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This has been one of my favorite software projects to watch, because it's such an insanely monumental undertaking and moves so damn slowly. There were people working on this two decades ago, putting in tiny fixes and little bits of code and whatnot, and they did it even knowing that basically nobody would see their work for decades.

Hell, I have never seen a ReactOS installation in the wild, and I'm the kind of person whose friends install Haiku, Nix and NetBSD as their daily drivers. And the second-hand stories I've heard about people who did install React was basically "I was bored, I put it on a drive, played around for 5 minutes, and wiped it."

But that doesn't discourage them. Meanwhile, work keeps going on in the background. So many untold man-hours of thankless work going into the project, and the vast majority of that "hard" work with no payoff for years.

And now it's finally getting close to actual Windows, after decades of work, and soon (well, years, but still) people will be using it everywhere as a replacement for Windows.

This is one of the most important software projects in history. My hat is off to the ReactOS developers, and congratulations on the latest release.

[edit] Here are the names of the 75 programmers that have worked on ReactOS: https://github.com/reactos/reactos/blob/master/CREDITS




> soon (well, years, but still) people will be using it everywhere as a replacement for Windows.

No they won't. It's a fringe OS that requires technical expertise to install. Not only that but it looks like "old Windows". Users won't want to work with a Windows from a decade ago. Not only that but it'll have bugs and no support.

You'll see tiny pockets of people using it but as Microsoft gets closer and closer to simply having a free OS it doesn't seem likely anyone would ever use this OS for anything beyond "hey, that's cool!".


> Users won't want to work with a Windows from a decade ago. Not only that but it'll have bugs and no support.

Depending on the age group, I guess. I know plenty of people who would say that Windows had its peak usability around Windows 2000/2003 and only got heavier and more confusing later on.

If I know that ReactOS had a good chance of running most regular Windows applications, I'd install it on my mother's laptop in a heartbeat, and she would love to see the familiar, lightweight OS.


Exactly. In windows 2000 the UI was pretty much unified, a button looked like a button, window borders were consistent, the start menu had a simple tree structure, icons were ugly but they were iconic (they at least tried to represent something, noone thought that one day a grey letter will be an icon, or a user will look lie a circle and a line). No touch nonsense, everything worked with a mouse or a keyboard (mnemonics were visible by default).


Plus no Cortana bs.


I switched to Mac in 2002. Windows 2000/XP ’Classic’ is how windows should look to me. Whenever I come across the more recent releases I find myself totally handicapped.


I think it's been downhill from Windows 2000, XP was OK once you turned off the tellytubbies UI.

Frankly I can't think of anything they've added since 2000 to windows (except better security) that was an improvement.

I occasionally have to use Windows for work and I really hate Windows 10, it's just a chore to deal with when you only boot it every couple of weeks just on the updates.


Windows 2000 was a revelation when we installed it on an 30 screen network in a library/learning centre in place of Windows 98 (a long time ago, somewhere in England).

I think the 'seniors' amongst us may well welcome ReactOS together with those in small companies who run legacy industrial hardware from Windows PCs (depending on stability &c).


> * I know plenty of people who would say that Windows had its peak usability around Windows 2000/2003 and only got heavier and more confusing later on.*

Given Microsoft's mostly successful effort to make Windows more friendly to the user, I find it hard to believe any of these people have extensive experience with Windows 7+


Oh, but they did. There was a series of problems with Vista that pissed people off, then there was the quite-ok Windows 7, and then Microsoft screwed everything up with Windows 8. The irony is, they've managed to fix a lot of Windows 8 UX problems in Windows 10, but then the telemetry stories and in-your-face pushing of the upgrade from 8 to 10 left some people I know stranded at 8 and afraid to try out 10. I guess this'll change in the next hardware upgrade cycle...


I've been windows power user for many years before I switched to Linux. I can say that WinXP was one of the best windows and Win7 was okay and usable. Win8 and Win10 complete shit. Everyone I know had issues with it and had hard times using it. Asking if it was possible to use at least Win7 again. Windows completely screwed up there UI thinking it would be easier for people to use and in process completely killing windows. Not to mantion Win8/10 security/privacy horror storries. The last usable windows was Win7. This is why I see many people switching to Mac OS X or Linux.


> WinXP was one of the best windows

On a somewhat more objective note, there was a lot of criticism back when it came out. (Specifically, about "the bloat". Everything is relative, I guess; one can say that things continued to get worse and worse from Windows 2000 on, although some would swear that it was NT4 that was the best Windows ever - e.g. it ran in 16MB of RAM vs. Windows 2000 that raised the requirement to 32MB; for comparison, Windows 95 only needed 8MB.)


Vista and 8 had their problems, but 10 has been fine for me. I disagree with the statement "The last usable windows was Win7." But then, I've seen the same argument before, in different flavors. People complained about Windows 7, wondering why anyone would switch from XP. They complained about XP, wondering why anyone would switch from 98SE.


Microsoft has been in a bit of a tick-tock cycle with their operating system releases. NT 4 was good, 2000 was good, XP was good eventually, Vista, not so good, 7, good, 8, not so good, 10 irons out most of the issues with 8. Pick any other product, and it's likely the same story. Mac OSX was all downhill from Tiger for quite awhile, at the latest High Sierra has had its share of serious flaws.


I feel like "quite-ok Windows 7" is underselling it. Response was largely positive and it wasn't even that different from Vista. It simply didn't suffer from the same problems, since hardware manufacturers caught up.


Yeah, Vista had two big issues that had both been mostly resolved by the time 7 was released: 1) Driver support was poor, and 2) A bunch of low end computers with "Vista Capable" stickers that really meant "It should boot but it's going to be awful."

IIRC Microsoft was pressured by OEMs into making a lower tier of Vista qualified hardware even though they knew it really required more than that to work acceptably well.

