Haiku Alpha has the potential to be great!

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I’ve been following along with the Computer Action Show and they just did a review of Haiku.  In the end, I really wanted to take it for a spin.

Haiku is an operating system that is a complete rewrite of the BeOS using the MIT license.  Do we really need another operating system?  Yes.  Choice is not just good, choice is great.  And this choice in Haiku is an important one in that it is fundamentally different in that each process in Haiku is it’s own thread.  If any thread hangs up, it can be terminated and it does not destabilize the operating system.  Because of the thread architechture, it can insanely take advantage of the modern architecture we have with multi core processors.

I started to try to download Haiku when the Alpha became available.  Silly me.  The download speed was horrendously slow.  I then noticed the Torrent download link.  Facepalm!  That did the trick.  I downloaded the ISO in about two minutes.  I left my KTorrent client running but no one took advantage of my seeding.  I wonder if Comcast is blocking Torrent uploads?

I burned the ISO onto a CD and tried it as a LiveCD on an old PIII computer.  Original price for this computer was over $3,000 and now it’s probably worth about $5.  No kidding.  Haiku rocked the thing.  Demo apps worked great and even the “Spinning Tea Cup” 3D application was working at over 60fps.
I wanted to see how it would work on my netbook.  Currently I have Jolicloud installed on the 30G flash drive.  I had to download the RAW Image of the OS again via the Torrent in about 4 minutes.  I created a bootable USB key with

./linux-image-writer.py haiku-r1alpha1.image

My netbook booted Haiku nicely. I took this for a bit more complete spin. I was able to browse the Internet with a wired connection. Evidently wireless drivers are on their way. I didn’t even try that. The spinning teacup application was registering over 100fps on the netbook! I tried the webcam application CodyCam but it wasn’t able to see the netbook built in webcam. Bummer.

I tried to run a REALbasic application that I had built but it didn’t run because the GTK libraries aren’t installed. I might get Haiku to run in a VM and see if I can resolve the dependencies. That’d be really cool to be able to run REALbasic developed applications in Haiku. I’m not even sure if it’s possible.

Bottom line is that Haiku is worthy of a look. It’s still an Alpha with lots of rough edges. The lack of wireless drivers is a killer in today’s world, but I figure that is something that will be resolved to a satisfactorily level in the next several months. For older machines, this is definitely the way to go in that it runs in a rediculously small amount of RAM. I’ll be watching Haiku’s progress because I’m now a fan.

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