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Microsoft: No Windows 8 ARM Support For x86 Apps

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-buy-it-all-again-problem-solved dept.

Intel 413

jcombel writes "It turns out Microsoft's app compatibility will be limited to one architecture or another. Yes, Windows 8 will run on your ARM tablet, but your x86 Office 2003 will not. In his explanation, Steven Sinofsky reasoned, 'If we allow the world of x86 application support like that, or based on what we call desktop apps in our start yesterday, then there are real challenges in some of the value propositions for system on a chip,' he said. 'You know, will battery life be as good, for example? Well, those applications aren't written to be really great in the face of limited battery constraints, which is a value proposition of the Metro style apps.'"

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413 comments

Well... (5, Funny)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419326)

...that just killed my desire for Windows 8 on a tablet. Thanks anyway, Microsoft.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419352)

and they gained a whole bunch of appreciating fans. Losing one for a hundred sounds good

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

ozmanjusri (601766) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419870)

Losing one for a hundred sounds good

Maybe.

But if we are to believe this. then MS will have:

  • A version of Windows running on ARM (WP7)
  • A version of Windows running on ARM (W-8) that looks the same, but runs on slightly bigger machines
  • A version of Windows running on X86 (W-8) that also looks the same, and might be installed on similar looking tablets

None of which will run each other's apps, and only one of which is even close to compatible with existing Windows software.

And they're planning to let this loose on the general population?

I'm getting some popcorn. This should be fun to watch.

Re:Version of Windows (2)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419904)

Don't you mean:

"Windows Starter, Windows Home Basic, Windows Home Premium, Windows Small Business, Windows Enterprise, Windows Azure with Synch, Windows Media Edition"? (Or some such)

All THAT times 3 tablets!

Re:Well... (2)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419376)

And why exactly? It's pretty obvious you need different builds for x86 and ARM versions. You can still get them if you want to, but it would be just idiotic to emulate another architecture. Native executables is the only good way to go.

Re:Well... (1)

Shinaku (757671) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419562)

Surely this was the point of the .NET virtual machine, to compile to CLR run on *?

Re:Well... (1)

Droolster (203207) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419718)

Surely this was the point of the .NET virtual machine, to compile to CLR run on *?

..and it undoubtedly will run (pure) .NET apps just fine given a version of the framework ships with Win8; TFA talks about x86 and ARM native apps, not .NET

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419838)

Yes, I imagine you are right; pure .Net apps would probably be OK. However, as a corporate developer using .Net to write client side system utilities (not business data apps, but apps to manage BitLocker, services to encrypt USB keys, etc.) I've never been able to write a pure .Net app. MS would always get close, but I've never had an app I wrote that didn't need to use some win32 interop (windows API). Every single one of them.

It may be possible to do apps that aren't system utilities without interop. But none of my stuff would run on ARM. I wonder how many other developers are in the same boat where they use .Net, but have to use interop?

Re:Well... (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419964)

Calling the Win32 API from .NET is not a problem. There will be a native version of this on ARM. The problem is if you call some x86 DLL that you distribute, not if you call into the system libraries.

Re:Well... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419650)

Indeed. We're talking about Win8 running on devices where extra cycles mean shorter battery charge life. Throwing in an emulation layer means a whole lot of extra cycles.

Re:Well... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419706)

That's just it, aren't they still using .NET? That doesn't compile to native, except for a JIT compiler, which still leaves the assemblies cross platform (other tan tags that say 'do' or 'don't' run on platforms x, y and z.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419890)

Well except that Microsoft doesn't want native apps on its ARM tablets. It wants METRO style apps, and we all know what that means. Pubblication of such apps will be made available only through Microsoft own app store (same thing for METRO style apps for desktop Windows 8). Therefore Windows 8 ARM tablets will be locked down devices.Thats the end game. You really think that Microsoft will let you compile native apps for ARM bypassing its own app store ?
You're frankly deluded if you think so.

