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ReactOS Being Rewritten, Gets Wine Infusion

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 4 years ago | from the try-try-again dept.

387

xlotlu writes "ReactOS was meant as a free and open-source operating system, binary-compatible with Microsoft Windows. But after 11 years in development it never reached a satisfactory level of usability. Due to lack of developers, reimplementing the Win32 subsystem proved to be a much too complex task, holding the project back. Given the deficiencies of the current implementation, developer Aleksey Bragin decided to rewrite it from scratch, drawing heavily from the Wine project. Bragin's announcement on the ReactOS mailing list makes a compelling argument for this decision."

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Ummm... (1, Insightful)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811916)

If it's based on Wine, why not just put their energy into Wine?

Re:Ummm... (2, Insightful)

node 3 (115640) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811970)

If it's based on Wine, why not just put their energy into Wine?

Because it's *their* energy to put where they want.

Re:Ummm... (0, Troll)

realmolo (574068) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812134)

And that, folks, is why so many open-source projects never get finished, or improved.

He *should* just start working on WINE. Just because he can do whatever he wants, doesn't meant that his choices are good.

Re:Ummm... (3, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812216)

So pay him, or STFU.

His freedom to do whatever he wants far outweighs your desire to have free stuff.

Re:Ummm...nonsense (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812716)

Nonsense. His freedom to do whatever he wants far outweighs my interest in getting him to work on something else for nothing. I doubt if anything outweighs my desire for free stuff.

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812918)

The poster did not question his freedom to do so. He asked _why_ he would contribute to one particular project rather than another project. Your reply did not answer the question that was asked.

Slashdot moderators will give you +1 Informative for defending someone's freedom, but since they didn't attack his freedom you failed to answer the question. Wine and ReactOS are both free. So in neither case is he getting paid, and in neither case is anyone's freedom limited.

Re:Ummm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812484)

And that, folks, is why so many open-source projects never get finished, or improved.

He *should* just start working on WINE. Just because he can do whatever he wants, doesn't meant that his choices are good.

Do you use open source?

You *should* spend your free time working on it. Go write software. Not a software developer? Too bad. Go learn how to write code. Just because you can do whatever you want in your free time, doesn't mean that you are making good choices. Who cares if you have friends / family / games / etc.

Oh, wait, you don't like it when other people dictate how you should use your free time? Go figure!

Re:Ummm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812556)

Who's dictating? He's just calling the guy a dipshit, and rightly so.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812866)

Needless duplication of effort is fucking dumb.

You say that like it's a Bad thing (5, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812648)

And that, folks, is why so many open-source projects never get finished, or improved.

Of course, a lot of corporate IT projects fail, too. Software is hard. It's a wonder any of it works at all, sometimes.

He *should* just start working on WINE. Just because he can do whatever he wants, doesn't meant that his choices are good.

It doesn't mean they're bad either. Or indifferent for that matter. Maybe if you had a crystal ball and could reliably foretell which projects will have have been important in five, ten or twenty years time, maybe then you could make that judgment. But without some sort of prescience it's impossible to make reliable judgments. That's why all those corporate projects flop; someone in authority makes a judgment about which strategy to pursue and in five years time one or more of their key assumptions is shown to be false and the software is rendered useless.

Of course, the same thing happens to free software projects as well. The difference however is that the Free Software developmental model tends to result in massive parallelism. Lots of projects fail, some are unexpected successes, and the successes aren't always the ones you'd expect. Think of it as a sort of software Darwinism: lots of projects die out, but the ones that thrive are well adapted to the needs of their userbase.

Looked at in that way, the lack of central direction in Free Software isn't the flaw that many perceive it to be. It is something to be celebrated.

Re:Ummm... (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812734)

Just because he can do whatever he wants, doesn't meant that his choices are good.

What did you eat yesterday? How much exercise have you had this week? Did you spend all of your free time bettering yourself? Do people look up to you as a role model? Have you made any enemies during your life? Do you ever lose your temper? Have you ever told an inappropriate joke that backfired?

Do you ever classify others' use of their free time as "good" or "bad"?

