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Windows Operating Systems Software

How Microsoft Plans To Get Its Groove Back With Win7 612

Posted by kdawson
from the you-have-no-compatibility-get-over-it dept.
shawnz tips a blog post up at thebetaguy that details Windows 7's huge departure from the past, and the bold strategy Microsoft will be employing to maintain backward compatibility. Hint: Apple did it seven years back. There are interesting anti-trust implications too. "Windows 7 takes a different approach to the componentization and backwards compatibility issues; in short, it doesn't think about them at all. Windows 7 will be a from-the-ground-up packaging of the Windows codebase; partially source, but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows."
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How Microsoft Plans To Get Its Groove Back With Win7

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  • by metamatic (202216) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:08AM (#22963274) Homepage Journal
    The thing is, the only reason most people run Windows is so they can run legacy Windows applications. A Windows that can't run Windows apps? Yeah, that'll sell like an iPod that can't play MP3s.
    • by Moryath (553296) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:10AM (#22963302)
      Why do you think people hate Vista so much? It breaks more older apps... there are still old games I love to play, that I'll dig out, but they take enough patching even to run on winxp, I don't even want to THINK about getting them to run under Vista.
      • by Maury Markowitz (452832) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:33AM (#22963718) Homepage

        there are still old games I love to play, that I'll dig out, but they take enough patching even to run on winxp, I don't even want to THINK about getting them to run under Vista.
        I'm in exactly the same boat. Sadly WINE has problems with the same set of programs :-(

        Maury
      • by _KiTA_ (241027) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:55AM (#22964080) Homepage

        Why do you think people hate Vista so much? It breaks more older apps... there are still old games I love to play, that I'll dig out, but they take enough patching even to run on winxp, I don't even want to THINK about getting them to run under Vista.
        I thought the fact that you need a small supercomputer just to open Vista + Office + IE at the same time had something to do with everyone hating Vista? Or is that just me?
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by jellomizer (103300)
          It is just you...

          Yes Vista run well on systems with high requirements and these systems 20 years ago would be considered super computers. But really lets get with the times a bit. There is no reason for OS Designers to make an OS that will run on your 486 or Even systems 5 years old. I am not saying Vista isn't a Pig but compared to OS X running on the same system (And OS X is no light and fast OS by any streach) OS X seems to run way quicker and efficent for the same amount of high end stuff... But the fa
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by mtp85 (1132905)
            Maybe I'm in a minority here, but I do expect my *operating system* to be lightweight. If I choose to run software that makes full use of whatever hardware power I've bought, I certainly don't expect it to have to contend with the OS for resources beyond what is reasonable. You say the same argument has been going on for decades, as though that lends some legitimacy to the ongoing practice of sloppy software development. There is no good reason for any piece of software to do less with more, but that is exa
            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by ConceptJunkie (24823) *
              Maybe I'm in a minority here, but I do expect my *operating system* to be lightweight.

              There's your problem. You assume it's "your" operating system running on "your" computer. By installing Windows you are agreeing to let Microsoft decide how your computer gets used (i.e., it becomes, essentially, their computer), and they want most of it for themselves, and the media companies. Windows is all about serving Microsoft's wants and needs and none about yours. The only thing that matters about users is that
    • by minginqunt (225413) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:13AM (#22963348) Homepage Journal
      While we're on the Classic Mac OS comparisons, I'd suggest that on current form, this could easily turn out to be Microsoft's Copland.

      Were it not the fact that they (eventually) got something to stumble out of the door, that honour would fall to Vista.

      The idea that Microsoft are really going to rip it all up and start again, with a company as profoundly conservative as they are, seems unlikely to me.
      • by peragrin (659227) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:27AM (#22963588)
        I would suggest that Vista is Apple's copland and MSFT just kept on beating the dad horse instead of doing something different.

        Of course Vista was supposed to be this great OS with modulazation, a real command line, a fancy database file system, that ran older windows apps in a fancy VM(Virtual PC anyone?).

        MSFT broke those promises, Windows 7 will have lots of hope but it too will fail. MSFt management is stuck in a rut and that won't change until all the managers do.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Matey-O (518004)
          If Vista is Microsoft's copeland, than the _only_ solution is for MS to make an emulator (or buy Parallels) and rebuild Windows on top of a Unix microkernel-hybrid.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ahnteis (746045)
      Just how "legacy" are we talking here? I don't much care about the software I was running 10 years ago. Oh sure, the stuff from last year I care about.

      Of course, I suspect that I'm the minority even there. Most people just want a current version of word, internet explorer, itunes, and maybe something to touch-up their photos.

      What they REALLY want is a way to transfer to the new computer painlessly.
    • by tfinniga (555989) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:16AM (#22963396)

      A Windows that can't run Windows apps?
      Were you not paying attention when OSX came out? You just hook up an emulator and seamlessly integrate an older ("classic") version of the OS with the new one. That way you can still run older apps, but with reduced performance (or, about as fast as they used to run on old hardware).

