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Haiku Operating System

In this article, you will learn about the Haiku operating system with its history, features, usage, advantages, and disadvantages.

What is Haiku Operating System?

Haiku Operating System

Haiku is a free and open-source OS that works with the BeOS system. Its development started in 2001, and it became self-hosting in 2008. The first alpha version was launched in September 2009, and the latest was released in November 2012. The first Haiku beta version was launched in September 2018. After that, Haiku released its beta 2 versions in June 2020 and beta 3 versions in July 2021.

Haiku, Inc. supports the Haiku OS. It is a non-profit business founded in 2003 in Rochester, New York, the USA, by former project leader Michael Phipps.

History of Haiku Operating System

The Haiku project started as the OpenBeOS project in 2001. The same year, Palm, Inc.'s joint BeOS development that acquired Be, Inc. was cancelled. The project's goal was to assist the BeOS user community by creating an open-source, backwards-compatible alternative to BeOS. The first OpenBeOS project was a community-created "stop-gap" update for BeOS version 5.0.3 in 2002.

The non-profit corporation Haiku, Inc. was established in Rochester, New York, in 2003 to provide financial support for development. After OpenBeOS received a notice of violating Palm's trademark of the BeOS moniker, the project was renamed Haiku in 2004. Stuart McCoy created the original logo of the Haiku operating system. They built prototypes for Haiku R2 and were extremely engaged in the early days of the Haiku Usability & Design Team. Stephan Assmus, a Haiku developer and artist, co-developed the graphic editing program WonderBrush for Haiku, improved it, and designed the HVIF icon vector format used by Haiku. In 2007, the Haiku icon was chosen by popular voting in a contest.

The first Haiku version (Haiku R1/Alpha 1) was released in September 2009. R1/Alpha 4.1 was released in November 2012, but work on nightly builds continued. After years of waiting, the Haiku version (Haiku R1/Beta 1) was launched on September 19, 2018, followed by Haiku R1/Beta 2 on June 9, 2020. Haiku's latest version (R1/Beta 3) was released on July 26, 2021. Between official releases, 'Nightly' builds in 64-bit and 32-bit (x86) versions are available on the Haiku Nightly website.

After initially setting full BeOS 5 compatibility as the goal, the community decided to change the vision for R1 in 2009 with more ambitious support for cutting-edge hardware, web standards, and FLOSS library compatibility. The "Glass Elevator" project has begun preliminary planning for R2. So yet, the only thing verified is that it will use a recent GCC release. A compatibility layer is being developed to allow apps made for Haiku R1 to operate on Haiku R2 and later versions. One of the lead developers, Axel Dörfler, stated this in a conversation on the Haiku email list. The recommended future features are file indexing on par with UNIX's Beagle, macOS's Spotlight, Google Desktop, improved integration of scalable vector pictures into the desktop systems, complete support for multiple users, and other kits.

System Requirement of Haiku Operating System

The minimum hardware requirements for Haiku are a Pentium II CPU running at 400 MHz, 128 MB of RAM, and 1 GB of free disc space. The operating system is primarily designed for users and developers.

Package Management of Haiku Operating System

As of September 2013, Haiku operating system has a package management system called "Haiku Depot" that allows applications to be packaged into dependency-tracking compressed packages. Packages may also be activated by using pkgman to install them from remote repositories or placing them into a dedicated packages directory. Haiku OS package management installs active packages over a read-only system directory. The Haiku package management system uses the openSUSE project's libsolv to solve dependency problems.

Compatibility of Haiku operating system with BeOS

Haiku R1 intends to be source and binary compatible with BeOS, allowing software created and produced for BeOS to be compiled and run on Haiku without any change. It gives Haiku users an instant library of apps to pick from and allows application developers to begin from where it had been halted following the death of Be, Inc.

Its commitment to compatibility has its drawback. Although, the Haiku must utilize a forked version of the GCC compiler that is based on version 2.95, which was published in 2001 and is now 21 years old. Haiku allows being developed as a hybrid GCC7/GCC2 environment because upgrading to GCC 7 destroys compatibility with BeOS applications. It enables the system to execute both GCC version 2 and version 7 binaries concurrently. The changes to GCC 2.95 for Haiku contain a wide range of support and backport of fixes from GCC 3 and later versions.

Only 32-bit x86 computers are compatible with it. BeOS R5's PowerPC version is not supported. As a result, the GCC version 7 compiler is the only one used by the Haiku ports for ARM, 68k, 64-bit x86, and PPC. Despite these efforts, there won't be any compatibility implementation with multiple system add-ons that use secret APIs.

As of May 2006, R5 binary programs that work well with Haiku include Opera, Firefox, SeaMonkey, Vision, NetPositive, Quake II, Quake III, and VLC. Driver compatibility of this OS is limited and unlikely to handle all types of BeOS drivers. In general, 2D graphics and network drivers operate precisely as on R5. In addition, Haiku has a source-level FreeBSD OS network driver compatibility layer, allowing it to support any network device that supports FreeBSD. Audio drivers that use API versions previous to BeOS R5 are now unsupported and unlikely to be so in the future.

In addition, Low-level device drivers, like storage devices and SCSI adapters, will not work. However, USB drivers for both the second-generation (BeOS 5) and third-generation (BeOS Dano) USB stacks will operate. Haiku is more sophisticated than BeOS in several ways. For instance, the interface kit enables the use of a layout system to put widgets in windows automatically. In contrast, on BeOS, the developer had to define each widget's exact location manually. It enables GUIs to appear appropriately with any font size. It makes application localization considerably easier, as a longer text in a translated language causes the widget to grow, rather than being partially invisible if the widget size were fixed.

The technology used in the Haiku Operating System

Haiku is built in C++ and has an object-oriented interface. Due to BeOS's modular architecture, specific components of Haiku could be originally developed in teams in a relatively isolated environment. In many cases, these components were built as replacements for BeOS components before other operating system components were finished. The first teams responsible for creating these servers and APIs included:


It develops the interface, App, and support kits.


It creates networking-related APIs and drivers for network devices.

Input Server

The server controls how input devices, such as keyboards and mouse, connect with other system components.


It operates with printer drivers and print servers.


It develops the audio server and related APIs.


It develops the storage kit and drivers for required filesystems.

Data Translations

It recreates the reading/writing/conversion modules for the various file formats and data types.


It creates the kernel, which is the operating system's core.


It implements the MIDI protocol.

Screen Saver

It implements the screen saver function.

Features of Haiku Operating System

There are various features of the Haiku operating system. Some features of the Haiku operating system are as follows:

  1. It mainly focuses on personal computing.
  2. It offers a robust object-oriented API that allows for rapid development.
  3. It has a fully threaded architecture with multiprocessor/core CPUs for maximum efficiency.
  4. It has a database-like BFS file system with indexed metadata support.
  5. It has a custom kernel designed for responsiveness.

Advantages and disadvantages of Haiku Operating System

There are various advantages and disadvantages of the Haiku operating system. Some advantages and disadvantages of the Haiku operating system are as follows:


  1. It provides support for a multiprocessor.
  2. It provides support for 64 journaling file systems.
  3. It is fully optimized for great efficiency, including multiprocessor/core capability.
  4. It provides indexed Metadata support for databases such as File System (OpenBFS).


  1. It may only be utilized on modern hardware (BeBOX).
  2. It needed applications such as QEMU or Vmware Virtual to execute.

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