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Windows 8 ARM Will Not Support Legacy Software

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the we-only-have-so-much-lipstick dept.

Intel 381

An anonymous reader writes "Intel, speaking out of turn and damaging its intimate relationship with Microsoft, has revealed that legacy x86-compiled software will not work on the ARM version of Windows 8. Microsoft has promised that the Office suite will be available on Windows 8 ARM, but beyond that, nothing. While this means there won't be many compatible apps at launch, it also means this will be the first full-bodied version of Windows that won't (initially) be susceptible to viruses and malware..."

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Wow (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176002)

Who would have thought?

Re:Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176012)

Who would have thought?

those of the African persuasion, of course

no surprise (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176004)

Given that its for tablets with a touch UI. I doubt there's a huge demand for x86 software from the 1990s to run natively on such devices. Most of the apps they'll run are likely to be web-based with processing performed on the remote machine.

Re:no surprise (1)

Dasuraga (1147871) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176044)

While this is obviously not aimed at desktops, couldn't this version of windows run on ARM-enabled desktops? If so, then the ideal market for such (low-end, low-consumption computers) would have a lot less incentive to go over to windows 8

Re:no surprise (2)

Stellian (673475) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176710)

While this is obviously not aimed at desktops, couldn't this version of windows run on ARM-enabled desktops?

And if not desktops, maybe TVs, info-kiosks, ATMs etc. = semi-embedded machines with a limited scope and not really needing 100% backward compatibility. It's enough for a few critical pieces of software to be recompiled. Smart, internet enabled TVs and refrigerators ruining Android might become a huge growth market in the near future, and Microsoft clearly wants a piece.

Also, let's not forget about dynamic translation. Android applications themselves aren't naive ARM, rather JIT-compiled bytecode. I don't see why Microsoft can't take the same route as Apple (Rosetta) and reinvent Windows on ARM, while keeping low-performance backward compatibility for performance insensitive applications.

Re:no surprise (1)

Dr Max (1696200) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176808)

It will be the same operating system that is running on the x86 desktop and laptop processors (that is the advantage full blown OS (also means you can have touchscreens on your classic style computing)). Its just that its been re-compiled for the different architecture and because all the legacy applications are compiled for the x86 platform it wont know how to use the arm processor. If you could get access to the binary of an older windows program it could be re-compiled for the platform. I'm really surprised this is news worthy did any one honestly think it was going to be backwards compatible? Its like trying to run a PlayStation game in an Xbox.

Re:no surprise (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176056)

Okay, but if it doesn't run Windows software then what's the point of it? They should at least give it a different brand or it's just going to sow confusion.

Re:no surprise (2)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176234)

So it can integrate with your Windows desktop without needing itunes or some other third party sync utility? So it can run applications developers with the familiar (to the millions of windows developers) .net framework?

If the hardware is decent, battery life is decent, and the UI/integration is slick, the OS it runs is irrelevant. Instead of "why run windows", why not? Microsoft have Windows already developed and clearly cross architecture.

Re:Why buy a Window's device... (2)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176306)

...if it won't run Window's software?. Most everything else is a simple compile away from user's being able to be run on any device they own. Microsoft is really going to screw the pooch here if they don't ensure compatibility with existing software.

Re:Why buy a Window's device... (2, Interesting)

gnarlin (696263) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176576)

So uh, has wine [winehq.com] been ported to windows yet? Just asking ;)

Re: I think the point here is that... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176632)

...there should be no need for it. When a program proven to run on for single processor running at 100mhz can't be run on on one emulating the same at 3000mhz it is time to lay blame squarely at the foot of the emulation environment itself.

Re: I think the point here is that... (1)

Nemo's Night Sky (1051346) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176792)

WINE = Wine Is Not an Emulator http://wiki.winehq.org/FAQ [winehq.org] I used to expect so much more from slashdotters.

Re:no surprise (2)

sdnoob (917382) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176082)

incompatibility with existing applications will be the driving force of the inevitable "windows 8 arm edition app store" and the pile of money microsoft expects to make from it.

they already have windows for arm (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176122)

they already have windows for arm, they've had it for a decade. it's called windows ce, or pocket pc, or mobile, or whatever. the catch on that has always been that it doesn't run x86 windows apps.

oh and you can already buy laptops for 100$ that run (probably pirated) version of windows ce.

