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Most of the people involved in the early stages of ReactOS have left the project. Recently, Dennis Winkley (early Kernel Team Coordinator) showed up in the #reactos IRC channel as _Guardian_ and provided some information:

* _Guardian_ has joined #reactos
<GreyGhostNew> I was looking at historty so who was the very first devs of the previous os ?
<_Guardian_> I don't really recall... no one was really left by the time Jason got involved...
<arty> grey ghost: i think the only remaining original is jason filby
<arty> but i could be wrong
<_Guardian_> yeah, the only active member left from the take over is Jason... but some of us still lurk behind the scenes...
<arty> _Guardian_: heh cool
<GreyGhostNew> Anyways Three cheers for Jason for keeping the project alive!!And all the other coders for the tough work they have put in HURRAY HURRAY HURRAY
<arty> _Guardian_: cool to see you lurking around
<arty> I've wondered about what happened in the early days
<GreyGhostNew> me too. soo how far did FreeWin95 go? or was all devlopment started after ROS? the history doesnt mention that?
<_Guardian_> I had been watching freewin95 which was pretty much dead... then jason posted that he was taking it over... I offered to help him...
<grasshopper2> _Guardian_: So ROS actually has code roots in freewin95?
<_Guardian_> there was nothing but the goal of cloning win95 and a few random pages about ideas (as I recall)
<_Guardian_> yes... after like a month we decided to change the name... ended up coming up with reactos... there were probably 5 or 6 people interested at that point...
<GreyGhostNew> Three cheers for _Guardian_ too HURRAY HURRAY HURRAY And agianeveryboy else......I love ROS.......
<arty> _Guardian_: david welch was working on it at that point, ya?
<_Guardian_> yup... sure was...
<_Guardian_> we also set the goal of getting code working instead of talking about what to make...
<_Guardian_> followed by deciding that 9x was going to die and changed targets to NT4
<grasshopper2> Best decision ever IMO.
<GvG> _Guardian_: would you be willing to write up something (even if only anecdotal) about those early days?
<GvG> Would be good to add that to the website
<GreyGhostNew> yeah we need a wiki page....
<GreyGhostNew> That will rock
<_Guardian_> I suppose I could... but you'll probably want jason to comment on it... I don't know how good my recollection is... :)
<GvG> It would be nice to know e.g. some of the names of our "founding fathers"
<GreyGhostNew> All of U can pool everything together and have a nice History page! that will inspire other to join in too(I think)
* filip2307 was always wondering about those early days ... he's there only since about 0.0.12 was released ... :/
<GvG> Yeah, same here
<kjk_hyperion> I don't quite remember since when
<kjk_hyperion> may have been 0.0.8 or something
<GreyGhostNew> Thats early too isnt it? I was here 3 years ago then i lost all contact with ROS...and then about 4 months ago again
<_Guardian_> I don't remember any names besides jason and david at the moment... seems like david single handedly wrote most of the code for quite a while...
<filip2307> i remember that first version i saw was 0.0.9, but i ignored it by then.
<GvG> When did Rex and Brian Palmer get involved?
<kjk_hyperion> GvG: they were already there when I was involved
<filip2307> Rex was there since I remember...
<kjk_hyperion> Rex already was our first webmaster
<_Guardian_> right... rex was doing the hosting...
<kjk_hyperion> and I helped Palmer write Task Manager
<kjk_hyperion> also Phillip Susi was there
<filip2307> i thought the first web site was hosted at David Welch's server ...
<_Guardian_> Brian came in a little later... I'm guessing 6 months or so... about the time I stepped back to just watch...
<filip2307> (and the CVS at Rex's box)
<kjk_hyperion> ah, right
<kjk_hyperion> Rex had his own site
<_Guardian_> actaully, I had a reactos page first hosted on geocities
<filip2307> I still remember the "yellow logo", was it the first one?
<_Guardian_> nope
<_Guardian_> I wonder if archive.org has copies of some of the old old old stuff...
<hpoussin> http://web.archive.org/web/19991118133129/www.reactos.com/ ?
<filip2307> i don't even remember the address anymore.
<GreyGhostNew> Who do u think will have all the logos _Guardian_, Jason or who else (i mean ros ones)
<filip2307> it wasn't at reactos.com ...
<hpoussin> (it was time of release 0.0.14)
<filip2307> i remember older versions of the site.
<GreyGhostNew> Could make a good "History of ROS" wallpaper outa those
<kjk_hyperion> no, I wasn't there that early, I think
<kjk_hyperion> more like 0.0.17
<kjk_hyperion> heh
<kjk_hyperion> when cmd was a separate download
<kjk_hyperion> because ReactOS couldn't run it yet
<kjk_hyperion> we had shell.exe
<filip2307> yeah :)
<filip2307> it had about 11 commands
<kjk_hyperion> I was the first to discover ReactOS could finally run cmd.exe
* GvG remembers his first ReactOS fight: replacing shell.exe by cmd.exe as default shell
<kjk_hyperion> oh such joy from such small events
* filip2307 remembers trying FAR w/ every release.
