Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

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manuel
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by manuel »

Because Reactos can be used on computers with few resources, something that is not possible in Windows 10.
MadWolf
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by MadWolf »

hi I am not a developer I may be wrong but every version of windows is built on the previous version so ReactOS needs to get close to NT5.2 compatibility before moving the targeted NT version
Patchworks
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by Patchworks »

This scheme explains more than words:
[ external image ]
MarcAngely
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by MarcAngely »

I wish I was a developer or at least a knowledgeable person in this field. It would be very interesting to learn.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by middings »

"Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?"

The answer my friend is in the ReactOS FAQ within the ReactOS Development Wiki.

Rather than read the whole User FAQ one can skip ahead to Frequently Answered Question 1.18 Why isn't this or that feature in ReactOS? and keep reading from there.

(The attachment to this post is a bug. I did not attach anything.)
AndyFeed
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by AndyFeed »

ReactOS is an open-source operating system based on Windows XP, which is considered to be the most compatible version of Windows with the largest number of software and hardware drivers available. It's a great option for users who prefer the classic Windows interface and don't need all the extra features that come with newer versions.
Last edited by AndyFeed on Fri Feb 03, 2023 1:09 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by The_Wizard_of_OS »

AndyFeed wrote: Tue Jan 31, 2023 7:14 pm ReactOS is an open-source operating system based on Windows XP, which is considered to be the most compatible version of Windows with the largest number of software and hardware drivers available.
I would have to fundamentally disagree here as it is now impossible to buy new hardware that has drivers for XP, and impossible to get up-to-date relevant software such as a web browser.

Sure, there are plenty of us who fish out systems out of the dumpster, because that's where all the XP hardware went, but otherwise outside of virtual machines there is no compatibility for it now.

This point is being made very clear in the Linux kernel with notable removals of hardware maintainers can no longer buy. This is an important point for ReachOS team as well, I'm sure they all understand it without it being said, but it needed to be said.

I, by the way, would like to join ReactOS development (writing components in Rust, primarily), but before I spend precious time out of my life I would have to see a meaningful roadmap that recognizes that NT 5 is no longer a viable ecosystem in terms of both hardware and software.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by EmuandCo »

There are more than enough experiments with NT6 as kernel base, experiments with NT6 only on user mode and many in between. We know that, but as long as NT5 is not quite good and stable we have no reason to completely switch over yet. NT6 needs NT5 to work first. Regarding Rust. What do you plan with that? ReactOS right now is C/C++ and a lil bit of ASM.
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Many perceive ReactOS main usage as being within a VM so that you can legacy apps in a host o/s. If it runs on older hardware then that is a valid goal too - it proves a point and is a valuable goal in itself. There are many millions of old boxes out there, you are just looking in the wrong place.

ReactOS is not trying to be a big seller so we don't have to try too hard to run on newer kit, at least not yet. That will come, in time.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by mikewasouski »

I don't understand why people want windows X version, if what really matters is 1) being able to execute programs 2) hardware compatibility out of that I don't care about the firewall, paint or any other shitty program included within X version, when there are hundreds better, let's say there was a windows with a footprint of 200MB you could have super fast containers and things like that, that made docker amazing in linux
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by LeFantome »

While I do not totally agree, I understand the argument for continuing to pursue Server 2003 compatibility. For those seeking a more modern version of Windows, the issue is not so much the architecture ( in terms of sub-systems ) or even the API. The issue is that ReactOS, like XP era Windows is 32 bit only. The reason you cannot run a modern web browser on ReactOS is primarily that none of the browser makers produce 32 bit versions anymore.

Now, there is 64 bit port of ReactOS in the works, While this is very cool and I guess the "most advanced" version of ReactOS, I am sure that even the ReactOS devs would agree that it is fairly useless in practice. ReactOS lacks Wow64 and so a 64 bit ReactOS will not run any of the 32 bit software that ReactOS is being designed to run. But ReactOS is targeting a Windows API that is too old for most 64 bit software. A 64 bit implementation of the Windows XP era API is caught in an uncanny valley.

