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Vista the Last of Its Kind 337

Posted by Zonk
from the vanishing-breed dept.
An anonymous reader wrote to mention a TechWorld story about Windows Vista. According to the Gartner Group, Windows Vista is likely to be the last of its kind. "The problem is that the operating system's increasing complexity is making it ever more difficult for enterprises to implement migrations, and impossible for Microsoft to release regular updates. This, in turn, stands in the way of Microsoft's efforts to push companies to subscription licensing. The answer, according to Gartner, is virtualization, which is built into newer chips from Intel and AMD, and has become mainstream for x86 servers through the efforts of VMware." Speaking of Vista, C|Net reports that a new release candidate is on the way. The average tester should expect it by the end of September.
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Vista the Last of Its Kind

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  • by Whiney Mac Fanboy (963289) * <whineymacfanboy@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:22AM (#15984441) Homepage Journal
    There'll never be another ridiculously late, overhyped, massively over budget, features touted then dropped software project again? ;-p
    • by Lord Prox (521892) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:44AM (#15984496) Homepage
      I am rather thankful about all the dropped "features" as they tend not to be so good until v3.0 and tend to be less than standard implementations (Internet Explorer) of technology that simply displaces 3rd party functional products.

      As for being late I am hoping that they are taking he time to debug them more than previous products that were shipped to schedule with major problems. Anyhow the longer they take the longer my win2000 will remain viable.



      Drop a curse on Microsoft. [i-curse.com]
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dun Malg (230075)
        I am rather thankful about all the dropped "features" as they tend not to be so good until v3.0 and tend to be less than standard implementations (Internet Explorer) of technology that simply displaces 3rd party functional products.
        Where's the 3rd party product that implements a database-like file system with tagging rather than hierarchy-style directories then? Honestly, the fancy WinFS functionality was the only thing Vista had going for it, feature wise.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by 1u3hr (530656)
          Where's the 3rd party product that implements a database-like file system with tagging

          BFs (BeOS).

  • And Linux ? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:25AM (#15984446)
    I'll let you in on a little secret - Linux (OSS in general) is the poor mans porn downloading system, and porn has driven its development. No one prints porn, so forget printer drivers. A few people want to upload pictures of themselves naked, so there are a few camera drivers. Scanners, forget it. USAB keys ? Handy for trading PORN. I don't know how to do it, but if some sort of survey could be done I think you would find that 90% of all Linux systems are used for porn excusively. The other 10% are scientists Latexing their papers, and downloading porn. And don't forget, these are the biggest cheapskates in the world. They don't want to pay for porn or software.
    • Re:And Linux ? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by joel8x (324102) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:34AM (#15984463) Homepage
      I always thought that porn is what drove the latest & greatest in internet technology, unfortunatley in recent years that technology has been classified as spy/mal-ware. I wonder if there are any web 2.0 porn sites out there? Then again, wouldn't one of those "hot or not" sites be considered web 2.0? I guess porn is the true pioneer of the internet!

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        One of the hallmarks of Web 2.0 is that the consumer is also a producer.... Apply that to porn? Gasp!
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by broeman (638571)
        pornotube.com (don't ask where I know it from ;)

        and it is NOT WORK SAFE, that's why I didn't link it. (I wish there were more of these tags on google video, youtube, break.com ...).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:27AM (#15984447)
    Just because windows is bloated it doesn't mean that all other OSes are. This sounds awfully much like the "Mainframes are dead" and later on the "Unix is dead" (no, not the BSD-troll) predictions.
    • by pedantic bore (740196) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:03AM (#15984539)
      True, the fact that windows is bloated does not imply that all other operating systems are bloated. But the fact remains that they are.

      I've seen OSs and apps like word processors and databases grow from things that a handful of people could put together in a few months into things that require 1,000s of engineers years to create millions of lines of code, and each new feature or bug fix seems to require an exponential number of new engineers to add. Nobody can comprehend the whole system any more, except at a very high level. Eventually some sort of event horizon is passed and it's impossible to add anything new because every new engineer gets sucked into fixing bugs ...

      The isn't a new phenomenon (remember "The Mythical Man Month"?) but the change is that it seems to have become ubiquitous -- more and more software projects are growing past the manageable size. Hopefully there's another Fred Brooks out there, who will tell us how to deal with all this...

      I have a theory; call it "Pedantic Bore's Law": The number of lines of code in a typical release doubles every two years.

      • by alexhs (877055)
        True, the fact that windows is bloated does not imply that all other operating systems are bloated. But the fact remains that they are.

        Really ? What about QNX [qnx.com] ? Then there are non-commercial projects like L4... How are they bloated, they're only a few KB ?

        Not all developers write crappy unscalable, non-modular spaghetti code...
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by hyperlinx (775591)

          True, the fact that windows is bloated does not imply that all other operating systems are bloated. But the fact remains that they are.

          There needs to be a differentiation made here between "features" in an OS that are required for it to function properly and can't be removed, and the additional programs provided by an OS maker/developer on the installation medium. Not to slam MS too severely, but one reason their future OS's are becoming to bloated is that they (IMHO) are trying to make all these featur

          • by drsmithy (35869)
            There needs to be a differentiation made here between "features" in an OS that are required for it to function properly and can't be removed, and the additional programs provided by an OS maker/developer on the installation medium.

            If we were to restrict ourselves to the kind of "features" meeting your first description, then an "OS" wouldn't even come with a basic command-line shell. It wouldn't be much good for anything except trivially simple embedded devices.

            Not to slam MS too severely, but one reaso

            • by mrchaotica (681592) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @10:00AM (#15984783)

              I don't think you understood his argument. He was saying that Windows is screwed up because Microsoft is (more or less) trying to integrate everything into the same huge process. This is in contrast to Linux, where all kinds of stuff are included on the disk but are separate programs using well-defined interfaces.