      Also, MS bought VirtualPC, and has been giving it away for free. Integration of the OS with VirtualPC would be pretty easy for MS to do. I've been waiting for it for a long time.

      Customers win because they now have an OS that's not crap. Developers win because they just re-code the UI and sell a new version. And hopefully they have better UI libraries to do it with. MS wins because Windows7 isn't a joke.

      Let's just hope that this doesn't get the same treatment that WinFS did. I'd rather they not under-promise and over-deliver, but that doesn't seem to be the microsoft way.
      • by Junta (36770) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:40AM (#22963828)
        The difference being, OSX offered something intrinsically leaps and bounds better than their predecessor *and* Apple is a smaller software market anyway. It's easier to move a small, homogenous market to a new platform (the number of 'important' apps is small and were quickly ported). The market of people sticking with OS classic is uselessly small, so no one cared much about keeping them up to date. At the time of OSX, something with the sophistication of Unix marketed to the home user in a sane fashion was unprecedented. XP came out later based on the NT line and Linux was at the time hardly in a position to be that usable for the demographic in question.

        Now Windows 7 is coming from a company that has not displayed itself as capable of meaningful innovation at the core of the platform for a while now. They promise doing things 'different' and claim it will be 'better', but they had the same thoughts and promises regarding a lot of the aspects of Vista that blew up in their face. They *thought* file copying would be faster, and quite the opposite happened because they mischaracterized a rare corner-case as being overly important. They again with Windows 7 claim multithreading will be faster, because they ditch ring 0 stuff, but who knows what the state of new hardware will bring to make perceived benefit evaporate and who knows what pain will happen. Will Windows 7 be any better than XP/Vista for the end-user, probably not. Will a compatibility layer be glitchy, with their history, probably so. Will Wine at that point be solid enough for most people to make the Linux platform of the day roughly comparable with Windows 7? Possibly.

        Hardware vendors should want Linux (making a commodity of the software stack means healthier margins), businesses should want Linux (a level playing field means your software vendor can't aggravate you even a little bit without reprisal, MS can piss off customers and not sweat it). Software development companies should like Linux, they can't ask for a more transparent set of APIs. Home users probably in general don't care, except for the market of ~100 dollar systems that are made possible by lack of MS tax. It seems the market is ripe to take a big 'screw you' like this and jump ship given the frustration anyway..
        • by CodeBuster (516420) on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:25AM (#22964506)
          If the Linux crowd really wants to make substantial headway against Microsoft then they have to begin competing more effectively with one of the strongest remaining bastions at Microsoft: Visual Studio. The .NET Framework and Visual Studio are among the best quality products produced by Microsoft today and they are definitely NOT money makers by themselves, quite the opposite. In fact, Microsoft almost certainly loses money on their developer tools and it is probably among the smallest, if not THE smallest, markets for which Microsoft produces product. However, the developer tools support and promote the platform by ensuring that a good percentage of the available software developers in the marketplace will choose .NET and by extension Microsoft. Microsoft has always talked about "developer mindshare" and dance monkey boy [google.com] even said it himself, "developers, developers, developers..."

          There is no good answer for Visual Studio + MSDN in the Linux community yet (mono is on the right path, but they are only just out of beta now) and that is one of the primary reasons that I and many other .NET developers (and there are a lot of us) have avoided Linux as our primary workstation OS and target platform. I know about Eclipse and Mono and there are a few features in Eclipse particularly that do trump similar functionality in Visual Studio. However, in the overall analysis Visual Studio is a better C# and .NET IDE and that is what is keeping many of us developers in the Microsoft fold. I actually want Mono and Eclipse to continue improving and competing more effectively with Visual Studio, but a few hundred dollars difference in OS price + cost of Visual Studio (which most of us get via MSDN subscription at work anyway) is just not worth the hassle of using a sub-optimal development environment, at least not for the professionals among us.
    • ...because all I can think of now is the fact that this would probably mean there will be people working very hard to port WINE [winehq.org] to run on Windows (7)...

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:40AM (#22963818) Homepage
      A Windows that can't run Windows apps?

      It's called virtualization. Give Apple a call, they can tell you all about it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by samkass (174571)
      Microsoft has done it before. Win16 ran in WindowsNT in a compatibility box. I suspect that's exactly what they'll do with Win32 in Windows 7. It actually makes a lot of sense to me.
    • by Reziac (43301) * on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:38AM (#22964716) Homepage Journal
      Apparently you didn't RTFA in its entirety. How does M$ plan to handle the backward-compatibility issue? by including a Virtual Machine to run all your legacy apps... exactly what Apple did with "Classic" for OSX.

      This is exactly what I've been suggesting for some time now -- a modular version of Windows (consisting of core OS, drivers, networking, and a basic browser suitable for downloading a better browser with) where I can install as much or as little of it as I wish, and a VM to run my old shit that won't work with this new modular Windows.

