ReactOS Reviews

ReactOS is on the way!

about ReactOS · ·

ReactOS has seen lots of improvements in recent years. Here are some of them:

  • The Windows Explorer and shell code behaves much closer to how it does on Windows XP/2003. For those who said it worked like WIndows 98, it was because the old Explorer had to do a lot of its own work because the underlying APIs were missing, Then a developer wrote an Explorer that worked on Windows. However, at that time, it didn't work on ReactOS. So the underlying APIs and support had to be added. A contract was given to Huw Campbell, if I'm not mistaken, to do a lot of that. Then Gigaherz was given a contract to make the new Explorer work on ReactOS. That took a lot of sleuthing to discover how things worked underneath in Windows -- and to do so in a "clean" and legal manner as the project requires. He got things to where the new Explorer and his code could be merged as it was the other year or so. However, Gigaherz was burned out some by this point, and others picked up the code to make improvements. Others worked to make non-English languages work properly in the Explorer, and Giannis Adamopoulos was given a contract to make the theming support work properly.

  • Disk I/O support has improved in recent years. NTFS read-only support exists and there is substantial NTFS write support sitting in a branch to later be added to the trunk code, with Trevor, the developer who worked on that, returning this year. Alter, the developer for UniATA, has been upgrading his driver in response to problems with it in ReactOS, with 2 major bugs being recently fixed. The FAT32 driver has seen extensive overhauls as well.

  • NTVDM support works pretty good. That is the "DOS" mode you get when you type CMD in the run box. The ReactOS approach of writing it as an emulator means that future compatibility with the future 64-bit port of ReactOS will be maintained.

  • Numerous memory leaks have been found and plugged to provide better stability.

  • A substantial amount of USB code was rewritten last year, with a 3.x driver planned this year.

  • Hermès Bélusca-Maïto did substantial work in getting Word 2010 to working in ReactOS. The registry and profile issues blocking this (and other apps that install using similar strategies) have been addressed, and a workaround for one of the root causes has been put into place. There is more work to do there, but Word 2010 can be installed now with the help of a 3rd party program. In time, the necessary NTLM code will be added to ReactOS.

  • Partition table setup and detection code has been improved in the installer.

  • Some rudimentary parallel port printing support has been added.

  • Various network improvements.

To be fair, while ReactOS is not ready for daily usage on real hardware, it is much closer to being usable.

The project needs donations and developers to be able to proceed. Those who want to help develop it will need to meet certain requirements. They cannot have seen any Microsoft code for whatever portion they wish to assist in writing. That means you cannot have worked for Microsoft as a developer, that you haven't seen either of the sets of leaked source code (NT 3.x ad Windows 2000), and that you haven't seen the Windows Research Kernel (that college students have permission from Microsoft to use for educational purposes and personal use). Then you would need experience in the area which you propose to write code for. Needed areas of expertise include kernel code, memory manager code, platform/hardware driver experience, core networking experience, and audio driver experience, However, if you just have Win32 coding experience, there is still plenty of work to do at the user level, such as ancillary and setup programs.

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Unusable

about ReactOS and Windows 95, Windows XP · · 1 Helpful

Years going, but still in very early alpha. Highly unstable - lots of BSODs, apps crashes, graphical and UI corruptions. Drivers cannot be installed as Update Driver button still does nothing in Device Manager. Even most functions of basic Explorer still doesn't work, including buggy taskbar. Start Menu is similar to Windows 95 instead of more useful Windows XP like with app searchbar and most used apps.

Still dozens of years away from beta stage.

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