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Vista's Graphics To Be Moved Out of the Kernel

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the just-like-in-the-constitution dept.

Windows 555

Tiberius_Fel writes "TechWorld is running an article saying that Vista's graphics will not be in the kernel. The goal is obviously to improve reliability, alongside the plan to make most drivers run in user mode." From the article: "The shift of the UI into user mode also helps to make the UI hardware independent - and has already allowed Microsoft to release beta code of the UI to provide developers with early experience. IT also helps make it less vulnerable to kernel mode malware that could take the system down or steal data. In broader terms, this makes Windows far more like Linux and Unix - and even the MacOS - where the graphics subsystem is a separate component, rather than being hard-wired into the OS kernel."

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The Bloat Divides? (4, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273541)


So this is like cell division. The bloat of Windows divides into the Kernel and UI pools.

Taking this article into account [slashdot.org] , it seems clear why the massive graphics card requirement. However, if this much is being pulled from the Kernel, then why still such a massive minimum RAM?

"if you hold down ctrl+shift+alt and tap the backspace you can watch a video of steve wrecking a chair"

Re:The Bloat Divides? (3, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273566)

Sounds like when Windows was a GUI shell on top of DOS.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (0)

Andrewkov (140579) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273629)

Are you saying it's not now?

Re:The Bloat Divides? (3, Informative)

Thalagyrt (851883) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273638)

Windows NT has never been an OS that sits on top of DOS. That was the WFW 3.11, 95, 98, and ME line which is now completely unsupported.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (3, Interesting)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273822)

Windows NT has never been an OS that sits on top of DOS. That was the WFW 3.11, 95, 98, and ME line which is now completely unsupported.

NT borrowed heavily from DEC VMS, which if it were running on DOS would be like running VMS on top of RSTS. The problem at Microsoft was this inability to separate things. The kernel became everything, trying to run on a nearly infinite combinations of hardware and depending heavily on drivers (which most tech support didn't even understand and would just tell you to upgrade to the latest version. Leaving unspoken 'and cross your fingers')

For graphics and sound to work best, commonly used objects are stored in memory, ideally most rapidly accessible by the chipset which makes use of it. If you can pre-load a graphics card with most of your GUI toolkit you can do some amazingly fast rendering. Microsoft and admitedly Apple seem to have fallen in love with very large, processor intensive graphic affects, which look pretty, but ultimately may be dragging down your processor on any existing tasks.

My PC at home will lock up if I have anything Graphic intensive running and hit ctrl-alt-del as the sudden interrupt seems to break syncronization of something.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (4, Informative)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273576)

Graphics were not in the kernel in NT 3.51. NT 4.0 added graphics to the kernel which added instability.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (4, Informative)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273693)

It's funny. Microsoft already did this with printer drivers. Windows NT 3.51 lived in userspace. In Windows NT 4 they moved into the kernel. In 2000, they moved back into userspace, but with a completely different architecture from 3.51. Windows Server 2003 still supports the NT4 model of kernel mode printer graphics drivers but that might change with Vista.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (3, Informative)

slipnslidemaster (516759) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273803)





Everything old is new again!

Here is a link to an article on Microsoft's Technet discussing the benefits of moving it from userspace to kernelspace.

http://www.microsoft.com/technet/archive/winntas/p lan/kernelwp.mspx [microsoft.com]

Here is the overview:

Microsoft® Windows NT® Workstation 4.0 and Windows NT Server 4.0 include a change in the implementation of Win32® graphics-related application programming interfaces. These changes are transparent to applications and users, yet they result in a variety of improvements to graphics performance and memory requirements, as well as to simplify the design of the Windows NT Win32 subsystem. The improvements result from the move of certain operating system modules from a user-mode application process into a subsystem within the privileged portion of Windows NT, known as the Executive.

Changes to the code that operates in the kernel or privileged mode of any operating system can be of concern to application designers and system architects. Because such changes potentially affect the operating system's compatibility with existing applications, as well as its portability and reliability, such changes should be explained and justified.




Re:The Bloat Divides? (1)

realmolo (574068) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273586)

Uh...just because the code moves from the kernel into userspace doesn't mean it DISAPPEARS. It still needs RAM.

And the massive graphics card requirment is because the new graphics system does a lot more than it used to. It actually put 3D hardware to use, among other things. Which is what we want, isn't it?

