What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

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PurpleGurl
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What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by PurpleGurl »

It is fine if it can be run on an emulator. After all, the project has to start somewhere, and using emulators helps get around the catch-22 problem and leads to less need to fully reboot between trials. However, in the long term, that is not the real goal. It is like racial matters. Television shows and movies often portray healthy ethnic relations. However, that is not the real world, and things are often different in real life. So anyway, what are the biggest obstacles to getting ROS to work on real hardware, and what would help the most?

Sure, we could use more testers who are willing to walk through a load of red tape to report things. But what about other things? Like are the devs willing to support direct hardware donations? It would seem helpful if the devs writing HAL and kernel code would have access to a handful of machines. Other devs would only benefit from PC or parts donations if they are working directly with hardware (eg., low-level sound, network, low-level graphics, etc). And really, a lot of good older hardware that meet the target hardware range is on Ebay for really cheap. For instance, you can get a used Dell Dimension 4700 box for under $100 USD. (I wouldn't go older for the Dimension if you want one as a test machine since the 4700 has SATA and PCI-E, but prior to that don't, and if you do get one of those, upgrade the BIOS to A10 if it doesn't have that, since that will allow newer LGA 775 CPUs up to maybe the 661, though the 670 might not work). The Opteron is probably even better. Generic PCs are also good, but you need a diverse selection of them, and with many of the major vendors.

I am curious to know what low-level code needs work to make things more compatible. It seems like we need a more robust HAL which can make up for many of the hardware differences and provide any emulation and workarounds for certain odd behavior as necessary.

An idea came to mind. What if ROS contained a table of firmware it was compatible with, and maybe Freeloader did the checking. Then if it is not significantly compatible, then pass control to a stream-lined, bootable emulator which could then pass control to ROS. Otherwise, pass control directly to ROS. That could make it more friendly for some testers. Then if it is proven to work on particular hardware, it runs directly, and if not, it runs indirectly unless manually overridden.

GUN2k
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by GUN2k »

There's a list for working tests on real hardware: https://www.reactos.org/wiki/PC_ROS_Rigs.

If you have Time and old hardware or would buy. Feel free, test and extend :).

But the ask about what is needed for better hardware tests and development on real hardware. an true (not USB-2-Serial) Serial-port, an COM-Cable and Debugging-informations from the machine. But if the developers actually want this is on another sheet. I think the development in VM actually have enough place for improve and development. Maybe it isn't really helpful to send 20 old Computers to an developer. it needs space and every time you change the system a now config for debugging.

fred02
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by fred02 »

PurpleGurl wrote:Like are the devs willing to support direct hardware donations?
I think this is the real question. Or, if you allow me to paraphrase: "Do ROS foundation needs/accepts hardware donations" and also "Is there a particular hardware needed by/for some developer"?
And just to cut short all usual debates: of course it will be voluntary, free to ROS, delivery arranged by mutual agreement and potentially acknowledged. There can also be "virtual donations" in form of unrestricted remote access via network, if you can set up one at your work/University/garage/dorm.
(After writing this my "spider sense is tingling", as it seems to have been already discussed before, but I can't find where. If someone do, please point there, so we don't go over it again).

Z98
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by Z98 »

There have been variations on hardware donation discussions before. The short answer is no, there is not a need. The longer answer is, at this point, the team has plenty of work to do and so giving them hardware isn't going to noticeably increase the rate of development.

fred02
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by fred02 »

So my spider sense was tingling for a reason, thanks Z98. :D
(Thinking aloud: there are these questions coming over and over again on the forum and not covered by the FAQ. Someone have to add them there (and rewrite/reorganise existing-ones), as we loose too much time in these discussions. :arrow: And by someone I mean NOT Z98 and vicmarcal.)

PurpleGurl
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by PurpleGurl »

Z98 wrote:There have been variations on hardware donation discussions before. The short answer is no, there is not a need. The longer answer is, at this point, the team has plenty of work to do and so giving them hardware isn't going to noticeably increase the rate of development.
So keeping with the original thread idea, what will increase the rate of development?

