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Vista the Last of Its Kind 337

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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  • 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!

  • 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.
  • 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]
  • 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 ichigo 2.0 ( 900288 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @08:13AM (#15984568)
    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 will make the Software Assurance subscription scheme effectively mandatory for Windows from around 2010, Gartner said.

    I don't really like the sound of that, sounds like yet another DRM scheme that restricts the way we use our computers.
  • 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 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.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @11:02AM (#15984922) 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.
    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.
  • by Garrett Fox ( 970174 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @12:31PM (#15985143) Homepage
    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 the UNIX/GNU legacy and start a new OS based on modern design principles -- and that doesn't look like a clone of Windows? Yes, it would start off as a toy since it'd have no drivers etc., but if we could implement a few basic applications in it it would start to become worthwhile.
  • 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.
  • by pedantic bore ( 740196 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @02:57PM (#15985609)
    I've used these systems.

    For years, my word processor of choice was WordStar, which fit comfortably on a 160K floppy with enough space left over for a semester's worth of papers and notes. (In fact, for a while I kept my copy of dBase II, WordStar, and Turbo Pascal on the same 360K floppy. It was years before I had the cash for a hard disk...). I also used a version of MS Word that ran off a single 720K floppy -- its interface would be immediately recognizable to any use of Office today. The only thing most people would notice is the absence of Clippy and a dearth of fonts.

    The tools today have more features, but they're also 100 times larger (if not 1000) and run on systems with 1000 times more processor power, memory, and disk. Are you 100 times more productive? Or even twice as productive? Unless you're doing something that you simply couldn't do without a feature that didn't exist twenty years ago, I'll bet the answer is no.

  • next OS (Score:2, Interesting)

    by arpeccop ( 967973 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @03:58PM (#15985773) Homepage
    How about the operating system prototype called Singularity [microsoft.com]?
  • by rhyre417 ( 919946 ) on Saturday August 26, 2006 @04:09PM (#15985808)
    Now that Microsoft has added dynamic language features to the CLR with .NET 2.0, you'll see python, smalltalk, scheme and other Lisps run tolerably well in that environment. This will enabling fresh new approaches for software development.
    If Microsoft offered an operating system release that was:
    1) An OS Kernel, no User Interface features
    2) Allow new device drivers to be installed/uninstalled to support video, disks and other I/O devices
    3) Runs only managed code on top of the kernel
    you might have something a bit less bloated. But, you would essentialy be destroying the Earth in order to save the rest of the Solar System. It wouldn't really be Windows anymore.
    After about 10 years, enough people will figure out that you can build common (shared) libraries that encompass the needs of word processing, spreadsheets, web browsing, video and audio codecs, network protocols, web services.
    So applications are delivered as scripting code that tie these components together. [Look at the Flux& Fluke project from Utah, and Jini for ways to make all of this work.]
    Then you'll be able to run most anything you need for 'everyday' computing in 2017, whatever that is. Will it seem like 1993 all over again? Probably.

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