixelation, and icons can be rendered much larger than their BeOS counterparts while also having a smaller footprint.
Listed below are 20 preferences (listed in the order they appear in the window): VirtualMemory, Tracker, Touchpad, Time, Sounds, ScreenSaver, Screen, Printers, Network, Mouse, Media, Keymap, Keyboard, Fonts, FileTypes, E-mail, DataTranslations, CPUFrequency, Backgrounds, and Appearance.
Preference 1 of 20: Appearance
The first preference, Appearance, is not in the classic BeOS and is new to Haiku. It has two panes which one can switch between via tabs: Colors and Antialiasing.
Colors itself is a direct descendant of the version back in Dano. A list of configurable options to colorize is in the top half (rather than being in a pop-up menu), and a color well (square instead of rounded), the grayscale + RGB slider, and Revert and Defaults make up the bottom half. Basically, in terms of functionality, this tab is pretty much the old Colors preferences with a few tweaks.
However, unlike in Alpha 2, and maybe it’s just the VM I’m using — it would appear that even restarting Tracker and Deskbar does not seem to apply all the options in here… so I think the Colors pane still must’ve been a work in progress in Alpha 1.
But, anyway, in moving on to the second pane (Antialiasing), at the top there are “Glyph hinting” and “Anti-aliasing type” pop-up menus. Under these, you’ll notice (with glyph hinting set to On and Grayscale anti-aliasing) that the ‘Reduce colored edges filter strength’ slider is grayed out and inactive. The reason for this? Well… it’s listed right below said slider:
“Subpixel based anti-aliasing in combination with glyph hinting is not available in this build of Haiku to avoid possible patent issues. To enable this feature, you have to build Haiku yourself and enable certain options in the libfreetype configuration header.”
And, as far as I know, this was actually done because of the way the Mac handled its font smoothing in Mac OS X and Haiku wanted to ensure it could smooth fonts without running into a possible patent issue. However, we can tinker with the “Glyph hinting” to switch it Off from On, or apply it to “Monospaced Fonts Only”.
The same is also possible with the “Anti-aliasing type”, where one can pick “Grayscale” or “LCD subpixel”.
And — if we do set the right combo of options, we can enable the filter strength slider. But in any case, one thing that Haiku does have right “out of the box” by default is font smoothing across all applications on the desktop.
Preference 2 of 20: Backgrounds
Per its name, Backgrounds allows changing the desktop background. Like in R5, the Haiku version of Backgrounds (in this enthusiast’s humble opinion) has chosen to stick to a Mac OS 8 way of setting backgrounds. And… much as I do like Haiku’s loyalty to the old designs, I also honestly wish Haiku would’ve made a more modern Backgrounds pane for their first ever release.
Nevertheless, in touring the preference box itself, we have a Preview monitor on the left that shows the current color or picture on the ‘screen’ with X and Y boxes (for when manual positioning is on). On the right side, we start with pop-up menus for “Current Workspace”, “Image”, and “Placement”. Then, below this we have “Icon label outline” (i.e. add a shadow to the text under icons) and the RGB slider inherited from BeOS (with Red, Green, and Blue sliders and text fields) plus Haiku’s added grayscale strip. At the very bottom are Revert and Apply.
The top pop-up allows choosing the scope of the changes, so we can set for All Workspaces, Current Workspace, “Default folder” (yes, you can set folder backdrops here!) or “Other folder…”
As for the Image menu, we can choose None for a plain color (like the default shade of blue), the Haiku logo graphic (which is overlaid on the blue), or “Other…” to search for additional backgrounds.
The default spot is in /boot/system/data/artwork as shown through the pop-up location menu in the open box below, and also as shown, Alpha 1 just offers the Haiku logos by default.
But… that doesn’t mean we can’t add in our own. Thanks to the included graphics tools, I can make my own backdrop, which I’ll just call “blocks”. We can then set the Placement to “Manual” (hence the X and Y boxes mentioned earlier), “Center”, “Scale to fit”, and “Tile”.
Since the blocks are so small (and I intended to make a tiled background anyway), let’s go ahead and set the flat, tiled blue blocks as the new desktop background.
Preference 3 of 20: CPUFrequency
Next is a preference that is new to Haiku (or at least as far as I know) called “CPU Frequency”. Its function apparently is to adjust the stepping features of the processor, which can help either boost performance or conserve power. Up on top, we have a section and a pop-up labelled “Stepping Policy”, and below is “Dynamic Stepping” with a slider to “Step up by CPU usage” ranging from 0 to 100 percent. Under this is “? MHz” (which most likely means Haiku does not know the value here) and a text field for “Integration Time [ms]” (milliseconds) set to 500. Finally, there’s also a “CPU Frequency Status View” section where there’s an “Install Replicant into Deskbar” button and also a replicant (showing the same unknown MHz).
Stepping Policy has modes for Dynamic Performance, High Performance, Low Energy, and a submenu to Set State (which is empty here). In a way, this really makes this an ‘energy saving’ preferences that together with ScreenSaver allows adjusting the power settings of the Haiku workstation (albeit without a ‘sleep’ mode).
Preference 4 of 20: DataTranslations
DataTranslations comes back into the land of classic. It’s pretty simple. On the left is a list of MIME types (which includes BMP Images, EXR Images, GIF Images, JPEG2000 Images, JPEG Images, PCX Images, PNG Images, PPM Images, RAW Images, RTF Text Files, SGI Images, StyledEdit Files, TGA Images, TIFF Images, WonderBrush Images). And on the right, there’s an icon and description for that file type’s translator, and depending on what’s selected, an Info button and settings that appear as well.
Now this preference is something that you may remember from back when I was covering the unofficial distributions; the classic BeOS version of the Mail preferences was different. This is a new mail pane for Haiku’s mail client.
E-mail in Haiku has two tabbed panes (Accounts and Settings), and in Accounts, there’s a list pane on the left with an Add and Remove button at the bottom for managing mail accounts. On the right is a big mailbox icon with a pencil, and “Make a new account with the Add button. / Remove an account with the Remove button on the selected item. / Select an item in the list to change its settings.” On the very bottom are Revert and Apply.
If we do choose to add an account, “Create New Account” opens with a single section: Account Settings. Here, there’s an Account Type and POP3 pop-up menu at the top and E-mail Address, Login Name, Password, Account Name, and Real Name text fields. Back and Ok sit at the bottom for navigation.
Upon opening the Account Type menu, this allows changing between three modes: Receive Mail Only, Send Mail Only, Send and Receive Mail. More than likely, the third will probably be the most popular choice… though I wouldn’t get mail using Alpha 1 anymore due to its age.
It’s also possible to choose between IMAP and POP3:
Finally, in the second tab (Settings) there’s two sections.
Mail Checking starts with a pop-up menu with ‘Never’ selected, with a “Check every” text field next to it that would become active if an option were picked. Under this are two check boxes: “Only When Dial-Up is Connected” and “Schedule Outgoing Mail When Dial-Up is Disconnected”.
Miscellaneous has a pop-up menu for “Show Connection Status Window”, an “Edit Mailbox Menu…” button (inactive here), and a “Start Mail Services on Startup” check box.
Preference 6 of 20: FileTypes
FileTypes is definitely a classic preferences pane that originates from the classic BeOS days. In the left pane is application, audio, image, message, multipart, text, and video as categories in a tree view. Everything here is neatly and nicely collapsed.
On the right side is an Icon section, File Recognition section (with an Extensions list pane and Add and Remove buttons), Description section (with “Internal Type” and Type Name and Description text fields, Preferred Application section (with a pop-up menu (set to ‘None’ here) and Select and Same As buttons), and lastly, an Extra Attributes section with a list pane in two columns and Add and Remove buttons.
FileTypes has two menus. The first, the File menu, has “New Resource File”, an “Open” item and submenu, an “Application Types” item, “About FileTypes” and Quit.
The second menu, Settings, has “Show Icons in List” and “Show Recognition Rule” as check options.
If we open a file type just for fun (in this case, I’ve clicked Be Application out of the ‘application’ category), the main body of the preference populates. The familiar stack of the yellow cube on the blue and red appears as an icon, “Be Application” and “Generic Be Application executable” appears as the Type Name and Description in the Description section, and Tracker (the default file manager) appears as the Preferred Application.
And before leaving this preferences pane, this version of “FileTypes written by Axel Dörfler / Copyright 2006–2007, Haiku” according to the About box.
Preference 7 of 20: Fonts
The next preference pane is also a throwback to the classic BeOS… but it is different. From a Dano perspective, the ‘anti-aliasing’ or font smoothing options in Render is not there because it’s been moved to the new Appearance preferences, (and since Character Map replaces the options in Overlay, this tab also doesn’t make an appearance). From both a R5 perspective (since this is what Haiku appears to want to model) and Dano, the old Cache tab is no longer there either. This is more than likely because with the new font technologies… this really isn’t needed for a general use desktop OS.
And so… because it no longer has a need to display itself in tabs, Fonts now displays everything in a single view in Haiku (Alpha 1), and this would be the contents of the old ‘Fonts’ tab in the classic Fonts preferences.
Thus, we have a set of four pop-up menus for Plain Font, Bold Font, Fixed Font, and Menu Font on the left —and each also has a Size pop-up menu on the right side. Under each duo of menus is a preview pane set to “The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog.”
And I did want to point out the experimental ‘Serif Font’ option from Dano (which I didn’t see in R5) is gone and also that the Menu Font option is new here; it moved from a preference that is no longer in Haiku — I’ll reveal which one when we get to Keymap…
Preference 8 of 20: Keyboard
The next preference, Keyboard, is very simple (as it was also in the classic BeOS days). The window merely consists of two sliders: “Key repeat rate” (with Slow and Fast labels) and “Delay until key repeat” (with Short and Long labels), a “Typing test area” text field, and Defaults and Revert. But… I did happen to miss the little graphics from R5 and Dano (the key and timer), as these were erased from this version.
Preference 9 of 20: Keymap
Keymap definitely has several little differences as well as new features in Haiku’s Alpha 1. There appear to be more key maps and the menus are slightly different here (Haiku has File, Layout, Font; R5 has File, Edit, Font), the Use button next to Revert is gone, and there’s a “Select Dead Keys” pop-up menu under the keyboard in Haiku. You’ll also notice that the text field built into the keyboard on the classic BeOS in a way I’d compare to Key Caps on the Mac has now been moved below the keyboard to its own “Sample and Clipboard” text field under the keyboard as well.
And as promised back in Fonts, the missing pane is: Menu. Yes — for the first time, Menu preferences is gone from the official timeline (meaning it’s no longer possible to pick a separator style or whether to toggle the first letter underlines in menus) in Alpha 1, but thankfully, the other options to change menu fonts and colors have found new spots nicely… which leaves one more feature. Menu allowed choosing between the default Alt and a more PC-like Control key option for system wide keyboard shortcuts, and since this option had to move somewhere… and also since it had to do with keys, it found a new home in Keymap as a “Switch Shortcut Keys to Windows/Linux Mode” button instead of a menu option.
Beyond that, the basic layout is the same. There’s a scrolling list of System and User key maps on the left side, and a graphical keyboard on the right side. As a nice touch, all the keys are labelled in Haiku.
The File menu includes Open, Save As, and Quit.
Edit with its standard options, like copy and paste, is gone, so next to this is the Layout menu. For the selected key map, we get several options here: “Generic 105-key International, Generic 104-key, IBM Laptop International, Kinesis Advantage, [and] Kinesis Ergo Elan International.”
Finally, there’s the Font menu featuring Bitstream Charter, DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Sans Mono, DejaVu Serif, Konatu, KonatuTohaba.
As for what the new “dead keys” pop-up menu does, this allows setting to Acute Trigger, Circumflex Trigger, Diaeresis Trigger, Grave Trigger, and Tilde Trigger.
Preference 10 of 20: Media
Media is the audio and video controls area for the BeOS (and for Haiku), thus its name. On its left is a list view with Audio Settings and Video Settings, with an Audio Mixer and “Auich ICH” for the sound card under the Audio Settings.
On the right is where the main body of the pane appears. Here, we have Audio Settings selected. In the Defaults section, there’s Audio Input, Audio Output, and Channel pop-up menus (set to the current card dubbed ‘Auich ICH’ for the first two and ‘output 0’ for the channel). Under this is the Real-Time section with a single “Enable Real-Time Audio” check box (which is currently checked).
The description for it reads: “Enabling Real-time Audio allows system to record and play audio as fast as possible. It achieves this performance by using more CPU and RAM. / Only enable this feature if you need the lowest latency possible.”
Finally, on the bottom is a “Restart Media Services” button and a check box, and if we choose to “Show Volume Control on Deskbar” we get the familiar little speaker from BeOS, and the Volume slider, complete with replicant option! As shown below, it’s set to 0 dB (decibels) with the warning side in orange red, and the lit side on the left in a nice shade of green. This is a bit different than the pale green shade last seen in Dano, but it’s a very welcome change here.
And in moving on with the Media preferences tour, here is the Audio Mixer pane with two tabs: Gain Controls and Setup. Gain Controls contains only one control: Master Output. Below it’s label, we see it is “48 kHz 16 bit” with a Mute check box, “Gain 18 dB”, two vertical sliders (for left and right channels), and “-60 dB” with “To Ouput” on the bottom.
The Setup tab starts with check boxes, and actually, since there’s two more (seven in all) in here, I’ll just name them all:
“Attenuate mixer ouput by 3dB (like BeOS R5), Use non linear gain sliders (like BeOS R5), Display balance control for stereo connections, Allow output channel remapping, Allow input channel remapping, Refuse output format changes, Refuse input format changes”.
There’s also an “Input gain controls represent” pop-up menu (set to “Physical input channels”) and a “Resampling algorithm” pop-up menu (set to “Drop/repeat samples”).
And finally (under Audio Settings) when I click ‘Auich ICH’ (the name of the card corresponding to the ICH AC97 card in my VM), there’s the AC97 Mixer and Recording tabs. As shown below, a mixer pane will look like the screenshot below. Here, there’s the same Mute boxes and twin slider controls back in the Audio Mixer pane for Master, PCM Out, CD, Aux In, TAD… and so on. (The decibel values are different here, however, with 0 for Master and 12 for the rest mentioned on top, and -46.5 for Master and -34.5 for the rest mentioned at the bottom).
Under Video Settings, the first section is Default Nodes with pop-up menus for Video Input and Video Output set to ‘none’. The Real-Time section includes a sole check box, “Enable Real-Time Video”.
Similar to in Audio Settings, the text under real-time in this pane reads: “Enabling Real-time Video allows system to perform video operations as fast and smoothly as possible. It achieves optimum performance by using more RAM. / Only enable this feature if you need the lowest latency possible.”
And like in Audio Settings, we get a “Restart Media Services” button here as well.
Preference 11 of 20: Mouse
Here, we have the Mouse preferences for Haiku, which is very close to R5. On the left side is a “Mouse type” pop-up menu, a graphical mouse with clickable numbers for the buttons to reassign them, and a “Double-click test area” text field.
On the right are sliders for “Double-click speed”, “Mouse Speed”, and “Mouse Acceleration” with ‘Slow’ and ‘Fast’ labels on each — and the “Focus follows mouse” pop-up menu for setting mouse warping, which is currently set to “Disabled”.
Now, there are a few differences. The Haiku mouse (to be frankly honest) lacks the depth and shading that the R5 mouse had, which removes the top-down 3D look the older mouse had. As a plus, though, Haiku does cut the cable off and makes the new mouse wireless. To compare the two, take a look at the R5 screenshot below and the one above. You’ll also notice (just like with the Keyboard panel) that the little graphics (in this case, static mice illustrating click speed and motion) are gone.
As with BeOS, “Focus follows mouse” can be turned on or off, or can be set to “Warping” or “Instant-Warping” modes.
The mouse type can also be changed to have 1, 2, or 3 buttons by clicking the “Mouse type” pop-up menu above it.
… and clicking a number on the mouse does still reassign buttons as expected, so if I wanted to swap button 1 for button 2, and make the mouse work as 2, 3, 1, I could.
Preference 12 of 20: Network
Next up is Network. In R5, the Network pane had a lot more to offer… and I won’t review it over again, but I can say there’s no tabs nor sharing offered here, or a box to set the host name, or a Configuration box here. It’s really very simple… and at least on my setup, the Adapter pop-up menu just has ‘devices’ in it. Under this is a Mode pop-up, and inactive text fields (because I don’t have a working card selected) for IP Address, Netmask, Gateway, DNS #1, and DNS #2. At the very bottom are Revert and Apply buttons.
The good news is that this little preference pane does improve as we progress through the alphas — including support for wireless networks, something the classic BeOS never had.
Preference 13 of 20: Printers
Printers presents pretty much the same interface as when it was last officially seen in BeOS, and has a list pane with nice icons for Printers on the top left and a Print Jobs list pane under it with “No printer selected”. Buttons on the right include “Add…”, “Remove”, “Make Default”, “Cancel Job”, and “Restart Job”.
And thank the Haiku developers! The ‘printer wizard’ from R5 is gone! Seriously — that’s exciting. We just have a box with a text field for “Printer Name”, and pop-up menus for “Printer Type” and “Connected to”.
I’ll go ahead and name mine “The Printer That Could”… but we’re not really going to set it up so I’ll cancel out of it. Before I do though, the connections offered in Alpha 1 include: “HP JetDirect, IPP, LPR, Parallel Port, Print To File, Serial Port, [and] USB Port.”
And that’s a fast glance at Printers.
Preference 14 of 20: Screen
Next, we have Screen preferences. (Unlike in the classic BeOS, ScrollBar preferences are gone; this will be integrated into Appearance in the future).
So, here, we have a preview monitor in the left section… which is a doppelganger to the one in R5. Workspaces under it, however, is no longer a mere pop-up menu for setting the number of spaces. Here, there’s text fields with minus and plus buttons next to them for Columns and Rows, each set to 2. Below that, we have a new “Set Background…” button not in Dano or R5.
On the right is an “All Workspaces” pop-up menu, with two more for “Resolution” and “Colors”. No refresh rate here, however; this is most likely because of my setup. Finally, in the bottom right is an Apply button, which is further away than the more compact R5 version.
Available resolutions to pick from here include: 640 x 400, 640 x 480, 800 x 600, 1024 x 768, 1152 x 864, 1280 x 1024, and 1600 x 1200.
One thing I’ve always liked about Haiku (and I did notice at least Dano did not do this), is that the world of Mac where ‘thousands of colors’ and ‘millions of colors’ are shown in Monitors, Displays, etc. and where 8-bit, 16-bit, 24-bit color, etc. is (at least historically) shown on PCs, putting the two in one menu brings them together. So the generic ‘thousands’ label is actually 65,536, and there’s “16 Million Colors” at “32 Bits/Pixel” which really helps give a better understanding of both ways of referring to the display, which is a nice touch by the Haiku team. And as shown below, it’s possible to pick a value from 256 Colors and a full 32 Bits/Pixel from the Colors menu:
Also, it’s possible to pick between applying screen settings to “All Workspaces” or to just the “Current Workspace”, as shown below:
And before we go, one thing that made an experimental appearance in Dano was a Decor pop-up menu with the different styles for the system. Like R5 and before, Haiku does not include this.
Preference 15 of 20: ScreenSaver
ScreenSaver, as its name would imply, allows setting up and managing the screen savers that turn on after a certain time. And just in case someone doesn’t know what a screen saver is, an old CRT screen could have the image burn into it after a while of sitting idle, so screen savers (animations that would appear when the computer was left idle) were introduced to solve this problem. Thankfully, today, running screen savers is either for fun or to lock the computer, etc. as screens (mostly) don’t burn in anymore — although there’s odd cases where it still might happen.
That said, there’s two tabs: Fade and Modules. Fade has an “Enable Screen Saver” check box and a “Run module” slider set for 15 minutes. Under it is an inactive “Turn off screen” check box and another horizontal slider. “Password lock” is another check box; if we do enable this, we turn on the password lock slider and the “Password…” button. Finally, there’s two monitors with no signs for “Fade now when the mouse is here” and “Don’t fade when the mouse is here”. Clicking corners lets one assign whether these do (or don’t) start the screen saver.
The Password box has radio buttons to “Use Network password” or “Use custom password” and two text fields, for ‘Password’ and ‘Confirm password’. At the bottom right are Cancel and Done… for now, I’m going to cancel, as we really don’t need to set a password here.
The second tab here is Modules. The layout is fairly simple; the same as in classic BeOS. In the top left corner is a preview monitor, and below it is a scrollable list of screen saver modules, and below those, Test and Add buttons.
On the right is “Module settings”, which is where module info and controls appear. Blackness, which just blanks the display, appears as “Blackness / No options available”.
DebugNow is the next module, which flashes “DEBUG NOW” in white letters on a dark blue background. Its info mentions “DEBUG NOW, by Ryan Leaven[good]”, and the screensaver itself is a play on the ‘Buy Now!’ screensaver from the classic BeOS.
Flurry is roughly the same as the one found on the Mac, and when I’ve launched it in the past, it’s crashed the screen saver preferences… so in moving on to the next screensaver, “Haiku, by Marcus Overhagen” simply shows the word ‘Haiku’ around a black screen.
Next is “Message, by Ryan Leavengood / Inspired by Jon Watte’s Origin”, which shows a variety of text on the screen.
“Spider by stippi for bonefish” (read from its info) has three sliders: “Max Polygon Count”, “Max Points per Polygon”, and “Trail Depth”. Below this is a Color pop-up menu (set to Red). This also prints patterns onto the screen, but in a different way than IFS does.
But this is a different set in Alpha 1 —here, there’s no Flip, Icons (yet; this will appear in time), Lens, Lissart, Spiral, Spots, StringTheme, SuperString, or VoteNow.
Finally… for those really wondering, this is what Haiku’s screen lock looks like. A little gray dialog on a black screen with an Unlock button reads “Unlock screen saver” with an “Enter password” text field… and that’s basically it.
Preference 16 of 20: Sounds
Sounds is a preferences box that’s been in the classic BeOS… but in Dano, it received a helping of new sounds (where R5, for example, just had Startup, Beep, and New E-mail). I can only guess the additions in Dano were to compete with Microsoft’s Windows; the reason I feel mentioning this is relevant is because Haiku Alpha 1 follows the latter.
Here, there’s a columned list of events and sounds (all set to none by default). Below this is a section with a “Sound File” pop-up menu and Play and Stop buttons.
Expanding things out lets us read the whole list of events we could assign sounds to, and these are: “Beep, Key Down, Key Up, Mouse Up, Window Close, Window Open, Vision Nick Notification, Window Zoomed, Window Minimized, Window Activated, Mouse Down, Key Repeat, Startup, [and] Window Restored.”
And that’s basically a look at Sounds… as Haiku did not include a sound set in the release like BeOS used to.
Preference 17 of 20: Time
As shown below, this was one of the screenshots I’d taken in summer 2019. The Time preferences is inherited directly from Be, and shares the same structure. However, there are some differences between it and the classic R5 version.
To really see them, I’ll go through the box as usual. At the top, the tab that would read Settings now reads “Date & Time”, and “Time Zone” is listed as Timezone here. Otherwise, it’s the same two tabs. On the left is the usual date well with the month, day, and year, with a calendar under it — but if you look carefully, you’ll see the month in the date well is now centered, and the calendar of squares is now in a wider format and open with more of a pocket calendar type of appearance. The clock well is also much wider, and there’s now a revamped clock widget. The big bezel around the clock is gone, and in place of the blue dots and red 12, 3, 6, and 9 are new analog watch hour marks and lines in between. Clock hands are much thicker here and the second hand is now red. Finally, the “Clock set to” radio buttons are horizontal here and not vertical like they were in R5.
Timezone includes a set of Regions, which I’ll list in a minute. If set to Other, I get Greenwich time, but usually, there’ll be a list of cities in this left pane. On the right side, there’s the “Current time” and the “Preview pane” with the respective times to compare the two; both in the classic era and here, this makes this box double as a simple world clock, which is quite nifty.
And that’s a quick look at the Time preferences in Alpha 1.
Preference 18 of 20: Touchpad
Touchpad is pretty packed, or at least the top section, Scrolling, is. On the left side is a graphical representation of the touchpad (or in Mac parlance, trackpad), with adjustable red touch zones along the bottom and right sides. Under this are check boxes for “Two Finger Scrolling” and “Multi Finger Scrolling” as well, so Haiku does support different scrolling types. To the right are three sliders: “Scroll Acceleration” (with Slow and Fast labels), then “Horizontal Scroll Stepsize” and “Vertical Scroll Stepsize” (with Wide and Small labels).
On the bottom is the “Tap Gesture” section where it’s possible to set the “Tap Click Sensitivity” from Off to High. And as usual for most Be/Haiku preference panels, there are Defaults and Revert buttons in the bottom left corner.
Trackpad is a significant part of the ‘Be universe’ timeline, as it was the first time that an official system included support not only for trackpads, but for features like two finger scrolling as well.
Preference 19 of 20: Tracker
Like Dano, Haiku Alpha 1 comes with Tracker Preferences! And one addition here is that the Tracker settings in Haiku gets an official link in the preferences set, which makes it easier to find and change the options for Tracker.
There’s five settings panes, which can be selected via a list pane on the left side of the window: Desktop, Windows (as in the boxes on the screen), Date and Time, Trash, and Volume Icons.
And it appears that we start with Desktop. Here, we have radio buttons to either “Show Disks Icon” (which groups all the disks, kind of like a ‘Computer’ view), or “Show Volumes on Desktop” with a check box to “Show Shared Volumes On Desktop” underneath it. Then, right under that, there’s yet another check box to “Eject When Unmounting”.
