Reasons for ReactOS
This is a work in progress. The aim is to take the related forum topic and turn this into an article. This will not directly correlate to the topic thread from which this was taken.
- 1 Privacy & Security
- 2 Compatibility & Portability
- 3 Customization
- 4 Testing and Development
- 5 Embedding
- 6 Licensing
- 7 Gaming
- 8 Documentation & Education
- 9 Support
- 10 Familiar Interface
- 11 Obsolescence
- 12 Performance
- 13 Freedom
- 14 Oversight, Auditing, and Review
- 15 Stability & Design Choices
- 16 Distros & Bundling
- 17 Maintains the Best Windows 2003 Features
- 18 Other
Privacy & Security
With ReactOS, there is no possibility of unwanted or undocumented telemetry data-mining your system. ReactOS will not expose your data. Thus that also saves bandwidth.
ReactOS will never call home to check whether your licence is valid.
NSA backdoors are less likely due to peer review of the open source codebase allowing monitoring and quick fixing. The code is reviewed by MANY eyes and security flaws are caught and fixed, rather than ignored and buried.
ReactOS has no unwanted advertising on various OS components (login screen, live tiles, etc.)
You can have safe browsing in a virtual ReactOS sandbox (Firefox)
ReactOS makes it possible to port an NT-compatible OS to hypervisors with paravirtualization capabilities.
Compatibility & Portability
ReactOS can be used as a platform for development using legacy environments (VB6), a platform for widget desktop development and packaging (Yahoo Widget Engine), and a platform for graphic design (Photoshop CS ver 8.0 - the oldest and still the best).
ReactOS should be to run all/most older/current 32bit Windows apps and drivers. It will likely give access to all legacy apps that stopped working under NT6+.
ReactOS will be able to support many different types of Windows file systems. It will run FAT32 and NTFS in kernel mode as well as non-native types such as BTRF and ReiserFS, will support CDFS, VFD, UDF as well as network file systems.
ReactOS has the potential for compilation to other hardware platforms and not just x86/AMD64 but potentially ARM, PowerPC, etc leading to a multi-platform, NT-compatible OS!
ReactOS extends the capabilities of XP/2003 to encompass newer technologies that were not present in the original versions of these OS versions.
ReactOS is working on providing NT6 application compatibility, despite having an NT5-compatible kernel. Thus you can run Vista/Win7 (NT6) desktop programs on an NT5 based system.
ReactOS allows you to escape from the situation where a Windows update can brick or make your hardware unstable due to the bundling of incompatible microcode/firmware.
You can fully theme ReactOS as you desire without any need to patch any core system files. You can even change the underlying OS fonts, colours without the GUI denying me this capability.
You can bundle and distribute with your own customisations - a ReactOS distro. You are free to create specific distros, stripped down or geared to gaming purposes, theming, server operation, point of sales terminals, etc.
ReactOS won't prevent you from installing your software the way you prefer. It's your computer! Nor will ReactOS ever force you to use any appstore under some Unified ReactOS Framework as Microsoft ultimately intends to do. You are free to use the applications you've enjoyed in the past, and without vendor lock.
Testing and Development
With ReactOS, you have platform that you can use multiple instances of for testing. You can, for instance, modify ReactOS to create certain problem conditions to facilitate testing.
With ReactOS, you have a platform that you can build into any x86/AMD64 computer by default. You are free to modify ReactOS to make it possible to embed ReactOS into hardware, and there are no license restrictions or royalty fees for doing so.
Outside the scope of the GPL license, ReactOS has no licensing restrictions. There are no licence costs for multiple servers. Running multiple instances costs nothing. It is completely free! There are no artificial restrictions that are based on which version you purchased, as ReactOS is available for free! There is no incentive to produce different versions and then use registry keys to make distinctions, particularly when the code is otherwise the same. So there are no restrictions with regard to functionality added or removed from the different home, professional, corporate, or server versions. There are no crippled versions!
There's no need ever to call the OS provider to re-enable software I have already purchased. ReactOS will never call home to check whether your licence is valid. Thus ReactOS won't make a previously licensed version of the OS into an unlicensed one overnight as can happen on Windows without warning, even without any changes being made to the machine. It will not complain and stop booting if you change the hardware beyond what it thinks should be in your PC. With ReactOS, you also avoid any situation where reflashing your BIOS/firmware invalidates your OS license key or renders your machine inoperable, without remedy.
Migrating any OS to a different machine can have technical limitations, but any failure to migrate with ReactOS will not be due to licensing, activation, and product keys.
While you are free to install software which has DRM restrictions, ReactOS itself is free of such restrictions.
