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Operating Systems Software Hardware Technology

ReactOS 0.4.6 Released (osnews.com) 97

OS News reports that the latest version of ReactOS has been released: 0.4.6 is a major step towards real hardware support. Several dual boot issues have been fixed and now partitions are managed in a safer way avoiding corruption of the partition list structures. ReactOS Loader can now load custom kernels and HALs. Printing Subsystem is still greenish in 0.4.6, however Colin Finck has implemented a huge number of new APIs and fixed some of the bugs reported and detected by the ReactOS automated tests. Regarding drivers, Pierre Schweitzer has added an NFS driver and started implementing RDBSS and RXCE, needed to enable SMB support in the future, Sylvain Petreolle has imported a Digital TV tuning device driver and the UDFS driver has been re-enabled in 0.4.6 after fixing several deadlocks and issues which was making it previously unusable. Critical bugs and leakages in CDFS, SCSI and HDAUDBUS have been also fixed. General notes, tests, and changelog for the release can be found at their respective links. A less technical community changelog for ReactOS 0.4.6 is also available. ISO images are ready at the ReactOS Download page.
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ReactOS 0.4.6 Released

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  • Too Late? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by youngone ( 975102 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @04:31PM (#55134045)
    I have always thought ReactOS was a good idea, but it seems like it's way too late now. It has been in development for so long that it is probably arguable that it's usefulness has been passed by.
    The news of a Digital TV tuning device driver is nice, but why? There are such things as Kodi which work really well.
    ReactOS does not even have SMB support (I suppose, based on the summary) which seems like a really basic thing to not have.
    I hope they wind up with a great, really usable product, but I suspect the interest in this project will be minimal.
    • Re:Too Late? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tie_guy_matt ( 176397 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @04:50PM (#55134111)

      It might seem like it is too late for a dos emulator/clone to be very useful today, however people still seem to find a thousand and one household uses for DOSBox, FreeDOS, etc. There are tons and tons of of niche programs that are written to run on older versions of Windows which we don't have the source code for anymore. So I imagine people will be able to find uses for ReactOS well into the future.

      • I hadn't thought of that use case, you might be right. I hope so.
      • Re:Too Late? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by YukariHirai ( 2674609 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @10:36PM (#55135085)

        There are tons and tons of of niche programs that are written to run on older versions of Windows which we don't have the source code for anymore. So I imagine people will be able to find uses for ReactOS well into the future.

        Which will be nice, if/when it's actually capable of reliably running anything.

      • Agreed. The only reason I have an XP VM (the one and only MS existence in this household) is that DW bought me an iPod that libgpod won't communicate with (a generation that has not yet been reverse engineered). I'd switch to ReactOS in a flash if iTunes wasn't a hunk of junk that will not run on it.

      • by ledow ( 319597 )

        And, given the choice, I think most people would rather just emulate an entire Windows box, run it through Wine (which stands ten times more chance of actually working), or just hack it to run on modern Windows instead.

        DOSBox is for games, almost 99% of the time. It's bundled in Steam releases of old games, etc.etc. and it sucks at lots of things (e.g. physical hardware interaction, requires an entire PC set up and running an OS already to work etc.).

        As such, ReactOS fills an EVEN TINIER niche. Not for ru

        • by Anonymous Coward

          You seem like a very honest person.

        • Yet a solution looking for a problem is exactly how a lot of these projects start, and while most fail there are some that take off.

          So using your example of the half-million-dollar microscope; what if OEMs pick up on ReactOS and start using that as their base instead of Windows? They already have the Windows coders which is probably why they never made the investment to switch to Linux to run it. Or they felt the APIs weren't there or whatever. Well, if said OEM instead ports their code to ReactOS then they

      • So... Wine? or QEMU?

        Who is going to boot into a full OS just to run an old emulator?

    • It may be too late. I still have a need for something Windows-compatible from this era, however, ReactOS still lacks some basic functionality (e.g. drag-n-drop, ^c-^v [tested today in VirtualBox]) and at least one of the programs I regularly use still doesn't work inside ReactOS.

    • One comment.

      When Linux goes SystemD for the entire OS configuration and there are no more non-SystemD distros out, we will then need an alternative OS.

      Gee, I make it sound like SystemD is a virus? Maybe it is based on how fast and far it's spread...
    • I have always thought ReactOS was a good idea, but it seems like it's way too late now. It has been in development for so long that it is probably arguable that it's usefulness has been passed by.

