Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed

 



Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Wine Software Linux

Steven Edwards On The Future Of ReactOS And Wine 157

Alex_Ionescu writes "WineHQ brings us the scoop on the latest developments in ReactOS, as well as on Steven Edward's excellent job on porting Wine to MingGW and linking the two platforms together. This is an interesting insight into the WINE and ReactOS project, and a must-read for anyone interested into the future of Windows-replacement projects like these."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Steven Edwards On The Future Of ReactOS And Wine

Comments Filter:
  • Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jschottm ( 317343 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @12:40AM (#9264339)
    Unix was cloned for a number of reasons. First, it's (or very similar clones) been used extensively in the teaching of college level OS courses (Lyons, Tanenbaum, et al), so when students decided to write their own, it was natural to model their OSes after what they'd learned. As has been beaten to death in the past few weeks, Minix was specifically designed to be small and compact so that students could understand it in a semester. How many versions of Windows is that true for? *BSD obviously came out of the education system, and Linux was written in response to Minix.

    Second, Unix systems have been established a track record of power and reliability (yes, there have been very bad Unixes, and they tend to have been removed from the marketplace). Windows ... hasn't. It's gotten remarkably better, and a good deal of its problems are due to 3rd party drivers, but my well maintained W2K desktop and XP laptop still need to be rebooted every two or three weeks. And there's the never ending string of serious vulnerabilities. At an OS level, Windows has a lot of nice ideas. The problem is, most discussions about them seem to run, "They had a nice idea, but..."

    Windows is changing rapidly, in ways that are likely to make programs incompatable with older versions (the better to force upgrades with, I'm sure). I'm sorry, but if after 7 years of work the project is almost within grasp of being able to use a DHCP client, I don't see any way they can keep up with Microsoft. If they want to work on it as a hobby and have fun doing so, more power to them. I just don't see it as being something overly useful. Screenshots of minesweeper (with poor graphics) aren't what I want to see. I want to see a version of Group Policies, Active Directory capability, and so on.

    *BSD and Linux suceeded, not simply because of price, but because they were *better* in various ways than the competition. Microsoft has a tremendous software and driver collection, and has begun to do some really cool stuff. OS X has a simple UI that many people adore. What does ReactOS bring to the table, if it's three generations behind Microsoft? DR-DOS was cheaper and better (IMO) than MS-DOS, but Microsoft still ground it underneath their boots.
    • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mycroft_VIII ( 572950 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:00AM (#9264493) Journal
      Well from reading the article (please don't kick me off, I won't let happen again honest:) )
      I would say two things
      1) an open source code.
      2) as part of thier developement process thier creating usefull tools and info to help developers of windows software port to linux, or even write code that easily ports from one to the other.
      The reason Dr. Dos and other failed was in part do to the fact that it depended on income to succed and thus could go belly up financially. Much harder for an open source project do that.
      Also Microsoft wrote code in thier apps that generated false error messages in some dos replacements, giving the false illusion that the dos replacement was buggy or incompatable. FUD wasn't used because microsoft was feeling sadistic, it was used because it worked.
      Of course one of my favorite reasons for writing any open source/freeware code is 'why not?'

      Mycroft
      • p.s. and o.t. anyone else think it wasn't to swift an idea to post several new stories while doing database maintenance and thus preventing any posting.
        Sheesh look at the number of 'first posts' it caused.

        Mycroft
      • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Keeper ( 56691 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:36AM (#9265018)
        Also Microsoft wrote code in thier apps that generated false error messages in some dos replacements, giving the false illusion that the dos replacement was buggy or incompatable. FUD wasn't used because microsoft was feeling sadistic, it was used because it worked.

        The message was only present in *beta* versions of Windows 3.0, and was non-fatal. It was not present in the released version.

        DR-DOS 6 actually did not emulate some internal data structures Windows 3.1 used, and would cause Win3.1 to crash under certain conditions. These problems were corrected in a patch which was released ~6 weeks after Win3.1 came out.
        • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Informative)

          by JohnFred ( 16955 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @05:00AM (#9265229) Homepage
          This is just NOT true. It's revisionist history. However, the nice thing about the web, is that the original article written by the first person outside MS to discover the code is still online. [ddj.com]

          This is what's known by historians as a primary source.

          • Okay, to clarify what the parent said so that Mr. Picky here can be mollified (from the linked article): The non-fatal error message appeared only in two widely-distributed beta builds of Windows. But since the retail version of Windows 3.1 doesn't produce it, this is just dead history, right?

            Yes, the message still existed in win.com, but it was not shown on retail releases of Win 3.1 running on DRDOS. Thank you for clarifying because I've been saying for years that I thought I remembered running Win 3.
          • You might want to read your own article.

            "[...] the retail version of Windows 3.1 doesn't produce it, [...]"
            • And you might want to complete the reading yourself. If you had, you would then know that the message *is* still contained within the retail version of Windows 3.1, in fact there was additional code added to the section that produced it. The only reason it didn't display, was because a control byte was set to 0. Which, of course, means all Microsoft had to do was change that one byte to restore display of the message. The code to produce it was still there.
              • What kind of freaky troll logic is this? "Even though it didn't show an error message, I will insist that it did, because there was code that could do it if they wanted it to (even though they didn't)."
      • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by jschottm ( 317343 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:36AM (#9265020)
        1. True. I find it more academically interesting that other groups are using/considering using the kernel with a different user environment than the concept of cloning Win NT. But I can't help but wonder if the effort would be better spent working on Wine or allowing Linux or FreeBSD to use Windows drivers. But as you said, why not? It's their time and their choice.

