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  (Source: Microsoft via Charon via ZDnet)
User would have unique desktop accessible from any machine; company would sell "Desktop as a Service"

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer's comment that Windows 8 was his company's most risky endeavor sparked much curiosity.  Little is currently known about the upcoming operating system.  So why is Windows 8 such a high risk proposition for Microsoft?

The answer to that may have come in a newly surfaced slide deck from the Microsoft architectural summit held in London in early April 2010.  In the deck Microsoft describes how Windows 8 (referred in the deck as "Windows NEXT") will be the company's first OS to throw the user deep into the world of virtualization.

With a traditional OS, maintenance burden is on the user or their hired help.  The company writes in the presentation, "[Customers today] see application compatibility issues, they see DLL hell, they see an inability to manage efficiently, they see high costs associated with maintenance and upgrades, they see a relatively short lifespan…..This cannot continue. Customers are increasingly refusing to let this continue."

Microsoft's answer is to deploy "native VHD" (virtual hard disk) capabilities with Windows 8 and change its sales model from OS as a service to "desktop as a service" (DaaS).  The slides indicate that under Windows 8, user apps and data will be "treated as cached entities and synchronized with an appstore and 'user state store'".

The approach has definite advantages.  Microsoft could remotely fight malware and fix compatibility issues as they occurred, rather than trying to update OS installations after trouble occurs.  And if a user lost their laptop, they wouldn't lose access to their installed programs and data.

The company writes, "[T]he desktop should not be associated with the device. [T]he desktop can be thought of as a portal which surfaces the users apps, data, user state and authorization and access."

The new virtualization technology is founded on Microsoft's existing virtualization portfolio -- Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI); application virtualization (App-V, MED-V, Remote Apps, Terminal Server); OS virtualization (Remote Desktop, Terminal Services, VDI); data virtualization (folder redirection and synch); hardware virtualization (Hyper-V); and various System Center management offerings.

This would be a huge change for Microsoft, and it would put the company's direction in line with Google's plans for its upcoming netbook/tablet Chrome operating system.  But its also a huge risk as virtualization is something utterly unfamiliar to most customers.

As many are speculating, Microsoft may partially back off fully virtualizing all its commercial Windows 8 offerings.  With a launch in "2012+" scheduled, beta builds are widely expected to come in 2011.  These builds should reveal whether the ambitious DaaS redesign persisted.  And if Microsoft indeed goes ahead with this concept, the reaction it gets from the beta may play a role in just how deep Microsoft jumps into the virtualization waters.

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The OS vs the web browser
By killerclick on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: The OS vs the web browser
By drycrust3 on 11/17/2010 12:38:10 PM , Rating: 4
True, Firefox does work on Linux, but MS hasn't released a Linux version of IE.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By repatch on 11/18/10, Rating: 0
RE: The OS vs the web browser
By talonvor on 11/18/2010 8:24:14 PM , Rating: 2
No its not, regardless of whether you like it. The more options you have for applications the better off you are.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Anoxanmore on 11/17/2010 1:03:58 PM , Rating: 2
No it won't.

I tried to us a Virtual system (Virtual PC) back when I had a Apple G5 (Power PC) to run a fairly old Windows game (Jedi Knight). It might as well have been a slide show.

While my computer at the time had more than enough GPU(BFG Geforce 7800GTX+ 512MB) and CPU power(1.8GHZ Power PC). I was getting around 5 to 15 FPS. My friends with PII/III 300's/450's and TNT 2's were getting 60 to 70 fps.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By ppardee on 11/17/2010 1:55:39 PM , Rating: 2

You're talking about running an OS within an OS. That means for every hardware call, Windows had to go through its HAL, then through Mac OSs HAL. It had the overhead of both OSs.

In this case, there would only be one OS and only part of that OS would be virtualized. So, if you can think of it in layers, the very top layer would be a virtual UI, but there isn't a non-virtual UI below it.

This is an idea I had back in the Win95 days. The OS shouldn't be able to be modified by the user or any programs running on the OS. It should have a strictly defined interface that can be customized, but under no circumstances should the system files be allowed to be altered. My idea was to put the OS on an EPROM, but virtualization could likley solve the problem, since the non-virtual environment can completely abstract the system below it, preventing the user (or any programs) from even seeing the system files.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By GuinnessKMF on 11/17/2010 2:28:31 PM , Rating: 2
Hey, as a Microsoft shareholder I have to say thanks for thinking up that idea, no idea where we'd be without you.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By snakeInTheGrass on 11/17/2010 3:25:18 PM , Rating: 1
Sadly, that idea about the OS not being user modifiable was reality both with older ROM-based OS machines (and they booted so much faster!) or on Unix machines for what, 26 years before your idea?

That said, I'm sure that was a totally new idea in the DOS/Windows world since Microsoft stole ideas but gimped them at the same time, letting users dream about how to solve the faults they had introduced. Sorry, I meant to say they innovated. ;)

Ah well.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By 91TTZ on 11/18/2010 2:25:13 PM , Rating: 2
That idea has been around for a long, long time. It's not new.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Lerianis on 11/19/2010 11:15:50 PM , Rating: 2
Yep, not new and just as stupid today as it was back then. Why? Because then if there are holes found in the BILLIONS of lines of code, it cannot be fixed, so you are screwed!

People forget that there are MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY MANY more lines of code in an OS today compared to say..... the Commodore 64 OS!

Some holes are going to get through, and you HAVE TO HAVE A WAY TO FIX THEM!

