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Microsoft Ponders Windows Successor 320

Posted by samzenpus
from the child-of-my-child dept.
InfoWorldMike writes "Before Vista is even out of the gates, a Microsoft exec was talking Wednesday about Windows' replacement at a VC conference. Speaking at The Venture Forum conference, Microsoft's Bryan Barnett, a program manager for external research programs in the Microsoft Research group, said multicore architectures are of particular interest when weighing what to put in future operating systems at the company. "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today," Barnett said. Well, with Vista in the pipeline as long as it has been, you must admit it is not surprising Microsoft is taking the long-term view. And it won't be built overnight: There is no timetable for a Windows successor right now. But early work on this effort has not yet been organized, with five or six small projects afoot in various places throughout the company, Barnett said."
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Microsoft Ponders Windows Successor

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  • by MinutiaeMan (681498) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:08PM (#15625748) Homepage
    Shouldn't this article instead be from the "twenty-years-too-late" department?

    • Personally, I think it would really r0x0r if the new OS shipped with an object-relational file system that had metadata, and a SQL-esque query syntax, and automated fall-over network distribution and...

      • That'd be cool. What would they call it, though? Nothing with "Win" in the name if this product is going to be a Windows "successor". Maybe that's it. SucFS. Has a nice ring to it.
      • I seriously think that MS should really take their OS and try to have different OSs (that run the same software) for different markets. Do you really think Joe user at home is going to learn SQL to search for their files? Do you really think that the DB admin want's a dog asking him questions about what files he wants to search for? I think that MS would make a lot of headway in their operating system if they developed 2 or 3 seperate operating systems focusing on Home users, Office users, and Servers.
    • by megaditto (982598) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:00AM (#15625914)
      Was I the only one having the eery deja vu feeling when beta-testing Vista? Feeling like it's 2000, and you are beta-testing Apple's OS X. Fast hardware suddenly feeling unresponsive? Simple apps taking up 100 MBs of RAM? Each window stored uncompressed in VRAM? Crap paging system? Cut corners on POSIX compliance? Connected to a network share with less than 20,000 time-lapse tiffs, and the Vista freezes, crashes to 'classic' shell (complete with NT4-style 'Start' button!), then reboots :(

      I just couldn't stop asking myself: they spent 5 years building THIS?

      Given the availability of user-friendly Linux distros (SuSe, RedHat, Ubuntu), and given that Apple's OS X.5 runs flawlessly on x86, I am drawn to conclusion that MS is fatally late.

      X2 4400+ getting 1.2 'performance' rating, I didn't know whether to cry or to laugh. Maybe I just got sucked in by all that talk about 3D interface, aux.display support during sleep, new printing subsystem, and revolutionary user security framework?
      • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:01AM (#15626056)
        You know, I remember testing "Windows NT 5.0 Beta 2", and the desktop could barely draw itself, there were loads of icons missing, you couldn't run MS Office, the admin tools would bluescreen the box, and it took about 30 seconds to open the start menu. And I was thinking "They spent 4 years building THIS?" And that turned out to be Windows 2000, widely considered to be the least crap version of Windows ever.

        There's the real possiblity that Vista might turn out to be a unusable crap heap, but its way to early to make that call. I'm kinda suprised that they had a public beta with 6 months (plus 3 more once it gets pushed again) to go.
        • And that turned out to be Windows 2000, widely considered to be the least crap version of Windows ever.
           
          Oooo, high praise indeed. No need to get all gushy.
      • by baadger (764884) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @06:10AM (#15626766)
        Driver issues are most likely to blame for your poor Vista experience.

        I have a AMD64 3500, 960MB of RAM (integrated 64MB graphics) and can just about scrape a 'performance rating' of 3. I upgraded from 512MB to 1GB of RAM YESTERDAY and the difference it made to Vista is like comparing apples to goats.

        Out of the box Vista surps up 300-400MB of RAM on a fresh boot (I haven't taken an exact measurement).
        My Gnome/Linux desktop uses about 115-140MB and XP x64 is about 165MB (Gnome starts lower than XP x64 but generally increases with a little use of the UI, I think it loads more stuff into RAM on demand than Windows Explorer). I would hope this huge memory requirement is reduced when Redmond cannabalise Vista Ultimate into it's various flavours but I doubt it. There seems to be alot of processes and services running out of the box in Beta 2, but I haven't had time to see what they are all about.

        I noticed my boot time in Vista is very slow, but the performance control panel applet reports this is due to a bad driver.

        Interestingly the full Aero interface is more responsive than Windows Classic! It's a shame it's so damn ugly...

        My experience with Vista is therefore best summarised as: It's just as responsive as XP but guzzles more RAM, it's ugly and has alot of bugs and driver issues to work out before it goes RTM, personally haven't seen enough yet to turn me back from Linux but I think Vista will be a success.
      • by ElephanTS (624421)
        Was I the only one having the eery deja vu feeling when beta-testing Vista? Feeling like it's 2000, and you are beta-testing Apple's OS X.


