November 10, 2006
Haiku Introduces New Scalable Icon Format
Jorge G. Mare writes "Haiku, the open source project aiming to revive the long extinguished BeOS flame, has introduced a new and more efficient scalable vector-based icon format. The Haiku Vector Icon Format, or HVIF for short, uses a special vector storage format specifically designed to store icons that is so efficient, that Haiku icons use a meager 500 - 700 bytes on average, significantly less than what equivalent SVG or raster icons would take. Living up to the minimalistic approach of BeOS, Haiku developer Stephan Assmus designed the new icon format to allow using scalable icons with a minimal impact in the UI performance. According to Assmus, "the geometrical information of every shape is collected all at once, solving the problem of visible seams between shapes that can often be observed with traditional multi-pass rendering. This comes through new features in the Anti-Grain Geometry rendering library that Haiku uses already for its on-screen drawing. The way it is done in AGG is also more efficient than multi-pass rendering." The introduction of this type of unique technologies may be a sign that Haiku is more than just binary compatible BeOS 5.0 clone as it is widely seen. It is also very refreshing to see some real innovation coming from an alternative operating system project. Specifics on the new HVIF format can be found in the Icon Facts article written by Assmus himself. Haiku is in alpha stage of development; links to hard disk images (including VMWare images) are available on the Downloads page of the Haiku website. A few movies of Haiku in action are also availabe on the web."