back to article Microsoft calls Intel's Windows 8 comments 'inaccurate'

Microsoft has said that recent comments from Intel software chief Renée James on the next version of Windows were "factually inaccurate and unfortunately misleading." At Intel's Investor Meeting 2011 at the company's Santa Clara, California, headquarters on Tuesday, James told her keynote audience that the upcoming versions of …

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  1. tim-e
    Paris Hilton

    So...

    Will "Windows 7 Mode" contain "Windows XP Mode"?

    1. The BigYin

      To be fair...

      ...MS has been pretty good at maintaining backwards compatibility. Have you seen the video going from Windows 1 to Windows 7? I thought it was pretty amazing to be honest.

      I'm pretty sure that one could not do that with OS X and as for any given Linux distro I don't think it would work either (downloading source and re-compiling is cheating. :-P)

      1. ThomH Silver badge

        @The BigYin

        I completely agree; binary compatibility for the Mac goes back a decade at the most and requires the installation of optional components to do so. Obviously you can argue some virtue in that from the perspective of bloat and support, but the benefits of full backward compatibility are so obvious as not to need arguing. Microsoft aren't always 100% on the nail, but it says a lot that I can remember the only two times I've had problems, and the first of those was running a Windows 2 version of PageMaker on 3.1...

        1. danny_0x98

          Shaking the Trees

          Apple does shut down parties with prejudice. One major change over the past ten years is PowerPC to Intel.

          Thing is, if you asked Microsoft, they would express their envy that Apple can do this.

          But, Microsoft is in a different business and moving the herd off of the obsolete is a problem. It means the efforts they make in improving user experience and apis are ignored by developers who have customers running the os from 2001. Plus, modern browsers are widely available and there has been a lot of work put towards improving the speed and power of web apps.

          So, Apple has to do with this report, how?

          If Microsoft is not looking at the ARM opportunity as a moment to somewhat break with the burdens of backwards compatibility, then that's it, the moment of negative mojo.

          My guess, when Windows 8 on ARM rolls around, we'll find that Intel was more correct than incorrect, but it won't be a problem to adapt old applications to the new processor, beyond the work to address different underlying assumptions about speed, RAM, and responsiveness.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Yes they have but...

        The Windows versions have all been running on processors that are backwardly compatible (x86).

        If they are going to have backwards compatibility on an ARM chip then the ARM chip will have to emulate an x86 chip to run it.

        1. ThomH Silver badge

          @AC

          Not quite true; if I recall correctly then a PowerPC version of Windows NT 4 shipped for the PReP platform in a few extremely obscure ThinkPads that could run Intel binaries through emulation. Or my memory might be fooling me, and the emulator may have been an add-on, though I'm pretty sure it worked at the system level, to emulate the binaries but forward the relevant system calls directly to the native NT implementations. Or I'm just very confused indeed.

        2. The BigYin

          @AC

          "If they are going to have backwards compatibility on an ARM chip then the ARM chip will have to emulate an x86 chip to run it."

          Really? I'm no Comp.Sci. grad, but surely it would be up to the kernel to translate whatever calls were coming through into what the CPU can deal with and back again? Or if not the kernel, then the virtual machine that is translating the byte-code.

          And if something like that is not going on - how the heck does Linux manage to support AMD and Intel at the exact same time?

          Even then, emulation/virtualisation would allow you to isolate the executing code from the underlying hardware.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: The BigYin

            > but surely it would be up to the kernel to translate whatever calls were coming through into what the CPU can deal with.

            The compiled binaries will be for an x86 chip. This means they will not run on an ARM chip. An emulator will have to translate the x86 instructions in the old binary into the equivalent instructions for an ARM chip. How the kernel handles translating system calls is irrelevant (and trivial).

            > how the hack does Linux manage to support AMD and Intel at the exact same time.

            Because AMD and Intel are compatible on the instruction set they use. This means that, for example, the effect and the hex code for the POPA instruction will be exactly the same on both processors.