        2. Open source may not need money to survive, but it does require "the itch" that causes the programmers to scratch. Remember, writing the software is the easy part. Testing the code and making it bulletproof is the hard part. I've seen many open source projects get 90% done and fall apart because they find that there just isn't that much consumer interest in it, and there wasn't the motivation to get over the hump of sitting there are 2 in the morning trying to track down that memory leak that seems to only happen every 27th time a function is called.

        As far as DR-DOS, what makes you think that if ReactOS were to actually threaten MS, what makes you think they wouldn't squash them through use of FUD, patents, or other such measures? Given that MS Office is still 'the killer app' for offices, I doubt it would take much code to make it develop mysterious errors when running under ReactOS.

        Other than the fun-for-the-programmers aspect, I'm still just not seeing the target market for this. With home users, either they need the absolute basic stuff (word processor, e-mail, spreadsheet, browser). I suspect that by the time that ReactOS is finished and stable, there'll be cheap Walmart or AOL branded Linux boxes that fill that role nicely. Home users looking to play games won't be interested, because modern games will be so far above what NT can handle. (I suspect that MS has more people working on DirectX alone than the entire ReactOS team.) And most business users will shy away from anything that's not heavily tested. My employer provides me with a copy of VMWare and WinXP, because it's far cheaper to purchase those than to have me burn hours futzing around with a first generation cloned OS.

        So we're back to "why not," which I think is a better answer than, "why clone Unix?"
        • Mostly I agree with your points. Especially about a driver compatability layer.
          I honestly think one of the best outcomes of this project is the knowledge and tools gained that can make Linux a more attractive target for developers, or at least an easy port target. Getting the software on open/free software is a significant hurdle to mass consumer acceptance (assuming that matters to you) and making it easier to devlop/port and run would a major plus in that regard.
          As far a rigging office is concern
      • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:1, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        The reason Dr. Dos and other failed was in part do to the fact that it depended on income to succed and thus could go belly up financially. Much harder for an open source project do that.

        No, the reason DR-DOS failed is because it is *DOS*. By the time it became popular (the DR-DOS 5.0 days) it was already irrelevant.
    • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by burns210 ( 572621 ) <maburns@gmail.com> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:31AM (#9264639) Homepage Journal
      after 7 years, the infrastructure is almost there to use a dhcp client... but dhcp, is a layer 7 protocol, and that implies a LOT of stuff working below(in ip, tcp, etc...) and a lot of the OS working, for something as high-level as dhcp to work. if it was ping, then big deal, but dhcp implies a lot. Besides, the firt 60% is the hardest, just plain work that isn't fun... and it goes the slowest, but once that 60%, or whatever the magic tipping weight is, a lot of stuff just falls into place... it might take 10 years to achieve X, but once X works, that means Y and Z both work, and Z and X combine to make A, B and C all work...

      it snowballs my friend. It is a slow rolling snowball, but it grows and grows and grows.
      • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Olivier Galibert ( 774 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @05:11AM (#9265256)
        DHCP only implies UDP, and that's rather easy. In fact, I participated in a project where it took ~6 months to get IP/UDP/ARP/DHCP running in VHDL on a FPGA, and let me tell you, it's way harder than in pure software.

        TCP on the other hand is really complex.

        OG.
        • O i realize that, but at the same time, they are borrowing from FreeBSD's and Linux's tcp/ip stack,(i believe that is what i read) so that will speed things up. Also, they are not all working on the networking stack, ofcourse.
    • What does ReactOS bring to the table, if it's three generations behind Microsoft?

      Well, once ReactOS development gets to an advanced enough level, I'd be able to play some of my favourite games without having to boot into Windows.

      I'm not as concerned with commercial viability as I am with the ability to run Windows programs without having to use a proprietary OS. Whether or not it's a commercial success is really irrelevant. Look at Linux--it's nowhere near as commercially viable as Windows (and I'm not
      • Well, once ReactOS development gets to an advanced enough level, I'd be able to play some of my favourite games without having to boot into Windows.

        So in other words, it does not really bring anything to the table.

    • Wasn't Unix cloned and/or forked to support different hardware architectures?

      OTOH, building a Windows clone (ReactOS) and *then* trying to emulate it in user-space might be easier than trying to emulate it right away (Wine), especially when you want bug compatibility.

    • Windows is changing rapidly, in ways that are likely to make programs incompatable with older versions (the better to force upgrades with, I'm sure).

      Okay, I'm following you so far...

      If they want to work on it as a hobby and have fun doing so, more power to them. I just don't see it as being something overly useful.

      HELLO! You already explained exactly why this is useful. In 10 years, when I want to run some "ancient" program that doesn't work with the latest version of Windows, I'll either have to dig

    • Re:Why clone Unix? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Minna Kirai ( 624281 )
      Unix was cloned for a number of reasons.