I never personally owned or used a Vista machine, but my office has a couple of them plugged in for a showroom area where they cycle powerpoint slides, and oh my god is it painful if you ever have to touch them. IIRC they've got 512 MB of RAM, and some of that is being shared with the iGPU. It's not pretty.


I used two sets of Vista machine, the 32-bit machines were almost all terribly slow, the 64-bit machines were surprisingly capable. So much so, that I could use a Vista 64-bit machine as an alternative to Windows 7 if it were still supported. The machines sold as Vista-capable weren't all that great with XP, but better, so were even under-powered for the previous generation. Vista leaned a lot more heavily on disk I/O that its predecessors, so turning off Windows Search, and a few other things I forget made it tolerable to use. It must have been about that time that all of Microsoft's developers got SSDs on their desk (I'm only half joking).

I remember installing Windows 95, from floppy disks back in 1996 or so. The system requirements on the box said 4MB of RAM. And it was true, Windows would run with 4MB. In the fine print, the box also said if you wanted to do anything besides play solitaire, like word processing, 8 was recommended.

So it's been going on a long time, the lowball estimate of systems requirements to get you to buy the product, then the real cost after you've already installed it. 4MB is a rounding error these days, back then it was at least a couple hundred dollars.


Vista being painfully slow was not limited to low-end machines. I had a fairly powerful (8GB+ RAM, new i5, etc.) gaming rig when it came out, and everything was slow on it: I'd click something in the interface and have to wait 5+ seconds for it to respond, Windows Explorer would crash randomly, etc. Even booting up seemed to take forever. Upgrading to Windows 7 fixed all such issues, and I still have the machine to this day, which I've kept with Windows 7 (although I upgraded the GPU).


Damn.

512MB wasn't even enough for my WinXP box because the softeware apart from the OS became more demanding with time.


They fixed some UX problems but left others. Two control panels, massive grey buttons that feel odd when used with a mouse, dysfunctional and random start menu, full screen modal notifications (windows server 2016), etc


The two control panels thing is maddening. It's just embarrassing they've let this mess escape beta. It should be one or the other, not an unevenly applied mixture. The lack of cohesiveness makes the whole system look amateurish.


The control panels have been in a constant state of flux since Vista... frankly it wasn't the biggest annoyance until after windows 7 (which at least had semi-clean breaks)... Win8/10 are horrible. I don't have a windows machine currently, running a hackintosh for my home desktop. I may give ReactOS a try in a VM to see how much I can get working.

Does the DOS stuff work? (NTVDM)


I am an heavy keyboard user, and prefer it to the mouse.

I find that Windows 2000 has the best support for keyboard users among GUIs. Better that MacOS, better than all the incarnations of Gnome/KDE, better that the following releases of Windows, that "forgot" about the keyboard and focused on other input systems.

You can see that in many small things, like sane keybindings and reasonable sequence for selection through tabs (for example, going from the path bar on the top to the folder content requires two tabs in Windows 2000 but four in Windows 7, unless one does some find tuninng of the UI).


KDE3 > Windows 2000. It was truly amazing. Ripping CD's by copying folder. FULL network integration on the file manager. KIOslaves. Artsd sucked, ok.


Things that you mentioned are still fully functional btw.


I'm one of them and have as much extensive experience with Windows 7+ as someone who write *nix and embedded software for a living can have. Windows 2000 is the last Windows version I used exclusively.

The "mostly successful efforts" you speak of seem to have been focused on delivering ads, TOS-backed spyware and those weird Metro apps. The result is certainly simpler from a strictly visual standpoint, but more usable is something that I wouldn't be too willing to concede without some data (and I don't mean install data/user base, given how Microsoft's customers don't have much of a choice in this department). Frankly, I don't see how the weird start menu or having both the Control Panel and some weird Settings thing help with usability, but UX is a surprising field, I guess.


That's a compromise. Settings is deep-searchable and unified between platforms. Control Panel is still there for backwards compatability (including with MS's own stuff)


That's bloody terrible, whenever I need something I have no idea where I'll find it.


I usually click the start button on my keyboard and type what I'm looking for... most of the time, it's the first option that comes up. It mostly works for apps too, excluding some annoying MS app placement issues. I've moved on... Windows 10 was the last straw. Not the telemetry, but the stupid integrated ads, especially the ones over the chrome icon in the launch bar.


Windows 8 was absolutely dire. Windows 10 is very good, but not in any way brilliant.


> It's a fringe OS that requires technical expertise to install.

That's fixable (and not different from Windows).

> Not only that but it looks like "old Windows"

That is by far the easiest fix of all. People just care more about making things work right now.

Plus, a lot of people actually preferred the older style.

> Not only that but it'll have bugs

Welcome to software. Windows is also full of bugs.

> You'll see tiny pockets of people using it but as Microsoft gets closer and closer to simply having a free OS it doesn't seem likely anyone would ever use this OS for anything beyond "hey, that's cool!".

I think it might end up being quite big quite soon: There's a bunch of proprietary software out there that is old, and not Windows 10 compatible.

Things like car diagnostics software. If ReactOS gives them a way to get things working without Win10, I'm sure they'd eat it right up.

ReactOS just isn't ready for that yet. It's still major version 0.


I know a bunch of people (mostly gamers) who refuse to upgrade from Windows 7 to 8 or 10, mostly because of usability and privacy concerns.

Eventually, they'll have to (DirectX 12, but I'm sure there's a ton of APIs for non-games as well and drivers will stop being updated for Win7).

But if ReactOS can reach a level of maturity and compatibility to please such people, there's a sizeable niche there of people who:

  1. won't switch away from Windows to Linux or BSD,

  2. but would be willing to adopt a familiar and compatible operating system.


