HaikuOS LogoI made a decision recently to distinguish between stable releases and others to do “Reviews” of stable releases, and “Impressions” of other releases, hence my “Impressions” of Ubuntu Maverick Alpha recently.

Haiku has been in development for so long though that the R1 Alpha2 release is fairly stable and represents a major milestone. Yet it is still not a full release, hence the “Impressions” for it in today’s article.

Let’s see what I discovered..

UPDATE: Some Corrections to the post via comment by Jonas Sundstrom changing “HaikuOS” to just “Haiku” and changing EULA to “Grub How-to”, unfortunately I cannot change the URL to reflect the correct OS name since I have several incoming links, but I did correct the post title.

First Impressions

Haiku is… different. Installation is a bit more involved for the user than with other operating systems. You set up Haiku partitions a bit differently than with Linux or BSD, and once that is done you can install Haiku.

The desktop, while nicely minimalistic, is a bit devoid of any noticeable features. No panels (taskbars) or anything. The top-right corner features a little notification area that features a clock and tracker, that keeps track of open windows and programs. It does not lend itself to a very user-friendly desktop experience though.

Haiku Desktop

The Haiku Desktop (Click To Enlarge)


A note on Haiku installation, it is a little more involved than with other operating systems. You have to set up partitions and format them manually before you can install Haiku, where as with other Operating systems you can install to the whole disk with formatting handled automatically, only going the manual route if you want to do some custom partitioning.

Haiku Keyboard Set

Setting Keyboard

Haiku EULA

HAIKU Grub How-to


Busy Installing

Otherwise everything should go to plan.


In order to navigate your way through the OS you need to learn to get used to right-clicking a lot. You right click to open various menu’s, and to access different actions, like viewing the properties of a file and so on.

Even most incarnations of XFCE have at least a bottom panel, some installs even mimic Gnome like look and feel by setting a panel at the top and at the bottom.

Haiku Menu

That Right Click Menu (Click To Enlarge)

Heck, even Linpus Linux, that used to be available on Acer Aspire netbooks, customised their XFCE interface.

When you read through the Haiku Homepage you notice the words “Focussed on Personal Computing” a lot. The interface does not lend itself to an accessible desktop experience though. That needs a little work.


Haiku is an exciting new adventure. I love the idea of new Open Source and Free operating systems making their appearance. As a desktop OS there is work to be done as far as the user interface goes. How long before we have a stable final release? I don’t know, it has been in development for the better part of nine years, and development seems to have sped up recently with two major releases less than a year apart.

Here’s looking forward to the final release!

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