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Microsoft Working On "Post-Windows" Cloud Computing OS 208

Barence writes "Microsoft is working on a web-based operating system called Midori, as it looks to life beyond Windows. Midori is expected to be a cloud-computing service, and so not as dependent on hardware as current generations of Windows. It's also expected to run with a virtualization layer between the hardware and the OS, and is expected to be a commercial offshoot of the Singularity research project which Microsoft has been working on since 2003." If this story sounds familiar to you, it probably is.
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Microsoft Working On "Post-Windows" Cloud Computing OS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:49AM (#24466785)

    so not as dependent on hardware as current generations of Windows. It's also expected to run with a virtualisation layer between the hardware and the OS,

    You mean a kind of, say, Hardware Abstraction Layer []?

    Yeah... they've been doing that kind of thing for over ten years.

  • by conner_bw ( 120497 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:50AM (#24466803) Journal

    ...but much more dependent on a proprietary non-standards compliant web browser?

    So the plan is to kill two birds with one stone? Firefox and Google?

    Flamewar follows.

  • A Better Title... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tgatliff ( 311583 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:56AM (#24466909)

    Microsoft is working on a new OS that will never see the light of day because it will risk the monopolistic platform to which they now enjoy...

  • by Kupfernigk ( 1190345 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @10:57AM (#24466939)
    Perhaps a fluent Japanese speaker could confirm or deny, but I have been told that, although it is usually translated as "green", midori does not exactly correlate to the English word. (This is not unusual; the difference between "green" and "blue" is to some extent culturally determined as the two sets of cones in the eye have quite close spectral response peaks and the overlap region is therefore much less well defined than the red-green transition. Even in the British Isles, the word "glas", which is also vaguely cognote to "midori", has different color significance in Irish and Welsh.)

    So: did someone in Microsoft just like the name, or is it a cunning way to express that they themselves don't quite know what this operating system is actually going to be? And is it time for anybody using the word in the US to get in a trademark application, just in case?

  • by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:04AM (#24467041)

    I, personally, think they are digging their own grave with this one.

    There just isn't enough bandwidth everywhere for there to be a totally online OS.

  • by pitchpipe ( 708843 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:05AM (#24467047)

    Microsoft is working on a new OS that will never see the light of day because it will risk the monopolistic platform to which they now enjoy...

    No, they are working on a new OS in order to continue the monopoly they now enjoy. If the paradigm of cloud computing becomes the reality, then they are fucked if they continue with their current business model.

  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:07AM (#24467073) Homepage

    Don't tell me, let me guess. It will have all the stuff Microsoft that was going to be in every version of Windows since Windows 95.

    As the release date approaches, Microsoft will suddenly start echoing all the knocks critics have been making on Vista, saying it is insecure, difficult to use, presents a bad user experience and is generally a piece of junk which only fools would ever have purchased... but, fortunately, Midori will solve all these problems, and will include a Web-standards-compliant browser, an animated character that will pop up and give you only helpful advice and only when you actually need it, WinFS, and Duke Nukem Forever.

    And if you believe them, then you'd believe that Lucy will finally let Charlie Brown kick the football.

  • ... that hardware is expensive and bandwidth is cheap. So far this has very much not been the case. It is still a pain running remote X-applications over most household broadband connections. In fact I find the lag time annoying even on a LAN.

    When do they figure that we will be able to run a "web-based" OS? 'cause it sure isn't anytime soon.

  • by ianare ( 1132971 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:11AM (#24467137)
    according to ja.wikipedia [] it is pure green at mid lightness, or RGB (0, 128, 0)
  • who's buying? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:17AM (#24467223) Homepage Journal

    Of course - there will be advantages too with an OS like that, especially for distributed computing problems.

    And how many average Joe consumers do you know of that require distributed computing problems?

    I mean, I'm sitting on a dual core 3.4 ghz machine with 2 gigs of memory. The hardest stuff I put it through is compiles, games, and the occasional rendering, all of which being handled at the local level perform acceptably and any gain in processing time in the 'cloud' is negated by my 1.5 Mb (cha right!) network connection.

    Sure, this is great for companies/facilities that require cloud computing, but for average consumers, there is absolutely no reason to buy it. Heck, if it weren't for the security concerns and drivers, most consumers could survive quite well on Windows 98.


