DOSBox not having a release in a long time does not mean it's not being actively developed. Check the changelog and you'll see updates. http://source.dosbox.com/dosboxsvn.txt
Also the next release of DOSBox is being worked on and will be released....eventually.
There is also work being done for 9x compatibility if you check the forums. This doesn't necessarily mean it will be in the official dosbox but it's a step in the right direction.
As for the NTVDM in ReactOS.... although the NTVDM in Windows worked well enough for the time it was severly lacking compared to other emulators and then when DOSBox was released it very quickly blew them all away (except for fringe cases) that's not to say that this NTVDM will be the same just that there is a reason DOSBox was created and I don't see this NTVDM coming even close to it any time soon or even surpassing it.
I have issues with them stating that DOS apps prefer a real PC. DOS "apps" don't prefer anything and they aren't apps. You could said that DOS PROGRAMS that require direct access to hardware would be better on a real PC but support for those could also be coded in DOSBox (and has been by those companies that require it).
I'm wondering what the point is of ReactOS bothering with NTVDM unless they also plan on supporting it on 64bit processors like NT4/2000 did on the DEC Alpha. ( http://blogs.msdn.com/b/oldnewthing/archive/2 … /25/607075.aspx ) If so they would be re-inventing the wheel since DOSBox already does the same thing.
Backwards compatibility with 16bit is a noble goal but it's something they shouldn't be devoting a significant amount of time to.
NTVDM in ReactOS should be so far down on their development concerns as to be nonexistent if they every hope for ReactOS to be relevant to anyone.