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Ask Slashdot: Is ReactOS A Serious Alternative To Windows? (reactos.org) 236

dryriver writes: So I just discovered the ReactOS 0.4.4 Alpha... It seems like this is basically a free, open source Windows replacement in the making. Does anyone have serious experience with ReactOS?

Do you think that ReactOS will ever reach the point where you can basically say "bye bye" to Microsoft Windows, but keep using all your favorite Windows software under ReactOS? Will this be able to run Windows Games and DCC software that taps into the processing power of the GPU? Or will ReactOS wind up being "mildly compatible" with Windows software -- e.g. basic Office productivity type software works, but professional-grade 3D software like Maya/CATIA does not?

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Ask Slashdot: Is ReactOS A Serious Alternative To Windows?

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  • no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:16AM (#54370259)
    simple answer, NO, long answer FUCK no, following legacy designs is a way to ensure you will never be a viable alternative.
    • Re:no (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:26AM (#54370285)

      following legacy designs is a way to ensure you will never be a viable alternative

      GNU seems to be doing pretty well with that strategy.

      • Re: no (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @08:17AM (#54370873)
        Nice attempt to portray Linux as "legacy" when it's as cutting-edge as it gets.
      • Re:no (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Darinbob ( 1142669 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @04:47PM (#54372895)

        GNU first got big because it had tools. It said it wanted an OS but it had tools first. And those tools were better in many ways and with very quick improvements compared to the competition. Unix systems at the time were already very much open source oriented in a lot of ways, it wasn't a confusing issue like today where you see people very wary of anything that's free ("who will support it?" is the cry, despite MS not providing support).

        GNU never did replace the OS. It got into a mode of having to be perfect, and thus never really getting too far off the ground. Linux showed up as Unix was starting its decline, and GNU made that possible by having the tools ready and available. It was mostly marketing I think, free versions of BSD were appearing at the same time but didn't generate excitement for a variety of reasons. The big deal about Linux was getting more out of a normal PC to make it work like much more expensive workstations (dos/windows at the time was utter crap).

        Today, MS may be on the decline too. That doesn't mean people want a replacement like people wanted a Unix-workalike back in the 90s. The biggest die hards in Windows are in the enterprise, and that's a hard nut to crack, the enterprises that used Unix did not switch to Linux. The hobbiest already has Linux, the gamers are going to consoles it seems, and the generic home user is happy with phones, tablets, and netbooks.

        • Re:no (Score:4, Informative)

          by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Sunday May 07, 2017 @05:37PM (#54373169) Homepage Journal

          GNU first got big because it had tools. It said it wanted an OS but it had tools first. And those tools were better in many ways and with very quick improvements compared to the competition.

          People do tend to forget that there were basically no free compilers before gcc. Getting an assembler was easy enough, you might find a pascal compiler (why?) but finding a free C compiler? Nope. Then came gcc. If you weren't running BSD (as in, the BSD, not "*BSD" which didn't exist yet) you had to pay for a compiler.

          Unix systems at the time were already very much open source oriented in a lot of ways,

          They weren't Open Source, except BSD. What they were was Open Standard. They used documented interfaces, so anyone was free to develop a workalike. That's what made Linux possible.

          It was mostly marketing I think, free versions of BSD were appearing at the same time but didn't generate excitement for a variety of reasons. The big deal about Linux was

          The big deal about Linux as compared to the BSDs was the license, which attracted a community of people who were about sharing. The BSDs attracted people who were more like medieval monks. They were cloistered away in little clusters and hoarded their knowledge jealously, snickering snarkily at anyone who had less. Just getting BSD installed was a challenge. I had worked on real Unixes at the time I first tried to install BSD and the difference was absolutely night and day. But Slackware was even easier to install than SunOS4, SunOS5, or anything from SCO. (The SCO stuff was perfectly easy to install. Yes, this was before the big SCO v. Linux badness.)

          Major contributors to Linux have stated outright that they contributed to Linux specifically because it used the GPL.

          • I meant open source oriented, in that most people went and used free software on them.

          • BSD wasn't much different than other Unix systems for installation. The BSD license was pretty open, excepting the kernel parts not written originally by BSD, but that cleared up after a bit.

        • > It was mostly marketing I think, free versions of BSD were appearing at the same time but didn't generate excitement for a variety of reasons.

