Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
ReactOS Community Edition (reactos.org)
46 points by kercker on Apr 2, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 36 comments

I still don't really understand the advantage of ReactOS in any particular situation, although I suppose if you really liked NT-era Windows (and people do) it's a re-enactment society for that.

It's about "NT-series". Windows 7, 8.1, XBoxOne, WinPhone 8 are all Win NT series operating systems. Each newer version brought some improvements.

So it's not about ancient Windows NT 3.5. ReactOS aims compatibility (Win32 apps and drivers) with more modern Windows versions.

But it doesn't even run Java 5 for Win98...

contulluipeste, in case you see this, you should know you have been hellbanned. I am not sure why — just a heads-up.

I couldn't help but notice another hellbanned user with a variation on contulluipeste's username here: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=7517159

Windows 98 is not NT.

In addition to the compatibility point that someone explained, there is also the fact that XP is much lighter than his successors.

I can install XP on a VM and get away with a few GBs of space; the last time I tried Windows 7 instead, the space occupied started to grow uncontrollably, even after making little changes.

With XP ending support, I see many corporate customers switching to ReactOS. Firstly it's free rather than paying for a Windows upgrade, and secondly the premise is that all your apps will keep working exactly the same way, so no compatibility problems, and hence hopefully little to no downtime.

To think that businesses will latch on to a solution that has never left alpha stage for development is shortsighted at best. There are far better solutions for making your XP applications continue to operate on modern systems.

Or what we will see instead is the status quo support or not from Microsoft. There are plenty of 9x machines out there.

I don't. However, Wine on Linux is plenty up to running quite a lot of software for production use (I have personal experience of this) and is IMO generally worth a try if you don't want to set up a gratuitous Windows VM.

Having an elevator-pitch somewhere obvious where an idiot like me could see/find it would have been nice. They really could have put 'awesome' in 15 different fonts and sizes, and maybe some 'more awesome' in there and it would have told me just as much.

I'll save everyone the wikipedia jump: This is intended to be binary-compatible with windows NT-based applications.

Wow, now if these guys could magically continue support for WinXP, they would become filthy rich! Of course this is not possible, since it would entail uninstalling all current XP machines and installing ReactOS and hoping that ReactOS == WinXP

You could still maintain a level of compatibility for some critical enterprise apps, and ReactOS could provide enterprise services for specific apps.

Anyway,there is no silver bullets or easy solution to the XP migration problem,especially critical apps that relies on IE<=8 depreceated features. Does ReactOS runs IE by the way?

It does not.

Has anybody tried this? Thoughts? How well does windows compatibility work IRL?

(former dev)

ReactOS is an open source reimplementation of Windows NT series operating system (e.g. Win 2003 Server, 7, 2008). Similar to Linux started as an reimplementation of Unix.

ReactOS has binary compatible with Windows. This allow your Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on your Windows system. Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used (Win95 classic style and WinXP theme support).

ReactOS is still in development, but a lot of Windows apps and some several types of hardware drivers work fine or with minor glitches.

You can find screenshots on http://www.reactos.org and even more on the following page: http://old.reactos.org/en/screenshots.html

Would love to dig up my old Win95 Holmes' London theme with the smoking pipe mouse pointer to see if it would work with ReactOS.

Gosh I remember that theme! Don't forget the "Island Man" [0] screensaver, Johnny Castaway. We used to spend hours watching him and his antics back in the day. I miss the whimsy of yore.

0: http://web.onetel.net.uk/~gnudawn/johnny/

Observe: a proper, old-school 90s website unravaged by time.

I tried it.

It's simply not suitable for real-world usage, and actually, not suitable for anything more than installing it in a virtual machine, playing with it for fun, and destroying the VM. The "alpha"ness of ReactOS is not the same concept of, say, Ubuntu.

Sad, but true. It needs a huge amount of work; compatibility matter little - if one needs compatibility for a given up, wine is a much more usable choice.

If one really needs XP compatiblity, I think an XP in a virtual machine without networking is going to be the workaround for a very long time.

Since they doesn't go into any specifics, i suspect the same as wine?

It's been some time since I've looked at ReactOS, but it's a bit more than that.

ReactOS actually uses some of the wine libs, and the two projects work together.

IIRC, ReactOS actually aims for driver compatibility, so you should be able to completely replace Windows with React.

Well, they don't "work together" - Wine devs avoid ReactOS code and devs like the plague. However, Wine is happy for ReactOS to use their DLLs - so Wine does Win32 and ReactOS does the lower, weirder layers that Wine doesn't bother with.

> Wine devs avoid ReactOS code and devs like the plague

Is this due to any patent/copyright issues?

Copyright worries, I believe. Wine is paranoid of contributors who may have looked too closely at Windows or reverse-engineered it in potentially risky ways. I am vague on details.

Also, Wine is LGPL and ReactOS is GPL, so no code can flow in that direction.

uaygsfdbzf, you are marked as dead. I believe this is due to a somewhat brusk comment you made earlier, but your other comments deserve to be seen.

I'm glad I read this comment. Maybe my basically driver-defunct M-Audio Firewire 410 can be revived using ReactOS. Cool.

Wine works better. For example, it has better 3D support since it can leverage the host stack. Some non-3D apps like Java run better under Wine too.

I wonder if ReactOS could position themselves as an upgrade path for Windows XP users, now that Microsoft is ending support?

"Switch to ReactOS--run your legacy apps out of the box, and stay current with security."

Being under active development doesn't mean that ReactOS is secure. Sure, there's attention being paid to OS-level security policies (user accounts, passwords, etc.) but there's nowhere near enough dev resources to focus on the kind of vulnerabilities that are actually exploited against win32 systems (ie. bugs).

Running a Windows firewall and virus scanner might help, but a) do they run reliably (they certainly hook into the OS more than most standard apps) and b) how many exploits will be ReacOS-specific?

That's an interesting question: Is ReactOS even vulnerable to win32 exploits? In other words, are the vulnerabilities flaws in design, or flaws in implementation? (Or some of each?)

Wine does Win32 well enough to run malware. It's not so much 'sploits as just running software that does socially unpleasant things.

I guess they've improved their compatibility since 2005: http://archive09.linux.com/feature/42031

It's actually in the FAQ: http://wiki.winehq.org/FAQ#head-1c91cac836dd52754c846d2ef62b...

tl;dr don't run toxic waste without due caution.

This appears to be a pure marketing site aimed at getting IndieGoGo donations. Nothing really new to see here if you've looked at ReactOS in the past (no, 0.4 isn't out yet).

I think the project is worthy of marketing. Nothing wrong with trying to get some jake together to speed development if that's what they're trying to do. Full time developers should be working on this effort.

Hah my first thought seeing screenshots was "oh, looks like windows 95" :D but the page was more about "joining a revolution" than giving me actual information

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact