The main goal of the ReactOS project is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows. This will allow your Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on your Windows system. Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used, such that people accustomed to the familiar user interface of Windows® would find using ReactOS straightforward. The ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to remove Windows® and install ReactOS without the end user noticing the change.
Is it clear and simple? No, it you think about it. The questions are:
- "Binary compatible" Up to the same location of the same code? Sure not, so programs that rely on address specific internals would fail.
- "Binary compatible with Windows" Windows? Which version, revision, service pack, etc.?
- "applications and drivers to run" What about drivers/applications that depend on Windows version, depend on Windows bugs, use patented features, DRM, etc.?
- "look and feel of the Windows operating system is used" That's just GUI, which is not equal to binary compatibility.
- "without the end user noticing the change" Including MS logo? Not really... Even 2003 and XP differ.
So, as ROS moving forward to be compatible on driver level, you should be aware that its functionality can not be exactly same as any particular version of MS Windows®
Obviously, ROS has to provide more flexible compatibility than MS Windows and ROS kernel should be ready to support it, and in general be better then MS. There is important question: What should be implemented by mimicing MS and what better be emulated?
For many years MS has being trying to attract software developers and hardware manufacturers by pleasing them with new features, technologies, various capabilities, etc. As a result, software developers were "spoiled" and MS Windows become bloated, buggy, and resource hungry. ROS is an honorable attempt to provide all these features, but is it really necessary and possible? Shouldn't ROS developers define some reasonable subset and provide fast and stable OS instead of trying to reach questionable goal, though it may be just proclamation, which should not be taken seriously
BTW, it would be nice if ROS become capable of detecting and reporting "misbehaving" programs/drivers.