      Also, it's a great razor-and-blades marketing opportunity for M$: make the core OS cheap or even free, and charge for various levels of "Plus Packs" suitable for people who WANT a monolithic software experience.

      The big OEMs can make hay from that too -- basic machines with the core OS only would be cheap, while "complete solutions" (with all the Plus Packs) would be proportionally more expensive. And I'm sure the OEMs could make a good enough deal with M$ for bulk licenses that they could make a hefty profit -- exactly as they do now with preinstalled software.

      If M$ were to include VMs for both WinXP and Win98-atop-DOS, everything would be covered, including old games (maybe even DOS games!), old apps, old installers, old drivers...

      Also, there is some security imposed by running potentially vulnerable OSs/apps in a VM, if only because it's harder for malware to reach. A few malicious apps can "jump across" into a VM, but most can't.

      Also, at a guess the new core OS will be more UNIX-like or even *NIX-based, which ought to make y'all happy.... after all hasn't "*NIX is better" been the mantra around here since forever??

  • over ambitious (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zashi (992673) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:09AM (#22963290) Homepage Journal
    Over ambitious as always. I say work on improving XP . Make it more efficient and add features. Perhaps get all those other features that were promised 10 years ago working. Like WinFS. Like a dozen other things. MS is just digging itself deeper.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by fyrie (604735)
      One part of me totally agrees with you. XP really turned out to be a fantastic OS sometime after SP1. However, reading between the lines, I think MS sees the XP architecture as a legal liability.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by dougmc (70836)
      As reasonable as that sounds, it's not going to happen. Microsoft wants to *sell* you new OSs every few years, and letting you use the same OS for a decade, no matter how well it works, just doesn't make them enough (or any, really) money. Unless they do a subscription type service, which they have said that they're looking to do ...
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rickb928 (945187)
      'Fixing' XP/2000 is not an option.

      The kernel is fundamentally insecure, period.

      Most developers don't bother to write properly, forcing users to have elevated privileges to run their applications. Viruses love this.

      Windows/Outlook Express/IE together are 8still* the most efficient virus/worm/trojan/malware delivery system available currently. OLE, DCOM, etc. all make Windows cool, but also allow malicious software to run through the system like grease through a goose. MS has patched XP in particular, and
  • by Toe, The (545098) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:09AM (#22963294)
    No really... we'll get it right next time. The last five years were a mistake, but give us a few more years and we'll be more Mac-like. Honest!
  • by ericrost (1049312) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:09AM (#22963298) Homepage Journal
    I mean Cairo, I mean the next piece of vaporware that will be used to keep Microsoft in a dominant market position even though their current product is inferior to the competition in both the desktop and server space, because why migrate off when "Windows 7" is just a few years away and will be SO FAAARRR ahead of everyone else.

    Same tune.
  • by Reality Master 201 (578873) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:10AM (#22963306) Journal
    Oh, right - it's harder for force upgrades like that.

  • Drivers (Score:3, Insightful)

    by imgod2u (812837) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:12AM (#22963316) Homepage
    I'm gonna agree that this may not turn out how they want it to. Although I'm all for throwing out the old and starting new, the sheer fact that Windows has to support not just legacy software (which can be easy to emulate, sort of) but legacy hardware as well, probably means more people will have issues with this than not.
  • Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Mutiny32 (932593) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:12AM (#22963322)
    Wasn't this what Vista was supposed to do in the first place? It was supposed to be a dramatic departure from previous versions, but too much politics pressured developers into making backwards compatability a little too over-bearing on the system. This is clearly what they were trying to accomplish with Vista, but higher-ups were too afraid to do it, so they told them to half-ass everything to make it all work. After seeing what a disaster Vista has become, both on the development and user experience side of things, the Higher-ups have no choice but to listen to what their devs wanted in the first place; kill legacy. Not build it in and make it limp along half-working and hard to develop for, but just start with a clean slate and build a kickass base OS and worry about compatability with older applications and frameworks later. Basically, they tore a page out of OS X's plan of action.
    • Re:Awesome (Score:5, Insightful)

      by db32 (862117) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:28AM (#22963606) Journal
      This is indeed awesome. Now there will be precious little reason not to switch to a better OS. "I can't run XYZ" well guess what, you can't in Windows now either, your only option is virtualization and Linux tends to be a better host for that anyways, and even the virtualization platforms are free.
  • by PinkyDead (862370) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:13AM (#22963344) Journal

    ...but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows
    Sure Vista does that now.

    I seem to remember Vista was supposed to be a huge departure from what was done before - and then reality hit.

    The mistake they are making (will make) is that that they think their software is what is broken - when in fact the software is just a representation of the business model they have chosen. Their system design is market driven not engineering driven - and whatever they produce from this point on will be the same as all the others. Windows, OSX, Linux, Unix etc are all products of the ethos in the organizations in which they are created.