* kjk_hyperion remembers not knowing a iota of the C language
<_Guardian_> try archive.org for www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/7519/
<_Guardian_> probably in 96 I think...
<filip2307> for the first few version i got BSODs (not those large ugly ones like now) and then i got stuck w/ unimplemented APIs like GetDiskFreeSpace ...
<filip2307> ... oh, that were the times.
<kjk_hyperion> I remember learning C and driver development on null.sys
<kjk_hyperion> my first working code was implementing \Device\Zero
<GvG> archive.com only goes back to 99 for www.geocities.com/SiliconValley/7519/ :(
<kjk_hyperion> you can't read anything from it
<kjk_hyperion> and data written to it goes nowhere
<_Guardian_> how far back does archive go anyway?
<arty> it seems to have that from oct 99
<_Guardian_> I'll have to see if I have the old pages stashed anywhere on backup disks...
<Royce3> _Guardian_: are you going to get involved in coding? *crosses fingers* :)
<_Guardian_> Royce3: sorry... I have my own little projects that take all my spare time... and I exited the coding part of reactos about the time 2 decisions were made. a) to use gpl, b) to clone the internal structure of NT instead of building an OS and implementing the ABI on top...
<Royce3> I can understand little projects, I have almost no time myself at the moment.... so those decisions were unsatisfactory for you, huh?
<grasshopper2> _Guardian_: Unfortunately too much utilities, not to mention drivers, need the exact internals to match too. :-(
<SamB> _Guardian_: how would the former in b) be any different from WINE?
<SamB> except for the part about implementing the OS
<SamB> ?
<_Guardian_> yeah... maybe some day I will write the OS I was designing that almost made jason want to bail on reactos....
<Royce3> _Guardian_: sounds intriguing...
<Royce3> I can't imagine anything making me want to bail on ReactOS though
<_Guardian_> a) I wanted to build the OS myself b) wine was not very useful at the time and c) linux was a pain to setup which doesn't go well with trying to replace windows for people...
<SamB> _Guardian_: so was that a long time ago, then?
<_Guardian_> Royce3: I don't know if I have the notes from what I was working on anymore...
<Royce3> :(
<_Guardian_> SamB: yeah... 96/97
<_Guardian_> Royce3: I have a ton of notes stashed away... just have to dig through them and see if any from that time period survived...
<Royce3> _Guardian_: you should pull them out and put them online somewhere at least...
<_Guardian_> I'm planning on it... but by the end of my day when I have free time, about all I can manage is to destress for an hour or so on WoW and crash...
<filip2307> sigh, no body remembers the URL of the old site?
<filip2307> i think it was at cwcom.net or some company dwelch worked for previously.
<_Guardian_> I haven't even managed to keep recent photos of my kids up on my website in the last year...
<_Guardian_> no clue at the moment filip... sorry... I'll try to find it sometime in the next week...
<Royce3> _Guardian_: what are you doing that wipes you out so bad?
<_Guardian_> programming... helping take care of the kids... dealing with life...
<Royce3> ah.. usual stuff then :P
<filip2307> http://web.archive.org/web/19981203081542/www.sid-dis.com/reactos/
<filip2307> :)
<Royce3> pre-pre-pre-alpha
<grasshopper2> http://web.archive.org/web/19981206020504/www.sid-dis.com/reactos/intro.htm
<_Guardian_> wow... I was still involved at that point?
<Royce3> checkout svn revision 1 sometime ;)
<grasshopper2> intro.htm mentions many names I've never seen.
<_Guardian_> guess I did pretent do be the kernel cordinator for a while after I quit coding...
<GvG> I couldn't checkout 1, but I did checkout 2....
<Royce3> I thought I got 1... maybe not
<Royce3> wow, there's a lot of people on the Kernel Team page!
<filip2307> i haven't seen most of the names either.
<filip2307> "Here at ReactOS, the whole kernel team is nuts!!!"
<filip2307> ah, my favourite quote
<filip2307> i didn't know it's THAT old ...
<_Guardian_> lol... that quote was my fault...
<filip2307> really? years later someone attributed it to RexJ.
<filip2307> :)
<Royce3> technically he said it was his fault, not that he actually said it
<Royce3> considering he was kernel coordinator... he could be confessing to responsibility for the quote being said :P
<_Guardian_> umm... hard to say... it probably came from someone changing the IRC channel topic...
<_Guardian_> I know I tossed it onto the webpage (tripod ~UHB was mine)
<filip2307> :)
<filip2307> i know about half of the names/people from the Kernel Members ... :)
<_Guardian_> probably the ones that actually did something on the project :)
<filip2307> lol, maybe
<filip2307> or just those who left their names in the source code
<filip2307> i was also reading the mailing lists back then ... but i don't remember that much
<_Guardian_> I seem to recall you showing up just before I fell off the face of the planet...
<filip2307> That's possible.
<GvG> I want to take the log of this IRC session, strip non-history related stuff and put it on the Wiki. Any objections?
<filip2307> not from me :)
* GvG is just being polite and doesn't really expect objections :-)
<Royce3> so let it be done
<_Guardian_> pleae do... :)
<_Guardian_> I'll try to add as much history as I can to it over time...
<GvG> Ok, cool