          It was more then just marketing -- it a was a difference in Philosophy and how it was applied.

          BSD, while "free", didn't provide the guarantee that the code would STAY free like GPL.

          My understanding is that Stallman _could_ have used a corresponding WTFPL [wtfpl.net], Do-What-The-Fuck-You-Want Public License, aka Public Domain, but he was more concerned about companies "hijac

    • Re:no (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:59AM (#54370343)

      With the way Microsoft is beginning to phase out standard programs in favour of UWP applets, I'd say ReactOS has a real chance of moving in and taking over what MS is abandoning.

      • Re:no (Score:4, Interesting)

        by kamathln ( 1220102 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @04:15AM (#54370375) Homepage

        Yeah, ReactOs could be to Windows, what Mate is to Gnome.

        • Re: no (Score:4, Funny)

          by tigersha ( 151319 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @05:30AM (#54370507) Homepage

          ReactOS could be to Windows what a punch card reader is to a VR headset

          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by Anonymous Coward

            So Windows could be to Android/Apple what 1/4inch magnetic tape drives are to solid state disk drives?

          • I disagree. As long as you don't ever want to play a game, or have any of your hardware work properly, I think it's a perfectly viable alternative to Windows.
            • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

              LOL! Oooh, if I hadn't already posted, a mod-funny point to you :)

              But if you seriously want to see what presently works on ReactOS, here's a forum thread; the most interesting stuff is recent, so starting at the end:

              https://www.reactos.org/forum/... [reactos.org]

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          Having messed with ReactOS a bit, and followed it since the beginning, I think that's a fair assessment.

          Right now ReactOS's compatibility target is Server2003, which also makes it compatible with XP (or good enough, tho not yet with the 64bit flavors, nor with NTFS support tho that's on the horizon). That's a significant niche that may have no real end in sight, particularly with the embedded-industrial market, where upgrading an OS can be prohibitively expensive (as in 6 figures or worse) or even impossibl

      • Re:no (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Dutch Gun ( 899105 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @11:58AM (#54371549)

        So, yeah, phasing out Win32 in favor of Windows store apps is Microsoft's wet dream, of course, as you see with Windows 10 S.

        The problems is this: no one is writing UWP apps. The idea used to at least make a tiny bit of sense when there was a promise (however slight) that MS might have a foothold in the mobile market. Now that UWP covers only Windows 10 and Xbox One, there's not as compelling an argument to make for its "cross-platform" capabilities. So, companies that want to target Windows only still write native or C# Win32 apps. Anyone who wants true cross-platform will probably use another technology altogether. Essentially, UWP is sputtering out.

        Instead, what you're seeing is the rise of Microsoft's Project Centennial, which is the conversion of Win32 apps of *any* flavor into a Window Store App (essentially, they run in a container), which is how MS Office is added to the store. So, as you see UWP != Windows Store Apps anymore. This provides some of the benefit of store apps, like increased security and ease of distribution / updates / installation (something many Linux distros have enjoyed for a while), without having to completely rewrite applications.

        We'll see if this makes a difference in the long-term strategy of getting software in the store. I remain skeptical, and believe Windows native applications are far too entrenched in the ecosystem to ever realistically be abandoned. At the very least, MS will always need a "Pro" version that you can actually use for software development (and to run all that pesky "legacy" software), so there's really little chance you'll ever see a complete abandonment of the traditional Windows desktop in the foreseeable future.

        • no one is writing UWP apps. The idea used to at least make a tiny bit of sense when there was a promise (however slight) that MS might have a foothold in the mobile market. Now that UWP covers only Windows 10 and Xbox One, there's not as compelling an argument to make for its "cross-platform" capabilities. So, companies that want to target Windows only still write native or C# Win32 apps.,

          The other counter-argument: you'll just have to rewrite the app when Microsoft changes the API. Win32 is a pain to use, but at least it's stable.

          • "When Microsoft changes the API?" Microsoft, if nothing else, is pretty good about supporting older APIs. Even when they're deprecated, they generally continue to function. Is there some specific example you're thinking of that I can't remember?

            • Windows phone 7, windows phone 8, windows phone 9, windows phone 10
              • Maybe that continuity is limited to their desktop platform. I don't have any experience writing to their mobile platforms. It sounds like you *wish* you didn't either.

