posted by AndrewZ on Mon 14th Jun 2010 13:40 UTC
IconAndrew Hudson, whose recent article on BFS over at ARSTechnica intrigued us, shares with us some thoughts on the state of apps on Haiku. It turns out there are several repositories with a vast array of applications ready-to-go for your new Haiku install.

Where Are the Haiku Applications?

As more Haiku new-comers install the Alpha 1 or Alpha 2 versions we hear the same complaint, “I just installed Haiku, but there are no applications and there’s nothing to do” Many Haiku users have the mistaken impression that few applications run on Haiku and then go away after having a bad out-of-box experience. Haiku has literally thousands of BeOS applications to run, but we haven’t organized them in a way that makes them easily accessible. The Superior Haiku Applications Group sets out to change this.

A Better Experience With SHAG

Our #1 Goal is to increase the Haiku user experience. And so we created a list of the first and best apps you should download after installing Haiku. In the process we also looked at apps that we really wanted to run but couldn’t, and apps that don’t exist in Haiku yet but really should.

Promiscuous Testing Criteria

We looked far and wide for BeOS apps. We put out a call for people to list their favorite BeOS apps. We also went through old BeOS literature, read old reviews, and emailed old developers. We were and still are looking for cool, fun, and useful BeOS applications. This list is still evolving. We know we missed some apps so please keep your recommendations coming. Or better yet, join our testing on Haikuware.

We searched through application download sites:,,, darkwyrm downloads,,, and did a lot of googling. Haikuware was chosen as the central repository because it has 2640+ applications to download. It also has a rating system, user forums, a built in email system, and a way to leave comments for each app.

We used promiscuous testing criteria: Install it on Alpha 2. Open it. Try a few operations. Report the results. We try as hard as we can to “rule in” any app, and find work-arounds for simple problems. If it kind of or mostly runs, we added it to our list.

Different Levels of Haiku Compatibility

In the process of testing we found that BeOS applications fall into the following categories:

  • Runs on Haiku with little or no modification
  • Requires some work-around (e.g. needs BeOS compatibility optional package)
  • Requires hybrid GCC4libs
  • Requires an updated HaikuPorts lib
  • Requires development work (e.g. doesn’t run yet)

How to Install an Application on Haiku

If you see an application you really want to run, how do you install it?

  • Open your WebPositive web browser from the Applications menu
  • Go to
  • Download the application you want by clicking on Download
  • Launch the Expander by clicking on the Open button after download completes
  • Change the install path from /boot/home/Desktop to /boot/apps
  • Click Expand
  • To run your new application – right click on your file system icon (upper left corner), then select the apps folder, then your application’s folder. Some applications have an additional setup script or setup instructions. Look for a README file.

If the application is downloaded as a .pkg file, open Terminal from the Applications menu and run PackageInstaller from the command line. Use the PackageInstaller to complete the installation.

Some applications or libraries can be installed using the installoptionalpackage utility. Open Terminal and type installoptionalpackage –l to list packages or libraries that are available to install or update

Applications That Run on Haiku Alpha 2 With No Extra Libraries

Category Name Description
Multimedia VLC 0.86 Highly acclaimed multimedia player, audio & video playback
CL-Amp A WinAmp audio player clone, with many, many features (See Haikuware note to get midi working).
BeAE Amazing, full-featured audio editor with a very rich GUI
Cold Cut A basic audio editor
BeScreenCapture An application to capture the content of your screen in motion and save it as a video file
Sequitur An amazing MIDI sequencer program. It is included here as an example of how amazing a native BeOS/Haiku applications can really be.
Graphics Xaos A real-time interactive fractal viewer. Lots of different fractals
ArtPaint 2 A painting and image processing program
3D StarChart A pretty amazing 3D chart of the universe with star lookup
Lunar Sanctorum Displays the phases of the moon
Lyapunovia A simple but nice fractal viewer
Utilities NetPenguin A feature packed FTP client
QuickRes A tool for viewing and editing application resources. Very powerful, like Mac’s ResEdit
BeFortunate Tells your fortune
Sum-It A very basic spreadsheet
Mr. Peeps! A nice personal contact manager
BeFinancial A personal finance manager that reads Quicken files
Games ColorBalls A simple but addictive game. A cross between Tetris and Mines
Bshisen A simple board game like mahjong
Blines An interesting logic / puzzle game
BeTris Classic Tetris
BeLife Conways’ classic game of life implemented as cellular automata. Lots of nice features and source code
BeMines The classic mines game
BeVexed A tricky puzzle game like 2 dimensional dominoes
Screen Savers Random Saver Picks a new screen saver each time your computer sleeps!
BePyro Classic fireworks
Kablooie Classic fireworks with more options
Spider Saver Gives an abstract moving picture with lines. Like an impressionistic spider web
Matrix That infamous green text from the Matrix movies
Boids Funky Boids flocking algorithm

