Is there life after Windows? Microsoft hints of new Midori operating system

Various Web sites are name-dropping, and the name is Midori, a new Microsoft operating system "incubation project" taking shape at the company's Redmond, Washington headquarters, our sister site, AccountingWEB.co.uk reports.

News of the Midori project was leaked to David Worthington of the SDTimes Web site, who described Midori as a "componentized" operating system that could handle processes that were defeating Windows.

The timing of the Midori leak may have been a PR response to the thrashing Windows and its current version Vista recently experienced at the hands of Gartner analysts Michael Silver and Neil Macdonald.

Their argument was that Windows was failing to cope with trends such as virtualization, where multiple operating system are run on a single computer, and that Microsoft would need to re-engineer its core product into smaller modules that could operate more effectively in a distributed, web environment.

Midori has evolved from Microsoft's work on another prototype operating system, Singularity, and is designed to make it possible for online applications to interoperate with Windows programs. One of the advantages of embedding virtualization into a Windows successor will be that it will give users a way to work around the compatibility issues that have dogged Vista implementations.

In his extreme technology blog Microsoft technical evangelist David Tesar said Midori would work with what he called the "common desktop of the future" and be able to support up to 256 "cores," along with 1 terabyte of solid state memory and unlimited storage space by reaching out to computing power in the cloud.

"The estimated time frame on when this project will be complete cannot be disclosed, but it certainly will be long after Windows 7 is released," he added.

But InfoWorld's Randall Kennedy was not convinced the Midori project would amount to much. "Windows Midori, with its fresh-start architecture and pipe-dream compute model, will never see the light of day," he predicted.

"What will happen is that the myriad concepts associated with Midori will trickle down into staid old Windows and be implemented as User Mode extensions that further integrate the OS into the cloud (you can see some of this today with Live Mesh)." The old Windows NT kernel will "trudge along, perhaps getting a few tweaks here and there", but the essential DNA was likely to endure, he wrote.

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