Re:they already have windows for arm (3, Interesting)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176248)

The problem with those cheap wince based laptops, is they're advertised as running windows, which means people buying them often expect that they run the same windows they may already have on a desktop, or have at work etc... Once they get it, they are usually severely disappointed and this usually results in a very high return rate.
Another ARM version of windows is likely to do the same thing, disappoint users, fragment the brand and end up with lots of returns...

An ARM based version of linux on the other hand could sell very well, if its properly marketed... Users would have no preconceptions about it, and take the devices for what they are. Just make sure there is a proper linux distro, not the crippled versions that came with the first round of x86 netbooks... And make sure the benefits of linux are well advertised to users, especially the package manager.

Re:they already have windows for arm (1)

Psiren (6145) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176268)

People didn't want Linux netbooks, because they couldn't run the applications that they wanted on them. That's why so many were returned, and Linux quickly disappeared from the netbook scene. Why would you think it would be different this time around?

Re:they already have windows for arm (2)

ThunderBird89 (1293256) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176316)

Because this move resets the software scene. There won't be "applications that they wanted on them" anyway, so it really is a golden opportunity to throw a proper, Joe User-oriented Linux distro out there.

Re:they already have windows for arm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176518)

lol

dream on. the reality: joe user will take a look at the joe-user oriented linux distro (most likely shipping with the underwhelming xfce or, if they're pushing it, the frankly bizarre-to-joe-user gnome 3 or, even worse, unity) and say "what the fuck is this?" and go to the arm windows 8 so that he has a familiar interface and an app store (probably) from a company he may not trust but at least knows.

Re:they already have windows for arm (3, Insightful)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176378)

People who bought netbooks didn't really wanted a netbook - what they wanted was a very small, mobile and cheap version of the notebook computer they used before (hence in the end most netbooks came with Windows). Unfortunately this combination makes for very poor usability.

This is what killed the netbook market and why the iPad is reigning supreme. It takes a while for people to figure out that what they originally wanted from a particular product does not perform as they originally envisaged.

Re:they already have windows for arm (3, Informative)

moronoxyd (1000371) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176360)

Windows CE only shares the name with desktop Windows.
It's basically a different OS.

Windows 8 (as I unterstand) will be the same OS compiled for a different platform.

But yes, Microsoft has experience with mulitplattform OS': Windows NT ran on Alpha and other architectures.

Re:they already have windows for arm (1)

91degrees (207121) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176416)

(probably pirated) version of windows ce.

Why do you say that? A licence for CE is actually quite cheap. Not sure about current pricing but CE 5 started at $3.

Re:no surprise (1)

DrXym (126579) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176374)

Given that its for tablets with a touch UI. I doubt there's a huge demand for x86 software from the 1990s to run natively on such devices. Most of the apps they'll run are likely to be web-based with processing performed on the remote machine.

That depends. I can see the benefit of a tablet which has a touch screen UI while you're carrying it around but which reverts to a full desktop when you dock it.

As for apps, I doubt there are many enterprise orgs which don't have at least 1 application either thick client or browser based app with an ActiveX control or hardcoded IE6/7 dependencies in it. By ignoring reality Microsoft run a serious risk of alienating people most inclined to use the device.

I hope for Microsoft's sake that they're working on something akin to LLVM so that C++/C apps can be rebuilt in an architecture neutral manner. There really shouldn't be a need these days for most apps, with the exception of performance critical ones to really care what they're running on.

Re:no surprise (1)

Nursie (632944) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176570)

Software from the 90s will be fine as soon as someone builds DosBox for it!

It's software from the 2000's that's not .Net that's going to be the problem.

They went further than that (4, Insightful)

symbolset (646467) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176010)

Intel went so far as to say that legacy software would "not ever" run on ARM. To do that they have to have to have the stick of software patents to prevent an ARM->x86 emulator.

This is not good for Microsoft. It means their relationship with Intel is irretrievably broken. The WinTel alliance is no more.