Please don't use code blocks for normal text. This is frustratingly difficult to read on a phone where the code block becomes a scrolling container.


Sorry, I didn't intend to make it a code block, just wanted to indent the list headers. Is there a list syntax for HN comments?


Not really, but it works well enough if you put each item on a separate paragraph (i.e. with blank lines before and afterwards) and prefix it with a bullet point etc.:

- Then it looks like this.

- And still flows nicely.


I definitely count myself as one of those gamers who hasn't moved off 7 yet for my gaming and music production. On a machine like that, windows is just a layer between the game and the hardware and the less other stuff, the better. 8 and 10 have little value add for someone who just wants program compatibility-7 was plenty stable.


8 and 8.1 had huge performance enhancements, though. Easily the fastest Windows to-date.


To an average user, the latest Windows versions really don't add anything useful over WinXP or even Win2k. Many things got worse, like discovering and starting installed applications. Slap a modern UI theme on XP, and nobody will notice that it's a nearly 20 year old OS.


I have high hopes for ReactOS, because pro audio software is currently the only thing that really keeps me tied to Windows. (I use GNU/Linux for work already for more than a decade.)

Unfortunately, last time I looked audio software and drivers weren't well supported on ReactOS. If I could get Reaper, my audio interface and commercial VSTs running on it, I'd ditch Windows forever.


Not to invalidate all of your arguments, but it does “just install” in a VM without needing technical experience.

To reach any mass of users (outside of turnkey solutions where the end users may not know or care), you need commercial support and the later needs concrete identified market segments. To parallel Wine - ROS needs its own CrossOver (but not Cedega).


I agree - I literally downloaded the ISO, booted it up, it installed in VirtualBox.

Of course, the network driver didn't work, sadly :(


change to use pc net iii, there's a driver for that built in


> Not only that but it looks like "old Windows".

Not convinced that's a weakness as opposed to a strength. Every time Microsoft changes literally anything about their UI, they alienate a legion of people who suddenly feel their workflow and productivity has been irretrievably broken.


I can see ruining old but required Windows binaries without paying for a Windows license as a totally valid use case.


I currently use win 7 in win 98 style. It is faster on the graphics and the processor.


Windows have become bloated to the point I have rather installed openSUSE and after ~20 years I am not touching them any more. I don't like linux (it has another set of problems) and I would be very glad if I could use ReactOS and instead using firewall, just recompile the winsock dll with my own instructions (just one example).

Windows will never be free os, you will pay heavly with your privacy and from what I have seen on GUI changes, they are more moving into direction of cloud (minimal installation on pc, the PAID resources on cloud) than beeing free.

ReactOS devs, good work and thank you, I hope I will be able to use it in the future.


> Windows have become bloated

I don't agree. Vista was a mess but they seem to have made such tight performance budgets for 7, 8 and 10 that any computer which can run the 11-year-old Vista can also run 10.


10 is bloated by most metrics. Applications you don't need or want are bundled by default, it has a 20+GB install size, two separate sets of overlapping configuration utilities, a built-in HTTP server, built-in adware, etc.

There has been a lot of good work done on the underlying system, but it's had a ton of useless buggy crap piled on top of it.


Depends on which definition of bloated you choose. If you look at install size on disk it's clear that Windows 10 requires more space than Windows 7. In contrast, you can easily create a usable Linux system (including a window manager, not just a minimal server install) that takes up half the space of a Windows 7 install.


I do not need Cortana, XBox, Store, Telemetry, One Drive ... Can I remove them? Microsoft says no. Microsoft has become the definition of bloatware.


Just check kernel32.dll, it was CLEAN for years, now there are references to .net framework and it is becoming a mess. Believe me, Windows are becoming a mess, I never liked linux (actually I hated it) but the directions that Windows are taking are worrying (it is the same perspective when I say linux is becoming a bloated piece of , with each release it is becoming worse but at least it is open source. But dont get me wrong, I am writting this from purely technical perspective, for a typical user, everything is just fine. No need to worry, except maybe Windows 365 in 2020.

(I will refrain from further commenting as my technical perspective is hitting into large fanbase of both systems and karma here is really not beeing able to handle it. At the end it is the terror of the less technical average.)


The dependencies with long DLL names beginning with api-ms-win- are unrelated to .NET framework.

Here’s more info: https://scissortools.wordpress.com/2011/11/23/more-on-window...


I am not talking about dependencies, I am talking about COM exports from kernel32, than manifests, multiple versions of same library on the system which now matches linux xzy.so,xzy.so.1,... they had a clean userspace with backward compatibility, now they are having a mess.


People are more likely to use Linux with Wine to run some Windows programs. Since it actually produces a working result.

But if ReactOS can be practically comparable - it can get some traction too.


IIRC Wine and ReactOS are actually closely aligned. Many improvements made in ReactOS are ported to Wine and vice-versa.


I installed ReactOS in a VM, because I have one Windows app I need (Adobe Digital Editions for reading library ebooks), and I figured it would be easier than trying to get it running in Wine. But the current ADE requires Windows 7, so I was out of luck. Probably worth trying the new version.


I think you're entirely right, but I wonder if there's not some life left in it down the road. Whenever I've needed DOS, which isn't that often anymore, I reach for FreeDOS, not MS-DOS. Who knows what deeply legacy systems might be around in 30 years? But then again, it's hard to imagine something as ubiquitous as a Windows installation disk being unobtainable on the used market.


> as Microsoft gets closer and closer to simply having a free OS it doesn't seem likely anyone would ever use this OS for anything beyond "hey, that's cool!".

Free OS? Even bog standard windows 10 pro (non-oem) is hardly free. Never mind a datacenter server license (aka you need to run 10s of instances in vms in order to get anything line useful utilisation from this modern server).


