Wednesday, April 2, 2014

ReactOS Community Edition Announced

So, after a 5+ day Hype Clock, the ReactOS Project announced their (R)evolutionary new project goals with their community-based operating system. Before the goals behind it can be explained, it's important to learn what ReactOS is:

ReactOS is a clean-room reverse engineering of NT, Microsoft's kernel used in Windows. Through binary compatibility, ReactOS is attempting to create a Free (libre) operating system compatible with Windows, in particular Windows XP. After Microsoft announced the impending EOL for XP later this month, ReactOS kicked off their new marketing campaign for this community edition.

The different between the version of ReactOS that already exists and the community edition is a democratic voting system for compatibility. In a system where compatibility is the selling point, not just an added bonus, being able to gauge what your users want finagled into compatibility is of the utmost priority in the project, so this is a step in the right direction for ReactOS, in my opinion. However, I was in a way disappointed that no new technology was being brought along with this release. Hopefully the community addition is a launchpad for the more daring works that the ReactOS devs have in the work, like their proposed Thorium Core Commercial Web OS.

What does this mean for Windows XP users, who will surely be looking for a new home this April? Probably not much, despite what most of us would like to believe. Even with the hype clock, the proof of concept, and the promise for community input, the interest in ReactOS is projected to be at an all time low according to Google Analytics.
Furthermore, if a user is still on a dying system such as XP, it's probable that if they are in the ReactOS echo chamber, they're probably in Linux's as well, and their loyalty to XP through hearing about alternatives proves their resolve to resist change. And what if a Windows user were to install ReactOS, only for it to panic on their hardware?

This is an example of good marketing from the ReactOS community, and fantastic work from the ReactOS devs. I'm sure that most of us are downloading qemu or Virtualbox this very moment, priming ourselves to give the new (R)evolution project a chance. Whether or not (R)evolution works now is irrelevant. The beauty in the project is the hope that in the near future, having to dual-boot an operating system with ethical and monetary implications will be a thing of the past.

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