Games That Require SDL GCC4 Libraries

Name Description
Mega Mario A Mario Brothers clone! You play Mario and your task is to free his brother Luigi, who was captured by evil Bowser
netPanzer An Online Multiplayer Tactical Warfare Game
Tower Toppler A cool jump and run game involving turning towers
Zelda Solarus A demo for a clone of the Legend Of Zelda
Free Heroes of Might and Magic II A popular role playing game with AI
Red Alert The Westwood real time strategy game
Dune II Legacy A Dune inspired 2D game
Widelands A real-time strategy game based on The Settlers
Bos Wars A futuristic real time strategy game involving power plants, buildings and economies
Wesnoth A tactical strategy game with a high fantasy theme
Heroes of Wesnoth Control a hero in a fantasy world
Flobopuyo A clone of the famous PuyoPuy
Starfighter A remake of the classic Amiga game

Awesome Applications That Don’t Run Yet

Category Name Description Issue
3D Modeling Blender High functionality 3D modeling and viewing. Needs an update in OpenGL Haiku bug
3D Demos OpenGL demos Very cool 3D OpenGL demos. Needs a bug fixed in single buffer display Haiku bug, Haiku bug
Media player VLC 1.0.5 A big update of VLC .86b, a full featured audio/video viewer and streamer Needs SIGINFO implemented
MIDI Maybe it needs sound fonts?
3D Modeling POV-RAY Persistence of Vision Ray Tracer Renders but needs a Haiku native displayer
Office Suite KOffice Word processor, Spreadsheet, etc Might run with GCC4 libs but requires expert knowledge and patience to install
Screen Saver BeSwarm Very hypnotic graphics Needs coding to be driver independent
Twitter Haiku Twitter A nice Twitter client Still in development
IRC Caya A Google/AOL IRC client Still in development
Calculator BeCalc A full-featured calculator Still in development

Awesome Applications That Really Need to Be Ported to Haiku

Enough can’t be said about GOBE Productive. It’s so good that some people still run V2.02 on Haiku. GOBE Software is still in business and will consider working with the Haiku team to port V3 to Haiku. As far as I am concerned, GOBE Productive is the closest thing we have to a killer app for Haiku.

Category Name Description Issue
Amazing Office Suite GOBE Productive The most amazing BeOS office suite EVER Needs a Senior developer for a Haiku port
USB scanner package Sanity USB package for scanners Needs libusb port for Haiku and newer version of SANE lib
Word processor AbiWord Popular word processor Needs a new build

Applications That Come With Haiku Alpha 2

Don’t forget that Haiku Alpha 2 comes with more than two dozen applications pre-installed. Here are some of the cool apps to check out:

Name Description
BePDF Views PDF files
CDPlayer Plays audio CDs
DeskCalc A basic calculator
DiskUsage Shows your disk usage graphically
installoptionalpackage Use –l to list packages you can install
Mail A POP/IMAP mail client
PackageInstaller Installs .pkg files (runs from Terminal)
People A personal contact manager
Poor Man A simple web server
MidiPlayer Plays MIDI files (doesn’t currently work)
Pe The favorite code editor of Haiku developers
Screenshot A screen capture utility
SoundRecorder Records audio
StyledEdit A basic word processor
Terminal A command line window with BASH
TV Interface to TV viewing cards
Vision IRC client
WebPositive Our awesome web browser
WonderBrush A powerful image editor

This List Is Just A Start!

The list of applications that are tested on Haiku is just a start. We only tested about 65 applications. That leaves about 2475 applications that still need to be tested on Haikuware! Please take a little time and install an application or two and leave some feedback. Or pick an application that doesn’t work and help port it.

Special Thanks

Special thanks to Karl Van Dorff who has hosted for years and who personally retrieved and saved thousands of classic BeOS applications for posterity. Also thanks to Pistooli, Streakx, MaxOS, DarkWyrm, and Michael V Oliveira for testing and porting.

About the Author Andrew Hudson is a freelance technical project manager living in Florida, USA. In his abundant spare time he analyzes technology trends, listens to punk rock music, and watches Chinese kung fu movies.

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