    If the mould is defective, there's no point is making a second one in the hope that it will turn out differently.
    • by coppro (1143801) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:49AM (#22963988)
      But that's the fundamental flaw in belief - if Microsoft takes the right approach and is really going to throw anything and everything out the window, they stand to make a massive gain.

      Example: Microsoft has better system APIs than does Apple. For an application on a Mac (with an Apple library), your choices are pretty much either Carbon or Cocoa. Cocoa only works with Objective-C code (see the recent article about them having to port Photoshop from C++ to Objective-C. This should not every happen). But Apple has chosen to make Carbon not available for 64-bit apps. Microsoft provides the C API, a C++ wrapper, and the .NET framework (which works for many different languages, such as C#). Fundamentally, Microsoft has much less of a xenophobic policy than Apple.

      Microsoft has the ability to make a platform that's much more friendly to developers and users alike. They have the ability to make a secure platform, and to address flaws that have existed in the design since its inception. If the seize the opportunity and truly redesign their system, they have the ability to beat Apple at this, and also to make a platform that is appealing to Linux users. If Microsoft produces a good operating system that is useable, good to develop on, and not overly costly, I will likely dual boot because I would like it. Apple would have to fundamentally overhaul their business methods before I would enjoy using a Mac (disclaimer: I do not use many of the things that are advertised for Macs on any platform. I use the command-line almost exclusively).

      Microsoft is currently experiencing a powerful internal conflict between the status quo and new technologies. People deride them for making attempts like OOXML and the open source covenants because they don't mean anything, but I don't think that's it. Many of the newer and younger programmers, developers, and researchers have used or contributed to open source. The traditional corporate hierarchy, though (read: Ballmer), have their own opinions. So we get compromises that look like half-hearted attempts at embracing new technologies. Microsoft will soon have to swing one way, and I desperately hope that it will be towards openness. IBM knows how to unite a proprietary business with an open perspective. Apple is a bit unsure, but thinks they do. Microsoft doesn't, but wants to. If they actually figure it out, they will regain their position of superiority.
      • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller&daimi,au,dk> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:58AM (#22964150)
        quote:Microsoft has better system APIs than does Apple (End quote)

        Are you insane? The native c api for win32 is about the worst api ever designed, and absolutely the worst api that is still in use.

        And the c++ wrapper(I asume you mean MFC) is a hack job too. Even microsoft have admitted that. And MFC is not at all a part of windows, it is a part of "visual studio", which is not part of windows. Hint: You can't make an application that static link with mfc and which are compiled with a port of gcc.

        Microsoft should just buy a full license for QT4 from trolltech, and declare that QT4.4 + whatever extra microsoft need is not the new standard for gui development for windows. (Microsoft would still be required to rewrite the part of win32 that is not cowered by QT).

      • by homesteader (585925) on Friday April 04, 2008 @12:21PM (#22965244)
        Apple has an application launch process that allows for a single application bundle to have 64-bit Intel code, 32-bit Intel code, 64-bit PPC code, and 32-bit PPC code. The OS determines the correct binary for the machine and runs it. They have a unified 64-bit/32-bit install so they only have to sell one version of the product.

        Windows 2003 R2 however, you have to choose ahead of time whether you want 64-bit or 32-bit. Then, if you choose 64-bit, 32-bit applications get dynamically recompiled at runtime, 32-bit apps get installed to a different path, some registry keys are written to custom redirected locations, applications that use regkeys can break because they don't know that Windows redirected them, and so on and so forth. So if you want to run 32-bit apps, your still better off running 32-bit Windows. This is why support for 64-bit is so lackluster, even though the product has been out for years. No one is rewriting the apps for 64-bit support. I have a GIS app running on 64-bit windows, which was the biggest mistake I've made lately. It's now running with IIS in 32-bit mode, with 32-bit Tomcat because 64-bit support was so bad.

        As far as I'm concerned, Microsoft isn't a technology company. They don't seem to be driven by technical prowess, a la HP when engineers ran things, or google now. They are a marketing firm that employs programmers.
  • by zsouthboy (1136757) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:13AM (#22963350)
    how many times Microsoft has gotten away with "Our current version has issues, but the NEXT version of x will be great! Make sure you use current version in the meantime - we're announcing this only because our competitors DO have a better product/will be releasing a better product soon!"

    I'm not even an MS hater - but damn, they have crushed more than one alternative by doing something similar, even NEVER releasing, sometimes, whatever it is they announce (I recall reading an account from a fellow ./'er stating that they did just that to his small company - funding dried up because they didn't want to compete with MS, and MS never released whatever it was anyway.)
  • Poor article (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mrslacker (1122161) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:17AM (#22963406)
    Unfortunately, the article itself is a work of fiction. The guy has lots of bad reasoning, poor memory and is desperately lacking in technical understanding.

