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Microsoft Singularity Now "Open" Source

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the it-pulls-me-in dept.

392

Alex_Ionescu writes "Microsoft's Singularity operating system (covered previously by Slashdot) is now open to the public for download, under a typical Microsoft academic, non-commercial license. Inside is a fully compilable and bootable version of what could be the basis for the future of Windows, or maybe simply an experiment to demonstrate .NET's capabilities. Singularity, if you'll recall, has gained wide interest from researchers and users alike, by claiming to be a fully managed code kernel (with managed code drivers and applications as well), something that would finally revolutionize the operating system research arena. The project is available on CodePlex."

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392 comments

!free (0, Redundant)

EvilRyry (1025309) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650422)

Non-commercial, academic license. Nothing to see here.

Re:!free (3, Funny)

Carrot007 (37198) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650462)

Congratulations you pointed out something that was clearly not in the summary. Thank you for a worthwhile addition to the discussion. Your mother must be proud.

Re:!free (5, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650544)

Can't you look past your own ideology to see that this is actually a remarkably good thing, even if it possibly could be better.

Re:!free (1)

Brian Gordon (987471) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650568)

I completely agree. So what if you can't actually modify the code and use it for commerical purposes, the source is open and it's a great educational tool.

Re:!free (4, Interesting)

C3c6e6 (766943) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650676)

I'm sorry but if you can't modify the code and redistribute it yourself, then I don't consider the source to be open. Still, I agree, it could be useful as an educational tool.

Re:!free (1)

cube135 (1231528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650730)

Read the license. You can. You just can't use it in a production environment.

Re:!free (4, Informative)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650832)

your right. Now compare Minix and Linux. One has a license for you too look at the source code and the other one allows you to actually use the source code and ideas in it.

It's not Open Source until you can use it. BSD, MIT, Apache, GPL, allow you to actually use the code.

Re:!free (3, Interesting)

dosius (230542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651140)

Come out from under that cave... last I checked Minix had been BSD-licensed for several years.

-uso.

Re:!free (4, Interesting)

Azarael (896715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650750)

That's also fine, until Microsoft decides to go after you once you've reviewed the source, but happen to work on a parallel product, say Linux. This may be a cynical analysis, but the fact remains that this could be a trap, and slashdot previously covered similar problems with the source code releases of XP to Gov't, etc staff.

Re:!free (1)

Smackheid (1217632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650584)

Forget the ideology. What I want to know is, has anybody here installed it/used it and what are their opinions?

Re:!free (0, Flamebait)

andreyw (798182) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650684)

Forget the ideology. What I want to know is, has anybody here installed it/used it and what are their opinions?
Why don't you, uh, have a clue and download it yourself and look at it?

Its 60MB compressed and compiles in 40 seconds. Don't be lame.

It's a research project, focusing on designing reliable, dependable, secure and low-overhead systems. You get code - written in C++, IA-32 assembly and Sing#.

Re:!free (2, Funny)

Smackheid (1217632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650966)

Don't be lame.

You ever think that maybe I don't exactly have a lot of room for an extra OS partition due to all the porn on my HD?

Seriously, some of us have actual jobs and don't have oodles of time in mom's basement to wank around with stuff like this.

Re:!free (1)

fictionpuss (1136565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651030)

Forget the ideology. What I want to know is, has anybody here installed it/used it and what are their opinions?
Why don't you, uh, have a clue and download it yourself and look at it? Its 60MB compressed and compiles in 40 seconds. Don't be lame. It's a research project, focusing on designing reliable, dependable, secure and low-overhead systems. You get code - written in C++, IA-32 assembly and Sing#.
I don't want to be lame. But I can't compile it, and I don't want to have to install a toy OS just to play with Singularity. What are your opinions of it, other than anyone who doesn't already run windows is lame?

Re:!free (1)

happytechie (661712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651224)

why can't you compile it? I haven't looked at the RQMs but I'm guessing they are all freely available from MSDN? As a research tool aimed at people actually looking into OS and compiler developent this is a usefull tool. If you're not interested don't just flame MS because you think that all code should be open for re use. It is free (as in beer) it just isn't free to be re used and re sold in comercial tools. MS have spent many many (expensive) man hours developing all this and I for one think it's a good thing to have the code and the thoughts in the open.

Re:!free (2, Interesting)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650842)

In your opinion (I haven't formed one myself yet) how is this a "remarkably good thing" ?

Re:!free (3, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650878)

It's not an ideological point, it's a practical one. Why should anyone spend any time learning and working with this tool if their efforts cannot be used commercially? It's not a bad thing that they allow people to look at their source, but it's hardly a "remarkably good thing" either.

Re:!free (4, Informative)

alan_dershowitz (586542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651208)

Why should anyone spend any time learning and working with this tool if their efforts cannot be used commercially?
Two reasons: Because it is, allegedly, a highly modern kernel design that (I've read) implements a next-generation security model that is conceptually too different to be bolted on conventional modular monolithic kernels. With an academic, noncommercial license you can use it to to learn about kernels. If you're not interested in or learning about kernels, only potentially using them, then yeah, I concede your point. However, secondly, an academic noncommercial license to the source doesn't preclude Microsoft selling an OS based on that kernel commercially, in which case having the source does have practical value for programmers even if it cannot be modified.

free is important to have more OS devs (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650970)

Everything you do on this project, whether just asking a question on a forum or posting a small patch will give MS more momentum, and takes away the same momentum from true free software. So you are not only giving your time away for free, you are also adding value too a commercial research project.

I'm sure alot of people will be very excited about this, I mean almost everything is done in c#. Looking at the build instructions it goes something like this:

  • compile C#
  • convert C# into x86 binaries
  • dump headers for C++ and assembler
  • make a 16/32 bit bootstrap
  • boot

That looks sweet to me, and it would be perfect if you want to develop an operating system without doing bit masking on stuff from a obscure bus.

Re:!free (1)

thePowerOfGrayskull (905905) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651092)

Can't you look past your own ideology to see that this is actually a remarkably good thing, even if it possibly could be better.
If you can "look past" your values based on circumstances, then I daresay that they're not worth very much.

Re:!free (1, Redundant)

Marcion (876801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650576)

Indeed. Non-commercial is not "open source" or free software. It has to be free to use for any purpose, commercial or non-commercial. If you can't resell it then it is not open source or free software,

Re:!free (4, Insightful)

pak9rabid (1011935) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650706)

open source = source code is made available
free software = source code is not only made available, but you are free to use that source however you wish, assuming you abide by the guidelines presented in the free software license, assuming there are any

No, it really is !free (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650854)

I think you meant:
shared source = source code is made available

Re:No, it really is !free (1)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650898)

Grandparent didn't mean anything. Grandparent is the kind of poster who does not know what he is talking about. Maybe he is a politician IRL. As a matter of fact, I think a lot of Slashdotters are in politics or would be great at it, considering how they talk non-sense with the utmost ease.

Mod parent up, is not troll (1, Redundant)

john-da-luthrun (876866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650648)

A non-commercial, academic license is not "open source". Parent makes a perfectly legitimate point.

Open Source != GPL (1, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650726)

Definitions of open-source on the Web:

        * Of or relating to source code (eg, computer code) that is available to the public.
            plan2005.cancer.gov/glossary.html

        * of or relating to or being computer software for which the source code is freely available
            wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn
It is Open Source. It is not public domain, GPL, CC, or under any usable license.

All Open Source means is that the source is open. We want Dibold to Open Source their black boxes, not so that we can change the code and sell it, but so that we can review it and audit it.

the open source definition, right here: (1, Informative)

erlehmann (1045500) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650788)

http://opensource.org/docs/osd [opensource.org]

also, STFU when you clearly have no clue.

Open Source != open source (3, Funny)

ShatteredArm (1123533) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650890)

It's kinda one of those things where a term with a very obvious semantic meaning was hijacked, politicized, and became something entirely different. It may have been the case that at one point, before all the lawyering or whatever, availability of source code actually meant you could do whatever you want with it. Thus, "open source" implied free use, redistribution, etc. And clearly, people who support Open Source support those ideals, even if open source code does not necessarily imply that anymore.

It's kinda like Democratic vs. democratic. One is a political party with lobbyists, fake politicians, etc., and the other is a type of system where the people make the decisions.