              In other words, there's nothing wrong with shipping a kernel and a firewall on the same disk, but the firewall shouldn't be in the kernel!

              • by khasim (1285) <brandioch.conner@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @10:13AM (#15984806)
                In other words, there's nothing wrong with shipping a kernel and a firewall on the same disk, but the firewall shouldn't be in the kernel!
                To phrase it another way ... There is a problem when the firewall software causes the kernel development to be delayed.

                Which is what is happening at Microsoft.
              • by senatorpjt (709879) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:02PM (#15985069)
                there's nothing wrong with shipping a kernel and a firewall on the same disk, but the firewall shouldn't be in the kernel!

                The firewall is in the linux kernel.

              • by abigor (540274) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:18PM (#15985115)
                iptables is a part of the Linux kernel. There is a userspace program called 'iptables' that acts as a front end, but all packet filtering, rule traversing, etc. happens in kernel space.

                Linux does not have well-defined interfaces, particularly not at the kernel level. Just ask any driver writer.

              • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy&gmail,com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:55PM (#15985214)
                I don't think you understood his argument.

                I did, but his argument is stupid. It essentially boils down to "if Microsoft only included the things *I* think are necessary in Windows, it wouldn't be bloated. But since they include functionality X, Y and Z that I don't have any personal interest in, it's bloated".

                He was saying that Windows is screwed up because Microsoft is (more or less) trying to integrate everything into the same huge process.

                So is everyone else selling to the same market Windows is. Why ? Because that's what the customers in that market want.

                This is in contrast to Linux, where all kinds of stuff are included on the disk but are separate programs using well-defined interfaces.

                "Bloated" Linux distros like Ubuntu that are catering to the same market as Windows are *exactly* the same.

                Just because Microsoft don't pander to the miniscule percentage of their customers who want to do what some Linux users do, does not mean Windows is not componentised. Hell, Microsoft got in trouble (with IE) precisely because the went down the path of componentising Windows.

                Likewise, just because distro maintainers and OSS developers put mountains of effort into reducing the impact of dependency hell, doesn't mean you can just add and remove arbitrary parts of a Linux system without breaking things.

                In other words, there's nothing wrong with shipping a kernel and a firewall on the same disk, but the firewall shouldn't be in the kernel!

                The Linux firewall *is* in the kernel. I think you need to try and come up with a better example that I can refute.

                • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                  I did, but his argument is stupid. It essentially boils down to "if Microsoft only included the things *I* think are necessary in Windows, it wouldn't be bloated. But since they include functionality X, Y and Z that I don't have any personal interest in, it's bloated".

                  Yes, his argument was stupid because he picked an X, Y, and Z that it just makes sense to include. Anyone shipping a consumer OS today pretty much has to include web and a firewall of some sort. The point he didn't make: Since most compute

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by drsmithy (35869)
                    Yes, his argument was stupid because he picked an X, Y, and Z that it just makes sense to include.

                    No, it's a stupid argument because everyone has a different opinion as to what should be included by default. For example, the vast majority of non-technical end users have little need for a command line shell, but the vast majority of technical users would consider it essential.

                    The point he didn't make: Since most computers are connected to the Internet today, you really only have to include the bare minim

              • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

                by suv4x4 (956391)
                "I don't think you understood his argument. He was saying that Windows is screwed up because Microsoft is (more or less) trying to integrate everything into the same huge process. This is in contrast to Linux, where all kinds of stuff are included on the disk but are separate programs using well-defined interfaces."

                Interesting, you'll be completely right if you swap Windows and Linux in the statements above.

                Linux has no concept of drivers or kernel modules. It's all slapped inside one monolithin kernel, so
                • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                  Linux has no concept of drivers or kernel modules.

                  ...WHA? Yes, there is a concept of a kernel module.

                  It's all slapped inside one monolithin kernel, so if you need it to support something else you need to put it in the kernel and recompile it.

                  I guess that's why I have to download source code to the nVidia driver, patch my kernel, and recompile to make my video card work. Oh wait -- I don't. The nVidia driver gets compiled separately, and produces a module that is loaded on demand. If I don't want to s

                  • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                    by drsmithy (35869)
                    ...WHA? Yes, there is a concept of a kernel module.

                    Yes, but kernel modules work by loading into the same address space as the running kernel. Modular drivers (as in NT and OS X) work by passing messages via well defined interfaces.

                    This is why even a trivial change to the Linux kernel requires recompiling the whole thing (including all the modules) whereas hardware drivers on NT and OS X frequently continue working without modification even through multiple .1-level changes.

                    I guess that's why I have to

              • by Al Dimond (792444) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:16PM (#15985285) Journal
                Many people have pointed out that Linux's firewall is in its kernel. That is true, and parent post gets off the mark trying to describe Windows as a technical monolith without clean interfaces between components when most other OSes are the same way.

                But there still is a difference, it's just not technical: Windows as a product is a monolith, without divisions even where users would really appreciate them. You want one part, you get it all. One part is delayed, the whole thing is delayed. With, say, Ubuntu they'll still put out a new release if some of the major software included has major upcoming releases, and just allow users to upgrade later. This is possible because they're distributing free (the "beer" and "speech" aspects of this help equally) software, and largely distributing to people that are willing to go through these upgrades. And even if the distro won't package them most of the projects are independent enough in their development that you can upgrade them yourself. A 3d desktop for X may or may not be ready for the general public (ever), but you can find out whether it's ready for your system and use it today. With Windows you have to wait for all the other Vista features. ACLs in Linux may be a hassle for most people to set up, but if you want 'em you've got 'em. On Windows, to get Vista's account management abilities you have to wait for the rest of Vista to be done.
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jlarocco (851450)

              Microsoft, Apple, Ubuntu, etc are all doing this because *that's what the majority of their customers want*.

