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ReactOS 0.4.8 Released (osnews.com) 60

jeditobe shares a report from OSNews: With software specifically leaving NT5 behind, ReactOS is expanding its target to support NT6+ (Vista, Windows 8, Windows 10) software. Colin, Giannis and Mark are creating the needed logic in NTDLL and LDR for this purpose. Giannis has finished the side-by-side support and the implicit activation context, Colin has changed Kernel32 to accept software made for NT6+, and Mark keeps working on the shim compatibility layer. Although in a really greenish and experimental state, the new additions in 0.4.8 should start helping several software pieces created for Vista and upwards to start working in ReactOS. Microsoft coined the term backwards compatibility, ReactOS the forward compatibility one. Slashdot reader jeditobe adds: "A new tool similar to DrWatson32 has been created by Mark and added to 0.4.8, so now any application crashing will create a log file on the desktop. This crash dump details the list of modules and threads loaded, stack traces, hexdumps, and register state."

The announcement, general notes, tests, and changelog for the release can be found at their respective links. A less technical community changelog for ReactOS 0.4.8 is also available.

ReactOS 0.4.8 Released

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  • So now that Vista is almost 12 years old, ReactOS almost supports software written for it!

    Has NT5 support been finished yet? It does seem like a good idea to finish one thing before starting a new thing. NT5 hasn't changed in over 10 years.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      In other news... the linux kernel is deleting old code. These guys are adding it. ;) the cycle continues.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      NT5 is workable according to a large percentage of official APIs, but a huge amount of the work is uncovering all the workarounds, bugs and application-specific behaviours baked into Windows over the decades. If nobody's going to be targeting or running NT5 software, there isn't a huge amount of drive in that direction.

      FOSS follows the needs or interests of the developers. In this case, they're interested in implementing NT6.

    • One of the goals of the project is to make an OS that can run on real hardware. Hardware produced this decade might not run XP.

      That's not to say they should abandon existing support but be 'forward compatible', I think I read.

    • ReactOS is trying to play catch-up on a road made of speedbumps. Every time a new version of Windows comes out, that's another speedbump, about the biggest speedbump that could ever exist, a full-featured modern OS (strictly speaking) with a healthy serving of legacy cruft on the side. They'd need an overwhelming development speed advantage over Microsoft to ever create a practical substitute for the current version of Windows.

      • ReactOS is trying to play catch-up on a road made of speedbumps.

        I like this analogy: trying to follow a freight train on a moped; hell, you can't even take the same path.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Even so, think of all the abandoned software that could potentially run on this open source OS. It's a worthy project even if only for this reason (think software archaeology or avoiding forced upgrades).

      • That's what I am thinking about.
        It's better to actually complete the support they've started, instead of moving on to the next version and leaving the old stuff not fully working.

      • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 16, 2018 @11:25PM (#56449947)

        I tried a recent release and I was shocked at how far it's come since I first tried it many years ago. It's not perfect, but they've done an amazing job of getting the system to work with normal binaries in a reliable way. At least on the software I've tried.

        The big problem though is that some required libraries can't be used as MS prohibits them from being used on other platforms, so .net programs can be an issue.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Just use them anyway. Problem solved.

          • Problem is those libraries don't Just Work(TM) in ReactOS like they should. ReactOS is a nifty idea, but I've never been able to get it to work with my logbook program. I'm still using a rather old copy of Win2000 I had when I first bought the program. Although, now running in a VM hosted on a Mac. I'd really like ReactOS to be the solution to my *problem*, but I've been convinced for a long time now that I just need to write my own logbook program and use that instead.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I think people are missing the point.

      ReactOS was largely a "reaction" to MS throwing out Windows XP, which worked perfectly fine for everyone except for the security swiss cheese it made.

      There is no fundamental difference between NT4, or any later version. They all run Win32. It's the operating system libraries that are the real bugbear.

      When you can run WoW, FFXIV, Adobe CS3/4/5/6/CC on it, it will be good

    • Nope. NT5 support is not finished. ReactOS has very few developers. I believe it's because the intersection of people capable of developing an OS and willing to commit their time to learning Windows internals and actually develop such an OS is pretty small.
      I think the only real possibility of it reaching maturity in the short term is to somehow get some company to pay for development (as it's done for Linux (multiple compnanies) and Wine (Codeweavers make a commercial product out of it)).
      That said, I woul
      • I believe it's because the intersection of people capable of developing an OS and willing to commit their time to learning Windows internals and actually develop such an OS is pretty small.

        That's because it's an insane goal. It will never be achieved, and oh by the way, if it is then it just gives more excuses to Windows developers to keep making Windows-only software, so it will harm computing in the long term. Putting energy into ReactOS makes the world a crappier place.