      No, Unix was never cloned at all... at least not in the same sense that ReactOS is a clone of WindowsNT. But then again, Unix isn't even a piece of software. UNIX(tm) is, however.

      ReactOS aims for binary compatibility with Windows (it barely works, but that is their goal). Linux and BSD not only lack binary compatibility with UNIX, they don't have complete source code compatibility either- and their maintainers don't want to add it, considering some old UNIX way
  • by Quattro Vezina ( 714892 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @12:42AM (#9264355) Journal
    ...I can't help but worry that Microsoft is going to screw them over. I think that the more ReactOS develops, the more likely we'll see an immoral patent-infringement lawsuit from Microsoft against ReactOS.
    • Patent-infringement lawsuit? If we're lucky.

      I wouldn't be suprised to see it spark a national security investigation over the gathering threat these FS/OSS terrorists pose to our way of life!
      • I wouldn't be suprised to see it spark a national security investigation over the gathering threat these FS/OSS terrorists pose to our way of life!

        Hmm...as much as many Slashdotters think that some ``anti-terrorist'' crusade against OSS is going to happen (over something, if not this--people have brought this up numerous times in various comments to earlier articles), I very seriously doubt it'll happen over something like this.

        IMO, it would take something really big, like some kind of OSS-based attack
        • by fireman sam ( 662213 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:50AM (#9265059) Homepage Journal
          Actually, it is some US companies that are trying to sell to the government that OSS is "un-American" and "goes against the American way of life", is "used by terrorists". You know what companies they are so I wont bother naming them here.

          What the parent poster, and all other posters (me included) that associate OSS with terrorism, being un-American, a hippie, a communist, etc. Is using it as sarcasm, as if they were posting directly to those companies who are saying such things.

          ie:

          SCO: "Linux is unAmerican and is a terrorist threat to national security"
          LZelot: "Ohhh, Well I guess there is going to be a big national full out anti-terrorist investigation, and a $100000000 bounty on all penguins"
          SCO: "See, even the zelots agree"
    • This is IMHO as fatalistic as a comment can be.

      Lets not do anything, because we'll loose anyway. Some idea like don't leave your house, the day will be shitty anyway.
      • This is IMHO as fatalistic as a comment can be. Lets not do anything, because we'll loose anyway. Some idea like don't leave your house, the day will be shitty anyway.

        I never said anything of the sort. I said there was a risk, I never said it was an unacceptable one. I made another comment elsewhere on this article, which supported ReactOS.

        Just because I worry about something, doesn't mean I'm paralyzed with fear or that I want others to be.
  • Thanks... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by NamShubCMX ( 595740 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @12:50AM (#9264424)
    Although I don't see the use now, I know that 10 years from now on, I will say THANKS too all the developers that will have allowed anybody to use their old unsupported softwares...
  • Good progress (Score:5, Informative)

    by WhoDaresWins ( 601501 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:01AM (#9264510)
    I've been surprised how far ReactOS has come along. I didn't expect them to progress this much by now. I could actually install the last release on real hardware and it installed and ran AbiWord just fine! BTW a lot of people seem to have problems with the install CD .iso based installation of ReactOS. There is a simpler way to run it if you have a FAT16 or FAT32 C:\ boot partition, just download the binaries and unzip them to C:\ReactOS\. Then just boot from a DOS floppy and run aboot.bat within C:\ReactOS. Works like a charm everytime (for the past half dozen releases anyway). BTW if you insatall the VESA mode VBE driver (search the kernel mailing list) then you can get AbiWord working in true color. Its impressive to see it working considering how far ReactOS has yet to go.
  • by foreverdisillusioned ( 763799 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:07AM (#9264538) Journal
    porting Wine to MingGW

    Hey, why not call it that? "Port"! I dunno if renaming a port is unusual, but if so I think we can make an exception in this case.
  • by Politas ( 1535 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:07AM (#9264540) Homepage Journal
    That's the most remarkable thing I see. That this project is close enough to functional to become a developer's main OS.

    That's a pretty big step.

    Wonder how long before it's ready for gaming?
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Pretty amazing really. Myself and a whole lot of other folks are going to have to eat some crow. When this project was first announced, so many of us mocked it as being a pipe dream. I figured it would be like all those zillions of projects at Sourceforge that have grand ideas, but no code, no developers, and no activity . . .

      Hats off to the ReactOS crew. I'm glad to be proved wrong on this one.

  • MingGW? (Score:5, Funny)

    by achurch ( 201270 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:07AM (#9264541) Homepage

    Would that be the Chinese version?

    • nope its a combination of Ming the Merciless and the President of the United States ....

      t

    • Would that be the Chinese version?

      No, silly. That would be the Flash version, Oh Ooooooh! King of the impossible. He'll save every one of us.

      KFG
  • Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by AmVidia HQ ( 572086 ) <gfung&me,com> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:08AM (#9264547) Homepage
    I can see the usefulness of Wine, in running legacy programs as well as serving as a bridge between Windows apps and Linux. But why write an entire new OS for this same purpose? I just don't see the point of re-inventing yet another Windows wheel.

    Perhaps starting from scratch (ReactOS) is easier than the writing the middleman layer (Wine), which is still playing catch up after many years?