Really at this point if you want a portable computing device, a laptop is the best/only choice.
Everything else is SHIT. It seems the computer world has been regressing back decades.

Emulation has worked on Macs (2)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419894)

it would be just idiotic to emulate another architecture.

Yet Apple did exactly that for the 68K to PowerPC transition and for the PowerPC to x86 transition. Microsoft is still doing that for the .NET Framework (x86, PowerPC, or ARM emulating a hypothetical processor that runs IL), and all major browser makers are doing that for JavaScript. Even Nintendo did that for its Classic NES Series on Game Boy Advance (ARM emulating 6502).

Re:Well... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419916)

If I can't run the same apps on my ARM version of Windows as on my x86 version, why do I want the ARM version of Windows to begin with?

Re:Well... (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419378)

You could always buy one of the numerous x86 tablets that has come out to date, some of which are actually available with hardware that might run Windows 8 OK, and run Windows 8 on that. I've heard good things about AMD's current offering, although the last time I messed with an AMD laptop, I got burned hard and I'm still bitter.

Re:Well... (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419848)

I messed with an AMD laptop, I got burned hard and I'm still bitter.

As a general rule, don't put laptops on your lap... ;-P

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

LoudNoiseElitist (1016584) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419386)

I'm not sure why this is being marked as a troll. It's a serious statement. Why would I want to dive into a new OS if they immediately cut down a large majority of the apps that could be run on it? Sure the battery life may not be as good, but why not give us that option? What if I want this on a tablet for work, and would like to run a more work-friendly x86 app?

Re:Well... (2)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419428)

If battery life isn't that big of a concern to you, then get a x86 Windows tablet. That you get all the x86 programs running natively. I'm also quite sure many developers will compile ARM versions of their programs too.

Re:Well... (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419954)

What if battery life is a concern, but I have this x86 Windows app that I would like to run on a tablet? If battery life is a concern, why would I buy a Windows ARM tablet if I can't run the same apps as on my desktop PC that is running x86 Windows?

Re:Well... (1)

gmack (197796) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419550)

You are dealing with a touchscreen, most Windows apps are not designed for that and will be really annoying to use anyhow.

Re:Well... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419584)

It's so odd how the people that want a tablet with the functionality of a real computer are looked at like they're bizarro. What is so strange about wanting a fully featured device? It's like the people that were going off about how iPad's don't need USB functionality, insinuating that there is no point to having USB on the tablet. Uh, what? Who could possibly see more connectivity or functionality as a bad thing?

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419714)

>>It's so odd how the people that want a tablet with the functionality of a real computer are looked at like they're bizarro

Seriously. When I complained on Slashdot that tablets aren't as good as PCs at relatively simple and common things like web browsing, email, and office apps, I got flamed for having my expectations set too high.

Really? I'm not asking a tablet to be able to play DXHR or Crysis or something. My 100MHz Win95 computer could handle email, web browsing, and word processing smoothly. Is it too much to expect a Honeycomb tablet, with its 10x faster Tegra core, to be able to do these very simple things smoothly? Instead, there's weird input lag all over the place and while it works for short trips away from home, I'd never want to be stuck using it for long periods of time.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419936)

My 100MHz Win95 computer could handle email, web browsing, and word processing smoothly

Your 100MHz Win95 computer could not handle "web browsing" on today's internet. If you visit plain text pages maybe, but not if you're going to be doing what most people do, which is facebook, youtube, etc.

I doubt your 100MHz Win95 computer could "smoothly" handle a basic news site today.

Dial-up and low-color (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419940)

My 100MHz Win95 computer could handle email, web browsing, and word processing smoothly. Is it too much to expect a Honeycomb tablet, with its 10x faster Tegra core, to be able to do these very simple things smoothly?

Your 100 MHz PC was also handling indexed-color pixels with no alpha blending as well as the far simpler web page layouts that were common at the time. Furthermore, "smoothly" was interpreted in context of the 0.02 to 0.05 Mbps Internet connections that were common in the Windows 95 era.

