I downloaded and burned a live cd, but it doesn’t seem to support my hardware since the kernel stopped the boot up and threw me into a debug console. I then decided to run and install it in VirtualBox and take many screenshots as I explore the OS. Overall I would say that it packs quite a punch for a revival of an old operating system in a first alpha release. It looks better than the last BeOS release (R5) and comes with some improvements including support for modern hardware (albeit not all as my example would imply).
We are offered applications for a variety of tasks suitable for a desktop system, which is what Haiku OS is focused on. Compared to what a basic Windows install usually comes with it doesn’t lack behind and even adds a thing or two more. For instance, in addition to such basic things as text editors (it has two), a web browser (Firefox 2), multimedia player, paint utility etc. there’s also a DVB application, an IRC chat program, media converter and a webcam app. You can see a full list of applications in a screenshot of the applications menu.
Haiku OS is also has some interesting configuration programs. What caught my eye were the font viewer and a background configuration dialog which allows you to drag the background image to wherever you want it to appear. Speaking of interesting features one of my favorite if anything then because it’s so cool, albeit it could also be quite useful in some situations, is the ability to shift-drag the title bar of all windows. It doesn’t have to be aligned to the left. You can put it anywhere on the top border of the window you like.
Overall it’s an excellent release given that it is alpha and it shows a lot of potential. As others have already pointed out probably the first opportunity that Haiku OS has is the use on netbooks given it’s simplicity, speed and lightness. It has everything a typical netbook user might need and looks quite elegant.
That said, let’s go to the screenshots. They’re taken from within virtualbox. The upper menu is part of virtualbox, not Haiku. To view the full screenshot just click. They should be preloaded with this page. Enjoy!