You are an idiot if…

…you believe Microsoft is actually going to have a completely rewritten Operating System before Bill Gates dies (which might be 20 to 40 more years).

Unfortunately journalists, like this one in Software Development Times, love to make it seem that Microsoft is working hard on a new, completely rewritten, operating system that will solve all the world’s problems.

Let me assure you they are not. At least not one that’ll be productized before my 10-month-old son sees his 10th birthday.

So, what is the Midori team doing?

Well, THAT is an interesting question that I’d love to ask Eric Rudder.

Here’s my theory: it’s a forcing function on the .NET team.

See, Bill Gates wants to make it possible to use a LOT more .NET in operating systems. That’s really what went wrong with Longhorn, er, Vista. Gates tried to make too much of the operating system dependent on .NET and .NET just wasn’t ready for an operating-system-level deployment/use case yet.

It was like trying to build a 100-story building, getting to level 50, and noticing that the thing is starting to lean. They had to tear it all the way down, put a new foundation in, and rebuild. That’s what happened to the Longhorn team. The fact that Vista got done at all is a pretty amazing engineering feat that software engineering schools should be studying for years.

Anyway, how would it be a forcing function? Well, by building an OS completely in .NET they can discover where .NET is deficient. They can use it to bug the .NET team to improve that system until they get it good enough to use it underneath a new operating system.

Let’s say it takes them 10 years to iterate through all the things that .NET needs to do to become a real operating-system-level platform/language. Imagine then that Microsoft could roll that stuff into a version of Windows. Wow, wouldn’t that be useful to have rafts of the OS all built on .NET and hosting a new kind of .NET app?

Imagine writing drivers in .NET code. Or networking infrastructure. Or other things deep down inside the OS.

Now we’re getting someplace.

One other reason a total rewrite wouldn’t be done? Bill Gates believes strongly that you shouldn’t break old apps. Lotus 123 still runs on Vista. As long as Bill is around they won’t break those old apps. A total rewrite would break all sorts of apps.

Anyway, what do you think Microsoft is up to?

Comments

  1. Memo to Scoble: even though still Chairman of the Board, Gates no longer setting strategy at Microsoft.

  2. Memo to Scoble: even though still Chairman of the Board, Gates no longer setting strategy at Microsoft.

  3. As much as it is fun to speculate I refuse to do that as companies do and act in a way that is just silly or possibly in this case egotistical.

    So my main point will be on the issue of breaking past application support. This has to be done. If bill gates is against this then Apple’s recent advances in marketshare won’t be just a near-term surge they will be cumulative. Microsoft cannot continue to invest resources in this manner eventually Apple will overtake them due to the growing waste of human resources at Microsoft.

    Also Microsoft should go to a yearly release cycle like Apple. I am not interested in their products and 5 years of waiting between releases to get innovation. Not interested in the least.

    Cheers
    Roger
    http://www.techwinter.com

  4. As much as it is fun to speculate I refuse to do that as companies do and act in a way that is just silly or possibly in this case egotistical.

    So my main point will be on the issue of breaking past application support. This has to be done. If bill gates is against this then Apple’s recent advances in marketshare won’t be just a near-term surge they will be cumulative. Microsoft cannot continue to invest resources in this manner eventually Apple will overtake them due to the growing waste of human resources at Microsoft.

    Also Microsoft should go to a yearly release cycle like Apple. I am not interested in their products and 5 years of waiting between releases to get innovation. Not interested in the least.

    Cheers
    Roger
    http://www.techwinter.com

  5. http://www.techlusive.com/2008/07/24/why-should-you-choose-techlusive-for-your-tech-news/

    I know what every web tools IDE company is up to. I use all their software daily.

    “Anyway, what do you think Microsoft is up to?”

    Microsoft is cooling off of the OS business and focusing on Web services, b2b advertising and search. Singularity may become the future platform but by that time Linux and OSX will have eaten Microsoft’s lunch.

    .NET and the JVM will be replaced by the new latest and greatest VM and language tech by the time they can effectively be used on that level. They’ll get to the 10th iteration of the runtime, it’ll seem old and outdated to everybody and they’ll be on to the next thing in CS. Period.

  6. http://www.techlusive.com/2008/07/24/why-should-you-choose-techlusive-for-your-tech-news/

    I know what every web tools IDE company is up to. I use all their software daily.

    “Anyway, what do you think Microsoft is up to?”

    Microsoft is cooling off of the OS business and focusing on Web services, b2b advertising and search. Singularity may become the future platform but by that time Linux and OSX will have eaten Microsoft’s lunch.

    .NET and the JVM will be replaced by the new latest and greatest VM and language tech by the time they can effectively be used on that level. They’ll get to the 10th iteration of the runtime, it’ll seem old and outdated to everybody and they’ll be on to the next thing in CS. Period.

  7. Lets face it , the desktop war is over and Microsoft won that one. The success was a hollow victory though. Since within moments of them feeling the power of being on every desktop in business was neutered by the arrival of the internet.

    The net has arrived on everydesktop, device and mobile product it can reach to. It achieved this with far less effort after it outpaced compuserver and AOL.

    A realisation that a virtual , cloud based , world is more dominant in a mobile internet connected world makes the need for a desktop culture irrelevant.

    you dont need active directory services when your running software as a service.

    your not focusing on scalability when your using the inrternet as your server room .

    So internally, quietly and without much insistence I can see microsoft have changed their policy from a Computer running windows on every desktop to a Microsoft experience in every connection.

    just my two pence and great to see you Scobling again Robert.

  8. Lets face it , the desktop war is over and Microsoft won that one. The success was a hollow victory though. Since within moments of them feeling the power of being on every desktop in business was neutered by the arrival of the internet.

    The net has arrived on everydesktop, device and mobile product it can reach to. It achieved this with far less effort after it outpaced compuserver and AOL.

    A realisation that a virtual , cloud based , world is more dominant in a mobile internet connected world makes the need for a desktop culture irrelevant.

    you dont need active directory services when your running software as a service.

    your not focusing on scalability when your using the inrternet as your server room .

    So internally, quietly and without much insistence I can see microsoft have changed their policy from a Computer running windows on every desktop to a Microsoft experience in every connection.

    just my two pence and great to see you Scobling again Robert.

  9. Hey Scobleizer,

    After all, we have seen DOS, and Win 95. From Win 95 to XP & to Vista, it have been 7 years gap.

    Is it possible for Caveman to become 21st Century Vista man?>… I wouldn’t think that one determines to do a work, no matter what, it will be done. How many of that kind of things you achieved? that you thought you could not!..

    My friend, sitting the guffing things like these are ever easier than before because of IE (by the way who created the IE? anyways!?)….

    You could have been more realistic….. Never Underestimate one’s ability!

    So long Scobleizer…

    from non-MS fan—but a realistic guy.

  10. Hey Scobleizer,

    After all, we have seen DOS, and Win 95. From Win 95 to XP & to Vista, it have been 7 years gap.

    Is it possible for Caveman to become 21st Century Vista man?>… I wouldn’t think that one determines to do a work, no matter what, it will be done. How many of that kind of things you achieved? that you thought you could not!..

    My friend, sitting the guffing things like these are ever easier than before because of IE (by the way who created the IE? anyways!?)….

    You could have been more realistic….. Never Underestimate one’s ability!

    So long Scobleizer…

    from non-MS fan—but a realistic guy.

  11. If I remember correctly XP has 29 million lines of code. How do you rewrite all that? Sounds like it could take some time to start over. But I could be wrong.

  12. If I remember correctly XP has 29 million lines of code. How do you rewrite all that? Sounds like it could take some time to start over. But I could be wrong.