Oh, I forgot. Microsoft can be criticized for not having a given feature, and it can ALSO be criticized for including TOO MANY features.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (3, Insightful)

SquadBoy (167263) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273662)

No. They get criticized for not doing features properly. My iBook with a lowly 1.33GHz proc, a mere gig of RAM, and nothing more than a ATI Mobility Radeon 9550 with 32 megs of video memory looks *stunning* and does things that from what we have seen so far Vista can only dream about.

The simple fact is that it's possible to do great graphics, at least for a GUI, without needing a bloody supercomputer (Yes yes yes I *know*. I'm overstating for effect). Basically if they did these things properly they would see a lot of the hating go away.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273826)

Who wanted a 3D desktop again? I happen to like just a command line and Fluxbox.

Re:The Bloat Divides? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273681)

You don't need a really great video card to run Vista... we run it here on machines with basic Intel integrated video... it just doesn't have all the bells and whistles... in other words, Vista scales its graphics to run well on computers even made over a year ago.

Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (5, Insightful)

ejoe_mac (560743) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273554)

Who needs the overhead of a windowing GUI on a server?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (-1)

tehshen (794722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273598)

Tiny system administrators who prefer to press the nice buttons than learn the big bad scary commandline.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (2, Insightful)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273645)

No, people who use windows and therefore have to do everything with a GUI because their commandline sucks so much.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273680)

Microsoft is bring out Monad Shell (MSH). I've tried the beta (thanks to MSDN) and i have to admit it's something (especially after years of command.com and cmd.exe). You can read more about it here [microsoft.com] . MSH is compatible with all versions of Microsoft Windows that support .NET Framework v2.0.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

tehshen (794722) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273692)

Did you even read my parent? This is about server admins, not common desktop users who don't care.

DOS is terrible though, I'll give you that.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (5, Funny)

ZeroExistenZ (721849) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273615)

Who needs the overhead of a windowing GUI on a server?
Windows(tm) administrators...

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (5, Funny)

whodunnit (238223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273641)

You mean turning off the monitor doesnt do that?!?!?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (3, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273647)

Actually, testers have been given something kinda like that. It's called Windows Server Core, and it boots up with just a console window open - no start menu, desktop, configuration dialogs, or anything else like that.

Unfortunately it doesn't come with IIS which is a real disappointment though its developers have shown interest in adding additional services.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273661)

What overhead? It's not like the cycles are being spent if you're not doing anything with said GUI.
My problem is that you can't buy a motherboard without on-board video (for say, a 1U server) for less than one with it. WTF? I would much rather have a server with good bios support for headlessness that doesn't supply _power_ to the graphics chip, than an OS that can ignore the fact that the chip is there.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

skyshock21 (764958) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273737)

Don't many Sun servers come configured this way though?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

soellman (993) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273806)

heh.. are you going to run windows/sparc on it with some vga-over-rs232 voodoo on the console?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (2, Funny)

theurge14 (820596) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273694)

Command-line-only Windows?

Redundant?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (2, Insightful)

chphilli (885315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273746)

Redundant?
...or oxymoron [wikipedia.org]

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

timeOday (582209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273820)

Good point. Maybe naming the OS after a particular UI metaphor wasn't such a great idea after all.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (5, Insightful)

nmb3000 (741169) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273700)

Who needs the overhead of a windowing GUI on a server?

Ah, yes. Just what we all want. Command-line administration of Active Directory and Exchange.

Windows Server 2003's GUI overhead is extremely small in comparison to the other tasks it's performing. Besides, it's not a matter of being "scared" of a CLI, in fact pretty much all the Windows sysadmins I know (including myself) use the Windows command line on a regular basis. Believe it or not, but a GUI really can give a boost to speed and efficiency when it comes to server management, regardless of what the zealots here might say.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273753)

That doesn't stop you from using a graphical remote administration client, look at how many there are for other stuff like dbms's. Sure it's harder to get secure, but if you are administering windows remotely, you probably have to go through that already.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (5, Insightful)

Necrotica (241109) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273767)

Ah, yes. Just what we all want. Command-line administration of Active Directory and Exchange.

Never used or seen Netware or used any UNIX, have you?

There is no NEED for a GUI on the server. Keep the admin tools on the client! If you can't administer AD from your client, restart the AD Admin Service on the service.

Admins should only physically touch servers when there is a hardware problem or network problem. If you are sitting on the console of your server using the GUI, I would suggest that you are not a very experienced sysadmin.

