A quick response.
Turning me toward Reactos was a good idea (although not fruitfull). I like Reactos.
I like the idea, I like trying out sometimes. I remember like everyone the first attempt.
Burn a CD, try and boot, with a result of no.
There is the Install CD (for trying in Qemu), and the Livecd. The Livecd is always behind in terms of
updates, so for seeing what's new, try the Intall in Qemu.
Good news is there are more and more people trying on real hardware.
Be aware that you have to try on a desktop.
Yep, that's the drawback at the moment. The Usb is not fully functional. Most often a laptop's mouse
and keyboard is usb. So Reactos doesn't function in that case.
But do try.
As for Linux, I have been using TC (TinyCore) for some time. You can use Ndiswrapper, along with a Windows driver if needed, or Ndiswrapper as is if supported.