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Microsoft Operating Systems Supercomputing Windows

Microsoft To Release Cloud-Oriented Windows OS 209

CWmike writes "Within a month, Microsoft will unveil what CEO Steve Ballmer called 'Windows Cloud.' The operating system, which will likely have a different name, is intended for developers writing cloud-computing applications, said Ballmer, who spoke to an auditorium of IT managers at a Microsoft-sponsored conference in London. Ballmer was short on details, saying more information would spoil the announcement. Windows Cloud is a separate project from Windows 7, the operating system that Microsoft is developing to succeed Windows Vista."
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Microsoft To Release Cloud-Oriented Windows OS

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:37PM (#25222557)
    Causes Rainy Day
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:40PM (#25223589)
      ...lacks silver lining.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by Tubal-Cain ( 1289912 )

        No, it has one []

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Windows Cloud OS??? This is bull excrement. I want to OWN my programs (like Word 2000), not have to keep renting it "off the net" year after year after year.

        Hmmm. Looks like I'll still be using XP 'til the year 2020.
        I refuse to touch Vista and Cloud sounds like garbage too.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by rtb61 ( 674572 )
          Cloud computing OS, jumpin' jehosaphat, vapour ware becomes a reality, the mind boggles, a vapour OS, to run vapour ware applications all on vapour ware hardware ;D.
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Fred_A ( 10934 )

      Don't people usually close Windows when it turns cloudy ?

  • by Drooling Iguana ( 61479 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:37PM (#25222563)

    This sounds like vapourware to me.

    • Actually, sounds like Ulteo []. I've played with Ulteo and it is pretty close, and technically MS should be able to throw enough people behind something like it.

      • by Stan Vassilev ( 939229 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:48PM (#25222753)

        Actually, sounds like Ulteo. I've played with Ulteo and it is pretty close, and technically MS should be able to throw enough people behind something like it.

        Hell no. Unlike some people, Microsoft knows what "OS" means, and it's an OS: process management, drivers, the entire party.

        If you want to get intot he right mindset about this project, consider it a spinoff of the Windows Server family (but will likely be a subset powered mostly or entirely by .NET).

        • by MightyYar ( 622222 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:52PM (#25222825)

          and it's an OS: process management, drivers, the entire party.

          Please click my link... Ulteo can be installed (and looks a lot like Ubuntu). I only ran in in a virtual machine, but it seemed like a pretty nice little setup. My big complaint is that they have apt-get, but you really can't use it or stuff breaks.

        • That's strange. (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Unlike some people, Microsoft knows what "OS" means, and it's an OS: process management, drivers, the entire party.

          Surely you're mistaken. If I recall correctly, several years ago Microsoft testified that their web browser was an integral part of the O/S [] during an anti-trust hearing or some other little nuisance distraction. Or maybe I'm just imagining that.

          • You're making the common mistake of assuming Microsoft (or any company, politician, or person you just picked up at the bar) actually believes what they say.

        • by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @05:30PM (#25225063)

          I suspect you're closer than you think.

          Some time ago, rumour had it that Microsoft had allocated ~300 of its best engineers to work on Midori [], a product based on its Singularity research OS.

          Singularity, for those not familiar with it, is a highly impressive piece of work. It's not actually Windows at all, in fact it bears absolutely no resemblence to any existing OS architecturally and didn't even support graphics when we were last able to look at it. But it was a ground-up fresh new OS that had the following characteristics: entirely .NET based (with extensions), extremely robust and extremely high performance.

          In particular, Singularity is able to go about 30% faster on I/O intensive apps than traditional server operating systems like Linux and Windows because it doesn't use hardware process isolation, but rather does everything in software. Hmmm, an OS with no graphics support, no applications, but which can run .NET applications far faster than the competition. Sounds basically ideal for a server OS or "cloud windows" if you ask me.

          • Honestly, I assumed resources were being pulled away from that to focus on Windows 7, but I do remember reading up on the project.

            I think you're right however.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by el cisne ( 135112 )
      "Cloud computing"?? I'd say "water vapour ware".
    • Project/Code Name?




    • A "Windows Cloud"? Damn straight I'm holding my breath.

      • A "Windows Cloud"? Damn straight I'm holding my breath.

        ...until your face turns BSOD?

