Linked by Thom Holwerda on Fri 20th Aug 2010 21:40 UTC, submitted by koki
BeOS & Derivatives This summer, too, the Haikuproject is part of the Google Summer of Code event. One of the more interesting projects is the Services Kit (draft document!) by Christophe "Shusui" Huriaux, which is an API to facilitate the creation of native web-enabled programs using standard web protocols and data exchange mechanisms.
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RE[2]: Strain
by StephenBeDoper on Sat 21st Aug 2010 23:09 UTC in reply to "RE: Strain"
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

I have to agree here: I only tried some trial version of BeOS years and years back and never used it for more than a few minutes so I lack the feelings of nostalgia. With the rose-colored shades of nostalgia missing I can only say that Haiku looks plain hideous to my eyes.

Yes, technology-wise it's got enormous amounts of potential and I can bet my ass that it's going to be a strong contender for certain things in the future, but if they wish to make it attractive for people without the rose-colored shades they really need to work on the looks.


I don't think that nostalgia is the sole (or even primary) driving force behind retaining the BeOS visual appearance in Haiku. Minimalism was always one of the main design (and philosophical) goals behind the OS - a minimalist, understated interface is consistent with that.

Of course, aesthetic preferences are just about the most subjective & widely-varying opinions that people can have. Even leaving aside nostalgia, I find that the mix of subtle/understated UI & clean but slightly-cartoony graphics is easier on my eyes than just about any other UI I've used.

To me, that says that the visual designers paid close attention to detail - but they also had the restraint to avoid going completely overboard with gratuitous visual effects (as opposed to effects that serve a useful purposes, E.g. to enhance usability by giving better visual feedback).

And I fear that's not going happen; given how many of the core developers are die-hard BeOS-fans they will not want to 'tarnish' it with some fancy effects or more modern looks.


Actually, there's been significant discussion among Haiku developers about visual changes to the OS - just not for R1. E.g. there's a "Glass Elevator" sub-project that's been around almost since Haiku's inception, with the goal of more long term, "forward looking" changes after the immediate goals of R1 are met:

http://www.haiku-os.org/glass_elevator

And there already have been a number of visual changes to Haiku that, while subtle, are immediately-obvious to any long-time BeOS users. And unlike much of what I saw of ZETA, the changes have all been for the better (at least to my eyes).

There is a general perception that, because they're recreating an "old" OS, they must be die-hards who are clinging to the past, etc. But I don't think that the age of the OS is very useful indicator on its own - for one, in many ways BeOS was quite advanced for its time and had features that have only recently become common in mainstream OSes (IIRC, "future-proofing" the OS was one of Be's goals). And every indication I've seen is that that the Haiku devs are entirely realistic about changes that the OS will need if it's going to have any viable future.

Reply Parent Score: 8

RE[3]: Strain
by WereCatf on Sun 22nd Aug 2010 05:52 in reply to "RE[2]: Strain"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I don't think that nostalgia is the sole (or even primary) driving force behind retaining the BeOS visual appearance in Haiku. Minimalism was always one of the main design (and philosophical) goals behind the OS - a minimalist, understated interface is consistent with that.

Could be, or could be not. I don't frequent Haiku-related boards or follow their discussions elsewhere, I've just stumbled across a few blogs and a few discussion threads every now and then and in those I've seen lots of people with those rose-colored shades screaming murder at every idea regarding enhancing the looks of the UI. So yeah, I admit that I might have just been looking in the wrong place and gotten the wrong impression but that's how it is.

Of course, aesthetic preferences are just about the most subjective & widely-varying opinions that people can have. Even leaving aside nostalgia, I find that the mix of subtle/understated UI & clean but slightly-cartoony graphics is easier on my eyes than just about any other UI I've used.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with liking such style. People have different tastes and all that. I was just saying that I doubt the common populace will find Haiku's looks pleasing and will call it ugly or out-of-date.

I, too, find Haiku hideously ugly, but as I said, I really like the underlying technology. I do wish the devs luck with the project and I hope to see Haiku going strong for years to come.

but they also had the restraint to avoid going completely overboard with gratuitous visual effects (as opposed to effects that serve a useful purposes, E.g. to enhance usability by giving better visual feedback).

There's plenty of ways to enhance visual feedback without going overboard, and I agree to an extent: all those glass-effects in Win7 are rather annoying. Such gimmicks are mostly useless from usability standpoint.

But well, let's see...I use Compiz under Linux and I have configured this one plugin so that the windows lose opacity and color saturation the longer they are idle. Ie. a window that I haven't used for a while only has 20% color saturation and 80% opacity. On the other hand, the window I am using has 100% opacity and 100% saturation, and any windows I have just interacted with has the same. Hardly a gimmicky eye-candy effect, but gives plenty of useful visual feedback. Though of course, not everyone would like it.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[4]: Strain
by smashIt on Sun 22nd Aug 2010 09:11 in reply to "RE[3]: Strain"
smashIt Member since:
2005-07-06

Hardly a gimmicky eye-candy effect, but gives plenty of useful visual feedback. Though of course, not everyone would like it.


you never had a document open on the second screen while working with something on the first one, do you?

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[4]: Strain
by Valhalla on Sun 22nd Aug 2010 13:42 in reply to "RE[3]: Strain"
Valhalla Member since:
2006-01-24


I, too, find Haiku hideously ugly, but as I said, I really like the underlying technology. I do wish the devs luck with the project and I hope to see Haiku going strong for years to come.

Well, I can't say I find it hideously ugly, but I can't say I find it particularly visually pleasing either. That said, I doubt that this has been any kind of priority with the development team apart from Stippi adding some gradients and a nice set of svg icons. I'd wager that once Haiku get's 3d acceleration (through Gallium most likely) we will see more entusiasm/effort going in to modernizing the look of the gui. Also there are the aforementioned decorators which allows third parties to customize the GUI and thus allowing for 'themes' to be made. As for the menu system, sure it may take nesting to the extreme, but seriously who launches their apps from the menu other than in extreme cases these days? I use shortcuts/launch icons for practically all the non cli apps I use and I doubt I am the exception. Currently the focus is on providing a stable, capable and performing system, once that is in place then making a better looking gui will be a piece of cake in my opinion ;)

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: Strain
by koki on Sun 22nd Aug 2010 13:37 in reply to "RE[2]: Strain"
koki Member since:
2005-10-17

Very well said. The Haiku UI is not about nostalgia, but is simply a manifestation of living up to the BeOS philosophy of minimalism that is both pleasant and -- more importantly -- does not get functionally or visually in the way of the user.

Edited 2010-08-22 13:53 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1