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Microsoft To Dump 32-Bit After Vista

kdawson posted more than 7 years ago | from the at-least-it-fixes-Y2K38 dept.

Microsoft 527

SlinkySausage writes "Microsoft has used its annual hardware engineering conference to announce that Windows Vista and Server 2008 will be the last versions of Windows capable of booting on 32-bit CPUs such as Intel Pentium 4 and Core Duo. AMD, which introduced 64-bit CPUs early — much to the derision of Intel, which said there was no use for them at the time — must be delighted with Microsoft's decision. Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run."

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as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (5, Funny)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162361)

....I assure you, I'll be alright.

As though any processor (5, Insightful)

Spamalope (91802) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162387)

made today will be able to run the Microsoft replacement for Vista. Why worry?

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (1)

the_humeister (922869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162437)

Until Apple also stops supporting 32-bit computing. The way I see it, the 64-bit PowerPC Macs will have a longer support span than the first generation Intel Macs because they're only 32-bit computers.

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (1)

Mattintosh (758112) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162775)

There was active 68k code in the classic MacOS right up to the end. The end was over 10 years after they produced the final 68k Mac. That doesn't mean the system would run on 68k, but it does mean that Apple isn't afraid to support legacy code.

Similarly, if they want OS X to work on 32-bit CPU's for the next 5-10 years, it will. They'll support it. And given the fact that they're still selling 32-bit Core systems (the Mac Mini does not have the Core 2 yet), they'll support it for a long time to come. I'd give it until 2015 before Apple tells Core system users that they're up a certain creek sans paddle.

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (2, Insightful)

gumbi west (610122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162537)

What, are you nuts? This means that in seven years you're computer won't be able to run a newer MS OS that's worse than Vista, but with MS games that lock out Vista. You'll be stuck with OS 10.8 with a dual boot to XP or Vista or any of a number of *nix OSs. A sad, sad computer it will be.

Actually, what I thought was crazy is that Apple customers aren't the only ones using the Core processors, why single them out? Is Apple even the largest customer of Intel 32-bit processors?

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (0, Redundant)

CarnivoreMan (827905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162551)

Current computers can hardly run Vista as it is... I dont think it'll be much of a concern when the next iteration of Windows comes out and requires a new set of hefty hardware requirements relative to the state of technology at the time.

What will the recommended RAM be by then... 8 or 10 Gigs?

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (2, Funny)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#19163003)

Windows XP recommended memory: 128MB.

Vista "Premium ready": 1GB.

So assuming linear increases the successor would recommend 8 GB. Naturally the increase isn't linear though. To calculate that you'd have to fit an exponential to past OS releases, and I've got better things to do.

It's also interesting to note that XP required a graphics card with 1 MB of RAM. Vista PR (he he) recommends 128-512 MB. Assuming linear increases that's 16 GB of graphics memory for the successor!

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (0, Redundant)

JohnnyGTO (102952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162759)

Me to.

Re:as the owner of a first gen intel mac.... (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162915)

Your PC will be unable to run a supported version of Mac OS X in 2 years, and will be unable to run the latest lot of software that requires the latest version of Mac OS X in 1 year, let alone the next version Windows in ~5 years.

let's hope (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162367)

let's hope that they can get the driver situation figured out by then.

Re:let's hope (1)

brunascle (994197) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162723)

exactly why i think this is a good idea. not enough pressure is being put on vendors to produce stable 64-bit drivers. this damn well better speed up the process.

Re:let's hope (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162927)

No doubt!

Have a Belkin USB wireless adapter. They don't offer a 64 bit driver. But RALink, the company that makes the chips in the thing, DO offer a 64-bit driver. But Belkin won't tell you that.

And 64-bit Flash (Not that I really want such a thing), why is that taking so long? Sick of the 'blip' noise with every page I hit with 64-bit IE wanting me to install flash to see some lame ad. And you click on it and "There's no 64-bit Flash, but you can run Flash on a 32-browser running on your 64-bit OS" And Why The Fuck would I want to do that?