Noun VS Adjective (2, Insightful)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651012)

You're confused. Open source is an adjective that describes a piece of software as having the original source code publicly available. "Open Source" is also the name of a marketing campaign and licensing lobbying movement. So this release is open source as the code is being made available. It does not comply with the desires of the "Open Source" movement though. The two are entirely different.

-Rick

open source != Open Source Initiative Approved (3, Insightful)

SEMW (967629) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651176)

http://opensource.org/docs/osd
also, STFU when you clearly have no clue.
In fairness to the GP, there is an argument that a Californian non-profit organisation can't suddenly spring up and decree that the words "open source" suddenly have whatever meaning they say they have. The OSI is neither a standards organisation nor a dictionary. Nor are the words "open source" a trademark (or, indeed, trademarkable, since they're descriptive).

What is trademarked by the OSI is the phrase "Open Source Initiative Approved", and you (and the OSI) would have a perfect right to object to anyone describing Singularity as Open Source Initiative Approved, since it isn't. But the same, I'm afraid, does not apply to a non-trademarked, commonly used phrase such as "open source", any more than Microsoft could set up a non-profit organisation that gives its own definition of "secure" and hire people to tell anyone who describes Linux as "secure" to "STFU when you clearly have no clue"...

Re:Mod parent up, is not troll (0, Troll)

andreyw (798182) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650796)

No one cares.

Why don't you try commenting on the actual Singularity project, or the RDK, instead of whining about the license? Can't? Too hard?

Re:Mod parent up, is not troll (1)

MagicBox (576175) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650848)

Open source is a set of principles and practices on how to write software, the most important of which is that the source code is openly available
------


Project Description

The Singularity Research Development Kit (RDK) is based on the Microsoft Research Singularity project. It includes source code, build tools, test suites, design notes, and other background materials.

The academic/non-comercial use may have to do with the stage at which the software is at this point, not with the "final destination" of the software.

Re:Mod parent up, is not troll (1)

RingDev (879105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651088)

Open source is a set of principles and practices on how to write software
Close, but not quite. Open source just defines that the code is available. Open Source on the other hand, is a proper noun that refers to the set of principles and practices you are talking about.

-Rick

Stability? (4, Interesting)

spectrokid (660550) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650444)

If this is super-stable-hacker-resistant then there must be some uses where performance is not really an issue: ATM's, Kiosks,... Does anybody know what software exists for this thing? Does it run IE?

Re:Stability? (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650586)

There's a list of the applications here [codeplex.com]

No IE, but it has Pong!

Re:Stability? (4, Informative)

wiggles (30088) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650626)

Ars Technica says it all. [arstechnica.com]

This OS doesn't really run any applications at all. It's not intended for commercial use, and will not be the next Windows. All it is, is a test bed for future technologies. Think of it as an IT equivalent of a concept car. It doesn't really run, but it's nifty to look at to get ideas for future projects.

Re:Stability? (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651072)

I looked at Singluarity a while ago, and all of the 'innovations' I saw had been in JNode [jnode.org] years earlier. Since JNode is LGPL and actually capable of running (Java) applications, what is the attraction of Singularity?

Re:Stability? (2, Informative)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650634)

MSFT never intends to turn Singularity into a marketable product. It's simply a RESEARCH project, a breeding and proving ground for advanced O/S concepts. If they learn valuable things from the project -- like SIP, for example -- those ideas might find their way into the Windows code base in the future.

Re:Stability? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650646)

"super-stable-hacker-resistant"

"Does it run IE?"

Not if it's super-stable-hacker-resistant. If it lacks active-x it is at least more crhacker resistant and stable, though.

Re:Stability? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650942)

"ATM's, Kiosks,... Does anybody know what software exists for this thing?"

I know the new ATM's at my bank run windows. Forget which version... but I managed to crash it :p From what I could tell the machine seemed to lag at one point and I had pressed the "next" button a couple times to many. To cut the story short it, the menu system started to flash back and forth between two different areas in the menu. Then the windows is shutting down message came up and the machine restarted, spat my card out and went to a screen saying this machine is out of order.

