Reasons for ReactOS
This is a work in progress. I'm not finished. The aim is to take the related forum topic and turn this into an article. All the numbers will be removed and this will not directly correlate to the topic.
- 1 Security & Privacy
- 2 Compatibility
- 3 Customization
- 4 Testing and Development
- 5 Embedding
- 6 Licensing
- 7 Gaming
- 8 Education
- 9 Support
- 10 Documentation
- 11 Familiar Interface
- 12 Obsolescence
- 13 Performance
- 14 Freedom
- 15 Oversight, Auditing, and Review
- 16 Stability
- 17 Distros & Bundling
- 18 Better Design Choices
- 19 Best of Other Versions
- 20 Other
Security & Privacy
1. Safe browsing in a virtual ReactOS sandbox (Firefox) 29. No possibility of unwanted or undocumented telemetry data-mining your system, ReactOS will not expose your data thus also saving bandwidth. 35. No need ever to call Microsoft to re-enable software I have already purchased. ReactOS will never call home to check whether your licence is valid. 32. NSA backdoors less likely due to peer review of the open source codebase allowing monitoring and quick fixing. The code is reviewed by MANY eyes and security flaws are caught and fixed, rather than ignored and buried. 38. No unwanted advertising on various OS components (login screen, live tiles, etc.)
2. A platform for development using legacy environments (VB6) 3. A platform for widget desktop development and packaging (Yahoo Widget Engine) 4. A platform for graphic design (Photoshop CS ver 8.0 - the oldest and still the best) 12. All/most older/current 32bit Windows apps should just function. 13. All/most older/current 32bit Windows drivers should just function. 14. Access to all legacy apps that stopped working under NT6+ 33. Will be able to support many different types of Windows file systems. Will run FAT32 and NTFS in kernel mode as well as non-native types such as BTRF and ReiserFS, will support CDFS, VFD, UDF as well as network file systems. 36. Has the potential for compilation to other hardware platforms and not just x86/AMD64 but potentially ARM, PowerPC &c leading to a multi-platform NT-compatible o/s! 37. Extends the capabilities of XP/2003 to encompass newer technologies that were not present in the original versions of these o/s. 42. NT6 application compatibility allowing you to run Vista/Win7 (NT6) desktop programs on an NT5 based system. 44. To escape from the situation where a Windows update can brick or make your hardware unstable due to the bundling of incompatible microcode/firmware.
You can fully theme ReactOS as you desire without any need to patch any core system files. You can even change the underlying o/s fonts, colours without the GUI denying me this capability.
You can bundle and distribute with your own customisations - a ReactOS distro. You are free to create specific distros, stripped down or geared to gaming purposes, theming, server operation, point of sales terminals, etc.
ReactOS won't prevent you from installing your software the way you prefer. It's your computer! Nor will ReactOS ever force you to use any appstore under some Unified ReactOS Framework as Microsoft ultimately intends to do. You are free to use the applications you've enjoyed in the past, and without vendor lock.
Testing and Development
With ReactOS, you have platform that you can use multiple instances of for testing. You can, for instance, modify ReactOS to create certain problem conditions to facilitate testing.
With ReactOS, you have a platform that you can build into any x86/AMD64 computer by default. You are free to modify ReactOS to make it possible to embed ReactOS into hardware, and there are no license restrictions or royalty fees for doing so.
Within the scope of the GPL license, ReactOS has no licensing restrictions. It is completely free! There are no licence costs for multiple servers. Running multiple instances costs nothing. There are no artificial restrictions that are based on which version you purchased, as ReactOS is available for free! There is no incentive to produce different versions and then use registry keys to make distinctions, particularly when the code is otherwise the same. So there are no restrictions with regard to functionality added or removed from the different home, professional, corporate, or server versions. There are no crippled versions!
ReactOS won't make a previously licensed version of the OS into an unlicensed one overnight as can happen on Windows without warning, without any changes being made to the machine. It will not complain and stop booting if you change the hardware beyond what it thinks should be in your PC. Migrating any OS to a different machine can have technical limitations, but any failure to migrate will not be due to licensing, activation, and product keys.
While you are free to install software with DRM restrictions, ReactOS itself is free of DRM restrictions.
