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back to article An NT-powered Windows Phone? Not so fast...

Sources close to Microsoft have confirmed the veracity of last week's Windows Phone leaks – but say no decision has been taken to base the mobile platform on the Windows 8 kernel. The information that leaked last week concerns 'Apollo', the next-but-one release of Windows Phone. It's all genuine, but should be thought of as more …

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Anonymous Coward

Nice links, especialy the first one that lists microkernels with •Symbian being one of them. If only Nokia had........

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Silver badge

Obviously more would be required than just porting the kernel, but if they could make it so you could actually run Windows PC applications on the phone, then they'd really have something unique among smart phones to offer people.

Is it something people want? I don't know, but at least it would be something.

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Silver badge

Windows PC applications on the phone ?

The Nokia N800 (which I have) and N900 (which is a phone), and probably the N9 run Linux based Maemo/Meego. They can run Linux desktop applications such as Abiword, Gnumeric and even OpenOffice.org under Debian.

Gnumeric is particularly effective. Abiword and OO.org really require a proper keyboard, fortunately they can be plugged in or use Bluetooth.

So, no, desktop applications on a phone would not be 'something unique', and would be about 5 years late for that.

Also I have written Python/Glade/SQLite applications that run unchanged (identical source code) on Linux desktop, N800N900 and Windows. I was hoping for N950 but that looks unlikely now, Nokia will go belly up before they can switch back to Maemo/Meego to save themselves.

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Boffin

Not so fast...

Main problem with doing what you say in Maemo6 (N9/N950) is that they don't use GTK+

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>> they don't use GTK+

"""To support the hundreds of Hildon-based Maemo applications, users have to install the Hildon library ported by the maemo.org community."""

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Pirate

Nokia spaguetti development strikes again

I believe that functionality was initially thrown as a bone to the Maemo/N900 community but when they weren't seduced with MeeGo AT ALL it became vapourware and was never delivered. At least it seems to have been evicted from Maemo6 (Harmattan/N9/N950), which is purely Qt.

From talk.maemo.org:

"Harmattan is really renamed Maemo6 with the Hildon UI replaced by Qt. It should keep backward compatibility, unless your application relies on a Maemo component replaced in Harmattan by Qt component. Which one are these? Only Nokia devs know.

MeeGo (as meego.com) on the other hand uses GTK+ for the Netbook UI and Qt for Handset UI. There are no plans on supporting Hildon on Netbook or GTK+ at all on Handset.

But you may roll your own GTK+ installation for Handset UI, as there in none in standard, so you will not conflict anything."

I don't believe the N900 community will bother to do a Hildon library for Harmattan now, because most of them sneer at the N9 and feel just fine in the GTK+ castle with their beloved N900 (until it breaks, that is). Most of them seem to be desktop developers that like to take a desktop in their pocket, not mobile developers. From that POV, the N9 (and the Swipe UI) do not work.

Don't know what this Hildon has to do with AndyO's Hildon: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/11/21/nokia_hildon_the_great_lost_platform/

And for the rest of the UI sad story of foodfights, why Maemo and Moblin were both GTK+ but because of Symbian (and Nokia GTK+ library developers' idiocy) Nokia had to use Qt, another AndyO saga: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/03/10/nokia_ui_saga/

Thankfully QtQuick/QML seems to be very, very good. Unfortunately, it's been killed with extreme prejudice. Only the lucky ones with an N9/N950 will ever see it.

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Bronze badge

they might've done it too?

Did Redmond ever consider porting Vista to ARM too?

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What's odd about using an NT kernel?

"It may seem odd that a mobile phone should be based on the same technology that underpins a powerful desktop operating system."

Really? Are you being serious? Aren't both iOS and Android respectively based on the same technology as Mac OS X and Linux respectively? Let's see... On my (jailbroken) iPad, the 'uname -a' results in

Darwin iPad 11.0.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.0.0: Tue Nov 1 20:34:16 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1878.4.46~1/RELEASE_ARM_S5L8940X iPad2,1 arm K93AP Darwin

And, on my Android phone, 'uname -a':

Linux localhost 3.1.10-ICS_Passion #1 PREEMPT Sat Jan 28 08:40:57 EST 2012 armv7l GNU/Linux

It would seem that both iOS and Android use the *same* technology/kernels as their workstation/server bretheren.

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N/A

Right, however, Microsoft is so special that the IT common sense stuff does not always apply well to what they do.

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It's only odd that MS is NOT running the current NT kernel

This isn't the 1990's when they forked NT and then massively crippled it to make WinCE work on the anemic devices of the day. That was understandable at the time. But the best phones out today outclass the *BEST* server hardware that NT ran on 15 years ago. :) To that, NT3.5.1 itself ran AWESOME on limited hardware. A 486/100 with 24MB of RAM did fine. My smartphone has dual core 1.5Ghz proc with 1GB RAM. I would think NT3.5 would run great on it. It was the NT4 Ring0 driver aberration (better known by the Bond Girl alias - "BSODs Galore") which ruined the cross platform thing, and it just got fixed with Vista returning to a Ring3 driver model. (possibly the only good part about Vista...)