Re:Ummm... (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812808)

What if he sees a problem with Wine that he feels can be worked around while still utilizing most of the code from Wine as well as ReactOS?

From reading the PDF it looks like he wants to split Win32 specific libraries out and leave the machine specific stuff as interfaces to the Win32 environment. IE: he wants to cut Wine's arms and legs and deal with the core and make it as cross platform as possible using "interface wrappers" to deal with the individual OS kernels and GUIs... at least that's the quick cursory impression I got.

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812160)

Because some people actaully want Windows without the Microsoft licensing. Wine running on *nix or Mac will always be a different experience. Filesystems are laied out differently, permissions work differently, desktops integration works differently, the UI of the system around the windows apps is different. It won't ever offer the *same* user experience and its not enteded to do so.

ReactOs on the other hand could feel much more Windows like if implemented in a complete way.

Re:Ummm... (3, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812672)

Filesystems are laied out differently, permissions work differently, desktops integration works differently, the UI of the system around the windows apps is different. It won't ever offer the *same* user experience and its not enteded to do so.

I agree completely with you, but I think this is the best reason for joining Wine instead of trying to create a whole new OS.

I started working with Linux in 1995 and have almost completely abandoned Windows since 2000 or so. However, I still have to do some occasional work in Windows, and I always feel how painful and difficult it is compared to a Unix-like system.

Windows lacks the advanced tools that Unix has, such as the Bash shell, for instance. I'm now occasionally do support for an industrial control system that uses Linux servers with Windows workstations. According to the manufacturer, it's by customer demand that they use Windows for the workstations. They use Cygwin for scripting a command shell.

And how about filesystems? The simple fact that the directory separator is the backslash, which is used as the escape sequence initiator in C-like languages, is a PITA. Plus you are limited to 26 different filesystems, one for each alphabet letter. And you cannot use a name for mount points, just one letter.

I could go on and on, for any professional systems administrator, Unix is far superior to Windows, there is no doubt about that. It's only for home computers that familiarity is a convenience, professionals can be readily trained to use a system that's intrinsically easier to use.

I somehow feel that trying to make a new OS that has exactly the same "feel" as Windows is like trying to make a modern car that has exactly the same feel as a Ford Model T.

Re:Ummm... (3, Funny)

the_hellspawn (908071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812880)

I would love to have a Model T that has been modernized. That would be so sweet! Oh, it must have the oooooggga horn too. Yeah!

Re:Ummm... (1)

hherb (229558) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812926)

ReactOs on the other hand could feel much more Windows like if implemented in a complete way.

It's just like recreating a dog turd from potato mash, emulating texture, flavour, colour, smell and all

Horst

Re:Ummm... (1)

maas15 (1357089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812944)

When Windows 7 was in it's infancy, I burned a copy of ReactOS and told someone that it was a pre-release. It was actually sort of plausible due to it's inability to run for any great length of time. I've played with it a bit - I completely understand the developer's decision as the current ReactOS isn't actually usable, though it can be a fun way to kill a couple hours. Try seeing if you can get any malware from vx.netlux.org to work on it - I got one worm to function for almost 3 seconds!

Re:Ummm... (1)

Ragzouken (943900) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812466)

The question was not 'How is it possible for him to put his energy into something other than WINE?', it was 'Why has he chosen to put his energy into something other than WINE?'

Welcome To OpenSource (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811982)

Because then Aleksey Bragin would just be just another nameless contributer to the Wine project and he wouldn't have his name and duplicated efforts getting on Slashdot.

Re:Ummm... (0, Redundant)

Hatta (162192) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811988)

Here I thought it was already based on Wine. In any case, Wine has come a very long way in recent years, so hopefully they'll be able to get something usable out of this. I'll be looking forward to giving it a try in another 11 years.

Re:Ummm... (5, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812024)

Actually, it does put energy into Wine. Reading quickly, it appears that it implements a shim underneath the win32 support in Wine, bypassing the usual Wine requirement for an X-Server. So they can work on the Wine APIs and both projects benefit.