        Ha ha! I thought it was just me!

        Now imagine, OSX didn't get primetime ready until 10.3 (released 2004 I think, or was it 2003?), so there's realistically a chance that Vista won't come into its own for another 3-4 years. As you say, they are too late, and I agree, it's possibly fatal.
  • DNF (Score:5, Funny)

    by omeomi (675045) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:09PM (#15625750) Homepage
    Nice! I bet it's going to ship with Duke Nukem Forever Part Deux
  • Vapour? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tepples (727027) <tepples@[ ]il.com ['gma' in gap]> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:09PM (#15625751) Homepage Journal

    The three states of matter are solid, liquid, and this announcement ;-)

    But seriously, does anybody think this announcement was intended to dissuade businesses and government agencies from trying the alternatives to Microsoft Windows that exist now? And will it work?

    • Re:Vapour? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Nitewing98 (308560) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:37AM (#15626315) Homepage
      But seriously, does anybody think this announcement was intended to dissuade businesses and government agencies from trying the alternatives to Microsoft Windows that exist now?

      Yes.

      And will it work?

      And no.

      Barnett's quote of "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today," is meant to obfuscate the fact that there are OS's that handle multiple processors very well (Linux and OS X, not to mention other unix variants).

      Microsoft has a vested interest in not doing PR work for the 'nix community. And they certainly don't want to imply that Vista won't get the most out of the current crop of processors when other OS's will.

      Mark my words folks, we're currently watching the Fall of the Roman Empire. Nero (Ballmer) is fiddling (throwing chairs during temper fits, screaming "Developers!" repeatedly, etc.) while the city of Rome (Redmond) is burning to the ground.

      I guess the capitalists were right, leave the marketplace alone and eventually it will find a center and select a survivor. In the OS wars, my money is on unix (in any flavor, take your pick) as the eventual winner. I'm sure Bill Gates knows this, that's why he's bailing while he can, just as he bequeathed the empire to Ballmer years ago when the DOJ was breathing down MS's neck. Gates is a lot of things: Stupid isn't one of them.

  • by BWJones (18351) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:09PM (#15625752) Homepage Journal
    Yeah, you know what would be *funny*? If Microsoft licensed OS X.......

    No, seriously..... OS X runs on Intel now, and Apple is working hard on compatibility layers for multiple OSs and it is the slickest, most stable, most beautiful mainstream OS out there right now. It would be especially funny as back some years under Gil Amelio, Apple actually looked at licensing Win NT for the new OS when Copeland was in horrible shape. Thank gawd that never happened or Apple would be where SGI is now (or worse).

    Hey, you know that Microsoft has used Apple as their R&D arm for years now, right? Why not just formalize it? :-)

    In all fairness, I am not saying that Microsoft can't do it themselves, I'd just like to see a return to the good 'ol days when Microsoft made good, solid applications and were not trying to be all things to all people. They used to you know...... I am thinking of the early versions of Excel (Multiplan) and Word on the first Macintoshes along with Microsoft MacEnhancer, Chart and Basic.

    Although one has to wonder what is going on when Microsoft's programmer team for Windows is in the several-thousands and Apple's development team for OS X is around 300.

    • Doesn't MS still own a considerable portion of Apple?
    • by Cyner (267154) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:27PM (#15625809) Homepage
      OSX is based largely on BSD. Take the thickest concrete foudation you can find and add a pretty interface. What do you expect?
    • Instead of basing the successor on OS X, maybe MS will come out with Plan X OS
    • by Pink Tinkletini (978889) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:33PM (#15625828) Homepage
      Never happen. To personify the company, Microsoft's ego is too big; you ever notice how it routinely enters markets completely irrelevant to its then-current strategies, apparently only for the sake of proving to itself, once again, that it's capable of domination? Microsoft wants so badly to be the best that it can't stand the sight of another tech company being successful. This seems to stem from some sort of deep-seated insecurity.

      So even if Microsoft were already licensing OS X today, you can bet it would be looking for ways to homebrew a solution of its own. Not to mention the fundamental differences in taste and approach to workplace environment between the target demographic of Windows vs. Mac OS X, but we'll not go there yet...
      • by jcr (53032) <jcr.mac@com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:12AM (#15625946) Journal
        Never happen. To personify the company, Microsoft's ego is too big;

        Apple had a pretty massive ego before Copland cratered, too.

        MS has just been through the biggest development project failure ever in the private sector. Their current management is on the way out before the shareholders lynch them. Think the new guy is going to commit to another six-year train wreck?

        MS has two choices: cut a deal with SJ, or try to turn Solaris into a viable desktop system. The first option would cost more but ship sooner. What they really can't afford, is another Longhorn.

        -jcr

        • What they really can't afford, is another Longhorn

          Whoa, you just blew my mind.

          Microsoft. Longhorn.

          Micro soft
          Long horn

          Wonder how subtle that was...(there was a penis joke earlier)

        • by NutscrapeSucks (446616) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:30AM (#15626151)
          Apple had a pretty massive ego before Copland cratered, too.
          MS has just been through the biggest development project failure ever in the private sector
          MS has two choices: cut a deal with SJ, or try to turn Solaris into a viable desktop system.


          Copland was a technology failure -- the old MacOS just couldn't be "modernized" without breaking applications / using too much memory / etc. There was just no way to add SMP and memory protection to the thing.

          Vista is a management failure. Rather than shorter release cycles with incremental improvments, MS put it on themselves to do it all in one big release. Nobody was asking them to do this -- it was just arrogance on their part. People want better security and search functionality in Windows, they don't want it rewritten in C# and they don't want shoot-the-moon features like WinFS. They don't even necessarily want transparent windows.

          If there was an XP2004 and an XP2006 released, you wouldn't see the bitching. XP's biggest problem at this point is just that it's old and clunky.

          So, different problems, different solutions. Apple had critical technical problems and had to buy a new OS to fix it. Microsoft has a project management problem .. Buying Solaris or OS X is only going to make the management problems worse, not better. They really just need to clean house of whomever is setting these development targets, and it looks like they've already started with the Chief Architect.
      • by Kyeo (577916) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:30AM (#15625985) Homepage
        Please don't anthropomorphize Microsoft. It really hates when people do that.
    • by Penguinoflight (517245) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:38PM (#15625841) Homepage Journal
      Apple got where they are by copying other people as well. Microsoft would be largely naive to license OS X, because the development team for OS X had hardly anything to do, and they didn't have to license anything to do it. What microsoft has been trying to do from day one is to avoid the ideas and basics of Unix. It worked for the first 10 years or so, but it has been failing ever since. Microsoft, for all their faults tries projects that are much harder (and more impractical) than apple. The problem with Vista too much integration with .net and C#, code that is designed for small business oriented projects being used on a huge bloated project. Microsoft may see their failure in trying to use their own code too much, but they will not likely step so low as to license a competitors OS.
      • The problem with Vista too much integration with .net and C#, code that is designed for small business oriented projects being used on a huge bloated project.

        Got a cite for that?

        All the reports I've seen are that Vista relies almost entirely on native code. What little managed code there was has actually been REMOVED. Vista -supports- .net, but vista isn't integrated with it at all; it barely uses it. If you could disable it, Vista probably wouldn't even miss it.
      • by Darth (29071) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:14AM (#15626099) Homepage
        What microsoft has been trying to do from day one is to avoid the ideas and basics of Unix.

        what day was it when they bought zenix and tried to market their own unix based os?
        was day one the day they sold that to sco and agreed to a contract that said they would never create a unixlike operating system that would compete with sco unix?

    • by anaesthetica (596507) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:40PM (#15625848) Homepage Journal
      Mr. Dvorak, please, it's late. Go back to your column and leave these poor /.ers in peace.
    • by dilvish_the_damned (167205) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:47PM (#15625875) Journal
      In all fairness, I am not saying that Microsoft can't do it themselves, I'd just like to see a return to the good 'ol days when Microsoft made good, solid applications and were not trying to be all things to all people.

      Ya, I still reminisce about wire-frame FlightSim as well. Ya, playing that game on the AppleII, MicroSoft was the bomb.
      • Ya, I still reminisce about wire-frame FlightSim as well. Ya, playing that game on the AppleII, MicroSoft was the bomb.

        More like subLOGIC or Bruce Artwick was the bomb. As I recall, Flight Simulator was originally created by Bruce Artwick nee subLOGIC. The version of Flight Sim I played on my Apple ][ was a subLOGIC product and I believe Microsoft purchased it from subLOGIC for the same reason they bought Bungie. They wanted Flight Sim to show off the new graphics capabilities of the new IBM PCs much lik
    • Windows successor? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:51PM (#15625887) Homepage
      um... how 'bout Linux. Worked for me at least.
    • Comparison between Vista and OSX are pretty subjective. Here are some counters: 1. 64-bit support in OS X is still an after thought. While it is Vista's primary target. 2. The new audio and video driver system in Vista ahead of any other OS. 3. .Net platform is now driven into the heart of the OS. If you have written code in a "managed" environment, you already know why this is better. Of course Java exists, but the depth of the integration with the OS varies. You will never write Photoshop in Java, while
    • I love these pointless debates. The average Windows/Mac customer couldn't tell the difference between Cocoa running on the NT kernel and Win32 running on the Apple XNU kernel. The implementation of the underlying OS has very little to do with the desirability of either product. And in reality, Apple is a lot more likely to dump Mach than MS is to dump NT.

      Although one has to wonder what is going on when Microsoft's programmer team for Windows is in the several-thousands and Apple's development team for OS X
    • Although one has to wonder what is going on when Microsoft's programmer team for Windows is in the several-thousands and Apple's development team for OS X is around 300.

      It's really no mystery, you're comparing the needs of a tiny market versus a vast one.

