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NYT: Microsoft should start fresh on next Windows

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.



By Electronista Staff
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  1. wymer100

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2003

    +3

    Makes sense...

    I've been wondering if MS would do this or not. The big problem is not the technical ability to pull this off. It's actually the management of such a product. The product manager would have to watch for feature creep that leads to bloat. When such product was first unveiled, the roar from people wanting a specific technology not being included would be deafening. Only by a good manager trusting the engineers and keeping unusable technology at bay, could MS actually pull this off. I just don't have confidence in MS being able to pull this off, especially with the current CEO. He's more about marketing than technical skill. Apple was able to do it since they only had 1-2% marketshare at the time. It wasn't until AFTER the switch to OSX did the marketshare increase. If Apple would have waited until now, OSX would have been much more difficult to pull off.

  1. Monde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    +3

    Oh Yeah

    Someone figured out what most Mac users have known for about 8 years. Namely, MS's OS is hopelessly outdated due to it's reliance on antiquated pc software architecture.

    Starting over is a good idea, but it is a pretty safe bet Ballmer will sit idly by. After all, Apple isn't relevant with only 5 percent of the market-share, or is that 7? While all that cash is pouring in for those second rate OS(s), there is little to no impetus to introduce a new, innovative operating system based on modern coding standards. Microsoft has feet of clay and is in unfamiliar territory when it comes to developing something original.

    At this point there is no way to defend either XP or Vista from criticism, though many PC fanboys try. No doubt they all drive 70s era autos, listen to Duran Duran and enjoy the other creature comforts of the period that the base code of their flawed OS was authored in. Old, in and of itself, is not inherently bad, but the code that windows has been built on sure is. If you fanboys truly love what MS is up to, you should petition, cajole, pester and pressure MS to do better by you.

    In the mean time, I'll stay a decade ahead with OSX.

  1. eldarkus

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Feb 2004

    -2

    Monde

    Old, in and of itself, is not inherently bad

    When youre speaking about technology, old = bad.

  1. Monde

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Jan 2004

    +2

    Not so....

    Newtonian Physics is pretty old, but good enough to land a man on the Moon. Likewise, the underpinnings for OSX is UNIX, not a kid in own right, being initially authored about 4 decades ago. OSX uses it, ergo, old doesn't always equal bad. The coded underlying XP and Vista is another matter. Old in this case is truly old, but more accurately bad, With XP & Vista leveraging DOS-hence my "feet of clay" reference.

    BTW: I like shiny new fast tech too.

  1. eddd

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Dec 2001

    +1

    one important element

    Aside from having their "backs to the wall," there was another important dynamic that allowed Apple to make the jump to OS X: a rabidly faithful user base. By the time Steve Jobs came back to Apple, the remining user base consisted of die-hard Apple fans who were committed to the company and its survival. Otherwise, a beta like OS 10.0.0 would never have had a chance. Apple users took it in stride, and gave Apple the soft reception needed for such an endeavor. I don't think MS would get that sort of reception from the corporations that rely on Windows. I think it's fair to say that loyal Apple users can take pride in helping Apple make the jump.

    As for Microsoft, as long as the management that enjoyed monopolistic power is still at the helm, they won't have the energy or innovation to do such a thing. In other words, MS will re-write Windows from the ground up when Ballmer & co. are gone. That won't be any time soon... perhaps only when they are truly "beleaguered" and on life support.

  1. flur

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Apr 2002

    +2

    Hmm..

    Microsoft, making an extremely smart technological move? Pardon me while i DOUBT. Heh.

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