                • I don't have any experience writing to their mobile platforms. It sounds like you *wish* you didn't either.

                  tbh I enjoyed the mobile platforms that I got to work with, which was mainly 7. People were paying me to do it, and giving me the phones to work with, so as far as I was concerned, it was just a new toy for me to play with. And there were some good ideas.

                  If I'd had to make business decisions, things would have been different.

        • > So, yeah, phasing out Win32 in favor of Windows store apps is Microsoft's wet dream

          Where have you been? They have been putting wrapped Win32 apps on the Windows Store for a long time now.

          • Um, yes, I'm aware.

            Instead, what you're seeing is the rise of Microsoft's Project Centennial, which is the conversion of Win32 apps of *any* flavor into a Window Store App (essentially, they run in a container), which is how MS Office is added to the store.

    • Not to mention, an open source knock-off of a Yugo (regardless of whether the unwashed masses - not professional drivers - have standardized on Yugos) isn't likely to actually be good. We'll stick with our Batmobiles. ;)
      • Well, if you're going to go with car analogies, people are still buying the VW Beetle almost 70 years later, And minis almost 50 years later. And you'll pay a lot more for a running used super beetle today than a brand new one in the 70s.

        If there were a way to manufacture and sell new super beetles without having to go through safety and emissions, plenty of people would buy them for the nostalgia factor.

      • Professional developers you say? I couldn't convince Chrome to install on the Ubuntu "batmobile" a few months back without a lot of command line fucking about.

        Pro tip: If your software installer fails you show an error message.

        If your software installer is aware that software requires other packages it should install them first then install the package you want to install or fail if it doesn't know where to look.

        What it should NOT do is install the package but then put out a console message saying it couldn

    • Maybe not but the idea makes sense much like FreeDOS and DOSBox makes sense. Windows isn't compatible with itself as it is and we'll be able to use less and less old applications and games in it as time goes on. So having, say, a Windows XP, and a Windows 7 compatible OS/emulation would be nice.

  • Nope (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:16AM (#54370261)

    It's unstable as hell even if you manage to run it on your real HW/VM.

    If you need to run Windows software but you cannot afford a Windows license or if you don't want to run Windows for some reasons, use Wine instead - if your application runs under it, most likely it will run well.

    • Re:Nope (Score:5, Informative)

      by Artem Tashkinov ( 764309 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:24AM (#54370277)

      Do you think that ReactOS will ever reach the point where you can basically say "bye bye" to Microsoft Windows, but keep using all your favorite Windows software under ReactOS?

      In ten years, maybe, if your favourite software is at least 5 years old.

      Will this be able to run Windows Games and DCC software that taps into the processing power of the GPU?

      Not likely, because in 10 years ReactOS will only properly support Windows XP, while Windows will move on so much, there will be no modern GPUs to support Windows XP. Even right now, the absolute minimum requirement for modern GPUs is Windows 7 and ReactOS doesn't support it at all.

      Or will ReactOS wind up being "mildly compatible" with Windows software -- e.g. basic Office productivity type software works, but professional-grade 3D software like Maya/CATIA does not?

      It already is.

      • by Xest ( 935314 )

        Yes, I remember this project when Windows 2000 was released. Given it's had nearly 20 years to catch up and is still nowhere near I don't see why it would suddenly manage to do so now.

        Honestly, with Microsoft's trajectory towards more open source, I think Windows will go open source before this becomes a viable Windows replacement. We'll probably find out in another decade.

    • by wjcofkc ( 964165 )
      Agreed. Wine has come a very long way. For the longest time I never thought it would amount to much more than a curiosity that could run Solitaire. Over the last few releases I have been pleasantly proven wrong. Wine works very well. I still find myself impressed when I try and succeed to install and run something complex.
    • Wine may work provided your application doesn't use any devices other than a keyboard, mouse, display, audio output, storage, and network connection. A lot of applications for which people keep Windows around are applications devoted to accessing a particular hardware peripheral through a custom driver. As I understand it, ReactOS can run drivers for these peripherals, unlike Wine.

      • As I understand it, ReactOS can run drivers for these peripherals, unlike Wine.

        That's the idea. The reality is very different. ReactOS can attempt to install those drivers, and that's as far as it will usually get.

  • Short answer: no (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    But maybe someday. dryriver, it looks like you have just discovered ReactOS but did you also realize that it has been alpha software for 20years? I 100% support their efforts—and have even given them money—but simply put, it is nowhere near replacing Windows in any meaningful way and unless someone wants to give them a $300 million grant, then they will not be any time soon and probably never.

