New MS operating systems?

29 July 2008

OK, chalk this one up the the Weird Coincidence Department.

Last week the news was all about the new Mojave operating system. In essence, Microsoft gathered a group of people with negative impressions of Vista, all of whom were running XP instead, to a meeting where they were individually shown what they were told was a forthcoming new Microsoft operating system, codenamed Mojave. They were then asked for their impressions of it vis-à-vis Windows XP. To a man (or woman) they were highly complimentary about this new operating system and much preferred it to their XP.

At which point it was revealed that Mojave was nothing more than that reviled Vista.

This certainly was a fun experiment, and I understand that Microsoft might use the result of it in their promotions in the future.

Of course, as many people have pointed out, the main reasons that Vista has gained the reputation it has is because of driver issues and underpowered machines, especially in the early days (and I can relate to that, since I removed Vista from my Dell notebook over a year ago now). But now that SP1 is out, the driver issues have largely disappeared, and people have newer faster machines, these are no longer problems we face particularly. And, yes, my desktop runs Vista and my wife's notebook (a year younger than mine) runs Vista perfectly well, Aero and all.

And then today David Worthington of SDTimes published an in-depth article about a really new and real operating system called Midori (Japanese for "green"). This operating system seems to have grown out of the Singularity operating system, an experiment in writing a managed code OS done by Microsoft Research. Rumors have been slipping out for a little while (see Mary Jo Foley's article for one), but this is the first in-depth discussion I've seen.

This OS is particularly fascinating. Not only is it all written in managed code, but it's written with concurrency firmly in mind, both task-based and cloud-based (an always-present network is assumed). The managed code means the OS gains better security (no overwrites or memory trashing), something that still causes problems even now. Apparently it's also being designed to run well in a Hyper-V host.

Midori certainly sounds more intriguing than Mojave, but a caveat is that, if it ever appears at all, it'll be a long way away. Windows 7 it is not.

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