Do you know or can you guess the name of the most important Open Source project in development right now? Firefox? No. Apache? Not. Mono? Nope. Anything with AJAX in its name? Not a chance. The most important project is one you likely have never heard of and its goals are so startling that, if achieved, it will probably turn the computing world on its head.
So you say I should back a bold statement like that up with the name of this project, here it is: ReactOS. The goal at ReactOS is to produce an operating system that is compatible with existing applications and device drivers written for Microsoft Windows ™. Would it be important if people could run an open source operating system (free as in beer and speech) that would in turn run all of the software, commercial and Open Source, and all of the devices that are available for Windows? You bet. It would be huge. It would be beyond huge.
And that is happening before our eyes. While the folks at ReactOS note that their software is not ready yet for general use (the current release, version .28 at this writing, lacks network support and can only install to and boot from FAT and FAT32 file systems), the progress in the past year that I’ve been watching the project is staggering, and what’s in the pipeline for version .3 is even better.
If you want to see the “Next Big Thing”, as it happens, keep a close eye on ReactOS, or better yet, be part of the “Next Big Thing” by participating in the project.