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ReactOS, the Windows-compatible OS, sees major updates


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The free operating system that wants to implement Windows binary compatibility is finally updated again. The new release contains many new things from connectivity to support for XP themes.

Aleksey Bragin and his team of developers have just released ReactOS 0.3.14, the new version of the operating system that wants to reimplement Windows XP/2003 compatibility outside Windows. The new release arrives after almost a year since the previous one, and during this time the project improved quite a bit on many fronts.

Even though it still is in alpha development stage (hence not recommended for everyday use), ReactOS is now a bit closer to achieving its main goal “to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows” and which allows users to run the same software programs, tools, and device drivers they run on the oldie but goldy Windows XP.


The most important changes contained in ReactOS 0.3.14 include a completely new networking stack: the OS TCP/IP driver is now based on the open source (GNU GPL) project lwIP, a compact and performing implementation of TCP/IP designed for embedded use that gives the Windows-alike OS a big boost in both stability and performance in networking applications.

ReactOS is now able to connect to wireless networks too, even though support for encryption networks is still lacking (WEP but no WPA or WPA2). Another important and “manifest” feature of the new ReactOS version is the implementation of Windows themes support, so that users can install something prettier than the standard, barebone XP/2003 aspect.

For users willing to try how well the free OS is coming along, ReactOS is now available in many different setup types: installation CD, live CD, and preloaded virtual machine image (QEMU, VMware or Virtual Box). The OS source code is hosted on SourceForce.net.

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Written completely from scratch, it aims to follow the Windows-NT® architecture designed by Microsoft from the hardware level right through to the application level. This is not a Linux based system, and shares none of the unix architecture.

So this makes me wonder if it will share all of the same vulnerabilities as the old Microsoft programs...I'm thinking yes. This OS is a good idea as long as very good security measures are set in place.

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It seems to me if it is complete in time it could be a drop in replacement for Windows XP in 2014 when support is dropped by Microsoft. And considering it should have support unlike Windows XP this could be a nice replacement for those not wanting to upgrade or those who can't justify the expense of upgrading...

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