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (0, Redundant)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273807)

Command-line administration of Active Directory and Exchange.

Why not, is there any operation about them that'd REQUIRE a "true" GUI instead of command-line tools?

Re:Finally, can I turn the GUI off on my server? (1)

cmburns69 (169686) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273743)

As I was thinking about this, I realized that this is like MS-DOS on steroids. I know this analogy is not entirely correct, but wasn't the point of Win9x that it put the gui INTO the kernel?

 

Don't we know it (0, Troll)

NotoriousGOD (936922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273558)

Having gotten some of the basic code for the new Windows Vista graphics I can attest that it is a marked improvement and much more reliable. It keeps it running and all the visual display in a different part of the temp memory so that the threaded processes can run smooth and have the graphics run smooth seperately. Especially nice if you have an onboard ATI Rage XL or another low grade graphics card but an extremely fast computer. Look forward to gaming on your Dual Xeon servers soon!

Re:Don't we know it (1)

NotoriousGOD (936922) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273754)

Damn it someone buy my bullshit please.

Boy, you gays are late... (1)

kirk26 (811030) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273562)

Microsoft already said the report is false.

Now for the marketing (4, Insightful)

digitalgimpus (468277) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273565)

You know when they market this you'll see it as

New! - Microsoft's Exclusive Patented Technology allows for graphics outside the kernel, to provide higher stability.

New! - Microsoft's Revolutionary Technology allows for graphics outside the kernel, to provide higher stability.

Just wait.... they'll make it sound like a new concept. Rather than a copycat.

Re:Now for the marketing (1)

nharmon (97591) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273584)

Don't laugh, the patent applications get filed tommorow.

Re:Now for the marketing (1)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273632)

Uh, didn't early versions of NT run drivers in a separate protection ring to improve stability? And didn't Microsoft abandon this scheme because it was incredibly slow, and throw everything into the same protection ring to improve performance? So now they are going back to a scheme they themselves previously abondoned because of poor performance, and calling it an "innovation"?!?

Re:Now for the marketing (1)

jonbryce (703250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273841)

Well computers are a lot faster now than they were then, so the trade off between stability and performance will be a lot different now.

NOT a COPYCAT - see "Windows NT 3.5" (1, Interesting)

sczimme (603413) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273643)


In broader terms, this makes Windows far more like Linux and Unix - and even the MacOS - where the graphics subsystem is a separate component, rather than being hard-wired into the OS kernel.

I know it makes you all hip and tres cool to bash Microsoft, but they actually had this design wa-a-a-y back in NT 3.5/3.51. That would be in the mid/late 1990s for you youngsters in the audience. They made the change to the current model in NT 4.0.

Re:NOT a COPYCAT - see "Windows NT 3.5" (1)

rincebrain (776480) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273670)

So they're copying something from NT 3.51 and marking it as a new feature.

It's still a copycat.

Re:NOT a COPYCAT - see "Windows NT 3.5" (1)

GenKreton (884088) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273704)

Just because they had it in Windows NT 3.5/3.51 does not mean they didn't copy the concept then as well. In fact it was no more original for them to introduce it then as it is unoriginal to introduce this today.

With that said, most of the "bashing" towards MS won't be against them for doing this, since it is necessary and so obvious it had to be done it hurts, but rather against how they market these changes and their disregard for others ideas. Ironically, this is why they have the market share they do today too: marketing.

YES a COPYCAT (1, Troll)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273744)

Yes, it was copycat even wa-a-a-y back in NT 3.5; X11 had this architecture in the mid 1980's.

Re:NOT a COPYCAT - see "Windows NT 3.5" (3, Informative)

oGMo (379) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273764)

I know it makes you all hip and tres cool to bash Microsoft, but they actually had this design wa-a-a-y back in NT 3.5/3.51. That would be in the mid/late 1990s for you youngsters in the audience. They made the change to the current model in NT 4.0.

Yeah well, where the drivers reside aside, is the OS still based on the assumption it's a GUI? Specifically, do we still have the idiotic and juvenile system architecture that specifies window parameters to low-level system calls? Like say, CreateProcess taking window parameters [microsoft.com] ?

Or have they actually revamped the kernel no longer requires or assumes a GUI at all? Have they finally caught up to 1970?

Re:Now for the marketing (4, Insightful)

NCraig (773500) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273766)

This is just priceless.

Day in and day out, Microsoft takes a beating around here for putting too many irrelevant subsystems into their kernel.

