Is Microsoft preparing one Windows operating system for PCs, tablets, and smartphones? Reading between the lines of what Microsoft execs told 15,000 of the company's partners during their annual conference event this week, it appears that a unified Windows is indeed on the way. But it's unclear how far it will go. The company is …
What will happen if they don't?
You can also turn the question around. What will happen with MS if they don't move to a single platform?
Everybody else has been doing it and some already have achieved this (Java, Linux, chrome/web-OS, LAMP stack, "cloud"). So it's about time MS did too.
But the problem for MS is that they have to do an extremely large technical overhaul, whereas UNIX based kernels and OS'es just scale from small computers to extremely large super clusters. Those designs have the advantage that they can pick a kernel and choose from a number of api's (QT, Java, Python). Microsoft first has to figure out a new kernel design and then try to press all the different legacy Windows api's into a small platform and somehow make it all secure, that's more than just ambitious. And they have to do it all by themselves, while the competition applies open source software development to do the heavy lifting for all the generic stuff end users don't care about.
If MS is smart, they design a new UNIX like kernel, make that open source, port the .NET platform to it and then let developers only use the .NET platform instead of all the legacy api's that still exists in Windows today. That way the applications for the OS will work in the "cloud", on small devices (with a .NET subset) and the OS can be easily ported by anyone to any chip. If they are not smart, well then they have not learned from their mistakes in the past and are in for a huge challenge.
It is clear MS is choosing against general consensus for the alternative path, focussing on devices and single applications instead of RIA/"cloud" (like) applications that already offer the customer experience MS is talking about bringing to customers with their new platform in the future. Next to that, existing "cloud" applications brought via open standards, don't care about what device you are using them on, leaving the customer free to choose whatever device they like (Apple, ChromeOS, webOS, some cheap knockoff with a browser from China).
It will be very interesting to see what philosophy will get the largest adoption in the next 20 years.
Because every application can be writting in C#
Except maybe, applications that start in less than 10 seconds? Or need to handle very large datasets efficiently? Or have plug-ins that you want to run across different run-time versions? The reason there are two layers in windows, Win32 and the CLR largely on top of that is that some application CAN'T be written in C#.
Seems a good idea BUT
Something so radically different from MS will surely take a couple of versions to get right... so we'll repeat the pattern of W8 being crap and W9 being what W8 was supposed to be?
Mac OS and iOS share common core
Quote: " With Apple, developers must write apps for either the iPad and iPhone or the Mac"
This is only partly true. Mac OS and iOS share a common kernel and have a huge number of APIs in common. Much of the code that you write for one will easily work on the other.
The critical difference is the presentation to the user, i.e. the user interface. This is where Apple encourages developers to take different routes, for the simple reason that you cannot use these devices in the same way.
This 'strategy' from MS sounds like the bleeding obvious, and no more or less than anyone else is doing. The only question is, why has it taken them so long to realise that?
The 'opinion' part of this article is mostly nonsense. Particularly the bit about Apple's OS strategy and how it works. Unless the author is seriously suggesting the same interface and presentation paradigms are going to be used on Windows Phone, Tablet, Desktop etc. then this "single OS strategy" of Microsoft's is going to end up looking very much like Apple's. Same core; different interface leverage according to device.
"This 'strategy' from MS sounds like the bleeding obvious,"
In which case, expect to see them attempt to patent it. They'll probably succeed, too, given how well the USPTO appears to review for prior art.
Square holes, Triangle holes, Star shaped holes, Oval holes
One old bloated round peg will fit them all.... don't mind the massive sledge, it just helps it fit better in your hole.
HTML5? I think not.
"Silverlight has now been demoted by Microsoft as the preferred interface for PCs and devices on the web in favor of HTML5"
I don't agree - Jupiter hopefully will be the convergence of WPF & Silverlight and possibly Silverlight mobile (all of which use XAML but different control libraries). *That's why* "Microsoft is planning a new application programming model for Windows 8 codenamed Jupiter, with an XAML/UI layer on top of Windows APIs and frameworks".
The Jupiter engine may also be used to render HTML5 but if you seriously want to develop native apps in HTML then you are a masochist.
What, again ? I see they're still trying to bring out The One True Language every 2 years, and expect you to rewrite everything in it.
C# is 10 years old.
WTF Are you smoking?
C# is 10 years old.
It's now on version 4 and every version was an improvement of the previous.
And you don't have to develop in C#, you can chose!
C++, F#, VB(god forbid) chose whatever you want.