  13. Hi. Actually reading your blogs now. Which is good. Was only scanning headlines before to figure out what to read in depth elsewhere. Anyways. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, and : http://research.microsoft.com/os/Singularity/ ..is what you mean?

    p.s. From my recent comment – people tend to be happy in relation to whether they’re happy with what they’re doing. And I can’t understand why someone would
    be happy telling their grandsons they aggregated twitter and flickr. But, I am often,
    frequently and painfully wrong.

    Cheers,

    Einar

  14. Hi. Actually reading your blogs now. Which is good. Was only scanning headlines before to figure out what to read in depth elsewhere. Anyways. Keep up the good work.

    Oh, and : http://research.microsoft.com/os/Singularity/ ..is what you mean?

    p.s. From my recent comment – people tend to be happy in relation to whether they’re happy with what they’re doing. And I can’t understand why someone would
    be happy telling their grandsons they aggregated twitter and flickr. But, I am often,
    frequently and painfully wrong.

    Cheers,

    Einar

  15. It would be helpful if you explained *why* you think MS won’t do a non-Windows OS, rather than just stating that it won’t, claiming that everyone who believes otherwise is an idiot, and not giving us any actual reasons.

  16. It would be helpful if you explained *why* you think MS won’t do a non-Windows OS, rather than just stating that it won’t, claiming that everyone who believes otherwise is an idiot, and not giving us any actual reasons.

  17. Idiocy or not, it be their only hope. Modular, independent parts, emulated layers, death of “code and fix”.

    As you can’t have many more Vista’s without serious trouble. Meanwhile, Vista Business licenses shipped XP, still counting as a Vista install. Might as well give up on Vista, and talk up Windows 7, counting on that as the Enterprise upgrade.

  18. Idiocy or not, it be their only hope. Modular, independent parts, emulated layers, death of “code and fix”.

    As you can’t have many more Vista’s without serious trouble. Meanwhile, Vista Business licenses shipped XP, still counting as a Vista install. Might as well give up on Vista, and talk up Windows 7, counting on that as the Enterprise upgrade.

  19. This Midori team needs a radical different approach, they SHOULD come up with something different after Vista. But than again, the future is for WWW so I’m migrating to Ubuntu today. It runs Firefox in a completely safe environment, what else do I need?

  20. This Midori team needs a radical different approach, they SHOULD come up with something different after Vista. But than again, the future is for WWW so I’m migrating to Ubuntu today. It runs Firefox in a completely safe environment, what else do I need?

  21. Hi,

    Ian: Robert does say why they wont, it is on the last paragraph.

    Personally, I quite like this post, it is a conversation starter. The problem being it is only devs like me who care about it being written in .Net and the benefits it may or may not bring.

    I have been of the opinion recently that retro fitting “new ways” of thinking into old tech maybe isn’t the best place to spend your money and a ground up re-write may be better – or at least large sections, but then again this is on Enterprise Apps that I have worked on and not an OS. Didn’t Apple do this with OS X?

    Paul.

    Paul.

    twit: @PaulKinlan

  22. Hi,

    Ian: Robert does say why they wont, it is on the last paragraph.

    Personally, I quite like this post, it is a conversation starter. The problem being it is only devs like me who care about it being written in .Net and the benefits it may or may not bring.

    I have been of the opinion recently that retro fitting “new ways” of thinking into old tech maybe isn’t the best place to spend your money and a ground up re-write may be better – or at least large sections, but then again this is on Enterprise Apps that I have worked on and not an OS. Didn’t Apple do this with OS X?

    Paul.

    Paul.

    twit: @PaulKinlan

  23. That’s what he’s talking about. Singularity project, now known as Midori. And I concur with his analysis.

    PS as someone who doesn’t use either twitter not flickr, I can still see value in the way new social connection models are changing user behavior. That may not be something to tell your grandsons, but it’s something they may get to experience some day. Cheers!

  24. That’s what he’s talking about. Singularity project, now known as Midori. And I concur with his analysis.

    PS as someone who doesn’t use either twitter not flickr, I can still see value in the way new social connection models are changing user behavior. That may not be something to tell your grandsons, but it’s something they may get to experience some day. Cheers!

  25. Here’s a clue as to why totally scrapping Windows and starting again is a bad idea: What are the reasons people think Vista sucks?

    Because apps broke, and the driver support sucked at launch.

    Mostly, that’s because Microsoft ripped out a few huge chunks of the system (graphics, audio and networking, for instance) and totally overhauled them, not to mention the huge changes around security.

    If you tear up Windows, and start again, you lose all compatibility with everything. It’s a terrible, terrible idea.

    People are going to like Windows 7 just because it’s going to be a lot like Vista. Much, much less stuff is going to be broken on Day One.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they productised Singularity as Midori just because the approach the Singularity guys are taking is immensely valuable in some scenarios, mostly ones around reliability.

  26. Here’s a clue as to why totally scrapping Windows and starting again is a bad idea: What are the reasons people think Vista sucks?

    Because apps broke, and the driver support sucked at launch.

    Mostly, that’s because Microsoft ripped out a few huge chunks of the system (graphics, audio and networking, for instance) and totally overhauled them, not to mention the huge changes around security.

    If you tear up Windows, and start again, you lose all compatibility with everything. It’s a terrible, terrible idea.

    People are going to like Windows 7 just because it’s going to be a lot like Vista. Much, much less stuff is going to be broken on Day One.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if they productised Singularity as Midori just because the approach the Singularity guys are taking is immensely valuable in some scenarios, mostly ones around reliability.

  27. I’d say they’re working towards closer integration between .net/wcf/wpf and LiveMesh…

    Wasn’t there a memo from Steve Balmer recently about putting more distance between Microsoft and hadware ? Have a basic OS (Vista/XP/Linux/Mac) take care of the actual hardware machine and run the rest on a web/.net based system seperated from the physical machine….

  28. I’d say they’re working towards closer integration between .net/wcf/wpf and LiveMesh…

    Wasn’t there a memo from Steve Balmer recently about putting more distance between Microsoft and hadware ? Have a basic OS (Vista/XP/Linux/Mac) take care of the actual hardware machine and run the rest on a web/.net based system seperated from the physical machine….

  29. isn’t so nice to joke with future death of people :(
    I think scoble will be first than bill gates.

  30. isn’t so nice to joke with future death of people :(
    I think scoble will be first than bill gates.

  31. You only technically need to get 1 app to run on the new O/S to ensure full compatibility: Hyper-V. Ship Vista & Windows Server for free with the new O/S and launch the Virtual Machine for older apps. Easier said… but has to be done.

    This is the only way that the O/S division will be able to innovate ever again. The new Win7 processes makes it impossible for anybody on that team to work on anything new or revolutionary (not even if your team wants to target Win8 – long term investments are not allowed!). Win7 is going to end up being a smaller change from Vista than XPSP2 was from XP.

    If Vista is used by scholars to study how to ship software, Win7 should be studied as how to NOT to ship or manage anything.

    But I can tell you exactly when Microsoft will have a managed-code based O/S: Three years after Apple has one.

  32. You only technically need to get 1 app to run on the new O/S to ensure full compatibility: Hyper-V. Ship Vista & Windows Server for free with the new O/S and launch the Virtual Machine for older apps. Easier said… but has to be done.

    This is the only way that the O/S division will be able to innovate ever again. The new Win7 processes makes it impossible for anybody on that team to work on anything new or revolutionary (not even if your team wants to target Win8 – long term investments are not allowed!). Win7 is going to end up being a smaller change from Vista than XPSP2 was from XP.

    If Vista is used by scholars to study how to ship software, Win7 should be studied as how to NOT to ship or manage anything.

    But I can tell you exactly when Microsoft will have a managed-code based O/S: Three years after Apple has one.

  33. I think MS has truly learned something from Vista’s poor reception. The next Windows release will be juiced with consumer goodness, and heavily marketed as “new” and “innovative”.