Re:Well... (-1, Flamebait)

AlecC (512609) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419724)

Its odd how many people want a tablet to be a real computer because it has a CPU in it. A tablet is not, and should not be, a PC. Just as your phone has a CPU more powerful than the PC you were using about eight years ago, but is not a PC, neither is a tablet. A motorbike doesn't have a roof, side windows, wipers, and air conditioning even though some people build cars using the same engine. The same applies here: if you want a PC, get a PC, don't encumber a light weight specialist device with features designed for a general-purpose device. Tablet != Computer.

Re:Well... (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419976)

A tablet is not, and should not be, a PC.

Why? Seriously, when was this decided? I hear it all the time, how people that desire more out of a tablet are somehow wrong in wanting that because "it's not a PC." What the hell is a "PC"? Why does a tablet have to be placed outside of that group? Is a laptop a PC? Is a Macbook Air a PC? But it's portable!! But wait, it has a keyboard!!! OH NOES!!!!

Come on. The argument that tablets, by definition, should not do one thing or the other is ridiculous...tablets are a Laptop with the keyboard removed and a touch screen. Seriously, what is different beyond that? They use different internal parts? Big deal, they have the capability of the same amount of functionality. Why is it not included anyway, for those that want to use it?

Oh, right. That would mean people wouldn't have to run out and repurchase a bunch of software and accessories. God Forbid.

Re:Well... (3, Funny)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419826)

It's like the people that were going off about how iPad's don't need USB functionality, insinuating that there is no point to having USB on the tablet. Uh, what? Who could possibly see more connectivity or functionality as a bad thing?

Connectivity is good, but not with a churlish port like USB, which is so often used by the hoi polloi.

We need to have the patience to wait while Apple develops a proprietary "iPort", which will provide exclusive connectivity to approved devices that meet the elite standards of the iPad and its users.

Re:Well... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419616)

This is why I refuse to buy an android device with all its "other chipness" and stuff. I cannot run windows office on it so it cannot be worth the trouble. (And I do not want a basic cell phone either since it cannot run office either)

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419408)

If only there were some kind of virtual machine that Microsoft could use...

Re:Well... (1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419468)

Do you honestly want to waste battery for virtualization and emulation? We're talking about tablets here, battery life is a big concern and emulation uses a lot more resources than if the developer just compiled a proper ARM version.

Re:Well... (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419554)

We're talking about tablets here, battery life is a big concern

Why? Oh yeah because you want to ask your device to do something that it's not designed for. Market won't tolerate a bigger battery because then that adds weight/size problems. But you want to give the illusion of being able to do more, while actually doing less. If your computing needs are so intensive then there's a whole category of device that already exists called a "laptop" that will give you both the horsepower and battery life you want.

This is basically a case of "I want my cake and I want to eat it too", except you can't defy the laws of physics. Only thing you can do is tell people you are giving with your left hand, while you take away with your right. At the end of the day you end up with an expensive machine that does less for the money - ahh but it's small and shiny and has a touch screen!

Re:Well... (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419730)

Android uses it with Dalvik
Windows Phone 7 uses it with the .NET/CLR (which I believe is what the GP was hinting at)
Dunno if apply uses it or not.

So... why not?

Re:Well... (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419860)

Libcpu [libcpu.org] is trying to do static translation between binaries, writing binary (ARM, X86, etc) frontends to LLVM, which then compiles to another architecture.

Maybe MS (or ARM) could give them a hand?

Re:Well... (2)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419656)

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419580)

TBH, it doesn't take a genius to work it out. If you're using the ARM instruction set, your apps aren't going to run on x86, and vice versa (run nicely, or run at all). Although it's theoretically possible (Turing-complete and all that), the performance hit by doing so would be the same as just emulating the other environment (which kinda makes trying to "save battery" - the least of my concerns with a Windows tablet - a waste of time, because you'll be doing extra work to emulate something else).

