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ReactOS Being Rewritten, Gets Wine Infusion 387

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

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  • Ummm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:15PM (#30811916) Journal

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by node 3 (115640) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:19PM (#30811970)

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

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

  • by Unoti (731964) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:28PM (#30812078) Journal
    Fortunately, the developers of GNU, Linux, Wine, Open Office, didn't feel that way.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkOx (621550) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:33PM (#30812160) Journal

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

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

  • Re:Rewritten? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Beelzebud (1361137) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:34PM (#30812170)
    Except you can actually use Vista...
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:38PM (#30812216)

    So pay him, or STFU.

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

  • by JSBiff (87824) on Monday January 18, 2010 @04:42PM (#30812294) Journal

    I have a couple questions. . .

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

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:01PM (#30812484)

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

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

    Do you use open source?

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

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:08PM (#30812556)

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

  • by NickFortune (613926) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:15PM (#30812648) Homepage Journal

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Re:Rewritten? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Dog-Cow (21281) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:16PM (#30812664)

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

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mangu (126918) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:17PM (#30812672)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by rahvin112 (446269) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:18PM (#30812698)

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

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:20PM (#30812734)

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

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

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

  • HAH! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gbutler69 (910166) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:29PM (#30812834) Homepage
    You never used iBCS under Linux I take it? I used to use it extensively to run SCO, and other Unix binaries, on Linux (back in the 2.1/2.2 Kernel Days -- maybe even earlier) and it worked GREAT! I ran many proprietary, binary-only, serious applications on Linux that were only for other Unixes.
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Ash Vince (602485) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:29PM (#30812836) Journal

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

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

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

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

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

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:35PM (#30812918) Homepage

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

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

  • Re:No interest (Score:3, Insightful)

    by micheas (231635) on Monday January 18, 2010 @05:53PM (#30813120) Homepage Journal

    Not as bad as Windows driver support.

    There are a handful of high profile things that do not have opensource Linux drivers. (NVidia video cards are probably going to get supported this year, despite the best efforts of NVidia.)

    If you don't believe me, go check Balmer's quotes about Linux hardware support vs. windows hardware support.

    Counter intutively, lack of a stable ABI has helped Linux develop the driver support that no other operating system is close to. If customers demand a Linux driver, it is so much harder to provide it as a binary instead of as source that the vast majority of the time the manufacturers either provide the source or documentation so the Linux community can create open source drivers, the net effect is that drivers for some specialized hardware is only available for Linux and DOS, there is also hardware that has Linux and Windows XP drivers, there is also hardware that only has Windows 7 and Linux drivers.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by ak3ldama (554026) <{moc.oohay} {ta} {amadleka_semaj}> on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:00PM (#30813224) Homepage Journal

    Needless duplication of effort is fucking dumb.

    If you live in your mom's basement and every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner she cooks a great meal then you don't need to cook. For that matter reading a book on finite arithmetic is probably needless. But undertaking both endeavors are worthwhile. Almost all of schooling is going to be duplicated effort that is most definitely not "fucking dumb."

    I doubt this guy "needs" a running copy of Windows to put food on his table. We must not forget that Linux could have been seen, for years, as needless duplication of effort. As humanity approaches levels of comfortable where we do not worry as much about our next meal, we have indeed found more ways to spend our time doing needless stuff. The first wheel spread throughout Eurasia very quickly unchanged. (See Guns,Germs and Steel.) Since then we have found ways to have fun re-inventing them.

  • by Wumpus (9548) <{IAmWumpus} {at} {gmail.com}> on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:06PM (#30813288)

    Wine didn't always have that separation between X and the Win32 API. It took quite some time for the project to reach the point where it would have been feasible to take just the Win32 specific parts and plug them into ReactOS. Specifically, 11 years ago it would have made a lot more sense to design things the way the ReactOS ended up implementing their Win32 layer rather than use use Wine's implementation.