At the bottom, a “Mount Settings” button is visible, which opens the usual box to set which disks automatically mount when starting the system or plugging them in. In addition to a “Mount all disks now” and Done button, we have:
Automatic Disk Mounting, where there’s “Don’t Automount, All BeOS Disks, All Disks” as radio button options.
Disk Mounting During Boot, where there’s a quartet of radio buttons to set: “Only The Boot Disk, Previously Mounted Disks, All BeOS Disks, All Disks”.
Since the Haiku team cares what happens to your data when its given over to the system (and even more so here as its first ever public release), Haiku will warn users about mounting, say, FAT32 disks. Here, the alert dialog reads: “Mounting volume ‘NO NAME’ / The file system on this volume is not the Haiku file system. It is strongly suggested to mount it in read-only mode. This will prevent unintentional data loss because of errors in Haiku.”
And from here, there are “Mount Read/Write, Cancel, [and] Mount Read-only” buttons to choose from.
And… in coming back to the settings box, we’re now in the Windows tab. In it are five check boxes: “Show Folder Location in Title Bar, Single Window Navigation, Show Navigator, Outline Selection Rectangle Only, List Folders First” and that’s pretty much it for this section. What’s nice about ‘single window navigation’ is that Tracker can be used in both in an old school mode where it’s spatial, or in a browser-like mode.
The third pane out of the five is ‘Date and Time’. The first section, “Clock”, has radio buttons for “24 Hour” and “12 Hour”. The second, “Date Order” has three radio buttons for “Year-Month-Day, Day-Month-Year, Month-Day-Year” and the latter is currently selected.
Under these two is a “Separator” pop-up menu set to a forward slash. An “Examples” section is shown right below this (again, revealing this is a summer 2019 screenshot) of the date as it would appear in the file manager in long format as “Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 08:27:49 PM” and in short format as “06/18/19, 08:27 PM”.
Moving on to the Trash pane, it’s the simplest of the five. There’s simply two check boxes, one of which is for deleting files directly (“Don’t Move Files to Trash”) and a nice delete confirmation setting marked “Ask Before Delete”.
As the last setting in Tracker Preferences, we get to “Volume Icons”, just like back in the unofficial distributions looked at before. To turn it on or off, there’s “Show Space Bars on Volumes” on top as a check box, and the best way I could describe this feature is that its roughly similar to the disk meters feature in Windows Longhorn, except these are vertical.
A pop up menu allows changing the “Used Space Color, Free Space Color, and Warning Space Color” of the meter, and this is done via a standard Haiku RGB slider (with the usual text fields) below it. Personally, (and I don’t just say this as a Mac fan), I like the idea of putting actual text next to disks better (like ‘79.82 GB, 7.14 GB free’ as an example) or of graphically showing the usage with a dynamic icon.
Preference 20 of 20: VirtualMemory
Finally, we reach VirtualMemory. As the name would imply, this is where we can adjust ‘virtual memory’ or the swap file for Haiku. At the very top of the panel is a check box to “Enable Virtual Memory”.
Under this, we can see various info. “Physical Memory: 255.93 MB / Current Swap File Size: 511.87 MB” and above the slider, “Requested Swap File Size: 511 MB” (and the slider ranges from 1 MB to the free space of the disk: 7.35 GB). For the most part, this is pretty much the same as in R5.
The visual differences here are that firstly, there is a check box at the top and a ‘1 MB’ value at the left end of the slider, where in the classic BeOS, there was no check box and R5 didn’t have the left label (Dano did). There’s also a new “Use Volume” pop-up menu in between the memory info and slider, which splits the memory info in two and from reading ‘Haiku’ on the grayed out label, this apparently allows choosing the volume to access the swap file from.
We’ll be looking at virtual memory more as we continue into the Alpha versions after this initial release (as it improves as Haiku matures), but for now, that’s a look at the VirtualMemory preferences box…
… and also a look at the preferences set in Haiku Alpha 1. Please join me again for the last part of this look at Alpha 1, where I’ll be looking inside several system folders and where I’ll also take a look at a few tools.
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
And if you like my work, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please link to or follow my page, or support me on Patreon!
So, in the first part of this long review of Haiku Alpha 1, we looked around the Desktop a bit. And we also looked at the Applications set in Part 2.
But what about the little applets that add a touch of fun to the system? Now that we’re in Part 3, here is a look at the included Demos!
Sector 5 of 9: Demos
Like the application set, these can be launched from the Leaf menu or from a window.
Shown in the Demos folder are 13 demos with their icons: BSnow, Chart, Clock, Cortex, FontDemo, GLTeapot, Gradients, Haiku3d, Mandlebrot, Pairs, Playground, Pulse, and Sudoku.
Demo 1 of 13: BSnow
BSnow opens a little window that reads “Drag me on your desktop…” with an arrow pointing to the replicant icon.
When we do drag the snow replicant out, snow falls out of the edges of the desktop (here, the top and left edges), until the snowfall effect covers the ‘air’ over the desktop.
Demo 2 of 13: Chart
The next demo (and one of my all-time favorites) is called “Chart” which really is short for ‘star chart’. But for whatever reason, the Be developers decided that Chart sounded great (more than likely because of the “Stars” demo), and thus, both in BeOS and here, it is simply called Chart.
On the left sidebar of the window, there is an info pane with “Frame/s” and “CPU load” under Status; at the moment, the two values read 0.0. Under this is a check box for Full Screen, an Auto Demo button, and a 2 Threads check box. Check boxes for Colors include Red, Green, Blue, Yellow, Orange, Pink, and White. Radio buttons under Special include None, Comet, Novas, and Battle (which just like in BeOS, isn’t finished). And nostalgic as it is to see the same gray button here, I have to admit I wish Alpha 1 would’ve added a Battle mode!
But (sigh) Battle mode or not, it’s still great to have the classic demo here! On the top, the first things we see are a black usage meter panel (which corresponds to the Status info below it), and an Animation and Display pop-up menu.
Now, if we do make this live, you’ll notice the meter begins to show red and green LED like bars. For Animation, I can set: Off, Slow rotation, Slow motion, Fast motion, and Free motion.
And for the corresponding controls to Animation in the Display menu, I can leave the chart display Off, or run in DrawBitmap or DirectWindow modes.
Beyond this is a button that reads 60.0 (the refresh rate). Clicking it reveals a box with a slider ranging from 0.6 to 600.0 frames per second (f/s) on a “logarythmic scale” as the window notes.
It’s of course also possible to choose the color of space with a color well button, but I think for now I’ll leave it set to black. The next button allows setting the “Star density” from “5% (low)” to “(high) 100%” with the same slider UI in the little box the refresh rate uses.
Last, but not least, we can have our little space simulation use Chaos, Amas, or Spiral modes by using the menu on the right and the demo will change itself dynamically, just like with all the other controls. Here’s one example of the generated stars:
And another — it’s really too bad these are still images, because these are truly fun to watch!
Demo 3 of 13: Clock
Next we have another favorite little demo! The clock. And I do always find this interesting because most of the clocks I’ve seen are round but BeOS decided to do things differently and put in a clock that fills the window as a square instead. The tiny appearance not only gives it a desk accessory appearance,
In true Be fashion, dragging the clock by the little finger and thumb widget in the bottom right corner makes a copy of it or a ‘replicant’, so we now have 2 clocks. Back in the applications folder, you probably remember
Demo 4 of 13: Cortex
Next up, we have Cortex with File, Window, and a gray workspace with floating child windows inside. Shown below are tiles for System Clock and Audio Mixer, the Media Add-Ons box (with “Audio Mixer (Haiku)”, “AudioAdapter”, “Auich ICH”, “Demo Audio Processor”, “Demo Video Processor”, “Flanger”, and “VideoWindow Control”), and finally Transport. On the left side of the Transport box is a dark bluish teal info area reading “(no group) No errors” and “0 nodes”, and under it, there’s a “Roll from 0.0000 to 0.0000” widget. On the right are Start, Stop, and Preroll buttons, and pop-up menus for Run Mode and Time Source.
There’s not really much to show from a text perspective, since this is an audio tool, so I’ll move on to the menus. File has Open, Save Nodes, About Cortex/Route, and Quit.
Window has check options for “Show Transport” and “Show Add-Ons” with a Pull Palettes option.
And in closing my short visit to Cortex, the About box has a lone Ok button and reads: “Cortex/Route 2.1.2 / Copyright 1999–2000 Eric Moon / All rights reserved / The Cortex Team: / Christopher Lenz: UI / Eric Moon: UI, back-end / Thanks to: / John Ashmun / Jon Watte / Doug Wright / (your name here) / Certain icons used herein are the property of Be, Inc. and are used by permission.”
Demo 5 of 13: FontDemo
Like the Clock, FontDemo definitely can be traced back to the classic BeOS. The main window is the actual demo; the second window on the right are all the Controls.
There, we can set to Text (preset to “Haiku, inc.”), the Font via a drop-down menu, and the Size, Shear, Rotation, Spacing, and Outline via horizontal sliders below the first two controls. We can also choose to enable “Anti-aliased text” or not via a check box, we can choose the “Drawing mode” via a pop-up menu (B_OP_COPY), whether to use ‘Bounding boxes’ per another check box, and finally, we can “Cycle Fonts” with a button.
And so, by playing with the sliders some, we can hollow out the text and skew it some, which sort of gives it a semi-3D effect. Now, while this has become not as exciting as when it first came out in the era of the old BeOS, it still is great to see just how smoothly Haiku renders the changes now.
Demo 6 of 13: GLTeapot
GLTeapot is yet another old demo that goes back to the classic BeOS. Per its icon and name, it is indeed a red teapot in OpenGL. Basically, this pot spins and turns itself about freely and a digital frames per second is displayed in the bottom left corner (which is showing 149.1 here).
There’s three menus in here, and under File, we can “Add a teapot” or we can click Quit.
There’s also a list of check options under the Options menu, which include: “Perspective, FPS Display, Filled polygons, Lighting, Backface culling, Z-buffered, Gouraud shading, [and] Fog.”
The Lights menu adjusts the lighting for the teapot, and for “Upper center”, “Lower left”, and “Right” light sources, we can pick Off, White, Yellow, Blue, Red, and Green. And that’s basically a look at the teapot!
Demo 7 of 13: Gradients
Next is a demo new to Haiku (from a classic BeOS or R5 perspective), called “Gradients (Test)”. It’s basically a white box with a pop-up menu for the “Gradient type” set to Linear and two columns of shapes. In order from top to bottom, the left rounded rectangle, square, equilateral triangle, and circle are shown as black silhouettes. On the right side, the same shapes have a red, green, and blue gradient applied to them. Sadly, the gradients aren’t live and appear static as shown below:
It’s possible to change the type of gradient through the menu, so here’s what Radial looks like. Instead of a gradient consisting of straight lines like a horizon or a diagonal, this puts the first color (red) in the center and the color filling the outer ring is green.
Radial Focus is similar, but it fine tunes the gradients a bit:
There’s also Diamond, which is like the Radial modes, only the center color (red) shoots out in an X shape from a central ‘box’ of sorts. The green surrounds the red tones on the outside.
And finally, there’s Conic mode, which in all four has a shining beam of green in the center, and cone shaped rays of color going out on the sides similar to a car’s head lamps or a flashlight, with a blue cone on the left side and a red cone on the right side.
In case anyone was hoping to see the actual pop-up menu, here’s all the gradient modes for the demo:
Demo 8 of 13: Haiku3d
Haiku3d is a demo unique to Haiku, although it really is similar to the old 3D Be logo demos from the classic BeOS. Here, each letter of the Haiku logo is displayed in 3D, white capital letters on a black background, along with a green leaf over the H, an orange leaf over the A, and a yellow leaf over the U per the logo. And basically, each letter takes a turn spinning around from left to right (so to explain better, the H spins first, then A, then I, then K, then U).
Demo 9 of 13: Mandlebrot
Mandlebrot definitely is a demo that has been in the classic BeOS (back in 4.5 “Genki” with all the good demos in it before R5) and is here in Haiku. True to its name and to the old version, this generates a Mandlebrot using a given palette of colors, which can be zoomed in on and rendered as one goes deeper into it.
The three menus this demo includes are fairly simple; File, for example, just has a Quit option.
Palettes allows choosing between Palette1, Palette2, Palette3, and Palette4.
And lastly, Iterations allows picking between 128, 256 (currently selected), 384, 512, 768, 1024, 2048, 4096, and 8192 iterations for the Mandlebrot.
Shown below is the first palette, which is a cool glowing white on black.
The second palette is very similar to the first, except that it shows glowing shades of green.
The third palette is the default, and shows the main rendering with a black center and red and purple around the outside. The background around it is blue, with a darker blue in between, and blue again outside.
Finally, the fourth palette is somewhat similar to the last one in blue. This one also has a black center, but has green and orange around the edges, and a red background instead.
And that is a quick look at the Mandlebrot demo.