As consumers we can win from this. Without the constraint of making the bloated Windows OS run on their chips, Intel can dive into low power. Without the glacial software development lifecycle in Redmond Intel can bring out new stuff faster. That's good stuff.

The distant threat is that when Intel seeks a market they want all of it. They're late to this game and their Atom chips don't cut it yet - their promises are some 24-36 months out, and ARM and Microsoft are not going to be standing still in the meantime. They're promising "best in class mobile video tech" but I swear to God if they buy Imagination Technologies to cut out ARM mobile chipset vendors I'm going to fucking do everything in my power to kill them. That would shift Intel from the "Invention of technologies" camp to the "prevention of technologies" camp. I'm not OK with that.

But if what Intel means is that they're going to let the legacy go and deliver the best low-power chips they can, that's a good thing. Your PC doesn't have to burn the watts it does. There are lots of folk in the third world with valuable input who don't have watts. It does not take a kilowatt gaming rig to work spreadsheets any longer.

Re:They went further than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176192)

"To do that they have to have to have the stick of software patents to prevent an ARM->x86 emulator."

20 years too late?! I've got DOS 3.3 running amusingly fast on a PC-AT emulator under ArcEm (an ARM2 emulator) on a PowerPC Mac here.

Re:They went further than that (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176292)

The trouble with Intel is that they are tying themselves to x86, which carries with it a lot of legacy cruft that ARM doesn't have to deal with... The end result is that, in order to remain competitive with ARM Intel have to keep a step ahead on fabrication technology, since an ARM fabbed on the same process will always have an advantage.

Re:They went further than that (1)

iserlohn (49556) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176584)

If you have to increase the amount of L2 and L3 cache and implement pipelining to get the type of integer performance that x86/AMD64 processors are achieving for this type of workload, then all of the savings that you should automagically get from ARM pretty much dissipated. The translations between the CISC x84 instruction set and the internal RISC core of modern x86 CPU are relatively efficient.

The only reason I see that MS is moving to ARM is because from a power consumption and scalability standpoint, it is more efficient to have a massive cluster of low-power cores rather than a handful of high-performance cores. This is most likely due to the pressure from mobile/tablet and cloud arms of the business.

Re:They went further than that (3, Informative)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176330)

As consumers we can win from this. Without the constraint of making the bloated Windows OS run on their chips, Intel can dive into low power. Without the glacial software development lifecycle in Redmond Intel can bring out new stuff faster. That's good stuff.

Yeah, it was Windows holding them back, not the laws of physics. Nice catch.
Oh, and Windows is better with power than any of the Linux distros I've used.

Re:They went further than that (1)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176512)

With a [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maemo]little optimization[/url], Linux can be /far/ better with power than Windows ever can.
Just because you're running a desktop-oriented distribution doesn't mean the underlying system's poor.

Re:They went further than that (1)

Pseudonym Authority (1591027) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176618)

Just because you're running a desktop-oriented distribution doesn't mean the underlying system's poor.

Whelp, better not compare it to Windows like symbolset did then. It's a bit unfair to compare a desktop OS to an OS running on a phone or something, surely you can agree?

Re:They went further than that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176776)

They're promising "best in class mobile video tech" but I swear to God if they buy Imagination Technologies to cut out ARM mobile chipset vendors I'm going to fucking do everything in my power to kill them.

Well, then we'll use ARM Mali graphics (http://www.arm.com/products/multimedia/mali-graphics-hardware/index.php) instead I guess.

.NET (3, Insightful)

dowlingw (557752) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176018)

It's not like Microsoft don't want you to use .NET anyway. All Microsoft need to do is support the CLR runtime and framework under the new version and anything running on .NET that doesn't call unmanaged code will work straight away. Same for anything running on Java, and it's not like that doesn't run on other architectures already. That means productivity apps like OpenOffice/etc will also work. It's not all doom and gloom!

Re:.NET (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176172)

True. x86 is dead and hopefully this will speed that up.

Re:.NET (1)

Phaeilo (1851394) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176174)

That's exactly what I thought. However, isn't the "full version" of .NET too big (a few GB) for mobile devices?