Two things

>It lights a fire under M$'s asses to make windows competitive

>Adoption is slow but exponential. Today is the first day I learned about ReactOS and I'm excited. I can program and I have money. If people can find value in it, adoption will grow.


>It lights a fire under M$'s asses to make windows competitive

Err... no. Not unless the installed base reaches a critical mass. And certainly not when the market share is not even 0.1%. macOS (or even desktop Linux) has a higher installed base and they don’t bother Microsoft significantly.

I’d be more optimistic if the OS had not been around for two decades. It had its chance when the likes of Vista was released. If it didn’t make a dent back then, it is not going to make one now - especially since Windows is at its best in terms of usability. Sure there are concerns about privacy, but those didn’t prevent Google from acquiring a (almost) monopoly in mobile market. Microsoft’s own attempts went nowhere — and they have infinitely deeper pockets compared to people behind ReactOS.

And even if it does gain momentum, I am fairly sure that Microsoft will find a a way to sue them into oblivion.


> (or even desktop Linux) has a higher installed base and they don’t bother Microsoft significantly.

Except for they did. I'm pretty sure WSL was about developers who had preferred GNU/Linux-based systems (or macOS, since it can be compatible for some cases) for work, not about just running some *nix server software on Windows machines.


I said “significantly” — macOS and Linux have existed for ages, yet Microsoft is starting with WSL just now. Also, as far as I know, WSL is a by-product of the Poject Astoria - not something Microsoft set out to do. They probably thought, “We’ve done most of the work anyway, might as well get something out of it.”


So it will become this is the year of ReactOS on the desktop?


Windows 10 is good (really!) if you haven't taken a look at in a while. I switched from Mac on the Desktop to Windows 10 because I needed "pro" hardware (NVIDIA GPU, 1 TB RAM, etc) and it works just fine. They've really been on the ball in the last couple of years.


It’d be good if it didn’t have all the damned spam baked in with non obvious ways to remove it. I got so mad the FIFTH time windows 10 pro installed Bubble Witch Saga and Candy Crush on my system.

After seeing that I really want to save up and buy only Macs from now on.


Why not just run a FOSS OS?


A fair question, I actually did install two different Linux distributions a couple weeks ago. For some background I'm a software developer, and consider myself reasonably competent in using Linux.

I started with Fedora. Installed, seemed nice. Then I did a dnf update or something like that. It froze for 4 hours in the middle of the install. So I hit ctrl+z. When I restarted my computer GRUB was attempting to boot an OS version that did not exist and I had to manually try to figure out how to fix this which I was in no mood to do after having the OS for 10 minutes. Also apparently the newest version of Fedora didn't have the concept of turning off auto lock? Or a timer. I'm not sure, but the end result was that if I tried to watch a movie for more than 10 minutes my desktop would helpfully lock, continuing to play the movie.

So I then installed Ubuntu, which was fairly straightforward. Then deleted the couple of things that felt like advertisements (like a direct link to Amazon on the quickbar or whatever it is). Overall, was a pretty good experience until I installed the proprietary Nvidia drivers. Then for some reasons movies (DRM-free files) would stutter. At that point I was thinking about doing some C# development in visual studio anyway so I looked into dual boot installing windows 10 while having Ubuntu installed, and while there are a million articles on how to install Ubuntu with Windows 10 already installed, the reverse did not seem to be true. So I just wiped my system drive and reinstalled Windows 10, which helpfully activated based on my hardware profile even though I'd neglected to save the key.


Installing Windows first is just the recommended way to set up dual-boot, since the Windows installer will always overwrite the bootloader without asking any questions. I think these days there's an automated repair tool on the Ubuntu install media that'll take care of fixing it, though. And with Nvidia drivers it's usually a good idea to install the latest ones from the "graphics-drivers" repository (there should be plenty of guides for that too).

Also, depending on what kind of C# development you do, VS Code can be very nice. DotNET Core is very straightforward to work with, and targeting the full frameworks with Mono is doable with a little bit of tweaking. If it's Unity, then the debugger plugin will be completely useless on Linux, and you'll have to use the very latest beta version of the editor.


If you ever feel like trying Linux again, perhaps try Manjaro? It's a good place to start for a new user, and more polished and stable than Ubuntu and Fedora by far.


Hardware support of laptops for FOSS is not that good unless you restrict yourself to Dell or IBM.


It hasn't been the case since a long time really. I have used it on enterprise HP and Lenovo laptops and everything works flawlessly.


A strange argument: hardware support of laptops for MacOS is officially non-existent unless you restrict yourself to Apple. As soon as you're willing to consider 'Hackintosh' installations you should also consider Linux distributions as those are generally far easier to install and maintain.


While I would say that throwing linux on any random laptop and expecting perfect compatibility is foolhardy, it's really not that difficult to find a linux compatible laptop these days.

In general if you stay away from anything too esoteric, and avoid hardware that needs proprietary drivers (e.g. nvidia graphics, broadcom wifi etc...) most things should work out of the box, but it's a good idea to do a bit of research on anything you're thinking of buying if linux compatibility is desired.

There are also various smaller vendors like system76 that sell laptops with linux pre-installed.


Also has very good support on Lenovo (in my experience), which would make 3 of the largest PC/Laptop manufacturers in the world that has good linux support.

Here is a list of certified vendors for Ubuntu: https://certification.ubuntu.com/desktop/


IBM no longer makes desktop PC s or laptops. Sold the designs to Lenovo years ago.

I had HP and Compaq laptops that ran Linux as well.


That was true 5-10 years ago, these days it's much better (except for some old offenders like Nvidia GPUs or Broadcom WiFi modules). My Asus notebook never lacked any support even though I bought it just three days after that particular model was first released.


My HP laptops have also had zero problems running Linux for years.


Not OP, but for me the only hurdle left is gaming compatibility.


> Windows 10 is good

Did Linux succeed because other UNIXes were bad?