Demo 10 of 13: Pairs
Here, we have a new demo introduced with Haiku Alpha 1 called Pairs, and it is truly one of my personal favorites. It’s simply a memory game; click the question mark tiles (or cards) to reveal the icons underneath and see if they match. If they do, then they stay visible for the rest of the game; if not, then they will disappear. At the end of the game, pretty much all the items will appear, as shown below:
And this is what makes this game so fun — the icons. I can’t help but enjoy these every time I play this little game.
The About box appears at the end of the game and reads “Pairs / written by Ralf Schülke / Copyright 2008, Haiku Inc.” It also presents the score with: “You completed the game in 40 clicks.” While the goal is really to finish with as little clicks as you can… it really is all for fun, or at least that’s how I play this. From there, there’s buttons to “Quit game” or start a “New game”.
A new game (like when the demo is first opened) looks like this — a grid of 4×4 question mark tiles or cards:
Demo 11 of 13: Playground
Playground is a demo that is meant to show Haiku’s transparency and blending capabilities with shapes and objects (or at least, this is what I gather from seeing it). Like Pairs, it is new to Haiku (i.e. not in the classic BeOS). Its left side is Controls, with the right side being the canvas for where shapes are drawn. The label “Click and drag to draw an object” in red is permanent; when shapes are drawn, it remains.
Controls include a New Object and Clear button, a list pane (where shapes or ‘objects’ go as a list), radio buttons for choosing a Line, [Rectangle], Round [Rectangle], Ellipse, a Mode drop-down, a standard Haiku RGB slider set, an Alpha text field, Fill check box, and finally, a Width slider from 1 to 100.
As shown below, it is possible to draw objects (like this hollow, blue rounded rectangle). And… it’s actually not half bad. My only qualm with it is that short of taking a screenshot, there’s no user accessible way to save what’s been drawn here. So this really makes Playground very limited… and not exactly fun to use. Especially for anyone drawing in it for the first time and realizing this.
The File menu here is basically just a placeholder. There’s one empty submenu called Submenu, and a working Quit option… nothing else.
And that is basically Playground.
Demo 12 of 13: Pulse
Pulse goes back to the BeOS, and this nifty little utility has two purposes. The first is to be a usage meter for the processor (where dark green blocks are showing what’s being used, and the dark gray is not lit on the black LCD meter). The other is to toggle processors on and off to adjust performance. Since I only have a single processor core in use for this machine, this doesn’t appear and I only see one CPU chip.
Demo 13 of 13: Sudoku
This also is a new demo for Haiku that Alpha 1 ships with. It’s the standard game of sudoku, with nine squares inside nine areas on the grid, with 1–9 to choose from when one hovers over a square (as shown below).
In looking at its menus, File has New, Start Again, Open File, Generate, Copy, About Sudoku, and Quit. And in looking at the first submenu, Generate has Easy, Advanced, and Hard options for the Sudoku board.
The second submenu, Export As, has two export options: Text and HTML.
View really could also be labelled Mark, or Tips, or something similar as it simply includes two check options to “Mark Invalid Values” and “Mark Valid Hints.”
Help includes Undo and Redo (which makes sense in this scenario, since it applies to moves in the game), Snapshot Current, Restore Snapshot, Solve, and Solve Single Field.
Finally, the about box reads: “Sudoku / written by Axel Dörfler / Copyright 2007, Haiku Inc.” with the usual Ok button.
And that’s it for the demos in Haiku Alpha 1! Next up is the preferences set, so please join me again as I take a look at the full list of preferences or ‘preflets’ included in this release!
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
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In the first part of looking at Haiku Alpha 1, the journey began with a look at the startup splash and main areas around the Desktop (Leaf menu, Deskbar, About box, and the Find box). Today, in Part 2, our tour into the fledgling Haiku alpha continues as we get into the application set…
Sector 4 of 9: Applications
So, to open applications, we can either click Applications from the Leaf menu which will open the window shown below (or we can just pick an application from the menu itself).
But I find a lot of the beauty of these icons are lost when viewed in a tiny list. So, let’s change the way we’re looking at the apps to Icon View, where there’s 28 applications (ActivityMonitor, BePDF, BeZillaBrowser, CDPlayer, CharacterMap, CodyCam, DeskCalc, DiskProbe, DiskUsage, DriveSetup, Expander, Icon-O-Matic, Installer, Magnify, Mail, MediaConverter, MediaPlayer, MidiPlayer, Pe, People, PoorMan, Screenshot, SoundRecorder, StyledEdit, TV, Terminal, Vision, (and) WonderBrush.)
And aside from the fact you’ll notice the icons look and feel much crisper and brighter, thanks to Alpha 1’s new vectorized icon format, some extras, (and a few newcomers to the standard app set like CharacterMap and Screenshot), you’ll also notice several cool differences from Be, such as the yellow bot carrying the world like Atlas for PoorMan, a box of movie popcorn for MediaPlayer, and several other differences from R5 that help give Haiku its own identity.
App 1 of 28: ActivityMonitor
The first application on our list is a utility that’s new to Haiku Alpha 1 (from a BeOS perspective). It’s a simple usage meter for memory and CPU use on the system, featuring two menus (File and Settings) and several ‘monitors’ or graphs for measuring different areas of the system. The first measures Used Memory (80.8 MB) in red and Cached Memory (46.9 MB), while the second measures CPU Usage (29.2 percent).
And if you’ve noticed the little hand and box icon and presume that means a replicant is available for this utility, you’d be right! As illustrated below, I can drag a monitor out (in this case CPU Usage) and it will become its own monitor with its own values. A contextual click reveals a short menu with About ActivityMonitor and Remove Replicant.
The Settings menu just includes ‘Settings…’ and the settings box itself is essentially a floating slider for “Update time interval”. The current setting is for 100 msecs (milliseconds), with a minimum of 25 milliseconds and 2 secs (seconds) listed at the edges under the slider.
Now, under File, we can Add View, and that means summon more monitors or graphs in view. The next appears to be a network meter, which shows 0.0 kilobits a second (KB/s) have been received or sent for Receiving and Sending. This meter has its own color, with shades of brown and yellow for the two values. And if we were to do a contextual click on a monitor, we’d have options to choose different values, Hide Legend, or Remove View.
The next item is “About ActivityMonitor” which reveals this utility was “Written by Alex Dorfler” and has a copyright of 2008 for Haiku Inc.
And lastly, as shown below, we can click Quit from the File menu to quit.
App 2 of 28: BePDF
Okay, next up we have BePDF, which calls itself “The PDF Reader for BeOS, Haiku, and Zeta”, as displayed in black text in a creamy yellow box with red and blue border lines on its white start page. Notice that throughout the app (here, its About box, etc.) Be appears with a classic B in blue and e in red.
And… we have File, Edit, Search, Page, Bookmark, View, and Help for menus, and a toolbar below it. Elements on it include icon buttons for open, reload, print, display bookmarks, show page list, show annotation tool bar, show attachments, fullscreen mode, and navigation buttons. These allow going to the beginning of the file, 10 pages back, or 1 back, then 1 forward, 10 forward, and the end of the file. There’s also a page number field and page total here as well. Finally, the last buttons fit to page or page width, rotate clockwise or “anti-clockwise” as the app calls it, zoom in and out, find, and find next.
The About box shows this is BePDF Version 1.1.1 Beta 2, with copyrights to Benoit Triquet in 1997, Hubert Figuiere in 1999–2000, and Michael Pfeiffer from 2000–2009. As we read on, we see the “localization to English” was by Michael Pfeiffer and that “BePDF is based on xpdf 3.02 / Copyright 1996–2007 Glyph [and] Cog LLC”. Finally there’s the standard 3 paragraph GPL2 license text which reveals this is licensed with and meets the requirements of the Gnu General Public License.
To save a lot of time, I won’t go through the preferences, menus and actions in this version of the Alpha 1 review, as there’s 25 applications yet to cover. But I can just give a peek at the Preferences box.
On the left side, there’s a pane with Document, Display (which is collapsible, with FreeType 2 and Asian Fonts under it), and Language. Under Document (the presently selected option on the left), there’s options in the right pane to “Go to that page number when the file was closed”, “Restore window position and size”, an “Open in Workspace” pop-up menu with current as the default, and an Author text field for setting the author.
App 3 of 28: BeZilla Browser (Bon Echo/Firefox 2 port)
Now we get to one of the more interesting parts of Haiku Alpha 1, and that is Firefox! If you read the BeOS Retro Reviews, you may remember there was a port of Mozilla to the BeOS, and this is basically the next step up to that as an unofficial port (hence why there’s no official branding here). This is “Bon Echo” (the codename for the Firefox 2 beta), which shows that once upon a time, a current Firefox browser did run on Haiku… and no (well known) ports have been made since for various reasons in the years since.
Bon Echo features the standard Firefox 2 user interface, as one would expect. Its menu bar includes File, Edit, View, History, Bookmarks, Tools, and Help. The ‘navigation toolbar’ below it includes back, forward, reload, stop, home, an address (URL) bar with an in-line go button, and a search bar (which defaults to Google). Above it is a throbber that shows fading dots in a wheel (similar to the Mac’s gear animation) when the network is in use.
We’re brought to the Haiku User Guide ‘welcome’ page by default with “Welcome to Haiku!”, and “Beware of Bugs” in the first pageful. There’s links to the Haiku Bug Tracker and “Tips for a helpful bug report”, as well as ample warnings to the user that we are indeed running an alpha version, the “first public release” with the “hope to attract new developers to our project and give future users a chance to check out Haiku.” You’ll also notice links to the Haiku WebSite and Nightly Builds are in the bookmarks bar as well.
And as for Bon Echo itself, as you can see, the old school Firefox globe logo has no fox on it — again, this is because this is an unofficial build that doesn’t have the Mozilla branding or ‘Firefox’ brand. It’s “version 220.127.116.11pre” with the copyright to Contributors stopping at 2008.
The Downloads window is simple. There’s a list pane for keeping track of downloaded files that includes the file name, icons, and progress bars for files when it’s at work. At the bottom, there’s “All files will be downloaded to Desktop” and a Clean Up button which cleans up the downloads window.
And of course, this wouldn’t be a classic Firefox build without Add-ons. There’s two categories in the top: Extensions (with a green puzzle piece) and Themes (with an art palette and brush). In Extensions, we have the DOM Inspector 18.104.22.168pre which “Inspects the structure and properties of a window and its contents” with Preferences, Disable, and Uninstall buttons. Below the main pane of the window, there’s a button to Find Updates and a Get Extensions button.
On the other side (or as the other option) there’s themes. The only one included here is “Firefox (default) 2.0” with “The default theme” as the label below it. Buttons allow whether to Use Theme or Uninstall. This (and what would be a list of themes) are on the left side of the window. On the right is a theme preview. Here, we see “Firefox the browser, reloaded” and a preview of the back, forward, stop, reload, and home buttons. On the bottom, we again have a “Find Updates” button and Get Themes link.
There’s a window to clear private data. Here we have check boxes to “clear the following items now” such as browsing history, download history, saved form and search history, cache, cookies, saved passwords, and authenticated sessions. At the bottom of the box are two buttons to Clear Private Data Now or Cancel.
The Bookmarks Manager is definitely different than the one today. It has four menus (File, Edit, View, Help) and a toolbar with New Bookmark, New Folder, New Separator, Move, Properties, Rename, and Delete. Under these is a Search field, and under that is a bookmark folder tree on the left and column list on the right with Name, Location, and Description. Here, we have links to Get Bookmark Add-Ons, the Haiku WebSite, Imported NetPositive bookmarks, and folders that include the Bookmarks Toolbar Folder, Haiku Bookmarks, and Software for Haiku.
Bon Echo also has sidebars here, and in this case what I have open is History. It includes a tree list of ‘folders’ by time, a search bar, and a View drop-down menu where we can sort items by Date and Site, Site, Date, Most Visited, and Last Visited. Oh, and the close button here becomes yellow when hovered over with the mouse, (but it’s on the wrong side of the bar).
In quickly going through the menus, File has New Window, New Tab, Open Location, Open File, Close, Save Page As, Send Link, Page Setup, Print Preview, Print, Import, Work Offline, and Quit.
Edit includes Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Delete, Select All, Find in This Page, and Find Again.
View includes a Toolbars submenu, Status Bar check option, Sidebar submenu, Stop, Reload, Text Size submenu, Page Style submenu, Character Encoding submenu, and lastly, Page Source and Full Screen. Toolbars include a Navigation and Bookmarks toolbar with an option to Customize. And… as for the remaining menus (History, Bookmarks, Tools, Help), these are pretty much the usual Firefox menus as well, so to save both time and article space I’ll skip over covering these today…
The Customize box is similar to the one in the Finder in Mac OS X. Items (which can be dragged into the bar to add them) that are visible here in a grid include Separator, Flexible Space, Space, Print, Downloads, History, Bookmarks, New Tab, New Window, Cut, Copy, and Paste. We can (via a drop-down list) view as icons, text, etc. and have a check box to “Use Small Icons” next to Add New Toolbar and Restore Default Set buttons.
And in case anyone was wondering, the missing button in the first screenshot is Report Site.
And that is a quick look at “Bon Echo”, the Firefox port included in Haiku Alpha 1 as its default browser.
