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Russian Univ. Launches Course Based On ReactOS Led By Alex Bragin

timothy posted about a year ago | from the wardrobe-by-david-byrne dept.

Operating Systems 90

New submitter jeditobe writes "Aleksey Bragin reported that starting in February he would be a lecturer at the Moscow State Technical University teaching the operating system course. He said that he intends to incorporate ReactOS into the lab work so that students would have the opportunity to work on an actual operating system. He also intends to translate and upload the slides he will use for class for others to see." (Bragin is the Project Coordinator for ReactOS.)

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90 comments

why? (1)

masternerdguy (2468142) | about a year ago | (#42842035)

Why not use Linux or any OS that actually works? ReactOS is terrible.

Re:why? (5, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year ago | (#42842139)

If the problems are already solved, then it's more difficult to be the one who solves them. If the solutions are already extremely optimized then it's more difficult to be the person who provides a better solution. Sometimes you want to repeat other people's work, but sometimes it's worth trying to be the first person to do something. A less tuned OS like ReactOS might be good for teaching on.

I'd be more concerned about the question "why use a complex OS like ReactOS rather than a simple one like Minix" since lots of the key teaching points could get lost in the arcane details, but again, there's also plenty to be said for showing the real world from time to time rather than just academic theory and using one thing doesn't stop you using the other.

The most important thing is probably the quality of the teaching and if ReactOS motivates the professor to be interested in what his students are doing then it's probably going to give them a better course than they could ever have otherwise.

Re:why? (5, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#42842143)

Why not use Linux or any OS that actually works? ReactOS is terrible.

The obvious reason is Aleksey Bragin is a ReactOS developer and thus has intrinsic knowledge about the ReactOS system. Apart from that it could also be claimed that ReactOS is smaller and less complex, making it a good example to study.

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842965)

In addition, by a strange coincidence, his textbook is also to be used in the class!

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842155)

Why not use Linux or any OS that actually works? ReactOS is terrible.

Because systemd makes it much harder to follow the boot process.

Re:why? (4, Insightful)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42842189)

Because Aleksey is a clever young fella who was offered a teaching gig. Naturally he'd pick an area of interest that he's expert in.

I'm sure there are plenty of other OS theory courses worldwide that use Linux, Minix, Hurd, L4, FreeBSD etc - this is one unique course, so why the hate?

Re:why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42843553)

Because people that never accomplish anything must heap hate upon those that do to make themselves feel better. That's why you see similar behavior in every single thread. When they cannot attack directly, they target grammar, spelling or just plain pick an amazingly pedantic point and belabor it until all normal people are driven from the thread. The Internet, where people expose their mental illnesses for the world to see.

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42857853)

Don't hate on the haters you hater!

Haiku for teaching OS principles (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42844041)

http://www.haiku-os.org/about

Re:why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42843949)

linux is a UNIX-like clone, why it's better to use it than a winNT clone ?

do you like OpenBSD/Haiku/... ect. more then reactos ? ask yourself why because there are just clones that transformed over time. I know that posix is open specification but still there are other segments that are very very similar.

The only problem with reactos is that everybody is afraid to use it because of Microsoft and interprets windows as bad and linux as good, but what is with unix ?

I use linux almost everyday on works but still i don't like it at my home PC i use windows and the only thing that can change that is to switch to reactos.

Windows based w/o MS is refreshing (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42844877)

Two reasons:
  1. 1. Study of such a system would give students an idea of how Windows actually works. Unix architectures, including those like Linux & BSD, are very different from Windows.
  2. 2. Bragin himself works on ReactOS and therefore very familiar w/ it

I think it's a great idea, and I'd like to see it spread. In particular, I'd like to see there be a lot of project assignments to have working the various parts of ReactOS so that you have a system that is up to date w/ Windows 7. In the past, they had moving targets, be it NT, 2000, XP or 7, but I don't think anybody will argue that there should be a Windows 8 compatible ReactOS.

Have 2 OSs if necessary to map against all the Windows versions that have been there since 1995. Have something like a ReactOS 32 which can use anything from 32MB to 2GB of RAM, and have it support all applications written for win32. That way, everything - Windows 95, 98, 2000, ME and XP will be supported. Then have ReactOS 64 which would require anything from 4GB and let the upper limit of addressable memory be a simple 2^64 B. That way, once written, they won't have to update file systems for a really long while, until they need to go to 128 bit OSs. ReactOS 64 should be made identical to Windows 7, and support anything written for either Vista or Windows 7.

Once it's done, give it a more marketable brand name. ReactOS is terrible.

