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Open Source Software Windows

ReactOS 0.3.14 Released With Improved Networking Stack 176

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the alternative-os-for-the-alternative-hacker dept.
An anonymous reader wrote in with news of the latest release of ReactOS, a project to create a complete reimplementation of Windows. The highlights of this release are the integration of a new network stack based upon lwIP, the ability to build using Microsoft's C compiler, and Wifi support. There are a few options for trying it out (emulator image and a livecd amongst others) and source code over at Sourceforge.
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ReactOS 0.3.14 Released With Improved Networking Stack

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:42AM (#38967267)

    Ah, FOSS Windows 98 for the masses! How we've missed you...

    • by Tim4444 (1122173)

      Didn't you read the headline? "improved networking stack" -- That was XP!

      At least the project is in the spirit of things: http://www.reactos.org/about.html [reactos.org]

      • by unixisc (2429386)
        So will ReactOS have a Teredo or Miredo like support for IPv6? That's one major area where XP is lacking.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:45AM (#38967307)

    At this point I think it's time for me to upgrade from FreeDOS to ReactOS.

    • by Alex Belits (437) * on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:50AM (#38967391) Homepage

      At this point I think it's time for me to upgrade from FreeDOS to ReactOS.

      FreeDOS has legitimate uses -- I have found it on manufacturers' BIOS updater images.
      I, of course, do my updates under Linux with flashrom utility, but I have some taste and sanity, things that most people lose after being exposed to BIOS source code.

      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:09PM (#38967663) Journal
        It's also used in quite a few embedded systems running low-end x86 chips. The advantage of something like DOS in this respect is that it's almost like not having an OS, but it still gives you a basic filesystem and program launcher, then gets out of your way.
        • by Alex Belits (437) *

          It's also used in quite a few embedded systems running low-end x86 chips. The advantage of something like DOS in this respect is that it's almost like not having an OS, but it still gives you a basic filesystem and program launcher, then gets out of your way.

          Actually that would be the original GRUB (or GRUB2 if you like having a requirement for boot media that contains modules -- I don't because my embedded system that uses it, boots from a section in the same flash chip as BIOS).

          • I don't because my embedded system that uses it, boots from a section in the same flash chip as BIOS

            Pardon me, but I was recently fascinated with the idea that something like that might be possible---Stuffing an INT13-reading bootloader, like GRUB4DOS or SYSLINUX, into an archive in the BIOS and then strapping it like any other option ROM.

            I was always fascinated with the idea of separating the initial boot program from the hard disk layout and into the board itself. Running a bootloader from the BIOS ROM would technically allow that to happen, I think, and I thought curiously about the idea of embedding

            • by Alex Belits (437) *

              I don't think, I can be of much help with that beyond the obvious -- unless you are lucky with Coreboot support on your hardware, BIOS development requires licensing some very proprietary, ugly and sanity-destroying code. I believe, Coreboot already can run GRUB2 from the same flash as itself, so that would be a healthier direction if it is available on your hardware platform.

              The modified utilities used in that particular project (grub and flashrom) are at http://www.meyersound.com/opensource/code/ [meyersound.com] , howeve

    • by jampola (1994582)
      I've got an old 19in CRT, p2 450 and an old game cabinet that I want to put to good use. Using an FOSS version of Windows instead of messing with WINE is quite attractive to me, especially for the games that won't run in FreeDOS!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:48AM (#38967351)

    There are many possible reasons why people want a functioning clone of MS Windows that can use the same drivers etc.
    If nothing else, it's an interesting project.

    Why not Linux? Because drivers don't always work. Why not WINE? ReactOS and WINE share a lot of code, but WINE is aiming to solve a different problem. Why not just use old MS Windows? Because the source is not there, and neither is support.

    People would find a use for a Free MS Windows clone the same way that people find a use for a Free MS DOS clone (FreeDOS).

    I for one am excited about ReactOS. Here's hoping they continue the good work for many years

    • Duplicating decade old technology is an interesting project?

      • Yes.
      • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:11PM (#38967705) Journal
        ReactOS is duplicating Windows NT, which is a design originally from 1993, although they're actually aiming for compatibility with the 2001 version. Linux and *BSD are duplicating UNIX, which is a design originally from 1969. Interesting? Maybe not. Useful? Probably.
      • by johanwanderer (1078391) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:17PM (#38967787)
        With Windows XP going away, in a few years you might be looking for an old box to run your favorite program. In another few years you might be completely out of luck. Even further out, what if Microsoft went bankrupt (or bought by Apple, Google, RedHat, whoever) and their OS division is shelved?

        Projects like ReactOS, Wine [winehq.org], DOSBox [dosbox.com], etc. allow you to have another possible path in that uncertain future. Your program might not work out-of-the-box, but you have the source to tinker with and try to get it to work.