In my opinion, the reason why we need ReactOS is independent from whether Windows 10 is good or not.

And yeah, I agree besides the privacy issues, Win 10 is pretty good


> Did Linux succeed because other UNIXes were bad?

No, it succeeded because there was a need for a UNIX like OS not encumbered by lawsuits (like BSDs) or costing a fortune (Solaris, SGI etc.).

Linux is a clean room implementation that doesn’t borrow any code from proprietary AT&T UNIX, ensuring that it has future. That, and the backing of FSF means it is not going to be sued into oblivion - something that could not be said for BSDs and other free variants back in 1990s. No one wants to invest into a something that may be shut down anytime. It is the fighting thtpat hurt the BSDs the most — causing them to be overshadowed by Linux despite being superior in many ways back in the days. Some would argue that they are still technologically superior in certain areas — but that is debatable.


Linux succeeded because bsd had legal issues.


People like to bring that up, but Linux also succeeded because of an open development model that BSD lacked. Linus Tolvards is basically the poster boy of Open Source.


For desktop, I use opensuse (just clarification, to avoid holly wars here).

I have migrated my servers to FreeBSD not due to problems with kernel, but due to everything else, the distributions are really doing horrible job maintaining userspace, not to mention failures like systemd. Also trusting data to linux is an interesting ride, from btrfs failures to "merging" (pun intended) those failures to zfs (https://github.com/zfsonlinux/zfs/issues/7401). FreeBSD has much slower pace of development and this is good for stability. Zfs is rock solid beeing part of OS for decade, docker was ported to it in 14 days, due to jails which are there for 15 years+ and field tested for years (while I was listening from linux guys years that chroot is all you need). I wont complain about linux features, but for BSD, I know that after update everything will work exactly like it worked before and this is more important for my bussiness than all the bleading edge features.

And then you have all the other issues that Linus explains here, for debian but same problems other distributions have (and yeah, I am just a bit younger and highly proficient in c/c++ on multiple operating systems, developing system level application for more then 20 years, that is probably why I share his opinion): https://youtu.be/1Mg5_gxNXTo?t=459

Linux has succeeded as it was fast by cutting corners in development. And it worked for a while, now problems started to stockpile and turtle is starting to catch up.

Regarding the "open model", I don't understand what would that be, BSD license is more permissive than GPL? Not to mention a shame when (https://www.zdnet.com/article/linux-beats-internal-legal-thr...) kernel developer for linux started suing companies not releasing the source code.

Just to wrap it up, if ReactOS will be able to keep the pace of development with the Windows changes it has a good chance that the year of ReactOS on desktop will be much sooner than the year of Linux on desktop. And this is what we want, not Linux OS on desktop but Open source OS on desktop, right?


Your preference for FreeBSD has nothing to do with the early development of Net/2 BSD, its license and the rise of Linux.

Development of BSD was effectively not accessible to the outside world, being a closed playground for the developers at Berkeley. And to get an official version on disk, it also had a pretty steep price.

Even now the various BSD distributions are very rigidly controlled. Yes, they adhere to certain quality standards, but they've also turned off developers from contributing.

BSD is and has been developed in a centralized model, being the Cathedral, whereas Linux's development has been historically very decentralized, being the metaphorical Bazaar. You may like the Cathedral model, MacOS and Windows are developed like that, however in my opinion such a model only works with companies with plenty of resources to spare.


I dont care about the "model". I only care about code quality and stability on critical tasks. And currently the distributions are becoming more and more chaotic, I think this will bite back, you can try and use some whatever the name paradigms but at the end development is hard and not made only from fun problems to solve, there are lots of annoying and pesky tasks that need to be done. And here the system where everyone is mostly doing what is fun for them has huge disadvantage.

But never mind, time will tell.


> And here the system where everyone is mostly doing what is fun for them has huge disadvantage.

A lot of critical Linux contributors are paid for their work. That's why understanding the model of development is important: they're not doing this for fun, whatever that means.


The world does not revolve around you. Regardless of your personal preferences, the Linux development model was an important part of its success.


With apologism you are only hurting Linux. With criticism you would be helping it, but looks like that the football match mentality is winning at the end. Have a nice PR session, i am quitting, have it your way. You won. How cool, right? Right? ;)



Thank you for this link, really a nice reading.


Yes, Linux did succeed by being better than other Unixes in ways that count on the server side.

And on the desktop it took a backseat to MacOS for similar reasons.


Have you tried installing MacOS on non-apple hardware? Not sure I understand the comparison.

MacOS shines as long as you are within Apple walled garden, while I personally like MacOS, I know plenty of users who like Apple hardware but not the OS.

Windows or Most Linux distro doesn't have any such limitation and will work out of the box 90%+ of the time.


I am not going to dispute your claims, MacOS does not run on non-Apple hardware.

What I am saying is that many people that would have been Linux users are now MacOS users. And one of those people is me.

I was a hardcore Ubuntu / Debian fan, but then got a MacBook Pro from the company I worked for in 2014. After moaning about it for a while, I'm now a convert. Initially it was because of the hardware, as I love Retina displays for example.

My younger self wouldn't believe what I'm about to say, but things break a lot on the Linux desktop and I don't have the patience for that kind of crap anymore. Not sure how it is nowadays, but back when I was using it, the presence of an Nvidia graphics card meant any upgrade could break your setup. Which isn't acceptable given Nvidia's popularity.

Many times it isn't Linux's fault of course. Surely you can't blame Linux for Skype not working, but the general availability and quality of apps is a big problem. Also I agree that you can't expect Linux to work flawlessly on all laptops and some research is needed for a good experience. Thinkpads are in general good and some Dell models too. But this information is scattered all over the place and translates in even more time lost.