While your idea is interesting... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42847161)

Win9x support will never happen with an NT kernel.

Additionally for Win9x compatibility it'd crap out somewhere between 512 and 1.5GB of RAM.

Mostly though the win9x period had lots of apps making direct DOS/bios calls even when executed within windows leading to a large plethora of apps that won't run properly on ME nevermind NT kerneled versions of windows.

The irony about this of course is that ReactOS is still stuck using FAT as it's primary filesystem, meaning a focus on Win9x compatibility would actually be more likely to lead to migration than NT (Which ATM would require a reformat for basically anyone who'd be interested in switching, since not only is ntfs the default for NT4/2k+, but it's also the only way to get the benefit of file security that was one of the cornerstones of the 9x->NT migration.)

I'm saying this as someone who's been following the reactos project for at least a dozen years (Maybe more like 15 now.). It's still got the majority of the same user-facing limitations that made it unsuitable for use as a day to day OS ten years ago. And the best part is, it still won't run on a lot of legacy hardware an NT kernel system would (Notably dual proc 440FX workstation hardware) despite it being the reference platform for qemu/bochs/etc.

Unless some of these shortcoming see rapid development, ReactOS is just going to keep falling further and further behind as they change ABIs and APIs to match up with whatever their new 'OS Target' is. Be it NT5.1, NT6, NT6.1 or NT 7.

Re:While your idea is interesting... (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42849805)

Okay, let them not include win9x support. Even if they target ReactOS 32 towards NT 5.1 (that's XP, right?), they'd be just fine. And React OS 64 could simply target NT 6.1 (Windos 7, right?) - there is no reason for ReactOS 64 to chase Windows 8.

Yeah, ReactOS had the issue of moving targets. Until NOW. If Windows 7 is good enough, that's what ReactOS should target, and then evolve from there.

Re:why? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42860437)

There is another OS that could be suitable for teaching purposes: osFree. It is a microkernel based OS, like HURD, except that it's built on a more modern microkernel - the L4 microkernel. On top of the microkernel, it has multiple 'personalities' or API's riding on it - a PresentationManager for OS/2, win32, win64 and so on. This would allow different host OSs to live on the same microkernel. From a standpoint of teaching OS principles, this would do the work just as well, while at the same time enabling students to build an OS that is functional for mainstream applications like Windows.

Why not Linux? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842049)

Why waste students' time teaching them Windows architecture instead of Linux?

Re:Why not Linux? (1)

cruonit (1701574) | about a year ago | (#42844245)

why waste time to teach student how a unix clone works instand of the most used one for personal computers - windows ?

Re:Why not Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42844607)

Maybe because none of the machines that make our lifes go on run on Windows? Chances that a CS student will later work in a SecretaryOS only environment are close to zero. With a meaningfull job it's most likely you'll be working with HP-UX, AIX, OpenVMS, z/OS, Unisys mainframes, your various flavours of Linux and possibly BSD. The other big part of professional ecosystems is going the direction of embedded systems. So why on earth would you teach a student on the NT kernel where literally every singly scope or use-case might drastically change with the next iteration of said OS?

Exactly, the only reason you'd do that is, if you knew that NT-clone better than everything else.

Re:Why not Linux? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42854737)

Well, from your list of OSs, OpenVMS is dead, z/OS is a server only OS, while the workstations that HP/UX and AIX used to run on are long dead - only their servers survive. Most CS students, unless they are going for PhDs, will be working in companies, and except the OS companies like Red Hat, none of them really run their business on any of the OSs you mentioned. Not even Linux or the BSDs. It's almost always various versions of Windows, depending on how long a company has been holding out. Previously, electronic CAD engineering was done on those Sun and HP workstations, but even that's not true any more.

In fact, given that Intel is pretty much the only surviving game in town, w/ POWER, MIPS and SPARC playing very peripheral roles, it makes even more sense to teach a Windows based OS. People won't be using Minix in their work, or even at home.

Re:Why not Linux? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42857873)

I think the price of the windows source code was a big factor in his decision...

Re:Why not Linux? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42845005)

Maybe because at work, Windows computers are what they've been getting, and will probably continue to get for a while. Understanding its architecture would better prepare them on being MSCEs as well as experts on PCs. Teaching them Linux is only useful if they are going to be Linux developers or sysadmins once they find work. That is hardly the majority of software professionals.

Actual Operating System (-1, Flamebait)

neoshroom (324937) | about a year ago | (#42842063)

He said that he intends to incorporate ReactOS into the lab work so that students would have the opportunity to work on an actual operating system.

