I check the ReactOS site for about half a year now, and I finally decided to take part in the forums.
I tried over 40 linux distros, including making my own just to find a replacement for Windows and found out that they are either too incompatible or too hard to use for most purposes (sure, you can make a clean nice interface, but what if you actually want to install a new app?). BSD is quicker as Linux, yet still has the above problems. SkyOS is nice, but not much software available for that one. All other OSses, except for the Mac OS (I'm a Macintosh user, but install/repair/customize every operating system (*nix, DOS, Be, etc) and hardware for a living until I find a nice school) have similar problems. And telling people to buy a $600 Mac isn't an option in most cases. and, if money is a factor, companies rather use a free OS.
So, that's how I came here. Now, to take part in this discussion (forgive if I'm sounding harsh, that's my way of keeping a discussion going
, ow, and my English isn't perfect as well):
HTML is certainly not required to create a 'nice' or 'customizable' interface. In fact I think it is too limited for that purpose.
Things like an 'Active Desktop' drive users crazy. Most don't know how to get pictures off their 'Active Desktop' when they accidently added some, and all other features, like the HTML rendering in folders take up screen space and speed, not to mention confusing users. And those "set up your..." wizards really are a disaster. In other words, I hate the Internet Exploder integration in Windows. And it isn't even necessary, except for a few shitty 'programs' that doesn't run in ReactOS because they'll require ActiveX anyway.
how can a html engine make a computer more likely to be attacked?
A plain HTML engine (and I mean one without networking) can't I guess, but ActiveX, Java, etc...
Anyway, if you need to write your own HTML rendering engine, why not adding something nicer? HTML is very limited and relatively slow. It is also not a thing the end user can and will customize. Adding your own scripting language that add interface objects and creating an editor for it will give both the 'power-user' and newbie a much easier and more powerful customization tool.
Lets write the interface in C, because thats more secure and nobody makes mistakes writting C.
Oops, I accidently wrote some working network code that compiles without error and accidently installs itself into the ReactOS core to allow spyware and alike to be able to install and integrate themselves with the system just by visiting a web page and/or opening an email message!
Point is, if you create such a 'html renderer' (read: integration of Internet Explorer within every part of windows, including java, ActiveX, etc) as used in Windows ... well, fill in the rest yourself. I guess you'll understand now, although I'm very curious about what features you want to have in ReactOS that are accomplished by the IE integration. Guess that makes more sense as discussing HTML implementation since most features can be done in other easier ways as well, without HTML and ActiveX. Do not hestitate to correct me if I'm wrong though
Because I highly like the idea of being able to download something and have a nice new interface for configuring something.
Why do you need HTML for that?
Sorry, but ReactOS is going to need one no matter what to be a windows replacement. There is already Gekko anyway.
Again, why? For compatibility it doesn't require such an engine, and for a user-friendly interface it is a disaster. ReactOS needs to be a Windows replacement, yes. But this doesn't mean things have to be the same, heck, almost every part in Windows needs improvement and the user interface is high on my priority list.
Look at a system such as Mac OS X (no matter if you like the system or not), it doesn't have HTML in the GUI, yet it is very clear, user friendly and highly customizable. Heck, they even included an "interface builder" with the developer tools where you can build an interface like you draw with a painting program and then link it to your program, but also to simple scripts. This system does have an XML renderer as plugin, for use with the help viewer. A consistent, clear, fast yet still highly customizable interface isn't something to make with HTML, really. Mac users use six times the applications as Windows users do, while most of those apps have more features as their windows counterparts as well. This is just because that OS has a much easier, but also, common interface so people learn it quicker, and feel in control of their machine so go to explore new apps.
Windows could be the same. ReactOS hopfully WILL become something like that.
EDIT: whoops, took my long to post this (actually switched doing something else before finishing this) that two people replied with similar things already. Nah, not going to edit them out