      3. Volker Hett

        Yes and no

        Try this with a Navision Client!

  2. Kai Lockwood
    FAIL

    LOLZ

    Get the story straight guyz! How else are you going to pull the wool over our eyes if you don't stay on message?!

  3. Mikel
    Pint

    Miffed Microsoft?

    If you didn't want your lover airing your linens you ought not a'been seeing other people.

    1. Arnold Lieberman
      Joke

      Yipes!

      I read that as "Milfed Microsoft".

      1. dssf
        Joke

        Milfed?

        I read that as MILL-FED (think: Feed Mill)

  4. APatriot1
    Gates Horns

    Probably will...

    Virtualization will allow legacy apps to run. If Microsoft doesn't provide it, a third party will.

    1. Archivist

      To virtualise or not to virtualise, that is the question

      But virtualisation on the slower ARM chips will be dire, so I hope they don't try to include it in the OS.

      I envisage an "app store" where low cost ARM W8 apps can be purchased (or repurchased) much like Apple's model. Those real old legacy apps will just have to stay were they are or die. As another poster points out, much of MS' pickle has been due to trying to be all things to all men - I mean apps..

      1. Anton Ivanov

        Or be hosted on a x86 Cloud

        So what exactly prevents Microsoft from making a business from hosting them on Azure and presenting them to Arm presentation devices using Windows RDP (or other protocol of their chosing)?

        1. Volker Hett
          Black Helicopters

          Exactly!

          Every penny spent now on admins by any company can then be spent for Microsoft :}

          Black Helicopters, they are out for me, or my job at least.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          x86 implemented in Javascript

          Just the other day there, someone put together an x86 implemented in javascript.

          It had the instruction set and speed relative to a 486, but is demonstratable running Linux.

          Perhaps this could be developed and used as a cloud x86?

  5. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Unhappy

    FFS

    I give up. I was looking forward to ARM windows not having all the ancient baggage. Now MS snaps back at Intel by saying not only will Win-ARM not run legacy apps, but Win-ARM isn't really Win-ARM. It will be multiple incompatible versions of Win-OMAP, Win-Snapdragon, Win-Tegra, Win-why-should-I-care-now...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Fighting FUD with FUD

    Fighting FUD with FUD

  7. Head
    Pirate

    Hmmm

    All i hope for is a more common sense approach to printers, sharing and logging on to the damn OS. All of those fail with Win 7

    1. Anton Ivanov

      Welcome to ARM

      It is the joy of allowing vendors to tinker with the system

      On PC, the tinkering ended within 1-2 years from the start. From there it was all standard and all an IBM clone. That has allowed a single system to exist.

      Arm, MIPS, PPC, etc are not there yet or have been artificially prevented from getting there. So it is natural to have a Win-why-should-I-care-now...

      1. crowley

        Really?

        What about Win-ISA, Win-VesaLB, Win-PCI, Win-AGP, etc?

        Do you not think they're parallel to the SoC vendors wrappings to ARM cores?

  8. JDX Gold badge

    Windows 7 Mode

    Should W8 really need a W8 mode, are they re-jigging the underlying architecture again?

    1. ThomH Silver badge

      @JDX

      Based on Microsoft's denial and the port to ARM, I'm optimistic that they're deprecating some legacy stuff by relegating it to a Windows 7 compatibility mode. So they wouldn't be re-jigging the underlying architecture, just trying to push everyone more forcibly towards the re-jigged stuff.

      Would an all .NET Windows with all or most of Win16/32/64 in a sandboxed, legacy support environment really be a bad thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        .net windows?

        You have seen the ballache and greif caused when .net gets trashed on a vista/7 machine havent you?

      2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        @ThomH

        "Would an all .NET Windows with all or most of Win16/32/64 in a sandboxed, legacy support environment really be a bad thing?"

        Given that .NET runs on top of Win32 (or Win64, as appropriate), which in turn has to run on *some* kernel that can load third-party drivers which are currently all native mode code, your suggestion is about as realistic as running a Linux kernel on Javascript.