And then, when Microsoft makes a positive design change, they are attacked for HYPOTHETICAL marketing. You don't know how (or if) they'll market this.

I can see it now: Bill Gates shows up at your front door, hands you a million dollars, and walks away. You run to your computer and submit the headline, "BILL GATES IS A TRESSPASSER."

Security Benefits (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273786)

Well, here is one less subsystem whos buggs will NOT immediately lead to kernel-level privleges. So the benefits of this move are more platform flexability and (somewhat) limiting the effects of buffer overflows, etc.

Of course they are not going to openly admit that their system is so bug-ridden that this is necessary/helpful, but I am sure they are thinking that.

Re:Now for the marketing (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273840)

But more important will be the number of CIOs that will buy into that. Dvorack will write an underground article about it being developed by MS. Likewise, we will see other pc authors who will laud it. No doubt, Gartner and IDC will write some article and then state that the *nix world is looking into this for the future. Finally, people will run around and say that Bill saved them with the radical cool idea.

took a while.... (3, Interesting)

chewy_fruit_loop (320844) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273567)

its taken them a bit to see they where wrong when they put them in kernel space
but didn't they do this on nt(4 i believe) because it was to slow otherwise?

mind you with the specs needed for a vista machine, whos going to notice......

Re:took a while.... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273600)

I believe it was 3.5x when it got moved. Not 100% sure though, it's been a long long time since I've seen a 3.5x or 4.x system. I think it was external in NT3.1, but I'm not even sure about that. Just that the graphics system on 3.1 was as slow as you'd ever seen.

Re:took a while.... (0)

miller701 (525024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273717)

Wink 2k moved the GDI to the Kernel. At the time it was announced (late '97, as I recall), they said it was for performance reasons and, of course, people complained that video drivers would crash the machine. For my usage, I've never had a video problem bring down either a Win 2k or XP system.

Re:took a while.... (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273837)

My question would be how would you know? If the GDI locks up, it's done, no BSOD, nothing. I've had several of those, especially early on. Another problem... the kernel would report a kernel error, but it would be in a GDI subsystem within the kernel.dll.... Again, you'd have no way of knowing.

Matter of fact, right now, on this XP machine, I have lost use of the Alt-Tab key combination. This happens after a few days to two weeks of runtime. The only solution I've found is to reboot. I also start having strange errors at some point after this happens, including program crashes, especially IE when I have to open it. Speaking of IE crashes, IE crashes almost every time I hit Test Director (ActiveX). Yep, that's some cutting edge technology!

Reinventing Unix (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273568)

this makes Windows far more like Linux and Unix - and even the MacOS
What's that saying about people being doomed to reinvent Unix?

Re:Reinventing Unix (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273685)

Kinda like how the various Unices had to invent a decent desktop, and in so doing, follow Windows?

I know how it's unpopular to think Windows has something over other things, but which is the OS people actually use?

Re:Reinventing Unix (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273735)

Bullshit!
This doesn't make Windows far more like Unix and Linux.
Windows keeps proprietary.
On the technical side, as we can't see the code, we can only talk out of experience, it comes from the makers of past Windows versions. That is the kind of quality we should expect, sensibly.

Merge of two sides? (1, Redundant)

QBasicer (781745) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273569)

Mod me down if you must, but some of Linux's apps are starting to feel more "
windowsy," and now MS is getting into gear and adding "security" and no seems to be copying X. What's next, they both use the same filesystem?

Re:Merge of two sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273654)

Microsoft is far from copying X.

Re:Merge of two sides? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273796)

I don't think so. NTFS is actually a superior filesystem.

It was only a matter of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273570)

It was only a matter of time until Windows took on some of linux and OSX's traits to acheive better performance.
if you can't beat'em, join'em

oh, and (if it isn't too late) FIRST POST

Not to forget our friends in the MPAA (4, Interesting)

isecore (132059) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273573)

IT also helps make it less vulnerable to kernel mode malware that could take the system down or steal data.

And it also helps with all the stupid DRM that the MPAA/RIAA wants to force down our throats! Yay, when I wanna watch DVDs on my computer in the future I have to get a new OS, new monitor, new graphics card. Thank you for that innovation!

Re:Not to forget our friends in the MPAA (1)

Keith Russell (4440) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273812)

Ya know, I think the MPAA would be equally capable of fucking us whether the graphics subsystem ran in user space or ring 0.

