On Tuesday, the team at Haiku released Haiku beta, an open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. It is inspired by the BeOS and is fast, simple to use and easy to learn.
What’s new in Haiku?
- This release comes with a complete package management system.
- Haiku’s packages are a special type of compressed filesystem image, that are mounted upon installation (and thereafter on each boot) by the packagefs, a kernel component.
- The /system/ hierarchy in Haiku beta is now read-only, since it is merely a combination of the presently installed packages at the system level and it ensures that the system files themselves are incorruptible.
- With this release, it is possible to boot into a previous package state or even blacklist individual files.
- Since the disk transactions for managing the packages are limited, the installations and uninstallations are instant.
- It is possible to manage the installed package set on a non-running Haiku system by mounting its boot disk and further manipulating the /system/packages directory and associated configuration files.
- It is now possible to switch your system repositories from master to r1beta1.
- The system web browser is more stable than before with the YouTube now functioning properly and other under-the-hood changes .
- With WebKit it is possible to fix a large number of bugs in Haiku such as broken stack alignment, various kernel panics in the network stack, bad edge-case handling in app_server’s rendering core, missing support for extended transforms and gradients, broken picture-clipping support, missing POSIX functionality, etc.
- Haiku WebKit now also uses Haiku’s network protocol layer and supports Gopher.
Completely rewritten network preflet
- The old network preflet has now been replaced with a completely new preflet, designed from the ground-up for ease of use and longevity.
- The preflet now can manage the network services on the machine, such as OpenSSH and ftpd.
- The preflet also uses a plugin-based API, so third-party network services (VPNs, web servers, etc) can integrate with it.
User interface cleanup & live color updates
- A lot of miscellaneous cleanups to various parts of the user interface has been made since the last release.
- Mail and Tracker both have received a significant internal cleanup of their UI code.
- This release features Haiku-style toolbars and font-size awareness.
Major improvements in Haiku
Media subsystem improvements
- The media subsystem now features a large number of cleanups to the Media Kit to improve fault tolerance, latency correction, and performance issues.
- The HTTP and RTSP streaming support are now integrated into the I/O layer of the Media Kit.
- With this release, live streams can now be played in WebPositive via HTML5 audio/video support, or in the native MediaPlayer.
FFmpeg decoder plugin improvements
- FFmpeg 4.0 is now used even on GCC2 builds.
- This release comes with added support for audio and video formats, as well as significant performance improvements.
HDA driver improvements
The driver for HDA (High-Definition Audio) chipsets now comes with audio chipsets in modern x86-based hardware.
- Haiku’s native RemoteDesktop application has been improved and added to the builds.
- This RemoteDesktop forwards drawing commands from the host system to the client system.
- RemoteDesktop doesn’t require any special server.
- It can easily connect and run applications on any Haiku system.
This release comes with SerialConnect, which is a simple and straightforward graphical interface to serial ports. It supports arbitrary baud rates and certain extended features such as XMODEM file transfers.
Built-in Debugger is now the default
- Haiku’s built-in Debugger has replaced GDB as the default debugger.
- It also features a command-line interface for those who prefer it.
- The debugger services the system-wide crash dialogs.
The launch_daemon now includes support for service dependency tracking, lazy daemon startup, and automatic restart of daemons upon crashes.
Updated filesystem drivers
- Haiku comes with NFSv4 client, a GSoC project, which is now included by default.
- Haiku’s userlandfs supports running filesystem drivers in userland, which is now shipped along with Haiku itself.
- It now supports running BeOS filesystem drivers which are not supported in kernel mode.
To know more about this release, check out Haiku’s release notes.