        But anyway, would that be .NET 1.x, .NET 2/3 or .NET 4? They are all sufficiently different that you can't run programs targetting one on top of either of the other two, and you can uninstall any of the three without affecting the other two. In fact, it's a bit like Win16/32/64.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    didn't say because

    they don't know. Which is actually fair enough - they're still developing it. Makes Intel look all the stupider (and the more desperate) that they knee-jerked all that crap the other day.

    Still MS now have a heads-up - think of all the Visual Studio licenses they can sell if they build in "transition" tools. Also, they'll be coding up an x86 emulator as we speak.

  10. BristolBachelor Gold badge
    FAIL

    Microsoft respose

    So MS says that Intel mislead us, but won't "lead" us right, so we are all still mislead...

    Great, that was really helpful MS, thanks! (Should we have expected more helpfulness?)

    "You all think the wrong thing, and you are wrong and we know but won't say. Ner ner ner ner..."

    "Oh I'm a PC by the way..."

  11. Refugee from Windows

    What legacy

    On of the problems inherent with Windows is precisely because it's forced to run legacy applications. That translates to having to leave a lot of items in, just in case someone wants to run some twelve year old piece of software. Leave that to the virtual machines please, it's time they cut loose.

    Do you count malware as being legacy? I would do so in my book.

  12. P Saunders
    Paris Hilton

    Run all my old apps in Windows 7 mode?

    Windows 7 Reality Version doesn't run most of my old apps. To be fair, a lot of old apps are DOS, Win 3.1, Win95 etc based but that doesn't give MS a license to claim "...ALL my old apps."

    Paris, 'cause she too is rapidly becoming an old app.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Funnily enough

      it was also about twelve years ago that a court agreed with Sun that Microsoft had polluted the Java standard so badly with its proprietary lock-ins that it was no longer entitled to use the word 'Java' on its products.

      That's the only reason .NET exists at all.

  13. adnim Silver badge

    Legacy apps?

    Aren't those the ones where the user had control.

    1. The BigYin

      Almost

      They're the ones still use in the Enterprise. Y'know, the folks who still use IE6 because they got systems coded to proprietary standards that can't be easily upgraded/migrated.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Alert

    What about WinCE/WinPhone programs?

    Given that they're for the ARM architecture, one would expect them to run too.

    1. Volker Hett

      No

      WinCE Programs don't run on WinPhone7 and vice versa, neither do they run on any Windows for PCs. Except well coded .net Programs which can be recompiled.

  15. Syren Baran
    Headmaster

    @Probably will...

    "Virtualization will allow legacy apps to run. If Microsoft doesn't provide it, a third party will."

    Definately not.

    The word you are looking for is emulation, not virtualization.

    Virtualization runs most code native, intercepting only relevant system/hardware calls.

    Emulation requires translation of every assembly instruction.

    The difference?

    Usually 10-20% percent performance penalty as compared to a factor 3-5.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Emulation versus Virtualisation versus Translation

      The vast majority of Win32 user mode applications can be translated at install time or load time, like .NET apps are. Anything without self-modifying code is trivial, and self-modifying code is both easy to spot (on a system that forbids data execution) and largely restricted to a handful of well-known libraries.

      It's been done before, on Windows, translating from x86 to RISC. Microsoft almost certainly still have the code somewhere.

  16. Pat 9
    Linux

    Windows 8 - Viva la Windows

    come on, the longer they allow backwards compatibility the longer you can use your old printers, scanners, games, software, etc. It makes "sense" to make everything require new hardware with the new software that way everyone makes more money off your "top of the line" setup that's 2 months old.

    lol gotta love M$ always living up to their name.