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        A "Windows Cloud"? Damn straight I'm holding my breath.

        Blue Stratocumulus of Death? Are you implying they are "seeding the cloud(TM*)"?

        *predictive, Wonder if FSF could snag it,,

    • What it is... (Score:5, Informative)

      by elfguy ( 22889 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:36PM (#25223513) Homepage

      It's not new and it's not vaporware, it's also not Windows on the cloud. It's called Microsoft Mesh. It's been in used for many months, although only the first few services are available. Right now you get PC to PC and PC to Web synchronization of data. It's pretty much the best document remote access / sharing solution right now.

      MS wants to add applications too, which many people compare with Google Docs but it's not that at all. It's basically a way that people will be able to use the same app from anywhere, have multiple people use the same application thru this mesh. How it will end up working is.. as of yet unknown.

      The upcoming PDC conference in October will be all about Mesh, which is what Balmer is referring to.

  • Wonder if (Score:5, Funny)

    by thammoud ( 193905 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:41PM (#25222615)

    they have an HTML version of the Blue Screen Of Death.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:41PM (#25222625)

    It seems so obvious now.

  • What is it? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Enderandrew ( 866215 ) <enderandrew AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:42PM (#25222637) Homepage Journal

    Is this a web-based back end for hosting apps on a server? Is it an online platform of application infrastructure? Is it a toolkit/API for writing apps like Ruby-on-Rails?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by David Gerard ( 12369 )

      It's Windows Vaporware []. It's a dessert wax and a floor topping. It's any marketing spin at all that they think might put people off competitors' products.

      Anyone can talk up a hand of five aces []. Producing it when called is a bit harder.

      Perhaps it will have $DATABASE_FILESYSTEM!

    • by truthsearch ( 249536 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:07PM (#25223055) Homepage Journal

      This is the pre-announcement to announce an announcement. You'll have to wait for the actual announcement to find out what the hell it is.

    • Re:What is it? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Aram Fingal ( 576822 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:22PM (#25223283)
      I think you're missing the point. It's all about buzzword compliance.
    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      My guess based on the article is this is some mutant client server thingy.
      Hate to be so technical but this was in the article.
      "Ballmer was dismissive of Google, saying Docs and Spreadsheets has "relatively low usage" and that users want richer features in an office software package. "We want software more powerful than software that runs in a browser," Ballmer said."
      Well if you are not going to run in a browser then you must have some other type of client.

      My best guess is it will use SilverLight instead of

      • I think that is a very good guess. A full client would be Windows only, however Silverlight-in-a-browser could mean Linux supported via Moonlight.

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          Until they prevent it at some point.
          Just remember IE for the Mac.

          • The Mono group own all the copyright on all the Moonlight code, and part of the EU agreement is Microsoft agreeing to develop some interoperability projects. Rolling back on the specific pledges they made in regards to Mono and Moonlight would likely bring down EU fines.

            Microsoft is likely to remain largely closed off in other regards, but I don't know if they are going to suddenly try to close off Silverlight to block Moonlight users. Even they tried, it isn't like they can close off the source code for

      • My best guess is it will use SilverLight instead of AJAX. So you may see something like Office and Money written in SilverLight that you can run in your Browser as long as you are running on Windows.

        And, probably, very soon that's the only way you'll get Office or Money, and if you don't want to host your own server and buy server licenses (which will be pricey), you'll just rent the software which will run from Microsoft's servers.

        Microsoft's been looking to switch from selling software to Software-as-a-Se

    • Or is it a rebadged copy of Windows Web Server 2008.

  • by goltzc ( 1284524 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:43PM (#25222663)
    I don't even know if that was sarcasm.
  • hohum (Score:5, Funny)

    by BigBadBus ( 653823 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:44PM (#25222683) Homepage
    Somehow, putting the word "vista" in the same sentence as "succeed", for whatever reason, just seems plain wrong.
  • RMS was right! (Score:5, Informative)

    by MPAB ( 1074440 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:45PM (#25222685)
    • That was my first thought, as well. :) I'm actually surprised they didn't name it "Windows Clouds" as a marketing reference to their default desktop background with clouds in it - and as a way to embrace and extend the cloud concept. :D
    • by macraig ( 621737 )

      Indeed. As I said in response to that article:

      Stallman is right that it's a bunch of evil-doing corporations campaigning to make it true: cloud computing, as it's called, is a scheme to further legitimize and sell consumers on the notion of "web apps" and paying not once for a software license but rather paying every month, as if software is no different than a cable TV subscription.

      Software publishers have had this goal for years now; they've been envious of the consistent cash flow and healthy balance sheets of "content" publishers, and so have been eager to re-brand software as content and sell it as such to consumers. Attempts to do this directly have repeatedly failed, perhaps because of people like me who saw the ulterior motive and made it public. Since attempts to sell software directly by subscription have failed, the latest plan is to use the concept of "web apps" to sell people on software as content; once people habituate to web apps, they'll habituate to the notion of paying every month for software as well.

      Web apps are all about making more money and acquiring more control, not providing better software or services. Any tool that furthers that goal, including "Windows Cloud", is something that should be burned at the stake, along with the people that would choose to employ it.

    • by Tatsh ( 893946 )

      Damn you! I was going to post the following.
      'Cloud computing is a trap!' and I have good sources: []

  • by aldoferrel ( 666560 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:46PM (#25222707)
    sounds like Airborne viruses.
  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:57PM (#25222897) Homepage Journal

    as if millions of voices suddenly cried out in labored puns about windows and clouds and nobody had the sense to silence them.

  • Cloud computing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MisterSquirrel ( 1023517 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @02:58PM (#25222909)
    It's a marketing phrase, designed to encourage you to offload your computing to the Cloud. The Cloud is where someone else controls your information, not you. Stallman says it's a trap. I'm inclined to believe him. When MicroHard starts promoting it? All the more reason to be leery of it.
  • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:00PM (#25222951) Homepage

    I haven't been following this stuff.

    Is it safe to assume that some competitor has just released a working toolkit for developing cloud applications that works pretty well? And that Ballmer needs to get the pointy-haired boss to stop Dilbert from using that toolkit, and redesign the mission-critical project around Windows Cloud?

    • by Ilgaz ( 86384 )

      Look at what they are afraid of: []

      See that category list with links? It will keep growing and growing and the only thing you DON'T need to run cloud based client computing is the bulky XP or Vista. Launching "Office" on a EeePC is going to Google Docs site for example. It is all WWW standards and other standard networking products.

      They figure there is no place for them with current offers. Back in 1995, Marc Andreessen made the biggest mistake by openly saying "Netscape will soon

    • Is it safe to assume that some competitor has just released a working toolkit for developing cloud applications that works pretty well?

      Its not so much a dedicated toolkit, but Amazon has just announced that Windows Server and SQL Server are in private beta on EC2 and will be generally available on that platform by the end of the year, meaning that Windows software not developed for the cloud can nonetheless be moved into Amazon's version of the cloud soon. So, yeah, there is something for them to be headin

  • but are those my financial records on that torrent server?

  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot&davidgerard,co,uk> on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:02PM (#25222981) Homepage

    I am so excited about $NEXT_VERSION of Windows []. It will go beyond just solving all of the problems with $CURRENT_VERSION, it will be an entirely new paradigm. Forget about security problems, those are all fixed in $NEXT_VERSION. And they're finally ridding themselves of $ANCIENT_LEGACY_STUFF.

    Also, there'll be $DATABASE_FILESYSTEM. It'll be awesome!

    I wonder how $NEXT_VERSION will compare to $NEXT_NEXT_VERSION.

    ("Windows Cloud"? Good freakin' gosh, what do they have for a marketing department?)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Etrias ( 1121031 )

      Good freakin' gosh, what do they have for a marketing department?

      The same guys who thought pairing Seinfeld and Gates could match up to the awesome juggernaut that is John Hodgman.

  • So, um... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rewt66 ( 738525 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:02PM (#25222983)
    He's saying that in a month they're going to announce (not ship) something, but he can't talk about it now? So he's telling us that he's not telling us something, but sometime later he will? Why doesn't he just, like, not say anything?
    • He's saying that in a month they're going to announce (not ship) something, but he can't talk about it now? So he's telling us that he's not telling us something, but sometime later he will? Why doesn't he just, like, not say anything?