Oh, wow, an opportunity to work on an actual operating system. I just imagine thousands of Russian children all with computers staring at blank screens and start-up errors for years until this man gives them the rare chance to work on an actual operating system. Bless you, kind sir. Bless your heart. __

Re:Actual Operating System (4, Interesting)

ottawanker (597020) | about a year ago | (#42842115)

I'm assuming by 'work on' he means the actual code of the OS.

Its impossible to do this with Windows, and Linux is already fairly feature complete. Maybe ReactOS has places where it could use some fairly simple code that would at the same time teach the students how to write code for an OS...

Re:Actual Operating System (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842229)

> Its impossible to do this with Windows

If the course is focusing on Windows internals, there's a program called Windows Research Kernel from Microsoft, which some universities can apply to and get access to Windows XP / 2003 kernel source code complete with a build environment. So you can compile it and test any changes. It has the advantage of being bug-free (relative to ReactOS), having well-structured and well-commented code (I've seen it), and it being something that is being used by millions of people out there as production OS.

Re:Actual Operating System (2)

ottawanker (597020) | about a year ago | (#42842395)

I had no idea this existed, it is very cool and would make for a good learning experience. If I hadn't already posted I'd mod your post up..

But how about the feeling you'd get if you were a student and the code you wrote or modified actually made it into an OS that you could install and run on your own computer, and that thousands of others would also install and run.. and your teacher is the guy who maintains the project, so you should have a good chance of your code actually making it in.

Re:Actual Operating System (3, Interesting)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year ago | (#42842553)

It has the advantage of being bug-free (relative to ReactOS),

That is actually a disadvantage for an academic OS. When there are obvious problems, there is no need to think much of lab assignments.

Problem is, as system programming goes, Windows is very boring. As you say, it is very stable - but it is also closed-source. Meaning that whatever students implement remains an academic exercise.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42845091)

But ReactOS is open sourced. In fact, it is released under GPL, LGPL and BSD licenses.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year ago | (#42845375)

ReactOS - yes. That was in response to GP comment that MSFT also makes source of Windows available to the universities. The story was discussed on Slashdot in the past and the source code license has pretty draconian conditions attached.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42845405)

Responding to your GP post then, what students could do is do exercises on the source code, but any changes they make - sans the original - can be exported to ReactOS, while ensuring that ReactOS doesn't have the same stuff as what XP has.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

Stupendoussteve (891822) | about a year ago | (#42845947)

Why wouldn't they do this on ReactOS directly?

Looking at Windows source for inspiration seems a little dangerous.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42849809)

Not for inspiration, but the very opposite - to ensure that they're not using the same code that Microsoft had written

Re:Actual Operating System (2)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42843069)

How has this not made it onto the internet yet? If this it running on any kind of scale, sooner or later someone is going to sneak the code off on a USB stick and try to make a name for themselves as the activist who stole the Windows code.

Re:Actual Operating System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42848819)

Check your history. MS Windows source code is available online. A quick search says it's from 2000 and NT4, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Windows_Interface_Source_Environment#Source_code_leak

Dude.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42854771)

That's a leak - not legally released code. If anyone tried building an OS from that, they'd be sued blue by Microsoft. Yeah, there are legal ways to use XP code for teaching purposes, as mentioned above. The advantage of ReactOS here is that students will get a chance to build working parts of the system thereby accelerating its development.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

loufoque (1400831) | about a year ago | (#42843635)

Why should a Russian University make their students work with proprietary software from an American company? It's obviously a much better idea to make them work with open-source software, and it's even better if that software is made by Russians.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

hot soldering iron (800102) | about a year ago | (#42844637)

An additional feather in their cap if their students and faculty actually jump start the project, and bring it up to a usable level and deliver it to the world.
"Here, have a free version of the most used desktop OS in the world, thanks to the ingenuity of Russian programmers." I've been amazed by their programming skills since the '80s, and I thoroughly believe that if any group of people can bring a fat dose of AMAZING to an OS, the Russians are certainly capable of it.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42845101)

This project was not done by Microsoft - it was done by a largely, if not exclusively, Russian team. It's very much a 'Russian' OS - more so than Linux or BSD or anything else out there.

Re:Actual Operating System (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42845959)

You've just said the same thing he did.

Re:Actual Operating System (1)

Cyberax (705495) | about a year ago | (#42847073)

On the other hand, WRK is VERY restrictively licensed - you can't do anything really interesting with it. And it's also fairly limited, while ReactOS can now run a Firefox browser.