    For once, I'd say just read the article summary ;-)
    • Re:Poor article (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Schnapple (262314) <tomkidd@viatexas.cPERIODom minus punct> on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:26AM (#22964514) Homepage
      My Slashdot-fu fails me but I seem to recall, circa 2002, an article almost exactly like this, but the speculation was on "Longhorn" (i.e., Vista). The predictions, the most notable of which was that Longhorn would completely break all compatibility with everything that came prior, was pretty much identical. Then, as now, it seemed like the single stupidest idea ever. And then, as now, it was in an article using no sources on what was essentially a blog. And then, as now, the Slashdot submitter posted it as if it was the Gospel and the first several submitters carried it as if it was going to be the death blow to Microsoft they needed. Then someone (like yourself) clued in that this is just something that some blogger pulled out of his ass.

      And the best part about the circa-2002 article was that either in that post or on another post on the site the author railed on about how you can be a 40-something programmer and lose out on a job to a 28-year-old programmer because the 28-year-old has "social skills" and you don't and don't want to because if you wanted to have "social skills" you would not have become a programmer in the first place. His "about" page revealed that he was a 40-something programmer, complete with a laughably awful photo of him, morbidly obese, sitting in front of his PC.

      So essentially this was a bitter old man making a bunch of shit up. I'd almost guess that this "betaguy" is the same person with some better web design skills.
  • by filesiteguy (695431) <kai@perfectreign.com> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:17AM (#22963408) Homepage
    I run vista on two machines - and actually like it better than that crappy earlier version of NT (XP) and even 2K. I was curious about Singularity. In any case, I love the quote from the article:

    For Windows Vista, Microsoft had to change their design and development strategy in order to comply with the DoJ and EU regulations regarding the anti-trust issues present in previous versions of Windows; specifically, the integration of assistive applications such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player into the core operating system. Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).
    Funny - I didn't know linux came bundled with ANY media player or browser. I know distributions do, but not Linux.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by N1AK (864906)
      Oh come on, do you really expect every article to specify the distributions it is referring to when the characteristic is something shared by almost all of the major ones. At best you'll get them saying Ubuntu instead (in place) of Linux, at worst they just won't bother mentioning it. You know full well what they meant, as did anyone else who knows what Linux is so why the attempt at criticism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by filesiteguy (695431)

        You know full well what they meant, as did anyone else who knows what Linux is so why the attempt at criticism.
        I criticized the article, because the article incorrectly compared grapes to oranges. (I don't want Steve J's lawyers coming down on me.) In terms of Linux, the distribution bundles various players and browsers for users to enjoy. In Windows, the browser and media player are integrated with the UI/kernel. Can I start Windows NT/XP/Vista in command line mode?
  • by Gotung (571984) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:17AM (#22963410)
    Why can't they do what Apple has done about 3 times now?

    Move to new technology, but provide a compatibility layer so legacy apps still work, even if they are in some sort of emulated environment?

    The new hardware people will be using with the new system will be fast enough that even an emulated environment will be as fast (or faster) then their previous machine.

    With the virtualization technologies available today this should be even easier to do then, say, Apple's transition from 68xxx chips to PowerPC chips, or PowerPC chips to Intel, or OS 9 to OS X.

    Were they all seamless transitions? No. But they were arguably better then then the transition from XP -> Vista has been so far.

    Microsoft seems to want to either take the course of backwards compatibility at the expense of progress, or progress at the expense of backwards compatibility.

    Why not go for the best of both worlds through emulation/virtualization?
    • by Otter (3800) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:27AM (#22963592) Journal
      Microsoft has always been obsessive about providing this kind of backwards compatibility. I would be astonished if this "exclusive" about them doing completely the opposite this time turns out to be accurate.
    • by UnknowingFool (672806) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:43AM (#22963882)
      I think Apple's market share actually helped them when it came to the transitions. There were fewer applications to migrate. Those applications that did exist were often specialized enough to make sure that they migrated. Incidentally enough moving to OS X opened up many of the Unix applications to Apple. Often times a port was needed and not a full rewrite.
      • by Blakey Rat (99501) on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:26AM (#22964516)
        Well, Apple was also pretty bad at it. Anybody who used a Mac "back in the day" remembers how many applications designed for System 6 broke when System 7 came out, and how many 680x0 apps simply failed to run on PPC Macs even despite Apple's compatibility layer. And don't get me started on the Classic environment in OS X, and the transition of Carbon apps between Classic and OS X, both of those moves broke more applications than I care to remember.

        Maybe I used too many crazy indie apps, but I'm pretty sure Apple only really tests the big players when they make moves like this.
  • by A beautiful mind (821714) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:18AM (#22963426)
    ...releases lost the game long ago. It is useless to think in an OS as a package, much less something you put in a box. Given that the OS is the first software building block of a system and due to the sheer complexity of the thing, it has evolved into a continually updated and polished piece of engineering, where you take snapshots of the development and call them releases.

    An operating system evolves and you don't sell it. You either provide it as a service, or provide it for free, so that you can hook people on some service you offer.

