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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 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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 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...
  • 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?

  • by ndogg (158021) <`the.rhorn' `at' `gmail.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.
  • Re:And Linux ? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dominique_cimafranca (978645) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @07:47AM (#15984502) Homepage
    One of the hallmarks of Web 2.0 is that the consumer is also a producer.... Apply that to porn? Gasp!
  • 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...
  • That's called sales.

    Don't make me vertically align your solutions platform recovery strategy!

    Tom
  • 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.

  • 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 hyperlinx (775591) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @09:09AM (#15984678)

    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 features function on the majority of modern computers without requiring "add-on" software. Examples: firewall and antivirus programs. While I can chose not to enable those "features" in XP or Vista (so I've read), you can't truly uninstall or delete them. The continued addition of such features in MS OSs leads to this "bloat" and worse, because they're tied directly to the internal workings of OS, it inevitably creates additional security holes waiting to be found and exploited.

    Flame protection suit on.

  • 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 Strych9 (126433) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @09:47AM (#15984760)
    It did, it was called OS9 (no not the MAC OS-9) but from at the time Microware.
  • 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 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. (?!)
  • 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 jlarocco (851450) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @11:33AM (#15984996) Homepage
    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 software is not maintained by the distro. It's not built in, it comes with. It doesn't have to be installed, but if it is, it can be uninstalled like any other program. Window's "extras" are built in. You have to install IE, WMP, the firewall, etc. and they can't be removed. It's quite a big difference.

    Disk space is cheap. Anyone quibbling over a few tens (or even hundreds) of megabytes of disk space on modern system is really reaching for something to complain about.

    I really hate the "hardware is cheap" argument in favor of bloated programs and lazy programming. First, hardware is NOT cheap for a lot of people. It's great that a Slashdot reading computer geek will drop $100 on a new hard drive, but most of the population would not be so cavalier. Just because a 500 GB hard drive or a 1 GB DIMM is cheaper than it used to be doesn't mean everyone wants to run out and buy one.

    It wouldn't be so bad if program size was being traded off for cleaner, more intuitive design. Or if the developers were using higher-level languages and decreasing development times. Or if the new software had some revolutionary new features. But none of that is happening. The fact of the matter is, most programmers are idiots. It's not that they're trying to make bloated, bad software, they just don't know any better. Or they're too stupid to tell their boss they need more time to do it right. Or they're too rushed to do it the right way. If there's one benefit of recent off-shoring, it's that "developer time is more expensive than hardware" will no longer be an acceptable excuse for inefficient, bloated code.

    They are no more "tied directly to the internal workings of the OS" than they need to be, or than the alternatives from third parties or on other platforms are. Just because Internet Explorer doesn't appear in the Add/Remove software dialog, doesn't mean it's part of the kernel.

    Nobody claims IE is a part of the kernel. They claim it's unnecessarily "tied directly to the internal workings of the OS", and it is. And it's not done that way on other platforms or even by third party alternatives on Windows. Can you point out the built-in to the OS equivalent of IE in Linux? You can't, because it doesn't exist.

  • by Dantu (840928) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:15PM (#15985108)
    They pretty much hit the nail on the head with 2k

    I thought the same thing until I got used to WinXP then had to use some Win2k machines. The improvements are small, but nice - boot time really is much better in XP and you can do more configuration changes (esp networking) without a reboot. The UI changes also do save time once you get used to them. While I realize that they are VERY similar (and XP is marginally less stable than 2k) it does have lots of little refinements.
  • by arminw (717974) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:48PM (#15985194)
    .....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, even though many new features have been added in the newer OS. It still has the 512MB RAM, but a bigger HD than what it had back then. Most of the HD space is filled with music.

    MS Windows 98 runs fast thereon, Win 2000 runs is acceptable still on my old 800Mhz PC box, but XP is dog slow, so I put Win2K back on for an occasionally needed program. It seems that Windows NEEDS better hardware for each new generation, whereas the newer Mac OSX can still work reasonably well with older Macs.
  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@gmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> 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.

  • 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 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.
  • by TinyManCan (580322) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:22PM (#15985298) Homepage
    I used to think that XP was the cats meow, until I installed Windows Server 2003. Using a few simple tweaks to turn it into a workstation class install, with DirectX acceleration and everything else that you would expect.

    I could not be happier. My FPS has gone up in games that I play, I barely ever have to reboot to change anything and all my hardware is very well supported. Its very easy to disable services and processes you don't need, and in the end my 2003 install boots faster, and uses less RAM at idle than my XP install did.

    Everyone with a copy of Server 2003 (MSDN, ActionPack Owners, Pirates!) should make a go of installing it on your main workstation. It really is very, very good.

  • It's called Debian (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mongoose (8480) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @01:44PM (#15985355) Homepage
    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.
  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:17PM (#15985466) Journal
    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 computers are connected to the Internet today, you really only have to include the bare minimum amount of software to get the user online. After that, they can install the features they want.