Why Winphone7 didn't get rebased on the current Win7/2008r2 kernel code is a bit of a mystery to me on a technical level since Win8 phone is now creating further continuity problems for MS upgrades. It looks like Marketing are the ones that wanted to be out to market faster though, and I'm sure a new kernel would have been a long pole item causing a six month ship slip. But, now that a large chunk of MS Marketing is getting laid off, maybe engineering can do their job properly again without interference? :) Current Winphone 7 users are *likely* still screwed though with Winphone8's release unless MS cripples Winphone8 to maintain backward hardware compatibility.

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Linux and Mac share same design philosophy

Linux and osx share the same design principles (Unix) and those design principles (down to apps) makes it possible to scale down to tiny smartphones without changing anything, just removing unnecessary parts.

You know the 'run level' thing on Linux, that is the part Microsoft lacks and some real hackers/ engineers from ms admits its their weakness. There is no clear border where gui starts or basic io ends.

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Boffin

Android uses *a* Linux-based kernel, but it has been disowned by the Linuz kernel developers. It's not really Linux, and what's on top of it is REALLY not Linux, Jim, not as we know it.

The only phones that can claim that are the Nokia "excretus est ex altitudine" Maemo line: N800, N900, N9, N950. And some bizarre old things like OpenMoko.

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Happy

Nokia's got this all to themselves.

Looks like all the traditional phone vendors are getting off the failtrain before Apollo. Too hard pushing this river uphill, and Nokia's preferred vendor status chafes. No way do they want Nokia maps on their phones.

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Anonymous Coward

NT kernel space

> The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of reliability.

The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of security.

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re: NT kernel space

> The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of reliability.

> The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of security.

Both answers are correct, for the same reason, and it wasn't just the video. They pulled most drivers into the kernel space which blew cross-platform compatibility as well as security/stability. I don't necessarily disagree with the decision *at the time* for desktop gaming performance (as they were trying to kill off the even more insecure Win9x), but for servers? You ever tried explaining to a customer that their mission critical system went down due to a bad video driver on a headless server? (answer - it doesn't go well because they keep saying "but no monitor is attached "...)

With Vista they went back to Ring3 drivers, and these days I really wish they'd just stayed Ring3 the whole time...

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It will come with a BIG red box ( 8'x3'x3')

About 8 ft tall with lots of REALLY old windows ( that work ) and an umbilical chord to Steve Balmers brain

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Windows

When you still employ the guy who wrote the NT kernel...

Why not ask him to do it again for the target hardware?

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JPO
Thumb Up

Phone 7 apps will run on 8, since those are running on XNA / Siverlight. No matter what OS there is. I would even say the this was the reason Microsoft did not allow native apps on Phone7.

And presuming Windows Phone 8 has same kernel, then it will have sama user mode driver model (including display driver) as Windows 7. And that's microkernel.

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Silver badge

"a wish-list, than a concrete roadmap"

Translation: We'd like to do that, but we are having as much trouble getting that to work now as we did before with "Longhorn"

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Linux

Windows phone 8

Now compatible with all your favourite windows 8 malware.

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Anonymous Coward

War Over Before Battle Engaged

If it's really true that MS are just now pondering which kernel to use for Win Phone 8 ...

Game over, man. Far too little, far too late. WP8 will be Insanely Late, buggy as hell, compromised to death. And competing against iOS 9, Android 7.2 "Plum Pudding", the Kindle Über...

Also, MS won't be able to keep their captive partner Nokia on life support until WP8 is shippable.

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Childcatcher

or they don't want confusion around WP7 as they push Win8

think about it, if they posted now that WP8 will be a whole OS change and a newly ported OS at that while they are telling everyone WP7 is what devs and users want, it'll stall WP7 sales. As low as they already are, they can't afford to stop that. Add to it how long it will take to get Win8 cut and chopped down so it won't need 8 ARM cores and 4GB of RAM to run they have to try and pull the plug on any discussion of WP8.

tough place to be as they are ramping up Windows 8 and targeting tablets with that marketing. Thanks to Android and the iOS, tablet OS's are implicitly tied to phones and phone apps. They really must dump the WindowsCE OS to compete so no matter what they say, WP8 has to have a new kernel from somewhere and it is far more likely to be attempted to use Win8 kernel. No matter what they say to the public.

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FAIL

Let me get this right...

MS are saying they will put the same NT kernel that was in XP. Is that right?

Remember Windows XP? It's the OS that was so full of holes that MS spent the best part of 10 years trying to fix it and then replaced it. TEN YEARS!

And now they are wanting to unleash it onto a market where anti-virus is unheard of, unsecured networks are commonplace and scams are a daily problem.

Seriously?!

MS are imploding under their own stupidity... EPIC FAIL

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@I_am_Chris

Umm, no. Its either the NT 3.5.1 kernel which was decent/stable (and ran on next to nothing for hardware), or the Win7/Win8 kernel which are decent/stable. (just kernel, don't get me started on 8's Metro... !@#$)

The bastardized NT4-WinXP kernel is not as easily made cross-platform due to a really buggy driver model on top of it (with the associated security issues), and probably several other hard-coded ("quick get to market!") bits when they ventured away from the original microkernel design work dating from the late 80's. The Kernel driver model related security issues you reference were introduced in NT4 in 1996. Technically that part was fixed by Vista in 2007, so that would be 11 years. If you count in the couple of years taken to fix Vista to be usable as Win7, then it would be 13 years to fix. :)

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Facepalm

Thanks, now I get it

They don't want confusion around WP8, so they don't announce their intentions, they just release a swirl of contradictory rumors.

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