    (Any flames was unintentional. I would love for either project to succeed, I just want to know their merits)
    • Re:Why? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by tux_deamon ( 663650 )
      I would love for either project to succeed, I just want to know their merits

      You don't see the merit in an open source version of Windows?
      • Re:Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        1. You don't see the merit in an open source version of Windows?

        LOL! Agreed...yeah, maybe it would be trust worthy? On that, oh, let me count the ways;

        Auditable

        Securable

        Maintainable

        Customizable

        Every default desktop on Windows seems to have about 3 dozen advertizements and promotional icons and menus for crap.

        An open source version of Windows could be lean an mean.

        Getting rid of the crud and crap that seems to be layered on Windows is nearly impossible. Once it's on a system...how do you know

    • I did actually respond to just this question, but it was modded down as being redundant.

      *sighs* Who can fathom the mind of the geek?
    • Re:Why? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by KJKHyperion ( 593204 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @06:53AM (#9265504)

      You look at Windows and you think "past" and "legacy". We (ReactOS) look at Windows and think "future" and "innovation"

      This you say is (my personal opinion, not the project's official position), a lot like people deluding themselves in thinking that a Linux kernel for the next Windows would mean instant improvement. If you knew a bit more about Windows you'd knew it doesn't even make sense - the Windows kernel has proved to be a sound design and I'd be happy if we could at least duplicate it. It's the system services that need a serious redesign, dragging the legacy microkernel corpse as they are, and I'm already doing some research in that direction (currently reimplementing the console model to be driver-based instead of server-based, and allowing custom UI implementations. This will give you, the user, custom terminal emulators, a more efficient SSH server and a job-controlling shell - even a port of your beloved GNU screen. Next stop: overhauling the service manager and rationalizing the user-mode startup sequence)

      And please realize that a supposed intrinsic and purely technical superiority of Linux exists almost entirely in your mind - old kernels (2.4 and earlier) weren't that hot, and when you say "Linux" you generally mean "GNU" (those who say "Linux" meaning "Beowulf" or "OpenMOSIX" are the minority) - and realize that "commodity" also means "largely irrelevant" and "expendable" - when ReactOS gets good enough, it could replace even Linux for some people

      • Re:Why? (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Well, a modern Linux (Debian, Slack, Gentoo) can still run happily on a 32M Pentium box.

        A modern Windows can't.

        Is that some technical superiority that "only exists in [my] mind"?

        Otherwise, good post.
      • It does seem like an interesting project. I really wish that we could see an inovative open source OS. Hurd is just limping along, Linux is becoming Unix. And react is a clone of WindowsNT. How about some new ideas?
        Good luck on ReactOS it is interesting and I hope a lot of fun.
    • Re:Why? (Score:4, Informative)

      by Teancum ( 67324 ) <<robert_horning> <at> <netzero.net>> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @08:27AM (#9265868) Homepage Journal
      This is a legitamate question. First of all, please visit the ReactOS website [reactos.com] (not in the parent news story), as this an many other FAQs are answered there. (Sorry, it got slashdotted apparently even without the link, but the FAQs are there, really.)

      This is more of a case of options, rather than why one is better than the other. As was mentioned clearly in the interview, ReactOS and Wine are working together, and there is quite a bit of mutual support they can give each other. It is not one or the other, but rather many efforts can help both projects at the same time. In fact, as Wine is moving to support more Windows applications, it is necessary to work with even more kernel services.

      These two projects are attacking the same problem, but from different directions. This is why the cross-pollenation efforts are even more valuable, because each group sees a different set of problems and finds good solutions often when the other group isn't quite looking there yet.

      In terms of re-inventing Windows, this is the only group that I've seen that has succeeded. There have been other groups in the past that have tried, but almost all of their efforts have been folded into ReactOS in terms of active developers and design ideas. The unsung hero with all of this is Jason Filby, who has done a remarkable job of keeping this project going through litterally years of effort when even a command prompt was not available. He is the driving force that is keeping everything together, and a very approachable person as well. When this project succeeds, he is certainly somebody who deserves strong kudos from the open source community.

      Why a free software version of Windows? I think this will be very important to think about when Longhorn comes out, but Microsoft show little to no support for legacy applications, and is more than willing to abandon platforms when it serves their purposes. This is a matter choice, and this project will give more options, not fewer.

      If you are not familiar with the NT kernel, there really is some amazing architecture that from an OS viewpoint should be studied. It is more like the difference between a GM engine and a Ford engine (for those few amature auto mechanics out there who know what I'm talking about). Each has it own fans and critics, but comparing Unix to NT shows some significant design choices in the basic fundimentals of the operating system. Microsoft has muddied up the picture in part because there hasn't been (until ReactOS) an independent implementation of the NT kernel or with the exception of Wine an implementation of the Win32 API library.

      This really is more the debate of propritary vs. open source, which is probably why this news posting on /. hasn't generated more responses. ReactOS is on the side of Free Software, and everything in it can be compiled and used with exclusively open source tools. As was pointed out in the interview, ReactOS can compile and develop ReactOS (it is self-hosting), but all of the little annoying things that a typical developer doesn't likes havn't been worked out yet.