              You seem confused about how a typical Linux distro works. I don't know about Ubuntu specifically, but very little of most Linux distros is actually developed by the distro maintainers. When a Linux distro includes a piece of software, it's just like if you had gone to the software's website and downloaded it. They download the source, compile it, package it, and throw it on the CD. The softwar

              • by kimvette (919543) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:24PM (#15985688) Homepage Journal
                Can you point out the built-in to the OS equivalent of IE in Linux? You can't, because it doesn't exist.


                Sure can. Check out KDE's konqueror and KHTML. It integrates very nicely into kwin (the window manager), is embeddable, providing the help engine, integrates with various services/daemons via plugins and extensions, provides integrated and seamless web, help, and file browsing, can also act as a media player (through plugins and extensions), a smarter "search/find" feature than Microsoft will ever deliver in Windows, and if elevated permissions are required for a task, you will either be prompted for the password or the action is simply disallowed (depending on the plugin or extension) unless you specifically start konqueror with su/kdesu. Also, an integrated terminal window is provided so you can run tasks on files in a directory without having to clutter your desktop with separate Xterm windows.

                In summary: konqueror in KDE is what MSIE/Explorer tried to be in Windows, and more.
            • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

              by ultranova (717540)

              Microsoft, Apple, Ubuntu, etc are all doing this because *that's what the majority of their customers want*.

              Dunno about Apple, but Ubuntu is based on Debian, so it has the concept of "packages". This allows the situation where the OS as a whole has a huge amount of software, but you only install what you want/need. In other words, growth of included software in Linux distributions like Ubuntu is not comparable to the same in Windows.

              Of course it's also possible that Ubuntu gets more and more software

        • QNX is wonderful.

          However, it has not escaped from this phenomenon. Ten years ago, QNX had a downloadable demo image that would fit on a floppy and included a networking stack, windowing system, web browser, and some other nice stuff. How big is the distro today, now that it bundles things like Java and WebSphere?

          L4 is a microkernel's microkernel, and another wonderful piece of engineering. But it's small because it's defined to be small. It's not a system, it's a component. (strlen hasn't gotten

      • by Darkman, Walkin Dude (707389) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:49AM (#15984638) Homepage

        See the sad thing is they don't need a new operating system. They pretty much hit the nail on the head with 2k. If they adjusted the configuration to give it an "everyman" account, where you can play your games (a lot can't be played without being in an admin account these days), surf the web and check your email without hindrance (but thats all) and a technical account where people like us can get under the hood and fiddle, they would have an all time winner.

        Of course thats never going to happen, because M$ needs to keep turning profits, so they add bloat and useless features and eye candy which isn't really sweet at all, which because of their coding practices and beaurocratic structure are full of bugs and in extreme cases just don't work (like vista), in order to sell the same tarted up OS back to corporate customers.

        This guy proclaiming the end of OSs like vista is attempting to fix the sociological, organisational, and economic issues of one megacorp with technology.

      • My favorite (this week) is Austrumi. 50MB and I can't imagine anything my mother would need to do that it doesn't do. It loads itself into RAM ('cause see it's 50MB and not bloated). I remember when I used to squeeze my whole System into RAM on a 512K Macintosh ("FatMac" !!). Runs like greased lightning. I could name a dozen others, but I'll let everyone else talk first.
      • >>each new feature or bug fix seems to require an exponential number of new engineers to add

        Well, you expressed it a bit differently then I would have... but still.

        Each new feature you add increases the complexity of the overall system. After you add X number of features, the system suddenly starts increasing in complexity MUCH faster then it does in features. Of course, this is true of pretty much ANY programming (and I suspect non-programming as well) project.
    • by drsmithy (35869)
      Just because windows is bloated it doesn't mean that all other OSes are.

      Relative to its contemporaries, Windows isn't "bloated".

      "Bloat" is - and always has been - just a term used by computing elitists (ie: geeks) to describe features they personally have no interest in.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Speaking of Vista, C|Net reports that a new release candidate is on the way. The average tester should expect it by the end of September.

    Well - you can wait until September if you like, or you can just download the torrent [isohunt.com].

    If you're an Apple employee - this is OK, but make sure you dont download something from Apple - they will fire you.
    • by RonnyJ (651856)
      Well - you can wait until September if you like, or you can just download the torrent.

      That's not the first release candidate. RC1 isn't out yet, just build 5536.

      Before anybody points out that the ISO filename of 5536 says 'rc1', the version information on the desktop after it's installed says 'Pre-RC1'.

      • Specifically, it is "Pre-RC1 build 5536.16385". I haven't tried it yet. We tried one a few versions back here at work for our presentation computer with a projector, and it had some issues with IE7 and some of the conferencing sites we use, so we switched back to XP. That may have been IE7 Beta 1 or 2, and we are up to 3 now, so it COULD be fixed, but I haven't had the time for a re-install.
    • by Ilgaz (86384)
      Are you nuts? Don't make jokes like that on Slashdot especially against Microsoft. (includes Apple too!)

      They are already mad to this community joking about their fake "successes" each time they do a press release or a paid/shadowy Gartner "research".