New operating system (5, Funny)

Mantaman (948891) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162373)

Does this mean that MS are going to inflict another operating system on us in the near future?

Re:New operating system (5, Funny)

timelorde (7880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162495)


Depends on what your definition of "near" is...

So this means (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162379)

that we'll see 32 bit computing for another 20 years? Seriously, it took them how long to bring Vista to the market? Something tells me that its going to take a lot longer for MS to move beyond that to the next version of Windows. There doesn't seem to be a lot of uptake on Vista. It might take 3 more years to get to SP2, never mind beyond Vista.

Re:So this means (1)

bagboy (630125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162801)

>> beyond Vista

This has potential for being a great marketing phrase for the Next-Gen Windows..... "Beyond Vista - Expand your horizons and imagine the possibilities..."

Bad Thing? (1)

TheNinjaroach (878876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162895)

It might take 3 more years to get to SP2

And giving system admins more time between applying Service Packs is a bad thing?

Re:So this means (2, Informative)

ChetOS.net (936869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162933)

Windows XP came out in October 2001. Vista in November 2006. That is little over 5 years, not 20.

However, I understand your sentiment.

Windows on Mac 32-bit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162391)

Are you kidding!? I'm ecstatic that Vista is the last Windows that could potentially run on my beloved MacBook Pro - even after I sell it at some time in the future, I'll sleep better at night knowing it won't be running the latest showstopper bug from Redmond.

Mac Owners (not) Running Windows (2)

ShedPlant (1041034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162395)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.
I personally doubt most Mac owners will care too much about running the competition's OS.

Re:Mac Owners (not) Running Windows (2, Insightful)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162543)

I don't know. Some people attribute the raging success of Apple's computer line in the past couple of years to the switch, because virtualization is now much better. Certainly most of the geeks I know that run Apple only switched because they could use virtualization to run those apps that they could not live without, as well as for testing in other OSs.

Re:Mac Owners (not) Running Windows (1)

catbutt (469582) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162767)

Most Mac owners do not actually work for Apple Inc, so therefore Microsoft is not "the competition".

Re:Mac Owners (not) Running Windows (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162917)

'' I personally doubt most Mac owners will care too much about running the competition's OS. ''

If they run Windows, they run it to access some Windows-only application, not to get a flashy, tasteless user-interface, so Macintosh users are much better off with Windows XP anyway.

I thought vista was the last one? (2, Insightful)

Gharbad (647620) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162397)

Wasn't all the talk during vista's development that it would be the last operating system they'd make?

I know that was taken back a while ago. Just saying.

Re:I thought vista was the last one? (1)

norminator (784674) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162825)

I'm pretty sure they never said they'd never make another operating system... They are primarily an OS company. What they said was that they weren't ever going to screw up on the development process of an OS again like they did Vista. They'll use different strategies to build the next OS (hopefully a shorter release cycle, less feature creep, fewer features dropped, fewer unrealistic promises, etc...). Hopefully it really does turn out different.

Although this news sounds horrible. At one point Bill Gates talked about how eventually hardware would be free or nearly free, subsidized by the software. With Vista, and now this, they don't care at all about being friendly to low-power hardware (aka cheap or portable hardware) with their desktop OS. Linux looks more and more "ready for the desktop" all the time.

Obligatory... (3, Funny)

mosel-saar-ruwer (732341) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162399)


...2^64 bytes of RAM should be enough for anyone.

Re:Obligatory... (3, Funny)

mcpkaaos (449561) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162805)

Well, the systems will handle 2^64 bytes of RAM, but Windows will probably reserve the upper 2^48.

Re:Obligatory... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162889)

Please tell me I'll be dead before 2^64 bytes of RAM is not enough for anyone's processes. 4 gigabyte (4294967296 byte) core files are bad enough; I don't want to be the programmer that has to debug a process with a 16 exabyte (18446744073709551616 byte) memory footprint.

Hope (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162403)

I can only hope this somehow leads to better 64bit support with the various Linux distributions.

BETTER I say!

Re:Hope (1)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162599)

Linux is years ahead of MS in 64 bit support. Most distros have 64 bit versions along with the 32 bit ones. I have the AMD64 version of Feisty on my laptop (along with Vista Ultimate--32bit) and support is excellent.

