What is ReactOS?

ReactOS is a free and open source operating system written from scratch. Its design is based on Windows in the same way Linux is based on Unix, however ReactOS is not Linux. ReactOS looks and feels like Windows, is able to your run Windows software and your Windows drivers, and is familiar to Windows users.

Free and open source?

Free and Open Source. Free as “you can download it for free”, and open source..which means…you can see how ReactOS is coded, you can modify it, you can provide patches for any bugs you find, and even more: You can create your own ReactOS versions! You’re using Open Source software daily if you use Firefox, LibreOffice, OpenOffice, GNU-Linux distributions among zillions of Open Source projects out there. The Open Source projects, as ReactOS, are driven for and by its Community, so being active translating, donating, or coding is a way to help ReactOS boost forward.

What are the differences between Windows and ReactOS?

There are mainly two. Firstly ReactOS is open source. Secondly ReactOS is Free. Also Windows (especially the newer versions) are known to monitor all your activity by default. So if you’re concerned about your privacy or just don’t want to share any personal info, we promise (and you can check our source code) that we don’t track any of your data.

Can I install ReactOS and run any software compatible with Windows on it?

Probably yes. However we highly recommend to check first if your favourite app runs in ReactOS. ReactOS is still an on-going project and not all the apps and drivers runs perfect on it. The best way to check the compatibility is to install ReactOS inside a virtual machine (a step by step and video guide can be found here) and try your own needs. There are tons of pieces of software and, as you may imagine, is impossible to track all of them.

I am not a Developer…how can I help?

Please refer to our Contributing page that explains different roles in great detail.

How can ReactOS help me?

Being part of a Worldwide Community, as ReactOS is, will boost your own personal skills to a highest new level. Working teamed with people from different countries will enhance your team-working, empathy and English. All these skills are really appreciated by companies out there in job interviews. Contributing your free time into an open source project seems to be also trending and marks a difference withing you and another candidate for the same job. If you want to learn about coding and Windows internals, you won’t find a better real field case. You’ll find in ReactOS the possibility to move from the book theory to the practical cases. This is the main reason why top-most sotware companies offer ReactOS Devs jobs opportunities. Also, from time to time (and when donations let us), we offer scholarships to our contributors for specific tasks to be done.

How can I help to translate?

You can help to translate in at least two different ways. The first one is helping to translate the website (our new one is currently only available in English), the second one is to help with translating the operating system. Here you can find a guide about how to request a position to translate the site.


How do I acquire/work with the ReactOS source code?

Please refer to our Cloning the repository page for how to acquire the latest source code and how to create patches for submission to the project.

What do I need to compile ReactOS from sources?

Please refer to our Build Environment page for information on how to compile ReactOS from the source.

What IDE can I use to develop for ReactOS?

Any IDE you are comfortable with. However, as ReactOS uses cmake to generate build files, any IDE that CMake supports generating project files can in theory be used to work on the source code.

Where do I report bugs?

ReactOS uses Jira. Please first search to make sure no one else has already reported the issue. Please also include a copy of the debug output or trace of the issue.

Is there a testsuite I can run and contribute to?

Please refer to our Build Winetests page for information on how to set them up.

Is there any way to see how tests perform for a specific revision?

We have our ReactOS Testman for exactly this purpose and more. You can check single revisions and you can also compare several, and diff between each of the results.

How do I contribute a patch that I made?

Thank you for your contributions, please refer to our Committing Changes page for information on how to proceed with your patch. We’ll do our best to review it as soon as we can.