Why not teach with BananaOS ? (4, Interesting)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#42842087)

I'm fed up with the posts "Why not use .." just shut up, ReactOS works and well it is not without bugs and not matured so it's perfect for
students to get their minds dirty .. what bugs me more is that an open source develloper turns into Vladimir Putins la(p/b) dog to get funding,

btw.
Why not use FreeBSD ? the soruce for kernel & userland is extremly well organized within the source tree
and well it's a unix, happy now ?

btww.
Why not use BananaOS instead ?

PRO:
a.) it's virtually non existent
b.) the architecture is highly adaptable due to it's virtuallity
c.) the memory footprint is rather low (8 bytes!!)
d.) it can virtually do everything
e.) has a nice gui it appears of the OS tast the user likes! ...
CON:
it really does only exist in ones mind

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (3, Interesting)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year ago | (#42842107)

ReactOS would be extremely useful if it was ever completed. A free OS compatible with Windows, that would allow users to drop Windows but continue to use their software and hardware as normal (after all, Linux/FreeBSD is a very different OS, most Windows software does not work on it).

If ReactOS was ever completed it would be a big problem for Microsoft....

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (3, Interesting)

muuh-gnu (894733) | about a year ago | (#42842145)

If Reactos ever threatens to get into an usable state, Microsoft can simply outspend them by moving on and letting Reactos always play costly catch up.

The effort invested into Reactos would make much more sense if invested into Wine instead.

Using Reactos still means using Windows and writing Windows apps in the first place, so it benefits the Windows overall ecosstem. If the effort were spent on Wine instead, people would be able to run their Windows apps, but would have to switch to Linux first, and Linux would be their new primary environment while Wine would be just a compatibility layer. Nobody would directly write apps for Wine, it would be just a way to run old apps until they are ported to your new native environment, Linux.

Reactos is not the necessary step away _from_ Windows, it _is_ Windows with all the usual downsides of Windows, but without the benefit of a company like Microsoft supporting it.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842179)

Forcing Microsoft to advance Windows is good result too. Competition and all that...

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (4, Insightful)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42842223)

The effort invested into Reactos would make much more sense if invested into Wine instead.

Perhaps, but ReactOS does borrow code from Wine. There's cross-pollination of ideas/code(license permitting) between the developers of each project. Wine benefits by having their implementation battle-hardened on a non unix-like foundation.

Anyway, some folks prefer the Windows XP paradigm to, say, Unity or Gnome 3. Each to their own...

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42843189)

> prefer the Windows XP paradigm to, say, Unity or Gnome 3.

Gnome 3 has been abandoned by basically every significant distro out there, with the exception of Fedora/RedHat, but Gnome 3 is mainy their invention.

Unity, on the other hand, is not a "different paradigm" than XP. It has a task bar moved to the side, thats the whole difference, everything else is more or less the same. Nobody needs to write reactOS from scratch just to move a task bar from the left to the bottom.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42846885)

Missing my point. People don't like change and for many, Windows is a pleasant enough shell for daily use. Switch to, say, Unity and things are different. If they wanted something more akin to Windows they'd chose lxde or similar. Plus, Windows explorer craps all over nautilus in terms of usability, IMHO.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | about a year ago | (#42845501)

There is no point directing effort into Wine instead. If the developers wanted to make Wine work, they would work on Wine. If you made them switch, they would probably lose interest and move to something else.

Something you may not be aware of - Wine is extremely reluctant to take patches from ReactOS, because of accusations that someone copied leaked Microsoft code into ReactOS. It was an off-hand comment that I think was ultimately retracted, but not after an extensive code freeze and audit. Sourcing/attribution of nearly every line of core code, and quite a bit of the remainder, was completed as well as a constantly evolving team can.

Wine will not accept large-scale changes from ReactOS, and is much more receptive to clean-room style comments. Obvious bug-fixes, test code, and anything else that could not be lifted has a much better chance of being accepted. It's not impossible to get a patch accepted, and I see some relaxing over time, especially for certain people who are trusted. Usually, a patch includes the comment "this should be sent to Wine," and I don't know what happens after that.

Point being, the cross-pollination works more in one direction than the other, and battle hardening is more like tiny skirmish hardening.

Finally, since Windows is so popular, it makes sense to study it. And to be free of the restrictions from the Windows Research Kernel in an academic environment pretty much gives all the explanation you need for why this is an interesting project. Not a core curriculum requirement.

I would certainly take the course as an elective.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | about a year ago | (#42847857)

It was an off-hand comment that I think was ultimately retracted, but not after an extensive code freeze and audit.