  34. I think MS has truly learned something from Vista’s poor reception. The next Windows release will be juiced with consumer goodness, and heavily marketed as “new” and “innovative”.

  35. .NET just makes coding easier. It’s not a fucking magic bullet that will make an OS perfect. Sheesh. You could code the same stuff in c, c++, python… it’s just a matter of taste. Who cares what the next MS OS is written in? So long as it works.

  36. .NET just makes coding easier. It’s not a fucking magic bullet that will make an OS perfect. Sheesh. You could code the same stuff in c, c++, python… it’s just a matter of taste. Who cares what the next MS OS is written in? So long as it works.

  37. Microsoft breaks many old apps. A good example is the abandonment of old VB, and the incompatability of old VB with VB.NET.

  38. Microsoft breaks many old apps. A good example is the abandonment of old VB, and the incompatability of old VB with VB.NET.

  39. Yeah, it is ridiculous how easily people think things like operating systems, apps or even websites on the other end of the spectrum can be done…from scratch!

    And even if MS was able to rewrite their OS from the ground-up, the press would be complaining for years that it’s buggy because it takes years for the majority of bugs and stuff in OSs to be found and ironed out. It’s a no-win situation, so MS is choosing the path of simply supporting legacy apps and code…can’t blame ‘em.

    The mainstream media is just dumb when it comes to technology.

  40. Yeah, it is ridiculous how easily people think things like operating systems, apps or even websites on the other end of the spectrum can be done…from scratch!

    And even if MS was able to rewrite their OS from the ground-up, the press would be complaining for years that it’s buggy because it takes years for the majority of bugs and stuff in OSs to be found and ironed out. It’s a no-win situation, so MS is choosing the path of simply supporting legacy apps and code…can’t blame ‘em.

    The mainstream media is just dumb when it comes to technology.

  41. Would you use an OS completely written in Java?

    There you have your answer to how stupid you have to be…

  42. Would you use an OS completely written in Java?

    There you have your answer to how stupid you have to be…

  43. The reason why Microsoft won’t do that is simple: It’s too risky. They have about 50 million lines of code in Vista. You’ll break a lot of stuff if you’re completely rewriting it, no matter how hard you try to be compatible with old stuff.
    Apple could do that because not a lot of people used it back then and the Apple brand is strong enough so that they don’t need to care about their customers THAT much. If Microsoft would break only half the applications that Apple breaks with every new release, people would go crazy.

    What Microsoft should do is to split their operating system up in separate components, a bit like Linux. That’s a hell of a lot of work, but it would likely make the debugging and building process easier, which would make the development itself easier and probably less error-prone. Also, they could replace problematic components more easily.
    The code of Microsoft is a mess – they have to clean it up. That would make solving many of their problems much easier.

  44. The reason why Microsoft won’t do that is simple: It’s too risky. They have about 50 million lines of code in Vista. You’ll break a lot of stuff if you’re completely rewriting it, no matter how hard you try to be compatible with old stuff.
    Apple could do that because not a lot of people used it back then and the Apple brand is strong enough so that they don’t need to care about their customers THAT much. If Microsoft would break only half the applications that Apple breaks with every new release, people would go crazy.

    What Microsoft should do is to split their operating system up in separate components, a bit like Linux. That’s a hell of a lot of work, but it would likely make the debugging and building process easier, which would make the development itself easier and probably less error-prone. Also, they could replace problematic components more easily.
    The code of Microsoft is a mess – they have to clean it up. That would make solving many of their problems much easier.

  45. Hello Robert. Did you not see where Worthington quoted a Microsoft executive saying that there was no development schedule? Did you even read the entire story, or are you just bloviating?

  46. Hello Robert. Did you not see where Worthington quoted a Microsoft executive saying that there was no development schedule? Did you even read the entire story, or are you just bloviating?

  47. Isn’t the legacy-app “problem” something that’s going to be handled by virtualisation? Once we have a swanky new not-Windows we’ll just run the old stuff in Windows under the supervision of a hypervisor.

    Seems pretty simple to me (hah!)

  48. Isn’t the legacy-app “problem” something that’s going to be handled by virtualisation? Once we have a swanky new not-Windows we’ll just run the old stuff in Windows under the supervision of a hypervisor.

    Seems pretty simple to me (hah!)

  49. I’ve said in other forums that I don’t think there will be another successful new-from-scratch, general purpose OS from anyone. Ever. The last one was Windows NT. Completely — or even mostly — replicating the functionality of Windows or OSX (which was pretty much a tweaked BSD Unix + a new GUI + a Mac OS 9 compatibility layer) or Linux (which was a Unix workalike) is just too much work. Only Microsoft could afford to do it, and they have a major financial interest in not doing it. And Linux and the BSDs are sucking up all the oxygen for open source projects.

    Besides, if you really want a new, custom OS for some reason, it’s too much easier to just start from a base of Linux or BSD Unix, which is already there and free to use.

  50. I’ve said in other forums that I don’t think there will be another successful new-from-scratch, general purpose OS from anyone. Ever. The last one was Windows NT. Completely — or even mostly — replicating the functionality of Windows or OSX (which was pretty much a tweaked BSD Unix + a new GUI + a Mac OS 9 compatibility layer) or Linux (which was a Unix workalike) is just too much work. Only Microsoft could afford to do it, and they have a major financial interest in not doing it. And Linux and the BSDs are sucking up all the oxygen for open source projects.

    Besides, if you really want a new, custom OS for some reason, it’s too much easier to just start from a base of Linux or BSD Unix, which is already there and free to use.

  51. Microsoft’s direction will be dependent on the evolution of the PC.

    Imagine the technology 10 years from now? How about 40 years from now?

    Imagine mobile technology advancing so as to cut in half the usage of the PC – like cell phones and VOIP have affected landlines.

    In terms of the LOTUS analogy about breaking old apps – perhaps a powerful Virtual ware or middle ware will be added on the OS – that will act as a client SOA to allow anyone to access and integrate with those old apps.

    Also, Microsoft will have to invest in the SAAS trend that can only get bigger.
    They will probably focus on integrating the concept in their software so everything is accessible and editable at all times – then synched.

    40 years from now – their may be a new language to replace .NET.

  52. Microsoft’s direction will be dependent on the evolution of the PC.

    Imagine the technology 10 years from now? How about 40 years from now?

    Imagine mobile technology advancing so as to cut in half the usage of the PC – like cell phones and VOIP have affected landlines.

    In terms of the LOTUS analogy about breaking old apps – perhaps a powerful Virtual ware or middle ware will be added on the OS – that will act as a client SOA to allow anyone to access and integrate with those old apps.

    Also, Microsoft will have to invest in the SAAS trend that can only get bigger.
    They will probably focus on integrating the concept in their software so everything is accessible and editable at all times – then synched.

    40 years from now – their may be a new language to replace .NET.

  53. Hi, Robert:

    What SD Times’ story (and my previous coverage on Midori — http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1466) both noted is that the origins of Midori is Singularity, Microsoft’s managed code OS which is not Windows-based. Singularity was written from scratch and didn’t use Windows as the core.

    Microsoft is looking ahead — as it should be — to what comes after Windows as it exists today. Near term, Windows 7, Windows 8. Longer term, it’s Midori (unless the project never makes it out of incubation). Windows is big and bloated; starting over with something new is needed. And virtualization will allow MS to carry the user base with them… Mary Jo

  54. Hi, Robert:

    What SD Times’ story (and my previous coverage on Midori — http://blogs.zdnet.com/microsoft/?p=1466) both noted is that the origins of Midori is Singularity, Microsoft’s managed code OS which is not Windows-based. Singularity was written from scratch and didn’t use Windows as the core.