You can experience full DOS gaming under NTVDM, even when the eventual 64-bit version arrives.
Once multicore, multi-CPU support is enabled, and DirectX support is finished, it is possible that Windows games may perform better under ReactOS.
You are free to create specific ReactOS distros that are geared to gaming purposes.
Documentation & Education
Because ReactOS is open source, we have full access to the source code if required for bug-fixing or even just for analysis. Along with that is the ability to compile the source code and know how an NT compatible system actually works, or at the very least, get an idea of how it works.
Documentation will exist for ReactOS, and that documentation will apply also to Windows. It will complement existing Windows documentation and fill the holes for that functionality which is hidden by Microsoft and that does not already exist. More Windows documentation is always good!
Due to the nature of open source software, there will be no hidden and undocumented APIs that only Microsoft and its partners can take advantage of.
The dedicated and growing ReactOS community can provide real support. You can actually report bugs and obtain feedback! If that is not enough, you can also get real support from the Windows community for all apps/driver problems, at the very least for comparison purposes. That is an advantage of having the same error messages and codes, as well as using the same filenames. It has a very familiar feel, meaning that your Windows troubleshooting experience will help when troubleshooting ReactOS.
ReactOS provides an old and familiar desktop environment. It allows you to escape from Microsoft's eternal UI redesign. Controls, options, and everything else are right back where you want them to be.
With ReactOS, there is freedom from forced obsolescence by design, being forced by MS to abandon useful software. It also provides freedom from forced hardware obsolescence by design, since MS makes useful hardware obsolete by dropping support for existing drivers.
ReactOS gives the freedom to use the OS of my choice without abandoning my prior knowledge and experience.
Compared to Windows, ReactOS is likely quicker to boot. It is much slimmer with regard to footprint, and much more efficient in operation.
ReactOS can install very quickly, even in less than 10 minutes.
ReactOS by default contains no resource-hungry Metro apps.
Since ReactOS is Windows 2003 compatible, it will not implement a "file discovery" phase prior to copying/deletion/moving operations on folders containing thousands of files/sub-folders. This avoids the problem where an operation does not start due to the sheer volume of files being 'discovered'.
ReactOS is open source, so we have full access to the source code if required for bug-fixing or even just for analysis.
ReactOS is completely free! No licence costs for multiple servers. Multiple instances cost nothing.
ReactOS won't prevent you from installing your software the way you prefer. It will never force you to use some "ReactOS appstore" under some "Unified ReactOS Framework" as Microsoft ultimately intends to do.
Oversight, Auditing, and Review
Since ReactOS is open source, the code is reviewed by MANY eyes! Thus bugs are caught and fixed, rather than ignored and buried.
Stability & Design Choices
ReactOS can allow vastly improved configuration practices such as the separation of the user profile from the OS system drive.
Unlike Microsoft, ReactOS will not have enforced driver updates. That way, it will not overwrite any user-selected drivers which can cause hardware instability or failure to operate.
With ReactOS, we have freedom from deliberately poor design choices such as the premature opening of the desktop well before the rest of the OS is actually ready to operate.
Distros & Bundling
You will be able to bundle and distribute your own customisations into a ReactOS distro. You are free to create specific distros with your own customizations, stripped down or geared to gaming purposes, theming, server operation, point of sales terminals, etc.
You can bundle ReactOS as a virtual platform with legacy Windows applications that no longer run under later versions of Windows. This allows continued access to legacy programs and/or data. For instance, you compile your code and distribute your binary with a complete OS for live running or test purposes.
Maintains the Best Windows 2003 Features
ReactOS will hopefully implement facilities that were present in Windows 2003 Server and subsequently removed in NT6. NT6 added restrictions to the "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" directories and removed the ability to edit and view (?) configuration files within these folders, causing incompatibilities with some programs designed for NT5. Since ReactOS is compatible with Windows 2003 Server, it should provide access to these folders.
Our Explorer will likely have a fully functioning "open with" menu option that remembers all possible associated and useful programs, the ability to display animated images on the active desktop, and control and consistency over how audio and associated file types are displayed and ordered.
ReactOS will likely implement a non-indexed search facility that includes date ranges, sub-folders, etc that also highlights what folder is currently being searched.
ReactOS will likely return the ability to adjust sound output to mono/stereo, allow adjustment of volume per speaker/channel and restore sound broadcast to multiple endpoints.
ReactOS can be used as a solution for managing ESX hosts from the Linux desktop platform. Creating lightweight ReactOS Virtual Machines in VBox and installing vSphere Client.