      After the initial 4 year MacOS X development span, it's been incrementally revved to address the needs of a niche user market. Most of these users aren't businesses with extensive numbers of Macs. If they have Macs, they're integrated into other sy
    • by BrynM (217883) * on Thursday June 29, 2006 @01:38AM (#15626175) Homepage Journal
      Although one has to wonder what is going on when Microsoft's programmer team for Windows is in the several-thousands and Apple's development team for OS X is around 300.

      I think you nailed a big part of Microsoft's problem there. It's software written by a creative bureaucracy. IBM is like that, except their aim is functionality and reliability not the nebulous "user experience". The former is a collection of software "artists" and the latter is a more scientific and testable approach. When a few artists collaborate, the result can be something dramatic (OS X), but if you have too many you generate little visionary fiefdoms where their goal is a smaller portion of the whole. Thus, feature FOO may be quite clever in it's methods and interface, but breaks completely when feature BAR (built by another fiefdom) is enabled. You also get wars between the fiefdoms that change the direction of the end product (interface versus security). Worse still, MS has grown to behemoth proportions in such a way that even the fiefdoms themselves are bloated and approaching the same state as the whole.

      MS can't revitalize itself (or windows for that matter) without downsizing, IMHO. They won't do it though. They are probably afraid that it will be perceived as weakness by the public and the stock market. ...Or they just won't drop the "we're the biggest and therefore the best" chip from their shoulder no matter how wrong it may be.
  • by jimmyhat3939 (931746) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:12PM (#15625763) Homepage
    What I think is odd about this is that the NT architecture has never really even been fully utilized, at least on the consumer side of Windows. In a lot of respects, NT is a pretty clever system, including highly individualizable security for files, processes, etc. It also supports multiprocessing well, contrary to the implication of the article. Point being, I'm not so sure the solution for Microsoft is to throw out NT and move on to something else (Singularity, or whatever it may be). I would suggest they instead look at the features already in place with NT and look at ways to actually enable and present them in a reasonable way in their consumer OSes. I guess this is the plan in Vista, but we'll see. The other thing I'd like to see Microsoft do is separate out the kernel-level framework (NT system, drivers, etc) from the UI framework, so that it would then be possible to treat those two elements separately, in the same way that Linux has the kernel and X/Window Manager stuff totally separated out. But, I guess that would make it harder for them to make money, so it's unlikely.
    • by Osty (16825) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:32PM (#15625825)

      What I think is odd about this is that the NT architecture has never really even been fully utilized, at least on the consumer side of Windows. In a lot of respects, NT is a pretty clever system, including highly individualizable security for files, processes, etc. It also supports multiprocessing well, contrary to the implication of the article. Point being, I'm not so sure the solution for Microsoft is to throw out NT and move on to something else (Singularity, or whatever it may be). I would suggest they instead look at the features already in place with NT and look at ways to actually enable and present them in a reasonable way in their consumer OSes.

      I think the key point to keep in mind here is not that Microsoft is looking for a successor to Windows, but that these statements came from "a program manager for external research programs in the Microsoft Research group". This is what Mirosoft Research does. They come up with blue-sky ideas like replacing Windows entirely, and then the product groups integrate those ideas into real, shippable products. As an example, the "Drivatar" [microsoft.com] AI used by Forza Motorsport [forzamotorsport.net] came directly out of MSR. The researchers had grand plans for the technology (get real motorsport "legends" to generate drivatars based on their driving style, learn from the player as he's playing, etc), while the implementation in Forza was more practical (the main AI was based on pre-release training and didn't learn from watching the player, there were no "professional" drivatars, the player had to actively train his drivatar in specific sessions rather than having it learn while he plays, etc). That's not a bad thing, and it's still a damn sight better than most other racing game AI out there (Gran Turismo, I'm looking at you. Damn retarded bumper car AI ...). Researchers are good at coming up with crazy ideas and sample implementations that don't take into account the rest of the system (back to Forza, there's only so much processing available in an Xbox to handle all of the physics and AI, which means that real-time drivatar training wouldn't be feasible). If you know what to look for, you can see many Microsoft Research contributions in shipping products (speech, grammar checking, natural language processing, etc in Office; anti-phishing in the MSN/Windows Live Toolbar and IE7; pretty much the entire backend for MSN/Windows Live Search; and so on), but it's only bits and pieces. Go poke around [microsoft.com], look at the many areas of research going on at MSR. Take a look at their sample code. And then remember that when you see a similar but less-grandiose feature 5-10 years from now in a real, shipping product.

      Note: I'm neither a Microsoft researcher nor a Forza developer, so all of the information above is what anyone can deduce from the sources I cited.

      The other thing I'd like to see Microsoft do is separate out the kernel-level framework (NT system, drivers, etc) from the UI framework, so that it would then be possible to treat those two elements separately, in the same way that Linux has the kernel and X/Window Manager stuff totally separated out.