  • My experience running it on VirtualBox, is NO. The last version I tested was 0.4.2 IIRC. Excepting pendrives, keyboards and mouse, no USB device I tested worked, even pretty simple ones like USB to RS232 converters. Most applications crash unexpectedly, and getting pretty simple hardware configured, like the sound card, can lead to lots of crashes and even BSOD easily. I appreciate the great effort that ReactOS team is doing, but nowadays, if you need to run Windows software, you have pretty much better ch
    • by Elledan ( 582730 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @05:22AM (#54370493) Homepage
      I have been trying to position ReactOS as an option for 'Windows' VMs at work for running very specific applications. It does have promise there, but the main issue I stumbled over is that it still identifies as Windows 2003 internally, with for example frameworks like Qt5 having moved on and requiring Windows 7 at the very least (IIRC).

      Having tracked the ReactOS project since the late 90s and participated in it in some manner during those years, I can honestly say that there are a lot of highly skilled and motivated individuals behind the project, who absolutely want to make it right.

      The main problem is - just like with Linux in the beginning and projects like Haiku - that such an OS project requires a lot of hours of work and money. Since all developers on the project just work on it part-time and the ROS foundation doesn't have nearly the amount of cash Linux had even in '99, things move somewhat slowly.

      What would help a lot is if the ROS project would get a major financial backer, so that people could work on it full-time, hire developers and find commercial applications for the OS. That'd kick-start the project like nothing else.
      So far the Russian government has shown interest in backing ROS as an alternative for Windows, as have others. Who knows what will happen there?

      I personally hope that come 2020, ReactOS will at least be on the level where Windows 7 is today, so that I can say farewell to Windows as Windows 7 support runs out. While I absolutely need to run 'Windows' for various applications, I refuse to submit to the horror that is Windows 10.
      • ReactOS uses WINE for all of the userspace stuff, so it's unlikely to be a better option than *NIX + WINE. Its main advantage is if you are using something that has a kernel component, because it provides the same device driver KPIs as Windows, so that legacy bit of expensive hardware with Windows 2000 drivers might work with ReactOS and nothing else that's actively maintained. But for pure userspace code? I doubt it's the best option.
        • ReactOS is in sort of a tricky spot in terms of ever being the best option. Without the resources to chase full compatibility with whatever Microsoft feels like doing; your odds of getting all the drivers lined up and working for relatively new hardware aren't all that exciting(and, since the objective is binary compatibility with Windows drivers, not the development of ReactOS drivers, if the vendor's driver doesn't work you probably don't have any alternatives).

          Legacy systems are more likely to work; b
          • There are some cases where firewalling is difficult. I did some work some years back for a company that specialises in transferring data between different formats (including to and from paper, microfiche, old mainframe tapes, DVD, and so on). They had some very nice scanners that cost over £30K each, and which came with Windows 98 installed running the software. For that much up-front cost, I'd imagine that they're still using them - Windows 98 was EOL even back when I consulted for them. Unfortun
            • by tibit ( 1762298 )

              It'd probably be worth it to reverse engineer the hardware and write a modern Linux driver for the scanners, and then expose them as network services to clients written whatever your heart desires.

    • It is definitely improving. Some applications I tried in 0.4.2 that didn't work then, now do work in the latest release. However, they were still a bit glitchy. I think IF they can sorta start hitting some sort of 'critical mass' (e.g. where enough applications work well enough to attract more users, and at the same they attract a few extra serious developers), they have a shot at something good. I'm keeping an eye on it, I think within a year or two it may be viable to start using it to replace some of the

  • In short: no. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by YukariHirai ( 2674609 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:54AM (#54370325)

    When I first heard about it years ago (15ish?), I thought it was an interesting idea, and it'd be nice to have something that could reliably run Windows software without actually needing to have Windows, but was disappointed that at the time it could only run basically the same handful of things WINE could.

    More recently - within the last year or so - I investigated the idea of using it at work to run some of the software we need without having to either continue using Windows XP or pay to upgrade. The runtimes needed for the software wouldn't even install.