The way Apple got around it was to make a "dual-binary", where you could have one executable contain two sets of executable code - one for ARM, say, and one for x86 - and with formats like ELF, this is a cinch. You execute whatever one you can and hope the programmers had the foresight to include both.

But, again, without a recompile, that old version of Office will always be x86 or have to be emulated as if it WAS an x86 program. Did you think MS and every software manufacturer were going to go and recompile every Windows program in existence just so you can run it on Windows 8? And have every business in the world moan that Windows isn't compatible with itself even though MS told it it was? Only MS-controlled and newly-written software would be available that way, and most businesses would rather ditch the OS than be forced down the path of which software they MUST run.

No, they'll produce new programs which *COULD* have run on both but they are deliberately deciding not to, but in two different versions. That way, if the ARM one doesn't work / sell, they can blame the platform. There is nothing stopping them doing what Apple did with newer programs except possibly an Apple patent or two (and the two have a lot of patent-sharing between them, not to mention each owning parts of the other). This way, they get two lots of money from you and/or they can make ARM seem like a waste of time because "it can't do Windows" rather than a new market they could swamp overnight.

They were never intending to make it work properly on ARM, the same way that the Windows NT ports supported Intel IA-32, MIPS R3000/R4000, Alpha, PowerPC, Itanium, AMD64 and ARM. It's a niche and they rely on third-party applications to sell their OS - they have to keep *some* backwards compatibility and businesses churning out x86 Win32/64 code or their operating system has nothing to live for any more. A lot of money goes Microsoft's way because of the way you "have" to buy Windows on the machine. If they start selling things on ARM, they would have to try to get that same sort of exclusivity / reputation for necessity that they have on x86, and it wouldn't fly.

I have a feeling it would also show up their programming teams because I very much doubt that most of their code would run on different endianness, etc. processors, different memory architectures, etc. because it's just so focused on x86.

MS never wanted to put "Windows" as most people know it on a tablet - they know it wouldn't work for them and cause them more hassle than it was worth, even if they introduced new terminology. People would still want to know why they can't put their ten-year-old copy of Sage on it, and why the OS was bundled with the machine they bought if they couldn't do that.

In theory, there is NOTHING stopping them porting Windows proper to another architecture, including all their top applications, and nothing preventing a situation similar to Apple's Universal Binary, or even just an emulator from doing this job with relatively little effort beyond what they have (e.g. you have an NT codebase on this platform already!). The problem is that it will destroy their marketing strategies - they won't be able to ensure they're bundled on every ARM machine, and if they were, they would get a million-and-one criticisms about how its not as fast as Windows on x86 and why did they let people waste money on it?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419966)

Indeed, especially since a x86 emulator exists for the ARM since 1987 (PDF [chriswhy.co.uk] ).

But what we all want to know is... (2)

Chrisq (894406) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419336)

Will there be support for ARM apps on the x86 platform?

Re:But what we all want to know is... (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419394)

Only if they are totally devoid of any native code for ARM. I suspect that rules out most games and CPU intensive applications.

Re:But what we all want to know is... (1)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419504)

Also, .NET and Java apps will still directly run on both.

Re:But what we all want to know is... (3, Informative)

Sc4Freak (1479423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419596)

This has already been answered by MS, and the answer is "mostly". Windows 8 for ARM is restricted to "Metro" apps. The available languages for developing Metro apps are C++, C#, VB.NET, or JS+HTML5. All of these, except for C++, can run on both platforms without changes.

Re:But what we all want to know is... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419990)

See, I knew that Microsoft would insist that the ARM platform was special in some way that justified turning it into a walled garden. So if the two bits of information I've heard: Metro Apps will only be available via Microsoft's Store, and Win 8 on ARM can only use Metro Apps, then it really looks like Microsoft is trying to bring the worst of crippled, DRM-laden computing up from the smart phone level to the tablet and likely even the PC eventually (since Metro Apps will be locked similarly on the PC.)