Re:Hope (1)

vitya404 (959458) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162813)

If you are talking about binary-only packages, I share your opinion: why can't they compile/build it for other architectures too?
You don't have this problem with open source: the code is (very much) CPU-independent.

Don't fall into the trap (4, Informative)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162407)

Windows Vista and Server 2008 will be the last versions of Windows capable of booting on 32-bit CPUs such as Intel Pentium 4 and Core Duo
Before anyone falls into the trap I almost fell into, please note that the Core Duo is not the 64-bit capable Core2 Duo.

Re:Don't fall into the trap (-1, Troll)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162489)

Before anyone falls into the trap I almost fell into, please note that the Frog is not the Elephant.

Re:Don't fall into the trap (2, Funny)

sqrt(2) (786011) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162685)

Well, I bet that was awkward.

What? (0, Flamebait)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162417)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run."

Owners of intel macs are mostly laughing up their sleeves because they're not running Windows.

I doubt many mac users will install Vista at all, opting for Windows XP for compatibility.

Windows software is only becoming less important in any case.

Windows timelines (1)

Sancho (17056) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162423)

Anyone running a Mac is used to major upgrades not working (or rather, not working well) with old software. That's not going to be a problem. Besides, if the release dates of Vista and Vista++ are as far apart as the release dates of XP and Vista, most of those 1st gen Intel Macs probably won't be in use anymore.

Re:Windows timelines (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162747)

Besides, if the release dates of Vista and Vista++ are as far apart as the release dates of XP and Vista...

Actually, I've got an all-day meeting in five years. How about five years and a day?

Mac owners don't care (1)

lightversusdark (922292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162439)

Legacy Intel Mac owners are more likely nonplussed by the fact that if there was any advantage to running Vista over XP, be it through Boot Camp / Parallels; and the licensing of Vista didn't already forbid this in most cases, then after a product scheduled for release in 2008 reaches End-Of-Life, they will be unsupported.

I wonder why that would be? (1, Funny)

BJH (11355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162445)

Could it possibly be because the next version of Windows will require more than 4GB of memory to run? ;)

(Yeah, yeah, I know about PAE. It's a joke.)

This will make things interesting (3, Insightful)

einhverfr (238914) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162447)

The real questions are:
  • will hardware vendors stop releasing 32-bit chips?
  • Will companies upgrade hardware in orer to get the latest version of Windows?
  • Will this help provide more incentive for a Linux desktop?
  • Will this increase the amount of lead going into our landfills?

Re:This will make things interesting (1)

theelectron (973857) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162639)

will hardware vendors stop releasing 32-bit chips?
No, there are companies that still produce and sell 8 bit chips.http://www.microchip.com/ [microchip.com]

Will this increase the amount of lead going into our landfills?
What? Are you basing this on 64 bit chips being larger? Anyway, no. RoHS is influencing the American market quite a bit, so I would imagine that since these will be new chips following those guidelines, they will actually reduce the amount of lead going into landfills.

Re:This will make things interesting (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162855)

No, I think he means all the older 32-bit machines that will be heading for the landfill.

Re:This will make things interesting (2)

garcia (6573) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162905)

Well you certainly have hit all the buzztopics on the head haven't you?

will hardware vendors stop releasing 32-bit chips?

Probably not but they certainly won't become the main product. The main product is selling chips to people running Windows and if it's not supported in 32-bit the demand for new chips that are 32-bit will drop.

Will companies upgrade hardware in orer to get the latest version of Windows?

It depends but probably. Once the EOL happens for XP/Vista they will be forced to upgrade in order to keep up with everyone else.

Will this help provide more incentive for a Linux desktop?

No. People upgrade their computers when it "runs slow" (Spyware, old hardware, etc) and that happens every 2-5 years anyway. People are just going to do it and buy whatever the Big Box store or Dell is offering on special. I have a feeling that it will be 64-bit.

Will this increase the amount of lead going into our landfills?

