Haiku (operating system)

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Haiku logo
Haiku R1 Alpha 4 German
Haiku R1 Alpha 4 with desk bar (top right), system information (bottom right), terminal emulation , file manager, etc.
developer Haiku, Inc.
License (s) MIT license
First publ. (in beta)
Current  version -
Current  preliminary version R1 Beta 2 (June 9, 2020)
Kernel Hybrid kernel based on NewOS
ancestry BeOS  →  Haiku
Architecture (s) x86 , x86-64 ; unofficial: ARM ;
historical: 68k , PowerPC
compatibility BeOS 5.0 (x86, 32 bit only)
Languages) German, English and others
Others Largely true to the original replica of BeOS 5.0 with some functional extensions

Haiku , formerly OpenBeOS is an operating system project, which based on BeOS one to binärkompatibles open source system reprogrammed and developed. The Haiku project is supported by the non-profit Haiku, Inc. based in Rochester , New York State .

Haiku is not based on the original BeOS source code, but is completely rewritten. The kernel, for example, is based on NewOS, a new development by the former BeOS kernel developer Travis Geiselbrecht, who later developed Zircon, the kernel from Google Fuchsia . Existing free code from BSD and Linux projects is also used during development. Large parts of the original BeOS have already been implemented and run.

The Haiku developers do not give a date for a possible release of the first official version. In their own blog, the developers provide information on innovations in the Haiku monthly activity report (German monthly Haiku activity report ).

In the meantime, four official alpha versions and two beta versions have been released. Other pre-release testing of the operating system are in the form of unofficial disk images available, the so-called nightly builds , which can be copied to a partition or with emulators or virtualization solutions as QEMU or VMware can run.

A package management system has been integrated into Haiku since 2013 , so that an installed system can be updated using it; up to now the system always had to be completely reinstalled.

3D hardware acceleration and support for the Swift programming language was developed for Haiku as part of the Google Summer of Code 2017 . Haiku was part of the annual programming grant for the first time in 2007. In 2018, the LibreOffice office suite was ported.


The aim of the project is first to fully recreate the last published version of BeOS and then gradually improve it. Particular attention is paid to binary and source text compatibility with BeOS, so that old BeOS programs can be executed unchanged and new programs can be created in the same way as under BeOS.

The x64 and ARM variants that have now been introduced do not require BeOS binary compatibility.


Haiku is written in C ++ and provides an object-oriented programming interface (API).

The modular design of the BeOS makes it possible that system components for Haiku can be developed in almost independent teams. The reproduction of the BeOS components as free software has priority over the new development of other parts of the system. The original BeOS teams that developed such components including servers and interfaces (collectively referred to as "kits" in Haiku) included:

  • App / Interface - develops Interface Kit , Application Kit and Support Kit .
  • BFS - develops the Be File System , which is almost completely implemented with OpenBFS .
  • Game - develops the game kit .
  • Input Server - develops the server that handles input devices ( keyboard , mouse etc.) and their communication with other system areas.
  • Kernel - Develops the kernel , the heart of the operating system.
  • Media - develops the audio server and corresponding APIs.
  • MIDI - implements the MIDI protocol.
  • Network - writes drivers for network adapters and network-related APIs.
  • OpenGL - Develops OpenGL support.
  • Preferences - implements the options for making settings on the system.
  • Printing - works on the printing system  as well as printer drivers .
  • Screen Saver - implements the screen saver function.
  • Storage - develops the storage kit and drivers for required file systems.
  • Translation - develops modules for reading / writing / converting different file formats.

Some kits are considered feature complete , the others are in different stages of development.

The Haiku kernel is a modular hybrid kernel and a fork of NewOS, a modular kernel written by the former Be developer Travis Geiselbrecht. Many capabilities have already been implemented, including a virtual file system (VFS layer) and rudimentary symmetric multiprocessor system (SMP) support.

