Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 10th May 2010 10:03 UTC, submitted by robertson
BeOS & Derivatives Two news items about alternative operating system news in a row? What is this, Christmas? In any case, the Haiku project, the darling of OSNews (hey it's okay now), has released its second alpha release. This new stable development release contains some serious improvements over the first alpha.
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RE[4]: Making progresses, but...
by Neolander on Tue 11th May 2010 05:55 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Making progresses, but..."
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I think the idea is that by using a "tab" on top of each window it allows the deskbar to always be clickable, even when a window is fullscreen. If there is a window covering the deskbar, you could right click (or middle click, I can't remember) the windows's tab to push it behind everything.

Good to know, though I still feel a bit critical about this :
1/Contrary to the always on top behavior, it is highly non-discoverable. If you don't know that it's there (and, as a new user, you probably don't know), good luck finding it or even having the idea to look for it in the manual... That's fine for power-user tricks (like opening an app-menu by middle-clicking on the desktop in kde 3), but deskbar manipulation is something you have to learn very early in the process of getting used to haiku so it doesn't fit this category...
2/If several windows are covering the deskbar, you have to put them behind one by one. You should act on the deskbar itself, not on the windows. As an example, I think of my girlfriend : she doesn't like tabbed browsing (because it often makes she close all tabs accidentally. She uses Safari, yeah...), so she just opens a lot of browser windows. As far as I know, there are other people who browse the web this way (generally old-time IE 6 users who never took the time to learn about tabs and overcome the disgust it may inspire first). That's a typical case where your desktop can be filled with such windows, covering the desk bar.

I'm sorry, I can't remember if they plan on adding the functionality to group windows into a single window with tabs, but I think they are. You can simulate it by placing windows on top of each other and sliding the tabs around, but I agree that having the functionality built in would be very nice.

Tried a bit out of fun, but it looks like a hack, not like something I'd do in everyday life. Windows still move independently (Ie there is no unified tab controls like "close all tabs" and some way to move all tabs at the same time), and tab moving + windows resizing in order to get a tabbed window is too much time-consuming to be something that I'd do all the time.

It's there. I think it's shift + ctrl + click, but I can never remember. I always have to hit a bunch of key combinations before I get it. ;)

Tried harder because of this post, and indeed I finally found it, it's Ctl+Alt. I feel better now. Just something : this may be a bit subjective (like everything I say about UX), but I think that using two modifier keys for an everyday shortcut is a bit too much (I dislike it as much as I dislike Ctl + Shift + Z shortcuts in KDE apps and Alt + Shift + Tab shortcuts in every windows manager). Why not use this "Flag key" on the bottom of every current keyboard which only waits for someone to use it for all system tasks ?

Haiku has been the only OS where I've tried sticking with spatial file browsing. It's been good for me. It behaves correctly, for example, by remembering the location and size of every window. Sometimes I find it nice to have the "trail" of windows open. Sometimes, when I know I what I want and want to get to it quickly, I just right click on the folder and "drill down" through the menus to get it. Also, I sometimes just double click on folder after folder while holding the "opt" ("Windows" key), which will close the last window I was in while opening the new one.

Well, since most people are used to non-spatial file browsing, why not make it work the other way, ie flag key for opening the new window and simple double click for opening the folder in the same window ?

By the way, I love the "resize" button of each window. I never use the maximize button in any other user interface, but I find I use the resize button all the time.

Didn't try it much at the moment. Only tried in WebPositive, and it provided a full screen behavior (making me mentally scream "hey ! Where's the tab gone ???" for a second). I agree that there's room for improvement in windows resizing buttons though (on those new very large screens, fully maximized windows feel clunky, though it's fine on 17-inch screens). Can you please quickly explain me what Haiku has to offer in this area ?

Edit: Eugenia had an interesting comment about spatial file managers here:

Well, I understand her point of view, but I dislike the way she dictates how one should organize his/her files.
1/For some things, I need a big hierarchy. Typical exemple : my OS dev folder directory structure.
Top : Blog/ Code/ Doc/ Results
Code/ : arch/ bin/ debug/ include/ init/ lib/ process/ support/
arch/ : x86_64
x86_64 : bootstrap/ debug/ include/ init/
bootstrap : include/ lib/

That's a 6-level directory structure, however I can explain why I need each level :
-1st because I have several things to store in the OS dev area
-2nd because otherwise there's code everywhere in the main folder and it's a mess. I hate messy folders.
-3rd because I plan to go multiplatform
-4th because otherwise it's a mess, again.
-5th because it allows to quickly locate the main source files.
2/Since when does the machine's capabilities decide for me ? I'm the user. It's the slave. Doesn't it work that way ?

You may be interested in reading the discussion on package manager ideas for Haiku:

Interesting thoughts, but I don't think that having two ways of managing programs (installed and non-installed ones) is a good idea. Non-installed (and hence non-updated) software would become the norm, because locating /boot/apps would be too slow compared with simply unpacking the zip file. It could be interesting, however, to be able to try a package in a sandboxed environment before installing it. This makes trying an inherently clunky behavior (you cannot save any data and so on), so that users install the app in the end, but it offers the possibility of doing so...

Edited 2010-05-11 06:13 UTC

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