Sunday, February 12, 2006

React OS running Win32 apps

I felt Wikipedia done a better job than i could so here is public domain stuff encylopedia on Retro OS. I didn't use the Qemu this time because it doesn't come with any open source software for me to work with. Windows XP is still obviously better OS. However, React OS is free (and source code is avalable) Microsoft has this thing about not showing source code that prevents people from coping their kernal exactly.

The truth is Microsoft is a monopoly in business, home, school PCs and it's not hurting us if something else can do it. Windows has the advantage uns everything (Win32 applications) without crashing while React OS is much more vounderable ot them. React OS can't even execute many applications, but the compatibly is nearing 100% with new builds.


ReactOS is a project to develop a free software / open source operating system that is object code-compatible with Microsoft Windows NT and Windows 2000 applications and drivers. The project is currently in the pre 'Alpha' development stage, although some of the project's goals and milestones have already been achieved as of November 2005.

ReactOS is primarily written in C, with some elements like ReactOS Explorer, written in C++.

Various components of ReactOS are licensed under the GNU General Public License, the GNU Lesser General Public License and/or the BSD License.

To ensure that no part of the OS is tainted with leaked Microsoft code, a total source code audit has been ordered by the leading ReactOS developers.


Around 1996, a group of open source developers started a project called FreeWin95, with the aim of implementing an operating system that would be a clone of Windows 95. The project stalled in discussions of the design of the system.

At the end of 1997, the project still had no results. The project members called to revive the project, the project's target was changed to Windows NT and the project's name was changed to ReactOS. The ReactOS project began in February 1998, with developing the kernel and basic drivers.

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Allegations of disassembled Code

On January 17, 2006 Hartmut Birr wrote a message on the ReactOS Developers mailing list (ros-dev) with the accusation that ReactOS contains code derived from disassembling Windows. [1] As a result of the allegations, the project has decided in a closed meeting to suspend public svn access, forum, discussion and e-mail archive. All but access to the old subversion repository was been restored shortly afterwards. The project has also decided to audit the code to look for possible code that wasn't a clean room reverse engineer and make all developers sign an agreement to only use clean room reverse engineering. This is expected to set the project back by a lot as it could take years to complete the audit and rewriting of affected parts of the source code. This audit was done by creating a new repository and copying code from the old repository as it is audited.


As of 2005, the ReactOS kernel is quite stable, many APIs and ABIs are ready for a higher level of development and a basic GUI is available. ReactOS features ReactOS Explorer, which is a basic shell for ReactOS, similar to Windows Explorer.

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Version 0.2.0 of ReactOS is able to run many Win32 applications, including Notepad (a basic text editor), Regedit (the registry editor), Cmd (the command-line interpreter), and several other applications (such as AbiWord) and basic games (such as Quake and Quake II, and the Wine clone of Minesweeper).

Since 0.2.6 Dillo, mIRC, and a DCOM components of the Mozilla Firefox web browser (using the Gecko rendering engine) run in ReactOS. Some games like Unreal Tournament and Deus Ex are confirmed to work, using software rendering. Also OpenGL runs with some minor problems, using the nVidia driver or the software implementation Mesa 3D. And the first webserver (Tiny Web server) and The UltraVNC Client are reported to work. As shown in the screenshot on the right, even (Version 1.x) works partly.

As of Version 0.2.8, some elements of TCP/IP Networking work, as well as a better number of applications, such as Notepad, AbiWord, OpenOffice, Deus Ex, and Unreal Tournament. Sound and USB support is still being worked on (SB16 works partially, and USB OHCI and UHCI work is still being undertaken) The USB functionality is 'borrowed' from Cromwell. Plug and Play work has also begun, as has the move to support WDM. In addition to the Lynx text-based browser, ReactOS can use DCOM components from Mozilla to browse web pages graphically.

ReactOS 0.2.8 can also detect whether it is running in a VMware environment, and can install the SVGA Driver from the VMware Tools ISO, to provide a better level of GUI performance. CSRSS has also been totally rewritten, and a 'written-from-scratch' implementation of Ws2_32 is scheduled to arrive very soon. Also present in the Trunk are somewhat-working elements of ddraw, dplay and dplayx.

Currently ReactOS is being audited (see above section) and currently does not function at all.

Related projects

ReactOS works with the Wine project so that the ReactOS project can benefit from Wine's progress in implementing the Win32 API. These efforts mainly concern Wine's DLLs, most of which can be shared between ReactOS and Wine. Both projects work on cross-compatibility issues, so that the remaining few DLLs can be used in ReactOS.

Another related project is Samba TNG, which implements dozens of services, such as LSASS, SAM, NETLOGON, SPOOLSS, that are key to the success and (functionally correct) interoperability of the ReactOS project. Samba's architectural design and strategic goals make it a difficult prospect to consider integrating into ReactOS, whereas Samba TNG's multi-layered and modular approach make it far easier to consider porting each service to ReactOS.


The ReactOS roadmap indicates release (0.3.0) will include full TCP/IP networking support. ReactOS Developers are also currently working on support for USB. For this the Cromwell version of the Linux implementation is ported. Also being worked on is the homepage.

ReactOS developers are working on improving the GUI system, adding networking, multimedia, and plug-and-play hardware support. Java and .NET support (through Mono) has also been stubbed. After multi user environment is developed Terminal Service and Remote desktop will be developed, for this XRDP, VNC and rdesktop will be used. Provisions for DOS, OS/2, and POSIX subsystems have also been made, in a similar fashion to the Windows NT subsystems.

In October 2004, the goal for version 1.0 was articulated as a stable implementation of a subset of Windows Workstation ("ReactOS Workstation"), including TCP/IP networking, client-side and server-side support of CIFS, OpenGL, DirectX and support for Windows device drivers via WDM.

Among these, some have stated that several well-developed open source operating systems already exist. (Currently all based on or modeled after Unix: Linux and the various variants of BSD.) They feel that rather than building a new operating system, it would be better to concentrate on improving these and work on Wine so that they can better run existing Windows applications. However, ReactOS developers argue that an OS which is more like Windows at a lower level (that is, designed to be similar to Windows rather than running an application that tries to turn an OS into Windows) is more likely to achieve broader compatibility with the existing base of Windows applications.


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