Re:Ummm... (4, Informative)

Kev Vance (833) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812120)

Not that I'd expect anyone here to read the articles, but to quote the presentation:

ARWINSS takes the best from Wine:
– “Cheap” syncs of work done by hundreds of developers for every new version (takes ~30 minutes to merge and test)
– At least 13495 apps from appdb.winehq.org become supported, plus support of those apps which Wine can’t run by design (hardware protection, drivers, etc)
– Good, proven, regression tested source code

...and leaves the worst:
– Ugly emulation of NT kernel
– Incorrect call chains in kernel32/ntdll
– ntoskrnl.exe being just another service
– Very slow communication with Wineserver
– Wineserver as a nightmare
– UNIX dependencies
–...

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812208)

As I understand it from the presentation, ReactOS would be able to do some things on the hardware level that Wine, by design, cannot do.

Re:Ummm... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812230)

Wine needs an existing operating system (intel based unix platforms, typically)

I'm not wild on ReactOS or Wine.

Especially WINE, partly because windows emulation is one of the things that killed off OS/2, marketroids would say "It works on WinOS/2 so therefore, we HAVE to ported to OS/2".

I could easily see Adobe playing the same card, and we'd be stuck with an even worse version of flash than we have now. (indeed, we already do.. FreeBSD needs "linux emulation" to jokingly run flash)

By requiring an entire computer (or even a virtual machine) ReactOS will, I believe, help prevent the same thing that happened with OS/2.

I just hope progress is slow.... :-)

Re:Ummm... (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812432)

Especially WINE, partly because windows emulation is one of the things that killed off OS/2

But part of what killed OS/2 is that Microsoft kept adding things to Windows such that IBM couldn't keep up. ReactOS, on the other hand, targets a specific binary interface: that of Windows NT 5, known to end users as Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003. And it targets not only the application binary interface but more importantly the driver binary interface. Ideally, if you can plug a video card or printer or scanner or something into Windows and have it work, you should be able to do the same thing in ReactOS and have it work.

Re:Ummm... (4, Informative)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812840)

What killed OS/2 was IBM basically blowing a 1-2 year lead on Chicago, not anything to do with Windows compatibility. IBM simply did not know how to market OS/2 Warp, bumbled around for over a year while Microsoft basically convinced developers to hang on for an operating system that didn't even exist (all those early "screenshots" of Chicago that first showed up in 1993-1994 were in fact artists' renderings). Even Microsoft wasn't really all that ready, as Office 95 was simply a variant of the 16-bit suite with a 32 bit wrapper. What's more, Windows 95 was an absolute horror story reliability-wise compared to OS/2. It was a piece of garbage. But Microsoft won because Microsoft understood the PC marketplace, and IBM had little or no understanding.

I know some of this because I was working for an IBM VAR at the time, and we saw just how inept IBM was, despite having what was, at the time, an extraordinarily powerful OS, with a powerful scripting language (Rexx), pretty good networking that included a full TCP/IP port, a fast and reliable file system and even it's own GCC port in the EMX system. I've told the story here before, but IBM was so bizarre that when they launched Warp 4, they didn't hand us VARs out OS/2 Warp 4 install CDs, they gave us a fucking movie that you played in a Windows machine. It was pretty much at that point that we figured out IBM had lost the thread of the conversation, and we pretty much abandoned selling OS/2.

Re:Ummm... (1)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812412)

I thought part of the point of ReactOS was to achieve driver compatibility with Windows.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812518)

Personally, I give it a resounding "meh". Windows >= MacOS > Linux > Unix > *

Re:Ummm... (4, Insightful)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812836)

If it's based on Wine, why not just put their energy into Wine?

After having spent some time reading his presentation it seems that they want to avoid the dependency on X Windows that Wine apparently has. Thy main aim is to come up with a bootable version of WINE such that you can avoid the overhead of effectively running two operating systems. They also hope this will allow them to use certain drivers that WINE cannot as they want lower level access to the hardware than X Windows will ever provide.

