Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Try out Haiku

I was listening to the Computer Action Show series 1 episode 3 Podcast (available also on Itunes) and was interested in their glowing review of the first public alpha release of the Haiku operating system. Haiku is a fully open source re-implementation of the old Beos operating system. You can download Haiku as a VMWare image, a live/installer CD image or if you are feeling brave as sources.

Today I downloaded the ISO image and installed it onto a new virtual machine. From my perspective there are two interesting about the operating system that defy the conventional wisdom.
  1. Haiku is fast. Blistering fast. My virtual machine takes 5 seconds to boot. This aligns with what they said on the podcast - namely that the highly threaded integrated stack screams on modern hardware (or virtual hardware). The system requirements and memory footprint are also very low.
  2. The old Beos interface (which I am told is mostly still present in Haiku) is actually a very good interface. Everything is very easy to find and interact with. Despite the age of the interface I would has guessed it was the next generation, not last generation, that I was looking at.
Right now the alpha still has some problems and limitations. Most notable is the lack of stable wireless drivers. Once this gets resolved however, I can imagine Haiku finding a place in the market of netbook operating systems.

Download it and play with it. You might be pleasantly surprised.

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