Open GL Drivers? (4, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273575)

So, does this mean that MS's stated goal of "deprecating" OpenGL in favor of DirectX is now irrelevant? If the graphics subsystem is outside the kernel, it can be replaced by another driver that does not make OpenGL play second fiddle to DirectX. Perhaps this is a good thing?

Re:Open GL Drivers? (4, Informative)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273714)

Wrapping OpenGL does suck, but they are also wrapping Direct3D 9 and lower. So it's more than just Carmack's games that won't run at top speed :(

I havn't seen any clear stance on if they will allow hardware vendors to implement their own ICDs for fullscreen mode, but the current LDDM beta drivers from nVidia do not have OpenGL in them.

Re:Open GL Drivers? (1)

Azarael (896715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273765)

As was brought up in the other /. article about this, Windows GL drivers are pretty much useless now. You already have to have vendor drivers installed to play any GL games that I know of.

Re:Open GL Drivers? (0, Flamebait)

TummyX (84871) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273821)

Um no.

They aren't moving anything out of the kernel that couldn't have already been replaced with a kernel mode driver (i.e. a video card driver).

Moving to usermode will just improve stabiltiy and make writing drivers easier.

Steal (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273578)


IT also helps make it less vulnerable to kernel mode malware that could take the system down or steal data.

You mean copyright infringe data! The data's not going anywhere.

For a site that complains about this whenever it comes up, get it right!

Reply to all future Linux-was-first comments... (0, Redundant)

tereshchenko (715289) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273580)

For all you Linux fans which will argue that Linux had that for ages (and Microsoft copied the concept) - back in 1992-1995 graphical system of WindowsNT already was user-mode (in versions 3.1 and 3.5.x).

Re:Reply to all future Linux-was-first comments... (1)

rawwa.venoise (881755) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273691)

Yes it's truth. And there's a single reason for that: NT server performance with the UI being managed in the kernel just sucked. If all you want is a server why should you care to spend a CPU on a UI that is not being used 99.9% of the time?

Yet another reason to give credit for the Minix micro-kernel concept and all the good Unix design. Nobody expects a commercial server Unix to carry the UI inside the kernel. They could have taken a better approach with the remaining Windows products but Microsoft seems to like "Do-It the Hard Way" and "Create Inovation from Copying" philosophy.

Re:Reply to all future Linux-was-first comments... (4, Informative)

Jearil (154455) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273776)

Yeah.. too bad the X Window System used in *nix has been around since 1984 [wikipedia.org] .

"Those who don't understand UNIX are doomed to reinvent it, poorly."
  -- Henry Spencer

Finlay Windows follows X (1)

bluethundr (562578) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273581)

So, correct me if I'm wrong, but will the movement of the UI into user mode allow one to tailor the environment according to the user's preference as opposed to just the developer's presence, harkening back to the days of uwm only or Microsoft?

just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (4, Informative)

lkcl (517947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273585)

the biggest mistake MS made was to listen to the marketing droids
(Windows 95 ist faster! Nein!) and to move the video drivers into
kernelspace in NT 4.0.

to do that, they had to rip out the entire terminal server subsystem,
to the extent that in order to fix it for NT 4.0 and NT 5.0 (aka Windows 2000) they had to _buy_ a company that had managed to do it (Citrix, i think it was - someone correct me, here).

NT 3.5 and 3.51, the screen driver, being userspace, could crash - and leave the machine, as a server, completely unaffected. If you _did_ need to use the screen, as long as you knew what keys to press, or where to move the mouse.... :) but if it was a Terminal Server - WHO CARED! keep it running!

Now - surprise, surprise, hardware is fast enough, memory is cheap enough, the [stupid] decision has been revisited.

Re:just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (1)

Surt (22457) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273637)

Yep, Microsoft is crying about that decision, alright, as it lies awake at night, bitterly depressed on its big bed made of solid gold padded with cash.

Re:just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (1)

GrapefruitJuicy (595843) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273640)

Because hardware is fast enough now, it was a stupid decision then? This doesn't really make sense, especially considering that most Windows machines aren't used as terminal servers.

Re:just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (1)

lkcl (517947) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273676)

yes, it was a stupid decision, because as pointed out in the header-article,
it made further room for attacks, and also, third party driver writers' stupidity
causes _microsoft_ headaches as they get blamed for third party fuck-ups.

they even tried moving printer drivers into the kernel for a while -
and very _very_ quickly backed out of _that_ decision.