Please not I am not an expert on any of this so please do correct me if I am wrong, but I did see some value in their approach since it is rather a lot of work to get Linux install up an running on an old PC if all you want it for is to run a few legacy windows applications and nothing else.

The idea of getting both groups contributing to the WINE higher level code also does now add to the WINE pool of developers too. This could actually help both projects considerably. So in a way, they are going to be putting their energy into WINE. They are not planning to fork the WINE source, they want to do regular merges into their tree. He quotes that it only takes 30 minutes to to this on a fresh WINE snapshot. It might then take a little longer to fix their code to take into account of changes in WINE but this is still pretty good.

It is thing like this that are only really possible with Open Source.

Re:Ummm... (0, Troll)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812940)

Look, I can guarantee you that ReactOS will never make it. It really has no meaningful audience, and when we get Samba 4, whatever audience it does have will walk away. Wine, as questionable as it is, does fulfill a role, but ReactOS's dream of replacing Windows was pretty nonsensical a seven or eight years ago, and considering the OS it's trying to replicate is now itself a decade old, it seems extremely pointless.

I'd much rather the effort be put into improving apps like OpenOffice and Samba which provide meaningful alternatives to the proprietary software the fuels the Windows ecosystem.

Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30811924)

This project has been going on for 11 years already! I can't believe it has been so long. While there are good arguments for starting over, and hopefully time can be saved with this new plan, it seems it will be far too long before a stable product is released. By the time this gets out, it's use will be irrelevant. Sometimes you have to know when to throw the towel in.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812414)

Especially if you consider the differences in Win7 compared to XP... XP/2k compatibility will fast be becoming obsolete, 32bit support not long after that, and ReactOS driver support currently relies on XP... where does that put future support when XP drivers are EOLed? (As is already happening for some new items?)

Moving targets (1)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812732)

They started trying to emulate NT4 or win98. What exactly are they aiming for today?

Definitely time to throw the towel.

Rewritten? (4, Funny)

Idimmu Xul (204345) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811932)

Does that make ReactOS the Vista of the open source world?!!!

Re:Rewritten? (0, Flamebait)

girlintraining (1395911) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812108)

Does that make ReactOS the Vista of the open source world?!!!

No, if any FOSS OS deserves comparison to Vista, it's GNU Turd.

Re:Rewritten? (2, Insightful)

Beelzebud (1361137) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812170)

Except you can actually use Vista...

Re:Rewritten? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812176)

With his noodly appendages calloused and sore, rms found himself sadly defeated, unable to create a functional kernel to complement his array of system tools and complete the GNU Operating System. He assembled a team of programmers from his network of poly-sympathizers, then gave them the mission and their guiding slogan: "Technology Unlimited, Radical Development"

So, GNU's Project TURD was begun in earnest in the new decade of 1990, but it soon became clear that the excruciating squeeze to produce a revolutionary package was in fact, waste, owing to a crappy design decision. The public, who'd been waiting patiently by the door for some time, eventually moved on to the fertile pastures of Linux, and GNU's offering was flushed.

Re:Rewritten? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812140)

Does that make ReactOS the Vista of the open source world?!!!

No. That makes ReactOS the NT of the Open Source world.

Re:Rewritten? (-1, Troll)

MouseR (3264) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812156)

Many more open-source Vistas came before it.

With 300+ Linux distributions, ReactOS is just one more dead OSes.

(oh noes! cue-in the linux fanbois who'll troll-label this comment!)

The sad reality is that everyone little group have their own agendas and that causes a severe dilution of available talents for driving such a huge undertakings, forward.

Linus having kept a tight grip on kernel development is probably what saves Linux. But IMHO, there are far too many sub-specialized distributions. Imagine if all that talent could be focused in only 3 areas: embedded, server, desktop. the OS would have a much better change to reach mainstream.

To this day I'm convinced that if MS would ditch their kernel and slap their OS on top of the Linux/kernel, much like Apple sat it's OS on BSD/Mach, it would have a better chance to finally shut Apple up.

Re:Rewritten? (5, Informative)

ArsonSmith (13997) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812544)

I don't know if you've heard or not, but two of those "embedded, server, desktop." Linux is not just mainstream, but dominates.