      I mean check that about what I mean:
      http://features.slashdot.org/features/00/05/11/015 3247.shtml [slashdot.org]

      There are lawyers who are paid to be evil assholes you know? MS and Apple hires them for some reason :)
  • by FudRucker (866063) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:32AM (#15984461)
    KISS = Keep It Simple Steve (ballmer) and leave the chairs alone
    • by Mateo_LeFou (859634) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:59AM (#15984657) Homepage
      After many years of excellent service, it's almost time to retire the BillGatesBorg icon for Microsoft stories. Esp. since he won't be with them any more, sorta. I vote for a chair icon. It can be a borg chair, I guess.
      • After many years of excellent service, it's almost time to retire the BillGatesBorg icon for Microsoft stories. Esp. since he won't be with them any more, sorta. I vote for a chair icon. It can be a borg chair, I guess.

        Sure, we all know that Bill is no longer calling the micro management shots - ha ha ha ha ha, want to buy a bridge? The whole hog co-option of a BSD or whatever else M$ will turn to will make the company less like Bill's Personal Borg Collective too. I propose we adopt a cute little butt

    • Be careful what you say, Steve can throw a chair a looooong way.
  • by MichaelSmith (789609) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:34AM (#15984465) Homepage Journal

    Most of the time Windows provides few simple file, display and input services to MS word and excel. I can see why you would want to rewrite it to cut down on exploits, improve scalablity, etc. But why would MS need to create so much additional complexity? Other than the obvious reason that they already have windows built to do what they need and may as well rewrite it since they have all that revenue.

    My advice is for Microsoft to spend the next 20 years rewriting windows to run on future quantum computing devices. Word will keep working in the mean time. Should make a killing.

    • by kfg (145172) * on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:36AM (#15984471)
      . . .why would MS need to create so much additional complexity?

      "Trusted" computing.

      KFG
      • by pipingguy (566974) *
        I think we may have bingo here. What Windows can do already is good enough for 95% of the users, and those that cannot use it for their purposes use something else.

        I am continually astounded that CAD software and it's own issues are not heavily bitched-about here as you pay for it also with your taxes. Out of sight, out of mind, I guess.
    • Quantum computers (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Poromenos1 (830658) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:42AM (#15984490) Homepage
      Quantum computing units will probably be an addon, like the GPU or the math coprocessor. You only need them to do some semi-specialised stuff like search, I don't think they'd help in displaying graphics and the like. It's scary how they can search an entire space at once though.
  • Summary of article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kjart (941720) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:36AM (#15984470)

    Gartner analysts: We predict Microsoft will start making OS'es like this.
    Microsoft: Umm, no - there are a ton of problems with doing things that way (even more than with the way we do things now!!!11)
    Gartner analysts: Pffft, what would you know.

    Seriously, speculation can be fun, but I find it hard to take these guys seriously.

    • Microsoft has already set computing back 10 years, I don't see them any reason for them to not set it back any further. Well I guess that is a little unfair to say. But Microsoft tends to keep backwards compatibility for a long time, much longer then say Apple and a little bit longer then Linux. That is why they are in business and so large. You can upgrade the OS and the hardware and your copy of Word for Windows 6. For windows 3.1 will still run, and old Lotus 123 for DOS runs faster then ever. Just as
      • by Ahnteis (746045) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @10:35AM (#15984851)
        Yeah, cus EVERYONE had a computer back before Windows 95.

        Cheap, ubiquitous computers largely coincide with Microsoft's support for cheap 3rd party hardware combined with a good-enough operating system.

        Someone else MIGHT have come along to fill the void if they hadn't been there, but there's no proof that it would have happened, and certainly no proof that they set computers BACK 10 years. (Do you even REMEMBER what computing was like 10 years ago?!)

        >>"But Microsoft tends to keep backwards compatibility for a long time"

        Yeah--mass market kind of appreciates that. I suppose you'd prefer that the techno-elite (who have large budgets for new hardware AND software) have their own technology platform with no way to connect to, or pass files to the rest of the world? I mean, it'd be HORRIBLE if the guy using a 3 year old computer at home could bring his documents to work and use them on his brand new computer. (?!)
  • Linux? (Score:2, Funny)

    by October_30th (531777)
    So, when's Linux going to take advantage of the hardware virtualization?
    • Good point. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by kripkenstein (913150) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:52AM (#15984640) Homepage
      So, when's Linux going to take advantage of the hardware virtualization?

      Sarcasm duly noted. Still, I think it should be mentioned that the problems Gartner claim will be solved by this use of virtualization can be solved in other ways than virtualization, and in Linux sometimes are. For example, the kernel and GNOME (or KDE) are separate entities, developed separately, and runnable separately - you can use different kernels with GNOME - e.g. BSD, and you can use KDE/Xfce/etc. instead of GNOME. Perhaps Windows would be easier to maintain and improve if things weren't tied-in as they are, the most famous case of which is perhaps IE.

      I really don't see where hardware virtualization used to compartmentalize an OS is a better idea than correct modularization of the OS (which includes choosing the runlevel for the various parts, i.e. it may use 'virtualization', in a sense). Am I missing Gartner's point somehow?
      • by baadger (764884)
        > Perhaps Windows would be easier to maintain and improve if things weren't tied-in as they are, the most famous case of which is perhaps IE.