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By 91TTZ on 11/18/2010 2:24:05 PM , Rating: 2
This is an idea I had back in the Win95 days. The OS shouldn't be able to be modified by the user or any programs running on the OS. It should have a strictly defined interface that can be customized, but under no circumstances should the system files be allowed to be altered. My idea was to put the OS on an EPROM, but virtualization could likley solve the problem, since the non-virtual environment can completely abstract the system below it, preventing the user (or any programs) from even seeing the system files.

This isn't any new idea, this is a basic user permissions structure issue.

And this is an idea that was implemented in the Windows NT days. With Windows NT Terminal Server, users on a network could have sessions on the OS with restricted permissions, and they'd be limited to minor configuration of their desktop layout and such but cannot change any global settings related to the OS. Even if you correctly set up your Windows XP, Vista, or 7 computer it will do the same thing. But the terminal server would be closer to this "cloud" idea.

They also have Winterms that take the idea one step further. Instead of having a full-fledged PC, you only have a basic low-powered computer that establishes a terminal session with a terminal server. You have KB, mouse, USB, video, and audio connections but most of the processing related to your desktop is done by the terminal server once you're connected.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By priusone on 11/18/2010 6:02:40 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, my old laptop had a discrete graphics card but couldn't play Oblivion. My buddy told me that technology changes and that a newer laptop with a newer discrete card would allow me to play Oblivion on max settings. I don't know, though, it wouldn't work on 6 year old system, so I have my doubts. </sarcasm>

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Sivar on 11/18/2010 10:56:38 AM , Rating: 2
In addition to the comments above, I think you are confused as to what "virtualization" means in this context. What you were speaking of is "emulation."

If you run an x86 game on a PowerPC, each instruction has to be translated to something PowerPC will understand. With virtualization, only a few uncommon instructions, if that, need any translation. Most code is simply passed through to the CPU, because the virtualized software is already designed to run on that CPU natively.

That said, the virtualization of video is not as mature as of the CPU, and performance is still impacted.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By androticus on 11/18/2010 9:53:11 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, come on... Virtual PC had to also emulate the Intel instruction set on a PPC -- of course it sucked dead rat heads! Today, things like Windows run quite well in virtual machines on things like Mac OS -- I still have a couple of apps I need to run in Windows, and Parallels does it very well.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By kingius on 11/23/2010 7:23:00 AM , Rating: 2
Welcome to the future people. This is all part of what happens after the information age:

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Ammohunt on 11/17/2010 2:17:19 PM , Rating: 5
Very true thats why hardware level firmware based Hyper-visors should be the chosen direction. i would rather carry my OS and files around on a Micro SSD that way i could plug it into any type of CPU/RAM hardware "terminal"(the best design would be CPU architecture agnostic), boot it up and start computing rather then have my OS and files only accessable froma internet connection and stored 1000 miles away call me old fashioned but i will always insist on full control my important data and not trust others(no mater how secure) with its keeping.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Silver2k7 on 11/17/2010 4:47:46 PM , Rating: 3
I agree the OS should be on the physical machine, otherhwise if some crap happend to a telephone station or whatever you can't reach your OS.. that would suck.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By ekv on 11/18/2010 3:24:13 AM , Rating: 2
from a internet connection and stored 1000 miles away call me old fashioned but i will always insist on full control my important data and not trust others
Especially if China Telecom decides to reroute your particular internet connection. Potential man-in-the-middle attack, etc.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By jive on 11/18/2010 7:26:52 AM , Rating: 2
Plugging your precious data into some unknown machine is safe? Call me paranoid but I wouldn't do that for any data considered valuable or sensitive. After that exclusion there's no harm of letting them store the data for you and save the trouble of carrying something which might break or get lost with me.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Ammohunt on 11/18/2010 2:02:36 PM , Rating: 2
yes if all the machine provides is a firmware based hyper-visor and the OS,applications etc.. lives on your portable storage device secured by biometrics. You won't stick you media is just anything would you? You need to think future state and not what we have currently.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By RMSe17 on 11/17/2010 6:11:40 PM , Rating: 3
No, the OS is not becoming irrelevant. I use Windows for games. I can't use any other OS for games.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By foolsgambit11 on 11/17/2010 8:53:08 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly. There are still certain classes of high-performance applications that will require low-level hardware access for best performance, and virtualization, no matter how well implemented, will always impact that performance to some degree.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By killerclick on 11/17/2010 9:58:16 PM , Rating: 1
Sure there is a performance impact but how big of an impact vs. developers having to develop for multiple platforms? Besides, Blizzard or Valve would sell their children to get their hands on Farmville and Mafia Wars, never mind that these games run on slow, buggy Flash. That's how much high performance and amazing graphics matter in terms of $$$.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By foolsgambit11 on 11/18/2010 3:08:35 PM , Rating: 2
My point was more that Microsoft shouldn't totally virtualize their OS because there is still a market that requires a non-virtualized environment, a market that includes gamers, but also includes high-performance computing. MS won't want to totally abandon those markets. In other words, I was looking at the issue from MS's perspective rather than the application developers' perspective.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By killerclick on 11/17/2010 9:45:35 PM , Rating: 2
Well a lot of people play games through the browser. While you may play 3D games, most PC users don't. And with cross-platform games/software and possibly services like OnLive, the choice of OS will become irrelevant for most people.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Fritzr on 11/17/2010 10:17:45 PM , Rating: 2
Just to consider 2 online games, WoW and T4C. Both of these games have all their gameplay on central servers. Both of these games put hundreds of megabytes of files on the local hard disk. The network traffic consists of user did this, the objects "on screen" did that. The actual display of those objects as well as all the static data defining them is stored on the local hard drive. The network traffic is a very minor component of the data used.

If Microsoft is kind enough to host your OS and application files on a virtual hard disk, how will you run your applications, let alone boot the computer when the internet is unavailable? This is a question that anyone considering a virtualized system needs an answer to.

Yes you can play Pogo games in the browser. Without internet though unless you have those same games installed locally, they are broken and will not work.

We need more info than what this article has to decide whether this is a good thing or a bad thing.

For the poster who dreamt of making the OS code read only. That idea is called Firmware. It is a major nuisance when trying to patch or otherwise customize the OS. This matters less with Windows, but for owners of the early 8 bit computers, editing the OS ROMs was part of the fun :)

Even with Windows, major hardware vendors have been known to release patches to enable support of their new toys. Some of those patches break other people's toys. Do you want all patches applied all the time or would you prefer to be able to skip the ones that break your equipment? Centralized control can take these options away from you.

So what is the rest of this story. How will it be implemented? How much control will the enduser have? Will it break if internet is unavailable? I am sure others here can come up with dozens of other questions that are unanswered yet.

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Lifted on 11/17/2010 11:38:58 PM , Rating: 2
Virtualized has nothing to do with being hosted in the "cloud".

RE: The OS vs the web browser
By Fritzr on 11/18/2010 5:16:44 AM , Rating: 2
Microsoft's answer is to deploy "native VHD" (virtual hard disk) capabilities with Windows 8 and change its sales model from OS as a service to "desktop as a service" (DaaS). The slides indicate that under Windows 8, user apps and data will be "treated as cached entities and synchronized with an appstore and 'user state store'".

This paragraph is not discussing VMware or a VMware workalike.

There is a lot of info missing still.

So long as I can cache the OS onto my computer...
By quiksilvr on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
By Anoxanmore on 11/17/2010 10:57:17 AM , Rating: 5
This is something I am unable to get behind. Until something can be done to actually make it viable (and offering an virtual desktoop is not viable for real world experience) I'll be sticking with Windows 7, probably for as long as I stuck with Windows XP (10yrs~ish).

I really hope they do not do this.

RE: So long as I can cache the OS onto my computer...
By Suntan on 11/17/2010 11:10:33 AM , Rating: 5
I agree. For no other reason than I tend to use my PC a fair deal when “unplugged” from the internet.

And for anyone that thinks bugs, incompatibility and hassles will magically disappear with this scheme, wake up. At best they will just be replaced with many new and different hassles. Hasn’t every software update (from any company/group) promised to eliminate all the hassles of the old one and give people a problem free, blissful experience? How’s that worked out so far?


By mcnabney on 11/17/2010 11:16:15 AM , Rating: 1
Yeah, coming from a company that has been pushing Media Player / Media Center, but didn't bother to make it capable of playing the most basic audio/video standards and containers. And they still haven't fixed that. I guess they are going to follow Apple's lead as well, if they can't sell it through their 'Marketplace' they aren't going to even come close to supporting it.

By darkweasel on 11/17/2010 11:35:47 AM , Rating: 2
Replying to remove unintentional vote.

By tmouse on 11/17/2010 11:37:19 AM , Rating: 5
This is just another way for companies to A) have insight into everything you do or are interested in so they can harvest information for direct marketing, and B)Have TOTAL control of their product. The privacy issues have not even begun to surface, even financial institutions are screwing up left and right and we are supposed to trust companies like Google and Microsoft to be better? This is a way for them to control piracy, which is fair enough BUT it is also a way to force you to upgrade, since they will not support EOL versions and now you have NO choice, upgrade or your OS goes bye bye. The move to on demand movies, games and music will go the same way. After there is no longer a physical material method of purchase they totally control the market and sooner than later it will be pay to play, which is their ultimate goal. In that system it will truly be a lease and you will have no rights, you WILL upgrade when they say so and you will not be able to play after they lose interest in supporting a game. No second market, used games ect.

By theapparition on 11/17/2010 12:23:28 PM , Rating: 1
You don't have to be connected. All local data is cached to "the cloud".
Unplug and you'll still have full acess to your programs and information. Next time you connect then things will sync. Not uncommon to other systems that do similar, but on a grander scale including the OS.

There are some questions and concerns, but imagine being able to access your computer anywhere, at any time.
We all saw how important it became to have instant access to emails and web, now you can truely have a portable desktop.

I'm not taking sides as implementation will be everything, but the possiblities are enormous, as well as the security concerns. Could change the OS model forever. And people say that MS doesn't innovate anymore.

However, I do believe MS will offer both options, virtual and local install. I don't expect them to instantly change thier entire business model and profit generator radically overnight. So you'll have the option of trying out the new virtual OS or the traditional one. (speculation on my part).

By ekv on 11/18/2010 3:47:23 AM , Rating: 2
Innovative, yes. Security is a huge question mark.

Microsoft has been foaming-at-the-mouth, as it were, trying to catch up to Internet trends and Google, etc. Take a look at
and it could be virtualization is a (much) better model.

By TheBaker on 11/17/2010 11:42:23 AM , Rating: 5
What I don't get is just HOW they can possibly make it viable. An OS is more than just a desktop. Unless I miss my guess, a few of us out here have actual programs running on our computers and, wonder of wonders, not all of them are made by Microsoft. Is Windows 8 going to host Photoshop for me? iTunes? Starcraft? If the answer is no, then this whole "virtual desktop" idea is simply a convenience feature, not an entire OS movement. You will still need a local, fully realized OS to run your stuff. Maybe you can save the files to their servers and have some redundancy in your data, but that's really it. I don't need an entirely new OS just to be able to keep my files on someone else's hard drive.

This whole "to the cloud" nonsense needs to be put to bed. It's been around for decades without a catchy name. We just called it "offsite data storage."