Re:Rewritten? (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812548)

People are making their code available for free. Knock what they work on all you like but this isn't a corporation with an agenda. Much FOSS software is a labor of love, not a labor for a paycheck. But I can guarantee you could have a say in how things work out if you are willing to pay the salary of some developers. Otherwise the companies that do will get the selection in what's improved and those that aren't paid will work on what they want.

Yes it's a shortcoming of FOSS that there is no central direction and that people don't work together well. Welcome to the real world, when all your workers are volunteers they will work on what they want or they won't work at all. This is also a strength of the process in that you aren't dependent on a corporate overlord to decide to support features or provide programs.

Re:Rewritten? (3, Insightful)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812664)

This is the same fallacy as the idea that if copyrighted materials could not be distributed illegally that all those people would buy it.

People who work on pet projects would not work on the more mainstream projects. This is easily demonstrated by the fact that they don't.

No interest (-1, Flamebait)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30811972)

I just don't see much interest in a reimplementation of 32 bit windows. XP is so common on torrent trackers it's practically free. Why bother with something that tries to implement windows API's when you can have the real thing with no effort at all?

Re:No interest (0, Redundant)

tiberus (258517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812002)

Why bother with something that tries to implement windows API's when you can have the real thing with no effort at all?

Re:No interest (1)

tiberus (258517) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812046)

Bah interruptions...

Anywho... The why, at least for some of us, is a desire not to pay hefty fines and have our freedom impinged uponw.

Re:No interest (0, Troll)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812110)

I can see why some geeks would want to do it. I can't see why anyone else would care about it.

Re:No interest (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812516)

I can see why some geeks would want to do it. I can't see why anyone else would care about it.

This is Slashdot. News for Nerds!

Re:No interest (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812066)

Legality? Adaptability to new hardware? Free virtualisation of a windows hosting environment? Tracking new features as and when required, rather than needing to upgrade that (illegal) torrent XP? Offering an alternative to users of older hardware? The thrill of actually doing it? Just to piss you off?

Re:No interest (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812232)

Adaptability to new hardware?

Linux driver support sucks, mostly because the lack of intrest from manufacturers. XP driver support is declining. So I don't see that happening.

Re:No interest (4, Informative)

Reziac (43301) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812638)

Or as it says on http://www.reactos.org/en/about_whyreactos.html [reactos.org]

"ReactOS offers a third alternative, for people who are fed up with Microsoft's policies but do not want to give up the familiar environment, architectural design, and millions of existing software applications and thousands of hardware drivers."

This is exactly why ReactOS interests me.

Re:No interest (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812068)

The worst of this is that they're still very far from 1.0 and XP is already obsolete.

Re:No interest (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812168)

No, XP is merely deprecated.

Obsolete means something is no longer in use, and even in 2010 there are a lot more XP machines than 7 or vista.

Words have meanings.

Re:No interest (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812258)

...and as long as XP will keep running, there will remain more XP machines than 7 or vista. Atleast in my house.

Re:No interest (3, Interesting)

Imagix (695350) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812088)

Perhaps because one does not wish to engage in copyright infringement?

Re:No interest (1)

amiga3D (567632) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812410)

Have you ever had a look on piratebay?

Re:No interest (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812692)

Me? Personally? No.

Just because there are people out there uploading a ton of stuff that they don't have the rights for, doesn't mean everybody here agrees with that. Your previous premise is that, "If it's already out there, it's okay to do wrong." Just because Windows is available on Pirate Bay does not make it right to download and use it without a license that you didn't pay for.

The idea itself is interesting (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812014)

But it just seems like it would be really depressing to spend so much time essentially replicating a product that hundreds of paid developers already designed and published.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (4, Insightful)

Unoti (731964) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812078)

Fortunately, the developers of GNU, Linux, Wine, Open Office, didn't feel that way.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812132)

And Firefox. And Chrome after that, with strong open source competition already in place. It's always good to bring new ideas into the fray.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (1)

Bicx (1042846) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812288)

Ah, for sure. At any rate, it takes a developer with a lot of fortitude to complete such a task.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812292)

Unfortunately, the developers of MS-Dos (CP/M) and Windows 3.1 (OS/2) also didn't feel that way.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812774)

Fortunately, the developers of GNU, Linux, Wine, Open Office, didn't feel that way.

