ReactOS Operating System

“Purple girl in a purple world”

Since: Apr 08

Plum, Purplonia

#1 Jun 18, 2011
I'd love to see people get involved in the ReactOS project.

That is an Open Source alternative to Windows (all the NT varieties including XP and Vista). Unlike WINE, which you run with Linux, ReactOS is a complete Windows-compatible operating system, and in time should work with most modern Windows drivers, and should be much more compatible with Windows programs than WINE once they finish. Speaking of the WINE emulator (despite its full name "WINE Is Not (an) Emulator"), ReactOS does use a lot of WINE code and helps the WINE project. Why not? There is no use to code good code twice, and as the Reactos team discovers the "correct" way (closer to how a certain corporation does things in Redmond, WA) to do a lot of things, those compatibility improvements get ported back to WINE.

Right now, the project is still in Alpha and is missing a lot of functionality. You can run a pre-installed emulator version of it, burn it to a bootable live CD for a test drive, or install it on a PC which you aren't currently using. It seems to boot faster than Windows. Compatibility is still limited. They've used a small team for years because that was all the people they could get, but having such a small team in comparison to what MS would use means there is a steeper learning curve and it takes much longer to do.

One installation note is that for now, if you want to run it on real hardware and not emulated hardware, you will need to disable the USB support in CMOS. USB 2.0 ports cause the system to hang on boot, and USB 1.x causes mouse and keyboard problems, even if using PS/2 devices. Version 0.13 is the latest official release, but you are free to try a trunk build which would be newer, and those change daily.

So really, what Reactos needs are experienced coders who have kernel experience, or who have experience in SMP/multi-threading/hyper-thre ading/multi-core stuff, USB, file-systems (like NTFS experience), sound, graphics design, etc. Of course, they can use others like PR people, writers and site designers, and lots of testers and bug reporters.

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