posted by Leroy on Wed 30th Aug 2006 17:08 UTC
IconIn the past, I've installed ReactOS to show my students a Microsoft alternative. The performance was slow and there was not much to do. This latest revision offers more! For my review, I used the freeware VMWare Player since I was using the company server. I'm the only one who knows how to use it.

VMWare image of ReactOS comes in about 63MB uncompressed, considerably smaller than any MS Windows distribution. Boot time was fairly quick under VMPlayer.

Familiar

ReactOS is a Microsoft WindowsNT compatible OS and it's FREE. The layout has the familiarity of Windows with the "Start" button and taskbar. Notice how the taskbar has the clock and FireFox. Just like MS Windows, I was able to find most settings and programs. However, some programs don't work such as Regedit and WordPad. This may be due the VMPlayer image. Hopefully when I do a full installation I will know for certain.

Notepad worked fine. I was able to type a small document. Desktop allows you to change the resolution and color-depth. I don't recommend changing the default resolution. This will cause a reboot of ReactOS. However, do change the color-depth to 32-bit; 16-bit distorts the color in FireFox.

What OS is complete without a few games? Solitaire to the rescue. This anti-work game has for years been the bane of businesses everywhere. I spent 30 minutes playing Solitaire. It works!

What to do now? Surf over to OSNews of course! Don't expect to find Microsoft's IE on this OS. This OS comes with a "get FireFox" selection and ibroswer. Install FireFox using the "get FireFox" selection under Programs. Yes, I know the image above already shows FireFox installed. That print screen was taken after the installation was finished.

FireFox started downloading very quickly. After the download, the all familiar "for MS Windows that is" installation process. Installation was painless and quick.

FireFox on ReactOS layout is like all others. Now for the downside.

Downside

When the browser was running, the mouse became extremely slow. Frequently the mouse pointer ran across the screen. Granted I'm running this under VMPlayer on a server with other processes running. I hope to try an actual installation on a Pentium II that just sitting around.

Overall

Not bad for an alpha release. ReactOS has simple graphics that will not over work a graphics card which is suitable for older computers. With such a small size, ReactOS leaves plenty of room for applications (games).

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