It does however speed things along when the big corporation is willing to invest megabucks in a project like Firefox.

Re:The idea itself is interesting (0, Redundant)

LWATCDR (28044) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812250)

I wouldn't call it depressing at all.
It is what interest them. They want to do it.
If they want to do it then more power too them. One of the ideas behind FOSS is that people can work on what they see value in. If you see no value in it don't contribute.

Wait a second... (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812016)

But after 11 years in development it never reached a satisfactory level of usability

That sounds familiar [wikipedia.org]

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812086)

That's why interest in ReactOS has dropped so much lately. It was supposed to be the preferred platform for DNF.

Re:Wait a second... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812234)

But after 11 years in development it never reached a satisfactory level of usability

That sounds familiar [wikipedia.org]

FTFY.

Re:Wait a second... (1)

DarthVain (724186) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812854)

Seriously though they could use the logo from his shirt...

Misleading summary (5, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812032)

If you read the actual post, what this guy is doing makes a lot of sense. He's not re-writing ReactOS from scratch, he's just taking the parts of ReactOS that have worked out reasonably well (the kernel, bootloader, etc.) and tossing the stuff that hasn't worked out so well (the Win32 API subsystem). It just so happens that another project, WINE, did a really impressive job at getting that Win32 API layer implemented, and rather than maintaining two completely independent versions of it, piggybacking off the WINE work should make ReactOS usable relatively soon, and able to run a large number of existing Win32 applications.

Whether you think ReactOS is a sensible project or not, clearly some people think a complete, Open Source, Windows-compatible OS has some real value, and kudos to them for figuring out how to make that happen, or at least getting very close.

Re:Misleading summary (3, Insightful)

JSBiff (87824) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812294)

I have a couple questions. . .

* Why did it take them 11 years to figure out that there was a large degree of overlap between Wine and ReactOS and maybe they should leverage the Wine work?

* How much overlap, really, is there? Wine, I believe, depends upon the presence of certain Posix system calls, X11, Alsa, etc? That is to say, largely, if I understand Wine correctly, it takes a Win32 API call and basically 'maps' it to the appropriate Posix and/or X11 API calls, and fixes up/converts parameters as necessary (in some cases, maybe 1 Win32 API call results in multiple 'native' API calls of functions with 'smaller' functionality that adds up to the Win32 API). However, the ReactOS people don't *have* a Posix kernel, X11, ALSA, etc underneath. This is kind of why I always figured there wasn't much interaction between Wine and ReactOS. How is it that they can get around this problem?

Re:Misleading summary (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812622)

From the powerpoint presentation linked by TFA, Wine keeps all their X11-specific code in a module that is accessed by wrapper functions. The guy wrote his own module to make the wrapper functions work with ReactOS instead.

Re:Misleading summary (2, Funny)

sbalneav (464064) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812878)

.... How is it that they can get around this problem?

#ifdef POSIX
      blah;
#elif REACTOS
      foo;
#endif

Not too hard.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Zerth (26112) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812932)

It took 11 years before Wine got far enough along that it was so much less effort to convert Wine instead of write their own, that they could mentally justify scrapping their own code.

People frequently have a problem writing off with sunk costs.

Re:Misleading summary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812554)

The last time I looked at the project, it was already using some user-mode libraries from Wine. I guess this was really the logical next step. Perhaps in the future the two projects could work together to create a common codebase, that only contains #ifdef ReactOS in places where differences are inevitable. I for one really hope that they can at least get ReactOS to mostly work before Microsoft drops XP support.

Re:Misleading summary (1)

Saint Stephen (19450) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812680)

Maybe they can run Mono on it and have a big ol' circle jerk :-)

Re:Misleading summary (3, Interesting)

starbugs (1670420) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812778)

Clearly some people think a complete, Open Source, Windows-compatible OS has some real value.

