Other recent efforts include its Windows
Azure OS, a cloud computing OS currently offered for free to
Now Microsoft has unveiled another new
OS prototype codenamed "Barrelfish". Barrelfish
is an OS optimized to run on multi-core machines. Namely,
Barrelfish uses message passing and a database like system to pass
information between cores. Typically OS's use share memory
schemes, which become very inefficient when resource demands are
The new OS was jointly created by ETH Zurich, a
technology university, and Microsoft Research, located in Cambridge,
Interestingly, it uses some open source BSD
third-part libraries, which are "covered by various BSD-like
open source licenses." This has led to speculation that
the new OS may be free and open source, not terms you typically would
associate with Microsoft.
According to developers who have
attended conferences on the new OS, it reportedly brings some of the
Midori/Singularity sandboxing protections onboard.
Additionally, applications reportedly have an alternate route of
accessing information from devices like graphics or sound cards.
A large deal of device information is reportedly stored in a central
database that can be queried.
developer "AudriUSA", "... instead of fully isolating
program from device via driver, Barrelfish has a kind of database
where lots of low level information about the hardware can be found.
The kernel is single threaded and non preemptive. Scheduling is
coupled with the message passing, an arrival of the message simply
activates the waiting thread. It also uses a little bit of the
microkernel concepts, running drivers in protected space, like L4 and
in general pushing a lot into application domains."
Intel and AMD expand
their 4, 6, and 8-core lineups and approach even higher
core counts, using these resources efficiently will be a crucial
operating system responsibility. It will be exciting to see
what kind of improvements that Microsoft can accomplish with
Barrelfish, as these improvements will surely be rolled into
successors to Windows 7.