The ReactOS team has just put out its latest newsletter, and it contains some interesting information on the progress being made. However, it also provides some definitive insight into what, exactly, the project is trying to recreate – a topic of some confusion.
People were wondering what Windows version the ReactOS team was aiming its compatibility arrows at. Some claimed Windows 2000, others were sure it was Windows XP. As it turns out, the situation is a little more complicated than that, as the team looks separately at the kernel and Win32.
The kernel target for ReactOS is the kernel used in Windows Server 2003. This target doesn’t change very often, allowing the team to get the kernel working and stable. The Win32 target, on the other hand, changes more often. The team states that the Win32 target for the ReactOS project is always the one from the latest Windows release, which currently means they’re aiming for Windows Vista. In their own words:
The Windows version that ReactOS officially targets has been a point of confusion for some time now. There are actually two specified targets, one involving the NT kernel and the other for the Win32 subsystem. Officially the ReactOS kernel still targets the Server 2003 kernel, also known as NT 5.2. This target changes fairly slowly. On the other hand the Win32 subsystem target is always at the latest Windows version released, which would be Windows Vista as of the writing. This is why there are often commits stating updates or implementations that are Vista based. When Windows 7 is released the Win32 target will shift again, but this does not mean a decision will be made to shift the kernel target as well.
This should make things a little clearer for everyone.