The release candidate (21st of July) was more or less a success, far more than what many of us expected. When bug reports started coming in from people running it on real hardware, several of us, including myself, were quite surprised. Having a stabilized kernel definitely helps. The RC was released for several reasons. First, ReactOS suddenly got a surge of attention over the past two weeks, resulting in people going and downloading our latest release. That release was 0.3.1, one of the worst in memory. Aleksey Bragin decided we needed to get another release out to avoid people getting the wrong impression about our progress. As trunk was in very good shape, it was branched and quickly released. One has only to check the Source Forge statistics for ReactOS to see how much traffic we've generated. The feedback has also been very helpful and several bugs have been worked out.
Probably the foremost bug was the need to move your mouse in order to load a website in Firefox. This bug was squashed very quickly, though some people in IRC jokingly said they would miss it. The moving icons on desktop was also fixed, along with a few other drawing bugs. But perhaps the biggest news is it is now possible to install Firefox 2 in ReactOS. However, this requires a minor workaround as the installer is still running into an odd permissions bug. While running the install, FF is likely to complain about any number of folders. We know for sure that the chrome folder must be created manually. Before installing Firefox 2, create the Mozilla Firefox folder in Program Files and then create the chrome folder inside that. However, if the installer complains about others, you'll have to create them yourself and rerun the installer. This workaround is only for the English language locale. Others have tried this on different language settings and the result was a mess. As a side note, Firefox 1.5 does not have this issue.
Tools and Utilities
Product page: here