Go to any conference and you'll see a majority of people with MacBooks. Those people could have been Linux users instead. They were Linux users only a few years back.

I'm not saying that I'll never use Linux anymore. I keep using it on the server-side and I might be back to a Linux laptop someday, due to Apple's newfound hostility to power users.

But just an FYI, the freedom argument doesn't really win me over. If all other things are equal, I prefer the open source solution of course, but I've got work to do, bills to pay, projects to finish and a family to take care of, so until Linux improves to the point where I can do those things without wasting time, I'll stay on MacOS.


>Many times it isn't Linux's fault of course. Surely you can't blame Linux for Skype not working

You sure as hell can, because distros love to break application compatibility as often as possible. It's basically the official sport of the Linux Desktop. It's 2018 and it's still basically impossible to distribute an application that will run on any Linux Desktop because of all the fragmentation.

But that's ok, because you can just release your application as open source and find some volunteers to maintain packages for it for all 200 distributions.

Even Linus recognizes what a goddamned shitshow application distribution is on Linux.


While Linux doesn't require as much tinkering to make things work on the desktop like it used to. It still does require more tinkering than out of the box MacOS or Windows10 and does have software support and availability issues for casual or non-developer use cases.

I too never used the freedom argument when using FOSS, but security and speed was a big issue. For the longest time, Linux was ahead of the curve - but I think MacOS and Windows and have since caught up. Windows is still banned in our company for security issues, MacOS is no-go for the price. So we are exclusively an Ubuntu shop. However, I personally prefer MacOS, but Ubuntu is a very very close second choice.


Usually people have problems with Linux, because they're installing bleeding edge distributions and sw. I remember coworker installing some distro with default BRTFS and wondering next week why he can delete some file and other FS related issues.

If you stay with Debian stable, Ubuntu LTSes, or Centos you'll be fine. I promise.


..once you fix a few things [1]:

> This Windows 10 Setup Script turns off a bunch of unnecessary Windows 10 telemetery, bloatware, & privacy things. Not guaranteed to catch everything. Review and tweak before running. Reboot after running. Scripts for reversing are included and commented.

[1] https://gist.github.com/alirobe/7f3b34ad89a159e6daa1


Very guaranteed to not turn off Cortana in fact. Goodbye 300 MB of RAM.


I use Fedora on the desktop but keep a copy of Windows 10 in VirtualBox for times when I need to use Photoshop (I'm a web developer) or some other Windows-only tool.

I recently updated to the "Creators Update" and couldn't believe the amount of shit that popped up after the install asking me pointless questions, trying to integrate with things, trying to get me to activate OneDrive etc.

It's not just post-install either, this stuff pops up when you're in the middle of something else!

The thing I like most about Gnome is how it just stays out of the way. I don't use my OS, I use the applications I have installed. The shell should provide an optimal environment for them to run in and an easy way to launch them - and nothing else.

Don't get me wrong, I've been a fan of Windows for a long time and 10 is the best version for years, but the popular Linux distros and macOS seem to do a better job of staying out of the way of the user.

I think Microsoft are losing track with all the "value added" stuff they're constantly trying to foist on people - and don't even get me started on the tracking.


It is good. The privacy concerns are real though.


> Hell, I have never seen a ReactOS installation in the wild

It's not especially common, but I do know of a couple kiosks and a PoS system that run ReactOS under the hood to avoid Windows licensing.



How the hell do they get PCI certified with ReactOS?


I don't have details, I just happened to see a crash to desktop, but it may not have been certified - many Australian retailers will pay the fines rather than go through the effort of ensuring compliance.


I think it would be pretty rare for Australian POS machines to handle credit card details. Almost everywhere I only see these systems using a separate terminal with its own network connection to handle the card transaction. Usually there is integration (the POS system tells the terminal the price and to prompt for a card) but I don't think the card data ever touches the POS terminal itself (unlike the way they seem to work in the US).

This is a pretty good system, because the terminals are able to be updated really easily. A lot of cafes and stuff also use iPad POS software (one called 'Vend' is really popular here) and it doesn't have to be certified. This is part of the reason that it took hardly any time for almost everywhere to support contactless six or seven years ago. For example at Myer the POS systems look 15 years old but the attached card terminals are usually only a year or so old.


The iPAD solution is certified by the vendor; these employ a PCI P2PE certified terminal and a PA-DSS certified PoS software on the device. The software enforces security controls on the device as well as performs checks such as root/jailbreak detection, iOS patch level, security/passcode settings etc. and if any of these do not match what the vendor specifies (which is what they certified) it won’t work.

As for the terminals on older PoS as long as the PED is certified and the PoS is certitied its not a problem.


Ah the Tesco method. :)


Typically credit card processing is handled entirely by a physical device plugged into the computer. The computer isn't in a PCI zone.


The POS is very much in the PCI zone, the PED and card readers will be certified separately.


If the POS doesn't touch card data how would it fall under PCI?


Card data isn’t the only data that is covered by PCI SSC standards.

Card holder PII is also covered and is even considered more important these days since CC numbers are easy to rotate but your identify isn’t.

Also even if the PoS doesn’t sees the card details it is part of the payment acceptance process and if it’s compromised the payment process can be affected even with P2PE devices.

If the PED is complete separated from the payment process e.g. those in which the vendor has to type in the amount separately and the PoS doesn’t take any any any customer PII ever you may be able to get away with using something like ReactOS on it.


If the pos is system is regarded similarly as a cc accepting website that proxies cc data to an endpoint, then the os shouldn't be a variable of pci compliance


Most (European) terminals don't even proxy to computer, they're completely independent devices connected to wifi that communicate directly with bank. The connection to computer is used only for "1 EUR" and "OK"/"FAIL" kind of messages and are completely optional.