Worthless. (1)

miffo.swe (547642) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419354)

Well, this just made Windows 8 tablets totally worthless for the enterprise.

Re:Worthless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419400)

Not all tablets, just Windows 8 ARM tablets. Windows 8 x85 tablets will run Office x86 and legacy apps.

Re:Worthless. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419702)

Not all tablets, just Windows 8 ARM tablets. Windows 8 x85 tablets will run Office x86 and legacy apps.

Sure, but they'll only have 3 minutes of battery life.

Re:Worthless. (0)

ge7 (2194648) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419404)

No it didn't, it just means developers have to compile both x86 and ARM versions. Reading comprehension, use it. It would be waste of battery life to emulate another architecture just because the developer was lazy and didn't build ARM version too. Besides, if the apps are for tablets they probably need some work with the interface too.

Re:Worthless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419406)

We have LOB apps that ship in x86 and x64 flavours. Just ship an ARM version. If your business uses web based LOB applications it's less of a concern, and to a smaller extent Java/.NET "Any CPU" LOB apps - which will (presumably) run without modification.

Re:Worthless. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419458)

Why? Desktop apps on tablets were already worthless because they're incredibly hard to use to begin with. The only apps on tablets that make any sense are those designed for touch with the new Metro UI. Enterprise customers won't care what the apps looks like, as long as they can get increased productivity from employees working on the go.

Translation: (1)

Megaweapon (25185) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419380)

Waah porting is hard and stuff!

Re:Translation: (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419430)

Waah porting is hard and stuff!

Except they will port Office to ARM. TFS says you won't be running Office 2003 on ARM, which we all knew anyway. Running an x86 emulator on top of an already severely underpowered CPU wasn't every in the cards.

Re:Translation: (1)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419784)

A dual core GHz arm core is underpowered?

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419858)

Compared to a i7 dual-core or greater, yes. Even compared to a core2duo, it is.

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37420032)

Except they will port Office to ARM.

Yeah, sure, like how they "ported" Office to windows phone. It gladdens my heart to know that suckers like you exist. Who would buy all of this worthless shit therefore driving economies of scale for the actual good shit that uses similar technology without you?

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419460)

..or they want to sell new licenses for ARM too. Wouldn't it be hard, if one could use the already bought Office 2007 on all devices, instead of buying yet another "upgrade"?

Re:Translation: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419590)

Windows XP was (anecdotally) 24 million LOC. I can't imagine Windows 7 being less. They're "porting" the entire OS to ARM (I say porting in quotes - most of it should be compiling the platform independent code into ARM).

And it's not like they're technically incapable of making x86 code work on other platforms - WOW for IA64, anyone?

Awesome... (2)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419414)

So, once again we're going to end up having to replace a metric shit ton of applications because of an OS change. Man, I love this war on backward compatibility and long product life cycles. Not only is our hardware designed for the dump, but now our software is, too. The future sure is looking bright...

Re:Awesome... (2)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419636)

The obvious solution is to avoid changing OS. Why would you want to? There's no good reason to upgrade and several good reasons to not upgrade. It's a simple decision. As for tablets - no one has noticed that this is all about vendor lock-in?

Re:Awesome... (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419888)

As for tablets - no one has noticed that this is all about vendor lock-in?

We noticed. It's about tablets, so we assume lock-in comes standard, so why state the obvious?

Re:Awesome... (1)

wilhil (1160445) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419664)

Only on ARM! .... How many desktops/laptops are you going to replace with ARM based machines? Do you complain that you can't run full OSX apps on an Ipad/Iphone? ... This is a NEW edition of Windows - Metro will be cross compatible. The moment that ARM becomes bigger, I am sure we will see more compatibility, .NET apps will most likely receive a update that makes them run (when not using pinvoke), and give it time, we will probably see x86 emulators.

Re:Awesome... (1)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419862)

So, once again we're going to end up having to replace a metric shit ton of applications because of an OS change.