It was a malicious accusation made by a crazy french guy named `Betov'. ts;dr version: It was a malicious accusation made by a crazy french guy named `Betov'. He was a notorious shitposter on alt.lang.asm and comp.lang.asm.x86, where he frequently got into flamewars with the guy who wrote the `High Level Assembly' book and the guy who removes MASM from VS and distributes in the vain attempt that it be useful. He had some pretty strange ideas, which I shan't go into, but eventually he made his own `assembler'. (Actually, I will go into it and say it was kind of neat; dispensing with bloat like `source code' and `libraries', the IDE was supposed to disassemble the program. For trivial programs, you could actually change a lot of stuff before it broke everything.) Originally named `ReactOS Assembler', he intended it to be used by the ReactOS project. The ReactOS, having no use for a poorly written, unmaintainable piece of shit that didn't work very well, declined to use it. This thoroughly destroyed our poor frenchman and he briefly renamed it `Rose Assembler' before claiming that the 200? leak of a few of Windows's had been integrated into ReactOS by the-guy-that-was-then-project-leader-by-left-to-work-for-Apple. After proven false, he claimed that something like 100 lines of assembly had been taken from disassembled Windows code (thread handling perhaps, but I don't recall). After the project marched on (for very small definitions of march, lololol, it's practically dead), he eventually dropped off my give-a-fuck meter and presumably no longer exist.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (4, Interesting)

ByteSlicer (735276) | about a year ago | (#42842235)

The effort invested into Reactos would make much more sense if invested into Wine instead.

ReactOS uses the higher level libraries and services from Wine, so any improvements they make in those will improve Wine too (and vice versa).

Besides that, everyone is free to invest their time and efforts in whatever they want.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

miknix (1047580) | about a year ago | (#42842817)

Besides that, everyone is free to invest their time and efforts in whatever they want.

I choose to invest my time and efforts in useles$%#&%_%%%

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842339)

Reactos is not the necessary step away _from_ Windows

Indeed, that's what Windows 8 is for.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842409)

The most dangerous time for a software company is when it breaks continuity because it is easiest for customers to switch to a competitor and the newer offering is often immature. The move from OS 9 to OS X, then from PowerPC to Intel were challenging for Apple, though they did a decent job of using emulators to reduce pain. The move to BB10 nearly killed RIM. The move from XP to Vista was really bumpy Microsoft.

This is why MS can't break continuity in such a way as to stymie a "complete" ReactOS. If they did they would be ceding the field, and many of their large customers would have to seriously consider the risks of a less tested and free OS against rewriting a bunch of software for a less tested and expensive OS.

More likely, MS would just use its patent stockpile to ban ReactOS in most countries or charge users licensing fees similar to Novell.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#42843099)

Microsoft has introduced the .NET framework and updated it multiple times. They've already created an operating system to transition people away from WInXP applications, Windows 8. Windows 7 had an XP as a VM built in and Windows 8 has Hypervisor standard. So the solution for Windows XP only applications is just to run XP as a guest OS on Windows 8, and later 9, 10, 11.... If ReactOS replaces the guest OS for legacy support, why would Microsoft even care?

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42842867)

If Reactos ever threatens to get into an usable state, Microsoft can simply outspend them by moving on and letting Reactos always play costly catch up.

A working copy of Windows XP would let people run Windows XP software without Microsoft, now and in the future. Many people will never need any significant body of software newer than what they have now, but they are forced to buy new software anyway because their operating system stops getting security updates and their old software won't run on their new OS eventually. I mean, even windows doesn't have perfect backwards compatibility. You can't run Civilization 2 on Windows 7, or in XP mode! Both just cause crashes.

Reactos is not the necessary step away _from_ Windows, it _is_ Windows with all the usual downsides of Windows, but without the benefit of a company like Microsoft supporting it.

But also without the drawbacks of a company like Microsoft controlling it.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42843075)

Or they could sue ReactOS away. Even though the devs go to great lengths to ensure legal safety, I have no doubt there are plenty of software patents Microsoft holds that could be applied. The only reason they allow ReactOS to exist is that it poses no threat to them.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (2)

burni2 (1643061) | about a year ago | (#42842159)

Yes, you are right.

But then they should instead teach Wine and not ReactOS ;) because of "arwinss" (see older news for ReactOS)

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842165)

It would also be a big problem for linux ...

IDE support.... (1)

Half-pint HAL (718102) | about a year ago | (#42842221)

This leads to another "usability" question. Why not make a "compatibility standard" that IDEs can provide to users?

Produce an XML spec for describing the supported API features of a given Windows compatibility layer (whether that be Wine, Crossover or ReactOS) that IDEs can simply import to allow developers the option of coding for cross-compatibility in all systems. Ideally it would use RSS to keep up to date with changes.

I import Wine, Crossover and ReactOS and tell my IDE that to warn me if my software won't work on a particular revision of any one of them. Jobs a good un.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842253)

ReactOS is reported to have reached maturity of MS Windows 2000. Isn't MS Windows 2000 everyone's favorite OS still ?

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year ago | (#42842569)

If ReactOS was ever completed it would be a big problem for Microsoft....

It would never be completed, because:
1. Most of the code in Windows are the device drivers. MSFT has literally thousands developers writing and maintaining the drivers.
2. MSFT keeps updating and changing secondary APIs very often.

Wine IMO is the only sensible approach to simulating Windows, because it reuses the device drivers of the host platform.

But as topic goes, the only thing wrong with ReactOS in academia is that it gives the VMS-isms another life lease.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (2)

ChunderDownunder (709234) | about a year ago | (#42842623)

One goal of ReactOS is to be binary compatible with Windows (emulating a baseline of XP/2003 server NT 5.2) - including at the driver level. So if you have an old piece of hardware like a scanner or a printer that has a driver for XP, that same driver will (eventually) run with ReactOS.

That same piece of hardware might not have a driver for Linux nor Windows 8.

As for 'completion' well probably never simply because it doesn't have the manpower. But if these guys are having fun, who are we to criticise?

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

xiando (770382) | about a year ago | (#42842963)

It would never be completed, because: 1. Most of the code in Windows are the device drivers. MSFT has literally thousands developers writing and maintaining the drivers.

What do you mean by "completed"? ReactOS aims to be binary compatible with Windows drivers, so ReactOS will be as "complete" as Windows in this regard. But version Windows versions are not "complete" if your requirement for "complete" is to have drivers for everything. There are a lot of older devices who are drivers for XP but not newer Wintendo versions like Bista or 7 or 8. There are also a lot of newer devices who only have just for 7 or 8. Yes, this will present a problem since ReactOS will not be able to support the latest hardware without someone specifically writing "XP" drivers for them.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

ThePhilips (752041) | about a year ago | (#42843325)

What do you mean by "completed"? ReactOS aims to be binary compatible with Windows drivers, so ReactOS will be as "complete" as Windows in this regard.

Windows itself isn't always compatible with the 3rd party drivers.

And the stability of XP and W7 is largely attributed to the fact that MSFT has taken over device driver development and maintenance from many 3rd parties.

In other words, ReactOS isn't going to have an easy time with the drivers, even if it is 100% compatible with Windows. Many drivers are not accessible because they are (c) MSFT. 3rd party drivers are often of piss poor quality and wouldn't work well on ReactOS for the same reason they are working poorly on Windows itself.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#42843059)

Once you start talking people who are a decade behind you are talking customers who don't want to pay for software or services at all. How is losing them a threat to Microsoft? Even if we assume that React follows a disruptive pattern and is able to reduce that time from a decade to say 3 years ReactOS would be in the same situation as OS/2 just starting from further behind. Or Wine. And that's best case. The APIs can move much faster than a compatibility layer.

Microsoft win Windows 8 is starting to turn the machine back on for changes in the Windows ecosystem. The days where it was comfortable being this far behind are rapidly coming to an end.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42854807)

You are assuming that only the Russians would want it. But elsewhere in the world, wherever it's not illegal, it will easily replace Windows, since who wants to pay Microsoft gobs of cash when they can get this completely compatible (that will be the key) OS for free? If it's not banned in the US, it'll take over here as well. The only reason to buy Windows then would be that people want Microsoft services. But OEM vendors, now facing competition from Microsoft, would be more than happy to sell their boxes w/ an OS that is independent of Microsoft, and which runs all current Windows software.

In fact, while ReactOS was playing catch-up all this while, it now has the final target OS - Windows 7. They can have a 32-bit ReactOS aimed at compatibility w/ XP, and 64-bit ReactOS aimed at compatibility w/ 7. Once they have these 2, all they need will be maintenance fixes. What ReactOS now needs is a business model by which they can fund all that development (it would be nice if it could happen independently of the Kremlin) and a company willing to back it and help establish a new brand.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#42854953)

No I'm not just assuming the Russians. Assume everyone who wants to be 10 years behind is fine with it.

There are a lot of things they need to do go from XP to Vista. They are working on .NET 2.0. To get to VIsta and more modern stuff they have to do .NET 3.0, 3.5, 4.0 and 4.5. That's years and years of work. They have to build Aero, which is on the order of the complexity of building all of Windows XP. They have to rebuild the entire drive system to work with flash drives. They have to rebuild their network stack for all the complexity that was added to Vista, etc... That's years and years of work. Going from Vista to 7 isn't nearly as hard but they ain't gonna finish that in a week either.

So assuming they get XP done by 2015 (still aggressive), how long for Vista? I gotta figure 3 years minimum, 10-20 wouldn't shock me. Another year for Win 7, minimum and you are talking 2019 till they ship Windows 7. And that is very best case.

Windows XP came out in 2001. They are well over a decade behind. Even if we assume they can move at twice the speed of Microsoft starting from 15 years behind it takes them 20 years to get to 5 years, a major version behind. React is not going to run "all current Windows software" anytime in the foreseeable future. React OS is just not a threat.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42856439)

I was assuming that there will be different teams working on the XP and 7 OSs - like I suggested, it should be 2 separate OSs. The XP one being 32-bit, but no 64 bit, and the 7 one being 64 bit, but not 32. Targeting the 32-bit ReactOS at systems b/w 32MB to 2GB, and the 64-bit one at systems from 4GB and above.

I'm not getting one thing - why would they need all versions of .NET - aren't they all compatible? The 32 bit team could work on .NET 2.0, and the 64-bit team could work on .NET 4.5 - why would they need to work on ALL of them? Aero is something optional - I don't see why it has to be supported - Windows 7 can run fine w/o it.

You are assuming that they'll need the same time Microsoft needed to develop all the stuff in between. I doubt it. They know what the end products - Windows 7 and XP are. Have one team work on XP using .NET 2.0, build in everything there and then do testing and compatibility to support everything from NT 3.1. Have the other team using .NET 4.5 to check compatibility w/ .NET 3.0-4.0. For the 64-bit, just support the modern drive system, while for the 32-bit, they can put their effort into supporting legacy systems, most recent ones first. Oh, and as far as Networking goes, support only IPv6 initially, and let IPv4 support be a separate addon program later - if needed. For both OSs

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

jbolden (176878) | about a year ago | (#42857685)

I'm not getting one thing - why would they need all versions of .NET - aren't they all compatible?

No. AFAIK from a program perspective each version of .NET is independent. I know for certain that .NET 3.0 and .NET 4.0 must both be present on an XP system to run applications compiled against 3.0 and 4.0 respectively. You can see that React themselves are tracking the different frameworks as separate sub-projects: http://www.reactos.org/compat/?show=entry&id=646 [reactos.org]

Oh, and as far as Networking goes, support only IPv6 initially, and let IPv4 support be a separate addon program later - if needed. For both OSs

I'm all in favor of IPv6 migration. But many Win7 and certainly many XP applications are IPv4 only. v4 vs. v6 isn't the problem though between Win7 and XP. XP had a fairly basic networking stack. Win 7 has a networking stack with many layers of complexity each with their own API and the capabilities for self and programatic adjustments which are truly impressive http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/network/bb545475.aspx [microsoft.com]

___

The reason I'm arguing for the same time, is that mostly we are looking at subsets in terms of technology. There isn't much that's thrown away and each step builds on the previous replacing simple systems with vastly more complex systems. But even if that weren't the case, Win 7 includes compatibility modes, and many of them. So for example programs can make use of Win95/WinMe compatibility subsystem. And then quite literally you need to a have a functioning DOS for Win 7 application compatibility since some Win 7 applications still have parts that use emulated DOS.

____

The only thing ReactOS has going for them is the huge number of people still using XP and thus the huge number of applications that don't want to walk away from XP compatibility. The problem is more and more those XP users are people who just don't buy software at all. Once the developers move away from XP the desire to support Win8 is going to push them towards later versions of the .NET framework and ReactOS is going to be a system for legacy support.

That's not bad, but it ain't a threat to Microsoft.

reactos is useless (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42843157)

Even if reactos were perfectly compatible and entirely bug free, it would still be useless. Who in their right minds wants to use proprietary software and drivers?

Re:reactos is useless (1)

Pentium100 (1240090) | about a year ago | (#42845437)

The people who do not care about open source, who need proprietary software that has no open source alternatives (even PC games, is there an open source Bioshock or Dead Space 3?) and people who have devices that do not have drivers for non-Windows OSs (in some cases it would be cheaper just to buy Windows licenses instead of replacing the device).

After all, everyone uses only old cars, because you can fix old cars yourself and who in their right mind would want a car that it extremely difficult to repair without assistance from the dealer? Same deal with electronics. When was the last time you chose to not buy a device because there was no service manual (or at least the circuit diagram) available (and bought a device with a circuit diagram instead)?

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842337)

Did you mean http://susestudio.com/a/ey0Z7D/banana-os?a=testdrive?

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (2)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42842979)

what bugs me more is that an open source develloper turns into Vladimir Putins la(p/b) dog to get funding,

That is a little harsh. Being a lecturer in your home country at a public university does not necessarily make you a lap dog of the government.

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42843121)

The comment refers to a demonstration of ReactOS put on for Putin. Unsurprisingly, he is not at all happy about most of the computers in Russia running an OS under effective US control, for much the same reason the US is concerned about using Chinese hardware: It provides an invitation to industrial espionage and results in giving a lot of money to a country that could one day become an enemy. A few other Russian politicians have also expressed interest, presumably as an option for when the vast number of XP machines the country uses finally need replacing. If ReactOS can mature by then, it'll be a politically more acceptable option than upgrading everything to Windows 8 (Or 9).

Medvedyev, not Putin (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42845129)

Actually, the president in question was Medvedyev, not Putin. Of course, now their roles have switched, until the next election, when they play musical chairs again

Re:Why not teach with BananaOS ? (2)

drolli (522659) | about a year ago | (#42846921)

Yes. Even presenting your research/development results to the elected (yes, there are problems with the election) leader of your country in order to present your research project does not make you his lapdog.

I know many russian academics and research in russia has a comparatatively big freedom.

Obligatory Russia Joke (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42842167)

In capitalist Russia the system operates you!

WWLD? (2)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#42842819)

What would Linus do? Do you think, if you were involved in an OS project and you were to teach folks about OSs, you would use some other OS you're not very involved with as a teaching implement?

When my little brother wanted to learn about programming I didn't teach him C or Java or Lisp, or JavaScript, or Perl... I taught him about the LanderScript language, named after our family name. It's one of my toy languages that I created on a whim to teach myself how to write compilers, when I was 11. Why? Because I wanted to teach him how to build programs with logic, and outgrow his 1st language instead of getting deeply mired in the complexites of a full featured language. If he wanted to learn of OS design I'd have taught him with a toy OS of my own creation too.

If the ReactOS course work were going to be beginner stuff I might suggest other simpler OSs first. If the course covers more advanced stuff then it's probably better that the instructor to know all the ins and outs more intimately, so ReactOS would be the optimal choice for him.

Re:WWLD? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | about a year ago | (#42843125)

"It's one of my toy languages that I created on a whim to teach myself how to write compilers, when I was 11"

Even by Slashdot standards, that's geeky.

Re:WWLD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42845033)

When my little brother wanted to learn about programming I didn't teach him C or Java or Lisp, or JavaScript, or Perl... I taught him about the LanderScript language, named after our family name.

Your mother's name is Anne, isn't it?

Re:WWLD? (1)

rev0lt (1950662) | about a year ago | (#42847419)

This,
Having a teacher that is capable of teaching the inner workings of any given operating system in detail is good. Having a teacher that is capable of doing that and explain the pitfalls on the design, the compromises taken, the optimization process, the decisions taken and why they were taken is gold. Most OS-related courses/classes I've seen are pure and utter crap, even on the rare cases that the teacher knows the stuff. Very few are capable of having both a birds-eye view of the system as a whole and know in detail every major subsystem of it.
On a related subject, my recent experience with hiring tells me that regardless of the quality of an IT-related course, very few students will retain relevant info with them, and most of them who will work on software development will make a career as monkeys on a shakesperean experience. And for those who stand out on the crowd, they will benefit way more from exposure to an enthusiastic guy who actually built something, than some academia fart teaching dogmas.

Indirect Recruitment (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42851513)

There is the possibility that by teaching students the insides of operating systems with ReactOS they will automatically become reactos developers, maybe that is some of his real intentions :P

Re:Indirect Recruitment (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#42854821)

If that's the case, he should do it internationally - having say, one university in major software producing countries teaching this. If he could get a steady team of programmers in Russia, US, Japan, Germany, Netherlands, India, Poland and Israel develop the OS, he could in a short span of time have a pretty functional system in hand. Heck, it could even be ported to non-Intel platforms and make CPUs interesting again from a business standpoint.
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