Package management

Since September 2013 Haiku has a package management system , Haiku Depot , by which it was possible for software to compressed, dependency resolution packages ( packages to compile). To activate packages, they can be installed from online package sources ( repositories ) using pkgman or copied manually into a special packages directory. Haiku's package management integrates activated packages via a write-protected system directory. The package management system resolves dependencies on the openSUSE project using libsolv .

System requirements (R1 / Beta 2)

Minimum requirements:

  • A 32-bit processor with x86 architecture (e.g. Pentium II, AMD Athlon)
  • RAM: at least 256 MB
  • Monitor: from a resolution of 800 × 600
  • Permanent storage: 3 GB available


  • A 64-bit processor with x86-64 expansion (e.g. Intel Core i3, Phenom II)
  • RAM: at least 2 GB
  • Monitor: from a resolution of 1366 × 768
  • Permanent storage: 16 GB available

History of the name

Immediately after Palm announced the purchase of Be on August 18, 2001, the OpenBeOS project was founded by setting up a mailing list with this name. This was initially also the name, as the project took on more concrete features, although the use of the registered trademark “BeOS” as part of the project name caused legal uncertainty.

On May 6, 2002, a name-finding process was initiated, in which submissions for name suggestions were requested. On October 25, 2002, the voting process for the new name started.

On November 5, 2002, Bruno G. Albuquerque, one of the leaders of the OpenBeOS project at the time, staged the name change as a joke. The new name should therefore be "Walter". The name was derived from a scene at Garfield and gained some popularity within the OpenBeOS community over time , which led to Walter being the code name for the development line towards Haiku 1.0. WalterCon became the name for the American Haiku developer conference (analogous to the “BeGeistert” meeting in Düsseldorf, Germany).

On June 19, 2004, the new, independent name Haiku was introduced at the first WalterCon , not least to avoid any legal disputes with the now BeOS rights holder Access (formerly PalmSource ). The name goes back to the error messages of the BeOS own browser NetPositive , which shows errors when calling up web pages in the form of haikus , an old Japanese form of verse.

Sister projects

With the demise of Be Incorporated , several projects emerged independently of one another with the aim of recreating BeOS in an open-source form. In addition to Haiku, these included BlueEyedOS and Cosmoe . The term Open Standards BeOS-compatible Operating Systems (OSBOS) was introduced as a collective term for these projects . The various development teams came together in the organization beunited.org and agreed to work together. However, Haiku was the only remaining active project of this group. beunited.org announced its closure on January 4, 2007. The haiku project itself is not affected by this and is being actively developed.

Haiku vector icon format

Haiku Vector Icon Format (HVIF) is a vector graphic format for icons . It was created for Haiku and has only been implemented there until now, but is independent of the operating system . A special feature is that the icons in this format are usually less than one kibibyte in size, which means that they can be saved in the BFS metadata so that Haiku's file manager Tracker can read them together with the other metadata of the file in just one read process. Since disk operations are also the slowest with SSDs , this leads to a better speed when displaying folder contents.

Web links

Commons : Haiku  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ NewOS Operating System. Retrieved November 17, 2018 .
  2. Haiku monthly activity report - 05/2018 (ft. LibreOffice!). June 6, 2018, accessed June 8, 2020 .
  3. ^ Haiku: BeOS for the 21st Century . Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Haiku Kernel & Drivers Team . Archived from the original on June 9, 2008. Retrieved July 17, 2008.
  5. Package Management now live . Retrieved November 4, 2013.
  6. The libsolv Open Source Project on Open Hub . Retrieved September 29, 2015.
  7. a b R1 / beta2 - Release Notes. Retrieved June 14, 2020 (English).
  8. BeGroovy »Blog Archive» OpenBeOS Seeks New Name. Retrieved November 17, 2018 .
  9. BeGroovy »Blog Archive» OpenBeOS Name Voting Begins. Retrieved November 17, 2018 .
  10. BeGroovy »Blog Archive» Walter unleashed! Retrieved November 17, 2018 .
  11. See also the version designation in Haiku Screenshot.png (file version from February 23, 2006)
  12. beunited.org - Open Standards BeOS-compatible Operating Systems. Retrieved November 17, 2018 .