    Microsoft is looking ahead — as it should be — to what comes after Windows as it exists today. Near term, Windows 7, Windows 8. Longer term, it’s Midori (unless the project never makes it out of incubation). Windows is big and bloated; starting over with something new is needed. And virtualization will allow MS to carry the user base with them… Mary Jo

  55. I’ve known David Worthington for a long time, and he’s one of the more tech-savvy reporters on the beat. Not an idiot by a long shot. Maybe you need to rethink your assumptions, and read the article more closely. Quotes in the article from MSFT clearly say that its a research project and 10 years off if at all.

    jim

  56. I’ve known David Worthington for a long time, and he’s one of the more tech-savvy reporters on the beat. Not an idiot by a long shot. Maybe you need to rethink your assumptions, and read the article more closely. Quotes in the article from MSFT clearly say that its a research project and 10 years off if at all.

    jim

  57. Really off Robert. Calling somebody an idiot is just bad form. I didn’t really see any kind of solid explanation why David is wrong. And if you really believe Bill Gates would hold onto this codebase for 20+ years, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    That kind of assumption is almost idiotic in itself!

  58. Really off Robert. Calling somebody an idiot is just bad form. I didn’t really see any kind of solid explanation why David is wrong. And if you really believe Bill Gates would hold onto this codebase for 20+ years, I got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you.

    That kind of assumption is almost idiotic in itself!

  59. Sounds like a research project that is well worth undertaking right now. I’d summarize my take on it as this (imagine Microsoft speaking): “If we could start over from scratch today, taking advantage of everything we’ve learned and everything we know about the state of computing and networking today and our current concept of the future, what would it look like?”

    Why SHOULDN’T Microsoft be doing this? They would be doing themselves a disservice if they weren’t asking these questions and trying to find the answers. How this work gets productized is a completely different question. I doubt this initiative will result in a new OS release as we typically define them. This sounds more like Microsoft’s “Cairo” project, the definition of which shifted over time but which ended up providing a baseline of ideas and technologies, many of which were added to Windows and Windows products over time.

    Also, while I think Microsoft will remain focused on profound levels of backward compatibility in its OS products for the foreseeable future, I think people underestimate the ability of virtualization to provide that compatibility. An OS no longer needs to be compatible at its core to run older software- it just needs to be able to virtualize a system that can handle it, and as virtualization technologies continue to get better and better, I think it becomes feasible to think that MS could eventually replace Windows with something different that still maintains high levels of compatibility.

  60. Sounds like a research project that is well worth undertaking right now. I’d summarize my take on it as this (imagine Microsoft speaking): “If we could start over from scratch today, taking advantage of everything we’ve learned and everything we know about the state of computing and networking today and our current concept of the future, what would it look like?”

    Why SHOULDN’T Microsoft be doing this? They would be doing themselves a disservice if they weren’t asking these questions and trying to find the answers. How this work gets productized is a completely different question. I doubt this initiative will result in a new OS release as we typically define them. This sounds more like Microsoft’s “Cairo” project, the definition of which shifted over time but which ended up providing a baseline of ideas and technologies, many of which were added to Windows and Windows products over time.

    Also, while I think Microsoft will remain focused on profound levels of backward compatibility in its OS products for the foreseeable future, I think people underestimate the ability of virtualization to provide that compatibility. An OS no longer needs to be compatible at its core to run older software- it just needs to be able to virtualize a system that can handle it, and as virtualization technologies continue to get better and better, I think it becomes feasible to think that MS could eventually replace Windows with something different that still maintains high levels of compatibility.

  61. Dude, did you actually read the article? It was actually well-researched and well-written, and even if something like Midori is 10-plus years out, Microsoft has to do something along these lines because Windows as we know it is a dying breed. But I guess Microsoft cronies like you can’t see that

    Wonder why MSFT missed the boat on the Web? They couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Maybe they don’t want to make that mistake again. And maybe you shouldn’t make it for them either. I think you’re just angry David scooped you.

  62. Dude, did you actually read the article? It was actually well-researched and well-written, and even if something like Midori is 10-plus years out, Microsoft has to do something along these lines because Windows as we know it is a dying breed. But I guess Microsoft cronies like you can’t see that

    Wonder why MSFT missed the boat on the Web? They couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Maybe they don’t want to make that mistake again. And maybe you shouldn’t make it for them either. I think you’re just angry David scooped you.

  63. Didn’t Bill just turn over the reigns of the company to Ballmer, and some guy named Ray Ozzie as the Chief Technology something or other?, In which case, why are we laying this at Gates’ feet? Sure I’m guessing he will still be somewhat involved in things, but if he is going to continue to set strategy for the company after semi-officially leaving, then there will be too much infighting and continued loyalty to Bill if he even hints at doing something else, that MS will never get anything done from now on.

  64. Didn’t Bill just turn over the reigns of the company to Ballmer, and some guy named Ray Ozzie as the Chief Technology something or other?, In which case, why are we laying this at Gates’ feet? Sure I’m guessing he will still be somewhat involved in things, but if he is going to continue to set strategy for the company after semi-officially leaving, then there will be too much infighting and continued loyalty to Bill if he even hints at doing something else, that MS will never get anything done from now on.

  65. VM technology, if properly integrated, would allow old apps like 123 to run on (along side) a completly new OS in a transparent way. Such an architecture has importnat advantages for security that are end-user marketable. Politics, not technology, have always been in the way of inovation at the Soft.

  66. VM technology, if properly integrated, would allow old apps like 123 to run on (along side) a completly new OS in a transparent way. Such an architecture has importnat advantages for security that are end-user marketable. Politics, not technology, have always been in the way of inovation at the Soft.

  67. Pardon my ignorance, but why COULDN’T they do a complete rewrite with a rock-solid emulator for older apps? That’s part of what worked in Apple’s favor: don’t break older apps but still set them off in their own little neighborhood to gradually wean people off them and point them to a brighter future. It’ll work, but again, we’re talking ROCK SOLID for this to succeed. Isn’t it better to make this transition by choice rather than out of desperation like Apple had to?

  68. Pardon my ignorance, but why COULDN’T they do a complete rewrite with a rock-solid emulator for older apps? That’s part of what worked in Apple’s favor: don’t break older apps but still set them off in their own little neighborhood to gradually wean people off them and point them to a brighter future. It’ll work, but again, we’re talking ROCK SOLID for this to succeed. Isn’t it better to make this transition by choice rather than out of desperation like Apple had to?

  69. Mary Jo Foley: I interviewed the Singularity team back when they started. They are NOT trying to replace Windows. They are trying to do operating system research. While not built on top of Windows Singularity IS built on top of .NET’s compilers and runtimes.

    Jim Louderback and others: I didn’t say the author of the article is an idiot. My headline came mostly from seeing other people pick up what he wrote and take the headline on its face, that this is an effort to replace Windows with something new.

    Even Windows still has pieces of DOS underneath. The idea that you could rewrite Windows and have any application and driver compatibility is just not realistic. I have both Parallels and VMWare running on my Mac and they both suck compared to a real Windows machine.

    Microsoft is NOT Apple. Apple has, what, a handful of computers that they need to support? Microsoft has a whole industry of thousands of pieces of hardware that they must support.

    Now, that’s not saying that Midori and Singularity don’t have a HUGE amount of value. They do: as research projects or as projects to build something completely new that are NOT Windows. Maybe a new cell phone OS? Maybe a new kind of server OS where app and driver compatibility won’t matter.

    But to even try to say with a straight face that such an effort will even attempt to replace Windows anytime in the forseeable future is just plain stretching it.

  70. Mary Jo Foley: I interviewed the Singularity team back when they started. They are NOT trying to replace Windows. They are trying to do operating system research. While not built on top of Windows Singularity IS built on top of .NET’s compilers and runtimes.

    Jim Louderback and others: I didn’t say the author of the article is an idiot. My headline came mostly from seeing other people pick up what he wrote and take the headline on its face, that this is an effort to replace Windows with something new.