    Package managers even make this easy.

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

    Same distro != same process. I think the point here is that MS really does "integrate" far too much, increasing the fragility of the system.

    Hell, Microsoft got in trouble (with IE) precisely because the went down the path of componentising Windows.

    No, they got in trouble because they started to componentise Windows (a good software practice) while still trying to sell it as a monolithic blob (an evil business practice). They could have easily componentised Windows and made it possible to uninstall Internet Explorer, and no one would care.

    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.

    You pretty much can arbitrarily remove packages that you installed, and reverse dependencies will clear the rest of it out. On Windows, I cannot uninstall Internet Explorer without help, and if I do, things break. I can easily have a working Linux desktop without a web browser, or with an arbitrary web browser, instead of Ubuntu's default Firefox.

    It's not done as well as it could be, but it's better than Windows by quite a lot.

  • by SanityInAnarchy (655584) <ninja@slaphack.com> on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:41PM (#15985550) Journal
    And this is what we're complaining about. 2k was the very last major change in Windows -- supporting all of the games and other consumer-related stuff of the 9x line, on a solid platfrom (NT) which they designed to compete with Unix. XP is 2k plus eye candy and subtle improvements. Compare that to OS X, which has big, blatant improvements -- Tiger has Spotlight -- as well as subtler ones, like making Bash the default shell, and including a decent version of Perl.

    Apparently, they got it -- XP went this long with a couple of major Service Packs, but that's it. Gone are the days of selling a "second edition" -- the 98 to 98se transition was much, much smaller than XP to SP1 or from SP1 to SP2. But the fact is, many of us still see XP as a service pack to 2K, with a bit of eye candy.

    But that means they now have to scramble to find things that will really make people accept Vista as more than a patch to XP, and they've ended up ripping off a lot of OS X features in the process. They're basically avoiding fixing anything in XP so that they can roll everything new into Vista, to make it a meaningful upgrade, when most of it makes more sense as incremental upgrades to XP.
  • 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!
  • Re:And Linux ? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 26, 2006 @05:31PM (#15986062)
    Don't forget all those Linux/Apache servers that deliver the porn.
  • by drsmithy (35869) <drsmithy@gmaiELIOTl.com minus poet> on Sunday August 27, 2006 @06:30AM (#15988880)
    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 minimum amount of software to get the user online. After that, they can install the features they want.

    But why should he have to ? Why should the user have to spend more time (and typically money) acquiring more functionality that can (and should) be included by default.

    This is before even getting into less obvious points, like how the "bundled" software will typically be more integrated and seamless and how Microsoft would be able to compete with OS X and Linux if they weren't allowed to have feature parity in their product.

    Package managers even make this easy.

    Assuming they know about the package you want and have the version you need. The perpetual beta state of a large proportion of OSS software can make this very much a hit and miss affair. Not to mention it can often be quite a challenge finding a piece of software if you don't know whatever in-joke the developer used when they named it.

    Same distro != same process. I think the point here is that MS really does "integrate" far too much, increasing the fragility of the system.

    Microsoft doesn't "integrate" any more than the alternatives do - sometimes less - and often only add additional functionality in response to their competitors doing it first (eg: WMP, IE).

    No, they got in trouble because they started to componentise Windows (a good software practice) while still trying to sell it as a monolithic blob (an evil business practice).

    Ignoring your utterly unsupportable assertion this is an "evil business practice", just because a piece of software is modular, does not mean the vendor must sell individual bits of it for the end user to glue together at their leisure. You are trying to conflate the two completely different fields of software development and product sales.

    They could have easily componentised Windows and made it possible to uninstall Internet Explorer, and no one would care.

    Except for all the software developers who can no longer make use of the IE component, since there is no longer any guarantee it is present, or that a user-provided alternative has the same level of functionality. Thus removing one of the biggest advantages of having reusable components in the first place.

    Not to mention, Microsoft themselves would also no longer be able to make wide use of the functionality provided by IE (or any other "user removable component") for the same reason. Thus, again, removing one of the main reasons for a modular software architecture.

    (What I find particularly sickening is the people who criticise Windows for its architecture, but then praise Linux, OS X and others *for that exact same architecture*.)

    You pretty much can arbitrarily remove packages that you installed, and reverse dependencies will clear the rest of it out.

    Only under the supervision of the package manager. Just start pulling out random and arbitrary bits (as you want to do with Windows) and the system will break.

    Alternatively, you might try and remove something relatively benign, but find the cascade of reverse dependencies leaves you without a X server or window manager (and *that* is assuming one of those packages hasn't got some other weird interdependency with something "essential" to the OS that the package manager won't let you remove).

    What's funny, in a sad kind of way, is the sheer volume of people who can criticise Microsoft for spidery interdepencies in Windows, while completely ignoring an

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