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ReactOS an Operating System like Windows but free software

ReactOS is a free operating system and open source based on the design of the architecture of Windows NT, providing support for existing applications and drivers an alternative to the currently dominant operating systems consumers and servers.


As clarified in your website, it is a GNU / Linux (the only thing they have in common is the GPL) or Unix. Your target is to be consistent with binary- Windows, so you can run your applications and drivers. It also seeks to maintain the “look and feel” of the original system. But the big advantage is to create replacement free software for Windows, released under the license GNU GPL.

It is based on the NT kernel architecture of Windows, now in version NT6 (Windows Vista). In contrast to UNIX, is aimed at people who are familiar and comfortable with the Windows environment.

“Change your operating system, not your software!”

The project design reimplements NT, with a Win32 subsystem compatible drivers and compatibility with various applications and tools. Also emphasizes safety, and achieve lightweight and stable system. Reliable, performance, portable, extensible, object-based, are other features that name on their website.

All this theory is quite entertaining; you can read more on the page ReactOS. However, let’s get our hands dirty and go to practice.

I downloaded the 0.3.6 version, still in alpha, and quite green. However, this is quite usable for such an early stage of development. The entire installation took less than 10 minutes, quite agile, and seamless.

After the minutes of installation, we have a Windows Operating System installed:

ReactOS Windows may seem to you that Bizarro was to Superman, or vice versa. Here what do we have? For starters, the system supports multiple virtual desktops (at least 4), which is already an advantage to his inspiration.

Add / Remove Programs – Apparently the developers think of a system-oriented design for the installation packages of programs. While not yet complete, “Add / Remove Programs”, you can search and download programs online.

The most popular Windows applications are: Solitaire, Minesweeper, explorer, regedit, wordpad, etc.. Already implemented an integrated web browser with explorer, in capturing can see several of these applications running:

In conclusion, it is well enough to be in the alpha version. It can be very useful when you are more mature, especially for systems that must maintain applications “old” without possibility to migrate to a free system, and use the compatibility of ReactOS.

However, for cases where one is forced to use a Windows application, is a good choice. Let’s say that there are good. If there today that total replacement for Windows, based on free software, so be it, another option! But it still has a long way to version 1.0. (Roadmap). With the development of GNU / Linux and Wine, I think ReactOS does not have much future unless they have a big leap in its development. But you never know.

It is another operating system that need to be vigilant, and which was fun to experiment a bit. We hope to continue growing.

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