Haiku: Reviving the Dreams of BeOS

Haiku is one of those projects that sounds so niche that you just assume it would die the untold death of a million abandoned projects. But the plucky little open-source OS recently released a beta in September. For some context, the last alpha release come out in 2012.

For those of you just catching up to Haiku, it’s an OS seeking to revive BeOS, aiming to be compatible with it at the source and binary level. Why? Because BeOS was awesome? Sure.

The beta has some pretty significant updates to general usability. Perhaps the biggest is the inclusion of package management. There are now robust CLI tools, a graphical HaikuDepot that looks, from a usability perspective, to be on par with many Linux distributions, and an interesting concept called States. States lets you boot into previous versions of the OS, although I believe this is limited to package state, not stored data like a ZFS snapshot.

There’s also some cool file browser tabbing and snap tools, which is surprising to see on a beta open-source OS like this. And there’s a modern web browser included, which opens to doors to this actually being usable as a daily drive. But the big thing is how much of BeOS seems to still be around. Traditional BeOS search and Attributes systems are still around, as well as some direct UI elements from the venerable OS.

I’ve been digging into some reviews on the new beta, and it seems like quite a bit of shine has been added to Haiku in the release. I mean, after six years, it better.

If you’re interested in more of a deep dive into their labor of love project, here are some interesting reviews and deep dives:

OS Voyager

No Title Tech Blog

Adam Fowler

About the author

Rich Stroffolino

Rich has been a tech enthusiast since he first used the speech simulator on a Magnavox Odyssey². Current areas of interest include ZFS, the false hopes of memristors, and the oral history of Transmeta.

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