    There's really no advantage to it over Linux in any kind of practical terms, and some key disadvantages. With Linux and WINE, you can run a smallish subset of Windows software, and you've also got the rest of the Linux software ecosystem. With ReactOS, you've only got the smallish subset of Windows software. If it had 100% Windows compatibility or even much greater compatibility than WINE, an argument could be made in its favour, but as things stand it's little more than a novelty. And if it was at all plausible for it to achieve either 100% Windows compatibility or close enough to be worth it, it would have done so by now.

    If you want a Free operating system, go with Linux and live with the selection of software that works with it. If you really do need professional-grade 3D software or other things that are Windows-only, bite the bullet and use Windows. As nice as it would be to have a useful middle ground, it's not happening.

    • by Kjella ( 173770 )

      There's really no advantage to it over Linux in any kind of practical terms, and some key disadvantages. (...) And if it was at all plausible for it to achieve either 100% Windows compatibility or close enough to be worth it, it would have done so by now.

      If it was plausible, the WINE project would have done it by now too. In which case why wouldn't you run Linux and your legacy Windows software? I think that even if things were different the niche for ReactOS is limited to an extremely small segment where you want a 100% drop-in replacement with zero retraining. But the chances of replicating everything so faithfully you wouldn't realize you're not running "real" Windows is basically zero. As long as you got bigger issues that that, it's maybe preferable fo

      • Eve if they could 100% replicate Windows so faithfully that you wouldn't realize you're not running the real thing, they'd be sued into oblivion.

      • by dbIII ( 701233 )

        If it was plausible, the WINE project would have done it by now too

        Moving target.

      • Everybody in this thread keeps talking about Wine, but everybody seems to forget about the paid, heavily-developed port of Wine called CrossOver. Sure, its not free, but since its not, and has a bunch of developers constantly working on it, it runs a LOT of Windows software, quite a few that won't run on the "free" Wine.. https://codeweavers.com/ [codeweavers.com] .. I gave up on Wine a few years ago, and now pay to use CrossOver for the several Windows apps I need to run, and flatly *refuse* to dedicate a machine to Windows

    • Which "professional-grade" 3D software are you talking about? What do you think the major studies and effects houses use as a platform? There are plenty of options on Linux including Autodesk Maya or Softimage.

  • Tech Demo (Score:5, Informative)

    by darkain ( 749283 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @03:55AM (#54370331) Homepage

    ReactOS was a promising tech demo... like 10 years ago. Considering where it has gone from then till now? It seems to be moving along quite slowly, and has an interface that isn't even comparable to Windows 98 yet in terms of usability.

    Need to keep legacy applications alive? Best bet is still VMWare with PCI Passthrough for any legacy hardware you need.

  • by Misagon ( 1135 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @04:45AM (#54370445)

    I think that most people that would be interested in ReactOS or Wine are not because they would not want to pay for a Windows license but because they have concerns about Microsoft's present and future shenanigans. There could be many reasons: from national security to just wanting to keep the machine safe and stable for what they are running.

    That begs the question, what about cracker groups? Are there no cracked versions of Windows 10 out there with telemetry and other back doors switched off, that could only receive screened updates?
    If that is an option for people, why isn't Microsoft concerned?

  • I mean, all we /.ers want is a terminal emulator. And when we get frisky and need graphics, perhaps Eclipse and a browser. Any Linux distro has these nowadays.
  • by DarkOx ( 621550 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @07:13AM (#54370721) Journal

    I have seen it used on a few machines on my companies plant floor that are used to run some very old designer software, that produces a set of instructions that is then sent to machines running 'real windows' but highly isolated. Files get copied to a 3.5" and walked over! The design software won't run on anything newer than XP. The control software is running on WFW3.11 and Win95 in some cases.

    ReactOS seems to be fine for this. The software runs and its basically the only thing the PCs are used for. Prior to this they were running WFW3.11 in DOSBox. ReactOS makes it a little easier for less than tech savy machine operators to get the file onto the floppy disk etc. They were struggling with the virtual/emulated machine concept. Ie I saved the file to the floppy drive, no you saved it to the virtual floppy drive now you need to copy it to the actual floppy. I said I saved it to the floppy. NO! So ReactOS is not without its use case, its just rare.

