I just read about an alternative operating system that's intended (eventually) to run programs written for Windows. If this project takes off, it could potentially become a refuge for those of us who can't or won't put up with the annoyances and dysfunctions of Windows 8 and beyond. I could even see an adventurous investor or donor seeing the public reaction to Win8 and thinking about putting some money into this.
Anybody here have heard of it? What do you think?
ReactOS is based on Wine and has been around since the 90s. It hasn't accomplished enough to be taken seriously. It doesn't support .NET at all. Even that passage seems old and was probably written circa 2002 when .NET was new, which means they aren't taking documentation seriously. If developers are basically forced into dipping into this realm, they're probably best off working it out with Mono and/or winelib.
, IIRC, has had a goal of being a cleanroom-style compatible clone of WinXP/2k3, carefully dodging the inevitable onslaught of legal attacks from MicroSharks. As the saying goes, this was never gonna be easy. As the target is end-users and not developers ( unless we count "legacy" x86 developer tools compiling native Windows apps on this team ) it will by definition be a niche group of fans. There is nothing to stop devs from compiling with winelib specifically but I would expect the bulk of ReactOS fans to be running "obsolete" native Windows programs. But with the coming "death" of WinXP and all that high-profile FUD that seen everywhere which makes Y2K pale in comparison, ( Y2K actually had some unknowns, but we certainly understand that the execution of WinXP just means Microsoft will stop patching up all the holes they made in the first place, and it will ironically serve to stabilize the WinXP codebase IMHO ), perhaps the WinXP end-of-life "apocalypse" will drum up some more interest. What it truly needs, ReactOS that is, is a deep-pocketed benefactor to get the thing rolling. I sure hope they are out there trying to secure funding to at least pay for the servers to store the project and some money for advertising. Maybe we can all help by mentioning it from time to time and adding links and images to taglines and such.
However, one big thing has changed since the beginning of this and similar projects and that is that a lot of people have shifted from seeking out a discrete new source of an OS ( ReactOS ) to virtualizing previous existing Microsoft Windows versions instead. As long as the user is somewhat competent and careful, they should be able to run whatever OS they prefer in perpetuity. My guess is that a combination of a fast flash-drive or SSD containing the OS ( or selection of OS's ) they feel like using, which can be wiped and reloaded from disc in the event of an infection makes really good sense. This scenario is good because you can make that particular instance of the OS completely expendable. If it has a problem just restore it. No need to run Anti-virus garbage either and no need to ever even worry about Windows updates ( as if there ever really were more than a couple of legitimate reasons anyway ).
The unforeseen problem with virtualization is that in almost conspiratorial fashion, it sure looks like Intel simply stopped pushing the performance bar higher in a Microsoft-authorized quest to work instead on power consumption for battery life ( even though PC's don't care about that, and many laptops spend their time plugged into the transformer ). It is really not in Microsoft's best interest for PC's to be powerful enough to virtualize or even emulate any software they desire ( and I suspect that government spy agencies will heartily agree ). So we are standing right at the point on consumer editions ( not the "e" Extreme releases ) where another jump in throughput, either higher frequency and/or more cores and/or better architecture and the virtualization experience would be equal to running native today. As it stands, virtualizing an older OS will lead to something being noticeably slower, probably game FPS and other things. With the right combination of SSD and CPU and RAM it can be very fast, but needs that final push. What I'm saying is that we are almost there, and they literally stopped all advancement in its tracks. Compounding the suspicious problem of an arbitrary frequency and core ceiling, Intel has also been playing games with leaving out VT-x on specific models of CPU in quasi-Microsoft fashion ( reserving next Direct-X for next OS, MSIE, etc ) to steer purchasers into certain CPUs, however from the latest articles I've seen, they appear to have included it across Haswell.
On the other hand, I personally I still use native installs for just about everything. If you have a bunch of HDDs ( and you should ), and a bunch of Motherboards/CPUs/RAM ( and you should get them and rescue them before they are all scrapped by fickle consumer MetroTards ), it is simple and fun to construct PCs at will and install a variety of operating systems on different HDDs and then just hook up the one you want to boot from ( or look into multi-booting which has proponents all over this forum ).
Either of these scenarios, virtualization or native completely mitigates dependence on Microsoft, Windows Update, Anti-virus and Malware propaganda, and other stuff. Unfortunately they both rely heavily on one thing - availability of drivers for later hardware on earlier operating systems. This is the ugly underbelly of the x86 universe, or more precisely the evil manifestation of planned obsolescence in the Microverse. The people can solve this by banding together with a movement to pressure OEM hardware manufacturers of everything from motherboards to printers to defy Microsoft and develop more generic device drivers that work in all versions of Windows. They should be asked politely at first ( because it is certainly in their best interest because it widens the potential customer pool ) but then pressured and even warned about not colluding with a known, convicted monopolist. This whole obsolete driver thing is the single point of failure that needs to be rectified IMHO.
On the subject of alternatives to the Microverse, today I saw this website mentioned somewhere ...PRISM ⚡ Break
... a pretty good list ( well a good start anyway ) of proprietary versus free alternatives. Spread it around. Break the bonds of MicroSlavery. EDIT:
Edited by CharlotteTheHarlot, 28 June 2013 - 04:26 AM.