    I've been following both projects for many years (since 1994 or so for Wine) and neither project made the colossal mistakes that people seem to think that they did - it may seem that way in hindsight, but given what was available at the time when the decisions were made, they made perfect sense.

    Wine won out in the marketplace because its design allowed it to get some applications running with relatively little work. Getting every last detail of the Windows platform implemented proved to be very difficult, though. ReactOS promised to offer a way to solve those last niggly details relatively easily, but the need to solve them was pushed so far into the future that nobody found the idea all that exciting. Plus, just getting a usable desktop environment running with ReactOS proved to be a massive undertaking, one that the Wine project didn't have to tackle at all. Add to that the work needed to write drivers for real hardware, a minimal set of tools that you'd need to run ReactOS as your OS, and probably a few hundreds of really important pieces that you would need to get anything done with it, and you're looking at a huge amount of work.

    Even if ReactOS never ends up as a viable desktop OS, I can see a possible future for it as the Windows NT replacement of choice for embedded systems, similar to what FreeDOS ended up.
     

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) <marc.paradise@NOSpaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:33PM (#30813638) Homepage Journal

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

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

    His choices are good for him. What does your opinion have to do with it?

  • solved... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Gary W. Longsine (124661) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:41PM (#30813724) Homepage Journal

    "The primary method to access a partition in windows is certainly via a drive letter, but if you do manage to go past 26 partitions, you'll get "A-A:," A-B:," and so on... The thing is that many of the gripes more technical folks have had about Windows over the last decade have been solved in one way or another..."

    You keep using that word, "solved." I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TrekkieGod (627867) on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:46PM (#30813772) Homepage Journal

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

    Yes, it did. The answer is, "because he wants to." No other answer is required.

    This is a guy working on something out of passion, not because he's getting paid to do so. The question you need to answer is "what would motivate him to work for the wine project if his passion lies with the ReactOS project?" You can't just expect him to up and start contributing his free time to something else just because you think it's a more efficient use of said time. It's his time to use in whatever manner he wants to. In this case he wants to write an operating system, not just a windows compatible layer.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @06:58PM (#30813916)

    It must really pain you guys that Windows is living proof that the Unix way isn't the only way, because you never have any actual arguments as to why it's inferior, just repeated assertions. Even those assertions are mostly laughable, since they apply to versions that are almost a decade old now.

    Sorry for being realistic instead of religious with technology. Sorry that your preference isn't objectively the best. Sorry you get so worked up about it that you have to use hyperbole and bullshit to make your points. Sorry that you spend so much time screaming into an echo chamber to feel validated. It's a tough world out there when you can't face reality.

  • by cpghost (719344) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:00PM (#30813938) Homepage

    buy windows 7 and save all the pain of using WINE or ReactOS, or ReactOS on WINE.

    Following this kind of thinking, Linux or 386BSD would never have been written, as the Unix users of the past (mostly universities and big businesses) would have simply paid for a System V license and be done with it. It's exactly the spirit of challenge that has advanced the free Unices, and not just buying off-the-shelf licenses.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Urkki (668283) on Monday January 18, 2010 @07:02PM (#30813962)

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

    Indeed, but it is also why practically all successful open source projects are successful: because the core people are passionate about their pet project and care about it.

    I mean, to take your rational thinking to the extreme, there should be just one open source OS, one open source office suite, one open source browser, one open source desktop... That would be sensible, everybody working toward common single goal!

    Except that never got humanity far anywhere. Humans need competition, antagonism, personal passion, or they will only produce mediocre results at best.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TrekkieGod (627867) on Monday January 18, 2010 @08:15PM (#30814586) Homepage Journal

    Nevertheless, I think it's not unreasonable, conversationally, to call into question whether what he's doing is really sensible.

    It's perfectly reasonable to have a conversation as to whether or not ReactOS is a sensible project, in the sense of whether or not you think it would be useful to anyone. What is not reasonable to do is claim that this developer in particular should go out and do something else in his free time because this something else would be more useful to the population at large.

