However, one thing for Microsoft has always stayed constant -- the Windows
brand name. Since November of 1985, with the release of Windows 1.0, Microsoft
has never strayed far from the brand name that made it in the OS business. But
now as it sees the need to evolve yet again. Internal company documents have
revealed it is doing the unthinkable -- it is designing
a non-Windows branded OS.
Such ideas at Microsoft's OS division might be branded as heresy by some, but
others laud the move. As Microsoft feels that no existing technology is
sufficient for the OS's unique challenges, the new OS will be an entirely new
design, built from the ground up. The system is codenamed Midori and it will be released sometime post-2010.
The new OS will focus on a rapidly growing field of computing -- cloud
computing -- or the movement to shift hardware and software, particularly
storage, out of home PCs and into computing clusters -- is gaining significant
momentum. Thanks to widespread high speed internet, an internet-connected box
communicating remotely with hardware can perform visually approximately as well
as a box with dedicated hardware. Further, by adopting a server-style hardware
system for the cloud computing resources, costs will drop, the driving
motivation behind the push
to adopt cloud computing.
The internal documents reveal Microsoft to be focusing on this
internet-centered aspect, emphasizing connectivity. The new OS is built on
Microsoft Research's Singularity experimental OS, an entirely new OS codebase
created but not yet publicly released. Midori
will run on native hardware (x86, x64 and ARM), via hosting with Windows
Hyper-V hypervisor, or even hosted within a Windows process of future operating
Early reports indicate that Eric Rudder, senior vice president for technical
strategy at Microsoft and an alumnus of Bill Gates' technical staff, is in
charge of the new OS's development. Rob Helm, director of research at
Directions on Microsoft confirmed that the rumors are likely true stating,
"That sounds possible—I’ve heard rumors to the effect that he [Rudder] had
an OS project in place."
Microsoft's plans detail efforts to make Windows and Midori applications coexist and work together nicely, although some
efforts are also being made purely to migrate applications to Midori. Midori will be built upon an asynchronous-only architecture that is
built for task concurrency and parallel use of local and distributed resources.
This will help it manage various hardware and software resources over the net.
It will also feature a distributed component-based and data-driven application
model, and dynamic management of power and other resources.
The new efforts focus on allowing applications to run in a variety of
environments from P2P networks to traditional servers to cloud computing
clusters. Microsoft will use high level abstraction of the hardware resources
to help programs work together; a scheme Microsoft internally calls
Asynchronous Promise Architecture. In order to allow for cloud-hosted
applications, Microsoft is focusing on three development branches -- execution
techniques, a platform stack and a programming model that can tolerate
cancellation, intermittent connectivity and latency. The OS features a new
stack and techniques, which will allow for extreme multi-threading, with more
threads than ever before running simultaneously.
The new efforts by Microsoft attempt to take the very complex program of cloud
computing resource management and multitasking and break them down into a
simple interface that will be useable by programmers. Forrester Research senior
analyst Jeffrey Hammond says, "Mere mortal developers need a programming
model/application model that lets them distribute processing to massively
parallel devices without having to become experts. Even with the quad-core
Intel chips today, you have to have specialist teams to take full advantage of
Among other things, Microsoft will migrate APIs, applications, and developers
to a constrained model of state management. It is also using metadata heavily
and looks to do away with dynamic loading. The new OS will be supported by .NET
for programming projects. Much work will be done in incorporate easy to use
abstraction and multitasking into the .NET framework.
The new OS will be slimmer with two kernels: a micro-kernel for low level and a
second kernel for high level. It will also be more secure, with the components
isolated and their communication channels more secure.
Ultimately, the programming and technical details of the new OS will likely
matter little to the home user. What will matter is Microsoft is hoping to
provide them with a more secure, cheaper
OS+netbox option, which could possibly fall in the $250-$350 range. To add
a bit of final perspective on Microsoft's groundbreaking new efforts its worth
considering -- the last time Microsoft wrote an entirely new OS on this
magnitude, there was no internet as we know it today. The changes that have
come since are a key reason why Microsoft's decision to start from scratch may
prove a savvy one.
quote: Perhaps with this project though they will get some new ideas for improving Windows and making it thinner and lighter.
quote: You do not need a cluster of PCs to launch a web browser, download music, play a game, or even edit a home movie.