      If you want to see something really neat, try and get ReactOS running with Mono. Mono is aiming more for Linux compatability right now, but with ReactOS handling some of the Windows API issues, ReactOS+Mono will run many of dotNET applications that won't run under Linux. All of the command-line Mono development tools will currently run in ReactOS, and I think this is another untapped combination that hasn't really been followed.
    • I have lots of Win-only crap, I'd love to ditch my Win2K workstation and have one of these running along my Linux servers&workstations at home. Wine... I don't know, I just never had it working perfectly on my systems and all usefull wine stuff is on closed systems.
  • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@@@beau...org> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @01:49AM (#9264694)
    Ambitious, but not likely to be relevant.

    Wine is almost 10 years old and yet to ship a 1.0. And already bitrotting away because parts are still win16 (from reading the article) because they were coded pre windows95.

    DOSEMU did eventually ship their 1.0 version... and was promptly deleted from the RH disks in the next rev as obsolete. It 'succeeded' because they were cloning a dead OS that didn't keep changing. If you count success as finishing long after it would have been widely useful.

    Now we have ReactOS cloning Windows NT4. And will perhaps get it 90% feature complete in another few years. And then spend the next half decade completing the remaining 10% by which time NT4 will be so obsolete nobody will care. Of course they are already trying to shift their target to NT5.1 (XP) but like Wine, they just can't code as fast as the infinite monkeys at Microsoft.

    As for their retort of "Why clone UNIX?" I have an easy answer. Because it is USEFUL. Microsoft's stuff isn't worth cloning and by the time a clone is finished they will have either won, forcing everyone into a DRMed hell where only their signed OSes even boot or we will have made them moot.
    • Of course it will be relevent, once it has compatibility with windows you have a massive application base on a libre os. it doesn't really matter if it wanders away from compatibility with 'longhorn' etc, the point is porting to windows proggys to it will be trivial and with the amount of applications already available, enough people may actually be using it to make the porting worthwhile. Effectively you solve the 'chicken and egg' problem by skipping the egg, if that makes sense.
      • > once it has compatibility with windows you have a massive application
        > base on a libre os.

        Don't see it. Wine has been trying for ten years just to get the Windows APIs recreated. So lets assume these guys get to 1.0 by 2009, five years from now. How much Windows NT 4.0 software do you expect anyone to be itching to run in 2009?

        > point is porting to windows proggys to it will be trivial

        Winelib is already feature complete enough to port most Windows proggys. Haven't seen em busting down Code
        • by Anonymous Coward

          Not to be faecetious, but who cares? I mean, who cares who writes the drivers, or whether they even get written? Oh, did you think Free Software was about convenience?

          If you did, you are seriously missing the point here.

          Free software is about freedom. Windows gives us none. Personally, I'm not much fond of Windows. But lots of people like it a lot... I mean, they like its UI and its way of doing things. These people, if they believe in Free Software, have perhaps been forced by their idealogy t

          • by jmorris42 ( 1458 ) * <jmorris@@@beau...org> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @04:45AM (#9265198)
            > I mean, who cares who writes the drivers, or whether they even
            > get written?

            Kinda hard to boot without the basic device drivers. So yes, it is important unless the plan is to leach off of the Windows driver set and that really isn't the GNU way.

            > Free software is about freedom.

            Agreed. But just how much Freedom does one expect to find chasing Microsoft's tail lights?

            > to OSIers, it's all about how useful it is...

            Well it does need to boot and run programs ya know. That sort of fundamental functionality is what I'm questioning the ability to create in a useful timeframe. If DOSEMU and Wine are a guide, ReactOS will be more of a MAME/MESS sort of nostalgia trip. Don't see how that advances the cause of OS/FS other than increasing the skills of the developers.

            > Maybe you're a new Linux user, or maybe you aren't one,

            Examine the URL at the top of my posts. WIth a shrinking list of exceptions, my current working set of software would pass the RMSLint test.

            > It was a pain in the ass, but we did it,

            Hey, the first time I saw a blurb in Byte about Linux I had a boner for it. A year or so later I actually found a boot/root disk of .02 or something like that on a BBS and tried it. It wouldn't see my HDD and I was too poor at the time to go buy new hardware so I put it aside. Finally in 1993 I found the Yggdrasil Linux/GNU/X CD and after hacking around and doing much research managed to get it to see my funky Tandy Outlet store scrounged 1X CD drive. (Borrowed a different drive to initially install from, had to compile a patched kernel on a 386sx-16 so don't even try talking to me about pains in the ass because I have the t-shirt.) It was another year and more hardware upgrades before I reached a point where I could start planning to move most of my day to day operations over.

            The point is that even ten years ago, a two column inch mention of serious work on a Free OS was more than enough to get me interested, but I just don't feel any such burning need for ReactOS. And I tend to doubt many others will either.

            Linux was possible because of the decades of UNIX tradition, a published POSIX standard to write to, almost a decade of GNU's work before Linus ever wrote version 0.01, the X Consortium's codebase, etc. Where is the great body of enabling work that ReactOS is to draw from? How many Free Software types care about Win32 enough to write code for it? Hard enough to even get most to support Win32 as a port because Win32 is fugly and makes for messy code.
            • (Borrowed a different drive to initially install from, had to compile a patched kernel on a 386sx-16 so don't even try talking to me about pains in the ass because I have the t-shirt.) It was another year and more hardware upgrades before I reached a point where I could start planning to move most of my day to day operations over.