      Microsoft has already done this to a fair extent with Terminal Server. The main thing to keep in mind is that the main bits in kernel space really are drivers, not the UI framework (and even that's changing with Vista). Terminal Server is very much Microsoft's X. Do you remember the "Fast User Switching" feature in Windows XP? Yeah, that's Terminal Server, and what it really means is that every time you use the Windows UI (in XP and 2K3) you're actually interfacing through a local Terminal Server session (just like X!). Of course, TS will have its little differences when running over a network, like not supporting video overlays or 3D acceleration, but in most case

    • It also supports multiprocessing well, contrary to the implication of the article.
      Multiprocessing != multicore. The article didn't say anything about multiprocessing.
    • Do not forget that Windows NT is based on VMS. VMS lost long long ago from Unix, and for a reason. In the 70s and eary eighties, Digital shipped their hardware with VMS. Even though the operating system came with the hardware, many users replaced it with Unix because they liked it better.

      I have been unfortunate enough to have to work with VMS (system programming) myself, and I can tell you that it was a nightmare. Yes it was stable (Unix also) and still has a good reputation for that. But VMS, and Windows N
  • More of the same... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by freemywrld (821105) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:18PM (#15625783) Homepage
    "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today," Barnett said.

    Maybe MS should pay attention to the fact that they have never taken full advantage of any processor's power. Most products they have put out these days just hog system resources, forcing systems to have more powerful processors, more RAM, etc. without ever really harnessing their power. The increase in power is just to make it seem like the bloat-ware is running better than it actually is.
    • by spike1 (675478)
      Indeed.

      People haven't made full use of a computer's abilities since the 8 bits.
      (in those days, the programmers would often use every trick in the book to squeeze every last ounce of capability from a machine)

      And when will microsoft realise that "Taking full advantage of a processor's power" is *NOT* something you want an operating system to DO?
      An OS is supposed to sit unobtrusively in the background handling context switches, I/O and memory management. It's not supposed to use massive chunks of processor po
  • Processing Power? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:19PM (#15625786)
    "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today," Barnett said.

    Operating systems are suppose to use all our processing power?
    • That seems to be the idea with MS Vista minimum requirements - to the point slick features are turned off with the minimum configuration. That's why I will not buy Vista for many many years if ever. Hell, I've still never bought XP, and machines that came with it were reverted to Win2K, because XP's "features" are mostly distractions to me.

      That being said, if there was some kind of quantum move in the human interface -- if they implemented Vernor Vinge's headbands or Minority Report 3D windows, hell yeah I'
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:21PM (#15625790)
    I think Microsoft already knows what to do as a successor to Windows...

    Just wait for Google to show us what a Google OS would look like... then do that.
  • by Phroggy (441) * <slashdot3NO@SPAMphroggy.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:22PM (#15625794) Homepage
    I actually find this really interesting. Not that Microsoft is talking about a new OS after Vista, but that they're talking about it being a successor to Windows, not a new version of Windows.

    Microsoft has been trying to dig themselves out of the hole that they dug themselves into for several years now, and they can't do it (i.e. fix Windows) without breaking backwards compatibility with old applications, and as long as they keep releasing new versions of Windows, they have to maintain that backwards compatibility, or word will spread quickly and people won't buy it. Besides, if you have to buy new applications when you buy your new PC with the new OS, why not buy the Mac version of those apps instead, and switch?

    But then Microsoft bought VirtualPC, and a solution began to unfold. If they release a new OS, and don't call it Windows, then they don't have to maintain backwards compatibility with existing Win32 applications in the OS. They'll port the .Net runtime whatchamajigger, so new .Net apps will run seamlessly on either Windows XP, Windows Vista, or the new OS. Then they'll hack VirtualPC to make a stripped-down XP or Vista run transparently in the background, and run old applications inside of that (and new hardware will be fast enough that performance won't be a problem). It's basically the same idea that Apple did five years ago with Classic, the Mac OS 9 emulator that runs on Mac OS X. Chances are, just like Apple modified the Mac OS Toolbox, named it Carbon, implemented Carbon in the new OS and added the CarbonLib library to the old OS so Carbon apps could (sort of, in theory) run on both platforms with no modifications (it didn't actually work that well, but it did make it possible to port existing apps without rewriting the whole thing), Microsoft will probably come up with a derivative of Win32 that apps can be ported to that will run on the new OS. Meanwhile, they'll move as much as they can over to .Net.

    And hey, if they move what they can to .Net and emulate Windows, then they'll have the flexibility to move to a different processor architecture if they want, without the compatibility problems that Apple is going through with that.

    Flame on!
    • I wonder if they really will drop the Windows name? That's there marketing tag. Kind of like dropping "Office." I'm not sure what they could call it. But then again maybe people will just go with it becaust it came from Microsoft.
    • by Osty (16825) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:46PM (#15625872)

      And hey, if they move what they can to .Net and emulate Windows, then they'll have the flexibility to move to a different processor architecture if they want, without the compatibility problems that Apple is going through with that.

