What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

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Thanatophobia
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What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Thanatophobia » Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:45 am

I've already made this question on the ReactOS subreddit on Reddit, but I would also like to ask that question here in the forums since its more active and there's probably more people who are more involved in the project.

So, we know now that Microsoft is starting to "embrace" the FLOSS philosophy and has open sourced a lot of their software, such as PowerShell, parts of the .NET framework, among other things that are not "core" to the Windows operating system.

And incorporating these open source software into ReactOS would be beneficial since they allow for better compatibility since this is code coming by Microsoft and would speed up development of ReactOS without having to reverse engineer and write its own code from scratch.

But what would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make its Windows operating system open sourced and able to be redistributed and modified, or at least allow its code to be publicly viewed?

Now, I do think it is probably unlikely for Microsoft to completely open source Windows 10 given that it is their most current operating system that they still support (and especially since there will no longer be another "major" release and instead will be rolling updates). But it could be somewhat possible for them to open source previous unsupported versions of Windows (not saying that they are but its just speculation), such as Windows XP, since they are no longer economically viable for the company and are pretty much abandonware especially given how with Windows 10 Microsoft is phasing out Win32 and other legacy APIs in favor of UWP. And Microsoft has made very early versions of MS-DOS open source under the MIT license so it might be possible.

And so, if the goal of ReactOS is just to be compatible with NT 5.x (Windows 2000/XP/Server 2003), what would happened if Windows XP was made open source? If older unsupported versions of Windows became open source, then these operating systems could receive community support and any insecurities that were left in these versions since Microsoft stopped support for them could be patched. And this will also allow anyone to redistribute and modify the software and thus improve on it, and users don't have to pay for licensing and to have them activated which would be great if installing them across distributed systems and such. And if that was the case, then there's really no point in developing ReactOS.

If the goal is ultimately for the operating system to be compatible with current releases Windows 10 and its UWP, since I think it would be unlikely for Microsoft to make that open source, then I can see ReactOS still being viable.

What do you guys think? Do you think Microsoft would open source their previous releases to Microsoft? And if they did, do you think that ReactOS would still be developed?

karlexceed
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by karlexceed » Thu Oct 03, 2019 3:30 pm

One major thing is what license would the code possibly be released under. If it's not permissive enough, it wouldn't be nearly as helpful as one would hope.

But if we assume they were to completely release XP's code under an appropriate license, then either that code will be integrated into ROS or will replace ROS's codebase completely. Then, it's back to business as usual. There's no other organization more ready, willing, and able to take the lead on an open source XP than the ROS community.

MadWolf
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by MadWolf » Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:40 pm

Thanatophobia wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:45 am
So, we know now that Microsoft is starting to "embrace" the FLOSS philosophy and has open sourced a lot of their software, such as PowerShell, parts of the .NET framework, among other things that are not "core" to the Windows operating system.
releasing PowerShell as open-source is a logical progression as PowerShell is built on .NET
Thanatophobia wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 9:45 am
with Windows 10 Microsoft is phasing out Win32 and other legacy APIs in favor of UWP
how many people that have downgraded to Windows 10 uses UWP/ Metro apps more than likely the market share for people that uses UWP/ Metro apps is small

Thanatophobia
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Thanatophobia » Fri Oct 04, 2019 1:22 am

MadWolf wrote:
Thu Oct 03, 2019 7:40 pm
how many people that have downgraded to Windows 10 uses UWP/ Metro apps more than likely the market share for people that uses UWP/ Metro apps is small
It is true that most people who use Windows 10, in its current iteration, don't really use the Microsoft Store and you can still download and install Win32 apps the way it was still traditionally done on WIndows, by downloading it from the developer's website. But then there's a few people that do. And given the direction Microsoft wants to head with Windows 10, it seems that in the near future that they might remove Win32 since its considered by them to be legacy API. It's possible that maybe in the future when Microsoft improves and add more features to UWP that it would be the only type of apps that you can install on Windows 10.

If ReactOS wants to be compatible with Windows 10, then its also recommended to have support for UWP applications if it wants to be futureproof.

dizt3mp3r
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by dizt3mp3r » Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:04 am

What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

ReactOS would have a great deal of useful source code and a ready-made team to support Windows and take it the correct direction.

Thanatophobia
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Thanatophobia » Fri Oct 04, 2019 11:00 am

dizt3mp3r wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 10:04 am
What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

ReactOS would have a great deal of useful source code and a ready-made team to support Windows and take it the correct direction.
How would the ReactOS team accomplish this?

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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by EmuandCo » Fri Oct 04, 2019 12:55 pm

Accomplish what? If they release code under a GPL compatible license, we can look at it and take what we need as already happening for a few drivers we have included. But that IF makes the whole thread useless because Microsoft never would release the code of one of their products in a way clones could arise of. That would be absolutely and utterly stupid if they would do that from a financial standpoint.
Image
ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

erkinalp
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by erkinalp » Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:45 pm

-uses Ubuntu+GNOME 3 GNU/Linux
-likes Free (as in freedom) and Open Source Detergents
-favors open source of Windows 10 under GPL2

MadWolf
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by MadWolf » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:09 am

erkinalp wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:45 pm
Dupe: viewtopic.php?p=133865
Code of Conduct
5. Do not resurrect threads that are years old.
the last post that did not break rule 5 was by ThFabba » 02 Dec 2018 09:27

if I remember correctly UWP needs win32 so thay can not remove it

Thanatophobia
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Thanatophobia » Mon Oct 07, 2019 7:12 am

erkinalp wrote:
Fri Oct 04, 2019 6:45 pm
Dupe: viewtopic.php?p=133865
MadWolf wrote:
Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:09 am
Code of Conduct
5. Do not resurrect threads that are years old.
the last post that did not break rule 5 was by ThFabba » 02 Dec 2018 09:27
I didn't knew someone posted a similar question to this. But I was curious to ask because, yeah, if Microsoft did open-source Windows, then in my mind, there's really no point in developing ReactOS as an open-source alternative, because people would work with open-source Windows instead.

EmuandCo
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by EmuandCo » Mon Oct 07, 2019 11:13 am

One single comparison needed for answering that: Mono vs .net.
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ReactOS is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is recommended only for evaluation and testing purposes.

manuel
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by manuel » Mon Oct 07, 2019 4:26 pm

I doubt that will happen.

Aeneas
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Aeneas » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:05 am

Well, AFAIR, they indeed considered doing this. Windows per se makes rather little money, and "binding the customer" for their other products appeared even more advantageous. - The problem, and why their legal department killed the idea: Windows contains a lot of third-party-code which has been licensed by the respective companies to Microsoft, and which MS does NOT OWN. And hence, a release of this code would give rise to claims AGAINST MS by said third parties. - There is one component in the past which you all surely know about: HyperTerminal.

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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by hbelusca » Wed Oct 16, 2019 1:03 pm

When people talk about opensourcing Windows, it's about the in-house core components: kernel + core drivers (not the 3rd-party drivers that are also bundled with Windows), core user/win32 and shell stuff. Not the 3rd-party tools like HyperTerminal or the old disk defragger that was in Windows 2000 for example.

Aeneas
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Re: What would happen to the ReactOS project if Microsoft decided to make Windows open source, and will it ever happen?

Post by Aeneas » Wed Oct 16, 2019 10:27 pm

That's the whole point. NOT all core components are THEIRS to "open source", and they cannot cleanly separate them without having to re-develop parts. I just gave an example, but the issue is general. It has to do with the problem that licenses can be given for specific usage manners... but not for "doing whatever they want to".

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