In subsequent builds, with the introduction of WebPositive (the successor to NetPositive) Haiku would finally gain a browser of its own like the BeOS had.
App 4 of 28: CDPlayer
Like the classic BeOS, Haiku Alpha 1 includes a simple CD Player application. At the top, we have a little pane with “CD drive is empty” with track and disc info. Below this top part of it are stop, play/pause, next, previous, rewind, and wind buttons on the first row — and a volume slider, repeat, shuffle, and eject on the bottom row.
It’s very simple, and has a different persona than the one we last saw in R5 and Dano. To start with, the layout and shape is different, and there’s no faux digital panels with green digits on black, no Compact Disc label, and no CD and track ‘trays’.
Shown below is the classic version from BeOS R5 for comparison with Haiku A1:
App 5 of 28: CharacterMap
And as for our next app, again, if you remember BeOS, you’ll definitely recall there was a button called Map in the Overlay tab inside Fonts preferences (which is shown below):
That lives on in Haiku in a different form: a standalone app or tool in the applications folder called CharacterMap. And unlike the character map in Dano that had glitches that could cause the window to become garbled, this one opens just fine.
It’s really simple. There’s a menubar (with File, View, Font) and two panes. The left side has a Filter text box and a Clear button, with a list of sets inside a scrolling list. To name just a few out of the list, these include Basic Latin, Spacing Modifier Letters, Greek and Coptic, Cyrillic, Armenian, Hebrew, and so on. On the right is a larger scrolling grid view, with available letters, symbols, etc. to copy for the selected layout. Here, we’re viewing Basic Latin.
The File menu just has About CharacterMap and Quit. And… if we do open the About box, we can see that like ActivityMonitor, CharacterMap was written by Alex Dorfler as well, and has a copyright of 2009 to Haiku Inc.
View has a check option to Show Private Blocks.
And finally, Font includes a list of submenus for the installed fonts. So here we have Bitstream Charter, DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Sans Mono, DejaVu Serif, Konatu, and KonatuTohaba. Inside a submenu, there’s styles for the font — so for DejaVu Sans, there’s Book, Bold, Condensed Bold, Bold Oblique, Condensed Bold Oblique, Extra Light, Condensed, Oblique, and Condensed Oblique.
App 6 of 28: CodyCam
Now, similar to its BeOS predecessors, we get a dialog on launch stating: “Can’t find a video source. You need a webcam to use CodyCam.”
The good news, however, is that we can still look around CodyCam. There’s a view screen that takes up the top half of the window (where the picture would be if it detected a camera; here, it’s blank), and two panes below it for “Capture controls” and “FTP”.
Capture controls contains a “File Name” text area (which defaults to codycam.jpg), and below it, “Format” and “Rate” pop-up menus. These default to ‘JPEG image’ and ‘every 5 minutes’.
In FTP, there’s a Type pop-up menu, where we can choose between FTP and SFTP, and type in the [FTP] Server address, Login, Password, and Directory into text fields below the Type menu. Below these is a check box for “Passive FTP” and centered below both is ‘Waiting…’
And as shown in the screenshot, we can choose BMP [bitmap], GIF, JPEG2000, JPEG, PNG, PPM, SGI, Targa, and TIFF image types from Format.
CodyCam’s sole menu, File, has Video Preferences (which don’t open for me), Start Video, Stop Video, About CodyCam, and Quit.
And since we do have an About box available to us here, it reads, “CodyCam / The Original BeOS WebCam”.
App 7 of 28: DeskCalc
Next is ‘DeskCalc’, which as it’s name implies is a desk calculator. It takes on a glossy gunmetal gray appearance with a white text field running along the top, and has the usual calculator number pad with . and backspace on the left, with the two rows on the right including parentheses, multiply, divide, add, subtract, equals, and clear. And… as illustrated below, it can replicate into a replicant as well.
The replicant’s context menu has two entries: About DeskCalc and Remove Replicant.
But — there’s also a second menu that comes up if we aim for the buttons instead. We still get About DeskCalc, but we now get two check options to “Enable Num Lock on start up” and “Show Keypad”.
Now, I feel a look at this app wouldn’t be complete without me mentioning DeskCalc definitely breaks with the old design and features a more ‘fat’ layout, with controls laid out on the right side of the ‘keypad’. But the overall thing to remember here is that all Haiku versions from Alpha 1 to the Beta have a calculator built in.
While BeOS did have a calculator (shown below from Dano), not all releases had one, and so DeskCalc definitely does unify the way forward.
App 8 of 28: DiskProbe
Next up, familiar to any Be user, is the DiskProbe utility, which greets us with a box when opened. It has an “Examine Device” pop-up menu that defaults to the startup disk, and “Cancel”, “Probe File”, and “Probe Device” buttons.
In the main window, there’s the menubar (with File, Edit, Block, View), the Device info section listing the disk (/dev/disk/ata/0/master/0), the Block (0x0 of 0xfff800; with an editable text field), Offset (0x0), and Device Offset (0x0). Below this is a slider, and from there, the majority of the utility is occupied by a hex viewer to probe the disk.
File contains New, Open Device, Open File, Save, Close, Page Setup, Print, About DiskProbe, and Quit. As shown below, Open Device fans out to show device paths for the startup disk and CD-ROM (/dev/disk/atapi/1/master/raw).
Edit is pretty standard with Undo, Redo, Copy, Paste, Select All, Find, and Find Again.
Block includes Next, Previous, Back, and submenus for Selection and Bookmarks. Bookmarks (or locations marked for later reference) can be added with ‘Add’ in its submenu.
View is comprised of three submenus: Base, Block Size, and Font Size. Base allows choosing between Decimal and Hex.
Block Size (listed as BlockSize) allows choosing between 512 (native), 1024, and 2048.
And finally, Font Size allows choosing 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 18, 24, 36, and 48 as font sizes. 12 appears to be the default, and there’s also an option to “Fit” to window as well.
Finally, the About box reads “DiskProbe / written by Axel Dörfler / Copyright 2004–2007, Haiku / original Be version by Robert Polic”. And like Robert Polic had worked on several applications, it’s definitely noteworthy to highlight Axel Dörfler with his contributions to Haiku as well!
App 9 of 28: DiskUsage
So here, we have DiskUsage, bundled with the Haiku operating system. There’s a Volume pop-up menu, and Rescan and ‘?’ [or help] buttons. The main part of the utility starts blank with “Select a volume to scan”.
If we select “Haiku” from Volume, it will then show “Scanning Haiku” with a helpful progress bar.
And when finished, we get a nice graphical representation of the “Haiku” disk, with the disk name and 8.00 GB (the size) listed in the center of the main gray circle. The outside flanks out of the center disk (or disc) like a slice of a pie chart would. The difference, however, is that it branches out into segments that can extend further than others, and these segments are made out of shades of teal, blue, red, and purple (which represent the different areas they correspond to). The idea is to show visually what is taking up the most space on the disk… and that is a look at DiskUsage.
App 10 of 28: DriveSetup
Back in the territory of classic BeOS, we have DriveSetup: the default disk utility for the Be desktop. Haiku changes several aspects from the classic version from the top downward and gives it a nice re-design.
First, Disk and Partition replace the five menu system from before, and squeezed in between the menus and columned list pane, there’s now a disk preview zone. When nothing is selected, this shows subtle light and dark gray stripes and “Select a partition from the list below.” The columns are similar to the original, but there’s a few changes, with Device, Filesystem, Volume Name, Mounted At, and Size columns here. Finally (and thankfully), unlike BeOS that just had expandable ‘blocks’ for disks, when disks are expanded out in the Haiku version, there’s proper entries for each volume, so it’s easy to deal with each one.
It’s a definite upgrade and one that I’m truly thankful is in Alpha 1. I’ll be looking at this ‘new’ utility in more detail when we get to the Installer article.
App 11 of 28: Expander
Up next, we have another familiar tool: Expander. When its side by side with R5, it is very close with its two menus (File and Edit), Source and Destination buttons and text areas, Expand button (all in the same vertical row), and the Show Contents check box. As shown below, I’ve filled in the source and destination with a sample ZIP file.
Of course, it’s also possible to open an archive by looking for it by using the usual Open box, where it’s possible to look for archive files within folders.
And just like the BeOS version, File includes About Expander, Set Source, Set Destination, Expand, Show Contents, Stop, and Close.
If we click About, Expander’s About box reads “Expander / written by Jérôme Duval / Copyright 2004–2006, Haiku Inc. / original Be version by / Dominic, Hiroshi, Peter, Pavel, and Robert”.
Below the about box, I’ve expanded the “Show Contents” pane, so readers can see what this looks like. Similar to in BeOS, there’s the Archive name, Length, Date, Time, and Name with a total (1 file) in monospace.
And lastly, the Expander Preferences box (which is opened via the sole Preferences link in the Edit menu) has “Automatically expand files” and “Close window when done expanding” check boxes under Expansion, “Leave destination folder path empty”, “Same directory as source (archive) file” and “Use” radio buttons under Destination Folder (with Select and a text field for the Use option), and finally, “Open destination folder after extraction” and “Automatically show contents listing” check boxes under Other above the Cancel and OK buttons.
App 12 of 28: Icon-O-Matic
Okay, so we’ve seen where Haiku can bring back classic apps and tools, which is an achievement of itself — but it’s always special when there’s something unique, especially when it brings a new approach.
Here we have an all-new utility unique to Haiku! Now, Be enthusiasts and fans will more than likely remind me that there was “IconWorld”, followed by “Icon-o-Matic” for designing bit mapped or raster icons in the classic BeOS. And that’s totally true.
However, the colossal difference here is that while this tool shares the name and goal of its predecessor, its insides are completely different and the Haiku iteration of Icon-O-Matic has been redesigned with the purpose of creating clearer and lighter vector icons in HVIF (Haiku’s Vector Icon Format). While I do wish Haiku used SVG, (as scalable vector graphics are for the most part an open and universal format), there are several really great reasons Haiku went with their own icon of choice — and I hope to cover why in a special feature later on.
For now, shown below is Icon-O-Matic. The left side has File, Edit, and Options menus above a preview pane that shows what the icon looks like on white and the standard Be/Haiku blue background in small and large sizes. The next pane down is Path (where paths are listed), Shape (where shapes are listed), Transformer (where transforms are listed), and Style (where styles are listed).
On the top, there’s Style, which is next to a pane for listing styles with Style Type and Gradient Type submenus. Below these two items is a gradient mixer (or just the active color) depending on the type of fill one chooses. And at last, on the very right is a color palette with 20 colors, a color slider, and a color well. And finally, away from the left and top edges is the main body where one designs the icon.
Now… Icon-O-Matic definitely has an odd interface to it that does have a “learning curve” in order to really understand it. Part of this (at least I believe) is that the menus are dispersed throughout the application in the various panes. For example, there’s Path, with Add, Add Rect (rectangle), Add Circle, Duplicate, Reverse, Clean Up, Rotate Indices Left, Rotate Indices Right, and Remove.
With Shape, there’s Add Empty, Add with Path, Add with Style, Add With Path [and] Style, Duplicate, Reset Transformation, Freeze Transformation, and Remove.
Then on top, next to the three menus of the ‘menu bar’ of Icon-O-Matic is Style. Here, there’s Add, Duplicate, Reset Transformation, and Remove.
File has New, Open, Append, Save, Save As, Export, Export As, and Quit options.
Edit just has undo and redo. I do like the ‘nothing to undo/redo’ remarks as a nice touch here, though.
And finally, Options has a ‘Snap to Grid’ submenu with Off, 64×64, 32×32, and 16×16 modes.
The “Save Image” box is the standard Haiku save box, and there’s two types. The first (Save) saves the icon; Export, however, allows saving it as other formats. This makes Icon-O-Matic a useful, built-in graphics tool, because we can export as SVG, as PNG images, and of course as attributes or native HVIF icons.
And for now, that’s where I’m going to leave this look at Icon-O-Matic. As I’d mentioned before, I do hope to write a special article in the future to both explain more about Haiku’s icons and write on what I believe makes Icon-O-Matic a truly unique approach in the world of iconography.
App 13 of 28: Installer
Next, we are brought to the Haiku Installer. Unlike the classic BeOS, this isn’t a license agreement to read through, but instead is a helpful quick reference shown to users before installing Haiku to disk. Tips include how to integrate Haiku into the GRand Unified Bootloader (Gnu Grub), and a cautionary note to partition Alpha 1 first before installing on real hardware.
The Installer layout itself is very BeOS like, as shown below. The Haiku logo (large black sans-serif letters with three shades of three leaves) appears with “alpha 1” stamped on it like a stencil or ink stamp on the top left corner. Directly across from it (on the right) is what I’d best call an info pane, which reads, “Choose the disk you want to install onto from the pop-up menu. Then click ‘Begin’.” There are some differences from R5, of course, but overall it remains faithful to the classic.