The latest release of WINE includes a Wow64 implementation. Perhaps that could help ReactOS.

What I suggest though is that, for the 64 bit version, the project should allow ( even pursue ) the implementation of more modern APIs and that these be "on" by default. Sure the core architecture of ReactOS is still going to be Server 2003 but, if it could target a few modern APIs, it could start to run modern builds of things like web browsers and be MUCH more viable as a modern system. It could also begin to serve as a solution for people running critical applications on say Windows 7 or 8 era Windows that need to find a new home.

The 32 bit / 64 bit split seems like an idea to break this up. The 32 bit version would continue to target Server 2003 for now. The 64 bit version could consider adding support for APIs that have appeared as recently as Windows 10.

This is similar perhaps to what Haiku is doing. They have a 32 bit version that aims to be binary compatible with BeOS and a 64 bit version that does not run older binaries but does support a 64 bit version of the API.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by EmuandCo »

You got two points wrong here:

- 32 Bit Firefox is still a thing for your information.
- The 64 Bit version will by default be NT6.0. That's what the dev Timo Kreuzer already changed thinking about the same arguments as you.
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

If my post/reply offends or insults you, be sure that you know what sarcasm is...
LeFantome
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by LeFantome »

Thanks @EmuandCo. I was actually unaware that Firefox is still available as a 32 bit download but indeed there it is.
https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/a ... op-release

Perhaps what tricked me is that, if you try this download on ReactOS, the website will only offer you up to release 52 ESR. However, I just clicked the same link on Linux and it happily offered me up a 32 bit version of Firefox 122. So, I guess it looks at your OS when downloading to decide what to offer you. Interesting. Even the 52 ESR version that it offered me will not run on ReactOS though as it complains about a missing entry point in the CRT runtime.

The availability of more modern browsers as 32 bit makes it all the more frustrating that you cannot run a recent browser version on ReactOS. I bet it is only one or two API calls that is holding it back. A modern browser is an absolute necessity for a desktop system these days. From the recent builds I have tried, the unreleased version of ReactOS otherwise getting much nicer as a base system.

Great news that the 64 bit version will identify as something newer. If NT6.0 means Vista though, I hope that does not mean completely holding back APIs from releases newer than that. If it is not possible to allow APIs as new as Windows 10, I would think that at least Windows 7 would make sense. Due to the popularity of that version, even recent software has generally maintained compatibility with it. I know that the browsers no longer officially support it but perhaps they do not require any newer APIs despite that.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by LeFantome »

It seems that Firefox 52 ESR may work soon.
https://github.com/reactos/reactos/pull/6349

As far as I can tell, wanting more current Unicode support is why Firefox dropped XP support to begin with. ICU ( Unicode ) dropped support for XP and so Firefox did as well.

More recent versions of ICU require Windows 7.
https://unicode-org.github.io/icu/userg ... on-windows

This is the kind of thing I was referring to above. Without having hard evidence, I suspect that A LOT of modern Windows software will still work on Windows 7 but not on Vista. ReactOS 64 bit not identifying itself as NT 6.1 or newer will be a real missed opportunity.
Last edited by LeFantome on Sun Jan 28, 2024 3:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Why is ReactOS based on a 17-year-old version of Windows?

Post by cb88 »

mikewasouski wrote: Mon Jan 08, 2024 7:39 pm I don't understand why people want windows X version, if what really matters is 1) being able to execute programs 2) hardware compatibility out of that I don't care about the firewall, paint or any other shitty program included within X version, when there are hundreds better, let's say there was a windows with a footprint of 200MB you could have super fast containers and things like that, that made docker amazing in linux
Current MINWIN is actually around 100MB... from what I've read anyway. Even the offical bloated up Nano Server image is only 290MB.

Also FF 52 support yay.... hope that lands soon.
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