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The State of ReactOS's Crazy Open Source Windows Replacement


Martin Iturbide:
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jeditobe writes with a link to a talk (video recorded, with transcript) about a project we've been posting about for years: ambitious Windows-replacement ReactOS: "In this talk, Alex Ionescu, lead kernel developer for the ReactOS project since 2004 (and recently returning after a long hiatus) will talk about the project's current state, having just passed revision 60000 in the SVN repository. Alex will also cover some of the project's goals, the development and testing methodology being such a massive undertaking (an open source project to reimplement all of Windows from scratch!), partnership with other open source projects (MinGW, Wine, Haiku, etc...). Alex will talk both about the infrastructure side about running such a massive OS project (but without Linux's corporate resources), as well as the day-to-day development challenges of a highly distributed team and the lack of Win32 internals knowledge that makes it hard to recruit. Finally, Alex will do a few demos of the OS, try out a few games and applications, Internet access, etc, and of course, show off a few blue screens of death."

Dave Yeo:
Rumour was that when Reactoss was first starting they approached some OS/2 developers about including an OS/2 sub-system but none of the OS/2 developers liked the GPL and didn't co-operate.
It's a shame as Reactoss being a NT clone, it is the most suitable to running OS/2 programs. NT (up to at least Win2k) did a good job of running OS/2 1.x (16bit) applications, you could even fire up tedit and load a virtual config.sys and adjust things like the libpath and with the right kit which I forget the name of, the old 16 bit Presentation Manager was also there. This wasn't too surprising as NT started out as OS/2 NT v3 (have a byte article somewhere describing MS getting it to boot to text mode on some RISC processor) and was built to have various sub-systems or personalities.
I also have a Byte article (actually little news bit) about MS successfully getting the 32 bit Presentation Manager running on NT (probably v4). Somewhat easier for them as they have the source code for the PM as well as NT.
Seems to me that even now the Reactoss Kernel would still be a better choice then the Linux kernel to run OS/2, in theory only needing doscall0 added to the kernel and doscall1.dll to interface with it, and then the OS/2 DLLs could be loaded on top. Of course things like the Multimedia DLLs would also have to be rewritten to interface with Reactoss but it seems like a better course for a kernel and drivers then trying to adapt to Linux which internally is very different then OS/2 and NT.


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