    Looking at 2 of my systems:

    2ghz cpu, 2gb ram, Windows XP Pro: Handles 1 user freezes regularly

    3ghz cpu, 1gb ram, Ubuntu 10: i've had a total of roughly 5 shell users, 100 remote users, 1 local user. never lagged. local user was using it as a desktop for proper tests (streaming video etc)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Troll

      *cough*

      "2ghz cpu, 2gb ram, Windows XP Pro: Handles 1 user freezes regularly"

      You might want to look at that then as that is NOT right. I have a few customers running perfectly behaved 1Gb Atom N270 machines they were given as thin clients as full XP systems now and they are beautifully quick and bomb proof. 1.8Ghz P4 with 1Gb ram should be perfectly useable.

      Theres a difference between Shell users and RDP users, oh lets see, a slight lack of GDI overhead for one. I've seen 386 machines handle huge numbers of shell users.

      Could it be you are just trolling?

    2. Volker Hett

      Keep your old computer, too!

      If your scanner, printer, software are still good enough, why change the rest?

  17. irneb

    Which portions are misleading / inaccurate?

    We're all assuming they are referring to the backwards compatibility and / or inter-compatibility between the ARM versions.

    What if M$ actually has a gripe with the statement that there will be a "working" ARM for each single ARM version ... AS WELL as a "TRADITIONAL" Win8 for x86's.

    Or even worse, perhaps even the "traditional" won't be backwards compatible.

    Or what else? Giving such an "open" denial could mean anything really!

    ...

    So, M$'s response is actually: "Intel said some things which aren't correct. We WONT tell you what they are!" ... To be read in between the lines: "The things which are incorrect in Intel's statement is actually going to show up even worse problems!"

  18. Bela Lubkin
    WTF?

    @Anton Ivanov

    PC tinkering ended within 1-2 years. What?!?

    8086, segmented 286, expanded memory, extended memory, 386 protected mode, virtual 8086, SMI, PAE, AMD64;

    x86, Weitek, 8087, MMX, 3DNow!, SSE, SSE2, SSEinfinity, AVX, FireStream, CUDA, OpenCL;

    ISA, EISA, VLB, PCI, PCI-X, InfiniBand, PCIe;

    ST506, ESDI, SCSI, ATA, SATA, SAS;

    RS232, IRDA, USB, FireWire, BlueTooth, Thunderbolt;

    UHCI, OHCI, EHCI, XHCI;

    CGA, EGA, Hercules, VGA, 8514, XGA, ... ... ... nVidia vs. AMD;

    Shall I continue?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Flame

      Go on!

      Pope Paul, Malcolm X, British politician sex

      JFK, blown away, what else do I have to say!

    2. defiler Silver badge

      Funny how everyone forgets MCA

      Bless the poor forgotten MicroChannel Architecture. Wee shame.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Funny how everyone forgets MCA

        Yeah, they only remember Ad Rock and Mike D.

  19. Orjan
    Megaphone

    .NET

    Um... .NET is compiled to byte code, so Win8-ARM would just need to provide a .NET runtime to permit backwards compatibility. No recompilation necessary.

    Oh, not if you've written your app in C/C++ of course, but they've been saying .NET is the future for close to a decade now.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: .NET

      Yeah, but the longer they keep saying it, the less likely it is to ever become true.

      I can remember when Silverlight was the future of the web. If I try really hard and squint, I can remember when IA-64 was the future of PCs. I can no longer remember when Windows on multiple RISC platforms was the future. It was too long ago.

      1. Orjan

        C# vs C++

        There's a lot of C# development going on out there, and has been at least since .NET 2.1

        Just for fun, go to any large IT job site and compare the number of listings you get for C# and C++. Even discounting ASP.NET work done in C#, there's a lot of deman for .NET developers, which is an indication of how many (in-house, if nothing else) applications are developed in C#

        (Personally, I prefer C++ out of habit, but C# and .NET can be quite nifty in many cases)

        1. Anonymous Coward
          FAIL

          Look again, this time properly.

          Observe that C# / .NET people command the lowest rates in the market, and are first on the scrapheap when the bear market arrives. It's a non-transferable skill; a career dead end.