    I'll tell you why Win 7 will be a huge flop: since it breaks almost all compatibility between itself and previous windows releases, it has to compete on the same grounds as Linux, *BSD and OSX. Which means, that without the massive inertia of the previous windows releases, those three will kick the living crap out of Win 7 in terms of maturity, usability and price.
    • by gsslay (807818) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:31AM (#22963688)

      I'll tell you why Win 7 will be a huge flop: since it breaks almost all compatibility between itself and previous windows releases, it has to compete on the same grounds as Linux, *BSD and OSX.
      Why all the negativity? This is a good thing. For the first time in a long time Microsoft will have to sell an OS on its own merits. If it doesn't deliver the goods it will lose out to others. Rather than being part of the crowd intoning "Doom, doom!" from the side-lines, I hope that this inspires/forces Microsoft to deliver a kick-ass operating system, and everyone involved in computing can forget about the nightmare that is Vista.

      What Microsoft is doing here is a bold move. We all benefit if it pays off with an improved product.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by MrNougat (927651)
      Apple includes the price of their OS in the price of the hardware that it must run on (ignoring osx86 kind of stuff). The next upgrade version of MacOS is free; the ones after that cost money (as I understand it).

      The hardware that Windows runs on is generic. Hence, Microsoft charges for each OS license, whether it be full retail, OEM, upgrade, volume.

      How about this (for retail home consumers, not for business): Microsoft should work with CPU vendors. CPUs could be built with a Microsoft "license" built-i
  • by oahazmatt (868057) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:18AM (#22963444) Journal
    From TFA

    ...This should allow the majority of legacy applications to run perfectly, while still retaining native performance for applications compiled specifically with the Windows 7 platform in mind.
    Seriously, what is it with all the editing of story submissions? Lately every summary has a knee-jerk reaction, but if you RTFA it's not nearly as bad as implied.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:18AM (#22963448)
    I couldn't get past the first paragraph.

    "In the face of the mass-media criticism of Windows Vista, mainly with regards to the performance issues present when compared to Windows XP on hardware with similar specifications. However, very little information has been presented with regards to the performance of Windows 7, this article however shall change that."
  • Good idea? (Score:3, Funny)

    by DrugCheese (266151) * on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:22AM (#22963526)
    NOT!
  • Apple used FreeBSD and this was a success. What Microsoft needs is a service based operating system kernel, such as this one [gnu.org]. It would be nice to see it used. ;-)
  • by javilon (99157) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:27AM (#22963596) Homepage
    The first article tries to push the idea that all problems Microsoft is experiencing come from the antitrust wrist slapping they have got. This is stupid. Also takes some jabs at Apple and Linux.

    The second part of the article is telling us the real problem Microsoft is facing. Code bloat. Dll hell. They have decided that they canÂt hold it any longer and they are going to start from scratch and run the old windows apps on a virtual machine for backwards compatibility.

    There is a third part that is missing in the article. Most people around here suspects that some of VistaÂs performance problems, specifically on the the multimedia department are caused by the interference of DRM code. Is Microsoft removing all this code from Windows 7?
    • by Creepy (93888) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:55AM (#22964090) Journal
      you're referring to this in the first part:

      specifically, the integration of assistive applications such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player into the core operating system. Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).


      The first problem was Microsoft using bundling as a way to force Netscape out of the market. They tied IE to the OS after already getting sued (and losing) for using monopoly power in the market to influence hardware vendors (by giving drastically cheaper rates for exclusive contracts that forced competitors out). Part of that agreement was that they couldn't force bundling of products they own, either (which was mostly MS-SQL databases and MS Office).

      So they were already being blocked from releasing competing products and what do they do as an encore? Release a media player. The only reason this was a problem was it was in their anti-trust agreement that they wouldn't do it.

      To be honest, I don't have a problem with them releasing a media player or a browser - it was the tie to the OS that bugged me. This tie will finally be removed with Win7.

      I seriously doubt DRM code is causing Vista slowness - why would that have an effect on game performance? Maybe when sound files are loaded, but general performance is slower. I suspect it's partially tied to resource issues, especially when Aero is used (Aero uses hardware resources) and partially due to insufficient profiling of code in a rush to shove it out to market. Remember Vista was a hack - it was meant for Win7 (probably even with the VM model described) and they pulled it off the top and grafted chunks of it onto Windows 2003. That's probably also the main reason WinFS support was dropped (if there's any feature I want in Win7 it's WinFS - a metadata supporting filesystem - finally).
  • by Coryoth (254751) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:28AM (#22963612) Homepage Journal
    Some interesting comments in TFA regarding the "source" of Vista's performance issues:

    In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together; shifting more towards modular designs rather than the monolithic processes used in previous versions of Windows. This increased amount of componentization, while satisfying the DoJ and EU, also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system. On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit.
    and then later