Re:.NET (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176250)

Give it 12 months and it won't be, even if it is today.

Re:.NET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176278)

.Net compact framework, it already exists and already is deployed on mobile devices.

Re:.NET (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176534)

That's exactly what I thought. However, isn't the "full version" of .NET too big (a few GB) for mobile devices?

not even close to GB size - check out http://www.hanselman.com/smallestdotnet/ for more information on sizes for different targets.

Simple solution... (3, Insightful)

indeterminator (1829904) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176026)

... the software publishers will just compile their stuff for ARM. How hard can that be?

Re:Simple solution... (1)

ocularsinister (774024) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176138)

Some of the legacy projects I've worked on would have a hard time supporting 64bit x86, never mind an architecture that changes the endienness. Yeah, yeah... you can say what you like - this software was written in the 90s for DOS and went through various 'upgrades' to get it working on Windows. People were 100% confident that the code would only ever have to compile for an x86 machine, so they simply didn't worry about it - even if they were aware that things like byte order or number of registers are not guaranteed. At this point the only sensible solution is to bin it and start again, but that's hard to sell to the management and customers in terms of cost and lead time.

Conversely, open source has a great history of supporting multiple architectures - that's why there is a complete software stack for ARM (and MIPS and PowerPC and...) more or less as soon as the hardware products hit the shelves.

tl;dr Yes, there are plenty of old but never the less very useful and actively used Windows applications that can't simply be recompiled for ARM.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176344)

Hate to burst your bubble, but Windows CE did and still does (there are still new products with it) run on ARM. Endianess is not a hard problem in high level languages.

Additionally I had to laugh at this:

While this means there won't be many compatible apps at launch, it also means this will be the first full-bodied version of Windows that won't (initially) be susceptible to viruses and malware...

All the malware that ran under Windows CE can probably be ported to Windows 8 ARM with little to no effort.

Re:Simple solution... (2)

RobbieThe1st (1977364) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176526)

Erm, how does Windows CE(and arm-compatible windows CE binaries) have anything to do with legacy x86 applications?

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176622)

I hate to burst your bubble. I've been fixing many OS projects to fix compiling running on powerpc. The sad reality is that many people simple do not want to bother. I agree, it is not a hard problem, but you apparently have no idea of the stupid assumptions many people make. Also, many high level language software relies on all kinds of weird libraries that are written in C. Apart from convincing the publisher of the library to make arm versions, many of them will need to deal with endianess.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

marcansoft (727665) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176664)

ARM supports both endiannesses, and most if not all heavyweight mobile devices these days are configured in little-endian mode. To user-level C software not using inline asm, ARM looks very similar to x86. The main difference is ARM support for unaligned accesses is nonexistent in earlier chips and incomplete in newer ones, but you can have the OS trap those and emulate them (at a significant performance penalty, but depending on how often they happen that might not matter).

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176154)

Quite, if you repeatedly cast pointers to ints. See x64 migration.

Re:Simple solution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176352)

With sensible, modern programming languages not that hard. But that's the beauty of it, vendors simply have to recompile their applications and *bam*: new product to sell since customers cannot continue using the old version. It's going to be like the iOS rush all over again.

Re:Simple solution... (1)

nstlgc (945418) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176730)

Nobody needs to know. Stop pissing on our Pissing-On-Micro$oft parade.

first full bodied nonx86? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176030)

Don't want to spoil the act, but historically there were several non x86 versions of windows nt before (dec alpha comes to my mind, and others...)

Re:first full bodied nonx86? (3, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176356)

PPC, MIPS, Alpha, IA64 and i860 i believe...
What do all these have in common? Noone used them.

At the time, these architectures offered vastly superior performance to x86, but couldn't run legacy windows apps or legacy apps designed for other OS that typically ran on the hardware. Since there were so few users, virtually no commercial software was ever ported to non x86 windows and very few people ever even bothered to port open source code to them.

MS' biggest strength - proprietary lockin, is also their biggest weakness...
If your going to move to an incompatible hardware platform, and lose access to your legacy software in the process then you'd be a fool to run windows... Linux already runs on ARM, will not lock you in like windows is designed to, costs nothing, and already runs 99% of the same software the x86 version does.