        That is probably the same reason for running Wine on Windows [winehq.org], which is probably better than running an old program within a virtual machine [microsoft.com].

        Soon enough, you will probably run all of your programs in a browser [slashdot.org] anyway. But I digress :)
        • by Desler (1608317)

          You do realize you can still run XP all you like even after it's been EOLed, right? Why not just keep running XP instead of an alpha-quality clone?

          • by MightyYar (622222)

            So long as you are happy never receiving another update, security or otherwise.

            Don't get me wrong - I seriously doubt that ReactOS will be up to XP-standards in 2 years, but such a thing certainly WOULD be useful.

          • by fnj (64210) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:52PM (#38968247)

            Um, because hardware evolves. Before too long nobody will have XP drivers for any hardware that is being manufactured. Compatible hardware will gradually cease to be available. Ever try to find a working MFM hard drive to put in that original IBM PC with MS-DOS? How about a Soundblaster card which is the only sound hardware that a lot of DOS games supported?

          • Alpha quality doesn't mean unsuitable for a certain purpose, if it supports a minimal subset.

            One particular use is in software support where an external client may have a certain configuration of XP/Vista/7 that is unable to be deployed on the company's network for licensing, availability reasons.

            Having a free clone is another implementation of 'Windows' that may demonstrate a particular fault not detectable on a developer's machine. On more than one occasion my bacon has been saved by running wine on linux

          • To be fair, it's the 14th revision of the 3rd major alpha release...

        • by Hadlock (143607)

          In my case, I am looking at using React OS when my developer version of Win8 expires. I run a steam chat bot in a windows VM that connects through steam. If I could get steam working on this thing (Tried - can't - yet) I could avoid paying the microsoft tax to run my otherwise free software steam bot. I haven't tried installing the .net 3.5 redistributable package on this yet either, which could be another hurdle.

          That said, it's a pretty impressive chunk of code so far - I'm posting this from inside

  • by Lose (1901896) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @11:49AM (#38967387)
    They almost finished getting the new USB stack up and running in a different branch, but it isn't reliable (or stable even in most virtual environments) to sync it into the main branch prior to release. That's fine in a virtual environment, but on real hardware it would be nice for a few different reasons (ReactOS on USB may be possible soon because of this, maybe even debug output over USB, to name a few).

    I'll just keep building the USB branch until then.
  • ROS has fixed a lot of their issues this last release and I look forward to the upcoming years when it will be stable enough for daily use.
  • Dooooooomed. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @12:18PM (#38967807)
    Best case: ReactOS remains a toy of little practical use.
    Worst case: ReactOS succeeds, Microsoft sues either the devs or the users for infringing several thousand patents.
    • by HBI (604924)

      There will be a repository beyond the reach of Microsoft's software patents.

      • But not so many developers, or users, or corporate sponsors.
        • by HBI (604924)

          It won't be a waste of time. I have heard that said too many times about too many things to believe it for a moment. I heard it about Wine in the 90s.

  • Almost like Hurd (Score:5, Interesting)

    by unixisc (2429386) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:08PM (#38968477)

    I've been hearing of this OS since the time I was a member of an Alpha-NT group. They've been taking all these years, and are not even on 1.x even now. These guys are giving Hurd strong competition on who takes forever to come up w/ an OS, particularly given all the FOSS OSs out there.

    On the project itself, I think that it had a window of opportunity when MS abandoned the MIPS and Alpha versions of NT years ago. At that time, there were NT users for this platform worried about where it would leave them, and this would definitely have been a godsend. However, on the x86 platform, it's pretty much irrelevant - either people have Windows, and if that's not acceptable, they can run Linux. As it is, there are some things, like NTFS file system support that ReactOS doesn't/can't support, so it's not like even close to a complete substitute. The only people I can imgaine who might have (had) an use for it would be NT/RISC users, but that assumes that they never moved from NT to Linux or RISC to x64.

  • The race is on (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Liambp (1565081) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @01:09PM (#38968499)

    to see if they can they release version 1.0 of ReactOS before the X86 architecture becomes obsolete.

  • by GodWasAnAlien (206300) on Wednesday February 08, 2012 @02:21PM (#38969649)

    Without support for modern file systems, It can not be taken seriously.

    They should not dismiss suggestions to adopt use of fuse based filesystems such as ntfs3g, as this may likely be the most direct way to get support for popular file systems.

  • It is a very useful addition.
    That was when I tested their last release.

    I wonder whether they have integrated the WINE code enough so one could do stupid stuff, like trying out the only DirectX 4.0 or 5.0 game that must be out there, Chaos Overlords, on it?

    I'm not sure that I would go these lengths though, I'd probably have to configure the downloaded VM image I use to try ReactOS.

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