    I do plenty of things with me free time that is not useful to absolutely anyone. I watch movies, I play video games. What you're doing is akin to saying, "you shouldn't be watching movies, you should be reading up some technical manuals that would increase your skillset and make you more useful to your employer. Sure, we can both agree that would be a more productive use of my time, but that does not mean in any way that we agree that's what I *should* be doing with my time. My goal for my time does not match yours, and I'd rather just watch my damn movie.

    To me, it's not. I can't think of something I'd personally be less interested in than running a clone of MS Windows.

    Good for you. I even agree with that statement. It's just not relevant to the original statement which said this guy "*should* just start working on WINE." That's not how your free time projects work. You don't do the most productive thing, or the more efficient thing, or what helps the most people. None of that is relevant at all. You do what you want to do, because it's what you want to do. He sees some value in ReactOS we don't and that's what matters.

    Seriously, if you want to ask the question, "why would anyone use ReactOS," which appears to be the question you're really interested in, go ahead. It's a good question, might get some interesting answers. Implying the developer should go do something else for free just because it'd be more useful to us is just selfish. Why should he care which project benefits us more?

  • by Grishnakh (216268) on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:11PM (#30815028)

    None of those projects were "replications" like ReactOS aims to be.

    1) GNU: GNU's Not Unix. GNU started as a bunch of work-alikes to standard Unix tools, but added lots and lots of new features. Later, GNU got involved with the GCC project, which is now the standard C/C++ compiler for many, many people. No one else has ever made, or attempted to make, a C/C++ compiler that operates the same across a wide range of CPU architectures; mostly, compilers were made for only one architecture.

    2) Linux is only superficially a clone of Unix, and diverges from it in many places. It aims for POSIX compatibility, but that's all. Otherwise, it's forged its own path. It's also succeeded in being far more cross-platform than any other *NIX.

    3) Wine is an attempt to make Windows binaries work in Linux by mapping system calls. That's a lot like emulation, and doesn't "clone" any particular product, and more than MAME attempts to clone arcade machines.

    4) OpenOffice is an office suite. There's lots of office suites out there that are similar in many ways (after all, how different can a spreadsheet be?), but differ in others. OO.o never attempted to clone anything, just to work similarly to other extant Office suites. It also pioneered the use of XML file formats and especially ODF; commercial Office suites were late-comers to this idea.

    There's a big difference between trying to make something which works similarly to, but better than (in the maker's opinion) something else on the market, and trying to make something that works exactly like and is completely compatible with something else. For instance, if I had endless free time to spend on a pet OSS project, I'd like to work on a PCB design program. I'd like to look at other commercial programs costing $10,000 per seat or whatever and see how they work, and maybe copy some of their ideas, but I certainly would not try to make an exact clone of any of them which was binary-compatible with its files. Instead, I'd make something that worked similarly, had many of the same features, maybe had some of my own features, etc. I might even try to provide features to import and export files to/from those other programs (all of them, not just one), in order to encourage migration. But I certainly wouldn't clone any particular one of them, especially if it had certain details that I didn't care for. In the end, I'd hope to have the best PCB design program available, and be recognized for that, not for making something that's just a knock-off of program XYZ.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by PopeRatzo (965947) * on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:14PM (#30815068) Homepage Journal

    If they don't like the way Windows works, they'll use Mac OS X or Linux. If they DO like the way Windows works (as hard to imagine as that is), why on earth would they want a cheap clone, when you can just buy the real thing? Windows isn't that expensive

    There are other reasons besides cost to object to a particular product. I don't like giving my money to the maker of an operating system that puts the preferences of the biggest media companies before the preferences of their users. Both Windows and OSX are guilty of that. And, I hate on principle any operating system that thinks it needs 9 gigabytes of hard drive space. Yes, storage is cheap, but still, screw that.

    Also, there are programs, yes, even some professional media production programs, that are Windows-only. The notion that OSX has the arts world sewn up is at least a decade past being true.

    But most of all, I like choices. For certain professional applications, having to choose between two operating systems is just too limiting for me.

