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Revisiting RDP, discovering ReactOS, and finding Mindjet

By , Network World
May 23, 2012 03:32 PM ET
Gibbs

Page 2 of 3

There are lots of potentially huge improvements that ReactOS could deliver compared to XP including an applications manager that's reminiscent of the Apple App Store or the Android Market.

The problem is that ReactOS development has been in progress for 14 years! This is, in part, because it has been a FOSS project and hasn't had the economic drivers that a commercial project would involve, but also because creating an operating system from scratch that can flawlessly support Windows applications is not an undertaking for the faint of heart.

Luckily, it looks like the ReactOS developers are stepping things up because they recently started a fundraising campaign so they can hire dedicated programming staff and have, in just under one month, raised €4,410 of a target €30,000.

Now, some people have queried why XP or a replacement for it would be of any use given that the IT industry is always evolving to more powerful platforms and applications. The answer is simple: There are thousands of applications that were written for XP that are still used by tens of thousands of people and, if there's platform support for this "ancient" software, these users could be easily getting significant value out of their Windows XP software for another 10 years.

Maybe we should all chip in to see what can be done ... and it only needs one or two really rich guys to make it happen really fast. Wouldn't that be an interesting experiment?

I'll quote one of the Backspin readers, Greenman, who commented on the online column: "Reactos is the germ of a fantastic idea, but to become a legitimate global alternative to XP after M$ pulls the plug on it, Reactos must garner the support of the most credible computer security community members and the financial backing of the right secure computing business interests. I say this because the global computing ecosystem needs competing top-level alternatives for user communites to choose from, each with a different set of strategic approaches. We already have Linux offering an open source approach to extensions of the Unix OS model and Apple's OSX's closed source approach to the Unix OS model. M$ is withdrawing it's support for its legacy closed source NT 5 OS model in favor of a more bloated & less backward compatible NT6 OS model embodied by Win7 & beyond. For organizations and individuals with substantial investments in XP-compatible computing systems, what is needed before the plug is pulled on XP is both an open source binary compatible replacement and a closed source ultra high security replacement."

So, if ReactOS were to reach production quality, would you be excited? Would it extend your existing investment?

To close out this thrilling installment of Gearhead how about a recent release of a product I last reviewed nine (count 'em, nine!) years ago: Mindjet MindManager.

MindManager is an implementation of a methodology called "mind mapping" -- it's a visual way of collecting your thoughts about a topic so that you capture as much breadth and depth of the intrinsic and related ideas.

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