        Believe it or not, the unmangling of all kinds of Windows components *is* happening in Vista. The most hyped examples are IE7 being ripped out of the shell and Windows Update being made into a seperate application (Anyone else hate how while WU is checking for updates IE becomes unuseable?). This isn't the whole picture of course, there is supposedly also a lot of
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by It'sYerMam (762418)
        More than this, what would be good for the toolkits, i.e. GTK, QT and so on, would be an abstraction layer, whereby the program would load a generic "interface" library, and would make generic calls to it, and the user could select between toolkits, but retain their programs. There would be interesting problems to overcome when one toolkit offers a function that another doesn't, but I'm sure there's a way around it :)
  • by rufusdufus (450462) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:41AM (#15984483)
    What does this article mean anyway? Its a bunch of buzz words mixed together in an apparently random order.
  • by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:41AM (#15984484)
    Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to start with a core operating system unit that could then have additional modules and applications bolted on as necessary? You'd have full control over exactly what functions the machine will and will not have. Too bad such a beast will never exist...
    • by owlstead (636356)
      I was going to type a reply to scorn you, but this time I was able to kickstart my brain. Ugh, close call. Now I can sit back and wait for the next gullible person to type the reply and sit back and laugh at him. Thank you for that.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Strych9 (126433)
      It did, it was called OS9 (no not the MAC OS-9) but from at the time Microware.
    • Although Linux now offers all sorts of GUIs and some drivers, it's still suffering from a legacy problem similar to Windows': it's based on the design of UNIX, from the 1960s! Is there any reason why a modern OS should routinely use strings like "apt-get sudo" or "#/usr/bin" other than that several generations of hackers have gotten used to those abbreviations, and the code is now too embedded to replace?

      A modular, free, open-source OS is a great idea. But wouldn't it be feasible at this point to abandon
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by arminw (717974)
      .....Wouldn't it be nice if there were a way to start with a core operating system unit that could then have additional modules and applications bolted on as necessary'....

      That is essentially what Apple has done. They started with some flavor of UNIX and then bolted on all the nifty features OSX now has. I still have a 550Mhz Titanium Powerbook which was announced in Jan 2001. I use this when I need a portable, rather than my 2Ghz G5. OSX 10.4.3 now running is considerably faster than the original 10.1, eve
    • It's called Debian (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Mongoose (8480)
      You start with about 20MB install image, and add on what you need from there. That's why it's so popular for old boxes, servers, base for other distros, etc.
  • How is this news? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrackedButter (646746) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:42AM (#15984487) Homepage Journal
    The slashdot group think have known this since before XP came out and now a research firm predicts what we already knew, 6 years later. Microsoft haven't commented on this so its not worth discussing further (as we already have for years) until some announcement at some MS developer conference mentions it. Oh shit its saturday, slow news day.
  • by five18pm (763804) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:42AM (#15984488)

    That ought to be fun to work with. What will this stack do?

    However what is not understandable is how virtualization will be helpful. Sure, you can make a virtual machine run only one process (services), but these services need to interact with each other through some mechanism to do useful work. Will the Windows kernel just do this interaction?

    This seems to be oversolving the problem. Service isolation is good, but do you have to go overboard on that?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ichigo 2.0 (900288)
      Maybe through TCP/IP, making the different parts of the operating system completely independent? Of course this would bring a bunch of other security issues, but updating the different parts would get easier as the only thing that is common between the parts is the protocol. This way the different parts could even be run on different computers, though latency-critical parts should obviously be on the same machine. I'm a bit curious about one part though:

      The hypervisor will allow more frequent updates, and
      • by Nutria (679911)
        but updating the different parts would get easier

        I don't have too much trouble updating the various modules of my Linux system. The kernel is seperate from the "services", which are seperate from the GUI, which is seperate from the user apps.

        Why can't MS? They maybe could if they wanted too, but they have (or had, for a long, long time) a "we're just developing for a single-user machine" mentality. not thinking about basic stuff like, "hey, maybe it's a bad idea to need to touch the iron".

        Making NT the on
        • by nxtw (866177)
          Making NT the only code bade back in 1994 would have eliminated at the source a heck of a lot of the problems that the Windows world now sees.


          Had Slashdot been around twelve years ago, everyone would complain about NT's bloatedness and high system requirements over Windows 3.1...
  • by ndogg (158021) <the DOT rhorn AT gmail DOT com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:43AM (#15984492) Homepage Journal
    It's obvious that Gartner doesn't understand computers at all...well, at least Microsoft.

    They said Microsoft doesn't agree with this vision, saying it's identified problems with integrating data across partitions and creating a consistent user experience.

    And Microsoft's absolutely right on this point. I don't typically defend them, but when groups like Gartner with no experience in computers makes up such ridiculous ideas, I think it's justifiable.

    "Upper layers could have dependencies on lower layers, but lower layers could not be dependent on upper ones," the analysts wrote. "This would allow it to lockdown lower layers when complete and worry less about compatibility changes as it worked up the stack." But this redesign is not enough to ease Microsoft's ongoing development and delivery problems, or the deployment difficulties of enterprises, Gartner said.

    There's no reason they need to resort to using virtualization to accomplish this task. They could do it now with the current NT code, but it works now so there's no need to fix it for the time being.

    It just seems like a waste of resources to completely re-engineer Windows to make efficient use of virtualization that still presents a consistent user interface.
    • It's obvious that Gartner doesn't understand computers at all...well, at least Microsoft.

      Those who can do, do. Those who can't, consult.
  • The OS should just allow one to run perl scripts or binaries. We don't need the shell to be so complex that it becomes unfeasible to maintain it. MS should take a long hard look at the likes of WindowMaker and XFCE, or even geoshell etc. From what I can see the 2003/NT5.1 kernel is reasonably stable, which is a first, so this vista release to me is just a cosmetic on (RICE indeed), those improvements to the three year old kernel should be just driver, and possibly performance upgrades.
  • by Jacques Chester (151652) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:51AM (#15984510)
    Slashdot today released a report showing that stupid Garter Group releases will never come to an end.

    Instead of critical evaluation or even serious research, the respected organisation will stick by its tried-and-true method of spatial-temporal probability matrix randomisation (marketed under the trademark Making Shit Up, Even If Obviously Stupid).

