06 Jan 2014



Response to Thorium questions

Quite a few people that first look at Thorium ask questions about what exactly it is for and what purpose does it serve. These are not unreasonable questions to ask and the answers are sometimes difficult to parse due to the complexity of Thorium itself. The second set of questions relates to why we believe Thorium is achievable with the amount of funding requested. Let's go over both sets and hopefully they will convince you we aren't completely out of our minds.

To answer the first question, a basic premise must be introduced. Today most people accept that when they go from computer to computer, even ones with the same operating system, they are going to be faced with a different environment with a different set of applications installed and a different set of files available. With some effort it is possible to synchronize the applications installed across multiple systems and major corporations have been working on providing "cloud" backed file storage that can be shared across multiple systems. That's all fine and well, but these solutions are all fairly piecemeal. The level of integration between all these synchronization schemes is rudimentary if they exist at all. Even worse, they are all fragmented. Microsoft provides a synchronization system for its products tied to its Live accounts while Google provides another set tied to its own credentials.

A more convenient solution would be to have your environment in one concentrated instance that is accessible anywhere with a network connection. This way whenever you want to use your desktop environment, you just log back in and are returned your environment in the state you previously left it in. No shuffling files around via a USB stick, no constant uploading and downloading of files, just one view to rule them all. Even better, this environment could be made accessible to not just desktops but also tablets and smartphones. Now that would be convenient, but is it achievable.

Well obviously we think it is otherwise we wouldn't be asking for backers to help make it a reality. To explain why we think we can pull it off however I'll need to talk a bit about the necessary bits and pieces.

The most obvious thing that is needed is of course a base operating system. This OS would ultimately be what you, the user, runs their environment on. The obvious choices here are Linux or Windows, with Linux being more flexible from a legal and technical perspective but Windows being more usable from an application support and familiarity perspective.

It is however the non-obvious choice that possesses the best of both worlds, ReactOS. An implementation of the NT architecture with a Win32 subsystem, ReactOS promises compatibility with Windows applications with the freedom and flexibility of an open source license. ReactOS has progressively improved over the years and is now at something of a tipping point. It is often no longer a question of "will it run" but "what rough edge needs polishing." To get ReactOS past that tipping point is one reason why we have reached out to you.

The other thing that is necessary is of course clients to log into your environment. That's actually a simpler proposition, as people have been working on an furthering remote login systems for decades. By virtue of its design, ReactOS could also host a remote desktop service much as Windows, meaning anyone on a Windows desktop would already have a built in client ready for use. Linux users are in equally good position thanks to efforts to develop native remote desktop clients. Even mobile users to an extent have a variety of solutions to choose from.

So there are ultimately two pieces of the puzzle to Thorium, a stable base operating system and the remote desktop functionality to access it. ReactOS has already provided a massive head start on both and it is simply a matter of polishing it to make it shine in both roles. Well, not simple, but certainly doable.

The final question that I did not mention above is, what do you do with Thorium? And it's probably the real question that needs to be answered. First off as a regular user, I personally think it'd be nice to basically lug my entire environment around with me wherever I am with an internet connection and not have to deal with multiple copies of files or missing applications just because I switch between my desktop and a laptop. For a business user, the appeal might be even greater. Provide all of your employees with a centrally managed environment with all of their needed applications installed, an environment that is the same regardless of whether they are in the office, in the field, or working at home. Or perhaps you're in the business of leasing out such environments yourself, providing a suite of productivity applications that run on Windows. Why pay the Windows tax when you can instead invest in Thorium and get the same functionality but in a more flexible manner? And then there's things like Amazon EC2. There's a reason why time on Windows instances is more expensive. Get rid of that extra cost by making a long term investment in Thorium-backed ReactOS.

As the above post suggests, the answers to "why Thorium" is long and complicated. I doubt I covered everything but I hope to have at least provided answers to the more general concerns. Of course, keep asking questions. Questions means we have your attention, and your attention is the first step to getting your backing.

Comments (5)

  • anon

    I have pledged...

    Jan 07, 2014
  • anon

    I would suggest trying to come up with a few different rewards for pledging that does not just include a few months of subscription. I think a lot more people would want to pledge if you offered something more tangible after the subscription ends for example... swag (shirt, cup etc), signed thank you, meet devs (for a higher reward), recorded message for all the backers etc...

    I also think you should aim a bit higher for your costs as well, seeing as the market you want is either businesses or enthusiasts you could offer a package for n users for x duration for $ pledge.

    Jan 10, 2014
  • anon

    Good idea on the rewards - they need to be more sexy. We love Reactos but it is hard to be enthused over a month of hosting. It is ReactOS I want. We need to make ReactOS sexy.

    Recently RealStudio (old RealBasic) just renamed themselves Xojo in an attempt to make themselves more sexy, see their new site to see if they managed to do it. I think they did. We need to take a leaf from their book - sexiness attracts. If they can do it for a programming language it can be done for ReactOS.

    Jan 10, 2014
This blog post represents the personal opinion of the author and is not representative of the position of the ReactOS Project.