Even on P2PE terminals the PoS is in scope of the PCI-DSS if not the PA-DSS certification (alright I’m not sure how any PoS vendor will fly without PA) as they do (or can) pass some CHD through it even if it’s not the card numbers or the track data.

CHD under the PCI standards also covers PII card holder information which does reaches the PoS for handling refunds, managing promotions, club membership etc.

Even vPOS applications like those tiny card readers that hook to an iPAD as the PoS do a lot of leg work despite of them being P2PE. They check for root, they check for iOS version (security update) they check for proxy etc. That’s all part of the PA-DSS certification for the application developer.

While it’s possible that a retailer who’s big enough so VISA can’t say we won’t gonna allow you to take payments with our cards, and the fines are smaller than the cost of adopting compliance to use these.

I wouldn’t imagine any PoS vendor even going with that since it would essentially put them at huge risk from both the PCI standpoint and general reputation damage.

As for certifying these there isn’t a single PA or PCI-DSS QSA out there that would accept ReactOS as a useable operating system because if something goes wrong the QSA is liable if they certified something they shouldn’t have.


No, you don't understand me. The terminals I'm talking about are completely independent, a computer is a peripheral to them, not the other way around (that's how it is with the ones you're talking about).

These are specifically marketed by banks as not requiring any certifications of the PoS.


Those are P2PE terminals which can be used in this manner but it’s not upto the banks who offer them to define that.

If the acquirer bank and the QSA accepts that your use of these terminals is sufficient then sure go a head but that means you don’t intake any PII via the PoS and you don’t use the credit cards to identify members and don’t use those terminals to scan non CC based membership cards, and you have no PII at all which means handling things like refunds and warranty is also not done via the PoS.


Just curious, can you share a few names?


Only worked with the kiosks directly, which were being deployed by Gumtree-Kiosk to medical clinics, and NEOTouch to retailers.

Both very small Australian companies, probably about 100k deployments between them.


> Hell, I have never seen a ReactOS installation in the wild

I've seen it once so far, because my employer has a no Windows policy for contractual / security reasons and I was requested to translate a foreign-language dialog (on an English language OS installation). It was to solve / use an esoteric bit of Windows, that ultimately did not succeed. I commend the effort to make such a distro, but it is still a decade or longer away from the "casual" techie.


Why would one use ReactOS over Wine? I read this page: https://www.reactos.org/wiki/WINE, but it didn't really provide an answer.

I understand that ReactOS doesn't require Linux as a dependency, but is that a significant win?


Wine and ReactOS are practically sister-projects at this point that share a ton of code.

ReactOS does replicate the NT Kernel, so in theory (if it ever gets there), ReactOS would be able to run Windows Drivers. IE: the "real" NVidia and AMD Drivers or any other kernel-level drivers that exist in Windows land.

These days, AMD (and even NVidia) have decent Linux drivers. And WiFi drivers have Windows->Linux translators as well. But full compatibility to any Windows binary (including device drivers) is certainly a noble goal. There are a lot of little hardware devices that are written for Windows only (ie: specialized medical equipment, CAM / CNC Mill programs, etc. etc.) ReactOS would allow a smooth transition to Open Source if they achieve their goals.

------------ EDIT: It should be noted that there are a ton of Windows OS-level details that Microsoft does much better than Linux too. IE: I'd argue that Microsoft's security model (SIDs + ACLs) is superior to Unix-style Users + Groups. A large group of open-source developers who strongly understand the low-level internals of Windows is certainly a good thing in any case.


You know you can use ACLs on Linux kernels and filesystems?

https://wiki.archlinux.org/index.php/Access_Control_Lists


Yeah. But Windows NT's ACL is kernel level and applies to any object that the NT kernel can make. (aka: anything with a "Handle" can be controlled with Window's security core). MMaps (called "Sections" in Windows), Threads, Processes, Mutexes, and more are covered by Window's ACL security model.

Even then, ACLs are just part of the picture. Windows NT's "SID" system for identifying user permissions is far more flexible than users / groups.

WinVista and later also adds mandatory access control on top of that, in particular event logging / auditing guaranteed by the kernel and "integrity levels". Anything that is "drive by downloaded" by Chrome for example has an integrity level of "untrusted" and thus is locked out of all kernel objects. (IE: "untrusted" integrity in Windows prevents access to files, processes, threads, mmaps, all services, etc. etc.).

----------

Linux's security model is too weak to be used in a modern operating system. That's why Google extended it with all of the Android App stuff. Android's security model is closer to what modern Windows can do.

And if you know anything about Android (despite being built on top of Linux), its security model is quite different. Windows basically offers Android-level security at the kernel level. (maybe a bit more: major services on Windows, such as LSASS aka Login / Password service, can run in an isolated VM for example)


Yes but it certainly isn't as flexible and for networking computers requires ensuring uids and gids don't clash with local users. There's talk of replacing posix acls with nfs4 acls, which were modelled on Windows ACLs.


Linux has ACL too.


Traditional Posix ACLs have quite different semantics than NT's ACLs (Even if you don't grant "Bypass traverse checking" to Everyone).


The Linux equivalent to NT ACLs are called RichACLs, and they are quite new.


ReactOS is meant to be a drop-in solution. Just install it over your existing Windows installation and keep using your machine like nothing has changed. That's the goal anyway.


Yes, if it installs correctly* on bare metal then one can boot to an explorer-like shell in a matter of seconds without going through a Linux desktop.

But I can see an obvious use case - testing. Customer reports an error but you can't reproduce it on your company's Windows development machines. I was able to reproduce a couple of bugs that way with wine and I imagine it could be handy running under ReactOS.

* I've only ever tried it in a VM.


I like what Linux is trying to do, but I havent been satisfied with desktop usage.

Ubuntu server with LAMP is the greatest thing of all time, but desktop Linux has disappointed me over the nuances like mouse acceleration settings, netflix not working natively, etc...