And you don't have to rewrite anything. 15 years ago I wrote a small skinnable app using Win32 & C++. It still runs fine. If I wanted I could still write software like that.
Anyway I haven't seen a new true language being promoted the last 10 years let alone every 2 please enlighten me.
RE: C# is 10 years old.
"C++, F#, VB(god forbid) chose whatever you want."
Don't be dissin VB man, it makes things easy! For example:
KillersIPAddress = CSI.CoreFunctions.Trace.Person("generic_haxor").ToIP
No wonder they always want to make GUIs in Visual Basic, the rest is done for you!
Why is it I always seem to be reading articles about what Microsoft WILL be doing? It would be nice if they actually just did half of what they say instead of telling us that they will be doing it.
This is in essence the Midori Project coming to maturity. MS talked about the kernel/core idea a few years back, this just strikes me as the speech that makes the project more a reality in terms of delivery.....maybe :)
"One Big Windows"?
How big is "Big"?
Will I need 8 gigs to make a phone call?
Gut feeling is "yes" ... Gotta keep up with Cupertino ... ::sighs::
Longhorn, Cairo etc etc. Microsoft has a history of reaching for it all. Have never delivered on it yet.
So, tell me why it will be different this time. Don't spend time pointing out all the gleam and shine - we've had it all before. Instead, make a convincing argument for excellence of execution.
If they cant get a small operating system to work properly
What chance have the got for a big one?
No way do I want those shitty Tiles on my desktop.
And the tiles on the phone are a horrible, inefficient design statement.
Can't help but think this strategy is just another example of Microsoft slavishly copying Apple.
Monkey see, Monkey do.
Slavishly copying Apple, by doing it differently... If you're already running Windows 7 (not WP7) the tiles are already on your desktop - the applications you pin onto the menu bar are effectively those tiles. The point of what MS is doing is that they are making an OS that can operate on a tablet or a PC. Apple however, have two OSes to do one job.
The tiles also offer up information about their app, without having to bring up the window, so I can see on my phone, for instance what the weather is doing, if I've got any emails, when my next alarm will go off. It doesn't look fantastic on the phone, but it is very intuitive, almost everyone who has played with my WP7 has liked it after playing for a bit. Everyone I know who have gone from XP to 7 also really like 7.
Apple vs. Microsoft
The biggest difference between them that I can see is... a grand unified plan.
Apple, since Steve returned, makes announcements only when they have a product ready, and looking back, each announcement seems to follow more or less logically from the last, like they have an actual, long term plan.
Microsoft, on the other hand, seems to announce whenever someone there(or elsewhere) has an idea, long before they have a product to show for it, and often, if/when the product is released, it's significantly different from what was originally announced. Looking back, it seems like each idea is hatched in a vacuum, with no long term plan tying it all together. (At least in this century.)
At least, that's the way it looks to me.
(And note; I'm no fan of either company, it just seems that Apple has its act together, and Microsoft doesn't.)
Cutler's orginal idea
It's taken many years, but Dave Cutler's original idea is finally becoming a reality.
Cutler originally envisioned Windows NT to be portable across various CPU architectures. Only the low level kernel code, and some drivers, would need changing. But everything above it would be compiled once and "run anywhere" across all platforms.
It was shot down because at the time the hardware was slow. But Dave tried to point out, with Moore's Law, within a couple CPU generations it would work. It would have worked around the time that Pentium Processors came out. But it was to late, by that time NT had be bastardized by making it backwards compatible with W95 programs, and things went downhill from there (IMHO).
AFAIK the big problem with multi-platform support on NT was largely around the drivers. The microkernel meant that supporting different architectures was pretty easy - and early NT releases for x86, MIPS and Alpha were synchronised. But "ISA" was a nightmare for the drivers as the rest of the hardware didn't have the abstraction necessary for easily porting. Put a cheap graphics card in an Alpha box and write your own driver from the documentation if you were lucky enough to have it. NT was never slow but I do recall some stuff being dropped into the kernel for later releases because x86 has such inefficient context switching. The MS toolchain made compiling and providing different versions of software for different architecture unnecessarily painful for both developers and users.
The approach was vindicated initally by Next and later by BeOS which changed architectures three times in five years (Hobbit, Power and x86).
To all the Linux fanbois out there who seem to think this article somehow vindicates the seemingly endless wars about the free-for-all approach, where are the GUI applications running on phones, tablets and desktops? GTK versus QT probably did as much as anything else to hold un*x back from the desktop because whatever the technical merits (and most of them are debatable) a non-unified desktop experience is going to confuse users. Then there is the libraries and userland shambles of debian, redhat, suse and the rest.
