ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Here you can discuss ReactOS related topics.

Moderator: Moderator Team

Post Reply
The123king
Posts: 242
Joined: Mon Jun 16, 2008 6:51 pm

ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by The123king »

With Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM) coming with a fully functioning classic desktop (primarily for office) but with no way to install and no official way to compile "classic" applications for ARM, ReactOS may have a viable niche to fill. If ReactOS was to get a viable ARM port that's binary compatible with Windows RT, i'm positive that interest in ReactOS would spike. I'm not even suggesting changing the Win2k3 aim for the project, just make the ARM port binary compatible with Windows 8, so people can compile and use their "classic" Windows programs on WinRT hardware.

Thoughts?

Z98
Release Engineer
Posts: 3379
Joined: Tue May 02, 2006 8:16 pm
Contact:

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by Z98 »

Except for the minor fact that you would need to circumvent the bootloader encryption to even install another OS on WinRT devices.

livestrong2109
Posts: 133
Joined: Sun Aug 30, 2009 4:42 pm

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by livestrong2109 »

It's for sure something that more and more people are gaining interest in and if your interested in developing ROS on arm send me a PM
Wesley Howard
ROS Contributor - Web Developer

swight
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 10:31 pm

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by swight »

I thought I would mention that windows 8 RT does not run windows 7 apps. All windows RT apps have to be compiled specifically for Windows RT.

SomeGuy
Posts: 586
Joined: Mon Nov 29, 2004 9:48 am
Location: Marietta, GA

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by SomeGuy »

Forget about the WinRT hardware, Microsoft requires that manufacturers of Windows 8 ARM / Windows RT tablets lock them down so you can not install any other OS. (I hate living in a world where this is legal!)

But if a large enough software vendor has a specific need to port an existing Win32 application (not "app") to ARM, and that is the only thing that needs to be on the tablet, then they could get some custom tablets manufactured with ReactOS as the OS instead!

b4dc0d3r
Posts: 148
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2007 1:17 am

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by b4dc0d3r »

First problem: getting ROS to run on ARM. Lots of work has been done, but I don't think it's complete. A number of core changes need to be finished, is my last understanding, for some of the ARM work to be merged.

A second effort is re-targeting the version of Windows ROS intends to support. Without many of the core functions intact, Windows 8 is an impossibility.

Cut out the core Windows stuff and make ReactOS RT? A nice idea, go for it, the source is available for someone to get started. Although i don't speak for the project, I doubt any developer, or anyone involved, would support such an effort.

ROS on ARM has been planned for a while, and a lot of work has been done. It is a niche to fill. Windows RT is a separate question.

Allow me to opine that no one really would give a crap about ROS RT. The intended users are not the ones who would install an alternative. This would appeal to a very narrow crowd. A noble goal, but interest in ReactOS would not spike. Page hits would spike for a week, and the dribble off quickly. The few remnants of "the long tail" would be appreciative.

PascalDragon
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:34 pm

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by PascalDragon »

SomeGuy wrote:Forget about the WinRT hardware, Microsoft requires that manufacturers of Windows 8 ARM / Windows RT tablets lock them down so you can not install any other OS. (I hate living in a world where this is legal!)
I have the feeling that we won't need to wait far too long to see hacked devices... the XDA-Developers are very experienced in opening up locked down devices :)

Regards,
Sven
Free Pascal compiler developer

erkinalp
Posts: 858
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2008 5:55 pm

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by erkinalp »

The answer is maybe for non-Windows RT intended ARM devices, with extreme effort respectively
-uses Ubuntu+GNOME 3 GNU/Linux
-likes Free (as in freedom) and Open Source Detergents
-favors open source of Windows 10 under GPL2

zydon
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:03 am

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by zydon »

The123king wrote:With Windows RT (Windows 8 for ARM) coming with a fully functioning classic desktop (primarily for office) but with no way to install and no official way to compile "classic" applications for ARM, ReactOS may have a viable niche to fill. If ReactOS was to get a viable ARM port that's binary compatible with Windows RT, i'm positive that interest in ReactOS would spike. I'm not even suggesting changing the Win2k3 aim for the project, just make the ARM port binary compatible with Windows 8, so people can compile and use their "classic" Windows programs on WinRT hardware.
Android fragmentation has leaving a lots of Android 2.3 Tablets (Mostly from China) reaching to end of it's usefulness. If those tablets could be use as the ReactOS ARM version playground base, it would raise some interest from the tablets users.

Code: Select all

Hardware <---> X86 Virtual Machine <---> ROS Kernel
I think the above arrangement could be the best to let the ROS ARM developers focus on making the hardware working with the x86 VM while the ROS Kernels and system remain unchanged as the release version. Any PE executable will run happily ever after even on ARM devices.

User avatar
Black_Fox
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:44 pm
Location: Czechia

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by Black_Fox »

The app may run happilly, but the user will watch sadly the slow performance of ARM cores slowed even further by x86 emulation.

zydon
Posts: 160
Joined: Tue Dec 18, 2007 9:03 am

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by zydon »

Black_Fox wrote:The app may run happilly, but the user will watch sadly the slow performance of ARM cores slowed even further by x86 emulation.
What do you expect? Kill the ROS ARM project?

