My name is Colin Finck and I'm a Software Engineer with interests ranging from low-level system development to high-level tools that ease daily tasks.
I originally started this website in 2003 to publish some of the tools I developed for then prevalent Windows problems and system recovery tasks. In 2007, I joined the ReactOS Project to dig deeper into Windows internals and held various roles over the years (Kernel & User Mode Development, Release Engineering, System Administration, Project Management). I was also the main driver behind the establishment of ReactOS Deutschland e.V. in 2009, a German non-profit organization to support ReactOS legally and financially, and I'm serving as one of its Board members ever since.
In 2017, I got in touch with the Rust programming language thanks to my Master thesis project, and I have fully embraced it since then. Used correctly, it cannot only prevent 70% of security issues out there, but also significantly helps with collaboration, code reusability, and even coding style - all things where C/C++ has given me a hard time over the years. I am now using Rust for new projects wherever possible.
I relaunched this website in 2021 to write about my latest projects and experiences. Hope you find something useful here.
2018 - today: Software Engineer at ENLYZE
The Machine Whisperer at ENLYZE. Reverse-engineering proprietary systems in the industrial manufacturing space and writing compatible connectors in C++ and Rust to aggregate live process data.
Some public projects:
- EnlyzeWinCompatLib to develop modern C++ applications for Windows 2000, and even for Windows NT 4
- PortSniffer, a serial/parallel port monitor for recent Windows (32 and 64 bit) with pluggable API
- Writing Win32 apps like it's 2020 with Wizard-2020 as a DPI-aware resizable wizard written in Win32 API and modern C++
2017/2018: Evaluation of Rust for Operating System Development and Porting Key Components of the HermitCore Unikernel
Thesis submitted to attain the M.Sc. Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering degree at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
Subsequent employment at RWTH's Institute for Automation of Complex Power Systems (ACS).
- Introducing HermitCore-rs, a Unikernel written in Rust
- Code written during my thesis and employment
- Thesis PDF
- The RustyHermit Project today
2015: Analysis, Design and Implementation of a Printing Stack for the Open-Source ReactOS Operating System
Thesis submitted to attain the B.Sc. Electrical Engineering, Information Technology, and Computer Engineering degree at RWTH Aachen University, Germany.
2009 - today: ReactOS Deutschland e.V.
Founded a German non-profit organization for supporting the ReactOS Project legally and financially.
Doing whatever it takes to keep it running.
- Serving as its treasurer ever since, managing multiple income streams to finance an adequate server infrastructure for ReactOS and enable numerous paid developer contracts.
- Developed rosev_ircsystem, a standalone IRC Server in C++/Boost fulfilling the needs of General Assemblies under German law.
- Developed rosev_jameicaplugin, a plugin for Jameica and JVerein to automate donation handling.
2007 - today: ReactOS Project
Kernel & User Mode development of a free Windows-compatible operating system.
Started as just another code contributor and quickly took over various responsibilities.
- Created RosBE-Unix, the official Build Environment for building ReactOS on Linux and macOS.
- Developed an OS Regression Testing System for Quality Assurance (RosAutoTest/Testman).
- Organized multiple Hackfests and presented the project at popular open-source events.
- Lead the smooth migration of 20 years of history from SVN to Git.
- System Administration of a heterogeneous Windows and Linux server farm.
2003 - 2007: PE Builder Plugins
Reverse-engineered the installation process of various Windows components to make them available for the BartPE/Windows PE preinstallation environments.
Most notably, this includes the .NET Framework years before Microsoft had a solution for that.