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Windows Replacement? ReactOS 0.3.16 Gets Themes, CSRSS Rewrite, and More 179

Posted by timothy
from the but-does-it-run-dosbox? dept.
jeditobe writes with this announcement from the ReactOS home page: "The ReactOS Project is pleased to announce the release of version 0.3.16. A little under a year has passed since the previous release and a significant amount of progress has been made. More than 400 bugs were eliminated. Some of the most significant include completion of the CSRSS rewrite and the first stages of a shell32 rewrite. 0.3.16 is in many ways a prelude to several new features that will provide a noticeable enhancement to user visible functionality. A preview can be seen in the form of theme support, which while disabled by default can be turned on to demonstrate the Lautus theme developed by community member Maciej Janiszewki. Another user visible change is a new network card driver for the RTL8139, allowing ReactOS to support newer versions of QEMU out of the box." You can download release images here. Want to see how it handles Windows software? Here are demos of Office 2003, Photoshop CS2, and OpenMPT.
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Windows Replacement? ReactOS 0.3.16 Gets Themes, CSRSS Rewrite, and More

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  • One day.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Voyager529 (1363959) <{voyager529} {at} {yahoo.com}> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:04PM (#46204611)

    Now before I say anything, do know that I GREATLY applaud the efforts of the ReactOS platform. I am incredibly impressed by the huge undertaking the ReactOS team has decided to pursue. Programming an open source, binary-compatible alternative to Windows is, in my opinion, the most difficult OSS project to ever make happen - after all, Microsoft can't exactly do it right when they have the actual source code, a lot more software developers, and a LOT more money. I do one day hope to be able to use it as a primary operating system that will work with my existing hardware and software as seamlessly as it presently does with Windows, leaving Windows as a memory as the ReactOS community take the best parts of OSS development and apply it to making my very expensive Windows software run.

    One day.

    I really don't mean to be a jerk to the devs, because I know that I have no skill, talent, or ability to write an operating system. I know that they have to hit a constantly moving target, while making plenty of rough decisions along the way: two pieces of software exist. One doesn't work past Windows XP. One works only on Vista/7/8. Which do you make compatible? Microsoft clearly has their way of going ("forward", i.e. Win8 apps), but ReactOS could easily spur adoption by catering to people who have $5,000 pieces of hardware that are no longer made, perfectly fill their needs, and don't have drivers for >WinXP. This is a tough question to answer, and one I do not envy or posit a response.

    Based on their demos, it seems that they're going the 'Open Source XP' method, as can be deduced based on their demos of Office 2003 and Photoshop CS2, the former being four revisions out of date, and the latter being five (assuming we count 'CC' as a single version). If the /only/ thing it will run is old software that is not being updated, I understand that - it's no longer a moving target, after all. However, constantly playing catch-up with Microsoft, though inherently a consequence of the nature of the project, is all but impossible to truly consider a replacement.

    Perhaps I need to read up on their website or do some Google searching, but are they planning to start eyeballing Win7 at all? What about more recent iterations of DirectX? I'd love to be independently wealthy enough to dump a few million at the project, and yes, next payday I plan on sending $20 or somesuch to the cause. That doesn't mean that the devs will be able to achieve critical mass effectively.

    Having said all of that, if they could get an OSS flavor of Windows ThinPC up and running (i.e. completely iron out hardware compatibility and a remote desktop client), and charge even some nominal amount for it so that companies could use it instead of ThinPC (which is stupidly licensed), that'd be a great way to start making inroads.

  • Re: boycott slashdot (Score:3, Interesting)

    by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:13PM (#46204671)
    Unless the new site runs on ReactOS, please shut the fuck up about slashdot beta.
  • Re:One day.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Belial6 (794905) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:43PM (#46204893)
    I believe that you can use a standard Windows RPC client with ReactOS.

    I would agree that they need to get some adoption. I think (which has no real bearing on what they should really do) they should work at getting some of those high value applications working 100% on ReactOS, and then create an installer so that the application could install into a version of ReactOS that launches the application by default and that installs into a Virtual machine. This would make ReactOS a compatibility layer for all of those old applications. Any bugs or missing features in ReactOS that are not used by the specific application would not matter.

    Another option would be to try to work with someone like GOG [gog.com]. GOG already uses DosBox and ScummVM to run a lot of games. Having a system that would allow them to package old Windows games would enhance their offerings. Particularly if the system was cross platform, which ReactOS installed to a VM would be.
  • Re:One day.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by TheloniousToady (3343045) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @03:57PM (#46205007)

    leaving Windows as a memory as the ReactOS community take the best parts of OSS development and apply it to making my very expensive Windows software run.

    I honestly don't understand how anybody could think Windows is expensive. I really think it's cheap considering what an extremely complex piece of software it is. It's probably cheaper per byte than any other software, unless you consider free (as in beer) software. For example, I recently paid about $140 for it, but I paid $40 yesterday for a mere music program. If you think of Windows as a major component of a computer like an HDD or processor or whatever, its cost is about on the same scale.

    I certainly wish the ReactOS folks well, but I'm not sure what problem ReactOS solves. Folks who are enamored with being able to customize their OS already have Linux and several other open-source choices. So, at best, ReactOS just saves me $140. I wouldn't turn that down with all things being equal, but otherwise, I would much rather pay $140 for an HDD or processor that works well than get one for free that doesn't.

  • Re:One day.... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by dbIII (701233) on Sunday February 09, 2014 @08:45PM (#46206865)
    A little anecdote that exposes a bit of the can of worms. Some years ago a software developer made a little program to get files via a non-MS file serving protocol (I can't remember which one). To his astonishment it also worked with the "Microsoft" SMB file serving protocol because that turned out to have been derived from the other without attribution or money changing hands. The free software project later went on to be Samba.
    MS have too much of a mess with bits from all over the place to be able to playing ownership games on anything from a few years ago. They've got better things to do than a PR disaster and feeding another team of lawyers for a decade.

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