Haiku OS: The Open Source BeOS You Can Daily Drive In 2024

Haiku is one of those open source operating systems that seem to be both exceedingly well-known while flying completely under the radar. Part of this is probably due to it being an open source version and continuation of the Be Operating System (BeOS). Despite its strong feature set in the 1990s, BeOS never got much love in the wider computer market. Nevertheless, it has a strong community that after twenty-two years of development has now reached a point where you can daily drive it, according to the [Action Retro] channel on YouTube.

One point where Haiku definitely scores points is with the super-fast installation and boot. [Action Retro] demonstrates this on real hardware, and we can confirm that it boots very fast in VirtualBox on a low-end Intel N100-based host system as well. With the recently introduced QtWebEngine-based Falkon browser (formerly known as QupZilla) even JavaScript-heavy sites like YouTube and retro Mac emulators work well. You can even get a Minecraft client for Haiku.

Although [Action Retro] notes that 3D acceleration is still a work-in-progress for Haiku, his 2014-era AMD system smoothly played back 1080p YouTube videos. Although not addressed in the video, Haiku is relatively easy to port existing software to, as it is POSIX-compatible. There is a relatively modern GCC 11.2 compiler in the Beta 4 release from 2022, backed up by solid API documentation. Who doesn’t want to take a poke at a modern take on the OS that nearly became MacOS?

24 thoughts on “Haiku OS: The Open Source BeOS You Can Daily Drive In 2024

  1. Alrighty next time I have a spare commodity box to save from recycling I’ll give it a try!

    I tried to DD BeOS back around 1999. It was neat but I never had a machine where all the hardware was well-supported. I really wanted it to work but the software catalog at that time just wasn’t there.

    1. I remembered I hadn’t tried Falkon in a while so I istalled it and tried it out. It is definitely much better and I think this will push Haiku into the daily driver category for many more people.

  2. “Kind of a Nerd”? How modest…

    Honestly, I’ve always been a fan of Haiku because of its’ incredible responsiveness on even low-level hardware. It’s not a server dressed up as a desktop workstation like Linux, It’s designed from the start to be a delightful single-user experience.

    Please don’t get me wrong, I love Linux. I was trained on mainframes in UNIX and had to wait several years before Linux was available to satisfy my craving. But its had to get thoroughly messaged to be suitable for desktop use.

  3. I did daily drive QNX on a spare machine, and since it was on all the time, my kids also daily used that machine.
    It wasn nothing strange to them, I ran Opera webbrowser on it, ICQ and MSN and everything else that you were supposed to have at that time.
    Only problem that occured was that one of my kids saved some homework on a diskette in a file format the teacher couldnt open.
    My kids also hang around in the QNX help chat on IRC and got to talk with a lot of the people working for QNX, and made lots of friends.

    1. I guess making it 21th century proof wrt security would break compatibility with old software in multiple ways. It would be probably worth forking it so that the fork could deviate from the original and experiment with new technologies without any fear of breaking something.

  4. But Haiku doesn’t have a theme song that slaps like BeOS’ “Then I had to reboot a HUNDRED TIMES! Through tangled threads, and corporate crimes… You may never find love down a T1 LINE!”

  5. “With the recently introduced QtWebEngine-based Falkon browser ”

    Do you mean recently introduced to Haiku?

    Falkon is around for quite a few years now…. I used it on low-end laptop some years ago and was impressed how fast it was.

    1. Medo might be it’s killer app. It is a modern Media Editor built natively for Haiku OS. Medo allows customisation using OpenGL based GLSL plugins, and allows 3rd party developers to create dynamically loaded Addons and Plugins.

      Medo can edit UHD 4K videos, export to any Haiku supported codec, is optimised for many CPU-core systems, and has low system resource requirements. Medo is multilingual (currently supports 10 user languages), and is themable. The Medo.HPKG (Haiku package file) can fit on a floppy disk with no external dependancies other than what ships with a default Haiku release (it’s less than 1.44Mb).



  6. Does it have wifi support yet? I tried it out on a Raspberry Pi Zero W and it was crazy how fast if felt. But without wifi support it wasn’t really useful for what I wanted to do.

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.