The second part has “Install from” and “Onto” pop-up menus in the same layout as BeOS. Showing ‘Optional Packages’ by clicking the triangle that opens the drawer reveals “No optional packages available” and under it “Additional space required: 0.0 KB”. This is obviously because there’s no extras to select. Finally, buttons on the bottom left include “Setup partitions…”, “Write Boot Sector”, and “Begin” on the right. And for now, this is where I’m going to leave things with the Installer.
Like with DriveSetup (the default disk utility), for a full look at installing Haiku Alpha 1, please see the Installation Extra after this article series is finished.
App 14 of 28: Magnify
Magnify has been around for a long time, and dates back to at least when we first saw it back in R3. In R4, it received a salvo of new features… and from there, pretty much remained itself up to Dano. In Haiku alpha 1, it’s pretty much the same tool and has the same features as before.
The top info section reads: “32 [by] 32 [at] 8 pixels [per] pixel” on the first row. And 51, 102, and 152 are listed as the R (Red), G (Green), and B (Blue) values, with 0xb4 as the color hex value in parentheses on the second row.
Of course, we can increase this a bit, so it’s 40 by 40 over the 32 (by 32) we started with.
Upon opening the tool’s sole menu via the little down arrow widget, entries include About Magnify, Help, Save Image, Copy Image, Hide/Show Info, Add a Crosshair, Remove a Crosshair, Hide/Show Grid, Freeze/Unfreeze image, Stick Coordinates, Make Square, Decrease Window Size, Increase Window Size, Decrease Pixel Size, and Increase Pixel Size.
As for Mail, it is pretty simple. As the default mail client, it’s pretty much identical in appearance to when we last left BeMail back in BeOS, with a few subtle tweaks.
Mail has a menubar with File, Edit, Message, and Queries (instead of Enclosures in R5/Dano), and a toolbar below it that’s standard of most mail clients. But somehow the flat, 2000 esque style of the icons (New, Send, Signature, Save, Print, Trash, Inbox, and Mail) here and back in R5 seems to follow more of the average mail apps of the era rather than the isometric style. But of course, this is just me.
Below the toolbar is a To pop-up menu and text field, From and Encoding pop-up menus, a Subject text field, and text fields and pop-up menus for CC and BCC (carbon copy and blind carbon copy). And at last, we see the body of the letter.
Typing a subject causes it to appear in the title tab, just like when I’d tested this feature before in Dano, which is definitely a nice touch as always.
And in moving up to the menus, File includes New Mail Message, Open Draft, Save as Draft, Close, Page Setup, Print, About Mail, and Quit.
Edit has Undo, Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Select All, Find, Find Again, Quote, Remove Quote, Check Spelling, Preferences, and Accounts.
Underneath Message, there’s an option to Send Message, but there’s also Add Signature, Edit Signatures, Add Enclosure, and Remove Enclosure, so this menu is now the new home for these entries.
Finally, the new Queries menu just includes Edit Queries.
If we do choose “Edit Queries” a light bulb or tip dialog reads: “Put your favorite e-mail queries and query templates in this folder.” Behind it, an empty queries folder is available that we can customize.
And finally, Mail Preferences is divided into two parts in one view.
The first is User Interface with pop-up menus for “Button Bar”, “Font”, “Size”, “Colored Quotes”, “Initial Spell Check Mode”, and “Automatically mark mail as read”. The second is Mailing with more pop-up menus for “Default Account”, “Reply Account”, “Reply Preamble” (with a text box), “Auto Signature”, “Encoding”, “Warm Unencodable”, “Text Wrapping”, and “Attach Attributes”.
And before moving on, I might quickly add I find the Find box here kind of, well, cute…
App 16 of 28: MediaConverter
Of course, Haiku wouldn’t be worth taking the title of being “The Media OS” from Be without focusing on media. And so, in keeping to its mission, Haiku includes MediaConverter.
On its left side is a “Source files” list pane and File menu, and on the right is “File details” and “Output format”. And under the latter pane, there’s pop up menus for “File format”, “Audio encoding”, and “Video encoding”, a button for Output Folder (with a label revealing it defaults to /boot/home, “Start mSec” and “End mSec” text fields, and at last, Low to High horizontal sliders for “Video quality” and “Audio quality”, both set to 75%. Finally, along the bottom, a label reads “Drop media files onto this window” and there’s buttons to Preview and Convert.
And finally, the lone File menu just has Open, About, and Quit.
App 17 of 28: MediaPlayer
Back in the world of reviving old BeOS applications, we have MediaPlayer! Here, Alpha 1 successfully offers a simple MediaPlayer with the standard set of menus, the drop zone (a subtle zebra path on dark gray with “Drop files to play”), media controls, and a volume meter like we’d see in the classic BeOS (after the early versions with PlaySound).
When we open the About box, it reads: “MediaPlayer / Written by Marcus Overhagen, Stephan Aßmus and Frederik Modéen” and in the same feel as BeOS, there’s a “Thanks” button here.
Let’s test a media file with it from Wikipedia (“The Girl with the Flaxen Hair” in English or in its original form “La fille aux cheveux de lin” written by Debussy and performed by Mike Ambrose)… and well… I guess this test file I converted to MP3 won’t play. Apparently, the MP3 format isn’t supported in Alpha 1.
But since the original is an Ogg Vorbis sound file, we can play it quite easily.
And since we’re now playing a file, let’s compare this to R5. At the very top the Haiku version has MediaPlayer, Audio, Video, and Settings for its menus, where R5 has File, View, Settings. The classic BeOS offered a mini mode (with a little switch) and rounded crop handles on the green ‘radio’ media bar, which aren’t available here. However, the app does remain faithful to its predecessor, and the color palette and media controls (previous, stop, play or pause, next, and the volume meter) remain the same.
Curiously, even though MP3 media isn’t supported, a MP4 film is. Here, I’m playing the first “Caminandes” animated film nicely.
But before I get to the video options, here’s what the Playlist window looks like. It’s basically a blank list where one can add media to play, similar to something like VLC. Edit has standard undo and redo options, “Randomize”, “Remove”, “Remove and Put into Trash”, and “Remove All”.
And as for the Playlist menu itself, it has Open, Save As, and Close entries.
Earlier, I opened the About box; this can be done from the Media Player menu. There’s also entries to open a New Player, Open File, File Info, Playlist, Close, and Quit.
The next menu over is Audio with a Track submenu (which shows Track 1).
And really, to cover the Video menu, that brings us back to the video! Like with the audio, we can choose tracks from Track, make the video Full Screen, change to 50, 100, 200, 300, and 400 percent scale in a way that’s reminiscient of QuickTime, and also change the Aspect Ratio. At the top of this submenu are check options for Stream Settings and No Aspect Correction, with 4:3, 16:9, 1.66:1, 1.75:1, 1.85:1 (American), and 2.35:1 (Cinemascope) aspect options below these.
And finally, on the right, we can select “No Interface”, “Always on Top”, and “Settings” from the Settings menu.
If we do opt to enter ‘no interface’ we get a feature that (to me) reminds me of QuickTime X on the Mac, in that this hides all controls and window chrome… and we’re left with a floating card of a playing video. Nice — and what’s nicer is I do believe this is new to Haiku.
Finally, here’s MediaPlayer Settings with three panes in the same view:
‘Play mode’ shows check boxes for “Automatically start playing”, “Close window when done playing movies”, “Close window when done playing sounds”, “Loop movies by default”, and “Loop sounds by default”.
‘View options’ shows check boxes for “Use hardware video overlays if available” and “Scale movies smoothly (non-overlay mode)”
And finally, “Play background clips at” has radio buttons for “Full volume”, “Low volume”, and “Muted”. Below this are Revert, Cancel, and OK buttons.
App 18 of 28: MidiPlayer
Per its name and purpose like in the classic BeOS, MidiPlayer allows one to play MIDI files.
The black monitor at the top reads “Drop MIDI file here” in white text. Under this is the rest of the window.
This starts with a “Scope” check box, Reverb pop-up menu (set to Igor’s Lab by default, but we can also pick None, Closet, Garage, Cavern, and Dungeon), and another pop-up menu for Live Input (Off). And finally, toward the bottom, there’s a horizontal slider for Volume with lavendar blue in the bar indicating the amount of volume, and a Play button centered on the bottom.
If we do drop in a MIDI file, the monitor at the top loses the label… and at least in this case, the monitor goes black. I think it’s supposed to have a sound wave here usually.
App 19 of 28: Pe
Like the “BeZillaBrowser” or the Bon Echo/Firefox port, Pe is bundled with Haiku Alpha 1 and it is meant to be a standard text editor for programming on the Haiku operating system.
It’s a big program, so I won’t get to it all, but I can give an overview of what it’s like. At the top, there’s File, Edit, Text, Search, Extensions, Window, and Help menus, and a toolbar with icon buttons for New Document, Open Document, Save Document, Execute Command, Function and Header pop-up menus, Find, Incremental Search, Read Only, File Options, and Soft Wrap. Under this is the main body of the window where the source code or text would appear.
File has New, New Group, Open, Open from Server, Open Selection, Open Recent, Close, Save, Save As, Save on Server, Save a Copy As, Save All, Revert, Page Setup, Print, and Quit.
Edit includes Undo (in this case, typing), Redo, Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, Select All, Select Line, and Select Paragraph.
The Text menu includes Balance, Twiddle, Change Case (with Upper Case, Lower Case, Capitalize Words, Capitalize Lines, and Capitalize Sentences inside), Shift Left, Shift Right, Comment, Uncomment, Justify, Insert Line breaks, Remove Line breaks, and Show in Browser.
Next over, the Search menu has Find, Find Again, Find Selection, Enter Search String, Replace, Replace [and] Find, Replace All, Find in Next File, Incremental Search, Jump to Next Error, Go To Line, Find Function, Previous Function, Next Function, and Find Differences.
Extensions include BeBookFetch, BeHappy, Copy Lines Containing, Cut Lines Containing, drieuxCaps, Expand Tabs, HeaderGuard, HeaderHeader, HTMLAnchor, HTMLImage, HTMLUpdate, Pipe, PrefixLines, Replace As Tabs, ROT13, and WebPaste.
Window has File Options, Preferences, Working Directory, Glossary, HTML Palette, Stack, Tile, Zoom, Worksheet, and a list of open project windows (in this case, Untitled).
And I think we can skip over the Help menu here, as it’s well… help.
I’m mainly doing this to save article space (in unabridged versions of these reviews I have planned for the future, I plan to show more stuff, but for now, this is where I’m mostly going to quit).
Here’s a few odds and ends of Pe, however. The Find box includes a Find pop-up menu and text boxes for Find and Replace, check boxes for Ignore Case, Backwards, Regex [regular expression], Wrap Around, Entire Word, Batch, Multi-File (with a Directory Scan pop-up menu), Recursive, and Text Files Only. Next to the last two are Search In and File Name pop-up menus and a text field. And finally, up on the top right are Find, Replace, Replace [and] Find, and Replace All buttons.
Another little box is Go To Line with a Line text field and Cancel and Ok buttons.
Finally, I’ll pick File Options as the last item to look at and from there, move on. In the first pane (Editor), Pe’s Editor Options include check boxes for Show Tabstops, Syntax Colouring, Show Invisibles, and a Show Invisibles check box. Below this group is a Font pop-up menu (set to DejaVu Sans Mono), a Size text field, and Input Encoding, Output Encoding, Linebreaks, and Language pop-up menus.
Statistics are exactly that, showing “Statistical and State Information” with “Name”, “Last saved”, “Mimetype”, “Size”, and “Lines” info.
And finally, Wrapping has “Options for Soft Wrapping” with a check box to “Soft Wrap Files”. A trio of radio options (Window Width, Paper Width, Fixed Column) then follows “And when wrapping use these settings:” with a text field available for Fixed Column (set to 80).
And… okay, one more. I really love the HTML palette shown here as it reminds me of GNUstep (and NeXTstep). Here, we have New, Font, Structure, Heading, Quotation, Lists, Image, Anchor, Update, Paragraph, Linebreak, and Preview. Seriously — I wish an option like this was available to all applications system wide… but that’s just me.
App 20 of 28: People
Okay — so back in the core application set and the land of reliving the past, Haiku has a People application like BeOS.
In starting with menus first, File contains New Person, Close, Save, Save As, Revert, and Quit.
And Edit has Undo, Cut, Copy, Paste, and Select All.
With that said, this is the main window for People. Just like one would remember from the old BeOS, it’s basically an editable card for a new ‘person’ or contact on the system with a series of text fields. These include Name, Nickname, Company, Address, City, State, Zip, Country, Home Phone, Work Phone, Fax, E-mail, URL, and Group (with an accompanying pop up menu).
If we choose to save a contact to disk, we get to one of the areas that make both the classic BeOS and the Haiku operating system unique — it doesn’t just save it as a normal contact file, but as metadata. And I’d definitely suggest to read my article of what makes BeOS and Haiku unique, as well as talks and documentation others have presented on this topic. It is truly fascinating.
