Alex Ionescu - ReactOS
Core Kernel Developer
Speaking Topic: ReactOS - Bridging the Gap between Windows and Open Source

Alex Ionescu's experience in OS design and Kernel coding dates back to his early adolescence, when he first played with John Fine's educational OS, Kernel, Boot Loader code.

Since then, he has been active in the area of NT Kernel Development, offering help and advice for driver developers, as well as in the NT Reverse Engineering and Security field, where he has published a number of articles and source code. His contributions include documentation for the Linux NTFS project, various award-winning articles on Planet Source Code and extensive papers on the Visual Basic Metadata and Pseudo-code format and NTFS Structures and Data Streams. He has also given trainings to commercial companies looking to im prove their product s features by using native internals and better secure their clients from rootkits by understanding how they work. In Summer 2006, he was a speaker at the Recon 2006 conference, where he gave a talk about a new NT Kernel exploit that allowed a user to access kernel memory from user-mode.

Since Summer 2004, Ionescu has been working as a core kernel developer for the ReactOS project, where his experience with the NT Kernel continued to grow. His responsibilities included the coding of multiple kernel functions, and he has extensively worked on the Object Manager, Process Manager, Executive and parts of the Microkernel such as exception dispatching, thread scheduling and system traps. He is now finalizing work in the kernel architecture, and will move on to developing the Configuration Manager, the Kernel-Mode and User-Mode Debugging facilities, and the Memory Manager and Local Procedure Call interface for NT.

As Linux continues to gain market share in the server market and specialized applications, desktop use has still not yet reached an acceptable level. W hile this w as typically blam ed on Linux s command-line centric interface and poor hardware support, these have greatly changed in the last years, and Linux s desktop interface is as usable as com peting proprietary system s. Therefore, Linux s greatest hurdle in this era is compatibility with Windows applications and games, and specialized drivers for Windows-supported hardware. The Wine project was created to solve this problem, and for the last 10 years, it has continued to increase compatibility for Windows applications and certain games.

But what about companies that still cannot move to Linux for various reasons? What about applications that cannot run in Wine due to architectural differences in the kernel itself (such as I/O Completion Ports)? What about drivers, which Wine cannot emulate? What about games which require DirectX functionality implemented by Video Card software? Many other hurdles to Linux and Wine can be given, some of which may never be solved due to related costs. What can we, as a community, do to solve these problems? Should we abandon these users of the Windows platform, or is there something that we can bring them? The ReactOS Project has been working on a solution for these issues most a decade, by creating a Windows NT compatible OS, and our 0.3.0 release brings everyone a step closer.

This presentation will present the ReactOS Project for attendees who have not yet heard of it, describe our relationship with other FOSS projects such as Wine, FreeType, MESA and Samba, and how ReactOS provides a free, open source, compatible, Windows NT OS environment without emulating or wrapping any other code then its own. The ReactOS developers have managed to create an NT-compatible kernel from scratch, and by using W ine s user-mode libraries, the OS plans to allow full support for drivers, games and applications alike.

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