older versions of NT as a target for development?

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jared6502
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older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by jared6502 »

I'm sure that the developers of ReactOS have discussed this topic quite a bit over the years, and the reasons may be quite simple, but why is ReactOS being developed as an operating system that is compatible with Windows NT 5.1 instead of Windows NT 4 or older? I understand that many newer programs and (possibly more importantly) drivers require at least NT 5.1, and that NT 4 compatibility was the original goal some time ago, but I would think that starting as a clone of NT 3.1 and, once complete and stable, working from there would be easier than going straight for NT 4 or 5.1. I'm definitely not an expert on the Windows kernel, and am not one of the developers, so there's definitely a lot more to this than I would know (maybe the ReactOS developers have already implemented all of the important features from the older versions, or maybe they were removed in the later versions of NT?), but it just seems like a logical starting point to get a very stable system.

I would think that it would simplify development of the core components of the operating system, such as the memory manager, while eliminating a lot of components that wouldn't be necessary until later versions. This would also make it possible to use every version of Windows NT as a benchmark to determine how far along the project is in achieving its goals of compatibility.

Haos
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by Haos »

That is a pure waste of time. A large effort on creating listed OS components will simply be lost with target change. Only a minor part of such work would be portable to next target. We still have some NT4-compatible parts, there were more but due to its limitations, those parts had to be rewritten.

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jonaspm
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by jonaspm »

i prefer an operating system that i can use instead of windows xp/vista/7 than one i can use instead of one that has NO MORE SOFTWARE AND HARDWARE support

jared6502
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by jared6502 »

I guess I just really don't know much about older versions of Windows NT. I was thinking that NT didn't change much about how it worked between versions other than to add some new features and later (with XP) change how drivers worked with the system. It's unfortunate, because development would have probably been much faster and easier if that was the case.

Do you know of a good website or book that would list the changes between versions of Windows NT? It's not very important, but is still something that would be good to know.

Z98
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by Z98 »

For a technical overview, check the what's new for each OS on MSDN. For a simplistic overview, wikipedia.

steveh
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by steveh »

With very old windows versions like NT3.x or NT4 there is one problem:
lack of application software.
But application sofware outdated versions are unsafe because unsupported by security updates.

Example:
after december 2012 when firefox 10.x LTS will be phased out, there will be no secure firefox for win2000.
Opera and "Dooble" currently still support Win2000.

Main goal must be Win NT >=5.0 compatibility.

And as soon as XP support ends in 2014, there will be more and more software which is compatibile only with >= 6.0 (vista)
And those will possibly not run on a reactos only compatible with NT5.2.

SomeGuy
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by SomeGuy »

steveh wrote:With very old windows versions like NT3.x or NT4 there is one problem:
lack of application software.
But application sofware outdated versions are unsafe because unsupported by security updates.
Actually, there is lots of software for NT 3.x and NT 4 if you know where to look. And with only a few exceptions most of it is just as "secure" as any software on the store shelf today. And most of it potentially will run nicely on ReactOS as it also runs fine on XP/2003.

alexei
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by alexei »

Adding new stuff in already working system is not a good idea. MS had to do it and see how bad it went. I'm referring to a lot of well-know issues from dll hell to numerous security holes and cross-dependencies all over the system. MS spent 5 years cleaning up its mess just to make Server Core possible.
On the other hand I would like to see a simple way to run applications in compatible envirorments starting from NT 4, though I would place that kind of functionality to "future extentions".

andreas84
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by andreas84 »

will be games developed for win xp be natively compatible with ros or emulated ? if emulated they might loose stability and performance?

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EmuandCo
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by EmuandCo »

right now, directx is translated to opengl, but this is not the final solution. Rest is running native of course
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

andreas84
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by andreas84 »

no i mean this : win7 use a compatibility mode now for win xp apps but many apps do not run with this properly so in which way will react os handle apps for lets say win95, win xp or win 7? are they all expected to run as they would on the system they are programmed for?

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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by Z98 »

We already do not support 16bit Windows applications, and anything that uses functions introduced in Vista and later will obviously not work in ROS until we shift target and actually implement them.

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jonaspm
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by jonaspm »

16bit windows is totally obsolete, i think x32 and x64 are current techonologies

Z98
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by Z98 »

I'd love for 32bit x86 to become obsolete as well.

SomeGuy
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Re: older versions of NT as a target for development?

Post by SomeGuy »

But you know, there are piles of 32-bit, 16-bit and even DOS software still in use out there that isn't just going to magically disappear because you want it to.

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