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patchworks

Open Sourcing Windows 9x

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Again, guys: this project idea has a different point of view/start !

1. You *need* an installed version of MicroSoft Windows 9x;

2. You *need* a fully functional internet connection;

3. You must donwload/install a project package manager;

4. Package manager downloads alternatives and substitutes official components.

This approach means that we don't have to start "from scratch", but we just need the package manager, the "upgrades server" and the open source alternatives (and not all actually, the hunt could be dynamic...)

Hope that is more clear now. :rolleyes:

Well, that takes it from rewriting an operating system from scratch to tracking down and managing the dependencies of (unspecified number) programs, making sure that they don't stomp each other's DLLs, and tell the user which programs he can't run at the same time, lest they BSOD starting up Pidgin while editing a photo in GIMP.

Not having to climb Mauna Kea from the bottom doesn't make Everest look more inviting. :no:

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tracking down and managing the dependencies of (unspecified number) programs, making sure that they don't stomp each other's DLLs, and tell the user which programs he can't run at the same time, lest they BSOD starting up Pidgin while editing a photo in GIMP.

Not having to climb Mauna Kea from the bottom doesn't make Everest look more inviting. :no:

:blink:

You haven't considered that we're in the "portable apps" era ! :hello:

Edited by patchworks

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Freedos+Seal Gui or FreeGEM gui or Sword Gui = Some kind of an Windows Clone :)

Again, guys: this project idea has a different point of view/start !

1. You *need* an installed version of MicroSoft Windows 9x;

2. You *need* a fully functional internet connection;

3. You must donwload/install a project package manager;

4. Package manager downloads alternatives and substitutes official components.

This approach means that we don't have to start "from scratch", but we just need the package manager, the "upgrades server" and the open source alternatives (and not all actually, the hunt could be dynamic...)

Hope that is more clear now. :rolleyes:

But that doesn't make an open source 9x based OS :(

Because you need to have M$ Win 9x .

So i'm thinking about making it totally freeware.

Because Win9x Editions are MS-DOS + a shell :)

so we have freeDOS+a shell :)

same functionality just freeware :) how cool :)

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tracking down and managing the dependencies of (unspecified number) programs, making sure that they don't stomp each other's DLLs, and tell the user which programs he can't run at the same time, lest they BSOD starting up Pidgin while editing a photo in GIMP.

Not having to climb Mauna Kea from the bottom doesn't make Everest look more inviting. :no:

:blink:

You haven't considered that we're in the "portable apps" era ! :hello:

Being portable only removes the problem of programs overwriting each other's DLLs. It does not solve the problem of what happens when two similar DLLs are loaded into memory. Various applications, while listed as being compatible, have issues that make using them on 9x more work. For example:

Pidgin - Needs an additional library installed to work on 98. Also needs a preference changed manually to avoid a crash.

Firefox - Doesn't officially run on 95, but can be made to work. Are you planning this project for all "9x" users, or only 98/ME? If you are supporting 95 as well, you need to watch for issues and workarounds like these.

Sumatra PDF - Listed on Portable Apps as being compatible with 95/98, despite it not working properly for many people. See this and this for details.

It may sound like I'm nitpicking, but if you want your project to be successful in such a niche market, you need to watch for these things.

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For example:

Pidgin - Needs an additional library installed to work on 98. Also needs a preference changed manually to avoid a crash.

That's a good example to understand why we need the "package manager":

a correct installation/mod of certain application, transparent for the user.

What about K-Meleon (better for 9x, IMHO) ?

Win 9x hasn't a default PDF viewer, so it's out of discussion.

BTW, we can put in a side "9x extension/improvement" project...

Edited by patchworks

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Win 9x hasn't a default PDF viewer, so it's out of discussion.

It also didn't have a chat client, and Windows 95 didn't ship with IE. It isn't about what you HAVE, its about what you WANT. I'm sure lots of people would love an alternative to Adobe's bloatware. I don't understand your obsession with replacing system files; we've pretty much already come to the conclusion that most system files simply cannot be replaced with a free alternative. Firefox (or K-Meleon) aren't replacements for everything IE does; Notepad++ cannot be used as an embeddable OLE object, etc...

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It isn't about what you HAVE, its about what you WANT.