Not every piece of software needs to be produced by Microsoft. Why can't a 3rd party emulator fill in the need?

No shit sherlock (3, Informative)

EdZ (755139) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419422)

This was part of the initial announcement that Win 8 would be available on ARM. Of course x86 applications aren't going to work! You think everything is going to be run through a monumentally slow VM on already underpowered (compared to x86) hardware?
Applications written for x86 will remain x86, applications written cross-platform (e.g. .NET) will work on both. Not news.

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

BigDaveyL (1548821) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419450)

Apple was able to maintain backwards compatibility when they changed processors.

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

washu_k (1628007) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419512)

Apple always changed to CPUs that were much faster than the old ones, so emulation was possible. This is the reverse.

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

tjb (226873) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419514)

Only if you used the fat binaries - you couldn't just take a PowerPC only binary and run it on an x86 Mac.

Re:No shit sherlock (2)

sangdrax (132295) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419570)

You could, using Rosetta. It translated ppc -> x86 instructions on the fly. Support for that was dropped in Lion though.

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419606)

Until Lion came out, you actually could do this, OS X included a piece of software known as Rosetta, which was essentially a PPC -> x86 machine code translator

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419622)

Rosetta mostly(no G5 specific, some other edge cases) supported PPC binaries on x86 Macs; but that solution only worked because(Apple's prior marketing hype aside) the x86s they switched to were brutally overpowered compared to pretty much any of the prior PPCs, with the limited exception of the top end, liquid-cooled, IBM-can-barely-manage-to-fab-them-at-this-clock-speed G5 towers...

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

d4fseeker (1896770) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419526)

Apple didnt expect cou-hogging processes on high-performance CPU's to run without any issues on underpowered low-cost low-performance tablet CPU's.
They rather changed from a powerful architecture to another even more powerful and hoped that the loss in performance would not be noticed in most cases

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419538)

No they weren't. They forced you to compile twice and have one huge executable with both in it. The thing the did was have one API on both platforms, exactly the same as Microsoft are doing they just aren't doing the fat binary that apple did.

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419544)

Yes, I love all those x86 OSX apps that run on ARM based IOS devices.

Apple did it on a full powered desktop processor where Battery Life wasn't a concern.

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419560)

Is there something stopping Microsoft from adopting a similar convenience for developers (fat binaries)? I know diddly about the internals of an EXE.

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419764)

I know that .exes have historically supported including both a DOS supported and a NT supported section(these days, the DOS supported portion is usually just a stub telling you "Don't even try; but at least I'm showing you this rather than crashing...".

Given the way that MS prefers software to be packaged and distributed, though, I'm not sure whether or not they would necessarily want a direct equivalent to the "fat binary".

MSI format software installers don't actually execute directly, they are handled by the Windows Installer system provided with the OS(and thus, presumably available in x86 or ARM depending on the OS version). Given the (sometimes dizzyingly baroque) support for conditionals, components, and assorted other behavior, building a "fat MSI" would be totally doable(and MS's dev tools will presumably start spitting them out soon enough) that can be double-clicked identically on either platform(since the platform's own Windows Installer component is actually what runs) and then just install the ARM or x86 version of the product inside according to the environment...

If the vendor simply must have a proprietary executable installer to click on, MS might well prefer to go the "Well, I hope you can handle copying files in .NET" route rather than catering to a practice that they don't much like anyway...

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419884)

Because they were moving from a slower processor to a faster one, emulating an old architecture on a faster new architecture is doable. ARM may just about have parity with some low-end x86, adding emulation on top of ARM to run x86 code is just too much to expect from ARM. Frankly, anybody who expected x86 binaries to run on ARM-based tablets was smoking something pretty good to begin with.

Re:No shit sherlock (1)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 2 years ago | (#37420012)

And Microsoft never has.

But even Apple hasn't tried to let you run x86 desktop apps on an ARM tablet. And with good reason.

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419642)

IBM, said no way could midrange DB2 run on MVS.
German engineer cross compiled it, and away it went - everyone acted surprised.
Repeat.