RE: So long as I can cache the OS onto my computer...
By tmouse on 11/17/2010 2:41:12 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with you, they simply do not have the capacity. My guess it would be more of an automatic registry backup, or maybe some sort of easier full client VPN to your home system.

By jimhsu on 12/14/2010 5:10:55 PM , Rating: 2
I predict something like this:

Now: Everything will be virtualized. The world will be wonderful.

1 year before release: We're removing remote sync of data files, but the other stuff (i.e. that you pay money for) will still be there.

6 months: We have problems supporting running external applications. Rest assured your default windows apps will still work.

Release: "Microsoft Windows 8 features an automatic synchronization service (max 2 GB) that will let you share photos (JPGs and PNGs) and Word documents with yourself on the fly."

By Motoman on 11/17/2010 11:44:09 AM , Rating: 5
No way I am doing this. I categorically am not trusting my apps and personal data to *any* third party - MS or otherwise.

...especially considering that we don't have access to any internet service at our place better than the 3Mb DSL we currently have. And probably won't any time in the forseeable future, granted that we are rather out in the country.

By Da W on 11/17/2010 11:59:26 AM , Rating: 2
I read more home network than clouds. You could have a desktop with full running OS and your laptop/tablet/phone would run a VM from it.

By Drag0nFire on 11/17/2010 1:35:01 PM , Rating: 2
Seems to me like they're learning all the wrong lessons from Apple's success in the mobile realm.

The synced "appstore" seems an awful lot like the Apple app store. If Microsoft thinks they can be the sole arbiter of what I can and can't install and run on my pc, I will have no part of the new operating system.

By Taft12 on 11/17/2010 2:09:44 PM , Rating: 2
It's even worse than this if you use a Mac, it is quite clear Apple wants the desktop/laptop realm moved to the app store concept over time.

This is MS trying to catch up (again), but I really hope the notion is rejected in the business and home user markets.

By Spivonious on 11/17/2010 11:34:27 AM , Rating: 2
To me it seems like roaming profiles for the cloud. Sounds good to me.

By bernardl on 11/17/2010 4:34:30 PM , Rating: 2
Profiles hosted on the cloud are definitely part of it, but the app part would need to go beyond that for the vision to be implemented.


By The0ne on 11/17/2010 12:06:27 PM , Rating: 2
I hope this pans out as you think you would like it. I, on the other hand, don't have that much trust in a company to be able to sufficiently and effectively fix its own problems. Add to that giving my data for them to managed is just too risky. If history has shown us with Windows and its fixes...blah, blah, will never changed

It's nice to dream though,

Wrong Conclusion?
By adiposity on 11/17/2010 11:26:05 AM , Rating: 5
I'm looking at this, and it seems this is not as drastic as the article would imply. It seems Microsoft simply wants to disassociate the OS from the hardware by using VMs. Basically exactly what you do when you use VMware/VSphere to run servers on a machine that is nothing more than a VM launcher (No full OS).

What this allows them to do is have a very simple set of drivers available for the OS, which runs on the VM. Risks of bad drivers crashing the OS, etc. are pretty much eliminated. The machine OS would be doing all the job of hardware interfacing, and hopefully the drivers for such a simple job would be far more robust. Updates to this OS would be independent of VM state.

The biggest question is probably performance. By disassociating the hardware from the OS, how can we expect software to access hardware optimizations found in the latest GPUs, etc.? A lot of changes and standardization may be needed on the hardware side.

On the other hand, if this is really just Win8 running a VM for Win7, hardware optimization may not be that hard.

For those of you talking about required connectivity to the cloud, I didn't get that impression from the slides.

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By Quadrillity on 11/17/2010 11:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
I agree. Virtualization doesn't necessarily mean that the information isn't kept locally. It would seem more like you would boot up a VM instead of an OS; which would be why some folks are talking about the incredible boot times so far with Windows 8.

It sounds like a very good idea, and I can't wait to see it implemented.

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By Silver2k7 on 11/17/2010 4:51:16 PM , Rating: 1
Is this microsofts way of getting rid of the register ??
or will the register and dll files still be needed ?

Im guessing windows would be more stable without a register ?

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By RMSe17 on 11/17/2010 6:24:40 PM , Rating: 2
I assume that you mean "registry"? You know, nothing about registry inherently makes the system unstable. Registry is just a database of information, used by all of the components of Windows, as well as drivers and 3rd party applications. OS X uses individual preference files for all of that information, while MS opted out for a database type format. Each approach has it's benefits, however neither approach increases system stability. The erroneous information accumulated in either of those systems would lead to system instability...

As far as .dll files go, getting rid of them would be chaning the whole model of application development. Currently many applications use preexisting code that is stored in these .dll files. For example, if I want to create a window on the desktop, I don't have to code the whole thing from scratch cause there are Windows .dll files that provide that functionality already, all I need to do is call on them. Problems arise when some applications update or change a .dll file, while another application may be trying to access older version of the .dll. This problem is "solved" by keeping all the versions of .dll in separate folders, leading to increase in disk space used, but disk space is so cheap these days..

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By boobo on 11/18/2010 11:56:07 AM , Rating: 2
Well, a large file will always have more probability of getting corrupted than a small file. If every program and device has its own file, if the file gets corrupted, only that application or file will fail (at least in an ideal implementation). If a full system registry database gets corrupted, the OS will not even boot.

While the concept of database vs preference files is not inherently less stable, the implementation of the registry as a very small number of very large physical files is. With the limited integrity checks and flimsy auto-backup of the early implementations, it was probably the weakest point of the system.

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By Lerianis on 11/19/2010 11:21:40 PM , Rating: 2
Most of the problem with boot times being slow in Windows 7 is old drivers and other stuff being kept on the hard drive, when they shouldn't be.