Not anymore than it already has been increasing. People will upgrade on their normal computer lifetime schedule. There won't be a mad dash (just like there wasn't for Vista) to upgrade.

Re:This will make things interesting (1)

darkwing_bmf (178021) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162923)

will hardware vendors stop releasing 32-bit chips?

Who cares? That's not relevant. Hardware companies still produce 16-bit chips [intel.com] but that doesn't mean most people are still using 16-bit desktop computers.

seven year cycles (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162459)

This will matter in what, 2014?

not the end of the world (1)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162465)

We're likely to keep running Server 2003 in the office for years before even contemplating an upgrade. By the time we hit the 64-bit wall, it'll be time to retire these servers from the frontlines anyway. (5 years, maybe more?) I think a greater concern is the utter piggishness of Windows in the first place, requiring so much horsepower just to boot to the friggin' desktop. If you want to get your ear ripped off with a rant, just ask a programmer to contrast the performance and bloat of simple "hello, world" programs as written in C vs. C# and the whole .net nonsense.

Re:not the end of the world (1)

sid0 (1062444) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162857)

Oh, come on. .NET isn't for Hello World programs. Hello World running faster in C tells you jack squat about performance vs .NET, or the features.

Fortunately for first gen Mac users... (1)

turboflux (781551) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162473)

... it will be at least 5 years before a new version of Windows comes out. That is, if they even want to install Windows in the first place.

Not only that, but it doesn't apply just to Mac users - it would apply to anyone running an early Core Duo, would it not?

Can macromedia do the impossible, heh.. (2, Funny)

GreggBz (777373) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162479)

The Real Motivation:
Buh-Bye Flash, hello Starlight! (or whatever it's called)

Oh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162485)

Won't have to worry about it for the next 5-8 years...or however long it takes them to put out a new OS.

I wouldn't worry... (1)

Sometimes_Rational (866083) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162501)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.

I wouldn't worry about that. When the next version of Windows comes out 5 to 10 years from now, those macs will be nearly out of date anyway.

Is there a tangible reason to drop 32-Bit? (3, Interesting)

anss123 (985305) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162513)

Linux, *BSP, etc, etc, are happy to support 32-Bit/64-Bit at the same time. I tried out the 64-Bit version of Windows Vista in VMWare (which can run 64-Bit Vista on top of 32-Bit Vista) and the only "benefit" I got was that my old 16-Bit apps stopped running. (Got several great 16-Bit games, and a 16-Bit dictionary.) What can the newfangled 64-Bit future Windows do that won't be feasible with a 32-Bit version lurking around?

Re:Is there a tangible reason to drop 32-Bit? (4, Funny)

19thNervousBreakdown (768619) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162645)

... a 16-Bit dictionary.

Abridged, I assume?

Re:Is there a tangible reason to drop 32-Bit? (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162661)

16-bit games? Shouldn't you be running those in DOSBox?

Re:Is there a tangible reason to drop 32-Bit? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162997)

What can the newfangled 64-Bit future Windows do that won't be feasible with a 32-Bit version lurking around?

It can use all the bits in your processor instead of half of them.

Time to burn for Intel Mac users. (1)

Lethyos (408045) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162515)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.

If the XP to Vista roadmap is any indication, I figure they have at least five years before they have to worry about the next major Windows release not running on their machines.

YES! (4, Interesting)

Quantam (870027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162519)

As a programmer I've been waiting for this. I was actually disappointed that Vista would support 32-bit CPUs, but I guess there was no way around that, given how common 32-bit x86s still are. Having one architecture to support will make things much easier, as well as get people to actually update their legacy code. Now if MS could get them to actually fix all the problems due to generally crappy code (like requiring admin)...

Re:YES! (0)

locokamil (850008) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162789)

You do realize that a 64 bit OS will not mean legacy apps will get rewritten... it'll mean that the market for 16bit emulation software will explode.

Re:YES! (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162925)

It's still not going to be "one" architecture. CPUs are still going to have their own specialized instructions and extra sets (Intels SSE83 and AMD's 3DNOWFORREALTHISTIME).