    Another reason for Windows Vista's performance issues is the way in which Microsoft approached backwards compatibility in Vista. The operating system stores multiple copies of core system libraries, as each revision of a library typically adds/removes functions, and applications compiled with dynamic links to a specific version of a DLL file may call on functions not present in the currently installed library.
    So, apparently, Vista being slow is all the fault of the EU and the DOJ asking for a more modular design that didn't have everything tied into monolithic core systems. The thing is, unless I missed something, most Linux and *BSD already have exactly what is described: a very modular system with literally hundreds (if not thousands) of shared library files; moreover, versioned shared libraries have been around for a very long time as well. If having to split things out into many library files, and keep multiple versions around is such a death knell for performance, then surely something like GNOME would absolutely crawl. For those who say GNOME does crawl, note that, in comparison to Vista on the same hardware it flies -- it's only in comparison to to other lighter linux options that it looks slow. So I have to say, I'm just not buying the excuse. Modular functionality in lots of versioned library files shouldn't be a problem. I suspect it has more to do with blaming poor performance on EU anti-trust regulations than reality.
  • by sw155kn1f3 (600118) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:29AM (#22963654)
    No single link to source - where did they get this info, just unfounded speculations.
    Windows 7 early builds was already demoed and there's no evidence that it will be backward-compatible.
    Also WinSxS (side-by-side dlls) is what windows xp uses to maintain different versions of runtimes from the start and obviously it has little to do with OS speed.
    While reading this article the only thought prevailed - wtf author is smoking. Complete rubbish.
  • by Animats (122034) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:30AM (#22963678) Homepage

    From the article: On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit. ... In Windows 7, Microsoft will break from the Windows' norm by breaking previous API compatibility, offering new API frameworks as a native solution, and providing support for legacy frameworks (COM, ATL, .NET Framework, etc) through monolithic libraries designed to provide the functionality of all previous revisions of the modules in question.

    And so, the answer is to put everything in one bloated DLL?

    It apparently hasn't yet penetrated to the Windows 7 group that computers aren't going to get much more powerful for years to come. That stopped once laptops started outselling desktops. In laptops, what matters is size, weight, and battery life. The future is the OLPC and the Asus Eee. In a few years, laptops in bubble-packs for $89.95 will be hanging on racks at the drugstore. Microsoft isn't ready for that.

    Progress now will come from reducing software bloat. Microsoft has, in desperation, extended the life of Windows XP for little machines. That's only a stopgap measure. Now they need to de-bloat their whole product line and get their costs down.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sunspot42 (455706)
      In a few years, laptops in bubble-packs for $89.95 will be hanging on racks at the drugstore. Microsoft isn't ready for that.

      Oh, it's worse than that. In a few years Apple could be selling a cheap iPhone for $150 that's more than twice as powerful as today's model. It'll probably support an external monitor and wireless keyboard, via a little docking cradle. It'll have 160+ GB of internal storage, and the ability to connect to your network storage, at home or at work.

      So why buy a "PC" at all? If you're
  • by mlwmohawk (801821) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:31AM (#22963680)
    If Microsoft was at all smart, they would use a light weight "Windows on Windows" strategy similar to how they implemented 16 bit Windows on the NT base on a new VERY stripped-down 64 bit Windows kernel and use virtualization of every Windows application.

    In this day and age, it makes no sense to me to write another massive OS.
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:31AM (#22963682) Homepage

    However, very little information has been presented with regards to the performance of Windows 7, this article however shall change that.

    No numbers. No estimations. Just some hand waving of "they are doing something different". The article doesn't change that fact at all.

    Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism)

    Because OS X and Linux aren't de facto monopolies with 80%+ of the market.

    In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together [... this] also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system.

    Yes, because loading 1 MB of code as part of one executable is vastly faster than loading it as 1 MB of library. This is especially true when loading 10+ different executables that have the same code statically linked in. That is way faster than loading it once. More efficient too.

    No, wait...

    Besides, that code (such as MSHTML.DLL) was already an external library. Just about every operating system tends to get new libraries with major upgrades. Windows was not one monolithic executable before. Heck, it wasn't way back in the 3.11 days.

    However, Windows' lure has always been that applications from older versions of Windows are almost guaranteed to work post-upgrade; this is in contrast to older UNIX solutions where upgrading the system could render old applications useless without access to the source code.

    That has not always been the lure. The lure was it was pretty and not a DOS prompt. Then the lure was simply that there were more programs for it when it became dominant. But then again, Leopard runs programs designed for Tiger and before. OS 9 ran programs designed for OS 7. Just about every OS does that, including many UNIXes.

    During Apple's death throes back at the start of the decade, Steve Jobs made a bold decision; to replace the old, proven Mac OS lineage with a UNIX-based platform running a custom GUI.

    You've GOT to be kidding. "Proven" for OS 9? It didn't have memory protection. It didn't have preemptive multitasking. Heck, you still had to pre-allocate memory to programs at launch, didn't you? It was a fine OS design for 1992. It didn't work so well in 2000. It was a weight around Apple's neck and would have killed them if they didn't try to escape. It needed to updated, and previous projects had failed. A clean break was a very smart decision.

    Mac OS X was such a success - despite breaking backwards compatibility - that many customers were willing to put up with Apple's hardware, which ranked far below Wintel solutions in terms of performance, in order to obtain the hardware-locked user experience of their new flagship operating system.

    This is somewhat true, (quite on the laptop side later in life with the G4s), but it's also highly troll. "...in order to obtain the hardware-locked user experience of their new flagship operating system"? That's unnecessary.

    Apple took an unorthodox approach in order to offer Mac OS 9 users the ability to retain their existing software while still upgrading to the improved Mac OS X experience; the virtual machine. Essentially, Mac OS X contained 3 separate application environments; Cocoa, Carbon, and Classic.

    It's not like anyone had ever thought of that before. If only Windows had a virtual environment in it. Maybe since 95. It could have run old DOS programs. Oh, wait, it did. Then there was WoW, Windows on Windows, that let 95 and up run old Win16 programs. Emulating older stuff is a common way of handling it.

  • Well, Joel warned us (Score:4, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:31AM (#22963686)
    Looks like things are playing out as Joel predicted. [joelonsoftware.com] It should be interesting to watch.
  • by TheSunborn (68004) <tiller&daimi,au,dk> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:46AM (#22963944)
    Wow .net is already a legacy frameworks now. I guess that will surprise some .net developers.

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday April 04, 2008 @10:48AM (#22963960) Homepage Journal

    In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together; shifting more towards modular designs rather than the monolithic processes used in previous versions of Windows. This increased amount of componentization, while satisfying the DoJ and EU, also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system. On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit.
    This is the point I stopped reading the article. This is several orders of a magnitude away from being a factor as to why Vista is slow. Since it appears to be the foundation of his argument, I know the rest of the article doesn't have a leg to stand on.
  • by 2ms (232331) on Friday April 04, 2008 @11:34AM (#22964660)
    It's so funny how for over 20 years now every single time a new version of Windows comes out it's a huge disappointment relative to what it had supposedly going to be/have. Then a year after, like clockwork, we start hearing about how the next Windows is going to be so unbelievably awesome it's going to be an almost incomprehensible revolution in computing technology.

    See also Sony Playstation for another example of the same "marketing strategy".
  • Rewrite? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by plopez (54068) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:11PM (#22965992) Journal
    So it sounds like they are doing a complete rewrite of Windows. Is this correct? Isn't this what they tried to do in the past but failed at, e.g. Vista? Does MS have the institutional competence to pull this off?

    One reason OSX went so fast and was much higher quality was it was based on tried and true code bases and OS paradigms, i.e. UNIX. If MS is starting from zero (if I read the article correctly), how can they pull this off without years of development and testing and even then probably hosing it up?

    my $.02
  • by Sloppy (14984) on Friday April 04, 2008 @01:23PM (#22966144) Homepage Journal

    Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).

    Linux is apparently immune from such criticism? Linux's total lack of an integrated media player, must be awfully subtle for it to merely be "apparent." A Toyota Corolla apparently doesn't have 7 wheels (but we're not quite sure, huh?).

    This increased amount of componentization, while satisfying the DoJ and EU, also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system. On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit.

    Just how many thousands of libraries does the average application load? If you can actually perceive this load time on modern hardware, it must be an awful lot. And I guess they haven't learned the trick of .. oh, I don't know .. leaving libraries in memory until there's a memory crunch. Is this guy running Vista on 386SX with only 2 megabytes of RAM and a hopelessly fragmented 40ms drive?

    Internet Explorer can be abstracted from the Windows 7 codebase making removal/inclusion as simple as installing a normal application. .. While the anti-Microsoft naysayers out there will claim that this is unethical business practice

    Actually, I think the anti-Microsoft naysayers will say, "It's about time; you're only a decade or three behind the common everyday practices of every other computer programmer in the history of civilization."

  • Apple didn't introduce a new OS that was only source-code compatible with existing applications. Apple introduced a new API that was very similar to the old API, restricted in some areas, expanded in others, designed to run efficiently on both the old and new operating systems. They did this before the new OS was released. Then, in the new OS, old applications that were not written to the new API ran in an emulator, and old applications that were written entirely to the new API ran native on the new OS.

    At the same time they introduced two more APIs, one that was an enhanced version of the old compatible one that took advantage of the new OS, and one that was new to the new OS. They also introduced a new development environment that generated code for the new APIs.

    When they introduced the Intel-based Mac, they abandoned the oldest API, provided an emulator for existing code, and code written in the enhanced API using Apple's development tools could be recompiled in a mode that supported both Power PC and Intel processors.

    At no point was there a stage that broke code written within the previous two generations of APIs.

    I was under the impression that Microsoft was planning on using .NET this way: that .NET code would run on some future Windows platform, but Win32 code would only run in an emulator.

    Either the article is wrong about Microsoft abandoning .NET, or Microsoft is doing something completely different from Apple... and what Apple did was risky enough to start with.

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