    At a recent demonstration of this technique, Garter Group analysts showed releases on their drawing boards for next week's bullshit sessions, including:

    * IBM to buy Apple and force the line back to PowerPC, in order to cripple Microsoft's XBox.
    * Sun will no longer release any hardware products, pending a buyout offer from SCO.
    * George Lucas will admit he's a dud and bankroll a new new trilogy written and directed by competent artists, such as Britney Spears.

    At the time of writing, no Garter analysts were available to comment; being too busy trying to find where the crack pipe got to.
    • Let my post above demonstrate that humour and undergarments do not mix.

      Except in Vegas.
    • by dorkygeek (898295) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:35AM (#15984605) Journal

      Gartner is a classic troll. Did you know that every year, 20% of the GNAA's elite is promoted over to Gartner? They are not really open about it, but Gartner is nothing more than the for-profit branch of the GNAA.

      It's a classic troll career: with 16, you perambulate the Usenet. With 19, you get your GNAA membership, and work yourself up the organisation. At approximately 25, just having completed a technology-unrelated degree, you are wellcomed to Gartner.

      Oh, and, in case you've wondered how to become a member of Gartner's: yes, you have to make a first-article in techworld, mentioning "Gartner". Then you have to join a conference call and are tested about the details of the movie "Bullshit Analysts from Outerspace".

  • by owlstead (636356) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:51AM (#15984511)
    And it's late as well. I don't believe so much in virtualization on this level to create security. I mean, how are the components going to communicate? Sockets? Sockets are their own security problem. Microsoft clearly thinks in the same direction. What we need is a more fine-grained security model, in which applications only get the resources they need. Applications themselves also must be able apply the same security directives to their internal components. Just assigning a user per application won't work either, I mean, I would like to continue to work with my text editor as myself.

    Currently, applications can install themselves anywhere they want. They can destroy everything I own, including most things in the registry. They can take every bit of CPU power they like. Any amount of memory. Any amount of threads. Any amount of desktop space (including the whole lot through DirectX). They can even take away my keyboard. I don't think you can solve this by just giving every application it's own CPU and operating system. You can do this by restricting access, and by letting the OS take care of the installation and access conditions (maybe not configuration).

    The way to do this is to create dependencies with modules, and create security managers to handle access. This is e.g. part of the Java security model, which is sadly hardly ever used. Microsoft has it's own copy of that of course. It's in .net and works with assemblies. Where Microsoft has an advantage is that it owns the Windows operating system, and can therefore easily use a centralized Virtual Machine (as in MSIL virtual machine), installation procedures etc.

    I've little doubt that this is the direction Microsoft is thinking for the long run. Unfortunately they don't seem to grasp it on the same abstraction level that Sun can, so it will probably take time. No doubt it will take double that time for Gartner to understand it. Just running every app in its own OS is much easier to grasp, especially when it is already there.

  • by beswicks (584636) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:53AM (#15984515)
    1. Collect Buzzwords
    2. ???
    3. Publish Report

    I assume they use a Bot to trawl the internet collecting the latest buzz words, and then another to automatically assemble the report... but after reading that piffle I don't think they would have the compitence to turn on the computer.
  • The problem is that the operating system's increasing complexity is making it ever more difficult for enterprises to implement migrations, and impossible for Microsoft to release regular updates

    I know I'll probably get moderatad as troll/flamebait, but... Well, if we look at Linux (Debian/Fedora/Ubuntu), there's no problem to upgrade to a next release / release updates.
    Another thing. I don't think Vista's gonna be "the last of its kind" - it's like 640K should be enough for everybody :)

  • by Klaidas (981300)
    Mr.Editor, but wouldn't it be much more simple to read and understand the title if it was
    Vista - the Last of Its Kind

    The dash wasn't invented for no reason you know
  • About freaking time (Score:3, Interesting)

    by enharmonix (988983) <enharmonix+slashdot@gmail.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:19AM (#15984577)

    Kevin Kelly's Out of Control got me thinking about this a while back. Although the book is a little dated, it is all about network economies and their similarities to ecological systems, and I realized that evolution is at work when it comes to platform adoption. Greater than 90% of desktops run Windows, so there's no variety in the PC platform genepool. Just like inbred populations, this PC pool is unhealthy: it can't adapt and infections run rampant because all specimens are susceptible to the same illnesses.

    Of course, who's going to change to another platform when there's no software out there? (No flames please - try to remember perception is everything, and ask yourself whether an average user realizes alternatives exist.) Virtualization, I think, is a good answer to this. I like the idea of "booting" to an application like in the pre-DOS days, and if your games run no x86/x64 architecture, you could bypass the OS altogether to get the most out of games by just booting straight into Halo 4 or HalfLife 3. I also like the end of the API: we can go back to the days of static linked libraries (no version conflicts, ever!) and headers and just build our own OSes from scratch to run in a VM. Since you can virtualize anything, even VMs, you can get cross-platform apps and cross-platform platforms (Java, .NET, etc.) and consumers don't have to worry about physical hardware or their underlying OS components, apart from cost and performance considerations. As far as their apps go, everything could, theoretically, work the same on any system (whether business decisions will allow this to happen, we'll just have to see). In fact, my only worry about this is how to allow for a standard GUI on such a system (but since nobody, not even Microsoft, follows GUI principles these days anyway, it probably doesn't matter).

    This is, IMO, a far superior way to do things than how they're done now. So, okay, then, OSS community, please get to work so you will be finished before MS is. Thank you.

    • by Firehed (942385)
      While I think you've got a great concept there, have you tried using any 3d app in a virtualized OS? Just a technicality at this point more than anything else, but a fairly large one if we're going to have our systems evolve into things that can boot right into games, and Just Work. As for standard GUI principles - things change. 90% of the people out there are used to the Windows GUI, so while it may not be ideal, people are familiar enough with it. Combine that with the Actually Just Works of OS X (af
  • "Upper layers could have dependencies on lower layers, but lower layers could not be dependent on upper ones," the analysts wrote. "This would allow it to lockdown lower layers when complete and worry less about compatibility changes as it worked up the stack."