    Even Windows still has pieces of DOS underneath. The idea that you could rewrite Windows and have any application and driver compatibility is just not realistic. I have both Parallels and VMWare running on my Mac and they both suck compared to a real Windows machine.

    Microsoft is NOT Apple. Apple has, what, a handful of computers that they need to support? Microsoft has a whole industry of thousands of pieces of hardware that they must support.

    Now, that’s not saying that Midori and Singularity don’t have a HUGE amount of value. They do: as research projects or as projects to build something completely new that are NOT Windows. Maybe a new cell phone OS? Maybe a new kind of server OS where app and driver compatibility won’t matter.

    But to even try to say with a straight face that such an effort will even attempt to replace Windows anytime in the forseeable future is just plain stretching it.

  71. joecab: an emulator would break thousands of apps and cause many others to run really crappy. I’ve run Windows on VMWare and Parallels. I hated it. Even though it ran it was slow and buggy on both and tons of apps wouldn’t run at their full potential. Even Vista needs better video capabilities, for instance.

  72. joecab: an emulator would break thousands of apps and cause many others to run really crappy. I’ve run Windows on VMWare and Parallels. I hated it. Even though it ran it was slow and buggy on both and tons of apps wouldn’t run at their full potential. Even Vista needs better video capabilities, for instance.

  73. Microsoft will not do a complete rewrite in the next 30-40 years, and you are an idiot if you think otherwise! Actually, make that 10 years.

    What are you trying to SAY?

  74. Microsoft will not do a complete rewrite in the next 30-40 years, and you are an idiot if you think otherwise! Actually, make that 10 years.

    What are you trying to SAY?

  75. Anything longer than 3 years out is impossible to predict, is what I’m trying to say. :-)

    But, I know the kernel team is working on Windows 8.0 already and it’s not a rewrite, so that takes us at least into 2013.

  76. Anything longer than 3 years out is impossible to predict, is what I’m trying to say. :-)

    But, I know the kernel team is working on Windows 8.0 already and it’s not a rewrite, so that takes us at least into 2013.

  77. “Mary Jo Foley: I interviewed the Singularity team back when they started. They are NOT trying to replace Windows. They are trying to do operating system research. While not built on top of Windows Singularity IS built on top of .NET’s compilers and runtimes. ”

    Wow! Just, wow!

    Scoble, you need to stop trying to talk like you have a clue about what you’re discussing when it comes to software development. You’re just making a fool of yourself. You’re assertion that Midori couldn’t possibly replace Windows in the short term is obvious. Assuming this has anything to do with .NET not being capable, or then confusing an OS with a compiler and a runtime (do you know what that means?), is just sheer idiocy. You’re talking like you have insider information and technical understanding, when I highly doubt you have the former and it’s obvious you don’t have the latter.

  78. “Mary Jo Foley: I interviewed the Singularity team back when they started. They are NOT trying to replace Windows. They are trying to do operating system research. While not built on top of Windows Singularity IS built on top of .NET’s compilers and runtimes. ”

    Wow! Just, wow!

    Scoble, you need to stop trying to talk like you have a clue about what you’re discussing when it comes to software development. You’re just making a fool of yourself. You’re assertion that Midori couldn’t possibly replace Windows in the short term is obvious. Assuming this has anything to do with .NET not being capable, or then confusing an OS with a compiler and a runtime (do you know what that means?), is just sheer idiocy. You’re talking like you have insider information and technical understanding, when I highly doubt you have the former and it’s obvious you don’t have the latter.

  79. Well, if it’s impossible to predict technology then why call folks with less popular opinions idiots? The folks who make safe guesses are wrong just as often.

  80. Well, if it’s impossible to predict technology then why call folks with less popular opinions idiots? The folks who make safe guesses are wrong just as often.

  81. What is so special about managed code that makes writing an OS in it interesting or difficult? (I’ve written managed code and I know something about lisp machines and the xerox D-machines.)

  82. What is so special about managed code that makes writing an OS in it interesting or difficult? (I’ve written managed code and I know something about lisp machines and the xerox D-machines.)

  83. Andy: the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about memory and all that. At least that’s what they tell me. The downside? Performance, memory usage, and also engineering tools to help figure out where bugs are and all that.

  84. Andy: the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about memory and all that. At least that’s what they tell me. The downside? Performance, memory usage, and also engineering tools to help figure out where bugs are and all that.

  85. What makes managed code interesting for OSes is that you can use properties of managed code to make provably true assertions about the state of the system.

    For example, in managed code you can’t manipulate pointers, so you can have all your processes and the kernel sharing the same address space, running in kernel mode, without worrying that one of the programs is going to behave badly and corrupt memory belonging to the kernel.

    This reduces the cost of calls into the kernel and inter-process communication down to pretty much zero, because you don’t have to do a hardware context switch. You get a performance GAIN out of having your OS in managed code.

  86. What makes managed code interesting for OSes is that you can use properties of managed code to make provably true assertions about the state of the system.

    For example, in managed code you can’t manipulate pointers, so you can have all your processes and the kernel sharing the same address space, running in kernel mode, without worrying that one of the programs is going to behave badly and corrupt memory belonging to the kernel.

    This reduces the cost of calls into the kernel and inter-process communication down to pretty much zero, because you don’t have to do a hardware context switch. You get a performance GAIN out of having your OS in managed code.

  87. >the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier >to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about >memory and all that.

    Robert, this is true, but you are drawing the wrong conclusions. Managed code is great for _applications_, because you aren’t interested in memory management. However, we you are writing a production OS (not an experimental one like Singularity) you want full control of the memory, not extra layers. When you are writing a driver you want direct access to your own hardware, not to go through somebody else’s run-time environment.

    There’s a time and a place for managed code. The internals of the kernel is not one of them.

  88. >the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier >to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about >memory and all that.

    Robert, this is true, but you are drawing the wrong conclusions. Managed code is great for _applications_, because you aren’t interested in memory management. However, we you are writing a production OS (not an experimental one like Singularity) you want full control of the memory, not extra layers. When you are writing a driver you want direct access to your own hardware, not to go through somebody else’s run-time environment.

    There’s a time and a place for managed code. The internals of the kernel is not one of them.

  89. “Andy: the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about memory and all that. At least that’s what they tell me. The downside? Performance, memory usage, and also engineering tools to help figure out where bugs are and all that.”

    And again, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Performance isn’t really an issue (top Microsoft employees demonstrated this), especially when a “managed OS” will have already loaded the runtime. Memory usage is manageable. Engineering tools exist already and are, if anything, are more robust due to reflection and other aspects of managed code.

  90. “Andy: the programmers at Microsoft tell me that managed code is a TON easier to write. Mostly cause you don’t have to do so much worrying about memory and all that. At least that’s what they tell me. The downside? Performance, memory usage, and also engineering tools to help figure out where bugs are and all that.”

    And again, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Performance isn’t really an issue (top Microsoft employees demonstrated this), especially when a “managed OS” will have already loaded the runtime. Memory usage is manageable. Engineering tools exist already and are, if anything, are more robust due to reflection and other aspects of managed code.

  91. Then unless MS does something super risky like start a brand-new OS alongside Windows that’s tempting enough to start getting people (especially cutting edge users) to transition over, I dunno what they can do. Apple is going through another coding rewrite for efficiency with Snow Leopard which will I assume be Intel only, rewrite anything still using more Carbon code than it should (*cough*Finder*cough*), and speed things up across the board. It’s not anywhere near as radical as going from OS 9 to OS X but it sure seems like something you need to do every few years to stay competitive.

