It’s been just about a month less than six years since Haiku’s last release in November 2012 — too long. As a result of such a long gap between releases, there are a lot more changes in this release than in previous ones, and so this document is weightier than it has been in the past. The notes are mostly organized in order of importance and relevance, not chronologically, and due to the sheer number of changes, thousands of smaller improvements simply aren’t recognized here.
Please keep in mind that this is beta-quality software, which means it is feature complete but still contains known and unknown bugs. While we are mostly confident in its stability, we cannot provide assurances against data loss.
By far the largest change in this release is the addition of a complete package management system. Finalized and merged during 2013 thanks to a series of contracts funded from donations, Haiku’s package management system is unique in a variety of ways. Rather than keeping a database of installed files with a set of tools to manage them, Haiku packages are a special type of compressed filesystem image, which is ‘mounted’ upon installation (and thereafter on each boot) by the
packagefs, a kernel component.