  • by zShutter ( 917686 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:20AM (#24467273)
    Yeah, it's MS, but before jumping completely on the stomp-it-dead bandwagon, I'd say this: We thought Apple was dead once too. If MS can do some real innovation here, and bring a new paradigm to an operating system, we'll be lucky. Innovation never hurt anyone, and it may come when you least expect it. If Apple can pull off a 180, so can Microsoft.
  • It's official... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:47AM (#24467709) Homepage Journal
    ...Microsoft now officially has its head in the clouds.

    Old school Microsoft bashers will, of course, recognize this as Microsoft's tried-and-true strategy of preannouncing vaporware in order to freeze the market. Buyers put their plans on hold and wait for Microsoft's product to emerge, effectively killing the competition, even though the competition has non-vapor products on the market today.

    Does anyone even remotely think that the vaporware strategy will work this time? Cloud computing is all about the elasticity of computing resources. It's a natural fit for unlicensed operating systems. Microsoft's entire business is built around per-unit software licensing. Anyone who's been around an IT shop that uses Microsoft products knows that keeping track of licenses is practically a full time job. Add in the elasticity of cloud computing and it becomes pretty much impossible.

    I'd even go as far as saying that cloud computing is fundamentally incompatible with Windows.
  • by je ne sais quoi ( 987177 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @11:55AM (#24467837)

    If Apple can pull off a 180, so can Microsoft.

    There's a difference. Apple had a visionary at the helm when it turned around, in particular the second coming of Steve Jobs (love or hate the guy, you have to admit he has vision). Having a visionary is important for turning around a big company because they have to fight off the corporate goons that drown every decent idea in marketing nonsense and bureacracy. For Microsoft, Bill Gates has been decreasing his role at MS for some time now. Do you see any other visionaries at Microsoft?

    That said, to point out a counter-example,IBM seems to have changed its tune as well without some sort of outspoken visionary.

  • by Killer Eye ( 3711 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:16PM (#24468203)

    Don't they realize that implementing something from scratch, much less something this complex, undoes all of the security and other bug fixes found by hundreds of people over more than a decade (not to mention invalidating the experience of thousands of people with established systems)? They're guaranteed to end up with something that has unknown quirks, and that's after it's released to market years later than it's supposed to be.

    I'll allow that Microsoft is capable of good ideas. But they'd be much smarter to build on solid foundations and just bring the good ideas to market.

  • Re:who's buying? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by RingDev ( 879105 ) on Monday August 04, 2008 @12:54PM (#24468793) Homepage Journal

    I disagree.

    The IT world has shifted from centralized to distributed computing and back again a number of times. Neither of which has truly dominated the entirety of the market. It is because each design has its own advantages and disadvantages.

    The big disadvantages of the PC are it's price, maintenance, and 3rd party purchases. The price of PC's though, has plummeted over the last few years and longevity is increasing. Sans a monitor and printer, I can build a top end PC for under $500 today that would have been a $1000 endeavor 5 years ago, or a $2500 task in the late 90's. Maintenance is becoming easier and easier as AV software producers and MS have bundled automatic updates into the OS, so there is no more patching process, just click 'OK' and reboot once a month and you're set. 3rd party software is also relatively insignificant. Getting a full office suite is often a really cheap add on for buying a new PC, or if you want to save your pennies, OSS alternatives like Open Office will fulfill all your needs with out dropping a dime.

    With those disadvantages largely nullified, it dramatically reduces consumer motivation to look for something new, something different, something that is going to require them to change their behavior or spending habits.

    The disadvantages of a thin client granny machine still remain: Security, Contracts, Functionality. Since it's a thin client, all of your documents and data are stored somewhere else, which means at some point in time, someone, somewhere, other than you, is going to have access to them. Whether that person is an admin tech restoring a backup and poking around to make sure things restored correctly, a hacker looking for personal information, or an FBI agent with a warrant, it is a real threat. And depending on SaS, your data and services are only as good as the company behind the contract you signed. It was just last week that Yahoo pulled the plug on their SaS DRM music store, screwing all of their former customers out of the products they paid for. Imagine what would happen if your provider went bankrupt and downed the servers before you had a chance to get all of your tax documents stored locally? And there is still the existing limitation on functionality, because as you pointed out, there is no existing solution, nor is there any realistic solution on the horizon, to solve the bandwidth issue.

    Cloud computing can work, but it is not for average consumers, nor wide spread use on the internet. There is no need for it there.

    Software as a Service does have some basis for distribution to consumers, but largely it is just a way for incumbent software developers to lock in consumers so that they don't wind up running into issues like MS has with Office.


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