state of play

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state of play

Post by kerravon »


For the last approx 25 years, I have been developing my own OS, called PDOS, which has evolved into a 32-bit partial Windows clone, ie just like ReactOS. You can find it here:

The code is all public domain, so anything of interest can be included in ReactOS without restriction.

However, my interest is almost exclusively text, not graphics. I am still working to get text working to my satisfaction.

So all of my development effort is spent using micro-emacs, and my own derivative of GCC 3.2.3, all at the Windows 10 command prompt. I run Bochs to run PDOS/386.

A recent encounter with a Macbook Pro made me realize that I wish to distance myself from the internal hard disk of both the Macbook Pro (running MacOS) and my Dell (running Windows 10) and to instead boot and run from a 64 GB USB stick.

I still have some interaction with the modern world, specifically I run Windows Live Mail to read my email, and have about 5 GB worth of data there. I also use a web browser. And sometimes I need to run

PDOS is far smaller than ReactOS, only about 50,000 lines of code, so it is not capable of matching it. So I am hoping ReactOS will bridge the gap for me. I don't need full Win 10 capability (and if I do, I'll just boot off the internal hard disk), and I don't need 64-bit. But I do need some level of graphics.

The ReactOS Wiki said that it used to be able to boot off USB stick, but stopped being able to. I went back to an old version, ready to burn using Rufus as per documentation:

and Rufus only allowed me to burn an MBR format. But I would like my USB stick to work on a Macbook Pro too, which means it needs to be GPT. It won't recognize an MBR USB stick - I tried that with PDOS/386 which uses MBR - it doesn't come up as a boot option, and PDOS/386 relies on a BIOS, and the Mac doesn't have a BIOS, only UEFI.

So what I would like to know is - where do I stand in getting a version of ReactOS burnt onto USB stick such that it can be booted on both my Dell and the Macbook Pro, so that I can both browse the web and run Windows Live Mail?

Or do I need to go for Linux Wine instead?

I'd rather go with ReactOS and I don't care if it isn't stable. I do most of my work from the command prompt and I'm expecting that to be sufficiently stable.

I intend to replace Windows Live Mail with something that runs under PDOS/386, mainly text-based, but that is probably years away, and I wish to move to USB in a matter of weeks.

Also I'm not really expecting to have drivers for PDOS/386. I will just drive a COM port, as per traditional 80386 system. As such, I am expecting PDOS/386 to run alongside ReactOS, with some sort of BBS running on ReactOS and applications on PDOS/386 communicating with that BBS.

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Re: state of play

Post by dizt3mp3r »

Very impressive, crazy but that's seems to be you and that is fine by me!

Nothing wrong with being crazy in the o/s development world. I feel that the only problem for you is finding a version of ReactOS that is stable enough for your needs. The team isn't working to that agenda so anything could break at any time with the latest version though it should be more stable over time when beta stage is reached.

I'd suggest trying some older versions and just seeing what works for you with the caveat that when it breaks don't call us!

The main issue with what you are doing is that it requires support and the team just won't provide that in any depth. They might help a bit but after a while of badgering that help may dry up, as they are attempting development and not support at this stage. You are going to be largely on your own.

I could suggest that you join the testing team and see what works and what does not and feedback that list, however the dev team are quite aware that a LOT is broken so that might also be fruitless for you as these issues won't be addressed individually for some time.

Good luck to you though and with your programming skills you may be able to assist the team in specific areas that will aid you in your search for an alternative o/s. If you have the skill to code APIs you may be able to introduce those components/fixes that you need in order to get ReactOS to do what you want. Realise though that the team is never going to be trying to create a usable o/s until the end of the beta stage and as of now, we are still heavily in Alpha.

Personally, I think you are asking a bit too much from ReactOS in its current stage of development but good luck and I am sure your skills could be used by the ReactOS team.
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Re: state of play

Post by kerravon »

I have done some more research and have a different use case.

1. PDOS/386 boots from USB stick and user can write an ASCII text document using micro-emacs (this works).

2. User takes USB stick to internet cafe to send via email using gmail. (this works too)

Now, can I replace a physical trip to the internet cafe with ReactOS?

The crucial thing is that ReactOS has Windows-compatible drivers so will likely support the wireless card in my laptop. My research suggests that my only other choice is Microsoft Windows and Linux.

I don't need graphics. I just need ReactOS to boot from USB stick, connect to gmail, send, receive, shutdown and reboot back to PDOS/386.

So my question is - does ReactOS have wireless drivers that semi-work? I don't need reliability, I'm happy to reboot a few times, and resend the email a few times.

Preferably this would all be done from the equivalent of autoexec.bat without involving any graphics.

Thanks. Paul.
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Re: state of play

Post by Mna. »

Wow!, Reading this part(*) and not believing my eyes. I thought the epoch of Operating Systems written by one man is over, but come and see!
What this recalled me immediately, though, is a TempleOS project and its creator Terry Davis.
This is mostly because TempleOS was also text-only, and also contains line "Public Domain Operating System" immediately after its name, like in this screenshot at boot time:
[ external image ]

But Terry had psychological problems, hope you are not subject to similar things.
Well I could guess you probably know that story, as OS-creator type man.

kerravon wrote: Sat May 15, 2021 11:45 am Hello.
For the last approx 25 years, I have been developing my own OS, called PDOS, which has evolved into a 32-bit partial Windows clone, ie just like ReactOS. You can find it here:
The code is all public domain,
What relates to you main question, it was not fully clear for me, do you want to run your PDOS OS over ReactOS booted from USB or you want to take some USB drivers out of ReactOS and integrate them into PDOS, making it able to boot from USB immediately. My guess, you meant the first option.

P.S. Found this, while searching for screenshot image, seems interesting. "A Constructive Look At TempleOS" ... -templeos/
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