Microsoft should REMOVE all old drivers and tell people that if they need them, to use Windows Update or other means to get them!

It would save a TON of space on the hard drive. Add in getting rid of some of the programs like Windows Mail and Photo Gallery (yes, they are still in Windows 7!) that no one uses? Long boot up? Problem solved.

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By haukionkannel on 11/17/2010 11:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
The biggest question is probably performance. By disassociating the hardware from the OS, how can we expect software to access hardware optimizations found in the latest GPUs, etc.? A lot of changes and standardization may be needed on the hardware side.

Well most users (not us in here, but normal user who don't even know where his files physically are at this moment...) don't have a problem with performance (in the future at least). When normal user wants to read his email, or write a letter to someone or make anything that is "as demanding" as mentioned above, they don't have to worry about that the virtualization would make the system too slow... Future computers are fast enough for that! And if that virtualization can prevent some common problems among most computer ill-literate, this can be huge succes!
Heavy users are not so happy, but most of us are so tiny fragement of computer users, that the deal can be good to OS and software companies.
When the most popular game in the world is Farmswille, this can'd go wrong... can it?

In reality it don't have to be this bad allso to heavy computer users. Virtualization would bring stability allso to those tasks. Maybe you can even rent more horsepower from the cloud system when you really need it, because all the power don't have to come from your system. But yeah. the performance can be problem to some of us.
Interesting to see what win8 really prings!

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By jonmcc33 on 11/17/2010 3:12:24 PM , Rating: 2
I can't imagine an OS going full VM. There are still limitations with VMs. Heck, I can't even get Linux Mint 10 to support 3D in VirutalBox, yet it works fine with Linux Mint 9. I tried VMWare as well, 3D doesn't work with it for LM9 or LM10 even though it's enabled.

One thing I would still like to see is a VM given full hardware access instead of an emulation. That would be great for people with games that no longer work on Windows 7 but do work on Windows XP. Create a VM guest that has full access to the sound card and graphics card. When done, shut the VM down and full audio/video is restored back to the host. It eliminates the need for dual booting, which I avoid at all costs. I would also like that for Linux guests as I would prefer to browse the web on a Linux VM knowing I'm not vulnerable to malware through that.

RE: Wrong Conclusion?
By Justin Time on 11/17/2010 10:12:12 PM , Rating: 2
"The answer to that may have come in a newly surfaced slide deck from the Microsoft architectural summit held in London in early April 2010."

Actually, it was presented 1st April 2010, in the AM.

Features I'd like to see implemented
By tech4tac on 11/17/2010 12:54:25 PM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see them implement the ability to run multiple sessions simultaneously off the same computer. Hook up 6 monitors to an Eyefinity capable AMD graphics card and 6 USB hubs to run 6 sessions off a 6+ core workstation. Virtualization will all each user to have their own virtual machine and it will hopefully be implemented in such a way that one user cannot crashed another users virtual machine.

I'd also like to see an easy but thorough control (or profiles) to setup what you want accessible via a "cloud session" and what you only want accessible when logged onto your own machine.

RE: Features I'd like to see implemented
By ZachDontScare on 11/17/2010 3:05:29 PM , Rating: 3
This has been possible with Windows Terminal Server since WinNT 4 days.

By Master Kenobi on 11/17/2010 7:03:22 PM , Rating: 2
Only someone familiar with IT domains and business environments would know this. Your average techie probably has never utilized Terminal Server nor know if its existence.

By tech4tac on 11/18/2010 1:34:31 AM , Rating: 2
The feature I mentioned is not the same as what Windows Terminal Server offers. Yes, Termainal Server will allow you run multiple sessions but each session is meant to be run on different PC/thin-clents, not on the machine running the hosting Terminal Server itself. If 6 users tried to run 6 sessions using the same machine hosting Terminal Server (no other PC/thin-clients are involved), the results would be disastrous.

RE: Features I'd like to see implemented
By Iketh on 11/18/2010 1:22:36 AM , Rating: 2
each session would only need its own parent thread to prevent a user from crashing other users

By tech4tac on 11/18/2010 1:49:10 AM , Rating: 2
It's not as simple as that. If resources are not prioritized correctly, managed incorrectly, and/or allowed to leave hardware in error states, the other threads can end up in deadlocks, livelocks, or crash. In theory, the sandboxing a virtual machine does should prevent all this, but in practice this is not always the case.

By Smilin on 11/18/2010 10:35:58 AM , Rating: 3
You mean like Microsoft Multipoint?

Part of this
By Smilin on 11/17/2010 12:14:27 PM , Rating: 2
One problem Microsoft has with apple is the new car/old car problem.

People may be wonderfully delighted with a 2010 operating system from Apple but that's because they are comparing it to their current 2003 operating system from Microsoft.

They need a way to let you load todays OS and have it stay updated and modern for years to come.

RE: Part of this
By Silver2k7 on 11/17/2010 4:54:21 PM , Rating: 2
you mean like letting Windows Xp or Vista users get Win7 from windows update for free ? I don't think they will do that.

Not when they can and do charge money for their ugrades.

RE: Part of this
By Smilin on 11/18/2010 10:41:05 AM , Rating: 4
Sure, I expect some money will trade hands somehow but what they are trying to avoid is letting users fall so far behind that competitors products look good just by virtue of being newer.

XP < OSX < Win7

If you're an XP user, Apple looks good. If Windows 7 apple looks sad.

RE: Part of this
By B3an on 11/17/2010 5:43:51 PM , Rating: 3
I dont think the OSX way is any better. Apple charge for updates to OSX that dont even have as many improvements as a service pack for Windows... which is free.
And going from OSX 9 to OSX 10.x will still need a new install just like going from XP to Win7.
The new updates to OSX 10 are basically apples service packs... but they want money for them.