    Trying to figure out what this means....

    divide the Windows client into a "service partition", controlling system functions such as management and security, and one or more application partitions.

    I get it! It is like a Virtual Anti-Trust System!

    Serious
  • by tjcrowder (899845) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:36AM (#15984606) Homepage
    Gartner or no, it seems unlikely that Microsoft would be able to sufficiently modularize Windows in order to do this even if they did agree it was a good direction to go. Modularity and separation of problem domains haven't really been Microsoft's strong suit, have they? I'm thinking, for instance, of how Windows Explorer locks up while waiting for a device (CD drive, network connection) to respond. There are good reasons for not mixing UI and device communications on the same thread, and yet they didn't even bother to separate them in the main user interface to the OS. (Well, they hadn't as of XP, anyway -- 18+ years into developing the OS.) That's just one example of a failure of modularity in Windows. The usual path they seem to follow, be it the message pump (remember when it was one pump for the OS and all apps?) or Internet Explorer, is to go monolithic and only modularize when the monolith fails. Not commenting on the good or bad of that strategy (that would be a different flame wa^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H discussion), but it gives insight into their approach to software development, one which is not particularly friendly to Gartner's ideas...
  • by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:43AM (#15984622)
    I'm soooooo stupid!

    Here I am writing code, where the smallest slip can cause serious damage to our company, our customers, and my paycheck.

    When instead I could be writing *pure quasi-random blather*, with no consequences even if the stuff is pure blue-sky speculation, and unlikely for a multitude of reasons.

    ( *must* *get* *job* *at* *gartner* *group* )

    ( writing sample: )

    "Huge monopoly software company will screw their own pooch and dump their cash cows for no visible reason and instead (mumble) (not clear who) will use (completely different type of technology with not much in common with previous sentence) or (hot new buzzword that hasnt been seen-thru yet) to completely bypass all the laws of human ignorance, inertia, established base, software trends, and economics. "

    There, that should move me right to the top of their hiring list.

  • The problem with Vista has been that innovation and technology growth in Linux follows a trajectory similar to e^x where in the Microsoft space it follows a growth pattern similar to ln(x). When things start out, the appearance is that the ln(x) formula grows at a spectacular rate compaired to e^x, but after a few iterations the exponential growth blows everything else away.
  • by slashbob22 (918040) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:47AM (#15984633)
    The average tester should expect it by the end of September.
    Here is the problem with Windows. Microsoft only uses average testers for their release candidates. Hire some "super-testers" or better yet - An infinite number of monkeys on an infinite number of PCs will eventually discover all your b.. Wait a second -- You? Me?... we ARE the monkeys.

    *hunches over and arches wrists -- picks at a few keys*
  • by Bushido Hacks (788211) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:57AM (#15984650) Homepage Journal
    Reguardless of what model of software life-cycle you use, software does die eventually. Only instead of calling it "death", software engineers call it "retirement". The retirement phase of the software life-cycle occurs when the product (in this case Microsoft Windows) is removed from service. This happens when the functionality provided by the product no longer is of any use to the client.

    As much as some of us have loathed Microsoft and Bill Gates and Windows, it is quite untimely for all of this to happen. Talk about a private sale of the company, the retirement of Bill Gates, and the recent series of product failures is tragic.

    Even if we never liked Microsoft, it is sad to watch this mightly sparing partner collapse under the weight of mutual self-destruction. Even bitter enemies mourn the loss of their rivals.

    The wonton self-mutilation of Microsoft would be that in its hubris, they kept delaying Vista or Longhorn or whatever it was called in the beginning. Add to that, a list of software patents that while it protected themself from competition, prevented growth and development within the company. Greed settled in because the people in charge were happy making a ton of money with the status quo. Then they started to maximize their wealth by cutting out things that made the company what it was. Outsourcing workers. Removing subsitities and extras (i.e. Vulcan Enterprises which ran TechTV). Shortening the leash of how much code was released.

    As the company became more miserly, the man who was the corporate face of this software empire wanted out.

    We now see it not just as the death of a software product but the death of a corporation.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by mickwd (196449)
      "Even bitter enemies mourn the loss of their rivals."

      Not in business where it's all about making more money.
  • Someone tell me... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by countach (534280) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @09:28AM (#15984727)
    Someone tell me what qualification Gartner analysts have in predicting the future of OS research? To me, this looks like BS, virtualization is a tool for a different problem. But if these analysts have a PhD in OS design, maybe I could believe it. But come on, they are disputing with MS what MS is going to do. Mostly MS doesn't know what it is doing, how Gartner can know more... . Argh..
  • by EXMSFT (935404) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @09:32AM (#15984729)
    This is complete BS. Microsoft would love nothing more than to have Windows be a modular snap-together, snap-to-upgrade, easily patched model like this. But to do it properly will require a good decade of work, and a complete redesign of Windows.

    Windows as it is designed today is monolithic. You can't separate one layer from another in the "dreamy" way that Gartner is wishing for. The irony is that Netscape once used the term "spaghetti code" to describe the pre-Mozilla rewrite. The same could be easily used to describe Windows in it's current condition.

    Gartner analysts often amaze me. I've met a few who deserve the respect of people in the industry. But I've met many more who have an amazing talent for talking out of their bottoms about technology they don't understand. Analysts have the best job. They get to make crack-filled predictions about the future. And nobody ever calls them on them, because in 3-5 years, when it hasn't come true, nobody remembers it, and the analyst is there preaching some hazy, totally new vision of the future (that probably contradicts their earlier "prediction").
  • by Wolfier (94144)
    It's also reported that Duke Nukem Forever will have another release candidate by the end of August.