      Well, I dunno, once it hits 1.0 you could run Xanadu on it.

    • Hey, come on. ReactOS is well on it's way to full WinXP-compatibility in only 10 years time.

      Although I do think it could have become a usable alternative a few years back; when all those companies were panicking about the impending demise of WinXP, they could have pumped money and resources into ROS and had a drop-in rplacement for XP that wasn't dependent on MS. But instead they acted like the cowards they are, bent over and spread them for MS once again.

  • Wonder how far they'll get before Microsoft sics their team of lawyers on them claiming infringement of some sort, sueing them into oblivion, then scooping up the whole project, copyrighting it, and preventing anyone from using it, ever?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not sure what is sueable here

      APIs are not copyright able. See Google vs. Oracle.

        reimplementing win32 APIs is legal.

      • Re: Miscreant-o-soft (Score:5, Informative)

        by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @05:45PM (#55134291) Journal

        APIs are not copyright able. See Google vs. Oracle.

        Wow, you completely misunderstood that case. APIs most definitely are copyrightable, as per the appellate court [eweek.com]. The best you can hope to attain is a fair use defense, which Google tentatively won (though it may or may not be overturned, like I know). Reasonable summary here [zerobugsan...faster.net], a lot of situations are probably fair use, including interoperability.

      • Re: Miscreant-o-soft (Score:5, Informative)

        by 4wdloop ( 1031398 ) on Sunday September 03, 2017 @05:51PM (#55134329)

        IMNAL but GvsO was "won" based on fair use, in fact the case sided with Oracle that APIs are work of art (some more than other ;-).

        from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org].

        "On May 26, 2016, the jury found that Android does not infringe Oracle-owned copyrights because its re-implementation of 37 Java APIs is protected by fair use. "

        And since fair use is solved case-by-case, it is rather very "sueable".

        • by Kjella ( 173770 )

          The odd part about that ruling is that it established that APIs are copyrighted, but didn't come up with a single plausible theory of how they could possibly be used in a way that is infringing. If you can copy APIs wholesale to create a competing commercial product you're pretty much in the worst corner of on at least two if not three corners of the fair use test. If the functional nature of interfaces demand that they have to look the same to work the same and will grant you a fair use defense every time

          • Would that simply mean that current law is inadequate to cope with software (esp. APIs)?

            Somewhat similar to creating an official standard with a patented technology?

      • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

        Not sure what is sueable here

        I'm not sure it matters if anything is actually sueable. If Microsoft felt sufficiently threatened, they could just throw lawyers and claims at this project until its participants went bankrupt, regardless of whether the claims actually held any merit, or not.

        The fact that Microsoft hasn't bothered is probably best explained by the hypothesis that they don't think it's worth the effort (or the bad publicity) because they don't see this OS as any kind of real competition. If so, I think they're right about

  • As cool as this is, the pace is glacial. It may get on par with Windows 2000 or XP when we've moved on to 128 bit chips with a TB of RAM and 12K monitors. I don't expect miracles, but it'd be nice to reach a usable status while the old win32 API is still useful.

    I think the project bit off more than it could chew with its limited resources.

  • After all these years of getting updated on the status of ReactOS on Slashdot, I finally install it in a VM. My first thought was, "Am I installing NT 4 or what?" That was kinda cool actually. After installing and rebooting I got a blue screen. Really? Okay, so I restarted the VM and this time the loading screen flat out hung up. If I was installing this on actual hardware, what would it be intended for? A Pentium Pro? If a selling point is a TV tuner device driver...
    • I know people who run NT 4 in a VM. Maybe you should use a better VM, or a better install ISO.

  • For the last 19 years. When is the beta available?
    The Windows clone almost has support for Windows file sharing.

  • by DMJC ( 682799 ) on Monday September 04, 2017 @03:00PM (#55137965)
    ReactOS already runs 3D Studio Max and Caligari TrueSpace. That makes it pretty useful to me already. Sure it's running in Qemu, but it already handles window management better than wine does. As it gains in compatibility It's slowly becoming a real replacement for windows in various use cases. I could see it easily replacing Windows Domain Controllers and Windows Terminal Servers in virtualised environments. No license cost, and management UI is close to Windows.

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