Haiku R1 Alpha 2 Release Notes

These are the release notes for Haiku R1 Alpha 2, our second official release. For this second alpha release, we strived to provide an improved version of Haiku that is more stable, and introduces more features for both the end-user and developer. We have tried hard to make this release as good as possible. Still there are a few known issues and missing features, some of them collected below. Please keep in mind that this is alpha software, which means it is not yet feature complete and still contains known and unknown bugs. While we are mostly confident in the stability of this release, we do not provide any assurances against data loss.

Another goal that has driven the release of the Alpha 2 was to provide current and future Haiku developers an updated and (mostly) stable operating system to work on their software projects. Therefore we have included the basic build tools, along with clients for cvs, svn, git and hg. This release of Haiku is capable of building and running binaries using either GCC 2 or GCC 4. The use of GCC 4 is discouraged however if not absolutely necessary, as no API compatibility is guaranteed with future versions of Haiku.

System Requirements

Haiku currently only works on x86 systems. Minimum memory required is 128 MB. If compiling Haiku within itself, 1 GB of memory is recommended. Haiku has been tested to work on CPUs as slow as a Pentium II 400 MHz, and requires as little as 700 MB of drive space.

New Features

This is a glimpse into some of the more notable improvements and additions to Haiku, since the previous release, R1 Alpha 1. It should be noted that countless bugs have been fixed.

Haiku includes a new web browser, WebPositive, which is powered by WebKit. It is not yet a mature web browser.

WiFi via FreeBSD 8 compatibility. Non-distributable firmwares can be installed via A temporary & experimental application setwep can allow WEP based encryption.

Message Signaled Interrupts (MSI) have been implemented. This helps to alleviate the lack of proper IRQ routing.

Fixed a network bug that could result in web pages being loaded only partially.

When partitioning a disk, DriveSetup will now install a basic boot loader into the Master Boot Record which boots the active partition.

Locale kit for providing internationalization in programs.

Translations for User Guide and other system provided documentation.

Many lock contentions have been improved, leading to significantly better compilation times.

Numerous code refactoring to kernel/VM subsystems.

Font hinting in FreeType.

Various vendor software has been updated, most notably bash from 2.x to 4.x.

Introduced installoptionalpackage, a rudimentary script to alleviate the lack of a proper package management solution via PackageFS. It allows the installation of some of Haiku's OptionalPackages.

Vastly improved USB mass storage performance through a better page mapping strategy.

ACPI is now enabled by default.

HDA on nvidia chipset improvements.

The UDF file system module has been fixed.

Various POSIX compliance fixes.

API/ABI Changes

  • BJoystick -- fixed a BeOS compatibility issue
  • GCC 4 ABI changes that require applications to be recompiled
  • Introduced library versioning

Haiku GCC4 can now be compiled directly on a 64bit Linux distro. GCC2 still requires the use of linux32.

Created a new file image type, 'anyboot', which allows a Haiku image to be burned as an ISO or written directly to USB. To note, some burning software may try to be 'clever' and will incorrectly burn.

Beefed-up Internet hosting infrastructure, thanks to our much-appreciated donors.

Missing Features

Haiku does not yet support WPA encryption for wireless networking, only WEP encryption is supported.

There is no package management yet.

The Haiku boot manager (bootman) supports a single hard disk drive only.

USB keyboards attached to OHCI or to USB 2.0 hubs do not work in Kernel Debugging Land (KDL). They need to be connected to UHCI root ports to work in KDL. Also note that when entering the kernel debugger by means of a panic it is possible that the keyboard does not work. To work around this issue you can manually enter the kernel debugger once and leave it again to enable the USB keyboard.

Font overlay is not yet implemented in Haiku. As a result, if at the beginning of the installation you choose a language that uses glyphs not supported by the default font (such is the case for Japanese, for instance), the localized text on the screen will become garbled. For such cases, until font overlay is implemented, please run the installer in English mode.

Known Issues

LiveCD and first boot performance: After an initial installation or a boot into LiveCD mode, some background tasks are executed to finish the installation setup. This is known to degrade performance. On hard disk installs this usually is not a problem as the tasks are done quickly. In LiveCD mode the performance hit is more prominently visible due to the usually bad seek performance on CDs. Since the CD is read-only, this setup takes place on every start of the LiveCD. On writable media it will only be done once, so further boots shouldn't experience the same delays.

Font rendering, while improved due to the expired font hinting patent, is still not optimal. Due to the uncertain situation about patents, the official release has disabled code, which is known to be patented. This sadly includes the subpixel code used by FreeType. Once the situation is better understood and a decision has been made, subpixel font rendering may get re-enabled for official releases.

Haiku's ACPI support, which is enabled by default, might cause problems on some hardware. ACPI can be disabled in the boot loader's safe mode options menu.

While it improves the IRQ routing situation the recently added MSI support might have issues with certain hardware.

Copying large amounts of data from faster to slower disk drives (like USB sticks) can cause the system to start paging.

The Haiku boot loader has been reported to hang on some hardware.

Initial support for localization/internationalization has been added. It is highly experimental. Some applications might only be partially translated and have issues with long strings in languages other than English. The Locale preferences application is not working that well yet.

For the Ukrainian translation of the user guide the British flag is shown in the language selection.

Source Code

The source code of Haiku itself, the source code of the required build tools and the optional packages (except for closed source ones) is made available for download at:

Reporting Issues

There are over 1500 open tickets on Haiku's bug tracker and over 4000 closed items. If you find what you believe to be an issue please search our Trac to see if it has already been reported and if not file a new ticket:

For more help see the 'Welcome' link on the Haiku desktop, or visit the website at

Last modified 13 years ago Last modified on May 9, 2010, 6:00:38 PM
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