Monday, August 17, 2009

Haiku Alpha: More than Pleased

I am *so* glad about the appearance of the alpha at last. It's something that I've wanted for myself and the community for a long, long time. Let's hope that there is an influx of developers into the community -- in the words of Michael Phipps, Haiku itself is a slow but steady train and while there are plenty of apps out there thanks to BeOS' legacy, there are some key ones missing, such as good office software.

What kinds of applications are we, as a community, missing? Major ones.

  • Word processor - the AbiWord port is by no means complete. Productive was lightweight for 2000. It's not even really worth mentioning almost 10 years later.
  • Spreadsheet - Sum-it, now that it is open source, is missing features that many office workers need.
  • Personal Information Manager - I hate Outlook. Haiku needs something better that fills the void. E-mail is covered with BeMail and Beam and contact management (mostly) with Mr. Peeps, but there is no good, easy-to-use calendar program. Sunbird isn't stable enough to count.
  • CD Burning - Helios is the only good one, but it's dead in the water because it's closed source and won't even run on Haiku. Melt is only open source one, it's hard to use, and its code is a mess.
  • Photo manager - Think of the many things that Picasa does. BeAndSee in combination with PhotoGrabber is a step in the right direction, but, as a community, we're not there yet. Wonderbrush is a great image editor, but it doesn't to photo-related work like red eye removal or color adjustment.

There are websites that let you do almost all of those, but there are a great many times when you don't have access to the Internet. What do you do then? If you dual boot with another OS like me, you reboot to another OS. If not, you're pretty much stuck.

If you're a developer and even remotely committed to Haiku, find a project, get behind it, and help. Don't know how to code? Try learning. If a moron like me can teach himself how, anyone can learn. I'm not in the realm of Axel or Ingo, but, then again, I didn't go to college for computer science, either.

What if you don't want to learn to write programs or can't for some reason? Help developers in the community by using their programs and telling them about your experience. I don't know about other developers, but it makes me feel good that something I wrote is helping someone else and I want to know about bugs. I probably don't know about some of them. It takes a some time to write a few e-mails, but not nearly that of writing programs, and it helps everyone. Have a blog? Test and review some software. Tell other people of your experiences with it. Can you write well? Help work on documentation.

In some ways, I'm getting a feeling around the community that is probably similar to the days of BeOS DR9. The community is quite small and most people I talk to have never heard of BeOS, let alone Haiku, or they heard of it once and that's it. What makes open source work is people giving back, and not just developers.

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