If you have problems with those details on Linux, I don't think you will be a fan of ReactOS.

Since it barely works at all.


Not sure what you mean with "Netflix not working natively" but on Linux you just need either Chromium or a recent version of Firefox (maybe not the ERS version) and enable it to play DRM content. It just works.


That hasn't always been the case, perhaphs he tried it a few years ago when you had to have silverlight.


I watch often TV on web sites on Ubuntu. Almost all issues have been solved in 2017. Before, it was failing more often than succeding.


For what it's worth, today, Netflix works perfectly, at least in (recent versions of) Firefox. The first time you play a video it asks to enable DRM, you click "Accept" and the video plays.

I'm not sure what issues you've had with your mouse in the past, but in the vast majority of cases it works out of the box. I can say that desktop Linux has come a VERY long way in the last 3-5 years.


Wine is in practice more useful. You can run demanding Windows games with it on Linux. So its wider usage is expected.


How long did it take for Windows 95 to be developed? It would be an interesting contrasts between Enterprise and Charitable development.


It's much easier to Greenfield your way rather than reverse engineer (bug-for-bug) complicated code.


Windows 95 still borrowed a lot of code from MS-DOS, though. That's why you could still exit to the command prompt. I think you could do that through WinME.


Huh? Why would you even say this? There's no MS-DOS code in Windows 95, and you couldn't exit Windows 95 to a command prompt. Are you just trying to throw some FUD into this conversation?


No, he's right. Windows 95/98/Me use MS-DOS as a bootloader, and Windows 95+98 still allowed you to exit Windows from the shutdown prompt, leaving you only at the DOS prompt. Windows Me took away the ability to exit, least without a binary hack to IO.SYS that can re-enable it.


You mean DOS Mode where Win9X GUI shuts down and reboots into DOS mode to run DOS software. I was a Win95 beta tester.


The original "It's now safe to turn off your computer" screen in Windows 95/98 actually sent you to a DOS prompt. Because the computer was in graphics mode you couldn't see the prompt but you could blindly type the commands to switch modes and continue to use the computer from DOS.


I didn't remember it either, but Windows 95 actually allowed to exit to DOS.

https://guidebookgallery.org/pics/gui/startupshutdown/shutdo...


You could even configure Windows 95/98 to boot directly to DOS by setting BootGUI=0 in MSDOS.SYS, and then you'd have to run "WIN" to boot Windows


Isn't MSDOS.SYS a binary? Are you sure you don't mean CONFIG.SYS?


According to Wikipedia, it became a configuration file in Windows 95 (MS-DOS 7.0): https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MSDOS.SYS


Interesting, never knew that.


That would've made one of my favorite tricks impossible. Here's what I remember doing about those pesky login screens asking for passwords:

1. Reboot the computer in DOS mode.

2. Change to Windows directory.

3. Delete the .pwl file for a user.

4. Reboot back into Windows 95.

5. Enter a new password in what was once a login screen asking for the old one.

Simpler times for hackers back then. :)


when it starts getting really good, Microsoft will probably sue it to the ground.


How's that? It's open source and they wrote the whole thing from scratch. Even if they abandon the project it's open source and work can continue even after MS has their way with them.


Microsoft has more budget for making coffee for the legal department than ReactOS has budget. Even if the lawsuit has no chance of prevailing, it still can force the ReactOS team to shut down. Oracle made a convincing enough case against Google about copying APIs, IIRC.


You forget about the bigger FOSS community goodwill that they've carefully been trying to cultivate in the past few years that they will throw away by doing that.


I don't think they value goodwill over protecting their core business.


this is the reason why I wrote "probably" and not "will"


They'll try to claim to have patents on key functions, API copyright like Oracle, or look and feel with either type of law. IBM destroyed a company that used Hercules emulator to replace its mainframes with compatibility or competition arguments attempted with failure. Oracle vs Google on API issue shows what can happen when big money gets thrown at lawyers. For patents, Microsoft collecting over a billion dollars on royalties from Android vendors and Apple blocking Samsung in Germany over look-and-feel are examples.

Anything trying to be compatible with a large, greedy company's software is a huge risk if it starts cutting into their profits. Maybe nothing will happen but something might happen. I'm more concerned for companies like EnterpriseDB than FOSS projects like ReactOS, though. The lawyers do prioritize on those making money with the competing software.


Honestly, I don't think we'd try to destroy ReactOS at all. Windows has stopped being a cash cow for us - recently, we've even started to disband the Windows org, moving the kernel to Azure etc.

I wouldn't be surprised if we open-sourced NT, at the rate things are going. Windows devs are likely flattered by ReactOS at this point.


You have a good point. They might just try to suck a lot of the money out of the businesses built on ReactOS like they do with Android. Then again, Android wasn't going to eliminate a lot of revenue from locked-in customers like ReactOS could. I say them forcing royalties is most probable outcome for now.


They've had problems in the past, based on the legitimacy of reverse engineering Windows: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ReactOS#Internal_audit

> Even if they abandon the project it's open source and work can continue even after MS has their way with them.

Such infringement claims are damaging to the legitimacy of the codebase itself. Anyone taking up the project could face the same problems.


In Russia? Yeah, right... :D


I'm thinking seriusly installing on an old computer that haves Windows XP and a Debian 9. I have Windows XP there, because is the last Windows that supports a old Roland plotter from early of 90's. ReactOS can use Windows XP drivers ?


I saw (back in 2012) a ReactOS deployed at points-of-sale in large retail chain in (then Ukrainian) Crimea. Maybe it was cheaper to make their specialized POS software compatible than pay for Windows licenses.


> And now it's finally getting close to actual Windows

Security probably hasn't been tested very much but it probably will be as secure as most other OSes? (i.e., not very secure)




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