Revisiting RDP, discovering ReactOS, and finding Mindjet

A second look at Microsoft's RDP client, a replacement for Windows XP, and delving into "Mind Mapping"

A few weeks ago I wrote about Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) and noted that "Microsoft's RDP client, Remote Desktop Connection Client 2.1 doesn't support OS X 10.7 or later." ... an observation to which I added, "Meh."

Reader Keith Rinaldo wrote to tell me, "I can confirm that Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client 2.1 works perfectly fine on OS X 10.7. I have been using RDP 2.1 since I installed OS X 10.7.0, through all iterations up to my current OS X 10.7.3 (awaiting a reboot to install 10.7.4) and RDP Client 2.1.1."

I checked this out and, indeed, Keith is correct; RDP 2.1.1 does indeed work, but how foolish of me to believe Microsoft because on its Web site it warns: "Note Microsoft Remote Desktop Connection Client for Mac (version 2.1.1) is not intended for use with Mac OS X v10.7 (Lion) or later." Pretty much the same thing is written twice more on the download page.

I usually believe vendors when they say something doesn't work (but often I don't believe the opposite), but maybe I should rethink that rule. Even so, now that I've compared Microsoft's OS X RDP client to the free, open source (FOSS) alternative I wrote about, CoRD, I much prefer the latter -- it produces a better looking rendition of the remote desktop. Your mileage may vary.

Another followup is for something I wrote about in my Backspin column, the scheduled demise of Microsoft's support for Windows XP and Office 2003 on April 9, 2014.

I suggested that because XP and Office 2003 are still useful and relevant to so many people, Microsoft should do the right thing and release the source code to both as open source, and a lively discussion in the online article's comment section ensued.

One of the comments highlighted a FOSS project that could make it irrelevant whether or not Microsoft makes the code available, ReactOS, an operating system "based on the design of Windows XP/2003." Interesting, but the story gets better: "Written completely from scratch, [ReactOS] aims to follow the Windows-NT architecture designed by Microsoft from the hardware level right through to the application level. This is not a Linux based system, and shares none of the unix architecture."

The developers explain that the main goal "is to provide an operating system which is binary compatible with Windows. This will allow your Windows applications and drivers to run as they would on your Windows system." Nice.

The developers continue to get us excited by saying, "Additionally, the look and feel of the Windows operating system is used, such that people accustomed to the familiar user interface of Windows would find using ReactOS straightforward.

The ultimate goal of ReactOS is to allow you to remove Windows and install ReactOS without the end user noticing the change." Woo-hoo! And I really like one of the slogans the developers use: "Change your OS, not your software!" The developers do, however, warn: "Please bear in mind that ReactOS 0.3.14 is still in alpha stage, meaning it is not feature-complete and is not recommended for everyday use."

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