Haiku OS Logo

I have previously written about Haiku (formerly OpenBeOs) on my blog and I am pleased to say that I revisited this project last night and had a play with the latest nightly builds.  It has moved on from the last time I look at it nearly 4 years ago now, but it still has some way to go before it will be a plug and play replacement for the old BeOS 5.1 release.

Development is still moving ahead and I have managed to get it running on some older hardware I have so I can test it out. The codebase is about 70% complete according to the roadmap published on the Haiku website, which means that services I would consider vital for day to day use are yet to be completed.

I have always liked BeOs and since the recent and prolific release of netbooks onto the market I have been thinking ever more about it and how well it would serve these low spec machines. I have been running Ubuntu and Windows on netbooks and both are slow (with WindowsXP Home Edition gradually collapsing to a crawl).

One of the major blockers to this at the moment is the small set of drivers available for hardware on Haiku. There is a freeBSD driver compatibility layer in production, which should allow network drivers from BSD to run with little to no modification, but I am unsure of its progress. Wireless as yet is very limited and was not supported on the model I installed Haiku onto, which is very important for a netbook as you can imagine.

Haiku is looking very nice though and it also is now selfhosted, which means that you can checkout the latest copy of the source code and compile it from within your Haiku OS.  It has also been further improved by the inclusion of a native GCC4+ compiler, which should hopefully see faster implementation and porting of applications such as Firefox.

So a few major milestones have been hit but it is still not complete and unfortunately I am unable to recommend it as a complete desktop OS at this time, but I will definately be keeping my eye on it.