Without an x86 VM, every single system binary files in ROS need to be converted into ARM machine codes. It doesn't promise the ARM CPU will accept the same behavior to each binary functions and routines coded with x86 nature. Each of those system files need to be modified to follow ARM CPU requirements. Basically, it will become a completely different project that going away from the main direction of ROS project.

Adding an X86 VM into the OS will not require changing the the OS source except it using a different Bootloader and Hardware layer connecting to the VM an the X86 VM itself. After that, the OS Kernel and the rest of the system files running on the X86 mode.

The VM is fixed with specific X86 CPU architecture that sufficient enough for the ARM CPU to support the translation speed. More or less similar to Android speed using the Dalvik VM. The progress to improve the speed will not upsetting the main ROS source codes because these few sections is pick by the compiler based on the platform parameter/directive.

Some OS function may not be implemented into ARM version to keep the OS running light and less demanding to the ARM CPU and that could be easily separated and maintain within the OS source codes. But the best thing is the devices driver inside the VM will never changed and it all the same. While the real device driver connect to the VM could be much simpler and manageable since the VM and it's drivers mapped into the memory as soon as the ARM PC/Tablet switched on.

It's quite nice though a X86 VM in the ROM/NAND like a firmware with an instant boot feature.

PascalDragon
Posts: 123
Joined: Wed Aug 04, 2010 7:34 pm

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by PascalDragon »

Black_Fox wrote:The app may run happilly, but the user will watch sadly the slow performance of ARM cores slowed even further by x86 emulation.
You do know that ARM cores are quite fast already? The one in my phone is a dual core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. While putting the differences in the instruction set aside (x86 is CISC, ARM is RISC) that is faster than my computer I use for university (800 MHz, single core).
zydon wrote:Without an x86 VM, every single system binary files in ROS need to be converted into ARM machine codes. It doesn't promise the ARM CPU will accept the same behavior to each binary functions and routines coded with x86 nature. Each of those system files need to be modified to follow ARM CPU requirements. Basically, it will become a completely different project that going away from the main direction of ROS project.
I don't know how much you know about programming, but ReactOS is programmed mostly in C which is a highly portable language and thus the code will run on ARM like it does on x86. The main problem for ReactOS is here that it needs to interface with the hardware and that specific interface (e.g. how the Thread Information Block can be accessed, how exception handling is done, how interrupts work, etc.) is what needs work (and a few assembler files that need to be ported from x86 to ARM of course).

Regards,
Sven
Free Pascal compiler developer

User avatar
Black_Fox
Posts: 1584
Joined: Fri Feb 15, 2008 9:44 pm
Location: Czechia

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by Black_Fox »

Zydon wrote:What do you expect? Kill the ROS ARM project?
As was said, the ROS ARM port is aimed at native processing, not x86 emulation (so, in other words, your x86 apps will not run on it when it's done). The emulation would be too slow to be useful.
PascalDragon wrote:You do know that ARM cores are quite fast already? The one in my phone is a dual core processor clocked at 1.2 GHz. While putting the differences in the instruction set aside (x86 is CISC, ARM is RISC) that is faster than my computer I use for university (800 MHz, single core).
How fast does it emulate x86 for you? :P But seriously - there is far more factors affecting processor performance than the CPU frequency and number of cores. You have parameters such as the number of pipelines, pipeline length, whether the architecture is in-order or out-of-order (Atom's performance is shitty compared to Core 2 Duo because it is in-order), size of caches and many more that I don't know.
To prove both my previous and current points:
- some company has announced (link) they invented x86 emulation for ARMs that is 40% efficient (so you immediately lose 60% of ARM power) and could reach up to 80% efficiency - that is pretty slow, considering the absolute performance of ARM computers is still weaker than the x86.
- there have been new ARM cores announced (Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57), that at dual-core perform even better than the current quad-cores. The one thing I can agree with any day is that ARMs do have better performance/watt ratio than x86 and also will have in the foreseeable future.

coldbear1
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Nov 13, 2012 1:25 am

Re: ReactOS on ARM, a niche to fill?

Post by coldbear1 »

There are alot of nay-sayers here sometimes. But this project is very doable. Don't forget Windows NT 3.x/4.x ports as well as early opensource DOS' (i.e. FreeDOS) being ported to multiple processor architectures. Alot of this can easily be accomplished using a model for VM Subsystems like those in VAX, BSD, Windows, and Linux. For people old enough (around 30+ years, which really isn't that old) it was not that long ago that we started having subsystems in Windows NT4/2000 for things like Java, ActiveX and older DOS programs. This really isn't that different and those subsystems ran flawlessly on processors (and need I say graphics displays) far inferior to most of the Cortex A8/A9 (ARM) processors. As I remember alot of those computers were Pentium II machines running below 400Mhz. Now I'm not trying to act superior I know it's a difficult job and no I personally am not up to it at the moment. However, this is not the most ground breaking technology, it was first implemented by Windows under NT4 and has been in use since IBMs giant mainframes in the 1960s (and alot of those were 8 bit machines).

;)

Post Reply

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: DotBot [Crawler] and 3 guests