You're right. MS have missed all the boats.
My Motorola phone runs Android = Linux
My Sony Bluray & Amp both run Busybox = Linux
My Toshiba TV runs Busybox = Linux
My PCs & Laptop run Ubuntu = Linux
My MP3 runs RockBox = Linux
My SkyHD box runs Busybox = Linux (check Settings/Software/Details for 109 pages of GPL & BSD licences. Linus is mentioned by name.)
My Samsung phone runs Windows Phone = Windows
My desktop computer runs Windows 7 = Windows
My MacBook Pro laptop run Windows 7 (mostly) = Windows
My Windows Virtual PC emulator runs Windows XP and RedHat Enterprise 3!
Okay, got a Linux in there somewhere.
Just perused the latest CPC flyer. Lowest cost netbook Acer Android. 9 tablets with Android, 1 with Win 7( twice the price.). No Win phones at all. As the young are all mastering Android phones, they'll go to Android computers. I'd give it 5 years. The US may be able to hold out as an Apple/MS stronghold, but with the current flurry of patent lawsuits, I understand that fewer developers are prepared to sell their software products in the US. This I believe, will lead long term, to US technical stagnation. If I am correct, the US market is only 10% of the world market for low cost smartphone/tablet products, so who is going to bother to make and sell to them except at a premium price? The US customer seems likely to be in for a rough time in purchasing power.
I have yet to see a US TV which will record to a USB stick. Patents I presume. Be interested to hear why.
My PDP-8i runs TSS/8.
My MP3 runs RockBox = Rockbox (not Linux)
SkyHD boxes do run Linux, but from what I hear they are annoyingly unreliable. Probably not Linux's fault, but it's not helping either. And it's not as if you can get in there and fix the bugs yourself easily.
How's the fish bowl?
been hinted at for ages...
NT, minwin, midori, longhorn, the CLR, powershell... (in no real order :) ) Only a lot of internal fighting and a lot of internal ignoring has prevented it happening sooner. MS has known for 15 years at least what they needed to do, but if part of your business is raking in billions a year, an upstart project with high ideals but that needs 5 years of research is not going to change its direction, particularly if the billion dollar business has to start all over again
MS would seriously have benefited from being split into at least two parts in the legal stuff in the 90s.
I have windows Xp on the home computer and windows 7 on the laptop and phone.
I would much rather have XP and the old windows mobile
I have a new windows phone and it's a piece of crap. Not only does it not include even microsofts own remote desktop it's less customizable than a android (and that says alot).
It crashes less than my android however you have to install Zune pc software to interact with it.
Why doesn't microsoft roll itself backwards into things the people actually want.
Remove the web browser from the operating system. Nobody wants to navigate their pc like it's a website. Get rid of the backends on non-servers. Joes random PC doesn't need to interact with itself to see how much space is used on a partition.
Microsoft will continue to however do what it wants and that is reduce it's overall marketshare.
I hate google but if they came out with an operating system for the home user I probably would be running it if it wasn't tied too much into chrome.
Been there, don that... (sort of)
IIRC, this is what the WIN32 API was all about... Granted, on CE it was a subset and the kernel was really poor, but remember what devices it was running on.
My PDA could do most stuff I'm doing now, already 8 years ago: e-mail, browsing, contacts & calendar, ...
here we go
you know, perhaps just once it would be nice for a MS story to attract average users and not all the anti MS crap that usually follows. I mean, anyone who seems to post anything that even hints at a positive thought towards MS gets flamed an down voted, it does show a lot about the users on this website i suppose so wheres the door to the grown ups room?
But most of us have been kicked in the knackers by M$ so many times that it still hurts.
I've wasted years of my life learning API after API, and it is always useless next time round. I no longer give a stuff about what they do. They come up with really great things like that camera gadget that goes with an ex-box, and I just ignore it because I am sick to the back teeth of being treated like a mug. Only this week I got caught out because some VBA object in excel does /not/ do what it says in the programme's own help file. They never finish anything, it's all bodge-sell-discard with them and I am sick of it.
Every damn thing I have learned about *nix still works, even fvwmcommand. There are things I learned in 1983 playing with Microsoft Xenix or in 1995 with Irix that still work in HP-UX . And Red Hat.
@Robert E A Harvey
And i completely appreciate that, its not perfect, im sure nothing they make is, im also quite sure that Apple and the open source community have other issues too.