And ofcourse if everyone is running open source code, the architecture becomes irrelevant and we can switch again very easily if something better than ARM comes along.
It's also possible to have a range of architectures for different purposes, ARM or MIPS for low power devices, perhaps x86, IA64 or Alpha for high performance devices where power usage isn't a concern.

Re:first full bodied nonx86? (2)

stiggle (649614) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176538)

I used NT4 on Alpha - there were even beta copies of Windows 2000 for the Alpha.
It also had FX!32 which was fairly decent at allowing x86 binaries to run under Alpha NT4 which meant companies didn't need to port software specifically for the Alpha.

A little late (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176034)

This is something that should have been done with Windows Vista. And then with Windows 7. Let's hope they DO do it with Windows 8. Perhaps even get rid of the 32 bit OS side of things.

Really? (5, Informative)

cbope (130292) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176040)

This just in, x86 and ARM instruction sets are NOT compatible! Everyone panic! Blame MS! No, wait... Sony must have had a hand in this!

File this under no shit, Sherlock.

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176084)

This just in, x86 and ARM instruction sets are NOT compatible! Everyone panic! Blame MS! No, wait... Sony must have had a hand in this!

File this under no shit, Sherlock.

No shit, Sherlock, indeed. Lucky Apple that the PPC and x86 instruction sets were compatible when they switched processors. ;-)

Re:Really? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176766)

Who would want an ARM (based computer) that would take a week to compile the kernel? Ooh!, that's what they want you to have so you can only look at the web and watch movies, and stop developing software that erods there business model. And Slashdoter's you all know Xbox-360 runs on powerpc with a NT kernel, and you know that INTEL has allways quickly jumped to a lower nod so there processor do not look bad. IBM's PowerEN which has 16 64-bit cores made at 45nm only uses less the 50 watts, which will be used to filter every ones communications on the internet. So we know that if INTEL can quickly jump to 12nm maybe they'll be able to build quick processor that also are of low wattage. But i'll take an INTEL toaster any day then an ARM snail.

Re:Really? (2, Informative)

stms (1132653) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176124)

Then what does Rosetta do on Mac?

Re:Really? (1)

oiron (697563) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176682)

It's a VM, naturally.

One could conceivably write a VM for Windows 8 to emulate x86 on the ARM, but that wouldn't be native. It would be a VM.

I see this as some Intel FUD sowing about the whole ARM craze, really...

Re:Really? (-1)

sqldr (838964) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176142)

ARM doesn't even have an FPU (although it does have a matrix multiplier), so even emulating an x86 fir anything other than integer logic would be a challenge.

Re:Really? (3, Insightful)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176214)

ARM doesn't even have an FPU (although it does have a matrix multiplier), so even emulating an x86 fir anything other than integer logic would be a challenge
"ARM" is not a processor, like "Intel" is not a processor. High-end consumer ARM processors (ARM9 for instance) have something called VFP, which is ... an FPU. Here [wikipedia.org] is the wikipedia article.
Do you think iphone/ipad/android devices do their 3D computations using software floating point ? Are they doing that using fixed point ? You are stuck in the 90's it seems.

Re:Really? (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176350)

A challenge, which was mastered before, like in the Basic for the commodore 64.

But it could be a performance hit.

Re:Really? (1)

makomk (752139) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176476)

I'm guessing Windows 8 is probably only going to run on the models of ARM chips that do actually have an FPU, then. Most of the ones used in stuff like tablets and smartphones tend to anyway, though I think the FPUs in some of the slightly older ARM chips are a bit slow. (Kit like ARM-based routers and the various plug computers out there doesn't tend to have one though. There are even some low-end ARM chips with no MMU, which tends to make running any modern OS impractical.)

Re:Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176484)

ARM doesn't even have an FPU

Wait what? Then what is this 'VFP'-thing I keep hearing about then?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture#VFP

Re:Really? (1)

ocularsinister (774024) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176208)

While this isn't only Microsoft's fault I think the Microsoft and Microsoft third parties have been complacent about the supremacy of the Intel architecture. Open source, conversely, has a complete software stack for many architectures - and most of that is written in C or C++! Why can't closed source achieve the same?