    Finally, having a third commercially-viable, professional operating system would make the other two work harder and we might actually get a little competition in the OS space.

    Oh, and I don't want a clone of Windows. I want an OS that runs Windows apps and has a few system management utilities and stays out of my way. Hell, while I'm hoping, it should be able to run OSX apps as well. I'd like to have Logic and Sonar sharing VST and AU plugins on the same machine. Fat chance, I know.

  • by Grey Ninja (739021) on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:23PM (#30815142) Homepage Journal
    Last night I was browsing the web on my Windows XP partition, which I usually use solely for gaming. It's completely up to date, and I'm running the RC of Firefox 3.6. I was viewing a web page and the browser crashed, and things started popping up, and my desktop wallpaper changed. It seems that Internet Security 2010 was silently installed on my PC through a buffer overflow in some Firefox module (I suspect an adobe plugin, but that's neither here nor there).

    You want to know why *nix operating systems have inherently better architecture? You don't have to be an admin to use your computer, and userspace programs don't have the power to do to my PC what IS2010 did to me last night. Windows was always designed to be a single user system, and although that's improving, it's still obviously just stapled on top of the OS, because they don't want to break backward compatibility.

    Another pet peeve of mine is Windows' driver support. It's atrocious. Answer me why I can't install Windows and have all my hardware just work? Linux is capable of doing this. But with Windows, I can't even expect my networking to work out of the box. I have to hunt for a driver CD and install the drivers from there. Granted, I'm talking about Windows XP, which is presumably the decade old OS you are talking about. But I've heard plenty of horror stories about Vista/7 from coworkers. (Primarily that even once the drivers are installed, the network is unreliable at best).
  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by maxume (22995) on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:33PM (#30815182)

    To render stuff to a video screen on Linux, Wine needs to use some sort of system API. It uses X (presumably because ignoring it would be monumentally stupid). There is apparently decent separation between the code supporting the higher level Windows APIs and the the code that does the drawing, but there needs to be something more there than what you are calling 'drivers'. The code will in fact be much like a driver, with some code doing the support for X, and some other code doing the support for ReactOS.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:39PM (#30815216)

    Last night I was browsing the web on my Windows XP partition, which I usually use solely for gaming. It's completely up to date, and I'm running the RC of Firefox 3.6. I was viewing a web page and the browser crashed, and things started popping up, and my desktop wallpaper changed. It seems that Internet Security 2010 was silently installed on my PC through a buffer overflow in some Firefox module (I suspect an adobe plugin, but that's neither here nor there).

    So basically you're blaming Windows for a buffer overflow in a program written by an entirely different company?

    You want to know why *nix operating systems have inherently better architecture? You don't have to be an admin to use your computer, and userspace programs don't have the power to do to my PC what IS2010 did to me last night. Windows was always designed to be a single user system, and although that's improving, it's still obviously just stapled on top of the OS, because they don't want to break backward compatibility.

    It's been trivial to set up a reduced-priviledged account in Windows since Win2k. It's your own damn fault for using an admin account as your primary account.

    Another pet peeve of mine is Windows' driver support. It's atrocious. Answer me why I can't install Windows and have all my hardware just work? Linux is capable of doing this. But with Windows, I can't even expect my networking to work out of the box. I have to hunt for a driver CD and install the drivers from there. Granted, I'm talking about Windows XP, which is presumably the decade old OS you are talking about.

    So basically according to your last sentence your entire argument is flawed and disengenuous. You're comparing most likely a modern-day Linux distro to probably a vanilla XP install, which is 9 years old at this point. Yeah, that can't possibly be why you see poorer hardware support in the stock XP install. No, it couldn't be.

    But I've heard plenty of horror stories about Vista/7 from coworkers. (Primarily that even once the drivers are installed, the network is unreliable at best).