  92. Then unless MS does something super risky like start a brand-new OS alongside Windows that’s tempting enough to start getting people (especially cutting edge users) to transition over, I dunno what they can do. Apple is going through another coding rewrite for efficiency with Snow Leopard which will I assume be Intel only, rewrite anything still using more Carbon code than it should (*cough*Finder*cough*), and speed things up across the board. It’s not anywhere near as radical as going from OS 9 to OS X but it sure seems like something you need to do every few years to stay competitive.

  93. I shouldn’t have used the word “interesting” – there’s no question that managed code has benefits. (Remember, I wrote that I’ve written managed code.)

    “Difficult” was the key word – why is it hard for MS to write an OS using managed code? It’s been done a couple of times before. (I even mentioned a couple of them in the parenthetical and there are others.)

    You do know that “managed code” is merely MS-speak for code that has certain properties and that MS didn’t invent any of those properties or even their combination, right?

  94. I shouldn’t have used the word “interesting” – there’s no question that managed code has benefits. (Remember, I wrote that I’ve written managed code.)

    “Difficult” was the key word – why is it hard for MS to write an OS using managed code? It’s been done a couple of times before. (I even mentioned a couple of them in the parenthetical and there are others.)

    You do know that “managed code” is merely MS-speak for code that has certain properties and that MS didn’t invent any of those properties or even their combination, right?

  95. > For example, in managed code you can’t manipulate pointers, so you can have all your processes and the kernel sharing the same address space, running in kernel mode, without worrying that one of the programs is going to behave badly and corrupt memory belonging to the kernel.

    Not to get geekish, but you’re overstating the benefits and ignoring the costs. Yes, there are system calls where the cost of switching address spaces and protection domains is significant, but for a running system, it isn’t because most calls do enough work that the switch cost is negligible.

    And, you still have to manage/control managed applications even if they’re running in the same address space. It’s not enough to avoid corruption, you’ve got to control usage as well. (You probably even want to manage addresses for VM efficiency.) Separate address spaces help with some of these things.

    It’s unlikely that there’s any advantage when it comes to data for OS calls and IO, but that argument would require some actual numbers.

    The key point remains that this is old stuff.

  96. > For example, in managed code you can’t manipulate pointers, so you can have all your processes and the kernel sharing the same address space, running in kernel mode, without worrying that one of the programs is going to behave badly and corrupt memory belonging to the kernel.

    Not to get geekish, but you’re overstating the benefits and ignoring the costs. Yes, there are system calls where the cost of switching address spaces and protection domains is significant, but for a running system, it isn’t because most calls do enough work that the switch cost is negligible.

    And, you still have to manage/control managed applications even if they’re running in the same address space. It’s not enough to avoid corruption, you’ve got to control usage as well. (You probably even want to manage addresses for VM efficiency.) Separate address spaces help with some of these things.

    It’s unlikely that there’s any advantage when it comes to data for OS calls and IO, but that argument would require some actual numbers.

    The key point remains that this is old stuff.

  97. This is not some deep secret, there’s plenty of publicly available info on Midori on the web.

    There’s a project called “singularity” at MS which is basic research into the fundamentals of operating systems. How programs message each other and the kernel, how process isolation works, how APIs and API calling should work, etc. This is not an OS in any sense, it’s a mock system designed for exploring certain questions in OS design. All of the most popular OSes currently in use inherit a great deal of design fundamentals from older OSes, in a very real sense modern OSes are still working with the same design tradeoffs (in performance, robustness, development complexity, etc.) made in the 1970s. Singularity is research into how to gain advantage from revisiting some of these fundamental OS design decisions. It’s not the core of an OS, it’s not a kernel, it’s a research tool.

    Midori takes that research one or two steps further, building on the Singularity work to explore what consequences some of the Singularity results have for OS design and application development. Additionally, Midori looks at how it might be possible to make some of these new OS design concepts practical, and to merge them into future operating systems that people actually use. Fundamentally this means they are working at showing that these concepts are feasible to build into operating systems and have practical benefits, which will give them the credibility necessary to convince the folks in the Windows division to take these ideas seriously and start merging some of the features into new versions of Windows.

    Midori is not some super secret Skunk Works project which designed to surprise the whole world with a revolutionary new OS to replace Windows. Unfortunately, Midori has become the object of a great deal of rumor mongering which has resulted in every manner of claim being made about it, without any shred of backing. Midori will shine your shoes and walk your dog automatically, it will be a cloud computing OS, it will “replace” Windows, it will be “web-centric”, etc, etc, etc. Most of these are ridiculous claims.

    FYI:
    The Singularity public web page:
    http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/

  98. This is not some deep secret, there’s plenty of publicly available info on Midori on the web.

    There’s a project called “singularity” at MS which is basic research into the fundamentals of operating systems. How programs message each other and the kernel, how process isolation works, how APIs and API calling should work, etc. This is not an OS in any sense, it’s a mock system designed for exploring certain questions in OS design. All of the most popular OSes currently in use inherit a great deal of design fundamentals from older OSes, in a very real sense modern OSes are still working with the same design tradeoffs (in performance, robustness, development complexity, etc.) made in the 1970s. Singularity is research into how to gain advantage from revisiting some of these fundamental OS design decisions. It’s not the core of an OS, it’s not a kernel, it’s a research tool.

    Midori takes that research one or two steps further, building on the Singularity work to explore what consequences some of the Singularity results have for OS design and application development. Additionally, Midori looks at how it might be possible to make some of these new OS design concepts practical, and to merge them into future operating systems that people actually use. Fundamentally this means they are working at showing that these concepts are feasible to build into operating systems and have practical benefits, which will give them the credibility necessary to convince the folks in the Windows division to take these ideas seriously and start merging some of the features into new versions of Windows.

    Midori is not some super secret Skunk Works project which designed to surprise the whole world with a revolutionary new OS to replace Windows. Unfortunately, Midori has become the object of a great deal of rumor mongering which has resulted in every manner of claim being made about it, without any shred of backing. Midori will shine your shoes and walk your dog automatically, it will be a cloud computing OS, it will “replace” Windows, it will be “web-centric”, etc, etc, etc. Most of these are ridiculous claims.

    FYI:
    The Singularity public web page:
    http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/

  99. The app-compat issue is easily solved: spin up an isolated, hardware virtualized instance of Vista/XP/whatever, whenever you need it. What else are we going to do with all those other processor cores not being used?

    There are very few technical hurdles left to achieving this reality. Given this to be true, I no longer buy the argument that you *can’t* rewrite from scratch because of app-compat issues.

  100. The app-compat issue is easily solved: spin up an isolated, hardware virtualized instance of Vista/XP/whatever, whenever you need it. What else are we going to do with all those other processor cores not being used?

    There are very few technical hurdles left to achieving this reality. Given this to be true, I no longer buy the argument that you *can’t* rewrite from scratch because of app-compat issues.

  101. Transcript of the conversation interceded between Jon DeVaan and Bill Gates:

    Jon DeVaan: “Hi ..”
    Bill email (subject): “Have u tried Vista, what’s the matter with the performances?”
    Jon DeVaan: “Nvidia, Ausus, ..”
    Bill email (subject): “And what’s about us..”
    Jon DeVaan: “Nvidia, Ausus, ..”
    Bill email (subject): “We have no responsibility?”
    Jon DeVaan: “Maybe..”
    Bill email (subject): “What?”
    Jon DeVaan: “.Net Sir”
    Bill email (subject): “Aaaaaaahhh.. .Neeeet!”
    Bill email (subject): “Don’t disclose it!”
    Some days later..
    Bill email (subject): “Let’s the guys of the research starts a new OS. And wWe’ll go to check what .Net is and what is not too, ah-ah-ah!”