Nobody is saying they are perfect, but to slate them and hope that they fail is just childish. They are a corporate company with shareholders that’s sole aim is to make money. And despite their short comings they haven’t done too bad with that so its not all that bad, at the end of the day if any company out there could get you to give them cash for absolutely nothing at all they would, Apple is definitely the same, you think Linux operates without any form of financial income?
If i try and explain Radhat or Ubuntu to my parents they would look at me as if i had just turned in to a giant leprechaun. But windows they pick up in seconds, its simple, its far from easy to program for as you pointed out but the end user, ie average Joe an Jane who uses it, ie the VAST majority of PC users, it just works, do we spend 1 night a month trying to fix things on it, yeah usually I do need to RD to their PC and fix it, but by an large they can use it almost without any training.
All im saying is they [MS] don’t deserve to get so much abuse, if you want to think of it in another way, MS producing products that many of us consider rubbish actually keeps many others like us in a Job, and before anyone tarns me with being an MS fan boy im not, im a sensible adult that buys the best option for my needs, this particular PC im using is running Redhat, my Phone is a Windows Phone, i have an apple tablet (tho im starting to regret that!) and my media centre is Windows 7. If folk want to live with all this MS hate then fine, but realise that potentially you may be missing out on something that may benefit you because of your narrow mindedness
@Robert E A Harvey
I feel your pain having it experienced it myself too. I would also prefer MS to support their own choices better eg. port SL to iOS & android. Luckily I hadn't had to deal with the office API's yet ;)
But it's a bit harsh saying you waste time learning stuff.
The first API is hard to learn, but isn't the 2nd much easier? I would think that the more you know the bigger your frame of reference becomes and the easier it becomes to learn new stuff.
Ooh and about the 1995 statement, I mentioned it in a previous comment but you CAN still do win 32 & C++ on windows. It will run bloody fast too. It's just that most people including me got lazy and chose the easier route.
"If i try and explain Radhat or Ubuntu to my parents they would look at me as if i had just turned in to a giant leprechaun"
I've been obliged to install Ubuntu on countless PCs because their default Windows install has been rendered completely unusable on state-of -the-art machines.
A good few of these have been for people well over sixty and they love it. Its simple, clean and does in fact just work without endless updates, defrags, virus scans and God alone knows what else.
They shouldn't HAVE to spend nine-tenths their on-line life performing ritualistic housekeeping chores on a machine they use to browse the internet, send a few emails and write a few letters on with maybe doing a spot of financials on a spreadsheet (the more adventurous).
Now they can also do their on-line banking without he horrible feeing they are about to be mugged any second.
They ALL have said exactly this: how much more they prefer it over Windows.
So rather than educate someone how to do things for themselves or rather how not to do something, you'd rather lock them up in to a system that they will very unlikely ever be able to use to its full extent and more importantly is humpteen times more complicated to deal with over a phone.
I do see your logic, stick them in a system that they have very little possibility of buggering up an all is well, right up until that point where they dont understand that the new toy they just bought for there computer doesnt work or the cover disk from a magazine that looked really intresting didnt do anything.
i dont know what people you have "helped" move to linux, or specifically Ubuntu of all things, or indeed how much of a choice they had, but my self and my staff deal with many individuals of various abilities and ages and generally speaking, almost everyone over a certain age, given the choice takes windows 7 over anything else.
Thats not to say linux doesnt have its place, it does, it excels in may ways, but for novice users it does not, take a look at the support forums for many distros and you will see my point, many every day joes and janes asking for help to do something quite basic and they get slammed with "noob" and "read the files propperly"
but this is all getting off topic, my original point is that the "windows" look and feel is very appealing to most of the general public and having that over a number of different platforms would be even more appealing, hell, as long as MS dont cock it up it might even make developers a bit more cash with cross platform compatibility. So I dont think it is justified to slate MS for doing something just because its them, some things are very good and i like the direction they are heading. (i hope there heading!)
Windows doesn't "just work"
My 80 years old father is using Kubuntu without any problems. Before I installed Kubuntu on his computer he had XP on it. In those days he used to call me almost every day because of some trouble with his computer.
I can tell you that the number of "help desk" phone calls from my father are rarities now. Contrast to the windows time is huge!
(K)ubuntu just works. Windows doesn't!
1) Comparing Kubuntu, presumably a current version, with an OS that's around 10 years old is hardly a fair comparison.
2) Do you actually expect people to believe that someone who couldn't work XP for more than a day, without having to call for help, can operate Kubuntu or any other OS without any problems?
3) Are you a Linux expert who has setup Windows for someone and it didn't work, but magically when you setup the system you are an expert in, it worked fine? (Please note: You do not automatically know Windows because you know Linux.)