        • Yeah, It will probably never be near finished. To clone Windows it's a huge undertaking. Anyway I wanted to remark that they really have few developers not imply that if they had an "average amount" (whatever that is for an open source project) they would complete the job
      • WINE was already mentioned, which makes up quite a bit of the core ReactOS libraries.
        Alphabet has sponsored a fair amount of development, such as NTFS driver, through Google's Summer of Code projects.
        They even ran a direct community fundraiser to pay for development of core components.
        More companies helping development would probably be a good thing.
        It is also a bit of a double edged sword, just look at Microsoft and their DLL Hell. Most of that hell was a constant push to get things done fast, instead
      • Maybe you'll get something equivalent to Windows 7 in another 10 years then.
        However, most of the API layers will only be mostly complete and your old software will only mostly work.

  • Status: pre-alpha (Score:5, Interesting)

    by steveha ( 103154 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @07:37PM (#56449157) Homepage

    I wish the ReactOS project success.

    In the past I was not interested because it didn't even run on real hardware; you had to run it inside a virtual machine. Checking their web site it seems it does run on some real hardware now, but only some devices are supported. Actually that is great progress and I hope that it will attract more developers.

    It's not that fun to work on a project when it's super primitive and everything is broken. When it works a bit and just needs a tweak here and there, more people will be interested in working on it. I hope that will be the case for ReactOS.

    I would love to have a Windows-compatible system that doesn't phone home constantly and can run some of my favorite games. It will take a while but it's starting to look like they will get there.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by FudRucker ( 866063 )
      i tried ReactOS back in late 2017 (a version or two back) and it was junk, and to think i dug out a spare harddrive and wiped the data off for it, that was an hour of my time trying to get ReactOS running i will never get back
    • It will take a while but it's starting to look like they will get there.

      I'm sure everything will have moved on from Win32 to UWP by then.

    • As an IT person, I'd love to see ReactOS get to the point of being reliably and thoroughly compatible with Windows XP, even if it were only a VM.

      It'd solve a real problem: Sometimes I have clients with old Windows apps that they need to run, but don't run on Windows versions newer than XP. It's more common than you might think. One way or another, you end up trying to support an old unsupportable OS that you can't get a valid license for.

    • Linux + WINE seems like it might be a better solution to that in most cases.
  • like HDSDR, SDRsharp, SDR_Console and the device drivers for popular SDR devices then i will be glad to dump windows, while Linux supports most of what i have some features are missing and if i need them it only takes a minute to reboot to windows and fire up HDSDR or SDR_Console, while GQRX is fairly nice software for SDR receivers it lacks a notch filter, which is important feature for trying to listen to that weak station in the distance.
    • Feel free to test and report the bugs at jira.reactos.org And this will make this moment to come faster!
  • I would prefer to add a layer of hooks for Win64 kernel features and a layer to run native .exe binaries on Linux would be more preferable.

    Unfortunately Linux is a macrokernel while WindowsNT is a hybrid with layers for WSL for Linux and win64 and win32 as seperate runtime layers exokernel. I wonder if this is possible.

    ReactOS is quite limited and I prefer to run full binaries natively under a Linux kernel that is as good as WSL on Windows.

  • by neilo_1701D ( 2765337 ) on Monday April 16, 2018 @08:55PM (#56449445)

    I've followed this project on-and-off for years, in much the same way I've followed AROS.

    But what the heck; I downloaded the ISO and set up a VMWare VM for it to install into.

    The install was painless and fast; much better that Windows in that respect.

    Once the desktop was up, it struggled with some device drivers. No biggie; it can run without sound.

    The big problem came when installing software. This is supposed to be Windows XP compatible, so I dug out my VB6 disks. I loaded disk 1, double-clicked Setup, and instant bluescreen. Ok, not good... I rebooted, and the system would get to "Loading personal settings" and that was it: frozen. I could now not get past this screen ever.

    ReactOS is interesting and I'm sure the developers are having a blast. But as a piece of functional software and a WIndows replacement: not so much.

    Pass.

    • by DMJC ( 682799 )
      Meanwhile, I tried it in a KVM instance, got Caligari trueSpace and 3D Studio Max version 3.1 running and it's fast enough to be a usable replacement for a Windows install on my PC. Pretty nifty.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Their ReactOS Wiki provides very specific instructions on how to use the different types of virtualization software and set up audio. The Check to see that you followed them all, and if so, then try a different one like QEMU.

      It's still pre-beta software, probably because the number of people working on it is fairly small. The main benefit of a project like this is allowing very old software to run in future years when Windows won't run on modern hardware. Microsoft now actually BLOCKS Windows 8 from running

  • No, YOU change your name!

  • Is there support for 64-bit Windows apps yet?
  • It's the one thing most missing from open source projects - quality assurance reporting the problems all the end users will see, before the end users see them - hopefully leading to them being fixed, before release to end users. It's a boring, less prestiguous and more tedious job - but if you don't have it, you're always going to be missing the mark on each release.
    • by Megol ( 3135005 )

      This is far from being something intended for end users! It is something that can run some software, often badly. At best it can be used for dogfooding but even that is unlikely at this stage.

      But yes QA is important, maybe you want to help the project with that?

      • That's another trope from the open source community - don't criticize unless you're willing to help. It doesn't come across well, and motivates people to not want to be involved.

Overload -- core meltdown sequence initiated.

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