Interview: Aleksey Bragin

Aleksey Bragin

Interview with Aleksey Bragin by Klemens Friedl

Aleksey Bragin, born in Moscow, Russia in 1983 been involved with ReactOS since year 2002 and contributed to a lot of different parts throughout the project since that time.  

Start

How did you get involved with ReactOS?

Lots of time ago an idea came to my mind, the idea was creating a FOSS alternative to Windows. However, I was too busy with the projects I was doing (mostly in game development area) and thus did not really search for already existing projects of this kind.
Things changed in 2002, when I finally decided to start a project to slowly substitute components of MS Windows by FOSS ones, but before starting my own project I always perform some investigation of what is already available. Fortunately, I found a small reference to ReactOS project, along with FreeWin95 and some other OS-projects (I already knew Wine though long before – in fact I tried to compile and run back in 1998 when I bought some linux-cd with the Wine on it too). When I examined all projects, I found out that ReactOS project had the biggest potential of becoming a mature FOSS Windows-compatible operating system, and thus I decided to abandon my personal project and join ReactOS instead.

So up until the point you had been programming for Windows?

Yes, that’s true. I was a 3d game developer, and mainly I had to develop for Windows platform. I had Linux programming experience too, but it was lots smaller than what I knew about Windows, Win32 API, OpenGL, DirectX etc. Then I switched into kernel mode programming (writing drivers for Windows NT, researching NT kernel architecture). This finally lead me to ReactOS project.

Do you remember the first work you did on ReactOS?

I remember it very good, because this first work is still in use today. It was the “console task manager” I did especially for ReactOS, when it didn’t have any GUI, but it needed a way to view and kill processes. Originally this application was called Text-Mode Task Manager (tmtm) but later I decided to rename it to “ctm” since it sounds better. Some ReactOS devs and testers prefer to use this tool now too, even despite we have a GUI taskmgr.exe.  

Fun with ReactOS

What’s your favorite area of ReactOS to work on?

I like every part of ReactOS, there is no part which I wouldn’t want to work on. However, I usually pick the most interesting and/or important parts where I posess enough knowledge to implement/fix a certain feature or parts which don’t get enough attention from other developers. Also, sometimes I like to switch from one area to another completely different area (like from bootloader to fixing some CPL applet) – it gives some fresh feeling and lets you better focus on real problems.

Meetings

What’s been the favorite place you’ve visited?

I’d like to name two events I’m glad I visited. They are – LinuxWorld 2004 in Frankfurt where I first met in person other ReactOS developers – Steven Edwards, Ge van Geldorp, Hyperion, Eric Kohl, Emanuele Aliberti and other, it was a great time I spent with that people. Also LinuxTag 2005 in Karlsruhe was quite fun too, thanks to Xbox-Linux project. Despite ReactOS was late to officially claim a booth at LinuxTag2005, people from Xbox-Linux were kind enough to offer me half of their own booth to demo ReactOS, also they helped me with almost everything I needed – computer peripheral for demo system, printing information sheets, banners, etc. So it was equally great and fun to spend the time with the Xbox-Linux team.

Work

What kind of development environment do you use?

I tried really a lot of various IDEs and text editors, but I came to a solution which I use nowadays: I prefer MS Visual Studio when I need something bigger, and just pure FAR’s internal editor when I need to hack in a specific file or search through a lot of files for some string.

So, beside ReactOS is there any other projects you’re involved in, and what you like to do in your spare time, if you have any?

Yes, definitely my life doesn’t consist only from ReactOS, but making ReactOS a success is my main goal - it is the project I believe in.
In my free time I like to do some healthy things like sports and travelling. Summer time better suits activities like swimming and table tennis playing outside on a fresh air, and during winter I prefer to go skiing - but not mountain skiing (yet :)).