Also, not necessarily at you, but if any Windows developer does so in C or C++, you have been using the new headers with 64-bit compatibility warnings, haven't you?

Huh? (5, Insightful)

bakes (87194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162525)

Microsoft themselves still don't support 64-bit yet. I installed the 64-bit version of SQL Server 2005 only to find it doesn't support 64-bit for SQL Mail and SSIS - you have to run the 32-bit versions of them under WoW64. Someone else has already mentioned drivers. If Microsoft can't or won't support their own software under 64 bit environments, they are going to have a heck of a time convincing developers to push everything over.

I fear there will be a loooooooong transition time - just as well they gave everyone an early warning.

Re:Huh? (1)

Control Group (105494) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162739)

Er...what?

I run several SQL 2005 instances, one of them a 2-node cluster of SQL 2005 SP1 64-bit on Windows 2003 R2 SP2 64-bit, and I don't have this problem. SSIS works just fine. I don't use SQL Mail, so I can't speak to it, but unless SQL Server set up and is running WoW64 without telling me (which, I admit, isn't impossible), SSIS works just dandy in 64-bit land.

Re:Huh? (1)

cbreaker (561297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162999)

WoW isn't really that big of a deal, you know.

The code still runs native on X86-64 CPU's; it's just that a few extra DLL's have to be loaded. In real world performance, often times running apps in WoW is faster then running the whole OS is 32-bit land, depending on the application. Some 32-bit games, for instance, benefit from having 64-bit drivers for video and disk access, and I'd imagine that a heavy app like SQL benefits even more if you have more then 3 GB RAM.

Your argument is really kinda weak. WoW is a great function of Windows, it's just too bad MORE things don't work under it. Most applications do run great, though.

Does this mean they're dumping Windows Mobile? (1)

sethawoolley (1005201) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162527)

64-bit will be overkill on embedded systems for a long time coming...

Thank Saint IGNUcious I won't have to deal with that monstrosity in the future.

What? (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162539)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.

So...everybody on slashdot proclaims that Vista sucks so bad that it is the final nail in Microsoft's coffin...yet they are not happy that Windows will be discontinuing 32 bit support in 5 to 10 years???

Re:What? (1)

Mantaman (948891) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162727)

you must be new here .. welcome to slashdot .. the place where we slag off ms whenever we can :)

Re:What? (1)

Jeremi (14640) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162931)

So...everybody on slashdot proclaims that Vista sucks so bad that it is the final nail in Microsoft's coffin...yet they are not happy that Windows will be discontinuing 32 bit support in 5 to 10 years???


See the linked names above each post, the ones with a number next to them? Those are user names. They indicate that various posts were written by various people, each with their own opinions and worldview. Slashdot is not, in fact, a message board whose population consists of just you and one other wildly prolific and inconsistent poster.

What's the big deal? (1)

east coast (590680) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162563)

By the time the next version of Windows comes around people who currently own P4s and Core Duos aren't going to be worried about upgrading the OS on their existing machines.

Not to mention that it's all too common for software/hardware manufacturers to make these grandiose kinds of statements only to retract it at a later date. I've never seen the axe fall on such a standard without at least a few false announcements of abandonment. For example: I was told 2-3 years ago that both ATI and nVidia were both going to drop their AGP cards after the current (X800 era) versions. Way to go PCI-E!

About Damn Time (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162591)

This has been long overdue. From what I've read there's a lot more security enhancements in Vista 64-bit than 32-bit. I would like to move over to a 64-Bit windows platform, but the last time I tried it with XP, all my hardware was able to work with it except for Palm who insists on 32-bit drivers. Not sure about iPods either. Palm was higher on the stuff-that-must-work priority list than my iPod at the time.

This also should allow Microsoft to cut back on the size of windows since they, at least in my mind, ought to be able to cut out a good portion of their legacy hardware support (things like the ISA bus and stuff which should not be found on (I hope) 64-bit processor motherboards). Although this will be a very scary version to be running for the first couple of months as hardware manufacturers are dragged kicking and screaming into 64-bit land. Same with software authors. UAC was just a test run ;) Hopefully, they will really just gut the entire OS and start from the ground up this time. Windows has needed a clean break from its history for a long time in my book.