              That wasn't one of those Panasonic drives with its own driver card, was it? Aaach! What a mess!

              Whatever the motivation these folks have for writing this particular piece of soft
              • > That wasn't one of those Panasonic drives with its own driver card,
                > was it? Aaach! What a mess!

                Worse The controller was a Tandy custom job built by Creative Labs. Halfway between a SB Pro and an SB16. Creative/Panasonic CD interface but mapped at some totally oddball address and on a 16bit interrupt. The bitch was finding out where it was since the DOS driver specified the usual 0x220 or 0x240 base address of the soundcard and it just 'knew' that the CD port wasn't at 0x230 or 0x250 like it wo
            • Sorry, you are still missing a key reason for the existence of projects like WINE and DOSEMU.

              Think proprietary business applications which talk to proprietary business hardware with binary-only drivers.

              Think about running these applications and hardware on a free operating system.

              Then think about using the facilities of that free operating system to reverse engineer the hardware interface from the driver.

              Then think about implementing a free business application which talks to that free driver.

              Suddenly the f

              • Think proprietary business applications which talk to proprietary business hardware with binary-only drivers.

                Yes, think about that. Think about Microsoft's approaching DRM Trusted Computing Initiaive, which will make it cryptographically impossible for a signed program to run in an unsigned OS.

                Microsoft will soon be able to combine technical and political techniques to declare reverse-engineered Windows illegal. Then all the effort put to ReactOS will have been for naught.

                In fact, Microsoft might hold
        • Just out of curiousity. What hardware have you bought that didn't come with a driver disk?
          I ger a driver disk with almost anything I buy, including basic mice and keyboards.
          The only things I haven't gotten drivers for are cables and standard floppy disk drives and a few oem cd-roms.
          I even got a disk with an 80meg ata hard-drive.
          Also why couldn't they port the linux drivers if they really wanted? Last few times I installed a linux distro it installed all drivers I needed painlessly and I didn
    • You make it sound like wine doesn't work today. It runs office if you want to, but why bother when it also runs star wars kotor (winex). It's not vaporware anymore.
      • > You make it sound like wine doesn't work today.

        It runs more and more apps every day, but the developers haven't declared it 1.0 yet. I'll trust their assessment of the project's status over yours if you don't mind.

        > It runs office if you want to,

        With a lot of fussing it will, or a check to CodeWeavers.

        > but why bother when it also runs star wars kotor (winex)

        Or a check to Transgaming. But how much does WINE run? Not Crossover Office, not WineX, Wine itself. I haven't checked in on them i
    • MS is always attempting to drag developers and (more importantly) customers to the latest version of their OS.

      I can see an NT/Win2K ( no, no, PLEASE not XP ) compatible OS as something that many companies and people will see as a way off the MS treadmill of "another new OS that doesnt do much more for me, but is going to cost me a bunch in new hardware and new OS licencing".

      It would give them a low cost ( hardware costs, training costs ), low overhead ( retraining issues ) option. A lot of companies alre
  • by ChiralSoftware ( 743411 ) <info@chiralsoftware.net> on Thursday May 27, 2004 @02:29AM (#9264835) Homepage
    People on /. love to talk about all things to do with MS vs. Linux and yet this poor suffering discussion only generates a couple dozen comments. I will add in something about the best real-world way to use Wine: Codeweaver's Crossover Office [codeweavers.com]. It really works. Microsoft Office 2000 works perfectly in Crossover Office, and Office XP is completely usable for day-to-day work. It is amazing how well these things work and how well they integrate into the Linux desktop. Wine is the foundation of it, and it works. If it works this well now, how will it be by the end of the year? They also have a cascade effect, in that if they solve a bug in MS Office, that might also solve bugs in many other untested applications. I have noticed that the unsupported apps work better and better. Wine is a relevant and cool project. The thing that might make it irrelevant is that Linux desktop software options are catching up. I think that OpenOffice.org is already better than MS Office in many respects.

    -----------
    WAP [chiralsoftware.net] software

    • You just hit the nail on the head there. We bash MS because they are bad, but we don't care much about helping to REPLACE the bad parts.

      Your response gives your alternate to Windows, but without more insite, users like me do not or cannot use it because my system already has Windows, and we don't know how to replace it without screwing up all that mail etc., that we have put there for the past 3-5 years.

      The general Windows user might change over to linux with wine and crossover but only with help and wit
  • Huh? What? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    This is a joke, right?

    With Slashdot comments being offline, I actually read the article. The interview went on and on, but for the life of me I can't figure out the point of this. Wine [winehq.com] lets you run Windows software on UNIX platforms. MinGW [mingw.org] lets you run recompiled UNIX software on Windows. What could POSSIBLY be the reason for porting Wine to MinGW? That would let you run Windows software ON WINDOWS. You can already DO that! It sounds like they are trying to reduce dependencies on UNIX in the Wine co
    • Re:Huh? What? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Mycroft_VIII ( 572950 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:08AM (#9264945) Journal
      Wine the point is to create a windows clone. Wine has some of that functionality, but depends on Linux/bsd/unixy stuff to work.
      What wine already has would be usefull in the NON-UNIX environment they a building.
      Now thier choices are to
      a) remove the dependancies on *nix from wine, somthing mingw helps with.
      b) recreate everything usefull in wine from scratch (re-invent the wheel)
      c) add a unix emulator for an nt workalike that will support wine so that thier running a windows workalike on a unix workalike on windows workalike.