App 21 of 28: PoorMan
Again, like the classic BeOS, Haiku Alpha 1 includes PoorMan. Upon launch, we get an info dialog with Cancel, Select, and Default buttons, which reads: “You have not yet selected the folder you want PoorMan to publish on the Web. PoorMan can create a ‘public_html’ folder in your home folder or you can select one of your own folders to publish. / Do you wish to select a folder to publish on the Web?”
After choosing the default, another info box reads, “A default Web folder has been created for you at ‘/boot/home/public_html’. Make sure an HTML document named ‘index.html’ is in that folder.”
PoorMan itself appears as shown below as a recreation of the classic BeOS version. There’s File, Edit, and Controls menus, a Status area with “Status: Running”, “Directory: /boot/home/public_html”, with “Hits: 0”, and a log area that takes up the bottom remainder of the window. The single entry so far shows “Starting up… done” with a date stamp.
In moving up to the main window’s menus, the File menu includes entries for: Save Console As, Save Console Selections As, About PoorMan, and Quit.
Edit is really simple, with Copy, Select All, and Settings.
And as the third and last menu, Controls has a check option to Run Server, and entries to Clear Hit Counter, Clear Console Log, and Clear Log File.
If we open PoorMan Settings (from the Edit menu), we get a box with three tabbed panes (Site, Logging, Advanced). Site includes a Web Site Location section with Web Folder and Start Page text fields at the top, and a “Send file listing if there’s no start page” check box option under Web Site Options at the bottom.
Logging includes “Log to Console” under Console Logging, and “Log to File” with a “Log File Name” text field and “Create Log File” text field under File Logging.
And lastly on our tour of this application, the Advanced tab has a sole Connections Options section with a slider for “Max. Simultaneous Connections” between 1 and 200. On the top right of the slider is the current value, “32 connections”.
Overall, it’s a continuation of the BeOS version that remains faithful to it… and I do find it incredible just how many of these apps manage to do it.
App 22 of 28: Screenshot
Next up on the application tour, we have a built-in tool that I am pretty sure is new in Haiku (as I didn’t see it in R5 or Dano)… and this is Screenshot.
The layout is nicely simple, with a nifty preview on the left, a Name text field (which set itself to screenshot1.png), “Save as” and “Save in” pop-up menus, and finally, Options, Cancel, and Save buttons.
As for what’s inside the pop-up menus, in “Save as”, we can save as a bitmap (BMP), GIF, JPEG, JPEG2000, PNG, PPM, SGI, Targa, or TIFF image — and in the “Save in” menu, we can save to Desktop, Home folder, Artwork folder, or we can also opt to ‘Choose folder’ as well.
If we click Options and look around it, here, we have radio buttons to “Capture entire screen” or “Capture active window” and a check box to “Include window border” in the first group toward the top. Below these is a check box to “Include mouse pointer” and a text field (set to 0) with a label to “Take screenshot after a delay of seconds”.
And that is a look at the Screenshot app.
App 23 of 28: SoundRecorder
Next is a simple one… that as far as I know, is probably not going to record anything inside my VM. Like in BeOS, there’s an audio scope that takes up a little more than the top half, a pale green progress and seek bar with the red seek ribbon and edge tabs, and rewind, stop, play/pause, wind, and save buttons. There’s also the familiar volume slider and mini mode switch.
Like in BeOS, if I do flip the switch, the app expands to show File Info with File Name, Format, Compression, Channels, Sample Size, Sample Rate, and Duration. There’s also a drop zone (Drop Files Here) on the left, and an Input pop-up menu.
App 24 of 28: StyledEdit
And now… we come to one of my personal favorites — the default text editor on BeOS and now, Haiku. StyledEdit is so simple that it just has this almost tangible, minimalistic aura to it. It’s UI is just its menus (File, Edit, Font, Document) and a page.
And yet… all this simplicity really belies that StyledEdit (per its name) is fully capable of basic document formatting, as shown below, where I’ve added bold and italic text, different sized fonts, and some blue and red text as an ode to Be:
In going through StyledEdit’s menus, File includes New, Open, Save, Save As, Revert to Saved, Close, Page Setup, Print, and Quit, just like the BeOS.
Next over is Edit, which has entries to Undo Typing, Cut, Copy, Paste, Clear, Select All, Find, Find Again, Find Selection, Replace, and Replace Same. Like File, it also remains true to the classic BeOS.
Font also is pretty much the same. There’s a submenu for Size (with points 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 24, 36, 48, and 72)…
… and for Color, StyledEdit includes Black, Red, Green, Blue, Cyan, Magenta, and Yellow, which is identical to Dano.
The list of fonts included in Alpha 1 are Bitstream Charter, DejaVu Sans, DejaVu Sans Mono, DejaVu Serif, Konatu, and KonatuTohaba. And as illustrated below, each font entry expands into a submenu to choose Regular, Bold, Bold Italic, or Italic text.
As the fourth and final menu, Document has an Align submenu with Left, Center, and Right, and below it is a Wrap Lines check option.
The standard “Find and replace” box has text fields for “Find” and “Replace with”, and under these, check boxes for “Case-sensitive”, “Wrap-around search”, “Search backwards”, and “Replace in all windows”. At the very bottom are Replace All, Cancel, and Replace.
And before I leave StyledEdit, I would like to take a look at the Save box. I usually do whenever I’m in this app, and do so as it’s a standard part of the UI. On top are menus and a location drop-down (home by default), with a columned list pane of folders with Name, Size, and Modified sandwiched in between these and a text field, Cancel, and Save at the bottom.
In going through the menus in the Save box, File has New Folder, Get Info, Edit Name, Move to Trash, Cut, Copy, and Paste.
Favorites includes Add Current Folder and Configure Favorites.
And finally, Encodings includes a list of text encoding options to choose from. To save time, I won’t include all the codes in the parentheses here, but there’s Unicode (UTF-8), ISO 8859 (1–10) entries for West, East, South, and North European, Cyrillic, Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Turkish, and Nordic, then Macintosh Roman, Japanese Shift JIS, EUC, and JIS, Windows Latin, Unicode (UCS-2), KOI8-R and Windows Cyrillic, DOS Cyrillic and Latin-US, EUC Korean, yet more ISO entries for Baltic, Celtic, and Latin, and finally, Chinese Big5 and GB18030… and Unicode (UTF-16). So, as you can see, Haiku includes quite the list of text encodings to pick from by default.
And just in case anyone was wondering, the default save locations include Desktop, Haiku, and Home. Similar to the Mac, there’s an Alt+D and Alt+H option for Desktop and Home — which mirrors the Cmd+D and Cmd+Shift+H shortcuts in Mac OS 10.x.
App 25 of 28: Terminal
And of course, “Welcome to the Haiku shell”. This is the Terminal in Haiku. It’s pretty much identical to its classic counterpart, complete with the classic black text on a white background and the trio of Terminal, Edit, and Settings menus.
The first menu, Terminal, includes an option to Switch Terminals, as well as entries for New Terminal, New Tab, Page Setup, Print, About Terminal, and Quit. And this is where things begin to get a bit different. From Dano at least, you’ll notice there’s no Log to File here, and the New Tab, Page Setup, Print, and the about and quit entries are all new to Haiku.
Edit includes Copy, Paste, Select All, Clear All, Find, Find Previous (instead of Find Backward), and Find Next. Write Selection isn’t in here.
And lastly, in Settings, we can set the Window Size to 80 by 25, 80 by 40, 132 by 25, and 132 by 40, or Fullscreen. We can set the Encoding to UTF-8, ISO-8839 (1–10), MacRoman, JIS, Shift-JIS, EUC-jp, EUC-kr, GB18030, and Big5. And under Text Size, we can Increase and Decrease it with Alt plus and minus keyboard shortcuts.
Terminal Preferences in Haiku Alpha 1 are kept very simple and consolidate the Color and Font settings that lived in the Settings menu and pop-up windows in Dano.
At the top, there’s pop-up menus to change Font, Color, and Size, and below this is the Haiku color mixer. Like BeOS, there’s sliders for Red, Green, and Blue with accompanying text fields for each, but Haiku also adds a thoughtful black and white slider on top of the usual RGB set from BeOS for choosing grayscale tones. Below this are Save to File, Cancel, and OK buttons.
And in exploring what’s in the pop-up menus, Size offers 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, and 18 font points.
Font merely offers DejaVu Sans Mono with no other options in the release.
And Color allows us to individually change colors for Text, Background, Cursor Text, Cursor Background, Selected Text, and Selected Background by first choosing an entry and then by adjusting the sliders on the bottom to mix a color.
So… while Terminal in Alpha 1 doesn’t have any themes yet, we can manually give it a nice dark mode by tweaking the colors:
And that is a quick look at Terminal. I’ll be looking at it in a bit more detail when we get to the “odds and ends” part of this review, but for now, that’s a quick overview of what the app looks and feels like.
App 26 of 28: TV
So… this is definitely different! Here, we get a TV app that opens for us regardless of whether we have TV hardware (in contrast to the classic BeOS releases), and I do appreciate this as it allows us to take a look at what this app looks like. For menus, we have TV, Channel, Interface, Settings, and Debug, and these sit above the main body (which is a TV screen showing bands of white, yellow, cyan, green, magenta, red, blue, black, and below that grayscale gradients).
And in going across the menubar, TV has two entries: About TV and Quit.
Channel just has None (which makes sense as we’re not connected to anything).
Interface is also None.
Settings includes options for: “Scale to native size”, “Full Screen”, “No Menu”, “No Border”, “Always on Top”, “Keep Aspect Ratio”, and a grayed out entry for Preferences.
And finally, under Debug, it’s possible to set different “pixel aspect ratio(s)” of 1.00000:1, 1.06666:1, 1.09091:1, 1.41176:1, and “force” 720×576, 704×576, and 544×576, all with a “display aspect [of] 4:3”.
And that’s a limited overview of TV.
App 27 of 28: Vision
Vision is an included Internet relay chat (IRC) client for the Haiku operating system. Here, we can see the Setup Window with the Vision logo, Network pop-up menu (which reads “Choose Network”) and Connect, Network Setup, and Preferences buttons.
There’s not much to do here but chat if we did connect… so I think I will simply open Network Setup and leave things at that. On the left of it is a Defaults pop-up menu, a Network Details section with “Will connect to [not applicable]”, a “Change servers…” button, an Autoexec list pane, and check boxes for “Enable lag checking” and “Connect to this network when Vision starts up”.
On the right side is a Personal Details section. Here, there is a “Use Defaults” check box, a list pane with Preferred Nicks, yellow vertical arrow buttons, Add and Remove buttons, and text fields for “Real name” and Ident [or identity]. The first field has “Heisenburg may have slept here” and the identity is vision. And that is a brief look at the Vision app.
App 28 of 28: WonderBrush
Last (but not least) in the list of Alpha 1 applications, we have WonderBrush.
In brief, we have File and Edit menus, then a set of controls and toolbars. Under the menus, there’s icons for new canvas, open file, export canvas, save canvas, close canvas, and beyond this are sliders with check boxes for Opacity, Radius, Hardness, and Spacing. Then we have Solid, Tilt, and Subpixels check boxes and icons for Undo, Redo, Confirm, Cancel, and the Swatches palette. Like Icon-o-Matic this has the current color and a set of 20 shades, a color saturation well, and a color slider.
The toolbar under the four main sliders has pick objects, clipboard, crop, transform, edit gradient, brush, pen, eraser, eraser pen, clone, blur, fill, text, shape, ellipse, (round) rectangle, dropper, and guides icon controls.
But let’s actually do something with it! WonderBrush is really easy to use, and so we can create a few layers, draw some stuff out, and voila! We have a quick postcard of “it’s the OS!” as a reference to the Cotton Squares song of the same name.
And… in quickly going over the menus, File has Open, Export, Export As, Save, Save As, Page Setup, Print, About, and Quit.
And Edit has Undo, Redo, Paste, and a Settings submenu (with Fullscreen, Show Pixel Grid, Tool Tips, and Program Settings).
Program Settings is divided into two sections (in the same view): Startup Action and Interface. In the first, we can pick the On Startup action in a pop-up menu (Do Nothing, Display Open Panel, Display New Panel, Create New Canvas of Size). If the ‘create’ option is on, there’s Width and Height text boxes with a lock (to lock the width and height to each other). And in Interface, there’s a “Live Updates in Navigator and Layer Icons” check box and Language pop-up menu (listed as English, Castellano, Deutsch, Français, Italiano, Nederlands, Norsk, Polski, Russian, Slovenščina, Suomi, Türkçe, and one at the end that appears as three blocks).
And of course, if we don’t click Save and try to quit, we get a save dialog.
But… if I wanted to save this as something other than a WonderBrush project, I could go to ‘export canvas’ BMP, GIF, JPEG2000, JPEG, PNG, PPM, SGI, Targa, TIFF, Cursor Source Code, Bitmap Source Code, RDef, SVG, and Adobe Illustrator.
And that is a look at the applications set in Haiku Alpha 1! Please continue to join me for the remaining parts of this review where I will be looking at the demos, preferences set, and a few system folders and ‘odds and ends’ in the final part of this review.