Indeed... (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162593)

So judging by the trends in Microsoft's development cycles, we'll see this Vista replacement somewhere around 2018 then? Pardon me while I burst into panic. By then computers might even be fast enough to give acceptable performance with Vista! I kid, I kid.

But seriously, I think this is probably the least of any Mac users worries. Generally, Bootcamp is used for backwards rather than forwards compatibility. The forward compatibility is Mac OS. Windows is for legacy apps.

It really makes no difference (3, Insightful)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162603)

when you consider that it took many more years for Vista than was planned; the next Windows release ought to come about retirement age for most of us.

That and as Microsoft seems to feel that your next PC will be a cell/mobile phone, I'm waiting for the advent of the 64-bit mobile phone processor. Imagine its 128-bit predecessor. You'll be able to address every bit in the known universe with the memory map on *that* one.

Or, perhaps 'legacy' hardware will get some much needed added life, by utilizing ultra-fast 32-bit processors that just do work far faster than their 64-bit equivalents-simply because code maturity will force opmitizations.

In many ways, this is a good idea for Microsoft! (1)

Theovon (109752) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162607)

A large part of Microsoft's inability to modernize many aspects of Windows has been their need to retain backward compatibility with all sorts of crappy old software that did all sort of bad things that would break when the OS was recompiled. While it sucks for people with 32-bit machines, this is an opportunity for Microsoft to stop diverting resources to making old junk work and dedicate those resources to making actual improvements to the OS.

They have to do it this way. Apple doesn't have this problem because they made a clean break in 2000 with OSX. With OSX, they could start over with new APIs and a whole new way of doing things that shed a lot of the crud from the past. As long as Microsoft supports 32-bit and 16-bit Windows code, they're going to be held back. Ditching 32-bit processors is a forcing function that they can use to draw a line in the sand for all of the users. They'll surely still run Win32 code, but users won't have an expectation that all old stuff will work problem-free.

Microsoft is rightly bitched at for a lot of things that they do wrong. But what's ironic is that whenever they've broken backward compatibility, they get bitched at for that moreso than any other vendor. Of course, with old Linux code, that's mostly a recompile, but Apple was really drastic in their moves from OS9 to OSX and from PPC to x86. Some people complained, but most people just accepted it.

Re:In many ways, this is a good idea for Microsoft (1)

shoptroll (544006) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162731)

If MS was smart, they'd provide some sort of virtualization functionality into the next OS that allows stragglers to run their old applications on the OS. However, hardware manufacturers *cough* PALM *cough* need to wake up and do something. This decision isn't exactly a big surprise. We've had 64-Bit XP since 2002-2003ish.

Mac Owners (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162611)

"Owners of first-generation Intel Macs ... may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run."

But they will take solace in the fact that they can still run OSX which is better.

I'm so delighted (1)

CranberryKing (776846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162623)

since I have an AMD64. But wait I also have a 32-bit sempron. I guess I'm not so happy. Oh drat! Who honestly gives a toss about a planned operating system years away running or not running on their current hardware. I have a recent mobo and I still wouldn't want to try running vista on it.

Yes, because (1)

Kelz (611260) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162625)

Hardware that was out when WinXP came out can run vista.

MS software engineering (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162649)

Apparently, it's just too hard for Microsoft to do what Linux distributions have done for several years now: support 32 bit and 64 bit simultaneously.

My Core 2 Duo iMac... (1)

bpprice (612705) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162651)

... won't be bothered with Vista or even XP anytime soon, 64-bit or not. I have enough of that junk to deal with at work, and home I don't need one bit of it. If there was even one Windows application that truly mattered to me, perhaps - but there ain't. It is difficult to imagine why I would ever bother with a dual boot setup in order to get real things accomplished. That's just sad. It is true that I don't play games on computers, and if I did I might want Windows for that (at least for the next couple of years until Windows is less common) - but there are plenty of other things to do in my life right now. I barely have time for all the people and projects in my First Life, and so there is no Second Life!