RE: Part of this
By Smilin on 11/18/2010 10:43:12 AM , Rating: 3
You and I may know this but the fact remains if you are running an old XP desktop then Anything even remotely recent from Apple looks amazing and new.

Windows 7 users are unimpressed with Apple and just looking forward to Windows 8.

Here is the real reason Microsoft wants this:
By 91TTZ on 11/18/2010 2:52:03 PM , Rating: 2
This really has nothing to do with safety, technology, or anything like that. This has everything to do with finding a sustainable revenue model.

In the past, the computer industry was growing at such a fast pace that innovations were rendering last year's products obsolete. Think of the changes that occurred with Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows 2000, etc. In a short amount of time the operating system evolved and changed drastically. This ensured that people were willing to purchase the latest and greatest operating system.

But we're beginning to see signs that the rate of change is slowing down. Whereas in 1997 it was unthinkable to be running a 5 year old OS (DOS or Windows 3.1), in 2010 it's common to be running an 8 year old OS (Windows XP). I'm sure that as the evolution of the desktop OS and user interface reaches a sustainable, mature stage, it won't be unreasonable for people to use a 10 or 15 year old OS. The same thing is happening with applications. Many businesses are choosing to stick with the 7 year old Office 2003 instead of upgrading to Office 2007.

This is horrible for Microsoft's revenue. They need to find a way to ensure that they have a steady income. By centralizing applications and the operating system, they're ensuring that you have to pay them on a recurring basis. With their proposed model, there will certainly be no situation where you can purchase an OS once and continue to use it for 8 years.

RE: Here is the real reason Microsoft wants this:
By meninsuits on 11/21/2010 12:02:49 AM , Rating: 2
im not really concerned with Microshafts revenue.They already are one of the biggest profiting companies around.

By Firebat5 on 12/13/2010 11:34:30 AM , Rating: 2
You may not be. But his point is that obviously Microsoft is!

no thanks never
By darckhart on 11/17/2010 1:54:04 PM , Rating: 3
I don't like any "... as a Service" because that just screams subscription model and we all know how well that works out for the consumer.

"Buy this NEW laptop now with Windows 8*!"
* (requires 2 year contract with minimum WindowsLIVE data plan required)"

oh btw, subject to ETF. oh and unlimited data really means 5 GB. and if you don't get the service in your area, too bad, you still owe us the 10$ monthly surcharge for adopting this newest, biggest, baddest DaaS. oh, btw, only best buy stores can sell you this package. nowhere else. because we negotiated an exclusive contract with them for the next 10 years. oh didnt you know cdma and gsm aren't the same? the win8 DaaS doesn't work on those types of laptops. no sim card you know? and sorry, our app store doesn't carry that product. you'll have to wait until their record label and us come to some agreement. it might be a long wait, but it'll be worth it. what do you mean the messenger service is down? AND you've lost ALL my contacts? and data? well good thing i back everything up on your livedrive.... that's connected to the same building where everything just blew up. oh. great.

RE: no thanks never
By ZachDontScare on 11/17/2010 3:03:49 PM , Rating: 2
I don't like any "... as a Service" because that just screams subscription model and we all know how well that works out for the consumer.

Right on the money!

'as a service' is the code phrase for...'billing their credit cards $60 every month'

But can it play Crysis?
By Red Storm on 11/17/2010 11:53:28 AM , Rating: 2
No, seriously, can it? I'm not too familiar with virtual OSes, but I do know they aren't suited to high level hardware performance. So, what would a Virtual OS do to PC gaming?

RE: But can it play Crysis?
By Flunk on 11/17/2010 12:18:51 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, it will

Windows 9
By theslug on 11/17/2010 1:34:42 PM , Rating: 2
Judging by the third picture and assuming the trend continues, in the next version of Windows, after 8, even the hardware will be virtual.

RE: Windows 9
By cmdrdredd on 11/17/2010 9:24:03 PM , Rating: 2
Judging by the third picture and assuming the trend continues, in the next version of Windows, after 8, even the hardware will be virtual. Intel probably wants people buying CPUs from them and Nvidia wants people buying GPUs.

I don't think you'll ever lose the hardware. I also don't think you'll ever have the OS offloaded from your HDD and stored digitally. It would be way too easy for someone to hack in and grab your stuff.

Good and Very Bad
By sweetspot on 11/17/2010 4:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
The good = for businesses, ths obviously saves them, management and cost resources for emplyee workstations, and lowers total numbers.

The Very Bad = Home use, most already have a computer with OS so virtualizing something they already have doesnt save them anything, someone has to manage it. Outsourced management is retared risky for home user. WHomin thier right mind would want some 3rd party to manage their personal data useage?? they may suddenyl change their policy and fee rate hike ya, then what you now cant pay lost your job or whatever, so they now hold all your personal information hostage at total loss to you.

Stupid poeple that put personal info on social sites like facebook or twitter are retarded as well, think those new baby pictures wll be available in 10-15 20 years when you want them and still free ?? Long term data of personal info on other peoples servers is stupid, as those companies will change = your info is now - gone or lost or fee hiked held hostage for non pay = you lose no matter what over long term. If you need your personal info, stupid to keep it on equipment or software outside your home, so you can have imeadiate access, reguardless of situation. Leave it to some company to control your at their mercy over the long haul. Think those people that run those servers are 100% honest always ?? how do you think all the celebirty scandals get leaked every day. Good luck keeping your data privvate safe forever their.