      Speaking of Windows, different multi-core processor architectures, Virtual PC, and .NET, have you looked at Xbox 360 lately?

      • It uses a triple-core PowerPC derivative processor
      • It's powered by a PPC-ported version of the Xbox operating system, which itself was a customized version of Windows 2000/XP
      • It runs many Xbox games via emulation at "native" (to the original Xbox's 733MHz/64MB architecture) speed. While I assume that this is purpose-built emulation and not an Xbox 360 port of Virtual PC/Virtual Server, it's not hard to believe that the virtualization and emulation domain knowledge that came with the purchase of Connectix made this possible
      • It's one of the core components of XNA [microsoft.com], which includes support for Managed DirectX (and thus, a port of .NET to Xbox 360)

      As much as I love my Xbox 360, I have no illusions of it taking over all (any!) of my general-purpose computing (nor do I expect or want the PS3 to do so, Kutaragi!). However, when you look at the bullet points it's pretty easy to come to the conclusion that Xbox 360 may just be an incubation project for future hardware architectures and operating systems.

    • As much as it would be great for them to release a totally new OS, and as much as it would make sense for them not to call it "Windows"... it would flop, just because it's not "Windows".

      People have a love-hate relationship with Windows. Just like feuding couples won't easily split-up if they have kids, the market will stick with Windows.
      • People have a love-hate relationship with Windows. Just like feuding couples won't easily split-up if they have kids, the market will stick with Windows.

        This is the current situation. However, Microsoft hasn't spent $billions marketing a new OS from the makers of Windows, that's better than Windows, runs old Windows apps, runs cool new apps that don't run on Windows, and is ready for the future.
  • Don't exist? (Score:3, Informative)

    by colmore (56499) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:22PM (#15625797) Journal
    "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today,"

    ahem... a*hem* [bell-labs.com]
  • They've been pondering Linux for a long time now.
  • good grief (Score:5, Insightful)

    by aztektum (170569) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:25PM (#15625805)
    Part of me feels like that even at this early stage the idea at MS is to add even more whiz bang bloat to Windows Next by "taking advantage of dual-core chips." Let the applications take advantage of them and the OS be a translator.
    • Re:good grief (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Bob9113 (14996) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:13AM (#15625950) Homepage
      Completely agreed. MS long ago lost sight of the fact that the OS is an Operating System, not an application. The OS should be the most minimal layer necessary to provide abstract access to the hardware. If it's a desktop system, that may reasonably include a nice light windowing system, gui toolkit, and window manager. All the rest of the cycles should go to the applications. Linux + X + Xfce4 + Xfwm is a very nice example of that idea. Toss in Alsa for sound and a printing system and you're good to go. Until we have practical, real 3D, monitors, there's no need for anything more from the OS.

      But that does present a serious problem for MS: It costs arbitrarily close to nothing to build all that when you spread the cost over a few hundred million people. From an economic standpoint, there is no reason to have commercial operating systems any more. The only thing that has them on life support is artificial barriers to entry, and the market hates those, so they're not going to last.

      The same is true of any common software. It has already happened to web browsers, email clients, IM, and many others. It is happening to office software now. The money is in small-market, big value applications like AutoCAD, custom enterprise software, and software that enables particular business models (eBay, PayPal, Facebook). Proprietary commodity software is the walking dead.
  • by mikesd81 (518581) <mikesd1@veri z o n .net> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:27PM (#15625808) Homepage
    Bleh I'm gonna get modded down for this but oh well. If they want to do long term work, work on the stability and security of an operating system. Let's face it. Microsoft is here. Linux coming to a desktop may happen but as of now it's in pre-natal care. Microsoft does need to take some hints from *nix. Be secure. Be quick. Be able to be to customized. They need to work with the community (by that I mean other software companies like gaming companies) and make strict guidelines how it should be written to work with Windows correctly. But they also need to take input. Software companies well say, "well hey we need to do this because..." and instead of MS saying "nope" they should say "well we built the OS and know it so this won't work becasue.....but if you do this...". I started my experience using MS, I'm a linux user looking for a linux job, but at least in linux developer comminicate and things are implimated correctly. Windows is easy to use, windows is easy to fuck up, windows is hard to repair. Usually the best repair is a re-install. This need not be. Eye candy is great, but we need stability and security.
  • Singularity (Score:5, Funny)

    by ozmanjusri (601766) <(moc.liamtoh) (ta) (bob_eissua)> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:28PM (#15625813) Journal
    Microsoft should release the source for their Singularity OS http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/ [microsoft.com] under one of their shared source initiatives for study purposes.

    Then maybe a clever student, frustrated because the license won't allow him or her to modify it, will re-impliment a new OS out of Singularity. If they allow a lot of other people to contribute, it could get big really fast...