    As far as the OP's question though. The answer is mostly "No", ReactOS is not going to be a reasonable platform for gaming, and really any kind of media. There is simply no hardware support. It shares a lot of code with WINE but lags behind what even WINE implements. WINE on Linux on the other hand can give you a pretty darn good gaming experience if you do your homework and pick well supported hardware, and check the app database on winehq before you frustrate yourself. Its also good to install apps in their own wine bottle, for best compatibility, and flexibility around libraries and such. If you do that I have found most software will run acceptably, unless you insist on the cutting edge latest games. Stick to titles for a few years ago for best results.

    • ReactOS makes it a little easier for less than tech savy machine operators to get the file onto the floppy disk etc. They were struggling with the virtual/emulated machine concept. Ie I saved the file to the floppy drive, no you saved it to the virtual floppy drive now you need to copy it to the actual floppy. I said I saved it to the floppy. NO!

      So uh, why not point the VM at a physical floppy drive? Are there any virtual machines that won't let you do this?

      • by DarkOx ( 621550 )

        We could not find a way to do it with dos box reliably. The alternative would be to use something like vmware player, but than we would need DOS licenses. Which did not have any of those (that would could prove anyway having held onto the boxes all those years). We have lots of legal copies of WFW, I suspect because the PCs were bought with DOS but not Windows at one point. The WFW boxes and media were kept.

        Auditors get goofy about that stuff no matter how much you tell them Microsoft even if Microsoft

        • We could not find a way to do it with dos box reliably. The alternative would be to use something like vmware player, but than we would need DOS licenses.

          How about FreeDOS in a VM? Or was this pre-FreeDOS?

          Its like 4 PCs so we all just wanted to stop thinking about it as fast as possible.

          That part I understand :)

  • I've been following the project for some years and they same some hardworking people...but they're way to few to take on a project of this size.
    Cloning Windows is a huge huge work and they would need serious financial backing and a lot more people to be a viable replacement for Windows in a short time.
  • Recurring question (Score:5, Insightful)

    by onyxruby ( 118189 ) <onyxrubyNO@SPAMcomcast.net> on Sunday May 07, 2017 @08:09AM (#54370851)

    This question has come a number of times in one form another for well over 15 years. If you can't answer yes to at least three of these four questions your chosen OS isn't a suitable replacement to windows for most people.

    Can the average person use it for typical tasks (internet, printing, office etc.) without friction? If your OS makes someone feel like an idiot they'll lose all interest.
    Can the average person use it without being to be told RTFM? This attitude has done more to keep people on windows than Microsoft's FUD ever has.
    Can the average person run their existing games on it? You don't want to buy a second computer just to play some games.
    Can the average person run routine maintenance tasks at the GUI instead of the command line? The lay person doesn't want to deal with command lines.

    Mac OS largely meets these requirements (games are a weak spot) and is certainly a viable alternative for most people. Android and Chrome are progressing and likely will become viable if Google ever merges the two and improves hardware support. Certainly Chromebooks have become viable for limited educational settings.

    No one else has a product that is remotely viable for the lay person. Professionals and business users have additional requirements that go far beyond these.

    • You don't want to buy a second computer just to play some games.

      I'll assume for the moment that you don't claim to speak for millions of people who buy a Sony or Nintendo computer just to play exclusive games.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I joined the ReactOS team a few years ago. And left again in a matter of days when I realized that ReactOS is just a shell with virtually no functionality. The code quality is beyond description - I have never experienced so poor code anywhere else during a period of more than 30 years of coding.

    For instance, when I tried out ReactOS, you could format the system partition without any warning. Simply issue "format c:" and it happily formatted your Windows partition. Most of the code of ReactOS is like th

  • I'm downloading it now to try it out, but regardless if it can, Linux is already the king of the OS game.

    I run Linux for my desktop OS on all my computers and I haven't missed Windows for one day. Once you leave the desktop, Windows is dead, I don't have a single server running Windows Server, and I don't need them to, because it will give me nothing I can't do quicker or better with Linux. The take away is that well ReactOS might be a great replacement for Windows, as I'm about to try it, Linux alrea
  • by Hognoxious ( 631665 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @09:19AM (#54371019) Homepage Journal

    It'll be an uphill battle. Windows is barely compatible with itself.

  • Just about any FOSS system is a viable alternative to Windows, because it doesn't rely on certain functions becoming obsolute and needing to be upgraded. The prime mechanism of cashflow for MS.