      Because Amazon, knowing that Microsoft has been working in this direction, actually announced (not just pre-announced) that Windows Server and SQL Server are now running on EC2 in private beta, and will be generally available by the end of the year.

      This pre-announcement is to

  • by White Flame ( 1074973 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:03PM (#25222991)

    The whole point of cloud computing is to run your server apps on whatever is available to run it. These apps do not, should not, and typically CANNOT do any configuration or long-term storage on any individual instance they run on, so everything they do is compartmentalized through specialized IO and shared storage APIs, which can be reimplemented on pretty much anything.

    Sure, on the desktop everybody supports Windows, because they've got the drivers, Office is popular, etc etc. But going to any from-scratch model like cloud computing, Microsoft carries absolutely zero advantage or momentum from their other market saturations.

  • Are you sure you got that word right? Windows Chair has a much better ring to it, especially if it's a Steve Ballmer project,... ;-)
  • by ( 843637 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:13PM (#25223133)

    Mod me down for being a little jaded against ideas like this, but I just had to say something...

    Ok, so, it still requires the client to boot some sort of OS stub, right? It still needs a method to connect to the Internet...and it sure isn't going to be BOOTP or PXE. You'll still have to have a local OS, but will apps/games run on it?

    How is this going to benefit anyone except the corporate coffers? Of course $mega_corps love this idea! They don't care about your experience, they care about taking your money, and remaining in control.

    If cloud computing grabs hold of us, we'll have to pay per month. Even just $20/month over 5 years = $1200...heh, yeah, sounds like a superdeal for everybody! Oh, and of course they will charge more per accessible app...and don't expect to use the same app for years, you'll be pushed forward to new apps without your consent.

    Do I stream my data, like movies too?
    What about bandwidth caps? How about your throttle?
    What happens when my Internet connection goes down?
    What happens when THEIR Internet connection goes down?
    What happens when their SERVER goes down? Subverted? If someone doesn't notice?
    What happens when I need custom apps installed? What if they aren't "approved"?
    Who do I call when an app doesn't work/crashes?
    Will my printers work? How about the rest of my attached devices? Legacy devices?
    What happens if I want access to my stuff while I'm not near an Internet connection?
    Who gets to look at my operating log?
    Are advertisements banned?

    Imagine how convoluted the simple task of inserting a scanned image will be.

    A modern OS needs to be local, all this will be is just an in-browser-web-app, OR some virtual desktop a la Terminal Services.

    It won't happen. /rant

  • by kat_skan ( 5219 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:13PM (#25223135)

    Good Call, Microsoft. With five editions of Vista competing with three editions of XP and nine editions of Server 2008 (including three that are just the regular versions without the hypervisor software), plus separate 64-bit versions of everything, the Windows product line wasn't nearly diffuse enough.

    • I make it 14 versions of Server 2008. I think you have missed Home Server, Small Business Server, Small Business Server Premium, Essential Business Server Standard and Essential Business Server Premium.

      On the Vista side, you may have missed Business Embedded and Ultimate Embedded.

  • Let me guess... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by V!NCENT ( 1105021 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:17PM (#25223187)

    Windows Vista that doesn't accept being offline and can store apps in a proprietary XML like format that you can display with 'the advanced and intergrated new exiting underlining technology MS has developed and maybe patented' *cough*aka IE8 extension for offline pages*cough*.

    Sounds like something even I could have made by adding and removing some stuff in Ubuntu and remaster the image...

  • A Windows OS for Cloud Computing sounds like Kryptonite for Richard Stallman.
    Of course, we already knew that Microsoft was our industry's Lex Luthor.
  • Is it a coincidence (Score:3, Interesting)

    by SlashDotDotDot ( 1356809 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @03:23PM (#25223297) Journal
    that RMS was just railing against the cloud [] on Monday?
  • So how do I get my server into the cloud anyway? Do I need an airplane, or a balloon? How can I find a long enough power cord? Is that a blue screen, or just a reflection of the sky?

    And most importantly, can I cluster a Microsoft cloud with an Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud?

  • The writing has been on the wall for something like this for a long time. Gates has been talking for years about how this is where he thinks the future is. Microsoft has made a strong push lately for their various Windows Live products, and some of them are quite good (Mesh, Skydrive, Writer). The only thing I'm curious to see is how heavy the OS is. Will it be geared towards netbooks, like the eeePC? Or will it still require some juice on your local machine?
  • Firms really are attracted to the latest buzzwords and hot topics like a fly to a shit are they not?