  102. Transcript of the conversation interceded between Jon DeVaan and Bill Gates:

    Jon DeVaan: “Hi ..”
    Bill email (subject): “Have u tried Vista, what’s the matter with the performances?”
    Jon DeVaan: “Nvidia, Ausus, ..”
    Bill email (subject): “And what’s about us..”
    Jon DeVaan: “Nvidia, Ausus, ..”
    Bill email (subject): “We have no responsibility?”
    Jon DeVaan: “Maybe..”
    Bill email (subject): “What?”
    Jon DeVaan: “.Net Sir”
    Bill email (subject): “Aaaaaaahhh.. .Neeeet!”
    Bill email (subject): “Don’t disclose it!”
    Some days later..
    Bill email (subject): “Let’s the guys of the research starts a new OS. And wWe’ll go to check what .Net is and what is not too, ah-ah-ah!”

  103. Lol! as a matter of fact bill gates put a challenge to big giants like yahoo, etc to come up with an effiecient operating system of their own that can take the market, especially become favourite of the house wives. Lets see if they can beat that.

  104. Lol! as a matter of fact bill gates put a challenge to big giants like yahoo, etc to come up with an effiecient operating system of their own that can take the market, especially become favourite of the house wives. Lets see if they can beat that.

  105. Breaking past APPs is not that scary a thing with nowadays virtualization technologies. You could put in some virtual environment to simulate the previous OS so that old APPs still have a place if you need them. MS is not going to let compatibility issues bother them forever.

  106. Breaking past APPs is not that scary a thing with nowadays virtualization technologies. You could put in some virtual environment to simulate the previous OS so that old APPs still have a place if you need them. MS is not going to let compatibility issues bother them forever.

  107. I think Vista gets a failing grade when it comes to backwards compatibility. The Windows team made so many breaking changes in Vista in the name of security. One of the biggest blunders of Vista in this area is it’s inability to run IE6.

    I’m sure we’d all like to see IE6 go away, but for many businesses who have built web apps on the IE6 platform (that didn’t change in years when it was around), they’ve found that their web apps don’t work in IE7. So, for them, Vista is not an option.

    It seems that Microsoft is in a bit of predicament. Their current OS suffers from backwards compatibility issues, and people will not move to it because of that, yet it keeps all of the baggage of being built upon an aging and obsolete design. When you think about it, Vista gives you all the disadvantages of a new OS while giving you all the disadvantages of an old OS. Microsoft has completely gotten it backwards with Vista.

  108. I think Vista gets a failing grade when it comes to backwards compatibility. The Windows team made so many breaking changes in Vista in the name of security. One of the biggest blunders of Vista in this area is it’s inability to run IE6.

    I’m sure we’d all like to see IE6 go away, but for many businesses who have built web apps on the IE6 platform (that didn’t change in years when it was around), they’ve found that their web apps don’t work in IE7. So, for them, Vista is not an option.

    It seems that Microsoft is in a bit of predicament. Their current OS suffers from backwards compatibility issues, and people will not move to it because of that, yet it keeps all of the baggage of being built upon an aging and obsolete design. When you think about it, Vista gives you all the disadvantages of a new OS while giving you all the disadvantages of an old OS. Microsoft has completely gotten it backwards with Vista.

  109. I agree Robert

    Why would Microsoft rewrite a successful Os for a long time. People griped about about 95 98 and xp. Now that Vista is out people gripe even more.

    Older apps don’t work, it hogs memory and my favorite the User Account Control is annoying me. If Apple did twice as much, people wouldn’t bat an eye.

  110. I agree Robert

    Why would Microsoft rewrite a successful Os for a long time. People griped about about 95 98 and xp. Now that Vista is out people gripe even more.

    Older apps don’t work, it hogs memory and my favorite the User Account Control is annoying me. If Apple did twice as much, people wouldn’t bat an eye.

  111. It seems to me that we are indeed discounting the future here. .Net or not, when running on 16GB 16 CPU computer of not so distant future, who would care?

    I think standartization of hardware needs to happen, and the sooner the better. Then you wouldn’t need 300 different drivers for every little device. Anyone remembers how cumbersome it was to connect anything to computer, before USB?

    This trend should continue into CPU, Audio, motherboards and other things. So that you could reasonably make everything work together without “translating” every little command to work differntly, depending on which brand of Audio card you have in there.

    I believe Microsoft is seeing that also, hence the recent “we will talk to hardware guys” hint.

    However, I am not so sure they see the computing model transformation happening 5 years or so down the road, when your mobile phone/device will become the only computing gadget you ever need. Capable of everything and anything your old clunky desktop could do. That is the solid rewrite opportunity, and if they don’t start now (or last year), they will definitely miss yet another computing transformation.

    Sadly, though Apple has the technological edge here, I am not the one to agree with their “user is stupid” philosophy. Yes, many are, but some aren’t. And the ratio between “clueless” PC users to “power” users will keep shifting at an ever accelerating pace, as the new generation grows up, just like my 4 year old, with wireless Internet-connected laptop on his plastic table from “Little Tikes”.

  112. It seems to me that we are indeed discounting the future here. .Net or not, when running on 16GB 16 CPU computer of not so distant future, who would care?

    I think standartization of hardware needs to happen, and the sooner the better. Then you wouldn’t need 300 different drivers for every little device. Anyone remembers how cumbersome it was to connect anything to computer, before USB?

    This trend should continue into CPU, Audio, motherboards and other things. So that you could reasonably make everything work together without “translating” every little command to work differntly, depending on which brand of Audio card you have in there.

    I believe Microsoft is seeing that also, hence the recent “we will talk to hardware guys” hint.

    However, I am not so sure they see the computing model transformation happening 5 years or so down the road, when your mobile phone/device will become the only computing gadget you ever need. Capable of everything and anything your old clunky desktop could do. That is the solid rewrite opportunity, and if they don’t start now (or last year), they will definitely miss yet another computing transformation.

    Sadly, though Apple has the technological edge here, I am not the one to agree with their “user is stupid” philosophy. Yes, many are, but some aren’t. And the ratio between “clueless” PC users to “power” users will keep shifting at an ever accelerating pace, as the new generation grows up, just like my 4 year old, with wireless Internet-connected laptop on his plastic table from “Little Tikes”.

  113. i’d really like you to do more of these blog posts. you know, one that doesnt contain the word friendfeed or twitter that often, and that focuses on heavy prediction concerning something i bit bigger than a sub 500.000 user site :) (i don’t want you to become cringley, though..) :D

  114. i’d really like you to do more of these blog posts. you know, one that doesnt contain the word friendfeed or twitter that often, and that focuses on heavy prediction concerning something i bit bigger than a sub 500.000 user site :) (i don’t want you to become cringley, though..) :D

  115. Actually, this is what they are going to try to do. Computing from the cloud.

    With the .net framework installed in you machine, you can add .net controls to a web page and if viewed thru Internet Explorer the controls will run. They basically give you the look and feel of the OS but in a web page and you don’t have to compile all that AJAX in the browser to get that interactivity.

    So far less code is embedded in the OS and more of it can be delivered thru the browser and yet you will have the options for you to add them to your online application but deliver them thru the browser.

    And yes, these types of .net apps can interact with the local OS on your machine just like embedded software programs do.

    So, instead of having a version of Windows installed on your machine, you have the basic needs to get the machine booted and then the rest is delivered thru the browser.

    Microsoft has been pushing this to developers for years, but you have to run IE for the controls to be recognized.

    This would make Windows more secure because MS would control their GUI from their servers and updates would no longer be so invasive of constantly necessary.

    If you want to learn more about this, Google “microsoft thin client”

  116. Actually, this is what they are going to try to do. Computing from the cloud.

    With the .net framework installed in you machine, you can add .net controls to a web page and if viewed thru Internet Explorer the controls will run. They basically give you the look and feel of the OS but in a web page and you don’t have to compile all that AJAX in the browser to get that interactivity.

    So far less code is embedded in the OS and more of it can be delivered thru the browser and yet you will have the options for you to add them to your online application but deliver them thru the browser.