  • Will todays generation be saving up for an expensive terminal server OS or a low cost dumb client OS every 6 months?
    Will your next box be an xbox?
    Low cost, fast gpu and a networked OS that lets you sit back end get on with 'enjoying' portals?
    Great for short fun hd streams and myads.
    Dial up and drop out. Stuck between pay per play or play per ad.

    But what about the developers?
    Will they be happy to be locked into a closed DRM net box OS?

  • by dkleinsc (563838) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @10:09AM (#15984801) Homepage
    Gartner Group is the best proof I can find for George Carlin's theory that the most profitable business in the US is the manufacture, packaging, and redistribution of bullshit. It reminds me of friends of my sister who got a top-notch education, aced the SATs, got a degree from Harvard, and now get paid top dollar to go around giving Powerpoint presentations on how to create "synergy" in an "n-Tier multi-platform Web 2.0 AJAX solution".
  • by JustNiz (692889) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @11:05AM (#15984931)
    * Windows came on a few floppy disks?
    * The primary job of an operating system was to launch user applications, not to assimilate them all?

    The reason windows is so big and complex is not because it needs to be. In fact the most efficient OS's are the smallest ones.
    Its all because of marketing. Microsoft has to keep adding bullshit to their os that slows it down and makes it consume ever more CPU/RAM/HD just so they can claim it does more, in order to sell it to you all over again.
    I bet there's only like 1% of us that even know all the 'features' in windows, let alone actually use them.
    I wish Microsoft would allow you to selectively install the basics, just like most linux distros already do.
  • by Animats (122034) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:01PM (#15985238) Homepage

    Ballmer used to call this "strategic complexity". As Ballmer once put it, when asked why Microsoft kept adding functions to Windows, "If we stopped adding functions to Windows, it would become a commodity, like a BIOS. And Microsoft is not in the BIOS business".

    There's no technical reason why an operating system has to be as bloated as Windows or Linux. Integrating Internet Explorer into the operating system was a business decision, not a technical one. And all that really meant was that IE's code was split up into various DLLs.

    Technically, the "big OS" problem results from operating systems with poorly designed interprocess communication. When it's much easier and faster to call the kernel than another program, there's too much of a temptation to put stuff in the kernel. Both pre-NT Windows and UNIX had terrible interprocess communication systems, which is how we got to the mess we're in now.

    On top of that classical problem, we now have the "DRM must be in the kernel" problem. DRM is really messing up operating system architecture. "Video streaming" crap is in the kernel, which means codecs with too many privileges and inevitably, codecs as attack vectors. Games want to have "drivers" to enforce their DRM. Even the iPod service wants privileged code in Linux. That has to stop.

  • by Solr_Flare (844465) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:04PM (#15985251)
    I wouldn't be surprised to see next generation OSs beyond Mac OS X and Vista to take a more modular approach in terms of design. It makes more sense from a development cost standpoint as well. The idea being there is just one "windows" (for example) and Microsoft on a regular basis would sell/release replacement modules for the operating system. Need a server OS? No problem, just install the server core module. Want a fancier new desktop/interface? No problem, install the new graphical upgrade module.

    Basically, make it more akin to Linux and other open source products. However, since it would be a single company developing these modules, they would have a unified design to them, which is arguably the biggest flaw from an every day Joe consumer standpoint with linux: the fact that by its nature, open source design is all over the place. That doesn't make open source a bad thing, because if you have the know-how you can customize it into exactly what you want/need. But your everyday consumer wants a unified feel to their product with minimal hassle. Something a Microsoft/Apple OS with a modular design could easily accomplish.
  • If you need virtualization to "unbundle" it into modules, then something's seriously wrong with the overall design... or you're not actually unbundling it.

    I mean, when I think about "unbundling" Windows, I think about something like this:

    * Windows NT "core" - NT kernel, the Win32 subsystem, Windows explorer and registry editor and the other associated utilities needed to boot to a desktop with no bundled applications or enhancements.

    * Windows Network "core" - Windows firewall, Windows Networking, TCP/IP, and associated utilities. Depends on the Windows NT core.

    * Windows Graphics "core" - DirectX 2d and desktop enhancements that use them, Aero, Windows XP effects and transitions, and utilities. Depends on the Windows NT core.

    * Windows Web "core" - The HTML control, HTTP and other internet protocols, Internet Explorer and Outlook, and the associated utilities. Depends on the Windows Network core.

    * Windows Media "core" - Windows Media Player, CD and DVD burning, and associated utilities. Depends on the Windows Web core and the Windows Graphics core.

    * Windows Gaming "core" - DirectX 3d support, Windows 9x compatibility support, and associated utilities. Depends on the Windows Graphics and Network cores.

    * Windows Access "core" - Interix, Remote Desktop, Telnet, FTP and other legacy protocols, User Switching. Depends on the Windows Graphics and Network cores.

    * Windows Office "core" - Active Directory, RPC, SMS, all the "Pro" versus "Home" stuff. Depends on the Windows Networking core.

    I mean, Windows is designed from the ground up to be divided this way. They sell embedded versions of Windows NT that work this way, and Windows CE uses the same basic API with a different set of libraries... you can even develop for CE on Windows and run CE applications under Windows with the right DLLs.

    So I don't believe they need virtualization to make Windows "modular", the monolithic nature of desktop Windows is a marketing decision... not a technical one. By virtualizing, they get to sell you multiple copies of Windows for one computer. No wonder they want to go that way... it's more a wonder they took so long to catch on!

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