technology and zen of life

“A heisenbug (named after the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle) is a computer bug that disappears or alters its characteristics when an attempt is made to study it.”

Installing Haiku directly to a disk partition


Haiku is something like Windows or Linux: an Operating System (OS). Some geeks like to play with alternative operating systems; it you are one of such geeks, you might want to give Haiku a try. Haiku is very fast and easy to use, but currently there are not many applications you can use with Haiku.

Haiku is a new open-source operating system that specifically targets personal computing. Inspired by the BeOS, Haiku is fast, simple to use, easy to learn and yet very powerful.

In this post, I will describe how to install Haiku on a spare harddisk partition directly without using a CD-ROM or USB memory key. I furthermore assume that you already installed Linux on another partition.

I would like to express my gratitude to luroh, a Haiku developer, for providing help on this topic.

Steps to be taken (summary)

  1. Download a Haiku Anyboot image.
  2. Convert Anyboot to a raw image.
  3. Write the raw image to a disk partition.
  4. Make the partition bootable.
  5. Add the partition to your boot loader.
  6. Set the partition type.

Download Haiku

You need to download an Anyboot image from the Haiku website.

Convert Anyboot to a raw image

Anyboot images are a combination of ISO and raw images. They can be written to CD-ROMs, USB memory keys and harddisks. If you need to write the image to a partition, then you must first convert the Anyboot image to a raw image. You can do so using:

dd if=haiku-anyboot.image of=haiku.raw bs=1M skip=$(expr $(od -j 454 -N4 -i -A n haiku-anyboot.image) / 2048)
dd if=/dev/zero of=haiku.raw bs=1 seek=506 count=4 conv=notrunc

Please modify the blue filenames as needed.

Write the raw image to a disk partition

For example, to write the raw disk image to the second partition of “sda2”:

dd if=haiku.raw of=/dev/sda2 bs=1M conv=notrunc

Again, modify as needed.

Make the partition bootable

After the image is written to the partition, it needs to be modified to make it bootable. You need the makebootable program from Haiku. You can also use makebootabletiny with Linux. (If the link to makebootabletiny would no longer work, here is a local copy: makebootabletiny.c download.)

Assuming that you downloaded makebootabletiny, you need to compile and run it:

gcc makebootabletiny.c -o makebootabletiny
./makebootabletiny /dev/sda2

Add the partition to your boot loader

This really depends on which boat loader you are using. For grub (legacy), you need to add these lines to /boot/grub/menu.lst:

title Haiku
rootnoverify (hd0,1)
chainloader +1

Check the documentation of your specific bootloader. Also you can check the Haiku Installation Guide.

Set the partition type

Optionally, you should set the partition type to “BeFS” using fdisk.

If you want to stay updated on alternative operating systems, keep an eye on

This howto is now included in the Haiku installation Guides.

About Evert Mouw

Interested in kinda everything, studied political science, now studying medical informatics. MCSE, Linux enthousiast, and believing that technology is the path to enlightenment 😉 Best RTS game ever is Warhammer Soulstorm (IMHO). Other hobbies include hiking, kayaking, reading and when I have time, trying to have an ant colony in an artificial nest (formicarium).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

One Response

  1. […] OS of late? Techmonks has posted instructions for installing the latest version to a disk partition here. I’ve not tried it yet, but am going to try it in a VM this weekend. I like the idea of a […]


The views expressed on this blog are personal. We do not claim to be a representative voice of the views of any organisation whatsoever. We are not responsible for the content present on the blogs to which we have linked.Views expressed are solely that of the author and does not reflect a collective opinion of contributors.
%d bloggers like this: