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ReactOS 0.3.15 Released

timothy posted about a year ago | from the proactive-is-for-the-next-release dept.

Operating Systems 252

Beardydog writes "From the ReactOS.org bulletin, 'The ReactOS project is proud to announce the release of version 0.3.15. A culmination of over a year of development, 0.3.15 incorporates several architectural enhancements to create a more compatible and conformant implementation of the NT architecture. Perhaps the most user visible enhancement is initial support for USB devices, both storage and input.'"

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Why aren't there more contributors to this project (4, Interesting)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865119)

ReactOS is a project to build a free, open-source clone of Windows, compatible with both drivers and userspace software. Why on earth hasn't this received more support from the OSS community? It's the only realistic chance of dethroning MS from the desktop in favor of an open alternative. Linux is fine for servers, portable devices, and embedded systems, but trying to stick it on the desktop is a foolish dream that has failed for over 10 years.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0, Flamebait)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43865173)

Please tell me you are trolling.

Windows is broken by design, I have no desire to run it.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (3, Insightful)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43865201)

In what way is it broken by design?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865231)

The graphic routines reside in kernel space? the drivers can kill the kernel?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865305)

And that's different from a Linux framebuffer driver how?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865383)

Linux is free software, which means that you can inspect the source code and prevent it from crashing the kernel.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865801)

lol

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865451)

The graphic routines reside in kernel space?

An absolute necessity for performance reasons. They tried doing it in userspace in NT4 and it just couldn't keep up.

the drivers can kill the kernel?

Windows 7 moved a lot of drivers to userspace. Yes, some code will still be run in the kernel. Some code is run in the kernel on Linux. The solution is for that code to be written well, not to give up and pretend that kernel mode doesn't exist.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

morcego (260031) | about a year ago | (#43865909)

The graphic routines reside in kernel space?

An absolute necessity for performance reasons. They tried doing it in userspace in NT4 and it just couldn't keep up.

Hummm, what?!?! You know it is the same computer, right? If it is killing performance, then the scheduler is fucked. Another proof windows is broken.

Linux had some performance problems with database (Oracle specifically) because of it running in userspace. They changed the scheduler and some other stuff (rawio, etc), and it works flawlessly now. Based on your rationale, the solution would be to move Oracle to kernel space.

pretend that kernel mode doesn't exist

You know what should run in kernel space? The kernel.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1, Insightful)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43866383)

Linux has a macro kernel... all the drivers are part of the kernel and run in kernel in kernel space...

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866089)

GDI was moved to the kernel back in the 90s wasn't it? Won't things change now almost everything renders via WDM and not by GDI?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#43866327)

The graphic routines reside in kernel space?

An absolute necessity for performance reasons.

Oh, that's why Value got more FPS on games natively on linux vs windows, right?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865979)

Actually, many Windows drivers now run in user-space where they don't even need to context switch, while Linux runs many drivers in the kernel space.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866245)

It doesn't matter if the driver is in kernel or user space when your graphic card can DMA to/from your main memory space anyways.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865253)

I can think of one reason: registry

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865297)

Somehow you just reminded me of GConf.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865413)

Gconf can't cause your system not to boot.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865447)

It can prevent your GNOME session from loading, and thus in practice cause your system not to boot.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43865957)

How is that the machine not booting?
It still boots just fine.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866041)

Because the computer is just as unusable at that point.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43866083)

Not at all, I use a great many computers that have no X at all.

You can even login and fix the issue unlike a machine with a borked registry.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866419)

Because the computer is just as unusable at that point.

It was just as unusable to begin with because it was running gnome...

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Insightful)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865485)

The registry gets a lot of hate, but I don't see how it is worse than the alternative, which is tons of different .ini files (or equivalent) for each application and setting. At least on Windows, it's generally understood that settings should be exposed in some way in the GUI and that for all but the most advanced features, saying "go edit the registry" isn't really a good solution. On Linux, forcing users to manually edit config files is routine.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

chuckinator (2409512) | about a year ago | (#43865891)

This was solved on unix in the mid 70s. System configuration files exist within directory structures in /etc User configuration files exist within dotfiles (hidden files on unix) in the user's home directory, ie /home/JDG1980 You can make all the fancy UIs you want, and that's great, but I only care that they read from and write to the textfiles residing in /etc somewhere. Yeah, that's tons of files. I'm used to working with tons of files. Find, grep, sed, awk, bash, perl, et cetera ad infinitum work just fine for me even with filesets ranging in the thousands.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (5, Insightful)

morcego (260031) | about a year ago | (#43865925)

The registry gets a lot of hate

Yeah. And then those same people who keep hating windows registry go and implement the same thing for Gnome, in a even more crappy way than windows did.

Gnome is, AFAIC, the current bane of Linux.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | about a year ago | (#43866421)

Gnome is, AFAIC, the current bane of Linux.

A good argument for switching everyone to Unity.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43866009)

Config file files are easy to edit and simple to automate. They are also generally well documented.

The registry none of those. In practice stuff gets thrown all over the place based on the programs creators with often no good way to automate program setup.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Insightful)

tnk1 (899206) | about a year ago | (#43866141)

I concur. Insofar as the registry removes the need for a metric crapton of config files, I am in favor of it, but it stops there. The manner in which they implemented it and documented it has turned it from something potentially useful into something even worse than 200 config files.

If they had done it right, they could have standardized good practices, and even allowed for the creation of useful configuration management utilities. Since they didn't do it right, it's just a pile of confusing and useless crap that you can't avoid.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866045)

On the other hand, at least ini files are portable. The registry's sole purpose is to replace ini files with an identical structure in a less portable binary database. I'm not sure how not being able to copy all of an app's setting without playing "find the fucking registry keys" is better than having a few more files on disk.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43866289)

You are not forced to edit config files any more often than windows forces you to make manual registry changes...

The primary reason that technical people will choose to edit config files instead of using the gui is because it's much easier to explain in either a textual (website, forums) or vocal method. Telling someone to transcribe what you're talking about is infinitely easier than trying to explain over the phone how to navigate a gui, and in a textual medium you can even include examples which the user can cut/paste.

Also text based config files usually have comments where you can explain why you made a change, or where the authors of the program can explain what settings do and give examples. The registry has nothing like this.

Text based configs are also very easy to back up and store in a revision control system, that way you can roll back changes, see what/when changes were made etc.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865581)

Windows 8

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (-1, Flamebait)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43865765)

Well, I would consider the fact that it needs rebooted every time you fart to be broken by design. And its entire life, started as a single-user system, means the whole damn thing is broken as far as multi-user goes. Sure, that's been shoehorned onto Windows, but at its core Windows was designed for one, all-powerful user on a single, non-network-connected computer. And this shows in its endless list of critical security bugs dumb design decisions.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Informative)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43866133)

And its entire life, started as a single-user system, means the whole damn thing is broken as far as multi-user goes.

That was only true of Win9x, and the last version of that was discontinued about 10 years ago. Windows NT (which includes 2K, XP, Vista, 7, and 8) was built from the ground up as a modern, multi-user OS with full support for security built in. In fact, the NT security model is slightly more sophisticated than the Unix model (though not as good as SE Linux). Both do share the same flaw: from a security POV, the program is the user and can do whatever the user wants. This is something Android got right, granting permissions on a per-app rather than per-user basis.

A lot of people ignored the NT security provisions up through XP by running as admin all the time, but UAC mostly killed that. People hated it, but it gave the developers a much needed kick in the butt to stop breaking stuff by requiring root.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (-1)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#43866393)

Unfortunately, we're talking Windows here, and the NT kernel wouldn't be much as far as "Windows" goes without... you know... the rest of Windows running in top. Okay, so they replaced a crusty old single-user kernel (DOS) with a theoretically decent multi-user one (NT)... great, but what good is it when it's dragged down by the creaking old Win32? But unless Metro kicks in and people eventually accept it, Win32 is Windows, along with all its flaws from its origins as part of Win9x. And if Metro does take off... then, well, Windows will have a whole new set of problems; many people don't want to touch that with a ten-foot pole. Myself included.

Take the NT kernel, scrap Win32, scrap Metro and put something better on top, built from the ground up for modern features (NOT including the typical DRM, walled garden and "app" store bullshit...) and you might have a winner. But Microsoft is far too hell-bent with their plans of dominating Android's computer form factor markets with traditional Windows by fucking up the desktop as much as possible, so that will never happen. It's sad, because like you said, the NT kernel itself is from what I understand a very capable kernel. It's just unfortunate that there will probably never be a truly good, modern, security-focused and multi-user-focused operating built on it.

Hell, I wouldn't say the way Microsoft is going is "user-focused" at all--everything they're releasing is being done to please themselves, the media "industry" and their other partners. Its real potential will probably forever be locked away.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43866433)

The kernel was designed with security and multiuser in mind, but the ui and apis on top of that were not and thus neither were a large number of applications. You have a lot of areas where things were obviously kludged in at the wrong level and are thus easily circumvented, eg see group policies such as command prompt restrictions.

The security model may well be more sophisticated, but more complexity is NOT a good thing. There is a reason why the vast majority of linux users do not use selinux, and that is because the overhead of learning and maintaining it outweighs the benefits in most cases.
A simple security model suffices for most use cases, is easy for people to understand and likely to be used effectively...
A complex security model either gets in the way (and thus people find ways to circumvent it like running as admin) or the complexity causes people to make mistakes when configuring it (often because its too complex to understand) and thus introducing new holes.

Look at the way services are run as unprivileged users... On unix you just setuid(), which is simple and seemingly insecure... On windows you must "authenticate" as that user, which means storing the user's password on the system. End result? Either programs don't bother, and run as system, or they leave a password easily obtainable from the system (which may be valid on other hosts, especially if your using a domain user).
Similarly, many of the windows networking protocols let you authenticate with the password hash, as such the hash is the equivalent of plaintext so the passwords are effectively stored as plaintext on the host. Compromise one host, grab hashes, attack other hosts.
You can also extract plain text passwords of currently logged in users from memory...

So overall the linux security model is MUCH better... You have a simple model that the vast majority of users can easily understand and use effectively, and a complex model that can be used for those specialised niche cases.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (4, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43865249)

You have no desire to run Windows until the moment you get a job in an industry whose standard applications are unavailable for GNU/Linux and rated "garbage" in Wine AppDB.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43865285)

That's not a reason to run windows. That's a reason to promote open standards everywhere. Why should open source enthusiasts lift a finger to make it easier for industry to use closed systems? It would be far better to write an open replacement.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (3, Insightful)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43865375)

Good luck creating a replacement for AutoCAD or for the parts of Adobe Photoshop that GIMP doesn't replace using only hobbyist labor.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865511)

And AutoCAD and Photoshop are the easy ones. They have a wide audience and it's generally understood, at least in a broad sense, what they're supposed to do and why it's important. Good luck rewriting a million different industry-specific niche applications for Linux. Better luck finding the coders willing to volunteer on obscure projects that neither they nor anyone outside the industry in question cares about.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43865527)

Who said anything about using only hobbyist labor? Those companies that use those tools would probably save themselves money in the long run if they commissioned an open replacement.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865615)

Ok boss, I need a few million bucks to have some guys write a replacement for this $5000 a year software. Or did you want me to just buy windows 8 and the software?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866063)

Or they could pay some Wine developers to get their proprietary software working on Linux. But yes, in the long run, it makes far more sense for an industry to cooperatively develop their own open source software instead of paying for commercial software.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866085)

A few million bucks? You're doing it wrong.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

shaitand (626655) | about a year ago | (#43866499)

$5000 could easily get most industry niche apps running on wine.. where they will stay running on new and fast hardware/linux unlike the current niche apps which in some cases STILL need DOS.

Disney ported Photoshop 5 (I think it was 5, too lazy to look) to be used by their animation department for $20,000 if I recall correctly. Most industry niche software is nowhere near as complex as Photoshop 5.

Most of that niche software is stuff like estimating, inventory, retail serial programmers, specialized accounting, that sort of thing. The software itself is fairly simple. You could probably have someone describe the software functions, menuing, features, etc from the niche software you use and have what amounts to a clone built from scratch for $5000 - $10000 in most cases which isn't bad. Go to a trade show, find a few like minds, split the cost and it becomes pretty much no cost.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Capt.DrumkenBum (1173011) | about a year ago | (#43865393)

This is why I keep one windows laptop around. I got a killer deal on it about a year ago.
17" quad core AMD, with 8GB RAM. Refurbished, $400 in Canada. It doesn't get used much, but nice to have the odd time I need it.

Buying a laptop in Canada it is almost always $100 more than buying the same laptop in the US.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865623)

No one is saying you have to run it. But this would be great for anyone's technology-repellant relative who just wants Microsoft Word and a web browser. Not to mention it would put pressure on Microsoft by being a viable competitor in the "normal" consumer market.

Also, I (and I'm sure others) would prefer an OSS OS that could run today's games natively, since most games are still Windows-only.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about a year ago | (#43865179)

Window's VMS derived architecture is pretty terrible.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Nutria (679911) | about a year ago | (#43865863)

Window's horrible cluster-fuck of screwing up the VMS derived architecture is pretty terrible.

There, FTFY.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about a year ago | (#43865193)

Why do you think that would be the only realistic chance? Apple seams to do fairly well with OS X, and that's not at all like Windows.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

cyborg_monkey (150790) | about a year ago | (#43865365)

as demonstrated by their 13% market share.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43866445)

That was less than 5% just a few years ago...
And doesn't run on the cheapest tiers of hardware...

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865405)

If there was a compatibility layer to run OSX applications on Linux, that might actually be a viable option. OSX has most of the big things people want: MS Office, Adobe Photoshop and friends, AutoCAD, etc. Conceivably, such a compatibility layer could be easier to write, debug, and maintain than WINE, since there is a lot less legacy baggage (and the underlying architecture is much closer to what Linux expects). But I am not aware of any such project so far, and I don't have anywhere near the level of systems programming experience needed to start it.

I can't stand the interface of OSX; it's even worse than Windows 8, and everything is in the wrong place and none of the shortcuts and gestures wired into my brain and fingertips work right. But with a compatibility layer on Linux, the apps could be run while allowing the desktop to be customized fully.

One thing that is absolutely non-negotiable, though, is that the font rendering needs to be fixed. In its current state, it's uttterly atrocious, the worst I've ever seen on any OS. The Microsoft core fonts expect aggressive hinting and snapping to the pixel grid, and Linux doesn't want to cooperate.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (3, Informative)

Guy Harris (3803) | about a year ago | (#43866159)

If there was a compatibility layer to run OSX applications on Linux, that might actually be a viable option. OSX has most of the big things people want: MS Office, Adobe Photoshop and friends, AutoCAD, etc. Conceivably, such a compatibility layer could be easier to write, debug, and maintain than WINE, since there is a lot less legacy baggage (and the underlying architecture is much closer to what Linux expects). But I am not aware of any such project so far

Well, there's the Darling project [dolezel.info] . I get the impression it's very much a work in progress, however.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2, Informative)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#43865213)

Linux is fine for servers, portable devices, and embedded systems, but trying to stick it on the desktop is a foolish dream that has failed for over 10 years.

Linux has worked wonderfully on my desktop for over 10 years.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865399)

He means a relevant number of desktops, not three chucklefucks in their basement.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866185)

Linux worked wonderfully on my desktop for about a month until I decided to buy a new monitor which at the time Linux couldn't detect.

I tried it again recently and out of the box it worked fine but after running the updater the touchpad broke... oops! This was with Ubuntu and their LTS version... what a joke!

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

ProzacPatient (915544) | about a year ago | (#43866535)

Linux has worked wonderfully on my desktop for over 10 years without rebooting.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865233)

All of my employees are living the 'foolish dream' of Linux desktops. It's free and works great for us.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865541)

What do your employees do? I suppose if you have something like a call center where most operations can be done through the browser (including a web-based CRM system) and where you don't want your employees going off on tangents, it might work. Assuming they can resist the urge to claw their eyeballs out after staring at the horrendous font rendering all day. But for anything more than that, it's just a total nonstarter.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

armanox (826486) | about a year ago | (#43865865)

First: Stop running GNOME.

Second: There are not many things that most places couldn't do on Linux. Please, tell me some. We're not using AutoCAD here, and graphics team, while still wanting PS and AI, doesn't really care if it is on Mac, Windows, or IRIX (our lead graphics designer used to use PS and Maya on SGI hardware), and they have different hardware needs then most users anyway.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43866127)

My employees do typical office stuff - web browsing, spreadsheets, email, faxing, printing, word processing etc etc. No need for Windows so why pay for it? I've never had anyone complain about fonts either - everything works just fine.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | about a year ago | (#43866471)

Funny thing there... I have 4 windows open right now: one is OS X, one is Windows 7, one is Ubuntu 10 and one is Ubuntu 12...

Ubuntu 10 is slightly blockier than the others, but with the right fonts, it's not that noticeable.

I'm definitely doing a lot more than staring at browser windows :)

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

DadLeopard (1290796) | about a year ago | (#43865261)

Don't know about you, but I've been using Linux exclusively since 2007, and it is on a desktop computer. Personally I've been pretty happy with it! Can't afford to buy Photoshop, MS Office and all the rest, so I use what is available in the Repository and seem to get by pretty well!

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43866073)

Because using Windows requires you to buy Photoshop and Microsoft Office? Since when?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43865287)

MacOS isn't too different from Linux. It's built from NeXTSTEP, FreeBSD and OpenBSD. NeXTSTEP was built on BSD to start with as well.

(yes I am aware that Linux and BSD are completely different, but they are both "unix related")

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865309)

It's obsolete, due to virtualization.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865343)

Why should anyone care about making an open source Windows now, anyway?

Windows is dying. Its uses are rapidly deterorating and Microsoft's sped along that process with the Windows 8 disaster.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about a year ago | (#43865569)

Why should anyone care about making an open source Windows now, anyway?

Because Windows owns the business world, most of the power-user world, and most of the PC gamer world. If you want OSS to make any inroads on the business desktop or with gamers, it has to run their software on their terms. And that means Windows binary compatibility.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Bert64 (520050) | about a year ago | (#43866495)

Business users are gradually moving to web based applications, which at least when properly designed are platform agnostic...
On the other hand, ReactOS could be very useful for supporting legacy applications, which many companies find themselves locked into and end up having to keep ancient hardware for.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

Aaden42 (198257) | about a year ago | (#43865621)

You use the word "rapid" to describe Windows' deteriorating use. Tell me, on a scale of "Watching grass grow," to "Why did the snail cross the road?" just how rapid are we talking here?

I'm not about to argue that Win8 is anything but a train wreck, but claiming that Windows' position in business is rapidly changing is a bit.. well.. dead wrong... Sure Win8 isn't being adopted in droves as MS might like, but of all of the WinXP-Win7 users who *aren't* upgrading [sic] to Win8, I don't imagine terribly many of them are jumping ship and moving to Linux or Mac. Some yes, but I doubt it's more than background noise on the stats.

Even if Microsoft didn't see a single new Windows license this year, their market share isn't in any immediate danger. (And by "new license," I mean an actual new person who wasn't using Windows before. Replacing an existing Winbox with a new one and paying the Microsoft tax or changing the installed Windows version on an existing machine doesn't effect the overall number of people using Windows and buying software to run on it.)

And perhaps worth nothing, this relatively MS-positive post was brought to you by a Mac user...

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

Thomas Venieris (2915355) | about a year ago | (#43865381)

I can think of several reasons:
  • Reverse engineering something is much less fun than creating something new
  • ReactOS (as well as mono and wine) are destined to be playing catch-up with whatever Microsoft does. This puts them always one step behind their “competitor”.
  • Even further, Microsoft can always make it harder for immitators, by introducing complex new libraries and APIs.
  • And even if you manage to get over the previous hardles, Microsoft can always sue you for “copying their intellectual property” , effectively killing all your hard work.

I applaud what the ReactOS guys are doing and wish them the best of luck, but on the other hand I believe they have chosen a very difficult path.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43866087)

The catch-up argument no longer holds. The current project is aimed at XP, and once it's done, they'd have a mature win32 OS that can address all x86 boxes. If they do a follow-on project that is aimed at Windows 7 and uses win64, that's all they'll have to do. There won't need to be a Windows 8 based OS - Windows 7 will be good enough. So future libraries that Microsoft introduces will be irrelevant.

The legal hurdles can be real, though, but since this project points out that it does not use any MS source code but just their published specs, they have nothing to fear there. The parts that are patented and blocked, such as NTFS, they're not doing.. But the project does have good reasons to work, but first, they need to properly staff that operation, give themselves deadlines and stop treating it like they have all the time in the world.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Zeikcied (1630059) | about a year ago | (#43865415)

I've been running Kubuntu as my primary desktop since December, 2006, and I've loved it. Hell, my mom and uncle run Kubuntu, as well. Yeah, I'm the family tech support, but they rarely need help. Kubuntu has just been that smooth.

Whenever people claim that Linux will never be mainstream on the desktop, I laugh. What those people don't seem to realize is that, just because no one has made a "Linux for the layman" doesn't mean no one ever will. Android is Linux, and it's about as user-friendly as you can get. It can be done. Someone can take Linux and create a version that is accessible and easy enough for the non-tech people to use. Just because it hasn't happened yet doesn't mean it's a waste of time or a "foolish dream."

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#43865535)

What's the point? Windows is a dying platform, why make a clone of it? I don't think the problem with running Windows apps is running Windows and need an alternative.

Also no point trying to dethrone anyone when the throne is on a sinking ship. Anyone vying to replace Windows on the PC desktop has not crawled out of their cave long enough to realize everyone has moved over to tablets and phones as their primary computing device.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43865725)

Which businesses have moved their staff from 19" monitors to 4" mobile phones?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43866241)

We moved most of our staff from 19" monitors to 10" iPads. Not saying it was a great move, but we did it anyways. (Of course most of our staff is outside sales reps, and carrying an iPad is a lot easier than carrying a laptop or desktop.)

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

thomasw_lrd (1203850) | about a year ago | (#43866225)

You never read the Song of Fire And Ice then by G.R.R Martin. That's the whole point of the series IMO.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#43865575)

It's the only realistic chance of dethroning MS from the desktop in favor of an open alternative.

It has no chance of dethroning Windows. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Look, no one will ever be as good at being Microsoft as Microsoft is. ReactOS may be eventually be 99 44/100 % Windows compatible. It may look like Windows, feel like Windows, and act like Windows almost all the time--but it won't be Windows. And sooner or later, anyone running it will run into some instance where Windows does this but ReactOS does that. Now, when this happens (when, not if) developers will say, "That's interesting, we should fix that." But regular users will think, "Serves me right for trying to use this cheap knockoff. Guess I'll just get the real thing." And if anyone asks them about their experience with ReactOS, that's pretty what they'll say.

ReactOS is an interesting project, and I wish them the best of luck. I'm sure it will find its uses. Taking significant market share away from Microsoft isn't one of them.

The same, BTW, applies to open-source clones of other Microsoft products, which is why it's kind of dismaying that the OpenOffice family (LibreOffice, etc.) tries so hard to imitate Microsoft Office interface standards. Those aren't the only way to design office software, and there's no reason to assume they're the best, either. The more you chase the market leader, the less chance of eventually becoming the market leader you have. Try to do something different and better instead. That's about the only way any piece of software has ever broken another's market dominance, and probably the only way it ever will.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (3, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | about a year ago | (#43865741)

Well yes, but at the same time I only use Windows for one thing nowadays: running it in a virtual machine under Linux so I can run 3 programs that have no equivalent under Linux. If those programs work under ReactOS, I'll use that in a heartbeat. They must understand that beacuse the provide an already made VM among the downloads.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | about a year ago | (#43865857)

That's pretty much the kind of thing I was thinking of when I said, "I'm sure it will find its uses." It's very different from replacing Windows as the primary corporate and home user desktop OS, which is what I had the impression OP had in mind.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

cyber-vandal (148830) | about a year ago | (#43865759)

Even newer versions of Windows have to run legacy Windows software. How do you think a competitor would manage to move into that same market without being able to do the same?

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865785)

It has no chance of dethroning Windows. Zero. Zip. Nada.

Look, no one will ever be as good at being Microsoft as Microsoft is. ReactOS may be eventually be 99 44/100 % Windows compatible. It may look like Windows, feel like Windows, and act like Windows almost all the time--but it won't be Windows. And sooner or later, anyone running it will run into some instance where Windows does this but ReactOS does that. Now, when this happens (when, not if) developers will say, "That's interesting, we should fix that." But regular users will think, "Serves me right for trying to use this cheap knockoff. Guess I'll just get the real thing." And if anyone asks them about their experience with ReactOS, that's pretty what they'll say.

That's exactly why Linux failed to replace UNIX. A knockoff can never succeed.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43866395)

Of course Unix wasn't a single target, it was a whole family of operating systems. Linux was no more different from those Unix systems than the Unix systems from each other.

Re:Why aren't there more contributors to this proj (1)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43866143)

This depends on Microsoft cleaning up its act on Windows 8. But really speaking, it'll be more & more difficult to move users to future versions of Windows, except maybe to end support for the existing ones. And that's where the opportunities for ReactOS will open up - once users are forced out of their comfort zone, they'll consider ReactOS, and if it works more or less the way Windows used to, it'll displace Windows in those places. Corporate sites may stay w/ Microsoft due to support contracts, but outside that, I don't see Microsoft being successful in forcing users to move along w/ them.

Split this project in 3 (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#43865939)

But there are limits on what ReactOS can do - and pretty serious ones. For one, it can't use NTFS w/o violating Microsoft patents, so fat chance seeing a modern filesystem on it.

I have previously suggested that the project be split into 2 or 3 parts - one win64, another win32 and a third win16. Have the win64 project aim at Windows 7, and target 4GB of RAM. Have the win32 aim at XP, and target 256MB of RAM and above, and for the win16, try something like a 16-bit thunked version of it. The goal of the win32 & win16 would be older boxes, and it should aim at being compatible w/ any win32 drivers, be it XP, NT, 2000 and so on for the win32 spin, and w/ Windows 95 for the win16 version of it.

But to those who've been claiming that ReactOS has a moving target, no it doesn't. Already, most people are finding Windows 7 good enough, but Microsoft wants to take us to 8. So here, a 64-bit ReactOS would be perfect.

Oh, and some long term suggestions (for an OS that's taken eons to develop that make it the envy of HURD). Make the user interfaces of all the versions that Windows ever had, and make them selectable regardless of which OS is underneath. In other words, a win64 version of the OS could have the classic NT 3.5 interface, or a win16 version of the OS could have the XP interface - just the same way Linux guys can pick DEs. In other words, decouple the user interface from the underlying OS, so that people can pick & choose the best of all worlds.

The other thing I'd suggest - some of the modern OS features, such as IPv6 support - make them available to all the OSs. Also, they could take NTFS, make the 32-bit file system 64-bit, and then make that the file system for the OSs. That could enable them to sidestep the patent issues, and things like it. Also, I'd like it to be ported to some other CPUs other than just Intel - not just ARM, but MIPS and PPC as well.

Re:Split this project in 3 (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | about a year ago | (#43866431)

and w/ Windows 95 for the win16 version of it.

Windows 95 was already Win32. The last 16 bit version of Windows was WfW 3.11.

Eating their own dog food (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865129)

Impressive. Seems the web site must be running on Microsoft IIS on ReactOS, because it's currently very slashdotted and down. That's some faith in their own software, too bad it seems to behaves a little too much like the real thing!

Ugh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865289)

It's funny how ReactOS every 5 year get two more years behind what is expected from a modern OS.

The era of hobby OS's are over.

Re:Ugh (5, Insightful)

Shikaku (1129753) | about a year ago | (#43865329)

You're missing the point of ReactOS. It's like Wine, except actually an OS. If one day Windows bites the dust you can have this project for any legacy code, if you really needed to run something, and it could be patched and maintained forever. To be fair, yes this is a hobby OS, but to say that with disdain diminishes the value of a hobby.

Re:Ugh (3, Interesting)

wdef (1050680) | about a year ago | (#43865919)

To be fair, yes this is a hobby OS, but to say that with disdain diminishes the value of a hobby.

Nice point. Amateur means "one who loves" (literally), it should never be disparaging to be called an amateur. Hobbyists are "amateurs" by definition. All the great Renaissance thinkers were amateurs across a wide range of fields, but often to great depth. Hence we owe much of modern thinking to amateurs.

Re:Ugh (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43865953)

Or you can just run Windows in VM?

Re:Ugh (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43865943)

2 years behind? Only "initial support" for USB devices? That's more tahn 15 years behind the times.

Re:Ugh (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865993)

I said 2 more years every 5 years. Get a brain.

Re:Ugh (0)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#43866139)

Which doesn't really work out. If every 5 years it was only 2 more years behind it would have already had USB since that would only put it 6 years behind (since it's only around 16 years old). Which would mean it would have more than "initial support" since even USB 2.0 came out 12 years ago.

Re:Ugh (1)

EXrider (756168) | about a year ago | (#43866417)

Don't forget, Microsoft's own Windows NT4 with no USB "plug-n-pray" or mass storage device support without a special driver from the vendor was still being used and supported up until 2004; they were even offering extended support contracts to customers with large NT4 install bases throughout 2006.

Windows 95 OSR2 had USB device support, it also was pretty terrible by most standards for doing anything more than running a couple of applications at a time or playing a game. I guess you could say Win2K had USB support, but virtually nobody used it in the consumer space due to it's lack of game support. It wasn't until XP came out that MS had a decently stable OS with real protected memory, preemptive multitasking and also had decent 3rd party graphics support.

I heard hearings about ReactOS and Kickstarter (1)

jeditobe (2701857) | about a year ago | (#43865763)

I heard hearings about ReactOS and Kickstarter They want to make some campaign

Re:I heard hearings about ReactOS and Kickstarter (1)

fireballrus (1000626) | about a year ago | (#43865803)

That's right, rumours are that we plan to launch a kickstarter campaign for something based on ReactOS within a week.

still no ntfs or ext4 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43865819)

still no modern file support, as fuse is still not supported

I used to be really excited about this.... not now (2)

adric22 (413850) | about a year ago | (#43865855)

Back in the 1990's I was really excited about this project. I really hated how Microsoft had a strangle hold on the entire industry and there was no sign that it was going to change anytime soon. This project was promising in that it really offered a possible solution. But they're about 13 years too late. Far too little progress has been made. Microsoft has already been knocked off of its pedestal and now there are viable alternatives that consumers are embracing. Specifically, MacOS, IOS, and Android devices. Linux is still a niche for desktops. And the browser is really the thing that killed Microsoft more than anything else.

What a waste of talent (0)

dragisha (788) | about a year ago | (#43866115)

ReactOS is.

To clone a system we can't get rid of on so much new computers. What is benefit there?

To be free of token license fee Microsoft demands for basic OS, when Office & MSQL & ... is what they really are leveraging for. And ReactOS is as good for leverage into M$ dominance as M$ OS is.

And so on.

Stupid. Waste. Of. OSS. Talent. ReactOS.

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