    And yes, these types of .net apps can interact with the local OS on your machine just like embedded software programs do.

    So, instead of having a version of Windows installed on your machine, you have the basic needs to get the machine booted and then the rest is delivered thru the browser.

    Microsoft has been pushing this to developers for years, but you have to run IE for the controls to be recognized.

    This would make Windows more secure because MS would control their GUI from their servers and updates would no longer be so invasive of constantly necessary.

    If you want to learn more about this, Google “microsoft thin client”

  117. Microsoft might be writing a new OS, but most likely for Internet based applications. So instead of you installing every single app (Outlook, Excel, Word, Access, etc) you’ll be accessing it via a web browser, and most likely it’ll be ran from a set top box in your house in front of your TV, so while you are watching your fav show or something, you can pull up the web browser, and it can look up related topics to what you are watching, or something to that effect, basically merging your computer, tv, and life all into one. Not to mention pulling your tv signals onto your phone over a broadband connection.

    I doubt MS will rewrite an entire OS just to move ahead in the game or to start a new path in technology. Most likely they’ll write this new OS just for developers, basically open source. But who knows, this is Microsoft, they were the ones to pioneer a standardized driver system (DirectX) and also forge ahead in new technologies and force everyone to move with them (Windows 2000, XP) So we’ll have to wait and see.

  118. Microsoft might be writing a new OS, but most likely for Internet based applications. So instead of you installing every single app (Outlook, Excel, Word, Access, etc) you’ll be accessing it via a web browser, and most likely it’ll be ran from a set top box in your house in front of your TV, so while you are watching your fav show or something, you can pull up the web browser, and it can look up related topics to what you are watching, or something to that effect, basically merging your computer, tv, and life all into one. Not to mention pulling your tv signals onto your phone over a broadband connection.

    I doubt MS will rewrite an entire OS just to move ahead in the game or to start a new path in technology. Most likely they’ll write this new OS just for developers, basically open source. But who knows, this is Microsoft, they were the ones to pioneer a standardized driver system (DirectX) and also forge ahead in new technologies and force everyone to move with them (Windows 2000, XP) So we’ll have to wait and see.

  119. New Os Smew OS

    Working with engineers, managing IT projects / programs, servicing business needs I can tell you that what matters to the boots on the ground is reliability, security, ease of technological configuration / resiliency / adaptability.

    No one talks about killer apps from anyone anymore, not MS, not Apple, nada.

    In marketplace terms, what happened is that Microsoft dominated the corporate desktop, successfully killing off companies like Borland and Lotus. No one will finance the execution of new concepts if there is even the whiff that MS will, sooner or later, engage that niche as an internal product.

    So, we have stagnation due to an absence of competition.

    The smartest thing Microsoft could do, and I have said this for years, is to dismember itself – return to the small team / dedicated lab structures and funding that were its path to success back in the DOS and Windows 95 days.

    As for writing network drivers in .NET, how does one secure that implementation? Seriously. Massive security holes exist in all .NET deployments. Built-in lock-down features such as automated and fully self contained component (.DLL, .exe, .com, registry and memory) CRC checking to make hacking and splicing vastly more difficult have been around for more than two decades, yet, still, .NET has not integrated these techniques nor does this product have any plans to do so as far as I can tell. Nor does VISTA.

    I wont even get started on aspects other than Security.

    What is Microsoft doing, you ask? Waiting to react to some external competitor that no longer exists and is highly unlikely to pop up, is my answer. Meanwhile, just tooling along and marking time, as directed.

    Harsh, you say? Harsh is me saying that the worlds #1 OS, seven years after 9/11/2001, is still the #1 Security Threat to the US Government, due to its extremely poor internal security.

    Harsh is me saying that I single-handedly wrote apps more than ten years ago that did internal CRC checking on themselves, and that were thus vastly more secure, ten years ago, than any commercially available product shipped by Microsoft today.

    So, hey, lets not get harsh.
    :)

    Larry

  120. New Os Smew OS

    Working with engineers, managing IT projects / programs, servicing business needs I can tell you that what matters to the boots on the ground is reliability, security, ease of technological configuration / resiliency / adaptability.

    No one talks about killer apps from anyone anymore, not MS, not Apple, nada.

    In marketplace terms, what happened is that Microsoft dominated the corporate desktop, successfully killing off companies like Borland and Lotus. No one will finance the execution of new concepts if there is even the whiff that MS will, sooner or later, engage that niche as an internal product.

    So, we have stagnation due to an absence of competition.

    The smartest thing Microsoft could do, and I have said this for years, is to dismember itself – return to the small team / dedicated lab structures and funding that were its path to success back in the DOS and Windows 95 days.

    As for writing network drivers in .NET, how does one secure that implementation? Seriously. Massive security holes exist in all .NET deployments. Built-in lock-down features such as automated and fully self contained component (.DLL, .exe, .com, registry and memory) CRC checking to make hacking and splicing vastly more difficult have been around for more than two decades, yet, still, .NET has not integrated these techniques nor does this product have any plans to do so as far as I can tell. Nor does VISTA.

    I wont even get started on aspects other than Security.

    What is Microsoft doing, you ask? Waiting to react to some external competitor that no longer exists and is highly unlikely to pop up, is my answer. Meanwhile, just tooling along and marking time, as directed.

    Harsh, you say? Harsh is me saying that the worlds #1 OS, seven years after 9/11/2001, is still the #1 Security Threat to the US Government, due to its extremely poor internal security.

    Harsh is me saying that I single-handedly wrote apps more than ten years ago that did internal CRC checking on themselves, and that were thus vastly more secure, ten years ago, than any commercially available product shipped by Microsoft today.

    So, hey, lets not get harsh.
    :)

    Larry

  121. Robert Scoble: “… an emulator would break thousands of apps and cause many others to run really crappy. I’ve run Windows on VMWare and Parallels. I hated it. Even though it ran it was slow and buggy on both and tons of apps wouldn’t run at their full potential. ..”

    Robert Scoble needs to try this again. I’ve got Windows XP running on VMWare on two cores of a four core Mac Pro right now, and I’ve never seen it crash, “run buggy” or “crappy” or fail to run a software application. (If you’re talking about applications that have special hardware needs – e.g. machine tool controllers – you might have a point.)

    I don’t know what it means for an application to fail to “run at their full at their full potential” means, and I wonder whether Scoble does either; If he means speed, he should write “speed.” Two 2.6GHz processors may not be standard hardware now, but it will be in a year or so.

    Virtualization works today, and it works well. There’s no reason why MS couldn’t use it successfully on a future, non-Windows OS.

  122. Robert Scoble: “… an emulator would break thousands of apps and cause many others to run really crappy. I’ve run Windows on VMWare and Parallels. I hated it. Even though it ran it was slow and buggy on both and tons of apps wouldn’t run at their full potential. ..”

    Robert Scoble needs to try this again. I’ve got Windows XP running on VMWare on two cores of a four core Mac Pro right now, and I’ve never seen it crash, “run buggy” or “crappy” or fail to run a software application. (If you’re talking about applications that have special hardware needs – e.g. machine tool controllers – you might have a point.)

    I don’t know what it means for an application to fail to “run at their full at their full potential” means, and I wonder whether Scoble does either; If he means speed, he should write “speed.” Two 2.6GHz processors may not be standard hardware now, but it will be in a year or so.

    Virtualization works today, and it works well. There’s no reason why MS couldn’t use it successfully on a future, non-Windows OS.

  123. You are an idiot if you believe Microsoft anyone is actually going to have a completely rewritten general purpose Operating System before Bill Gates dies ever.

    Fixed that for you.

  124. You are an idiot if you believe Microsoft anyone is actually going to have a completely rewritten general purpose Operating System before Bill Gates dies ever.

    Fixed that for you.