  • Is it possible? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by abscissa (136568) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:29PM (#15625817)
    The next generation of windows, I think, will erase some of our antiquated notions about what an operating system "must" have (a boot sequence, a file system, etc.) To me, and I'm sure many other slashdotters who can remember MS-DOS, Windows XP seems like a very souped-up version of MS DOS. OS X (while it has a boot sequence, file system, etc.) just some how does not seem like MS-DOS. Every iteration of Windows so far seems to pile on more and more disguises for an elaborately dressed MS DOS. This pattern needs to stop.
    • Re:Is it possible? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by EXMSFT (935404)
      Not exactly sure how you arrive at XP as "MS-DOS"-like. Your analogy holds through Millennium (ME). But XP hath no gory, icky DOS underbelly. Ironically, Mac OS X (or Linux with your favorite WM) more closely aligns to the classic DOS "tacked on GUI" model. The Mac just hides it better than anyone else. The average user doesn't need to see the crap that flies by when Linux (or even XP before the kernel) loads. Windows (and Linux) could improve quite a bit by smoothing the rough edges between the software an
      • Re:Is it possible? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by abscissa (136568) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:52PM (#15625888)
        Thanks for your excellent response. Valid or not, here's why, to me, XP feels like DOS:

        1. There are files everywhere in a root drive called C:\.
        2. When my computer boots I see all these grey characters, bios, IDE info, etc. etc.
        3. Some applications, when installed, seem to be "everywhere"... they aren't just single little entities.
        4. There are thousands upon thousands of files, where you don't know what they do.

        Of course, Windows has a lot of plusses -- I can't remember any time Windows XP told me I didn't have enough conventional memory. And these problems are not unique to Windows, either.

        But I think my original point is that we would have to start seeing durastic changes in the way the computer works for the "next gen" operating system. Vista, IMHO, does not cut it.... in fact, it is (at least from what I have seen in the beta) the worst OS to be released since Windows 98.
        • Re:Is it possible? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by EXMSFT (935404)
          Likewise. Nice to have a grown up discussion on ./ for once. :-)

          1. There are files everywhere in a root drive called C:\.

          Windows has tried forever to make the drive structure opaque (or at least translucent) to the user... Witness the obnoxious "are you sure" dialogs when you go into C:, C:\Windows\ or C:\Windows\System32... pathetic at best, obnoxious at worst. But short of revamping the entire drive structure to make "the bad bits invisible" it'll be awhile before Windows makes it look as seamless a
  • by Arivia (783328) <arivia@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:38PM (#15625840) Journal
    Does anyone else see a future code merge revealing that the protoypes work off horribly incompatible file systems?
  • by jkrise (535370) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:43PM (#15625860) Journal
    1. Blinds.
    2. Gates.
    3. Sunscreens.
    4. Smokescreens.
    5. Chairs.... or rather, Chairs! Chairs! Chairs!!!
  • I vote Linux! If not that then any posix system is ok......thanks!
  • by jkrise (535370) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:08AM (#15625934) Journal
    Before Vista is even out of the gates, a Microsoft exec was talking Wednesday about Windows' replacement at a VC conference.
    Gates looked at Vista, and left, holding his nose! Before we let this beast loose on gullible folks, we want to pacify them, saying we're working on a better alternative...

    Speaking at The Venture Forum conference, Microsoft's Bryan Barnett, a program manager for external research programs in the Microsoft Research group, said multicore architectures are of particular interest when weighing what to put in future operating systems at the company. "Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today,"
    Our policy has always been "Whatever Intel giveth (in speed), Microsoft taketh away!" .. this dual core thing has got us stumped... we're figuring out how to slow things down with dual core.

    Barnett said. Well, with Vista in the pipeline as long as it has been, you must admit it is not surprising Microsoft is taking the long-term view.
    Well... we've taken a long while to build some junk, we've thrown out all useful stuff we promised.. don't worry, we'll keep working harder and longer in similar fashion.

    And it won't be built overnight: There is no timetable for a Windows successor right now.
    WE WON'T MAKE THE MISTAKE OF ANNOUNCING TIME TABLES AGAIN... NEVER, EVER!!! The successor to Windows could come in the next centruy... we won't be there, we won't care, but there's nothing wrong living in hope... We'll announce this non-event, non-timetabled non-initiative in Slashdot though!

    But early work on this effort has not yet been organized
    We are proud to declare that we have NOT YET started this NON-INITIATIVE

    With five or six small projects afoot in various places throughout the company, Barnett said.
    Some five or six groups of disgruntled employees have given up on Vista.... and now, they're talking about joining Google to Build The Successor To Windows...