RE: Good and Very Bad
By delphinus100 on 11/19/2010 8:33:50 PM , Rating: 2
Stupid poeple that put personal info on social sites like facebook or twitter are retarded as well, think those new baby pictures wll be available in 10-15 20 years when you want them and still free ??

If you 'store' images only on Facebook (which doesn't even pretend to be off-site storage), and have absolutely no copes/backups anywhere else, you deserve what you get...

By Lerianis on 11/19/2010 3:33:15 AM , Rating: 2
On their computers. No, virtualization is a bad idea unless the OS itself resides on your machine and isn't sending every single bit of data back to a Microsoft server, where we are RIPE for a man-in-the-middle attack.

That is the reason why for Ubuntu, which I have been testing, I turned off Ubuntu One's synchronization. I don't want my personal data on a machine somewhere that I don't have physical access to it.

By lexluthermiester on 11/22/2010 9:32:19 AM , Rating: 2
Totally agreed!

Not Necessarily for Windows 8
By Flunk on 11/17/2010 11:39:11 AM , Rating: 3
Windows Next is a blanket term for development work for future versions of Windows. Who is to say that it will land in Version 8? or even 9?

Also, this deck seems to be more about virtualizing the OS layer, not delivering Windows as a service (although it would make that easier). If anything it shows that they are finally starting the process of degrading the Win32 APIs to a virtual subsystem and guiding all new development towards .NET.

Virtual Hardware?
By Ohmniscient1 on 11/17/2010 12:10:55 PM , Rating: 3
So, It looks like by the direction they are headed they left out the last step in the flow chart.. Virtual Hardware... Wouldn't that just take us back to something like a "Dumb Terminal"? I remember the main frame days..

I can see these solutions working efficiently for business where the personal control over your work station is already very limited and if your hardware goes down you can login to your desktop from another system or terminal and quickly be back to work.
I also see advantages of your desktop running on a system that might run at PetaFlops speed for engineering, science or medical purposes But from the article I'm not clear on how this will work with your personal computers especially from a privacy standpoint?...

In plain English ...
By drycrust3 on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
RE: In plain English ...
By Goatjoe on 11/17/2010 7:28:51 PM , Rating: 1
Either your post is satire, or you have been drinking those Four Loco drinks that are all over the news today...

RE: In plain English ...
By lexluthermiester on 11/22/2010 9:29:09 AM , Rating: 2
No, he makes very good points, if in a sarcastic way...

By Operandi on 11/17/2010 12:52:48 PM , Rating: 2
This sounds interesting, I just wonder will it work and can MS pull it off?

Longhorn/Vista was also a very ambitious OS with tons of new features that ultimately never made it in. I'm sure MS has learned a lot from that experience but this seems even more ambitious as its a direct shift in terms of functionality and user experience.

By phatboye on 11/17/2010 1:21:08 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like it will be subscription based which is something I do not want. If it is the last thing I need is another bill. I want to pay for the OS once and be able to use it forever.

As far as an "app store" goes I don't want to be bothered with that either. I want to own physical media. It's the same reason why I refuse to by anything from iTunes, I'd rather go to a music store and by a real CD.

I'm perfectly fine with Win7/Linux and if Win 8 turns out to be like this I will stick to what I have.

"Windows Air"?
By vailr on 11/17/2010 1:23:30 PM , Rating: 2
"Windows 8 - Air Edition"?
Will it be the new "trickle down operating system"?

By Wolfpup on 11/17/2010 1:46:26 PM , Rating: 2
Are they using virtualization? In that case, why is it being exposed to the end user? Why does the normal end user need to care? Are they talking about storing stuff on remote servers? In that case, forget it-if you had to do that, I'll just jump ship to OS X or baring that Linux.

But from the comments presented here I have no idea what's actually being proposed.

And what's wrong with Windows 7? Geez, give us an update in 10 years and I'd be happy...I don't see any need to release random changes every two years...

I just want to know one thing...
By bplewis24 on 11/17/2010 2:15:32 PM , Rating: 2
... where will they store all of my pr0n?

VMware Fan
By jemix on 11/17/2010 2:21:57 PM , Rating: 2
I've been using the VMware View Client to access Windows XP and Windows 7 virtual machines for several months. There is definately a lag for video and audio, but it is very promising. I use it all of the time. (Even now as I write this post)

I find it funny, though, that I'm running a VM that's on a server somewhere in the 'cloud' that is using an OS built for the local machine. It seems that tools like 'de-frag', or 'check disk', and even McAfee should not be run on VMs, but rather, they would work better running server side. Eventually, the OS's running in the cloud will be designed for the cloud... that's likely something that Windows 8 will address.

Good luck VMWare !!!

- VMWare Fan

Maybe I'm missing something
By ZachDontScare on 11/17/2010 3:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
But 'desktop' access from anywhere... how is this different from Remote Desktop, which has been part of Windows since Windows NT 4? I access desktops running on VM's every single day. Why do I need MS for this?

And this 'as a service' stuff... it sounds to me their goal is to copy Apple and go 'Walled Garden' on users. Synchronize applications? The only way they can do that is if they are in control of application distribution via an app store.

And the sad thing is, users seem just fine and dandy giving up the freedom of controlling their own machines and data.

I'm a long time Windows user, and even proponent, but if they move things into a Walled Garden, I'm just not going to use it.

Incorrect conclusions
By Justin Time on 11/17/2010 4:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
Listen to the audio of the presentation top_as_a_Service.wma

Opportunity for linux?
By Ringold on 11/17/2010 4:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
I share other peoples privacy and performance concerns, but dont need to repeat them, so two other thoughts I had;

1. National security: If a large portion of the US population is leaning on MS as a provider of its OS, what happens when foreign entities (worth noting that they don't even have to be state-backed) can now cause huge mayhem by taking down a single target? Wouldn't a full move to DaaS become a potential single-point failure?

