updated 04:35 pm EDT, Mon June 30, 2008
NYT on rebuilding Windows
Microsoft should raze the current foundations of Windows and begin again, argues a New York Times article. The editorial notes that while Windows Vista supports a variety of older hardware and software, greatly smoothing out the cost of upgrades, this also burdens it with decades' worth of old technology, making it difficult for Microsoft to achieve any fundamental advances in its operating systems as compared to similar efforts from Apple. It took six years to upgrade from XP to Vista, notes the Times, a period during which Apple released three new versions of Mac OS X.
It is known that Windows 7 -- due in 2010 -- is is being built off of Vista's architecture, a move meant to appease businesses which have invested heavily into the current OS. Interest in a nihilistic beginning is said to have the support of company engineers however, some of whom have been working since 2003 to write an entirely new platform, dubbed Singularity. At the moment, the OS is being treated like a "concept car," according the company's senior VP of research, Rich Rashid.
The Times observes that Windows could borrow a page from the first version of Mac OS X, which alienated many Mac users in 2001 by forcing app upgrades to take advantage of new microkernel technology. Microsoft would even have an advantage Apple did not, the paper argues, in that quad-core processors and virtualization could provide easy backwards-compatibility, while freeing Windows of mountains of legacy code.