Screenshots of a Haiku pre-beta build

As the first post on this blog, it had to showcase one of my favorites: Haiku.

This originally was written on my personal blog, and has been pasted from therebut starting with the next screenshot set I do, anything GUI related will be covered here and on Medium (and only mentioned on the old blog).

Note: If the screenshots appear blurry, click on them to get a better image. If that doesn’t work, see the original post on my old blog for now.

Getting started (first boot + install)


So, with nothing holding us back, let’s start up Haiku!





Once again, we are greeted by that ever-familiar shade of blue reminiscent of the BeOS and classic Mac OS X that I love looking at each time…




And we are brought to the Welcome box, greeting us to Haiku.




After getting through the Welcome box, here we are looking at the Installer notes (traditionally where the license went on Be). Oh, nice! We now have the beta text displayed here. 🙂


About now, we’d be prompted to set up partitions in DriveSetup (but for the sake of brevity, I did this already), so we’re brought directly to the box:


Okay. Now, let’s go ahead and install this build of Haiku!


And as you can see, Haiku 64-bit supports gcc7. Nice.


True to the tour, here’s the Haiku version stamped in the package:


And we also get the help/user guides in this release as well. Cool. Again, notice how fast Haiku is installing the system thanks to the packaged filesystem.


Notice, again, that Haiku is using the Noto Sans font, and had switched to it from the old DejaVu Sans font in the Nightly branch… since I think around last March. And it still looks nice.


Finally, installing the Trash…


Success! Let’s reboot.


First (re)boot

Restarting Haiku for the first time…



So, here we are at the first boot since installing Haiku.




Now, being a fan of the Menubar on the Mac, I usually alternate between gluing the Deskbar to the top of the screen and using it conked on its side (the default way). The Deskbar is really cool. In Be, these were your options…

Make way! Coming through! Historical screenshot of BeOS here!


But in Haiku, you can do something else — expand out the application tiles. Personally, I think this makes the Deskbar one of the best, bested only by the Application Palette in Rhapsody and Mac OS 8.6.


Let’s also open up the user documentation that ships with the release.


And the user guide.


Cool. The BeBook is included here, too.


Now, the BeBook is different from the user guides. It’s more of a developer resource, so think more of Gtk documentation or the XCode reference guides over a help system in this sense. Here is one example of the BApplication page:


Okay, so that’s a basic overview of what’s here. And for now, let’s move on. As much nerdy fun as looking at the docs is, we’ll save exploring it until Beta gets here. 🙂

Demos, replicants, and applets!


So, let’s take a look at the usual demos first, now that we’re up and running. So here we are running Pulse and the usual complement of demos.

We’ll start with Haiku3d showing the Haiku demo in front, which appears all monochrome here (and actually, I personally think it looks cooler this way than in color).

And as a sidenote, you’ll notice that Pulse reads Core 2 Duo on it; that’s because I’m capturing all this on my Mac. The nice thing about Pulse is that in addition to seeing CPU load, you can turn cores on and off; a useful feature.


Here, we have the FontDemo showing off the capabilities Haiku has with text. In many ways, the fluidity of it all reminds me of the Mac. An empty Sudoku board is still behind it.


After cleaning things up a bit, here’s Mandlebrot in front with a new render — the burning ship.


And finally, here’s Playground in the front, and Pairs (a memory game) behind it. Let’s write ‘H’ for Haiku for this one.

Notice the detail in the Haiku icons in the Pairs game — more on this when it reaches beta!


And at last, in saving the best (or rather my favorite) for the last demo, here is Chart. What is amazing here that still captures aren’t showing is that Haiku is spinning the pot and running Chart, and doing so quite well.


And with all the demos gone, we are left with one little app. You know… I still have fun with Clock every time. 🙂



What makes replicants special is their ability to be copied. If I drag on the little right corner, I can drag a copy of the clock out of the clock, and have the clock nicely running like a widget like on the Mac (10.4+) after I close the parent window.


Now that we’ve had fun with the demos, let’s look at two desktop applets real quickly.

I’d like to discuss LaunchBox (on the left) for a bit. Now, there are really nice Dock imitations for Haiku out there, but the reason I want to mention this one is because it is native, built-in to Haiku itself. LaunchBox may look simple, but it is really effective at what it does. It can be dragged to anywhere, and works a lot like the Launcher from classic versions of Mac OS.


The second one is Workspaces — it’s not just another spaces tool. What it can do is really cool… but again, I’m waiting until beta to get into why.

And while it’s not exactly an applet or a replicant, Haiku also supports notifications, which some users might consider a ‘big OS’ thing. And a Notifications preflet (i.e. control panel) is included:



You can assign applications to a list with Add…


And navigate the system for the one you want. Honestly, I wish there was a manual type-for-it option here, but that’s okay…


And here I’ve pinned AboutSystem to the list.


Looking around… just a bit

Okay. Let’s actually have a bit of fun beyond the usual applets and demos this time around, and customize things a bit. I’ve asked to add color to Haiku on the Haiku forum, and that seems to have been nicely ignored, so… let’s head to Appearance and play with all the options in it.


Here, we can make selected items blue, borders yellow, or whatever other fun we want to have mixing colors into whatever we want the system to look like.


Can’t forget to mention the BeDecorator, which makes it look more like R5. 😉


And of course, the scrollbars. I wanted to save this for the beta set, but I’ll go ahead and add now, Be is the only system I’ve seen so far that has the wonderful double-arrow option like Mac OS.


And since we’re changing things up, let’s also find a background to add. To keep it simple, I’m going to find ‘terraform blue’ from the Gnome set this time around. For that, we’ll need to go online, as Haiku only has one backdrop — its logo on solid blue. I haven’t tested WebPositive, the default browser that ships with Haiku, for a while now.