Gee, If you have the source code, it is real easy, and hey, sometimes the compilers find bugs you never knew before you tried.

Re:No shit sherlock (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419790)

That doesn’t seem to be what Sinofsky is saying though. “...which is a value proposition of the Metro style apps.” suggests you’d have to port your app to Metro (whatever that entails — it could be just a new project file format or a setting somewhere; I don’t really care to find out) and just recompiling will not be sufficient.

This is a good thing (1)

IgnitusBoyone (840214) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419474)

First version of windows not to be exploitable by Virus at launch... at least until the recompile.

Re:This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419602)

“So, we have to be careful that we don't remove the value proposition for those applications. On the other hand, people would say, 'Oh, but you have to let them run because then there's that whole ecosystem.' And then if we do let them run, we just brought the perceived negatives of some of the ecosystem. So, people say, great, now it's easy to port viruses and malware and we'll port those.”

Why didn't HP's marketing team think of that? Application compatibility sucks!

Right so... (2)

CapuchinSeven (2266542) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419548)

basically for the same reasons as to why full OSX isn't put on iPads. So tell me again the point of having full Windows on a tablet when we're going to end up being limited anyway? Starting to lose interest already.

Well, duh. (5, Insightful)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419578)

Well, duh. Microsoft never intended to make x86 software run on ARM. Microsoft wants you to write "Metro style" apps which are written in .NET and will run on Windows 8 x86, Windows 8 ARM, and Windows Phone.

Having failed for years to sell anyone a phone that looks like the Windows desktop, Microsoft will now make the Windows desktop look like their phone. It's backwards but it's Microsoft.

I took a peek at the Windows 8 developer preview yesterday. Nothing about it makes sense when you try to look at it as a PC desktop. Everything about it makes sense when you assume that Priority One is to "kill Google" and "kill Android." Keep this in mind when looking at Windows 8.

Nothing new (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419598)

Android is fragmented in an almost identical way with apps being written for specific chips, such as Tegra.

Furthermore, Metro apps WILL work across both x86 and ARM windows 8 builds, much like regular Android apps will (or at least, are supposed to) work on any regular Android device.

Re:Nothing new (1)

Svartalf (2997) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419726)

That's less due to Android, and more due to the OEMs producing the devices. It's them that make it a minefield. And it's goofball apps that do things like record phone conversations, interact with specialized hardware on the devices, or side step screwball stuff from the "customized" Androids they're putting on things.

Re:Nothing new (1)

neokushan (932374) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419782)

IT's a whole mixture of things, really. From the OEM who releases a device/chipset-specific SDK, to the developer who decides to use it instead of the "general" ones, there's a lot of blame to go around and I very much doubt that Windows 8 will be much different.

Hopefully the ARM version will have some special branding so people will easily be able to tell them apart from the x86 versions. Even if it's a case of Windows 8 Professional E vs. Windows 8 Professional.

Probably better off this way (2)

yankeessuck (644423) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419654)

Battery life aside, I imagine it would be incredibly painful to use a desktop application on a tablet. In a roundabout way, maybe this will devs will make some effort redesign desktop apps to fit the form factor.

Obvious that binaries need to match architecture (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419684)

Erm, just compile/build/test them for ARM?
And .NET apps should be simpler than most.

In other shock news, AMD64 apps don't work on x86 !!

LOL (0)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419700)

Hahahaha this is rich! Yeah just leave out x86 emulation, because the crushing overhead of emulating a spreadsheet app will kill the poor widdle battery! That's thinking ahead. I'm sure Windows will do fine without legacy compatibility, who buys Windows for that right? But no big deal, all-new ARM apps can be developed for Windows, easy peasy.

I knew a closed-source multi-arch OS would be good for some lols! Even Apple had the common sense to include transparent emulation to maintain backwards compatibility the few times they changed architectures.

Multi-arch is only really doable on an open-source OS with open-source apps, where everything can be recompiled for whatever you want to run on.