      Which do you think is thier best option.

      Mycroft
      • The answer is c) Port it to the hurd

        What else could be more funny than running a WindowsNT emulator on a GNU/GNU Kernel :-)

        Now if I could figure out how to make the HURD provide the NT kernel functions, this post would make sense.
    • I recall a Linix (Not Linux, but a Unix clone caled Linix for the C64) and GeOS being alternatives to the OS that the C64 used.

      I also recall the ARP (AmigaDOS Replacement Project) for the Amiga. :)

      All ReactOS seems to be is a replacement project to replace Windows. A better Windows than Windows, sounds like they borrowed that from OS/2. :)

      ReactOS may not be worthwhile now for the average Windows user, but once Microsoft turns on us all and releases Longhorn that does not run Windows code, ReactOS may be
    • >What could POSSIBLY be the reason for porting Wine to MinGW?

      Maybe so you can test and debug your software on a single platform, and target it for multiple, making the development of cross-platform solutions easier? If I'm going to do a WineLib port, I imagine it would be very nice to see the native version running side by side with the WineLib version.

    • It sounds like they are trying to reduce dependencies on UNIX in the Wine code. . . . What's the big deal if Wine depends on things in every standard Linux distro?

      ReactOS isn't Linux, and so Wine won't run on it if it depends on things in every standard Linux distro. And it isn't a UNIX clone, so UNIX dependencies are a problem.

      ReactOS is an attempt at a Windows clone. Rather than rewrite the whole Win32 API from scratch, they decided to use Wine as much as possible. So they're porting Wine to MinGW,
  • by StripedCow ( 776465 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @02:43AM (#9264873)
    Would it be possible to use the Wine code to run hardware driver code written specifically for windows, under linux? I guess it would be nice if this could be done without having the complete "wine" emulator in core, only the necessary components. Perhaps someone could write a windows driver -> linux driver converter, which takes the windows driver object code, and links in the necessary components from wine (only those win32 functions called by the driver, plus dependencies).
    • by DA-MAN ( 17442 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @03:31AM (#9265003) Homepage
      Apparently it can be done. Take a look at this.

      http://www.jankratochvil.net/project/captive/ [jankratochvil.net]

      This compatibility was achieved in the Wine way by using the original Microsoft Windows ntfs.sys driver. It emulates the required subsystems of the Microsoft Windows kernel by reusing one of the original ntoskrnl.exe, ReactOS parts, or this project's own reimplementations, on a case by case basis. Project includes the first open source MS-Windows kernel API for Free operating systems. Involvement of the original driver files was chosen to achieve the best and unprecedented filesystem compatibility and safety.
  • by nickol ( 208154 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @02:51AM (#9264891)
    It's embedded systems. Today, Microsoft has Embedded NT 4.0 which is too expensive, WinXP that is too heavy for most embedded computers, and WinCE embedded which is a kind of a joke.

    What we really need for those PC104 and other small boards is an OS with the following features:

    open-source and configurable

    reliable and stable

    small resources requirements

    working from ROM

    Win32 compatible, supporting DCOM and MS-style networking.

    There is no need for DirectX, scanner support and such. It looks much like that despite Microsoft declares embedded systems support as one of their primary goals, they just do not know what to do.
    WinCE is for PDAs, not for industrial systems.

    • Sorry but embedded NT 4.0 is only the result of rather uneducated developers if you ask me. 'cause all they know has been windows in all their life.

      I personally don't see any real reason to use embedded NT in favor of embedded linux. Second can do it all cheaper, with less hardware requirments, and beeing more flexible, and over all it's Open Source thus giving you complete control over your product.
      • >I personally don't see any real reason to use embedded NT in favor of embedded linux

        I do. Most of the top-level software works under Windows (I mean in SCADA systems, not in stand-alone embedded systems). Control software, accounting software... It is much more effective to have two teams - one for embedded part, second for SCADA - that are speaking the same (Windows) language.

        Things like OPC or NetDDE were developed for Windows.
      • I think you miss the point. By using ReactOS, you cut out the software bloat that MS throws in, and you can pare down the kernel to the bare elements. ReactOS allows you to work at a command-prompt only level, so if you have an application like a server or embedded controller that doesn't need a GUI, ReactOS is perfect. While I don't think this is a deliberate goal of this project, it would not be all that difficult to make a single floppy version of ReactOS, like QNX has done.

        The really nice thing about this is if you have components you are adding to an embedded system, and the manufacturer has Windows device drivers, ReactOS will recognize them and they don't even need to be recompiled. This opens up a whole range of equipment options that would not normally be available under embedded Linux (although most embedded equipment companies are supporting Linux now... this wasn't always the case).

        I don't know what is cheaper than free software, and the point here is that this increases flexability. I don't know about what you mean with hardware requirement, but I don't see too many 386 CPUs anymore, even among embedded systems. ReactOS will run on most of the common CPU systems found in embedded systems, particularly if you are already looking at a Linux-based system as well. This is an option, not a requirement.