35. No need ever to call Microsoft to re-enable software I have already purchased. ReactOS will never call home to check whether your licence is valid. 45. To avoid the situation where due to a BIOS reflash your Windows licence key is blocked and cannot be changed, even by Microsoft.
11. Full DOS gaming under NTVDM.
15. ReactOS is open source, so we have full access to the source code if required for bug-fixing or even just for analysis. 31. Ability to compile the source code and know how an NT compatible system actually works, or at the very least, get an idea of how it works.
16. Real support from a dedicated and growing ReactOS community, you can actually report bugs and obtain feedback! 17. Real support from the Windows community too for all apps/driver problems, at the very least for comparison purposes.
18. Documentation will exist for ReactOS and that documentation will apply also to Windows, it will complement existing Windows documentation and fill the holes for that functionality which is hidden by Microsoft and that does not already exist. More Windows documentation is always good! 50. No hidden and undocumented APIs that only Microsoft and its partners can take advantage of.
19. Escape from Microsoft's eternal UI redesign - controls, options, everything are right back where I want them to be. 24. Gaining an old and familiar desktop environment.
20. Freedom from forced obsolescence by design, being forced by MS to abandon useful software. 21. Freedom to use the o/s of my choice without abandoning my prior knowledge and experience. 47. Freedom from forced hardware obsolescence by design, MS making useful hardware obsolete by dropping support for existing drivers - see 20.
25. Gaining an o/s that is quicker to boot, much slimmer with regard to footprint, and much more efficient in operation. 28. No metro apps bundled by default that consume more resources than needed. 41. Fast installation times - sub 10 mins. 56. ReactOS being compatible with Windows 2003 will not implement a "file discovery" phase prior to copying/deletion/moving operations on folders containing thousands of files/sub-folders, avoiding the problem where an operation does not start due to the sheer volume of files being 'discovered'.
15. ReactOS is open source, so we have full access to the source code if required for bug-fixing or even just for analysis. 26. It is free, completely! No licence costs for multiple servers. Multiple instances cost nothing. 52. ReactOS won't prevent you from installing your software the way you prefer, will never force you to use the ReactOS appstore under some Unified ReactOS Framework as Microsoft ultimately intends to do.
Oversight, Auditing, and Review
27. Bug fixing - ReactOS is open source. The code is reviewed by MANY eyes and bugs are caught and fixed, rather than ignored and buried.
46. To allow vastly improved configuration practices such as the separation of the user profile from the o/s system drive. 48. Freedom from Microsoft-enforced driver updates overwriting user-selected drivers causing hardware instability or failure to operate. 49. Freedom from deliberately poor design choices such as the premature opening of the desktop well before the rest of the o/s is actually ready to operate.
Distros & Bundling
7. A platform I can bundle and distribute with my own customisations - a ReactOS distro. 43. Bundling ReactOS as a virtual platform with legacy Windows applications that no longer run under later versions of Windows to allow continued access to legacy programs and/or data (i.e. you compile your code and distribute your binary with a complete o/s for live running or test purposes).
Better Design Choices
49. Freedom from deliberately poor design choices such as the premature opening of the desktop well before the rest of the o/s is actually ready to operate.
Best of Other Versions
53: NT6 added restrictions to the "Program files" and "Program files (x86)" directories and removed the ability to edit and view (?) configuration files files within these folders causing incompatibilities with some programs designed for NT5. ReactOS being compatible with 2003 should provide access to these folders. 54. ReactOS being compatible with Windows 2003 will hopefully implement facilities that were present in 2003 and subsequently removed in NT6. Specifically within Explorer, a fully functioning "open with" menu option that remembers all possible associated and useful programs, the ability to display animated images on the active desktop and control and consistency over how audio and associated file types are displayed and ordered. 55. ReactOS being compatible with Windows 2003 will implement a non-indexed search facility that includes date ranges, sub-folders &c that also highlights what folder is currently being searched. 57. ReactOS being compatible with Windows 2003 will return the ability to adjust sound output to mono/stereo, allow adjustment of volume per speaker/channel and restore sound broadcast to multiple endpoints.
30. The ability to port an NT-compatible OS to hypervisors with paravirtualization capabilities. 40. A solution for managing ESX hosts from the Linux desktop platform. Creating lightweight ReactOS Virtual Machines in VBox and installing vSphere Client.