Smart planning, given their usual delays... (1)

nick_davison (217681) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162663)

Sure, we scoff now.

You forget, Vista was originally announced when 8 bit CPUs were common. It was only delay after delay that held them up until 32 bit CPUs were the low end and 64 bit ones were pretty common.

In 2088, when they finally ship their new version, we'll likely all be running megabit CPUs. We still won't have our long promised flying cars however. This of course assumes Moore's law - which will still have regular discussions on Slashdot about how it's reached its limits.

Hardware will not like windows too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162677)

Well I don't expect any future windows to run at decent speed in the latest hardware either. :D

Tainted (1)

MrPerfekt (414248) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162679)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.

Call me crazy, but I didn't buy my Mac to run Windows. So I won't be "not so happy". Thanks for speculating though!

Will it matter? (1)

palladiate (1018086) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162687)

In the 6-8 following years of Vista, wouldn't a entry level 64-bit cpu that's faster and more efficient than your old machine cost a rather small amount? Is this important?

My bigger worry is if Microsoft can create a 64-bit OS that functionally operates on my Core2. That's the day I'm waiting for. I'm tired of not having any functionality of my custom box when running XP64 or Vista64- no ATI or Nvidia drivers that work without kernel panics, no sound drivers that work with my Realtek on DVDs, randomly scorched Raid 0 with an Intel controller. I should say, that the 64-bit Linux kernel works fine, and I can do most everything but watch YouTube in Ubuntu running at 64-bit

Fixing that will be much harder than creating very affordable new cpus. Seriously, does anyone expect their computers to run the latest Microsoft junk in 6 years?

No (1)

buddha42 (539539) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162691)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run."
No, I'm pretty sure they won't give the slightest crap whatsoever.

How long to roll out 46 bit only? (1)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162711)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.


So what, we'll need to upgrade our machines in 6 years or so? That's well within the typical Mac lifecycle... though just barely. Unlike standard PCs Macs are typically used for ~5 years before being upgraded. The OS just keeps getting better and faster so the older machines actually work better than when they were introduced... Linux seems close to this, though only if you limit your media options.

Old versions forever! (1)

Ngarrang (1023425) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162719)

This is certainly good news for Win95 and Win98 users. For a minute there, they thought they were going to have to upgrade, but with the future Windows OSes no longer competing for the 32-bit space, the market share for even Win2k should now become stable.

Sure... (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162751)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run."

Is this really an issue? I mean, isn't XP Pro the last reasonably respectible OS Microsoft made? Why would they run Vista at all? Why would they want to?

This is good news... (1)

bitRAKE (739786) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162757)

Windows has always bit off more than it could chew.

BashDot (1)

TopSpin (753) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162763)

Owners of first-generation Intel Macs that used (32-bit only) Core Duo CPUs may not be so happy knowing that Vista will be the last Windows they will be able to run.
Question: Circa 2013* or so when a replacement for Vista actually appears, exactly how many "first-generation" Intel Mac operators that actually use their by-then 7 year old systems to run Microsoft operating systems will actually care?

Answer: Both.

Please. I wouldn't be surprised or disturbed to learn the latest version of OS X isn't be supported on 32 bit Macs by the time Microsoft replaces Vista. If history is any guide there is at least one processor architecture change-over in store for Apple between now and then.

* Figuring XP-to-Vista development time as the lower bound for Vista's replacement.

Hold on a minute (1)

CyZooNiC (656901) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162807)

It would be nice if they would "fix" the current problems with windows XP x64 and Vista x64 before through all their eggs in the 64 bit basket. I've regretted the purchase of XP x64 and sure wish I would have gone with the 32 bit version since almost nothing works properly from drivers to software. Sure it's the fault of the 3rd party drivers and software but where is the backwards compatibility support? And if large manufactures like HP won't provide drivers for new printers they release who will? I still can't print on my HP2600n using XP x64!

