As the debate goes on whether Microsoft should continue to offer XP or force everyone to Vista, a group of programmers have been reverse engineering Windows NT. The resulting operating system is called ReactOS and the idea is not as crazy as it may seem. BTW, I used NT for many years -- and still do on a few older computers -- and my only real complaints were that it did not support USB drives, did not have a built-in firewall, and that defragmentation was not in as a disk tool.
Why is ReactOS cloning XP and not NT, you may ask? As I understand it, they are not trying to copy a specific version of NT, but are attempting to create the architecture of the NT family of OSes. That includes everything from NT to Vista. Their point is that NT is the best possible platform for a graphical desktop. Linux and Unix were created for the command line and even Mac OS is built on the very old BSD Unix -- true, but what Apple has done with it kind of proves the reverse point. Anyway, I'm willing to see them make their point with a finished product.
Anyway, ReactOS is well worth following. Visit has a number of problems. If you buy HP -- the lowest priced units these days -- Vista comes with all types of add-ons and gadgets. It's amazing and disgusting what HP has done with Vista. Dells are better in this regard, but Vista is still something I'm trying to get used to. But, if you have an older unit, Vista is probably not going to be a solution. You cannot buy the OSes from Microsoft that were created for the older units you may have. Whle Umbutu Linux may be a great desktop solution for many, it may still be a hard sell to the administration. Mac OS isn't going on your old Dell Optiplex, so you may find that ReactOS is your only option.
It's too early to know how ReactOS will pan out, but I'm happy to see this option being developed. The man behind the architecture of NT, David Cutler, created one of the all time best OSes: VMS. You probably never heard of it, but it may be running your banking account. VMS was a revolutionary OS and I always wondered how Microsoft could hire such a genius and get NT out of the process. But, after reading the ReactOS introduction pages, I'm now thinking that perhaps Cutler did a better job than I had thought.
I wish ReactOS well. The option of having a free Windows-based OS that can be used on older computers or as an alternative to Vista is one that I am happy to see. I will certainly follow the progress of this project. They have a bootable CD that you may wanto to try out. I will.