Haiku almost-monthly activity report - October and November 2019

Blog post by PulkoMandy on Thu, 2019-12-05 12:14

The last two months have been quite busy for me and I had no time to write up a report. Remember that everyone is welcome to contribute to the website and if you wand to write the report from time to time, this would be much appreciated, by me because I wouldn’t need to do it, and by others because they will enjoy reading things written with a different style and perspective.

Anyway, let’s look at what’s going on!

Let’s start with the non-technical side of things. The months of october and november are traditionally quite active in Haiku (matching with our autumn-themed logo, of course). There was no BeGeistert this year, but I attended Alchimie and Capitole du Libre with mmu_man, while Korli, scottmc and Hy Che went to the GSoC mentor summit, which was in Germany this year.

These events are an opportunity to advertise Haiku a bit, share ideas and projects with other alternative operating systems such as MorphOS, ReactOS, FreeBSD, or RTEMS, and overall meet other people working on open source software.

All while managing this, we also had to get ready for Google Code-In, which is celebrating its 10th year. We are the only project with enough contributors and ideas to be able to participate every year since the contest was established, and look forward to what our contestants will accomplish this year. The first patches are already getting to our Gerrit code review.

On the coding side (we are looking at hrev53529-hrev536xx), let’s breakdown in rough and arbitrary categories as usual:


korli added the definitions for VR headsets to the USB HID header file. No functional changes, but one step less to perform if someone wants to do VR in Haiku.

A patch from brjhaiku (done during her application to GSoC) was also merged, which adds missing defines to the USB video (webcam) definitions. No functional changes either.


Part of the work done by brjhaiku on btrfs write support for Google Summer of Code has been merged. Nothing very exciting for end-users here, but at least we have a working and documented btrfs_shell to experiment with the code.

ARM64 support

Some time ago, a large set of patches preparing for ARM64 have been submitted by Jaroslaw Pelczar. These are a rework of an earlier and more invasive porting attempt, which could not be merged as-is because it had compatibility problems with other platforms. The code is slowly being reviewed and merged a small piece at a time. So far, it is mostly changes required to get Haiku to compile, without much in terms of actual added functionality or support.

kallisti5 started work on making our EFI support platform-agnostic, so the same code can be used for x86_64 and arm64. EFI is independant of the CPU it runs on, but so far we have made it work only for x86_64 machines, so we need to untangle the platform-specific bits in our code from the shared EFI ones. He also started to rework our code for locating UARTs for serial console output from the flattened device tree on ARM, which is currently not working.

m68k support

mmu_man is working on the m68k port with various build fixes to catch up with other platforms.

PowerPC support

Ynoga fixed various problems with the PowerPC port.


waddlesplash fixed several problems in the FreeBSD compatibility layer, making our network support more reliable.

axeld fixed management of network interface settings to avoid mixups between interfaces when one is added or removed.


PulkoMandy revisited once again the intel_extreme driver to identify the remaining regressions introduced when adding sandy Bridge support. We believe all problems have been identified and solved, so, if you have an intel graphics card, please test a recent nightly and report on what happens.

axeld made some improvements to the HTML5 remote desktop client, allowing to use monospace fonts, so that Terminal can be run there without too many glitches.


Lukasz Towarek added support for extended mouse coordinate report, so using mouse with more than 240 columns of text in Terminal is now possible.

User interface

humdinger fixed some labels and localization problems in filetype preferences, tracker file info dialog, GLife screensaver settings.

PulkoMandy fixed archiving of BTextControl, which was missing some fields (replicating what BeOS did a bit too closely)

John Scipione is working on a control look closely imitating BeOS R5 (if you really want a pixel-for-pixel dive into the 90s) and fixed various shortcuts in the existing control drawing that work with the default look, but not that well with the others, as well as some fixes to the behavior of list views in some preferences panels.

Various fixes

mt and korli are as usual keeping an eye on compiler warnings from clang and newer versions of gcc to fix them before they are too much of a problem.

waddlesplash fixed a leak in the low-level “port” management code (ports are used to exchange data between applications and are at the core of both BMessage and the media kit buffers).

PulkoMandy switched the main memory allocator back to hoard2

Andrej Antunovikj fixed minor issues such as unsafe use of sprintf in the runtime_loader.

Joachim Mairböck fixed the hda driver to include a quirk for his soundcard.

Geolocation APIs

A new API was introduced that allows to convert a latitude and longitude into a country name.

Quick Tour

A new “quick tour” has been added on the release builds Dekstop, introducing various Haiku features. It partially replaces the “welcome” page (which is still used as WebPositive start page, but not linked from the desktop)

Are we in beta2 yet?