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
And if you like my work, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please link to or follow my page, or support me on Patreon!
As a quick recap or the ‘too long, didn’t read’ (tdlr) version of the intro to the Haiku Alpha series, Be had started life making its own software (BeOS) and hardware (BeBox) — but in the end, three things had hurt Be: struggling to compete in a Windows dominion, the lost candidacy at becoming the next generation Mac OS (and the end of Mac clones), and finally, their push into the Internet Appliance market (which failed as the technologies needed to make it attractive to consumers were ahead of Be’s time). By 2002, Be was gone (1).
Thus, in the ashes of Be’s collapse, there were aficionados of the BeOS who tried to keep the legacy going through various distributions and forks (such as Max and Zeta) — but there really wasn’t one successor to lead the way. That is… until the appearance of the OpenBeOS (renamed Haiku later in its development), which finally reached Alpha status in the autumn of 2009 on September 14 (2).
And so — without further prologue, that brings us to today’s topic: Haiku Alpha 1.
Like the BeOS reviews, this one for Haiku Alpha 1 will be split into several parts:
Part 1 of 5: This article — Startup and first look
Part 2 of 5: Applications
Part 3 of 5: Demos
Part 4 of 5: Applets and Preferences
Part 5 of 5: Tracker, Odds and Ends, and Shutting Down
Bonus: Installing Haiku R1/Alpha 1
Sector 1 of 9: Startup
As a quick visual review, the last time that we saw the BeOS back in Exp/Dano, the startup screen looked like this (and I’ll also add this same design dates back to R4.5 “Genki”):
Compare the old purple and white theme to the fresh new look Haiku presents the user with. Like we’d seen back in Zeta 1.21, Haiku decided to dispense with the top left alignment and instead opts for a centered boot splash.
Like the Be logo at the bottom of the classic boot splash, Haiku’s logo is also in color with green, orange, and yellow leaves on it. Notice that the progress bar is now made up of gray rounded rectangles or ‘blocks’ rather than orbs. Oh, and, when the icons light up from a dimmed out gray, they’re in color as shown below:
When all the blocks load, it appears like this:
This one theme would be the standard for all subsequent Haiku releases, from Alpha 2 to the current Nightly builds (as of when this article was written).
Now, the next screen that we’ll see (if we’re booting from the CD) is this one. Any time we boot into a live session, we’re prompted with a simple: “Do you wish to run the Installer or continue booting to the Desktop?” with buttons for the Desktop and Installer.
Alpha 1 not only supports booting directly from the CD (as modern media in late 2009 did), but it also allowed booting directly to the Desktop from the CD. While this is something that popular distributions (like Ubuntu in the Linux world and Max in the Be world) had already done and offered out of the box, keep in mind the classic BeOS CDs usually would boot to the Installer. So when I see this little box, I think of how Haiku meshed together the live CD era with a continuation of the past. And even though this box is simple, Haiku set a precedent for all the subsequent releases and Nightly builds.
Like in BeOS, when the Desktop loads, we get a nice shade of blue that comes up (and is still there to this day):
Now again, for comparison, this was the last time that the Be world had seen an official BeOS desktop (Release 5/“Maui”):
And as a bonus, this is what “Dano” (a leaked beta of BeOS after R5) looked like — which is really cool in more ways than one! If you are new to BeOS, definitely check out Dano! It really has so much to explore unique to itself — an experimental decor set in Screen preferences, net features in Boneyard preferences and Spy-o-Matic, and so much more.
Sector 2 of 9: Desktop exploration
Anyway… at last, we get back to the true focus of our review. This is Alpha 1. Other than a few subtle differences, you can see how Haiku truly is the BeOS reborn:
Now, just like in the classic BeOS, we have the Deskbar anchored to the top right of the Desktop (and as usual, if one chooses to drag it by the handle on the right side of the clock, the Deskbar can then align to any edge or corner).
In this version, we have the tray with desk applets (the ever useful ProcessController) and the clock, tiles for running applications (currently Tracker), and its Leaf menu. This new icon is a pleasantly blue leaf, maybe because it makes me recall the gorgeous blue Apple menu logos in Mac OS X 10.0–4. And though I’ve never used it, the blue here also is reminiscent of the MorphOS butterfly…
For comparison, here’s the Deskbar from Dano — the final BeOS. There are a few subtle differences (Haiku features gradients and a flat applet tray), but as you can see in the above screenshot with Haiku… it’s definitely the Deskbar.
i. Inside the Leaf menu
And since it is the main piece of the Deskbar, let’s switch back to Haiku and look inside the Leaf menu itself. Here, we have About This System, Find, a Show Replicants check toggle, and submenus for Mount, Deskbar Settings, Shutdown, Recent Documents, Recent Applications, Applications, Demos, Desktop Applets, and Preferences. (And if enabled, Recent Folders can appear as well; also, you’ll notice ‘Mount’ which doesn’t appear in the Be menus).
ii. Comparison to the Be menu
And once again, since Haiku (Alpha 1) is the direct successor to the BeOS, let’s compare the contents of the two menus. As you can see between the top screenshot (Haiku Alpha 1) and bottom screenshot (BeOS “Dano”), it’s very similar to BeOS… (oh, and as for the open Deskbar Settings, I’ll get to those momentarily):
iii. Configure Deskbar Menu box
Inside the Deskbar Settings submenu (which again, I’ll open soon), we have the Configure Deskbar menu box, which is pretty much the same as “Configure Be Menu” from the old BeOS. On its left, we can add a new group, and there’s check boxes to toggle Recent Documents, Recent Applications, and Recent Folders. Each has a text box which defaults to showing 10 items. On the right, there’s a pop-up menu and a menu-like pane with ‘groups’ or folders. And finally, there’s buttons to Edit, Open, Add, and Remove the listed groups.
Now… what’s always intrigued me about the Configure box is why it was made when the Be menu can more readily be edited in Tracker. This thinking is something the next Haiku release thankfully saw also— as it did away with the Configure box.
iv. Deskbar Settings
And… at last — I’m getting to the Deskbar Settings menu in Alpha 1. In here, we can opt to Configure Deskbar Menu, and set Always On Top, Auto Raise, Sort Running Applications, Tracker Always First, 24 Hour Clock, Show Seconds, European Date, Full Date, Show Application Expander, and Expand New Applications.
Now, if you scroll back up to Dano, you’ll notice Haiku adds in Auto Raise, and Show Application Expander and Expand New Applications. What this does is fold open the app tiles to show open window lists under them — which is super useful. And this is something that Zeta 1.21 featured as well if you remember it’s Deskbar pane.
And also, before we leave them, it’s worth noting this list of options would be unique to Alpha 1, as Alpha 2 and later releases would add a preferences box. It’s special to me, as it’s a final ode to the options in the menu from Dano.
Shut down in style!
Also, for the first time (that I’m aware of) in the Be timeline, Haiku Alpha 1 added a shutdown box just like the Mac OS did in System 7 onward. Awesomeness!
Cue a happy dance for the shutdown box! 🙂 Getting to this either takes pressing Shutdown from the menu (instead of directly shutting down or restarting the classic way with links Haiku has moved into a submenu) or running shutdown -a from Terminal (which allows this to be mapped to a keyboard shortcut to really get it closer to the Mac feeling of pressing the restart key or control+eject).
Context menus and Add-ons
Context menus in the Tracker (the file manager in BeOS and Haiku) work the same across both eras. Just like you’d expect from the BeOS, Haiku includes drill down menus, which allow navigating the system in place (and when available, this also allows instant moving and copying of files). There’s also New, Icon View, Mini Icon View, Clean Up, Select, Select All, and finally, Mount and Add-ons submenus.
And like R5, we get a clean menu rather than being fed templates, which is a nice touch. One can click Edit Templates as well for those that like their New menu to work more like Windows 95:
And… just in case anyone is new to the BeOS or Haiku, picture add-ons as being somewhat similar to services in the application menus in Mac OS 10.0+. Here, in Alpha 1, these allow you to check disk usage with DiskUsage, search for a ‘string’ of text within files, set the (desktop) Background, modify the FileType, open a Terminal window on the spot, or zip up files (via Zip-o-Matic).
And just in case anyone was wondering what’s in the Mount menu, it’s a list of disks, Mount All, and Settings.
As for Disk Mount Settings itself, it’s roughly the same two sections inside one pane as in the classic BeOS. The first (Automatic Disk Mounting) has “Don’t Automount”, “All BeOS Disks”, and “All Disks” radio options, and the second (Disk Mounting During Boot) has “Only The Boot Disk”, “Previously Mounted Disks”, “All BeOS Disks”, and “All Disks” radio options. At the very bottom are “Mount all disks now” and “Done” options.
So that’s a look at the menus on the Haiku Desktop.
Sector 3 of 9: About and Find boxes
The next thing I’d like to look at here is the About box in Haiku Alpha 1. Like BeOS R5 and Dano, it has a dichotomy of quick system stats on the left side and copyright info on the right.
On the left, Version has “R1/alpha1 (Revision 33109)”, Processor shows an “Intel Core 2 Extreme [at] 2.25 GHz”, Memory shows I’ve allocated “256 MB total”, with “80 MB used (31%)”, the Kernel was built on “[September] 12, 2009 [at] 17:45:45” and Time Running is “16 minutes, 9 seconds”.
On the right, “Haiku” is shown in dark green with a copyright spanning from 2001 to 2020 (this expands to the current date). There’s also a hyperlink to the Haiku website, and a list of current maintainers. Under this are lists of Past Maintainers, Website, Marketing and Documentation maintainers, Contributors, and a Special Thanks To section. And… under this is a list of copyrights and licenses for the various open source pieces used in making the Haiku operating system, such as elements from the GNU Project and FreeBSD Project, NetBSD Project, and so on.
Only thing is I wish Haiku didn’t go with the cool black About box from R4.5 though… but that’s just me. 😉
Definitely take a moment to notice the revision here is 33109 — with the current Haiku Nightly revision or hrev at 53867 (as of this article), it’s amazing to see just how far Haiku has come in the years since its breakout release.
Okay, so as the final area of focus in this article before we head into the Applications and Demos folders in the next part — let’s take a look at Find.
In BeOS Dano, the Find box had looked like this… with the experimental Origin decor and Dano widgets:
Okay… so, maybe, the more fair thing would be to show the R5/“Maui” box:
There we go. And as you can see from both BeOS perspectives above, when we compare them to Haiku Alpha 1 (in the below screenshot), it’s pretty much the same box:
And I definitely want to take this opportunity to say look how much crisper the remastered query icon and control look is between R5 and Alpha 1. And as an extension, this also really shows that between the two UI designs, Haiku aims to model itself (both then and now) after R5 rather than Dano.
So, that said, let’s look at the rest of what’s in here. The little button in the top left of the Find box that looks like a classic Mac’s restart key in reverse in the top row is a ‘query’ menu showing the ‘default’ query and an option to “Save Query as Template”.
Next to it is the “All files and folders” menu, which allows choosing the file type to search for. And here, there’s a noticeable (and welcome) difference.
In Dano, the ‘all files and folders’ menu was a long list of MIME types, and this definitely makes searching a bit more pleasant. Huge kudos to the Haiku developer who decided to get this organized into categories (application, audio, image, text, video).
Like in BeOS, we can search “by Name”, “by Attribute”, or “by Formula”, so it’s the same as one would see back in Dano.
And as a fourth menu (or the third if you’re just counting the menus with text), the “All disks” pop-up allows changing the search scope to a particular disk, like “Haiku”.
But enough looking around the text box — let’s search for something already! I’ve made a text file called ‘maui’ for fun (since that was the name for R5), and by searching for it, as shown below, Haiku both finds the document almost instantly and makes a query for it that I can refer to later.
Search on the BeOS and what would start as Alpha 1 here with Haiku is really versatile and powerful, and I’ll definitely look at this in more detail when we get to Alpha 2.
The File menu is the standard Tracker menu (which I’ll go over in the Tracker part of this review), and in the queries or results window we get an “Edit Query” option. So again, it’s identical to what one would have in BeOS.
If we open the Window menu, we get Resize to Fit, Select, Select All, Invert Selection, and Close. This is the same as Dano, (with an added ‘Invert Selection’ option for the results window).
And Attributes include check options for Name, Size, Modified, Created, Kind, Location, and Permissions. But what I believe is new to Haiku Alpha 1 (as I don’t remember this from Dano), is that there’s an option to Copy Layout and Paste Layout.
Finally, like in the classic BeOS, queries are stored inside their own folder in the home folder (so, this would be /boot/home/queries). And as shown below, there’s both the ‘maui’ query and the ‘default’ query. As one last note, I definitely want to say: notice the detail in those icons! For a first release, you can really see the love that went into every detail here.
And that is the opening look at Haiku Alpha 1! Please join me again for the next part of this review where I will be taking a look at the Haiku Alpha 1 application set and demos.
Hope you enjoyed this article! 🙂
And if you like my work, (and want to help me get some more stuff out there), please link to or follow my page, or support me on Patreon!