In any case, this article is about Intel scaring people away from ARM, and not really about Microsoft or its ecosystem at all.

Re:Really? (1)

smash (1351) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176312)

Uh...

OS X -> PPC, Intel x86, Intel x64, ARM (iOS)
Windows -> x86, x64, and previously MIPS, Alpha, PPC

Just because its not released, doesn't mean its not maintained internally "just in case" (no doubt, as is the case with MS on ARM).

Re:Really? (1)

drolli (522659) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176380)

Yes, actually i am quite certain that all big OS companies will have some internal demo version running on the major processors families. If you dont support a lot of HW, recompiling a OS is not so time consuming. And i personally found compiling/running a program on different architectures a quite useful metric of code quality. It keeps weird assumptions localized to specific places.

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176262)

"Everyone panic! Blame MS!"

Everyone SHOULD blame MS. They're about the only OS *attempting* to be "serious" that hasn't deliberately encouraged a cross-platform strategy, when it's been known for decades that x86 can't last forever.

The upside is that everyone will now see Windows on a level playing field, without an entire industry of third-party apps behind it. That'll be good for the competition.

Its not just about instruction sets (3, Interesting)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176770)

This just in, x86 and ARM instruction sets are NOT compatible! Everyone panic! Blame MS! No, wait... Sony must have had a hand in this!

File this under no shit, Sherlock.

I think what intel is saying is that MS are:

  • not planning to include any sort of integrated x86 emulation/translation in Win8/ARM (maybe you'll be able to run QEMU or something*, but it won't be seamless like Rosetta on the Mac)
  • that Windows 8 is going to drop some of legacy API support available in WIndows 7 - and while Win8 x86 is going to offer a "classic" mode this won't be available on ARM (...I wonder if this is a reference to the existing virtualization-based legacy mode in Win7/Vista?)

Of course, what Microsoft gets and Intel apparently doesn't is that Win8/ARM's main competitors will not be other Windows machines (as was the case when Windows NT briefly supported other processors such as Alpha) but against iOS and Android in the mobile world and Linux in the server world. If Win8/ARM netbooks can run "geniune" MS Office and Win8/ARM servers talk "genuine" Active Directory and Exchange Server, along with lots of "modern" windows software written in .NET, some people will choose them over iOS, Android or Linux. Intel will surely be the solution of choice for corporates wanting to run their 1990-era dBaseII systems - but even that market will eventually fade away.

As for tablets and smartphones - they'll need custom-designed software anyway so legacy is irrelevant.

(* Hell, I was running x86 PC software via an emulator on my ARM3-based desktop back in 1990 - but the ARM3 was a desktop superchip that smoked the 286s of the day... maybe ARM will make a triumphant return to the desktop, but it will need a 64-bit makeover and a FPU).

Well, of course (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176070)

I think Microsoft—after repeatedly failing in the tablet market with Windows—has finally noticed that precisely what allows the current tablets to succeed is that they don't try to act like a touch-screen desktop. There's no point in them bringing compatibility with old apps!

Re:Well, of course (1)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176134)

While their multitouch / slate support is shoddy at best, I believe their business model is what kills it. If Microsoft only volume-licensed & driver-signed OEMs with the explicit intent of not pre-packaging bloatware (or at least offering an option to auto-remove it once it's out of the box), Windows would suck a lot less ESPECIALLY on low-powered devices. (but it still won't be great until they get proper package management & a real file system :P)

Re:Well, of course (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176382)

actually there is a point.

the real question is if it's compatible with windows ce/pocketpc binaries or not.

hmmm (-1, Troll)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176090)

Anonymous Submitter: check
Subject is Microsoft: check
Posetd by Timothy: check
Pathetic snype at Windows: BINGO!

Seriously man, that's just fucking sad. If you hate Micro$oft (see what i did there?) so much, perhaps you shouldn't be an "editor" on a technology site.

Re:hmmm (1)

minus9 (106327) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176522)

Didn't Microsoft buy Snype recently?

You're never gonna give this up are you Rik?