Oh, silly me! I forgot to close it. Web+ pulled the same tab from earlier!


Well, let’s clear that and first test our connection by going to the Haiku website, which renders fairly well in it:


Cool. Okay, for the real mission. Let’s go to DuckDuckGo (an alternative to Google) to get our image and see what happens…


And there is our background (or wallpaper) right in the top left.


Having the ‘view file’ button appear right is a definite improvement. It wasn’t long ago that links had visual anomalies in the Nightlies, and now they appear much better. Kudos to the Web+ maintainers! Whatever is coming is looking to be a great release.


Download successful. I might add I really like this. (It reminds me of the good days of Safari before the downloads window became hidden away.) And here is a chance to see our desktop notifications I mentioned earlier in action:


But rather than just stop here, let’s play a bit more and visit Wikipedia…


And we’ll select English.


And read some about Haiku!


Nice! I’m loving it so far. Okay, let’s try something I haven’t done in a while and load up a YouTube search. So far, the results appear and all looks well:


But… it was not to be. Crash! Several seconds into the ad, right when I was about to listen to him.

As a supportive note, with the labor of love going into this browser to keep it alive, you have to admit it does work as a basic browser. As I said, it reminds me a lot of the young Safari, which really makes it a great browser — it just needs to mature a bit.


Okay, now that our fun on Web+ is over, let’s open up Backgrounds and do what we first set out to do: set a desktop background.



All set! Let’s also look at screen savers. Like in earlier Haiku versions, we have hot corners and a password lock, both of which are very nice features…


And here are the default screen saver modules:


There was talk of redoing the ‘Debug Now!’ screen saver, and well, I couldn’t time the screenshot right, but it’s still flashing ‘debug now’ in all caps in this build.


So, just like with my last test of the last build, my favorite screen saver shared with the Mac, Flurry, does not want to open here. I think next time I test Haiku I’ll just skip it…


And like last time, just to show Haiku’s neat abilities, you do have the option to open the Debugger. We’re told several debug info files are missing, and as before, I’ll just uncouthly skip over them:


Bringing us to what the Debugger for ScreenSaver looks like:


But since we’re not looking to delve into it, let’s kill ScreenSaver (like in the last build) and move on…


Again, for the curious, here’s the full list of Haiku preflets in the Preferences folder:


Okay, let’s try out an application. How about doing the classic task of starting a simple document? To do that, we’ll need to open StyledEdit (which interestingly has a familiar naming style to that of TextEdit.)


I don’t feel like something goofy today. How about ‘Hello world!’ for now?


If we try to close our new snippet, we’re prompted to save it. So, let’s do that…


Saving it is pretty straightforward, and still retains the classic feel throughout. For a classic BeOS user, you’re at home here. This little window illustrates how well Haiku has re-created the feel and experience of Be’s R5 on the desktop today.



Installing applications

So, one of the things about Haiku past alpha 4.1 is the inclusion of the new package management system. This brought in the new Depot, eliminating the need to search the Web yourself to get the software you want. Finding it is quite simple…


When it launches, you should see this.


But personally, I want to see it all, so I’m going to turn off ‘featured packages’ here…


You can see from the previous screenshot that this looks very similar to Synaptic. It’s meant to be more the utility than it is a software store. You can set the places you receive software from using the Repositories preflet, which has a link in the Repositories menu.


Just like Synaptic, just type what you want to get. Now, I’d really hoped to show LibreOffice on Haiku, but apparently, it’s not available from the default repos in this build.


So, we’ll just go for HaikuPorter to show how it’s installed. Again, type for it…


Click Install…


And there it is. Removing it is as easy as clicking Uninstall (or working with packages in the system manually as well).



But enough software stuff for now. We’ll discuss that more when the beta actually arrives (how many times have I said this now? Can’t hide I’m excited about it!) And we’ll also have the full repository of software to play with. 🙂

Navigating around

Here is the home folder located at /boot/home as well. Again, Haiku is designed by default to be a single user system.


Let’s look at the system folder (to the Mac aficionados, does that sound familiar?) Inside, we have the Haiku launch_daemon, and still a very simple but powerful layout.


Now, here is one of the cooler parts of the PackageFS, the packages folder. There’s more to show here, but we’ll save this for the official beta. We’ve already covered a lot today for a little preview.


Does Haiku still warn when we try to change something from system folders like the old days? Yes; cool.



Let’s open the Terminal and take a look at the color themes. Nice. Some of these weren’t in their alpha releases, and there are some nice ones in here. 😉


How about picking Solarized Dark?


Looks great. Here, we simply will run a uname and ls command for today, (and yet again, wait for the beta to have some fun with it).


Okay, let’s exit out and open Team Monitor and the Activity Monitor.


Dare we try it before we quit for the day? Let’s open Software Updater…


And look for updates.


Cool! It works this time. Another sign things are getting closer to beta.



Logging out…


Sigh. Yes, all good things must come to an end. We’re done having fun with Haiku for today. And here we are, ready to shut down the system.



That’s all the Haiku screenshots for now. Until beta.


(Still) more to come!

If you’ve enjoyed today’s tour (and the previous look at the pre-RC), super! There’s more fun to come when the beta is released! 🙂

The Beta release screenshots set will cover a whole stack of stuff I have been anxiously waiting for, from installing more software to a downright serious look at the system. We’ll look at applications in more detail, attributes, queries, package system features, Icon-o-Matic and iconography, a bit of play with the hey command, and whatever else comes to mind when it’s time!

Added note on 11/30/2018 (please READ ME!): This part (the stuff under “Still more to come”) is separate from the Beta review, and has been added to its own article: What makes BeOS and Haiku unique.

So be sure to come back for the full tour yet to come! 😀

As always, thanks for visiting!