        If you are talking about using the Microsoft version of the NT 4.0 kernel in an embedded system, I would have to totally agree it is a mistake. I would still be careful about the "uneducated developers" you are thowing stones at, because there is a huge difference between the NT kernel and Windows CE (which truly is for the clueless developers). On raw technical merits, I would stand behind an NT-based kernel as much if not more than a unix-based kernel (like Linux).
        • I agreee with you, I personally like the construction of micro-kernels better than of monolithic ones.

          However I've recently seen some oscilloscopes running Microsoft Windows 95 and NT, we got several to evaluate. Almost all of the newer ones are constructed like this.

          Honestly I'm really considiring this as stupid. Why can't they run Linux with X on such a Oszi-PC? Saves the license costs, and also keeps the Oszi from crashing (which the Agiland one actually did ocassionally).
  • Consider ReactOS to be methadone to Microsoft's smack. If this project can provide a free, open source replacement for Microsoft products reaching the end of their supported life, it will provide a natural migration path away from MS. Hey kids, here's your choice - spend $$$ buying Longhorn ( and a monstrous PC to run it on ), or install ReactOS for free and keep running the all the software you know and love, on the same knackered old hardware.

    Once that upgrade addiction cycle is broken, can you see us
  • WineHQ screen shots (Score:4, Informative)

    by linebackn ( 131821 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @05:15AM (#9265260)
    Since we are mostly the topic of Wine, on the WineHQ screen shots page http://www.winehq.com/site?ss=1 they have an old link to my site ("Nathan Lineback's Wine Screen Shots") If they want to keep linking to it, It needs to be updated to point to http://toastytech.com/guis/wine.html The current link points to my very old pla-netx address that stopped redirecting to my new site recently.

    I had tried e-mailing some contacts listed on the site, but there has been no responce. Who should I contact? Thanks.
  • by Knifethrower ( 765840 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @05:24AM (#9265276)
    It's 3.1 for me baby. Install Win3s's and those hacked up system files, shove calmira (calmira.de) on it and bam I've got a nice little system.
  • Steven Edwards (Score:2, Interesting)

    by wolf31o2 ( 778801 )
    Steven has been a good friend of mine for many years. I can remember him trying to get StarCraft and IE working in WINE years ago. At the time, I thought that it was a wasted effort. I still do in a way, since I prefer native applications to using any form of Windows applications, but I am glad to see that Steven is now able to make a living off of something he loves. The article was quite good, and if you would have seen the improvements in ReactOS in the past year or two, you would be shocked. There
  • by Progman3K ( 515744 ) on Thursday May 27, 2004 @06:26AM (#9265435)
    Talk about MEGA-COOL projects!
    The way it's described in the article, soon, you'll have as high a probability of running Linux on ReactOS alongside your Windows apps as you will to running your windows apps alongside your Linux apps on Linux through Wine.

    And all these projects share code and therefore testers.

    Once more users and developers flock to these solutions, the level of quality will keep rising.

    It really is going to be very interesting.

    And probably nerve-wracking for Microsoft...

    I really can't see where Microsoft's niche will be.
  • As Microsoft gets more restrictive and cost prohibitive with their licensing, ReactOS is going to become a great stepping stone from Windows Server to other platforms.

    Essentially, it will let a small company focus on their core business without having to spend time and resources to transition to a new platform.

    To fork out $800 per server plus CALs can hurt a small business. With a free windows server, they don't have to change their legacy code, yet can still expand their business.

    Several companies I wor
  • Let's say ReactOS takes a few years to be 100% stable. At that time, Longhorn might have been released. Will people want to have ReactOS as part of their everyday computing experience, bearing in mind that ReactOS would be 10 years behind Longhorn in technology ?

    Another point that I would like to raise is that Linux should adopt a subsystem philosophy, like Windows: a POSIX subsystem, a WIN32 subsystem etc. It would be much better than the current situation. Of course this could mean "goodnight simple Unix
    • I think the question could possibly be turned into:

      Will Longhorn be relevant at the time ReactOS 1.0 is released?

      I can't even begin to tell you how many developers and companies are currently stuck at Windows 2000, in part because they don't like the "extensions" done to Windows XP. A few that have moved into XP may make that their last Microsoft OS as well. Just because it has the Microsoft logo on the distribution box doesn't mean everybody is going to jump up and down trying to get it.

      Keep in mind w
      • I don't know if Microsoft will succeed. If they don't, it means that the world is fed up with the constant upgrades. But they are most likely to suceed, and everybody will want their shiny new toy. My question was in this latter frame then: if Microsoft succeeds and puts out a product that everybody wants, what's the position of ReactOS ?
        • If Microsoft succeeds and puts out a product that everybody wants, what's the position of ReactOS?

          ReactOS would then become a fork in the development of Windows. That is all. ReactOS is probabaly going to become more and more Linux-like in terms of support for interfaces like GTK or Gnome, allowing Linux drivers, and running open-source applications. Much of this is already written.

          As has been discussed elsewhere, ReactOS as an embedded kernel is particularly attractive right now. I need to play

When we write programs that "learn", it turns out we do and they don't.

Working...