How do You Run Windows Programs without Windows?

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If any of you subscribe to CPU magazine, you know I’m a monthly columnist. I’ve become a huge user advocate. I even recently suggested that the hardware and software industry adopt an operating system that isn’t Windows… in order to benefit Windows. More competition on the desktop is good for everyone. I got an email here about something I know I have heard about in the past. I just haven’t had an occasion to tell you all about it. Sam pointed me towards ReactOS.

ReactOS is a free, modern operating system based on the design of Windows XP/2003. Written completely from scratch, it aims to follow the Windows 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.
The main goal of the ReactOS project is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows. This will allow your Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on your Windows system. Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used, such that people accustomed to the familiar user interface of Windows would find using ReactOS straightforward. The ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to remove Windows and install ReactOS without the end user noticing the change.

Please bear in mind that ReactOS 0.3.5 is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use.

Certainly the hope for open-source will grow. I’ve had a long-standing belief that open-source is the future of software. It’s more than just a marketing tactic. Not only do you get software for free, it’s about learning from the code as well. I’m no coder. I can work my way around a file or script, but I can’t do much of it on my own from scratch. I can do a bit of HTML and CSS… but I only learned that by looking at what others have done.

Thanks, Sam, for passing this along. If any of you know about something equally unique, let me know about it! I’d love to take a look.


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