Re:hmmm (1)

Rik Rohl (1399705) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176668)

Well I'm never going to let you down am I?

Re:hmmm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176758)

I disagree. One could run an entire technology site nowadays without needing to refer to Mickey$oft. Thanks Apple ($341 bn market cap), thanks Google ($170 bn market cap) and thanks to all those trying to give us a better future.

One of the reason I like to come to /. is to see those threads about the newest viruses giving full admin-rights on Mickey$oft OSes and read about the botnets made of millions of Winbloze machines.

And then it's amazing to read all the comments by paid M$ astroturfing fanb0is who still haven't seen the OS X / Linux light that will keep defending Mickey$oft no matter what.

S*ck my ass Mickey$oft: the only XP I'm running is in a KVM and everytime I do "kill -9" it I feel great. F*ck you Mickey$oft and f*ck you Microsofties.

Derp? (0)

atari2600a (1892574) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176100)

Really, did anyone expect Microsoft to be the company to write a machine-language interpreter for legacy support? This isn't news.

Re:Derp? (2)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176162)

But it was Intel who said this! And no, it can't be that Intel just pointed out the obvious. After all, it's Intel. They are in bed with Microsoft. They are obviously evil. I'm sure there's an x86 core hidden somewhere in ARM which is only disabled because of Intel! After all, how could a processor work without an x86 core? :-)

Initial Viruses (3, Insightful)

Dremth (1440207) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176112)

won't (initially) be susceptible to viruses and malware

Well, now, I wouldn't speak too soon. There will undoubtedly be a beta release or a leak which will give malware authors ample time to develop zero-day viruses. And with Windows 8 exploring very different terrain this time around, there's bound to be a plethora of exploits just waiting for someone to coax them out of hiding (or plain sight).

Re:Initial Viruses (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176158)

initially it also won't have antivirus software... guess which comes first, viruses and exploits or antivirus software?

Not complete accurate (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176128)

The article isn't completely accurate. It fails to specify that it will not natively run x86-based code on Win8 ARM. There's no valid reason why x86 code won't be able to run inside a virtual x86 machine running on top of the ARM architecture.

The summary also makes this statement which is not accurate to the version in the article:

it also means this will be the first full-bodied version of Windows that won't (initially) be susceptible to viruses and malware

The actual quote is that it won't be susceptible to existing viruses and malware.
They also assume that all code will have to be re-written from the ground up, which is completely false. Most application code will need to be ported, and in many cases security holes which are due to fundamental design flaws (as opposed to coding mistakes) will simply be ported along with it. So yes, a lot of existing malware will break but that's no reason to lay down and assume that developers who made crappy software in the past will suddenly cease their shitty practices.

GNU/Linux (1)

Meneth (872868) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176146)

As you know, a lot of open-source software can be compiled for ARM out-of-the-box. The F/OSS world can continue using existing apps even when the processor architecture changes.

Oblig (3, Funny)

should_be_linear (779431) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176194)

"MS Office ought to be enough for anybody."
-- Steve Ballmer, 2012

It will soon ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176256)

It's understandable that legacy Windows applications won't run on Windows 8 for ARM because Visual C++/C# emits lots of x86-64 low level instructions into the code that are unlikely compatible with ARM. However, I guess a simple recompile of the source code with Visual C++ next version will do the work.

Crap summary (2)

AmiMoJo (196126) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176264)

I think I speak for many here when I say that the editors need to, well, edit a bit more. The summary is full of bias which should be reserved for the comments. Can we please just have factual summaries in future?

Re:Crap summary (1)

yeshuawatso (1774190) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176446)

I think I speak for many here when I say that the editors need to, well, edit a bit more. The summary is full of bias which should be reserved for the comments. Can we please just have factual summaries in future?

Your Id is below 200k, you should know better not to ask.

Re:Crap summary (2)

i (8254) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176572)

Why ?

Microsoft already commented on this (4, Informative)

bitflusher (853768) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176348)

http://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-intel-executive-was-wrong-about-windows-8 [neowin.net] Long story short, this statement from intel is incorrect. But guess what: intel is a chip manufacturer that sells x86 cpu's and has sold its arm devision a few years back, how much more biased do you want a source of information. In reality it will most likely be an ugly vm running your old non recompilable software slowly.