    Actually, we should've posted this in Ask Slashdot... but we aren't part of the OSDL, and we have our pride.. so we announce it as News for Nerds... Thanks for your suggestions!
    • .. this dual core thing has got us stumped... we're figuring out how to slow things down with dual core.
      Hey, if you had tested Vista, you would know that they've already figured this one out...
  • A successor (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by dacarr (562277)
    There already is a successor. You know that Linux [linux.org] thing that everybody's been talking about? I hear that's a pretty good operating system.
    • Re:A successor (Score:2, Insightful)

      by t1n0m3n (966914)
      blah, blah, blah

      Games

      When games I buy at the store can be popped into my Linux system and installed with no fuss... Linux will have arrived. I want to install a linux os in a few minutes, run an OS updater, install several random top shelf games, and have them all run flawlessly (no matter what type of hardware I have). Until that happens linux will ALWAYS be a novelty OS.
      Video games drive what OS is used for a majority of users. That is the way it has always been, and the way it will always be.

      I run Wi
  • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:13AM (#15625949)
    Taking full advantage of the processing power that those multicore architectures potentially make available requires operating systems and development tools that don't exist largely today

    Marketing is one thing, lying is another. Oh, wait, this is MS.

    I so hate them when they speak about SW and OSes like there would exist nothing nowhere besides Windows. So, no wonder I don't ever like what they say.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    IBM had to totally re-invent itself. It had been the major player in the computer industry and was in danger of fading away to nothing.

    Microsoft is, or will be soon, in the same boat. There are fewer and fewer reasons that one needs Microsoft. FOSS is becoming more and more viable. At some point ATI and NVIDIA will have to start playing nice with the open source community. Microsoft will be faced with the choice of evolving or fading away into obscurity. Usually companies fade away when thwacked upside
  • by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:41AM (#15626012) Homepage Journal

    In 1983, Apple's latest and greatest was the Apple IIe. Although Lisa/Lisa II tanked, Apple did OK with a new machine it rolled out in 1984.

    As numerous books and articles have detailed, the Macintosh development unit was given preferential treatment, many resources, and an impossible mandate. The result was a computer that radically altered the personal computer industry. The hardware was new, the OS was new, the applications were new - everything about it was new. Nothing like the Mac had been seen in the computer market.

    Microsoft already has competitors, in the form of Apple, Linux, Google, and web app vendors who want to kill the desktop altogether. One more competitor, loaded with cash, unencumbered by a requirement to maintain backward compatibility with Windows, and given a well-articulated mission might be able to come up with something radically new and better than anything currently available.

    If MS doesn't recognize that their golden goose is fast becoming a lead albatross, they're going to continue to lose their ability to shape the market. Getting by on marketing and control of PC OEMs isn't going to cut it any more. They need to put some of that massive stockpile of money into something truly bold. The question is, are they organizationally equipped to do so? Is it in their DNA, or have they become too atrophied?

  • by l3v1 (787564) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:49AM (#15626028)
    There is no timetable for a Windows successor right now.

    :D :D :D

    This is the best joke I've heard in a long while :))

    They kept pushing and postponing Vista's dates and continuously dropping features for how long now ? Right. Now what can you read above: no timetable for the one following Vista. Ok.

    I can of course understand that for a company it is very important to show that they have long term plans. And they need to tell that convincingly. Right now, I'm not convinced about neither.

  • by Myria (562655) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @12:55AM (#15626040)
    The next Microsoft OS is quite likely to be based entirely on interpreted/dynamically compiled languages, obviously the CLR. The actions over the last 2 or so years seem to indicate that Microsoft wishes to deprecate native code. They would probably run existing x86 Windows programs in a sandbox so that untrusted code (aka all native code) cannot damage the system. The OS would deny even the computer owner the right to run native code with any authority unless it's signed by Microsoft. We can already see this coming with Vista: unsigned code cannot run in the kernel at all in x64, and in all versions unsigned code cannot request that dialog box to ask the user permission for admin access. (This last one was never announced by Microsoft and was slipped into a build. Developers filed it as a bug; Microsoft declared "as design" with no comment whatsoever.)

    It works great for DRM, because sandboxed code cannot manipulate other code. If implemented correctly, something that Microsoft has shown to be possible with the 360 (though with native code), it would be unbreakable other than at the hardware level. Microsoft would make it so that only Microsoft-signed programs are allowed to run natively, whereas .NET programs could run unsigned. (They'd probably require signing to do anything interesting like write files to disk.)

    This is terrible and I hope Microsoft meets a lot of resistance.

    Melissa
  • Micorsoft singularity http://research.microsoft.com/os/singularity/ [microsoft.com] has been going on for a while. Has some interesting things about it that make it more multicore friendly, although completely infriendly in the current environment. For example it doesn't allow DLLs, but rather your libraries load up as seperate processes, and use pipes to communicate with each other.

    It also has the goal of being a fully managed operating system, so it should be possible to host it on a variety of devices.

    When it comes

  • Vista (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LFTr (984547)
    What else were they promising recently that is never going to be delivered? Must keep hyping something.
  • Vista 2, aka XP3 ? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tom (822) on Thursday June 29, 2006 @02:17AM (#15626260) Homepage Journal
    Didn't Vista start out pretty much the same way? "Total rewrite from the ground up", everything shiny and new, new paradigms for file system handling and coffee making?

    Look what we ended up with.

    History repeats itself, repeats itself, itself...

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