          Java geeks, meanwhile, are thriving.

  20. This post has been deleted by a moderator

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Happy

      re: a protracted beta period

      Maybe they'll call it Vista 2

  21. Matt Bucknall
    Flame

    @Anton Ivanov

    A single system? Seriously?

  22. Ilgaz

    G5 can run Windows 7 with MS Virtual PC

    I remember doing a fun experiment with installing Windows 7 preview to G5 Power mac of mine (fastest one). It actually worked except choking because of completely cosmetic 512MB RAM limit which I always compared to 640K story.

    It is MS Virtual PC, MS has capability to software emulate x86. If they license or make it easy for OEM to license the technology from the company who makes Rosetta for Apple, things may even get more interesting.

    Remember legacy apps doesn't need too much memory too since developers of these didn't have face to "buy more ram instead of me fixing memory leak" type thing.

  23. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Serious question

    What are the reasons for not being able to take an x86 binary and convert it to an arm binary? Yes the layout of the files will be different, but surely you can rearrange what you need to, replace instructions with their equivalent arm instructions and add additional commands where needed? So long as the same external function references exist why would there be a problem?

    Paris, coz I'm having a blond moment.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: Serious question

      No blondes here, I'm afraid. In the absence of self-modifying code, the translation you propose is trivial, it can be done once and thereafter the code behaves just like a normal ARM executable. You'd probably lose a few percent in performance on low-end chips, but on higher end CPUs the out-of-order execution would mean that you were actually bottlenecked on memory references rather than instruction execution and so performance would be indistinguishable from a native build.

      In the presence of self-modifying code, you need to re-translate the modified code on the fly. In practice, such modifications are rare and confined to very short stretches of code, mostly generated by well-known libraries. It wouldn't be hard to handle them and you wouldn't notice the performance hit.

      To elaborate on something I said in an earlier reply to someone else, when Microsoft were pitching Windows NT on all sorts of RISC platforms, they had a sub-system called FX!32 which let you run 32-bit x86 applications on the RISC-y Windows. In the case of the Alpha, FX!32 was so good that x86 apps ran faster on the Alpha than on the best Pentium chips of the time. (The Pentium Pro put paid to all that, and indeed to the entire RISC revolution, but that's another story.)

      If Microsoft want Windows-on-ARM to be able to run x86 applications at full speed, they already have the code to do it. Intel know this. It is a credible threat to their business.

      In the 80s and early 90s, RISC-based systems chewed up the mainframe business from below. In the 90s and early 00s, x86-based systems chewed up the UNIX workstation vendors from below. Only a fool would now ignore the *possibility* that hand-held devices and low-power laptops will now chew up the desktop PC market from below. Intel didn't get where they are today by being fools.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Gates Halo

        FX!32 wasn't from MS, but it doesn't matter

        Nice writeup Ken, just want to point out that FX!32 didn't come from Microsoft (how could you think anything clever could come from MS).

        As you (nearly) say, FX!32 automagically translated NT/x86 Win32 executables to NT/Alpha Win32 executables. It actually came from DEC's Alpha people. The impact of this is that MS afaik don't actually have rights to that code (correction welcome), but in the years since then, emulation technology in general has moved on and there are probably equivalent tools, maybe even better tools, which are now available to MS.

  24. Volker Hett

    The problem I see

    When Microsoft hast to develop and support 5 totally different versions of Windows 8 it will have even more problems than Vista had.

    Same IE on 5 Versions of Windows? Or do they do it like today. One for CE, one for WinPhone7 and two to three for Windows on Intel?

    Even the track record for keeping .net in sync over different platforms isn't that promising.

    Since my customers just started moving from XP to Win7, I'm not panicking, but I expect to run a lot of virtual desktops not too far in the future.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    Legacy? What legacy?

    Remember those exe's that considered too much memory as a pirates attack vector so promptly did not run at all?

    The legacy issue is more notional than factual, more heresay than real, more marketing than productive. In essence: a dream.

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