I use ReactOS to test some MinGW [mingw.org] - based programs I write for windows.
I find the EULA for Windows unacceptable [theregister.co.uk] .
But I still want my software to run on it.

Re-reactOS? (5, Funny)

davidwr (791652) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812056)

Maybe they should rename it?

Re-ReactOS?

ReactOSRebooted?

Re:Re-reactOS? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812546)

ReactOSRebooted?

How about 'ReactOSRevolutions'.

Re:Re-reactOS? (4, Funny)

tieTYT (989034) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812724)

ReactOSForever

Re:Re-reactOS? (1)

Ken_g6 (775014) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812868)

But it's ReactOS + the good parts of Wine. How about DistilledOS?

Re:Re-reactOS? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812954)

RewriteOS

Just use Windows (-1, Redundant)

ironicsky (569792) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812102)

I'll probably get modded down for this, but if you want to run Win32 binaries, run Windows. I don't ask Microsoft to let me run Linux or OS X Apps on my Windows 7 OS. If I want to run a Linux App (Which I do occasionally) I either do it on my Linux Server or a Linux VM within my Windows OS. Trying to build Cross OS support in to an OS seems like something that would cause extensive bloating.

Re:Just use Windows (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812164)

ReactOS is to Windows as XP or Vista is to Windows, not as Linux is to Windows (sort of, it isn't made by Microsoft).

Trademark (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812330)

ReactOS is to Windows as XP or Vista is to Windows, not as Linux is to Windows (sort of, it isn't made by Microsoft).

Likewise, "Sam's Cola is to Coca-Cola beverage line as Diet Coke or Coke Zero is to Coca-Cola beverage line, not as Pepsi is to Coca-Cola beverage line"? I don't think so. (Or was that your "sort of"?) What makes it Windows® is that it is made by Microsoft, just like what makes something UNIX [unix.org] is that it is certified by The Open Group. Windows Mobile is Windows; it just isn't Windows NT.

Re:Trademark (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812396)

Yes, that was the sort of. It is a type of soft drink, not a straw.

Re:Trademark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812514)

He meant "line" in the sense of a product line, not a USB line [google.com] .

Re:Just use Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812242)

Even better, get the best of both worlds and run Windows in a VM on Linux as the host. That way when your Windows installation gets crusty simply revert to the original image. Saves tons of time with reinstalling the OS and apps.

If it's a gaming rig then your scenario is better in the long run.

What version, and how much? (3, Interesting)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812252)

I'll probably get modded down for this, but if you want to run Win32 binaries, run Windows.

What version of Windows? The one that comes preinstalled on most PCs nowadays, or the one that Microsoft still sells? The last time I read the front page of ReactOS.org, the project's mission was to clone Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 and specifically their device driver environment. (Windows Vista and Windows 7 have a different driver model.) Then you get to the issue where a retail copy of Windows for use in Parallels Desktop is no cheaper than a Wii-size Acer Aspire Revo PC with preinstalled Windows for use in KVM Switch.

Re:Just use Windows (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812282)

You should get modded down, for being an idiot.

Solaris and BSD have linux binary compatibility layers, they work fine. Wine is coming along nicely and the pay for version supported LFD2 the night that game shipped. Bloat can come from many things but merely implementing another API ain't gonna be it.

Re:Just use Windows (1)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812286)

ReactOS is not cross platform though its a Windows workalike. ReactOs is to Windows as gnu/Linux is to NetBSD. Its a differnet platform but more or less intended to run the same application layer software.

Use a cross-platform API (1)

argent (18001) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812300)

If I want to run a UNIX app, I can do that on Windows (Interix, Cygwin, etc), OS X, Linux, HP/UX, VMS, AIX, FreeBSD, BeOS, or Xenix.

That's because it's an API that was guided, among other things, by portability. The first cross-platform UNIX emulation was the Software Tools Virtual OS, and that came out of Bell Labs. The only modern OS that hasn't been based one way or another on the UNIX API is VMS. Windows NOT excluded.

