So it's not about ancient Windows NT 3.5. ReactOS aims compatibility (Win32 apps and drivers) with more modern Windows versions.
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.
Or what we will see instead is the status quo support or not from Microsoft. There are plenty of 9x machines out there.
I'll save everyone the wikipedia jump: This is intended to be binary-compatible with windows NT-based applications.
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?
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
Observe: a proper, old-school 90s website unravaged by time.
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.
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.
Is this due to any patent/copyright issues?
Also, Wine is LGPL and ReactOS is GPL, so no code can flow in that direction.
"Switch to ReactOS--run your legacy apps out of the box, and stay current with security."
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?
tl;dr don't run toxic waste without due caution.