quote: Imagine if broadband connections were so fast that you could run a graphically intensive online game off a remote server and stream just the I/O -- so you wouldn't need a powerful graphics card
quote: How would you remove the latency inherent in a setup like that?
quote: But without a large increase in bandwidth there would be a massive delay while all the information was sent and assembled. I can't see ISP's going along with this when they are already crying that they can't handle the demands currently by users.
quote: Even so, 55ms would be maddening, It may not seem like much, but if you had to deal with it, it wouldn't take long for you to notice it, and not long after that you wouldn't want to deal with it.
quote: Between input lag, mouse acceleration, and LCD ghosting (plus input lag in some) a lot of great games have been ruined for me. While my new monitor is great and has no real input lag and ghosting is minimal. Id much rather have my old CRT for games.
quote: Now imagine that all your software/hardware management is handled by a third party.
quote: You will never have to call up your computer techie friend to come fix your computer anymore.
quote: Need more hard drive space, no problem, put in a request (maybe for a small fee) and now you have another terabyte of space and all you had to do was click a few buttons on a requst form.
quote: Game companies would most likely host their own software instead of having you install it. Want to run World of Warcraft, no problem. Sign up and you are immediately ready to go. No install, no dealing with incompatible hardware, no dealing with corruption on your side, etc....
quote: This is a very intresting step forward
quote: True. Now you just need to call the regular tech support line and sit in queue. Fun times that.
quote: Odds are high, if one person has the problem, more ppl will have the problem.
quote: Also guess what? If you had a problem with your home computer, you'd be sitting in a tech support line anyways. At least the average home user would.
quote: While the ppl who actually know a thing or two about computers would never move to cloud computing. The problem is you aren't viewing this from a stupid computer user's pov.
quote: Incorrect. The odds are actually quite low. This isn't going to be an office based cloud where you can't make changes to the environment. Big money says they would be able to and that makes each user profile unique after about 30 seconds.
quote: Ah, but now you have gone from having many support centers with different companies to having just one. Instead of calling ASUS because your having a problem, you now call Google just like everyone else. People who knew a techie no longer can use the card, people who knew a little bit to figure out who to call depending on the problem are now forced to also use the same as everyone else.
quote: I'm viewing it exactly from a stupid computer user POV. High monthly fees, this will be like having another "service" in the home. Lousy service quality (A staple of consumer services these days). Everyone has to fit through the square hole, regardless of your dimensions. Data accessible by that company, their partners, and the government, at all times. Slow speeds because bandwidth isnt yet in place to handle this sort of thing.
quote: So much for a "good computing experience". You save a few dollars on the purchase price of the machine, but in a year you just paid it back twofold in fees and subscriptions. Not to mention how much you paid in time. Time = Money.
quote: I don't see the user as having a dummy terminal. It'd actually be a PC at their desk, with a very minor amount of processing power and storage. Something akin to a small itx box. Where your profile can be saved locally.
quote: If you buy from Dell/HP/Gateway/etc, you're stuck with one support company anyways. What the majority of your average home user would have.
quote: You only have the option of different companies if you happen to build your own computer. As I mentioned, I don't see this being for a techie.
quote: As long as the company can give the user something worthwhile, ppl will pay for it. Cable TV. Majority of it is old shows that you get to watch over and over again. The good shows are aired freely and paid with through ads. Yet a lot of Americans still will pay for cable tv, think they'll get something worthwhile.
quote: How many millions of Americans already keep their information online? Using some type of google, yahoo, msn, etc service for free. Just about everything they felt like keeping is put on the net anyways through myspace, blogs, etc.
quote: It's the American way. I'm sure it's like 95% of Americans are indebt. It's just a guess, but probably close.
quote: Cloud computing will reduce the bandwidth needed to people's homes
quote: will allow those who don't have the money to buy computers and internet services to just get a cloud computing terminal setup in their house with internet access for about the same price we are paying for DSL.
quote: For security, well both Citrix and Terminal Services have encryption built in. This will be the same with the Cloud computing.
quote: With the likelyhood of bandwidth capped internet connections becoming reality in the next 5-10 years, cloud-computing would never survive in the consumer world.
quote: spend your time making optical disk reading/writting, media center and other "old" technologies "just work" rather than worrying about new menu structures
quote: I always knew microsoft went in the the console business not for the money. But for the amount of control they can have over what you do with that console.
quote: The new OS is built on Microsoft Research's Singularity experimental OS, an entirely new OS codebase created but not yet publicly released.