Hi, my name is Mike DePaulo and I go by the handle MikeDeP333. I attend Penn State University - Worthington Scranton, in (practically) Scranton, Pennsylvania, USA.
Involvement in ReactOS
I discovered ReactOS in 2004 or so, in the middle of the .2.x releases, and found it very cool. I find the discussion in #reactos on freenode quite interesting, so I hang out there. I also try to provide people with information on the forum, or on the wiki. I would very much like to learn to program in C or C++ so I can help develop ReactOS, but I have been busy with school. When I finally did take a programming course, it was in Java. By the end of 2007 I should have a lot more programming experience, hopefully in those two languages so I can help ReactOS.
I admire Open Source software for its social/economic benefits, so I'm not a Windows fan. At the same time I believe GNU/Linux has some horrible design decisions. Free software advocates talk about software freedom, but the most important freedom of all is to be able to install and run a program. Most users install and run programs without doing anything else with them. But this "freedom" is denied by the typical unix/linux model of just giving people the source, which they can't install and use because it will not compile on their specific distro and will be likely to have bugs in it if does. For more technical users, this means that you can't even try out a piece of software, because you have to modify the source first. Furthermore, I think that even the most novice user should be the judge of what applications and what versions of those applications should be installed on their system, not Mark Shuttleworth (great guy) or anyone else. The user/administrator should have complete and effective control of customizing which software in which versions goes on their systems. This linux model is especially bad for games, where updates to new feature releases are necessary for multiplayer interoperability, and binary releases may be necessary to prevent cheating. I think the worst aspect of linux is the driver development model which forces source releases of drivers that have to be included with the kernel. First of all, I don't think hardware manufacturers should have to make open source drivers, because they are generally concerned about releasing good software to their users for free. However, this model also means that I can't grab a driver from someone and add it to my distro because the next time your kernel is updated to a maintenance release, the kernel module needs to be recompiled. This inability to add drivers to your system is combined with the fact that because the kernel module interfaces change from version to version of the linux kernel, people only develop their driver for the latest version of the kernel. The result is that if you buy a computer in April 2007 and buy a new piece of hardware, even if it is external, in December 2007 (and the driver is released in March 2008,) you have to update your entire distro to get support for the device. Additionally you may have to wait till as late as September 2008 for the driver to be included in your desired distro. Besides, many people's computers don't have resources to update their distro, and thus update every single package on their system to a new feature release. Clearly ReactOS is the solution to these problems. Long Live ReactOS!
If anybody thinks I am wrong on these things, feel free to add a comment to my page's discussion.