And where are the greatest deficiencies that prevent compatibility with real hardware? Running on an emulator has the same shortcomings as discussed in the thread about just writing for a single x86 platform. Whether writing for one machine or one emulator, the end result is the same - narrow compatibility.

I didn't start the thread to discuss hardware donations. That was just a side point, and just a possibility. It just seems like those working on real hardware would be able to be more compatible with more machines if they had more machines. I'm not a developer, but if I were, I think I'd trust my own test results before I would someone else's. And I also see the problems with that as highlighted above (more time required, more space requirements, etc).

I guess more kernel test tools could help. An idea stands out. Too bad there isn't an emulator which contains a whole library of x86/x64 hardware - just select the hardware desired and then boot into ROS. That is beyond our scope, but it would be something good for emulator authors to write, and could be an ultimate test tool.
Last edited by PurpleGurl on Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:45 am, edited 2 times in total.

The_French_Rat
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by The_French_Rat »

You double-posted.
Just think of ReactOS as the XP beta, Whistler.

hbelusca
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by hbelusca »

@ PurpleGirl: having 100+ computers to test ReactOS is useless if you don't have enough people for correcting the bugs in the code that may show up with the (numerous) tests.

PurpleGurl
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by PurpleGurl »

The_French_Rat wrote:You double-posted.
Going off-topic and stating the obvious adds value how? This helps nobody. I hit send 3 times because the server is lagging. Everyone makes mistakes, and I don't see why a reasonable person should be counting. A mature person can let it pass without saying anything. This is the type of nonsense that visitors and donors see, and I think we all should refrain from it.

hbelusca wrote:@ PurpleGirl: having 100+ computers to test ReactOS is useless if you don't have enough people for correcting the bugs in the code that may show up with the (numerous) tests.
Good point. Yet having a false sense of security is never a good thing. If one target PC is not working at a certain point, wouldn't it be better to have it in Jira, even if nobody can get to it, than having it sitting out there and having everyone assume it is not an issue? Would anyone correct bugs if they didn't know there were bugs?
Last edited by PurpleGurl on Wed Mar 05, 2014 4:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

Z98
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by Z98 »

The data point is only useful if the expectation is that something should work. There are enough issues that things working is often the exception, not the norm. In that case, having more data just results in noise.

PurpleGurl
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by PurpleGurl »

Z98 wrote:The data point is only useful if the expectation is that something should work. There are enough issues that things working is often the exception, not the norm. In that case, having more data just results in noise.
So what can be done to gain more eligible coders and to make what time the devs have more efficient?

And one question I have is, what exactly is lacking in the kernel to make ROS compatible with real hardware? That is my main question. Where are the deficiencies? What specifically is broken or not implemented that is crucial for running on real hardware?

kingnothing
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by kingnothing »

so the device manager and device wizard works properly
or these are still problems in them

PurpleGurl
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by PurpleGurl »

So what are the main obstacles to keeping ROS from working on a lot of target hardware?

AmineKhaldi
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by AmineKhaldi »

PurpleGurl wrote:So what are the main obstacles to keeping ROS from working on a lot of target hardware?
Hmm, a tricky question, because many factors can be involved.. Off the top of my head:

* We try to prioritize VMs over real hardware because of the convenience and the practicality in terms of debugging/testing...etc. Real hardware with null modem cables and testers who can use CD-RWs for example and try different combinations, get logs, interact with developers suggestions and ideas...etc could be the equivalent of the VM testers, but as you can see only very few can manage that kind of effort.
* We're in the process of rewriting major parts of the OS in general (kernel, drivers, subsystem...etc) and that directly affects hardware compatibility. For example the PnP Manager is not even rewritten yet.
* Hardware compatibility progresses much more efficiently when the developer (familiar with that specific area) tests and debugs the piece of hardware, otherwise we fall back to the testing process mentioned above, which relies on testers doing so much work to help the developer inspect the issue "remotely".
* The obvious problem being lack of resources (developers and testers).

cruonit
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Re: What is needed to get ReactOS to work on real hardware

Post by cruonit »

Definetly the next contract after the explore-new/rshellr is finished should go to hardware compatibility tasks (get a developer with lot of hardware to work on it) and hardware subsystem bug fixing

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