Prediction: Atom tablets are going to become a lot more popular around the launch of Win8. Makes you wonder what's going on behind closed doors between MS and Intel...

Just have two separate products already (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419740)

To Microsoft:
If the two are incompatible, it will create confusion in the market place. And I will bet my left testicle that Windows Phone 7 will be succeeded by Windows 8, which will be incompatible with the other two platforms. Don't you guys remember anything from Windows CE and the whole quadruple platform MIPS, SH3, SH4, ARM confusion? Or how about how programs written for H/PC did not run with P/PC? Then Pocket PC comes along and breaks both? Don't get me started on the exotic platforms that ran x86 and had ZERO compatibility with Windows 9X/2000. It was a nightmare. You really want to go back to those days?
FFS just make them separate products. We don't want a return to the days of "Windows Mobile 2003 SE for Pocket PC Phone Edition." It wasn't even Windows because it looked nothing like the desktop counterpart and only ran ONE WINDOW in a screen! Trust me, absolutely nobody wants something that runs "Windows Mobile Phone 8 4G 2011 SE for PC Tablet Touchscreen Office Professional Edition". Do yourself a favor and name your releases after fruit or something. "Ohhhh nice tab! Does it run Orange?" See how that rolls off the tongue?! Just avoid calling a release "apple".

Apple knows not to put iOS on their laptops/desktops unless every single iPhone/iPad app will run well. I would do what you always do and follow that example! MacOS is for Macintoshes. Windows is for PC's. iOS is for tablets/phones. Call it something else for tablets/phones. And make Windows actually Windows and drop the stupid tablet interface. Believe me, it does not scale well to anything without a touchscreen.

open source folks may make it work anyhow (1)

DdJ (10790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419774)

Just get the DOSbox core with x86 emulation in there, identify the callouts to libraries that you've got implemented in ARM to improve performance, and you're probably do pretty well.

Heck, a port of DOSbox on its own will be enough to make many GoG games work. (This is how I play "Master of Magic" on my iPad.)

Barring that, well, glue the x86 emulator into WINE and there's probably some potential.

not unprecedented (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37419908)

Clearly hoping to duplicate the runaway success we saw from the Alpha and MIPS ports of NT 4.

Corrected Quotation (1)

ludomancer (921940) | more than 2 years ago | (#37419972)

'If we allow the world of x86 application support like that, or based on what we call desktop apps in our start yesterday, then there are real challenges in some of the value propositions for system on a chip,' he said.' and as you already know, we don't like challenges'.

What do you mean battery life???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37420016)

Although I agree with everyone else on the well duh who'd try and run X86 on arm where on earth does he get the idea that a wordprocessor/Spreadsheet etc are battery hogs does that mean I shouldn't use office on my laptop???

What a burq

Obvious, but are they porting MS Office to ARM? (1)

guidryp (702488) | more than 2 years ago | (#37420018)

Well that should have been obvious. What about the MS Office port to WinARM?

Everyone knows (or should) that the ARM tablets were NEVER going to run native x86 code. The question that Sinofsky still seems to be waffling on is the status of MS Office port for ARM. They showed that at CES, but it's disposition remains unclear.

But his Build comments indicate no x86 ports will be coming to WinARM, and that only Metro programs will be accepted for WinARM. So does that mean only 3rd party ports won't be accepted or does it mean that MS Office port is also dead? This remains unanswered.

If there are no desktop ports coming for WinARM and if MS Office for ARM is also dead, will WinARM even have a desktop mode?? If so why??

I get the impression MS is not being clear on WinARM Office port, and the ARM desktop mode, because they still don't know what they are going to do and want to keep options open. But even there they fail at communications, they could just be direct and say that hasn't been decided instead of being vague.

I think there is a significant chance that Win8ARM may be a pure metro device with no legacy desktop mode at all. This may actually make the most sense for the ARM version, but MS really needs to communicate better on this.

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