Minix, OpenIndiana, Haiku

Visiting fringes, chapter 2. See chapter 1

Going to extremes now... Fortunately for me, what comes here is more like educational overview, a total hearsay - otherways, I am afraid - I would be now complite drooling and gibbering wreck. I mean - not just slightly nuts as now ... errr ... This longish sentence meant that I didn't install any one of those three, but simply tried to get A Picture by reading various bits and pieces.
The goal of that: Are those three usable as desktop systems?

# Minix
A review, and another.
Minix is independent operating system, not a variation of linux at all. Though it uses Clang as a compiler and some Gnu utilities. There is closer connection with Netbsd nowadays - Minix3 uses their userland stuff. Which is probably very good thing - so they have at least something to use... Package management uses Netbsds' pkgsrc with 'pkgin' frontend.
It's development team has always been marginal - and that's sure way NOT to get WHOLE operational system properly done. Which is, it seems, recognized by Minix project - as focus lately tend to be on embedded ARM.
Some info-bits:
- tutorials and help in Minix3 page are .... kinda like afterthought, semi-finished, raising questions like 'what?', 'and?', 'eh?'.
- installation is non-trivial and by some comments - can be frequently unsuccessful.
- hardware support can be considered ... errr.. hugely lacking.
- There are three window managers available. I myself quite like JWM - but choice of only three here simply means - Minix is not for desktops.
- Quoting: 'Currently, only text-mode browsers are supported under MINIX 3'.
- From 'Goals' of project it's also quite clear that Minix is NOT trying to be usable desktop.
So don't bother to try Minix as desktop system. For embedded systems with arm processor - it seems to be OK. Google Minix Neo X5 and X7, for example.

# Haiku
There are some reviews from 2012-13, this for example.
Quoting: 'The key highlights that distinguish Haiku from other operating systems include: specific focus on personal computing ... blah-blah' - so it's for desktops.
- First - it looks childish and outdated. So, one has to have certain dispositions to like and use it at all...
- Haiku has graphical installer, nothing overly complicated here. That is - if you reach that point - Haikus' hardware-support is (of course) rather limited.
- It uses its own BFS file system - do not expect any other op-system to read Haikus' partition.
- Whole desktop+apps complex is incomplete. There seems not to be any seriously taken and/or flawless app in existence.
Taking to account how difficult and time-consuming it is to create and maintain an operational system WITH usable whole-range bunch of apps, then - Haiku never will be complite. Not ever. No.
According to Haiku looks and (not)functioning - is there any point to try it? No, not really - a) If looking for simplicity, take some flavour of linux-for-simpletons and you get what is not so bloody win31-looking and it even works and has thousands of apps. b) Or if you want reasonably functional retro-look, why not to install Trinity on Ubuntu?
Last Haiku alphas make colorful desktop-like picture alright, but ... You can't use it really for anything remotely serious.
Oh, well, I can say it, alright: But its obviously interesting for devs which is so good. See?

# OpenIndiana
A review here, quite nice by the way.
Quoting: 'OpenIndiana is a robust enterprise operating system, based on the illumos kernel. Blah-blah ..., and suitable for servers and desktops.'
OI is the only one of three which seems to me usable as desktop op-system. Quite simple to install, though somewhat buggy, and unfortunately in semi-zombie state.
Anyway, brave people who tried, say: it makes (gnome2) desktop and has some (great) apps.
It's based on SunOS and/or OpenSolaris... whatever. Commandline is allegedly close to bsd.
- tutorials, support and helps are quite pitifully lacking,
- It only has x86-version. At the same time - looks like zfs is only installable file system - which some people drool over, but which I consider serious overkill for average desktop-user (and there are compatibility issues with linux),
- when installing, Grub (legacy) has NO where-to choice. Beware.
- there are several good server-apps,
- desktop looks antique. OI has quite a lot of apps ... that is - compared to Haiku. But it lacks others, and really, repos are not big at all. It has several conf-utilities, it has nifty backup-utility...
XFCE and KDE are also installable, but allegedly very buggy.

Despite boasting (on their homepage) enterprise-quality, heritage, and more-big-words; it's one of those op-systems severely lacking dev-resources - and probably will be put to sleep after some more futile struggle.
As I noticed somewhere - a user opined that OI should stick with server-side and stop with desktop... I agree, but I think that it's too late for that. I would be very (pleasantly) surprised if OI survives and prospers.
OI really is a functioning system - as opposed to some which simply pretend. Good.
But there isn't any reason to pick it as your desktop platform. If one doesn't like linuxlands' late antics with systemd, gnome3 and tendencies to blindly fuck-up as much as possible - then PC-BSD is your unix-like desktop system.

For those who prefer shorter forms of information. Usable as a desktop:
Minix - No;
Haiku - hell, No;
OpenIndiana - Yes, maybe, but why?


Mike said...

An excellent analysis. Most enjoyable. Thank you

Player with Linux said...

Thank you, kind sir. It's a pleasure when my wanderings-around are of some use...