    Then the people you are working with are fucking idiots.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@NOspaM.gmail.com> on Monday January 18, 2010 @09:51PM (#30815278) Journal

    Well, considering that he and whomever has been helping him have spent 11 years on it and is now gonna shitcan a good chunk of it and start over, I'd say that is good evidence that his choices are pretty poorly made and maybe Wine would be better without him.

    But seriously, what exactly is the point? They are trying to make a free version of a DEAD OS. XP is toasty. It is two versions behind, walking into my local Walmart less and less support XP, Vista and 7 are very different beasts, which means anything they do likely won't translate over if they want to support a non EOL OS, it just doesn't make sense. Yeah, if he could get it out tomorrow I admit it would be very cool and I would probably load it onto my lower end machines to keep from dealing with XP licenses. But at this rate he'll be lucky if it is day to day usable in 5 years, and does anybody think XP will be supported by much of anything then?

    When he started it I thought it was a great idea. Win9x was a buggy POS, and the thought of having a rock solid stable OS that would run Win32 was VERY appealing. But times have changed folks. XP was stable, and is now EOL, Windows 7 runs great and folks are switching over left and right, so by the time these guys get any usable code out it is gonna be like having a free copy of Windows 95, so what is the point? At least Wine and Crossover can be used right now, and can get the job done. Does he have any idea how long this rewrite is gonna take? Or how long until a truly usable version is out the door? Because XP is a dead end OS, and every day that ReactOS isn't released is one less day it has to be relevant. At this rate by the time he releases working code everyone will be on Windows 12 and the only place you'll find Windows XP gear is in the dumpster. Which I'm sure isn't what he has sweated and worked for 11 years to hear, but that is just the way it is.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nametaken (610866) * on Monday January 18, 2010 @10:05PM (#30815348)

    Agreed. Also, a lot of businesses have, for instance, expensive equipment that require old versions of windows to drive them. I'd much rather install a shiny new ReactOS on a new workstation and have active support forums than try to get the control software working in wine on Ubuntu. A lot of us want as few layers of kludge as possible in work environments, where hacking cannot always be easily duplicated by the next guy.

  • Re:solved... (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 18, 2010 @11:16PM (#30815720)

    I don't think you understand the poster's point. NT is a modern operating system underneath. It's the Win32 subsystem that makes it look so backward.

    The drive letter thing is a good example. Internally, NT has no notion of drive letters. They are actually implemented as symbolic links. So "C:" is a symbolic link to \Devices\Harddisk0 or whatever. I bet the person who griped about drive letters had no idea about that, but that didn't stop him from thinking the drive letter thing is the way it works. Because this is not exposed to your average user.

    So, yes, the problems have been solved. But the solutions are not very well exposed to the user.

    NT's "real" APIs are not even fully documented, and of course no one is going to rewrite their Windows app to use them. It's really quite a pity, the platform is pretty much doomed to never reach its full potential. And, as the commenter pointed out, the primary culprit is backward compatibility.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerteNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday January 18, 2010 @11:30PM (#30815792)

    Great.

    I could also extend FreeDOS to run a custom Amiga OS system within, and there implement a Darwin compatibility layer, not to run OSX apps, but to actually implement GNU-Hurd on top of the Mach kernel Darwin uses, and there I could implement the Linux kernel running on top of the Hurd as a server, where I could run Wine to finally install Photoshop and have the best of ALL worlds.

    Or, I could just install Ubuntu and fire up Gimp.

    Trying to achieve compatibility with obsolete and badly designed systems is stupid. We should be focusing on developing better applications that run on Unix, not on building compatibility layers for the very same platform we want to avoid.

    Off course anyone can spend their time in whatever way they want, but we have to differentiate hobbyists trying to run NetBSD on their toaster, or developing firewire drivers for AmigaOS, from real Free Software developers actually building apps for the real world.

  • Re:Ummm... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lorenzo.boccaccia (1263310) on Tuesday January 19, 2010 @03:42AM (#30816862)
    reactos was aimed to full binary compatibility, including device drivers and other stuff, so that for example dx would directly talk with the video driver without requiring the opengl translation performed by wine

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