Ok, but this is a "substitution" project not an evolution one...

I believe that one you've substituted any "standard" component you can start to add features.

I don't understand your obsession with replacing system files; we've pretty much already come to the conclusion that most system files simply cannot be replaced with a free alternative.

I don't have any obsession about system files: i suggested (true, these are just ideas) to substitute _everything_ with free alternatives.

The basic ideas behind this project is to switch from closed to open, not to add more features. :hello:

BTW if you're interested in adding more features i suggest to check out other (barelly-legal if not warez) projects:

- Windows: Project Jackhammer

- Windows Lupus

- WinUSB

...and so on.

Note that almost all unofficial projects here are non legal too (of course MicroSoft is not interested in stopping them, but they can: do you remember AutoPatcher XP ?).

-

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Ok, but this is a "substitution" project not an evolution one...

If the person ends up with exactly the same thing afterward as they had before, whats the point of all the effort to get it working in the first place?

I believe that one you've substituted any "standard" component you can start to add features.

If "evolution" is not the process by which something is made better and gains new abilities / features, then pray God, tell me what it is.

I don't have any obsession about system files: i suggested (true, these are just ideas) to substitute _everything_ with free alternatives.

And, as discussed, that is technically infeasible. There are no simple drop-in replacements available, and to develop new ones would take years, providing you even found someone willing / able to do it.

The basic ideas behind this project is to switch from closed to open, not to add more features. :hello:

Like I said, of what value is replacing everything (were that even possible) if it doesn't help take it anywhere?

BTW if you're interested in adding more features i suggest to check out other (barelly-legal if not warez) projects:

Which is totally the opposite of the purpose of free software anyway.

Note that almost all unofficial projects here are non legal too (of course MicroSoft is not interested in stopping them, but they can: do you remember AutoPatcher XP ?).

Even more of a reason why such a project is a wasted effort. If Windows 95/98/ME were difficult to obtain, legally or otherwise, then it might be of at least some small value to recreate it, like EmuTOS. But since everyone can get, and Microsoft doesn't care how, very few would care whether or not you made a free and open-source alternative.

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Ok, but this is a "substitution" project not an evolution one...

If the person ends up with exactly the same thing afterward as they had before, whats the point of all the effort to get it working in the first place?

Stability and compatibility?

At least if you focus on system files rather than useless side-utilities.

Also, rather than trying to keep 9x drivers working, it would be nice if the 9x kernel could be replaced with something that support linux drivers, but still runs Win32 software(both 9x and NT), without losing the 9x desktop and its file-system model.

Still, the more I read, the more it seems a bit OT for this thread. Too bad...

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Stability and compatibility?

At least if you focus on system files rather than useless side-utilities.

Also, rather than trying to keep 9x drivers working, it would be nice if the 9x kernel could be replaced with something that support linux drivers, but still runs Win32 software(both 9x and NT), without losing the 9x desktop and its file-system model.

Still, the more I read, the more it seems a bit OT for this thread. Too bad...

The "stability" issues are fact of design. It cannot be fixed without a complete overhaul of the system. At which point, it would most likely more resemble NT than 9x.You might as well go for ReactOS at that point. Besides, the "system" files he and I were referring to are non-critical bundled apps like Notepad or Solitaire (I refer to anything in the "Windows" folder as a system file). We've already found that there are no simple drop ins for anything at a lower level.

Edited by idisjunction

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The "stability" issues are fact of design. It cannot be fixed without a complete overhaul of the system. At which point, it would most likely more resemble NT than 9x.

What part of the design, exactly, implies instability? Starting up in a console? Try telling that to any linux distribution.

NT's console-less-ness is an issue for me, which is one of the reasons I keep to 9x. From the moment the GUI starts up, though, I have no qualms about it having certain NT-like features, such as extended Win32 API support, etc...

I also dislike trying to force multi-user paradigms regardless of actual usage. The P in my PC still stands for Personal, and I don't think it should have the same OS as a public library or a university computer lab.

You might as well go for ReactOS at that point.

I couldn't track down sufficiently detailed information on ReactOS's file-system, user, and boot-up models. "A cross between unix and WinNT" leaves alot to the imagination.

Still, last I've checked, ReactOS was far from being ready to use, and still doesn't have sufficient compatibility to even run programs that run just fine on 9x.

We've already found that there are no simple drop ins for anything at a lower level.

The missing operative word is "yet". The point would be to create them, rather than just gather existing, usually pointless, software. If you would instead spend some effort on gathering developers, such a task would not be impossible.

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The "stability" issues are fact of design. It cannot be fixed without a complete overhaul of the system. At which point, it would most likely more resemble NT than 9x.

What part of the design, exactly, implies instability? Starting up in a console? Try telling that to any linux distribution.

More like the separation of user-mode and kernel-mode code. A crash of a program can easily bring down the system, which very seldom happens on NT systems. Usually the problem in that case is a bad driver trying to do something.

Where did you get the idea I didn't like the command line? If anything, that implies more stability and power than anything else to me. I've seldom ever seen something crash at the command line.

NT's console-less-ness is an issue for me

NT has one, albeit it is not an initial interface, nor can you kill the and return to the command line. Most people in the later days of 9x weren't playing DOS games on it anyway. Why do you think they disabled it in ME?

which is one of the reasons I keep to 9x. From the moment the GUI starts up, though, I have no qualms about it having certain NT-like features, such as extended Win32 API support, etc...

A goal more likely attainable with ReactOS. It had a command line for the kernel before it had a GUI.

I also dislike trying to force multi-user paradigms regardless of actual usage. The P in my PC still stands for Personal, and I don't think it should have the same OS as a public library or a university computer lab.

90% of the problems people have with security on their computers is that they think just like you. If people had to log out and log in as an Administrator, or at least enter a password every time they had to install something, they would think twice before installing something. The security of Linux, Mac OS X, etc... is built around this very simple fact.

Not that there is anything to stop you from running as an Administrator on XP, root on Linux, etc... But I think it is good to have the distinction available.

You might as well go for ReactOS at that point.
I couldn't track down sufficiently detailed information on ReactOS's file-system, user, and boot-up models. "A cross between unix and WinNT" leaves alot to the imagination.

Well, you could have just tried it. ReactOS is focused on building a GUI (what is Windows without it?), but it does have a command interface.

File system:FAT16 / FAT32; development on NTFS and ext3 in progress. And yes, it uses your archaic drive obfuscation, instead of much more sensible device nodes.

User:Currently it is single-user only. Of course, that is going to change, for reasons I cited above.

Boot process: Same as Windows. Older versions were limited to a console; I'm sure someone will port an X server to it and forgo the traditional Windows method.

Still, last I've checked, ReactOS was far from being ready to use, and still doesn't have sufficient compatibility to even run programs that run just fine on 9x.

Of course it isn't. But it is a lot farther along than this "project" will be in any reasonable amount of time. As far as compatibility goes, even Microsoft can't guarantee that, and neither could this "project" of patchwork's.

We've already found that there are no simple drop ins for anything at a lower level.
The missing operative word is "yet". The point would be to create them, rather than just gather existing, usually pointless, software. If you would instead spend some effort on gathering developers, such a task would not be impossible.

A point I and others have already made. But the makers of ReactOS set out long ago to clone Windows 95, and came to the same conclusion: it just isn't worth it.

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Why do you think they disabled it in ME?

To claim that the OS didn't have DOS, which to a big amount of nerds looked archaic. In short, to be cool.

90% of the problems people have with security on their computers is that they think just like you. If people had to log out and log in as an Administrator, or at least enter a password every time they had to install something, they would think twice before installing something.

This is a problem of ignorance and lack of common sense. Permissions won't help. If the user wants to see the dancing rabbits, he will see the dancing rabbits.

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NT has one, albeit it is not an initial interface, nor can you kill the and return to the command line.

You can always set CMD.EXE as shell.

FYI:

XPSP1 with full commandline and NTFS below 10 MB

www.boot-land.net/forums/?showtopic=3717

http://www.boot-land.net/forums/?showtopic=3717&st=47

This is a problem of ignorance and lack of common sense. Permissions won't help. If the user wants to see the dancing rabbits, he will see the dancing rabbits.

Sure, are unspecified little furry creatures eligible as well? ;))

image001.gif

jaclaz

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