What makes a modern OS?
In the year 2018 I’d say the minimal thing that makes an operating system viable is the available web browser. There are so many things you can do on the internet that can make shortcomings in the OS itself more palatable. There are very capable ChromeOS devices out there that are living proof of this.
HaikuOS is one of the few totally alternative operating systems in existence. It’s based off BeOS from the 90s and is a very capable and very fast and responsive OS. A big issue with Haiku is that there really isn’t a modern web browser available right now. The default installed browser on the nightly alpha build on both x86 and 64-bit is WebPositive and this web browser is just horrific. Opening YouTube crashes, it and it barely passes Web BaseMark. If you open the HaikuDepot and search for web browsers to install you’ll find things like Otter Browser, QupZilla and Dooble. Otter Browser is probably the most usable in a modern web environment along with Dooble but Dooble requires some settings modifications to meet these criteria. QupZilla is right down there with WebPositive and really shouldn’t be used. In a virtualized environment with a minimally powered laptop running Linux; HaikuOS is very usable and very often I catch myself wanting to do more things in the VM then in my native Linux install. It has to do with how responsive everything feels. It’s snappy, doing many things at once doesn’t have that preempted task stuttering feeling, it’s very smooth in times where it has no right to be as smooth as it’s being.
This led me to installing HaikuOS bare to the metal as it were. It took some doing due to UEFI stupidness in my HP laptop, but I did get it installed on a USB stick and it booted up. Awesome! It sees all my cores, all my RAM except it doesn’t see my Wi-Fi and this laptop is too sleek and ‘thin-and-light’ to have a big awkward Ethernet port. I knew this before hand from searching through Haiku’s source code and driver stack. They don’t yet have Kaby Lake refresh internal Wi-Fi drivers built. Hopefully they will soon because some developer of Haiku will probably buy a new laptop with it and require them. Due to this I couldn’t test anything the way I wanted to, so I just stuck to my virtual machine. If you decide to download HaikuOS make sure that you are downloading the nightly release and not the years old version. On my computer I have a virtual machine for each of the releases, x86 and 64-bit that I tool around with to check on the progress of development. I personally love the idea of an operating system that isn’t imitating anything (ReactOS) and is striving for a different end goal then most things (Linux Kernel based systems).
I want to be able to use Haiku the way I want to. A modern web browser could be the big step it needs. I could excuse the lack of drivers and be totally happy using it in a virtual machine on my low powered laptop. That is a testament to how well the OS runs. I’ve purposefully “bottlenecked” my look at Haiku because my logic is that if an OS feels good to use while virtualized then it’s got to be tons better then this on bare metal. I was right, they just need the drivers first.