Re:just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273651)

MS hasn't bought Citrix. They do, however, license technology from them to provide Terminal Services/Remote Desktop.

Re:just like NT 3.1, 3.5 and 3.51 (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273756)

No. This is not true and represents a misunderstandings about how the Win32 API is implemented in NT. For legacy reasons many windows programs would use the GUI APIs for internal IPC (why oh why wasn't LPC exposed to userspace though?). Anyhow, this mean that the Win32 subsystem server (CSRSS) ran both the GUI and the rest of Win32.

So a crash in the GUI (running inside the context of CSRSS) would result in all Win32 apps being shutdown. Perhaps the file services (part of SRV.SYS) would remain in the event of a GUI crash but any applications running under Win32 context would be lost. That was the reasoning that allowed M$ to temper DaveC's fears and move the GUI to WIN32K.SYS in NT 4.0.

I'm not defending the approach. I disagree with the GUI-in-kernelspace idea as well. I'm merely pointing out the way things went in terms of history. Ideally the GUI services and kernel services would be separate APIs in Win32 so that server and console applications could live without the GUI. But compatability was a major goal...

Personally, I would love to ditch the Windows GUI but keep the NT kernel. The NT kernel (despite the typical conditioned response of the average slashdotter) is quite good in many areas. The GUI API of Windows was inferior to OS/2's Presentation Manager (the big change being client area -> client window). Too bad OS/2 PM can't be run under the NT kernel. Oh well, it almost happened...
 

Innovation at it's Best (0, Flamebait)

Maltheus (248271) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273587)

It never ceases to amaze me how many incredible, fresh ideas come out of that powerhouse. This is easily the biggest development since the animated paper clip!

Re:Innovation at it's Best (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273675)

Excuse me, where in the article was did Microsoft claim the change was innovative

Eh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273594)

So, Information Technology (IT) makes it less vulnerable to kernel mode maleware? I would think It's graphics being moved out of the kernel would do that....

Great... (-1, Flamebait)

Jerrry (43027) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273596)

So does this mean that using the Vista UI will feel like wading through a knee-deep pool of molassis just like it does on Mac OS X?

Re:Great... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273720)

If I remember correctly, BeOS had the drivers in userpace and it was quite snappy. There existed some portions of the graphics driver subsystem in kernel space that allowed developers to write "accelerants" that made available the necessary functions needed by the oprating system (app_server), and your applications, to directly control the video hardware.

It was fast, stable and was much easier to debug.

Re:Great... (0)

MightyYar (622222) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273730)

On crappy hardware, yes.

Don't worry, you can keep the utopia that is XP on your crappy box.

Doesn't this mean, though . . . (1)

Ph33r th3 g(O)at (592622) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273609)

. . . that the entertainment industry's precious content becomes more vulnerable?

Lucky: No patents to stop them. (1)

Bo Vandenberg (247590) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273611)

Is it only "innovation" that repeats really old design decisions that we can look forward to?

Surely if this were truly new there would be a million patents to stop it by now, at least in the US.

BSOD (4, Funny)

DiGG3r (824623) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273612)

Does this mean we can customize our own BSOD?

Re:BSOD (1)

creimer (824291) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273665)

I been told that you just need to fiddle with the registry settings to change the *SOD colors. Of course, if you borked the registry file, it doesn't really matter what color your *SOD is.

can't really fault them (1)

know1 (854868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273621)

smart move all round for everyone really, who woulda thunk it.
now can we please have rid of the microsoft spyware that has been around since windows 95 that saves all your email correspondance,typed urls etc in hidden folders? seriously, it is good to see them take this step though, shows they are thinking about system stability more seriously.

Blimey! (1)

mpcooke3 (306161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273625)

I wonder if there will be some other design problems we can laugh at instead.

Is this going to slow down graphics performance? (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273636)

I have a beast of a machine that i use only for playing games (and porn but that's a different story). All these years, my excuse for using windows was gaming and how the graphics subsystem is faster (though less reliable: weird driver behavior and BAM!! blue screen) since it's wired into the kernel. Another line of reasoning was that since the graphics subsystem was in kernel space, it got higher priority :|. If only more game publishers were brave enough to release for the Macintosh platform (and now with the move to Intel, that porting might not be such a pain), it might be time to consider a Macintosh (i feel totally ridiculous for saying this since i am in the "Macs are overpriced, you can get a PC for much less, Mac fanboys should be shot" camp). Oh, how times change.

