It works! Sort of …

On a whim, I installed the latest pre-release release of ReactOS today. I tried it a long time ago and had no luck whatsoever — black screens, nonbooting or just generalized irregular behavior — and so I rarely give it a thought.

But I was surprised to find that the live CD version — which weighs in at a size comparable to Slitaz — works great, and the installation version does its job too.

For the most part. I get a weird split-screen effect, with the lower half of the screen rolling up from the bottom, like a TV with a busted vertical hold. And the resolution doesn’t scale to the Inspiron‘s LCD, which means the right third of the screen is lost somewhere in the ether.

Add to that the fact that nothing aside from the touchpad, the video and the hard drives seem to work — no wireless network, no PCMCIA, no audio, no USB, etc., etc. — and it’s not exactly functional for me. I’d show a screenshot, but I’m at a loss for a way to get the image off the machine.

However, every computer is different, and every installation is different, so it might be that your hardware is the lucky combination that works as an entire system. No harm in trying.

And even if it’s not 100 percent functional, it’s nice to see progress made on something as lofty as a cycle-perfect imitation of Windows. Regardless of your philosophy on the subject, some people are working very hard on this, and it seems their labors are bearing some fruit.

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8 Responses to “It works! Sort of …”


  1. 1 kevin 2009/05/04 at 12:42 AM

    What is “cycle perfect imitation of windows”?

    By the way I’ve been reading your blog for about a month now and really enjoy it. You’ve just about motivated me to dig out an old machine and see how much I can do on command line, as I use LaTeX for documents right now anyway. It might be good for my productivity as I couldn’t browse the web quite like I do right now (recently made the switch on my dual boot machine to primarily using Xubuntu though I’ve got some older machines my kids use with puppy on them and I’ve been playing with Slitaz lately as well). My newest machine is a P4 2.2, 768MB of RAM, 40GB HDD and a new video card w/128MB of RAM (I used to have 368MB and on board video a month ago, but google earth was not working so well).

    Cheers,

    Kevin

  2. 2 eksith 2009/05/04 at 2:17 AM

    Some fruit, but ReactOS has a looooong way to go to come close to Windows.

    I’m not quite sure if that’s really a worthy goal at this point. If they can somehow match compatibility while making it completely new, then that’s something.

  3. 3 zenfunk 2009/05/04 at 4:49 AM

    “Add to that the fact that nothing aside from the touchpad, the video and the hard drives seem to work — no wireless network, no PCMCIA, no audio, no USB, etc., etc. — and it’s not exactly functional for me. I’d show a screenshot, but I’m at a loss for a way to get the image off the machine.”

    That pretty much sums up what’s implemented by now. Wired network and USB stack seem to be under heavy development but far from being reliable.
    Sound worked sorta in their newest release for the first time. Also far from stable.
    Nevertheless, reimplementing the Windows operating system- what a task. Kudos to the developers – keep it up.

    Imagine this:
    If reactos would have been sort of usable when vista came out and would have gotten some backing by the big players (ibm etc.) this would have given Microsoft a pretty good shake.

    XP out of service, vista rubbish and reactos compatible to the old and trusty xp. Who would have had the need to buy a Microsoft OS ever again?

  4. 4 L4Linux 2009/05/04 at 2:18 PM

    “Add to that the fact that nothing aside from the touchpad, the video and the hard drives seem to work — no wireless network, no PCMCIA, no audio, no USB, etc., etc. — and it’s not exactly functional for me.”

    That sounds exactly like a fresh install of windows, before you put 3-4 hours of work to get everything installed and working!
    Ubuntu Easy Peasy took me only 1 hour in a totally underpowered notebook and I only had to make about 10 clicks.
    Good job. Now make some good BSOD, DRM and “genuine advantage” and ReactOS is ready to go mainstream!!

  5. 5 wakizaki 2009/05/04 at 3:25 PM

    ReactOS is based on Wine, and we all know that Wine still has some ways to go, so no big surprise there.

  6. 6 James 2009/05/04 at 5:16 PM

    ReactOS shares quite a bit of code with Wine, yes. That’s not really where it has major issues right now, though.

    For example, both USB support and the network stack need lots of love. Additionally, the last build I used required a reboot to change the resolution.

    Alas, ReactOS is pretty much less functional than early betas of Windows 95 right now. Even opening the file manager in the wrong way can cause a crash. :-P


  1. 1 Links 03/05/2009: Fedora Classroom Today, Palm to Enter Sub-notebooks? | Boycott Novell Trackback on 2009/05/04 at 10:11 AM
  2. 2 Haiku alpha: Wow. Just wow. « Motho ke motho ka botho Trackback on 2009/09/18 at 9:25 PM

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