2. As large numbers of people would have concerns over that sort of change, I can see the tech-literate considering linux in large numbers for the first time -- IF linux can finally make a decent product.

By superstition on 11/17/2010 5:20:08 PM , Rating: 2
"User would have unique desktop accessible from any machine..."

The slides indicate that under Windows 8, user apps and data will be 'treated as cached entities and synchronized with an appstore and 'user state store'."

That sounds like a recipe for losing control of one's data and personal information/profile. Big Brother will be definitely watching you, eh?

It also sounds like a great way to stop piracy.

"company would sell "Desktop as a Service"

"Microsoft's answer is to deploy 'native VHD' (virtual hard disk) capabilities with Windows 8 and change its sales model from OS as a service to 'desktop as a service' (DaaS)."

Subscription model. A new cable bill!

Companies have been salivating over the prospect of this network-deployed OS for years. Will it put a stop to people selling software to others? Game companies have been trying to crush resale by banning people from participating in online gaming if they buy used copies.

What OS virtualization REALLY means...
By letmepicyou on 11/17/10, Rating: 0
By meninsuits on 11/20/2010 11:55:07 PM , Rating: 2
point taken i also hate the word terrorist.Seems like a word for someone running around by the seat of thier pants just to cause terror without any motive.

#2. what kind of reaction do you think people will have with no military might against the opposing country? Also there would be no reaction if everything was peachy.

Men and women around the world are all alike the only thing that seperates them is religion and politics. Remove these 2 evils and your left with just man.Only reacting negatively to you if you do him wrong.

Hell no!
By Randomblame on 11/17/2010 8:30:45 PM , Rating: 2
I don't trust the cloud - I know many it professionals feel exactly the same way I do. Microsoft is getting ambitious again. Looks like I'll be stuck with windows 7 and ubuntu into the future.

By Jeff7181 on 11/17/2010 8:49:32 PM , Rating: 2
When they're talking about virtualization here, they're not talking about running a host OS and a guest OS. Sounds like what they're trying to do is virtualize the user session. Give it read access to the OS and all changes are made in user space as software is installed, etc. Great idea IMO.

A whole package
By atlmann10 on 11/18/2010 11:21:34 AM , Rating: 2
This is exactly (at least in terms) is what I thought when I received from M$ day before yesterday (or more accurately night before yesterday) a link to WIN phone 7 version of the newest office version.

The thing is this! Business's pay considerably more for anything than consumers. An Apple bot pays more than a standard consumer, but less than a business. Also the real reason Windows is dominant, and has been so for decades now is this simple fact.

To demonstrate this actively look at Blackberry. For what reason did RIM rise to the position it held (and is seemingly loosing now) in the market? That reason is because businesses world wide bought Blackberry devices for employees.

So now if Microsoft has the newest version of Office ported to both the Windows phone 7 devices, and the newest version of Office is Cloud based or accessible as is the case, then business's will switch to the platform for conformity.

The real thing that is a major plus to this is mass singular migration. Whereas a lot of people bought iPhone's because they were cool in singular or small number (IE: a family of four). A business will buy them for every single employee at or above a certain level. Which is anywhere from 1000-250,000 users at one time.

When it starts happening in one business often there partners will do the same. Then the general consumer see's this advertised as a user block, and therefor thinks the large number of user's is a mega positive. Then they buy it to because more people use it, which has been the case for Apple until very recently.

We are at mass migration phase now or will be shortly. Iphone's may be cool, Android devices may be cool as well, but neither Apple or Google has an organizational software product (Office probably even more so than Windows itself as a standard product) that is used predominately, and world wide in almost every single major business.

I don't like this
By zmatt on 11/18/2010 3:31:43 PM , Rating: 2
not at all. I think cloud computing is a fad honestly. There are too many problems that can occur that are outside of the users and ITs control. What if the connection goes down? My files are lost. Residential internet is not nearly reliable enough and even in a corporate atmosphere networking is still a pain most of the time. That doesn't even address the security concerns, packets could e intercepted and rerouted very easily. The internet is dangerous enough, I don't want all of my files and OS out there floating around.

By vision33r on 11/19/2010 1:41:01 PM , Rating: 2
Booting Windows using VHD is not the same as booting Virtual PC or VMWare.

VHD is just a virtual disk file. Your entire windows disk partition becomes just a file and allows you to move, copy, and deploy to any PC easily. There is still hardware dependence.

windows 8 virtualized remotely?
By meninsuits on 11/20/2010 11:45:03 PM , Rating: 2
...time to go linux.

Sounds like the death of the gaming community as well.

Need a speedy solution here.

Viva la resistance!!

Quick question
By meninsuits on 11/21/2010 12:07:54 AM , Rating: 2
Hey microshaft can we get this on the next xbox too?
Seeing how your losing all that revenue to gamestop for used games why not make those remote too.

We can sit here and bitsch but this type of corporate
mumbo jumbo is going to keep going on as long as the
apes of society still get thier bananna and the ability
to fling poo

By lexluthermiester on 11/22/2010 9:26:23 AM , Rating: 2
I have a very real issue with anything on the internet having direct control or access to my personal information and property. If MS can not continue to release stand-alone internet-independent software, then it will be a 100% Linux conversion for my household. End of story.

They already think they have more power than they do and they will get no more for me.

I wonder,...
By blueeyesm on 11/22/2010 11:26:37 AM , Rating: 2
.. how this will affect I.T. support staffing. For those who've spent a lot of their lives doing this as a career, many will be out of well paying jobs that will fade away as a result.

But we forgot....
By Souka on 11/17/10, Rating: -1
"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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