Stock up on old hardware (1)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162839)

I would buy it by the truckload if I had the money. I don't know how long it could sit before it corrodes away, but it sure will come in handy to insure that at my neighbors could have an affordable machine over the next decade at least. I would advise also that people stop buying the latest new gadget every week. This all really stinks for those who normally have no need to upgrade when the old stuff is working perfectly fine. Got a ten year old MMX machine that works perfectly with win98 and office 97. And these people are trying to break it by making all the new formats incompatible. At the same time, I think I'll take up the fine art of dumpster diving and continue to help people break away from Microsoft. Come to think of it, this really shouldn't an issue anymore. The Microsoft stranglehold is an irrational illusion, now that we have a viable alternative. Just need CAD and some games to keep gen-pop happy.

Step 1 (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162845)

Step 2 will be to restrict booting unless the board has TPM enabled.

frIst Stop (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162851)

Very sick and its transfer, netscape t4e project faces, Don't be a sling

In other news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162869)

IPV4 addresses are obsolete, we'll get rid of them and adopt IPV6 by 2002.

The real news here is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162873)

So you're saying that 5 years down the road, Microsoft isn't going to support Intel processors from 2 years ago. Maybe you haven't noticed the Vista system requirements, but the only newsworthy element of this story is that there's a 7-year delta to "unsupported" in there instead of the current 3-year delta.

Microsoft To Dump 32-Bit After Vista? (1)

digitalderbs (718388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162893)

That's odd. I thought they already did that before Windows 95.

Sure it is the last one (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162897)

And Windows 95 was the last 16/32 hybrid
Oh no, Windows 98 will *really* be it.
Whoops, Windows 98SE will be it!
Windows ME will, we really mean it this time!

Re:Sure it is the last one (1)

default luser (529332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162993)

Windows 95 contained 16-bit code, but the OS required a 32-bit processor.

This is as-opposed to Windows 3.x, which can run in real mode on a 16-bit processor, or in protected mode on a 32-bit processor.

Good! (4, Interesting)

default luser (529332) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162907)

The 4GB memory barrier is fast-aproaching for high-end users, and dealing with it is a MESS. Most motherboards don't support PAE (either due to lack of re-mappable PCI address space, or even lack of 36-bit address lines!), so we have a hard-limit of 2-3GB in the most popular version of Vista (32-bit). This is going to be a rough few years for game developers.

I really don't see why Microsoft went 32-bit on this version anyway...I'd say over %80 of the potential upgrade platforms and over %95 of all shipping PCs today support x86-64 mode. But when you look back, history paves the way:

Windows 386 = Windows 2.0 with 32-bit enhancements bolted-on. Equivilant of Windows XP 64
Windows 3 = crossover version with support for 16-bit and 32-bit processors. Equivilant of Vista.
Windows 95 = supports only 32-bit processors. Equivilant to the next revision of Windows.

Too bad Microsoft didn't have the balls to jump the gun and make Vista 64-bit only.

Re:Good! (1)

Shados (741919) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162949)

Considering Vista 32 bit runs -almost- everything, and people cry like crazy about bad backward compatibility, can you imagine the rampage if they had dropped 32 bit? Microsoft employees would get burned on stakes in public places.

And will there be (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | more than 7 years ago | (#19162951)

another Windows after Vista? If you see what M$ says Vista is the Ultimate OS...

OK, we have heard that before...

There is also the question about where the Linux bandwagon goes if Microsoft has the stamina to produce another major OS release after Vista. There have been arguments that Vista is the last of it's kind. From what I have recognized, Vista is a step forward from XP as NT was a step forward from W98. (ME doesn't count).

Irrelevant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19162965)

Did anyone seriously expect whatever follows Vista to run on ANY current hardware?

This isn't a slam. But you would have to be blind not to realize that every new version of windows makes requirements that net out to you have to get a new machine.

This has always been the case (since Windows 98 required a computer with a CDROM?)

You could get away with upgrading a beefy NT box to 2000, or a beefy 2000 box to XP. I haven't heard of anyone upgrading a box from XP to Vista. The requirements of Vista are just too high for most XP boxes.

Whatever follows Vista will have SEVERAL requirements that make reusing existing boxes (including most existing 64 bit boxes) impractical.
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