    This is the reason I abandoned Windows after Win2K and moved to Linux. The lack in convenience is annoying - I once again had to manually fiddle with modlines and x11.conf just a few weeks ago (... in effing 2017!!). But in the long run my *nix skills will still be useful and applicable when todays versions of Windows

    • by tepples ( 727027 )

      If you are relying on React to run older versions of MS Office, I strongly recommend you move to some FOSS office package like LibreOffice and ditch the Windows camp alltogether.

      Unless the application you need to run is a pile of macros for an Office application. For example, in my day job, I have seen Stone Edge, which was an order processing application for online sellers written as a set of Access VBA macros, and the client-side prevalidation of product listing feeds in Amazon Seller Central, which is Excel macros.

  • Done before, just run windows on windows...

    -Your friends in the OS/2 Warp Community.

  • by williamyf ( 227051 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @10:20AM (#54371227)

    Short answer: NO!

    Long answer: For running Applications, you are better of with WINE. Hell, at some point even the ReactOS team realized it as such, and did a redesign to use more of the wine code and better align with the wine team.

    But, since ReactOS is a re-implementation of windows, there is the niffty issue of driver support. As in: you can use old win2000/xp drivers with reactos.

    It means that all those applications that use custom HARDWARE/drivers (CNC cutting SW, byte bangers, weird ISA/PCI cards) can run in a somewhat more "modern/supported" os.

    Come 2019, when support for WindowsXP like systems dries out (that's when support for even Windows POS runs out, as well as those support contracts for large organizations), some (but not all) users of said hardware may consider to move to ReactOS, instead of firewalling/mitigating/baind-aiding the olden XP boxes to death.

    But, judging from past experience, I doubt it. ReactOS had XP laying there as a sititng duck for 6 years, while longhorn/vista was delayed, and guess what? they were not able to catch up. Yes, chances are that by 2020 they are to the level of XP, with a little (but not all) of Win7 thrown in the mix, but do not expect more than that...

  • Or is it just a bunch of PC gamers and IT guys in a "Window$ is the best" bitch-frenzy like they normally do? I don't play computer games and like ReactOS. It's not an out-of-the-box Linux distro like a lot are used to. If you can't learn to be more proactive in your setups to get things to work, that's you're your own problem.
  • A ham sandwich is a "serious alternative to Windows", for some values of "serious". It depends on your application and needs.

  • Real usage (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Sunday May 07, 2017 @02:02PM (#54372069)
    I actually use ReactOS quite regularly, mostly within KVM. I find it's a pretty good alternative to Windows. Like most open source software there's a few missing features which are holding it back from being a lot more useful, but overall it's getting better with each release and the future looks bright enough. I think if ReactOS wants more enterprise adoption they need to improve the domain login support, and add support for being an RDP Server/Client. This would allow a lot of companies to drop Windows Terminal Server installations from being used. They charge a full server license for something which is not that complex. The same is true for SAMBA and fileserver support. If ReactOS can improve it's Domain Controller functions, there's not much reason why it couldn't be used instead of Windows Server for a lot of the same tasks. Most businesses just like the ease of GUI administration, SAMBA already gets controlled via Remote Server Admin Tools so it could be a useful drop-in in those use cases whcih frees up Windows Server licenses for SQL/Application servers. Will ReactOS take off in enterprise? Maybe/probably not, but a lot of SMBs that are lazy/cheap will probably dabble with it at some point with varying degrees of success. It mostly depends on what server implementations run on it. Stuff like Filezilla server already runs. Now in terms of desktop OS, it really depends on the use case. It's not quite ready for desktop because of driver/control panel support that's missing, but it already runs older versions of 3D Studio Max, Caligari Truespace, and even Skyrim. I think it's a lot like wine in how it progresses, so at some point it will pickup a lot of functionality. What people forget is that wine has 74% of the Windows API reimplemented. That last 16% is hard but not insurmountable. IMHO there's too much focus on reverse engineering the newer parts of Windows, which is silly. The newest parts of Windows won't help bring in users. Think about it, a Windows user running current software is going to stick with Windows which works 100% for those cases. But a person who just wants their legacy tools to run, would be more open to running a windows alternative as long as their old apps are supported. By ignoring the older sections of the software stack and focusing on just the new stuff. They're always playing catch up, never getting reaching parity, and users who would switch get frustrated that their legacy tools don't work, think wine is crap and stop bothering to switch.
  • Wine is the same thing, but better since it runs on top of a real OS, so you're not forced to use an ancient design and ancient drivers.

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