You want to create a custom OS? Don’t do it!

More than one and a half year ago I have been working on a project — I used to call these kind of hackjobs “Custom OS”, but that term doesn’t fit very well if you ask me (actually it was a OS customization) — called Codename Sylvester.

A few days ago I stumbled over a 3GB zip file containing all the work related to this project but unfortunately the archive was damaged. For amusement’s sake I tried to recover as much files as possible and managed it to get most of them back, so I installed the latest build of Codename Sylvester I found.

Most likely you have seen some of these hacked (and in most of the cases pirated) Windows XP versions called something like “Windows XP Dark Edition” or “Windows XP Ultimate Gamers Edition” or whatever. When I was working on Sylvester I didn’t had the feeling that I am creating something like this. My goal was to create a light-weight, fast, stable and good-looking version of Windows XP which not only I would use, but also other people.

After installing it I was a little bit impressed, because parts of it looked very well (re-styled setup routine, OOBE, logon UI, etc.), but this impression didn’t last very long. All I have done are some hackjobs on various resource files and executeables and slimming down the ISO, but actually I didn’t accomplish any of the goals I had for this project expect the visuals (which are incomplete too).

Why am I writing this? Well, there are so many projects similar to Sylvester and I came to the conclusion that they are useless. Actually noone will ever use bullshit like that. They don’t work very well with Windows Update (reshacked dlls get replaced and things are broken then), often they are slow and bloated and of course, they are illegal. I have been working on Sylvester for about two months back then and I must admit, this was wasted time.

Don’t waste your time as well!

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