    Just in case this is the latest "Netscape moment"*, the latest hot technology that might prove useful so they will carve up a slice of it for themselves and smother innovation with a deluge of patents and FUD. Stamping their branding irons into the body of development to get their logo and product into every corner.

    I'm careful to avoid mentioning any specific firm here - because this goes for them all I
    • by Shados ( 741919 )

      Its ignorance in general that does that kindda stuff... its not just with firms. Having a buzzword filled resume will net you a well paying job (if you don't mind working for idiots), having a buzzword compliant product will get you customers, etc.

      It gives people unfamiliar with the details a sense of security. "Oh! this is WEB 2.0, I can't go wrong!". "Oh this web app has Ajax! Its going to be FAAAAAAAAAAST". "Oh this doesn't have any trans fat in it, its healthy FOR SURE!"

  • Don't get confused. It is just Microsoft's response to GoogleAps ie: Google Docs, Gmail, Google Spreadsheet, Google Calendar, etc.
  • come with a copy of solitare?
  • When applications go up (or down) in a puff of blue smoke (or vapor)

  • "Blue screens, shinning on me.......Nothing but blues screens do I see....."
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @04:06PM (#25223995)
    Because it will take at least seven standard PCs to boot the next version of Windows.
  • every year since a couple of decades ago around this days Microsoft announces a "totally new" "improved" "safe this time" vapour-oriented Windows OS. At least is updating their vocabulary with the offer this time.
  • by multipartmixed ( 163409 ) on Wednesday October 01, 2008 @04:24PM (#25224227) Homepage

    This windows cloud computing stuff is already used to send millions of emails a day and so on. The product itself really isn't news, the only news is that Ballmer is finally giving it a product name so we can talk about it more effectively in the media.

    For a list of computers participating in the Windows Cloud, go here [] and request an rsync feed for the XBL.

  • What will they say to people who try to access the cloud without authorization? I think the error message should be: "Hey! You! Get off of my cloud!"

    At least it would make more sense to go with that Stones song than Start Me Up.

  • Amazon has been beta testing [] running Windows servers on EC2, and from what I've heard from Amazon, one of the challenges is creating a Microsoft license that will allow Microsoft to capture revenue from this and similar projects elsewhere.

    I wouldn't be surprised if they used a business model similar to Red Hat's cloud image [], where Red Hat gets a tiny payment for every hour the server is running.

  • From wikipedia:
    "Midori is the code name for a managed code operating system developed secretly by Microsoft. It has been reported[1][2] to be a possible commercial successor to the Singularity operating system, a research project started in 2003 to build a highly-dependable operating system in which the kernel, device drivers, and applications are all written in managed code.

    The code name Midori was first discovered through the PowerPoint presentation CHESS: A systematic testing tool for concurrent software

  • Windows "Pie in the Sky" Edition
  • There is no quote in TFA that actually mentions him saying it. It almost sounds like Windows Cloud is something like Google AppEngine.
  • The holy grail, the return to the days of the mainframe ( in concept ) where you can charge your customers for *anything* they do.

    No pay, no play.

  • Microsoft is good at making things pretty easy for developers. No, not as easy as being a script/HTML monkey but if you want to build an application for Windows using VB or build a Web site using ASP.NET, Microsoft makes it easier for their platform(s) than any other platform. A mediocre developer can fire up Visual Studio and do something pretty cool. A good developer can do really cool things. My expectation is that they'll do the same thing in the (buzzword alert) 'cloud.'
  • What's the point of writing another OS to do this? Are they saying that Windows isn't good enough to perform these "cloud" functions? If so, then why don't they rewrite Windows so it is good enough?

    Or is it just a part of their trend of having dozens of versions of each OS, like "Vista: people with small hands and lactose intolerance Edition"?

  • by Tsagadai ( 922574 ) on Thursday October 02, 2008 @02:04AM (#25229725) Journal
    I think there was a preview in the 98 start up screen. Windows on a cloud and everything. If they are bringing it back it will be more amazing than the massive hint they gave in the XP default background.

God doesn't play dice. -- Albert Einstein