...to run drivers? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812384)

If I want to run a UNIX app

If I want to run a UNIX app, I can do it on Cygwin, MSYS, or any of the UNIX or UNIX-clone operating systems you mentioned. But what do I do if I want to run a UNIX driver? The point of ReactOS is that it runs not only NT 5 apps but also NT 5 drivers.

The only modern OS that hasn't been based one way or another on the UNIX API is VMS. Windows NOT excluded.

Especially when you consider that Windows NT is based on concepts that Dave Cutler brought with him from VMS.

Re:Just use Windows (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812304)

I'll probably get modded down for this, but if you want to run UNIX binaries, run Solaris. I don't ask Sun to let me run Solaris or AIX Apps on my Solaris 7 OS. If I want to run a SCO App (Which I do occasionally) I either do it on my SCO Server or a SCO VM within my Solaris OS. Trying to build Cross OS support in to an OS seems like something that would cause extensive bloating.

HAH! (2, Insightful)

gbutler69 (910166) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812834)

You never used iBCS under Linux I take it? I used to use it extensively to run SCO, and other Unix binaries, on Linux (back in the 2.1/2.2 Kernel Days -- maybe even earlier) and it worked GREAT! I ran many proprietary, binary-only, serious applications on Linux that were only for other Unixes.

Re:Just use Windows (2, Insightful)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812698)

Because some people like the idea of FOSS. It took FreeDOS 5-8 years to fully clone 16bit MSDOS and then improve on it. Today there is a fully functioning alternative to DOS that is used extensively in the embedded space (particularly manufacturing subsystems where it's still common). By providing a fully functional clone of MS-DOS the FreeDOS people have removed the MS yoke from an entire sector of IT.

FreeDOS and ReactOS if it's successful are useful tools in dismantling the MS monopoly or making it more customer focused. Many of the DRM components in Vista and 7 wouldn't be possible if ReactOS was a fully working clone when Vista was announced. Now that MS has fully abandoned XP it gets even easier for ReactOS because they don't need to worry with MS coming in and rewriting a big chuck of win32 to obfuscate the development. ReactOS might just provide the necessary pressure for MS to dismantle the DRM subsystem in future versions of Windows if it begins gaining significant market share. This likely won't gain any traction in the retail market, but a successful implementation could destroy sales of MS licenses in the corporate climate, something MS would take very seriously as it accounts for most of the their windows income.

Good G-d! He's RIGHT! (1)

Progman3K (515744) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812202)

In the private sector, he'd get fired by his boss for trying to do the right thing and not just kludging in another feature and shipping.
In the OSS world, he will (hopefully) persevere and be proven right a thousand times over!
That's it!!! Vindicate me, baby!

ha (5, Funny)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812338)

But after 11 years in development it never reached a satisfactory level of usability.

Wait, ReactOS or Wine?

Re:ha (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30812652)

ReactOS, given that I still can't boot it on real hardware that qemu was based off of (440fx with Dual Pentium Pro's :D)
Although Wine comes in a close second for all the apps they manage to take from gold/platinum to Garbage in order to keep WoW and Photoshop and what have you fully supported.

Unfornate name: ArwinSS (1)

Yuioup (452151) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812402)

Sorry, but the first thing I read is ArwinSchutzStaffel.

Yes, I have a sick mind.

ReactOS... (1)

xmason (206262) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812764)

...the Duke Nukem Forever of Open Source operating systems... ;)

if you value your time (1)

chentiangemalc (1710624) | more than 4 years ago | (#30812884)

buy windows 7 and save all the pain of using WINE or ReactOS, or ReactOS on WINE. the amount of time you save in trying to get things work (wow! my apps just work without any hacks!) will very quickly pay for the cost of the windows license. (of course time itself doesn't buy a windows license, assuming you have an income ;) For me using Wine and ReactOS there is no saving *yet* - just a whole lot of wasted time. If it eventualls gets high level of compatibility/stability then great, but for now it's a great toy in my experience can waste a lot of time.
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