(Joke Alert) Did he just stop using his computer when you put Kubuntu on it, because that's the only logical explanation of the lack of calls.
1) Considering some people prefer XP to windows 7 makes XP fair game for a comparison to a current release. In a way it is a compliment that XP is still so relevant to home users and particularly businesses.
3) I am both a Linux and windows expert and know that windows is far more trouble for users for many, many reasons.
[joke alert] Perhaps he may have stopped using his computer -- he may have actually completed the task he set out to achieve.
@AC 2011-07-17 18:36
Im just going to leave the other comments to you post because frankly i think that AC hit the nail on the head, but just to add one quick thing.
lets suppose you "80 year old" father pops down to your local computer store an picks up a nice new webcam, or perhaps a sparkely new joystick/rudder combo for his flight sim, or maybe even a new printer scanner.
he will of course just be able to plug those it and they will work wont they?
>here we go
@ac Oh, goodness. The grownup room used to be a link on the image in the masthead that says "Biting the hand that feeds IT". Must have been dropped in a site remodel or something.
Isn't it HTML5 on everything?
You know how the marketing types take several years to understand what the tech guys have been telling them, then everyone realises that by now it is old hat and nothing special, then the marketing man has to spin it in to something new and exciting.
The main problem: legacy applications
The Windows Infrastructure mostly consists of legacy applications. A big chunk of it is even based on tools from the 1990s. Some applications even took every little "technological advance" available to the developers through the decades. Those use VBX and OCX components along with .net and MS-SQL server. Even if they wanted to switch, some companies can't because their product is so old, they don't have the source code for all the obsolete components they use.
Now cut to Linux. There you have, as mentioned before, the same kernel running on anything. Since most applications are available in source code, you can just recompile them for different architectures. In fact since the operating system actually provides services, like for example good command line tools, you can write shell scripts which will simply work, regardless of the CPU architecture.
So if Microsoft wanted to switch to anything else than i386, they would either have to throw their entire ecosystem over board, or they would have to introduce emulation (as they already did on Alpha). There is no way a reasonable amount of the ecosystem is going to change.
It will straddle two form factors: PC and tablet
Having a tablet* running XP, I can assure you that the presence or lack of a keyboard & touch screen makes absolutely no difference. I have not found a single XP application that does not work on it. A tablet is just a PC. If I bought a 22" touch screen and plugged it into my own PC, would this then be a tablet? Of course not. It is just marketing speak. (It is a shame that the ludicrous price of the previous bunch of tablets stopped people buying them. The benefit/cost equation was just too low.)
*Fujitsu Siemens Lifebook, It is probably the oldest device on my employers network,
?Why do I still use it? 'Cos I can and it is very handy at scribbling notes on.
In principle ...
The idea of a unified OS makes sense -- so it will either not happen or will be implemented badly.
All MS has to do is just pop a minimal Linux kernel in there, an abstraction layer to make equivalent API calls from existing languages keep working and then gloss it over with whatever the current MS "look du jour" happens to be and they should end up with something that is at least secure and robust. It would also garner some kudos points.
But that's never going to happen.
And what of the HAL? licencing issues.... i could go on but im not, ive just re read what you wrote and i see you have already condemed something thats not even made it off the drawingboard.
I pitty you, being blinkered is unfortunate, what would be intresting is if they landed this propperly and gain general market exceptance for a fantastic product line, i guess it would still be crap. Im curious to know if you own anything with a MS patent licence, if they are so crap then i guess not, but more than you probably realise has MS IP in it, lets take mobile phones as an example you wouldnt be using android would you? no of course not, because an increasing number of OEMs are now having to shell out for them using there IP, im almost positive that MS and Apple have phone cross licence agreements too.
As i said already, Im not saying MS is perfect because its not, far from it, but the only person to lose out by completely ruling out anything MS is yourself especially since its not even out yet, wait for it, give it a month of usage then say what you think, because i get the feeling that your wearing rose tinted glasses when it comes to them.
You've misunderstood. Totally. I'm an MS dev in my day job (amongst other things) and it has paid for lots of nice things over the years. I'm not dissing them. I'm speaking about their frankly shit systems architecture. There's no getting away from it.
And don't pity me: I don't actually require it, thanks.
But thanks for the nice mindless trolling rant, though. It was a scream.
Stoop so low
And now you're going to claim that having IP is the mark of a good product! Yes AC we can see your comments all the way down the thread, (FUD-dy duddy)
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