Re:Is this going to slow down graphics performance (1)

miller701 (525024) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273751)

My guess would be that video cards are a lot better at doing those kinds of things than general purpose CPUs do. Something Apple started doing years ago.

History made (4, Funny)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273652)

Microsoft programmers found this solution by modifying a secret Vista file called WIN.INI with the following line:

shell=command.com

Then, they added the GUI in another secret Vista file called AUTOEXEC.BAt containing one line:

win.com

This is NOT a good thing. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14273674)

I'm sure everyone will say this is great and that UNIX has been doing this forever, it took MS forever to see the light.. etc, etc.. Hogwash.

For those that don't know hardware and don't know drivers -- this isn't a good thing. The X.org crew has been talking about taking video drivers out of X and putting them back into the kernel, and for good reason.

When drivers are in the kernel, they handle the dirty low-level work and (ideally) present user mode with a nice, friendly, safe API for configuring and using the hardware.

When drivers are in user space, there is a small kernel-mode shim that lets the user-mode code access the hardware. On Linux, we know this as DRI (Direct Rendering Infrastructure). This doesn't eliminate bugs -- it just provides a simple path for user-mode code to get access to hardware registers, etc. Any bugs that exist in the kernel mode driver would yield the same problems in user mode. If a video driver incorrectly configures your graphics card, you're going to get a garbled display, period.

This is a very bad thing from a security and reliability standpoint -- compromised code can poke at the kernel-mode shim and get nearly direct access to hardware. Any bugs in the kernel mode layer WILL be discovered and WILL be exploited. The only upside I can see is that video drivers could be more easily swapped in and out without a reboot. This could be accomplished in better ways.

Lower performance and less security. Genius.

Far more like Linux... (-1, Flamebait)

ninja_assault_kitten (883141) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273706)

Except the GUI is actually intuitive, stable and nice looking.

Obligitory: (4, Insightful)

mrwiggly (34597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273710)

Those who fail to understand UNIX are doomed to reimplement it. Poorly

Apple and Microsoft (4, Interesting)

penguin-collective (932038) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273715)

X11 was conceived 20 years ago and was an incredibly forward looking design; both Macintosh and Windows have now moved to an architecture very similar to it.

Unfortunately, technical and historical facts won't stop people from making bogus claims about their pet architecture. There are still lots of Mac zealots going around complaining about X11's supposedly inefficient "network transparent architecture" even though the Mac has pretty much the same architecture and is, if anything, less efficient. I imagine it will be the same with Microsoft zealots, although many of them will, in addition, claim that this architecture was invented by Microsoft.

Re:Apple and Microsoft (1)

Glonk (103787) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273833)

Moving the graphics from kernel into userspace doesn't make it "very similar" to X11. X11 is nothing like the graphical system in Windows, aside from it is a graphical system and it will soon run in userland...

Re:Apple and Microsoft (1)

shawnce (146129) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273834)

Can you outline how you see Quartz and X11 being "pretty much the same architecture"? Also put your "less efficient" comment in context?

In other words OpenGl will suck... (2, Interesting)

Via_Patrino (702161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273726)

In other words OpenGl will suck, because DirectX will have direct access to the kernel while OpenGl (and other graphics APIs) will be delayed by inumerous error checks by the interface.

More like Mac & linux = understatement of the (1)

atari2600 (545988) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273733)

First they bring out Monad Shell (MSH). Now the graphics subsystem is moving to user-space. What's next? A Journaling file-system and opening the windows source code? I am not sure what's happening: Windows is becoming more Linux like to be reliable and people are trying to make Linux UI more Windows like so the average joe can switch? A little puzzling...just a little.

You still need alternate access to console (2, Insightful)

tralfaz2001 (652552) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273762)

Without an altenate way to access the console what is the value except for server configurations. If X windows or OS X window server locks up I can always ssh in and restart things. On linux I can just use an alternate console. Would be great if OS X had something similar. If Vista doesn't have something similar than a graphics system lock up is almost the same as a BSOD. Maybe you will still be able to do a controlled shutdown through the power button.

Undoing Windows NT 4.0 (3, Informative)

tjstork (137384) | more than 8 years ago | (#14273828)

In Windows 3.5, the graphics subsystem was outside of the kernal, then they moved it in for 4.0, and now, they are undoing that.
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