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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 :)).