ReactOS Tries to Match Functionality of Windows

Started by Donald Darden, October 27, 2007, 01:42:15 AM

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Kent Sarikaya

Donald, thanks never heard of this project. I am downloading the xvid video lecture to watch. Thanks again, it is a great idea for sure!

Theo Gottwald

I could also try to Kick like Beckenbauer. Trying is not doing :-).
If anyone actually says he could replace windows, I will not believe it.

Charles Pegge

It is a very ambitious project going head to head with the 5000 odd programmers of Microsoft. Emulating the SDK is feasible but then there is the COM jungle, perfect cover for a multitude of obfuscations and dirty tricks. Microsoft has allowed its systems to become so complicated that Microsoft itself can barely cope with them, but it prevents rival companies from taking over, and assimilating the full functionality of MS Windows.

Donald Darden

Is 100 percent duplication of Windows possible or necessaary?  These are important questions, and the answer depends upon what you intend to do.  The safe course is to just stick with the Microsoft product, which is what most people will do anyway.  And even if Microsoft extends the life of XP for a time (and that is not a given), at some point those people will either find they have been orphaned or forced to move on to further Microsoft's ambition for profits and vision for the future of computing.

If sufficient compatability exists, to support drivers, DLLs, and applicaltions, but the underlying code is different, you end up with the odd chance that the ReactOS may be more resilient to buffer overflow issues and therefore more resistive to common hacks, but at the same time likely prone to its own flaws.

But you can't really judge, unless you try it out, or carefully consider what others have to say about it.

The question is, why bother?  Well, why are people concerned about trying to stay with XP?  Aren't there enough old PCs around that offer little value except that you can recover and reuse the product ID code for the OS?  Then apply it to a heavily modified box or a new PC?  Yes, but then there is the activation code process, the reason I personally have stuck with 2000 Pro.

It should be obvious that ReactOS represents a functional equivalent to XP without the activation and verification process, nor the windows update process, or any direct connectivity to Microsoft.  Now that might be worth thinking about.

Further, ReactOS support may not be as difficult to obtain as trying to get support out of Microsoft.  You could post your concern, and they could then consider whether to address it, and if they do, whether it represents a compatability issue with XP, or whether they want to support features that go beyond XP.  It creates a whole new ball game for those that want to play in that league.

Kent Sarikaya

I downloaded and watched the nice video presentation about ReactOS. I can recommend the big download as I think you guys will really find lots of cool things about how Windows works.
For instance the windows api actually site 2 levels up from the hardware. There are 2 OS layers below it. He goes through lots of material in a very quick way but very understandable. I tried it in vmware and it ran fine. It installs and boots up in hardly anytime. It is still in early alpha, but I am pretty sure that by the time Microsoft stops XP support these guys will have their OS in place.

I really recommend watching the presentation, especially since you guys are into lower level coding.

The last link in Donald's links in the first post is the video. The embedded player stops a lot, so I recommend the bit torrent download and then watch in full screen so you can see the slides.

I think once you watch this you will see these guys are doing it right and actually going to give probably all the OS we all wished for from Microsoft.

Charles Pegge

Building the whole operating system from scratch with a small team, is a heroic enterprise and I hope they succeed. But what will their legal position be ? Under European law, I think they would be pretty safe but patent law vis a vis software is  a minefield in the States. Even if you have no case to answer, you can incur massive legal expenses in fending off spurious charges.

Donald Darden

Yes, it is uncertain, but Microsoft really isn't under much threat from a look-alike OS that most people will consider outdated by that time.  Only geeks and diehard anti-vista freaks are likely to adopt it, and among the latter, just those that absolutely have to have some level of Windows compatability for their apps or development.  But for developers, most will throw in the towel and just move to whatever platform their potential customers adopt, and use the best tools that they can find there.

If they, by some miraculous chance, actually become a threat to Microsoft, then it could threaten them and offer to buy them out at the same time.  In other words, the offer they can't refuse.  But that is the business model.  It has nothing to do with the merits of the project itself.

If you look around, you will see several MS-DOS workalikes still exist, some still under development.  These are tolerated because Microsoft does not attempt to sell MS-DOS any more, so there is no motivation to fight them.  And if you look, you can find that QBASIC and QBX are both posted online.  These are no threat to sales of Visual BASIC or Visual Studio.  So if there is no perceived threat from an XP workalike, there is little chance that matter will go to court.

There is increasing pressure for companies that walk away from products to relinquish their legal and intellectual rights.  And it is a minefield for both sides, because if Microsoft or another major player takes on a challenger, they are inviting the courts to write new law, in the absence of legislation.  They may not want to go there, because if the ruling goes against them, that could have major consequences to the industry in the future.  Microsoft does not want the added expense of having to go back and provide indefinate support to products it no longer sales just to protect any rights it still claims to them.  They are apparently happy enough to leave the whole issue unresolved and a determent to others that might be tempted to clone outdated products and sell them under their own labels.

You also have at risk whole industries that refurbish products as to their legal position.  What if we could not retread tires anymore?  How about people who restore antique cars, or repair old pianos, or restore homes?  There are a lot of grounds for challenging the claim that manufacturers have to long term ownership rights in the aftermarket.

So it is a fair question, but I don't think we are going to see it fought out over the issue of ReactOS.

Kent Sarikaya

Another important thing about all of this comes out in the video presentation is that this will be great for academic reasons. As he points out, NT does lots of cool things and works in many areas different than Linux, so having an open language that can be studied and used for teaching NT operations in a way would benefit Microsoft as more graduates being hired by Microsoft would have a deep understanding of the OS before even coming to Microsoft with fresh and innovative ideas.

Donald Darden

What, Microsoft hire someone with fresh and innovative ideas?  That would be a stretch, wouldn't it.