Re:Microsoft already commented on this (1)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176452)

Of course it's correct, and Intel didn't need to tell us. Software which is compiled for x86 will not run on an ARM processor. Sure, that doesn't mean that the same software can't be recompiled for ARM processors, and there's a good chance that MS will do exactly that with most of their software.

I don't know how much work it takes to port things from x86 to ARM, maybe it's just a case of hitting compile again, maybe things need rewriting. But the fact is, that no matter what MS does, the same Windows executables you have on your x86 box will not run on an ARM box.

Whether or not developers will choose to release ARM ports of software is up to them, but the point from Intel is correct. Legacy software, that is, existing or older software, will not run on an ARM machine without it being modified to work with ARM - at which point it's not really legacy software.

(Of course, open source is a whole different story, and then it's pretty much a non-issue, but that's not really relevant here

Not all viruses are x86 code (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176472)

Cue a return of malicious VBS scripts and/or Word Macros. The ILOVEYOU worm went global in 24 hours back in May 2000, and was written in VBS.

a-duh (1)

alphatel (1450715) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176496)

There will be two versions of Windows 8, Legacy and ARM - so pick one and stop whining.

Re: a-duh (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176560)

There will be two versions of Windows 8, Legacy and ARM - so pick one and stop whining.

If the Register's report on Intel's claim is correct, there will be one for each SoC. So it would be Windows 8 x64 edition, Windows 8 Tegra edition, Windows 8 OMAP edition, Windows 8 Snapdragon edition and so on...

Re: a-duh (3, Interesting)

JackDW (904211) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176612)

And that is the really shocking thing that will actually kill the platform - fragmentation. All of these different versions will be incompatible with each other, forwards and backwards. Intel must be laughing their asses off.

The lack of a standard "ARM platform" has already been a big problem for Linux netbooks. They're all x86 because each ARM platform is different and requires a different BSP, making ongoing support a complete nightmare. I have to say, I really expected Microsoft to force the ARM SoC makers to standardise.

The lack of any sort of x86 emulator is really the icing on the cake. The big advantage of Windows is gone. But I suppose there is still a possibility of a third-party emulator like the original Virtual PC for Mac.

Re: a-duh (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176752)

To be fair, with linux on ARM, the binaries seem to be pretty interoperable, at least at the application level. AFAIK - and I will have to double-check that - I was able to run an armv5 binary built with Debian on an AC100 (Tegra2). Certainly this was not much of a problem with CE and PocketPC, and the Android NDK seems to be pretty robust too.

At the kernel and bootstrap level, it's a freaking mess, though.

Microsoft apparently disagrees (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176508)

Re:Microsoft apparently disagrees (1)

sdiz (224607) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176702)

It will take two more days for the /. editor to pick up this "news".

It's nice (1)

VincenzoRomano (881055) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176600)

That Intel knows so much about MS plans and development policy.

.Net (1)

wilh (2177248) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176610)

Surely though, once they compile the .Net framework over to ARM, all current .NET software will work... Whilst there are MANY legacy programs out there, the majority of Windows software nowadays is programmed in .NET.

Managed code anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176626)

Who wrote the article is an idiot. Properly written managed .NET code will _at worst_ require recompilation. Ask yourself why MS has been pushing managed code like hell...

Re:Managed code anyone? (2)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176760)

Who wrote the article is an idiot. Properly written managed .NET code will _at worst_ require recompilation. Ask yourself why MS has been pushing managed code like hell...

At worst, it will call down to some ancient DLL for which the source code has been lost or for which the vendor decides it's not worth porting.

Code compiled for x86 won't run on ARM? (0)

427_ci_505 (1009677) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176648)

In related news, no shit, sherlock.

Emulation (0)

Garst (2074468) | more than 3 years ago | (#36176662)

Apparently, the geniuses over at Intel forgot about emulation and virtual machine software.

Its awful. They shouldnt do that (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#36176718)

I am not in a favour of this act.
Red dead redemption cheats [reddeadred...cheats.com]

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