Ooh... (0, Offtopic)

jrothwell97 (968062) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650452)

60mB zipped. That is relatively small.

The question is whether I can compile it using make or Xcode. Doubt it.

Re:Ooh... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650682)

I want to know if it runs on mono?

It's a microkernel (0, Flamebait)

Profane MuthaFucka (574406) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650484)

It's a microkernel. This project is named singularity, but it's a collection of services. The name appears to indicate some level of suckiness.

Re:It's a microkernel (2, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650604)

The name appears to indicate some level of suckiness.
On the contrary, it indicates that the awesomeness of this kernel has grown so much that it's reached critical mass and now become a singularity.

Not Open Source! Headline is a troll! (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650494)

Please don't add to the confusion. This is not Open Source. Why say so in the title other than for trolling purposes?

wharrrt? (4, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650498)

In today's news

"Microsoft releases open source operating system"

"Mans head explodes from intense confusion after reading news article about Microsoft releasing Open Source OS"

Re:wharrrt? (2, Insightful)

HiThere (15173) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650736)

Not really.

To me there appears no surprise here. You can't use it except in certain carefully isolated ways. And it's hardly a complete OS.

It's no threat to MSWind. It's an attempt to keep developers from even looking at Linux. ("You want to study an OS? OK, study our toy model.") I'm not saying it's technically crippled. It may be, but I'm not going to check. It's legally crippled.

This is just another one of those things that you're safer ignoring. Did you expect more from MS?

Re:wharrrt? (4, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650810)

"Mans head explodes from intense confusion after reading news article about Microsoft releasing Open Source OS"

Minor nit: you misspelled "Asplodes" [uncyclopedia.org]. From the link:

Use By Noobs
N00bs use the term asplode as a form of 13375p33k. For example:
Non-Noob: Lol I pwnt u with a rocket launcher!
Noob: Oh teh noes!!! I am asplode!!11!eleventyone!!
Non-Noob: Wtf?

A splode: the command prompt
Micro$oft secretly enabled a splode as a DOS command. Opening the command prompt and entering C:\asplode would start a countdown which would, when finished, cause your hard drive to a splode. Entering D:\asplode made the CD drive a splode. And entering A:\asplode would would make the floppy drive a splode. If you have a B:\ drive, you can a splode it by entering B:\asplode. Usually this makes the 5.25" floppy drive a splode! If you enter this into a Linux shell, it a splodes all computers within a 5-mile radius that run Window$. If you loved your PC, you would have entered this DOS command.

(Note: drive letter may vary between PCs.)
It is unknown whether the Singularity OS incorporates this useful command, but it is assumed that a singularity asplosion would release vast quantities of something not real nice.

Singularity? As in "black hole" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650516)

I've heard nothing about this previously (and I'll RTFA as soon as I post this), but as a science-aware techie, the first thing that comes to mind when I hear "singularity" is "black hole"... kinda negative, don't you think?
It's kinda like calling an image manipulation program "Gimp"
Or prefixing all programs bundled under a certain desktop environment with the letter "K"

NOT Open Source (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650520)

and not Free Software.

When will people learn? Or Slashdot editors do their jobs?

(Never, but whining fanboys like myself will never stop either).

Re:NOT Open Source (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650594)

and not Free Software.

When will people learn? Or Slashdot editors do their jobs?

(Never, but whining fanboys like myself will never stop either).
Fuck off.

I'm really tired of you OSS fascists. You don't have a clue, you can't actually comment on the news because Singularity is so over your head, yet you're the loudest idiots on slashdot.

OMG OPENSORS FTW!!!

Idiots.

Re:NOT Open Source (5, Insightful)

A.K.A_Magnet (860822) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650858)

Fuck off. I'm really tired of you OSS fascists. You don't have a clue, you can't actually comment on the news because Singularity is so over your head, yet you're the loudest idiots on slashdot. OMG OPENSORS FTW!!! Idiots.
Actually working in CS research in a related field, I do have a pretty good idea of what Singularity is, how it works and how nice it is. It doesn't make it Free/Open Source by any mean and so the headline is misleading.
I know very well that Microsoft Research and Microsoft are very loosely-coupled, however the article was submitted by a Microsoft proponent (judging by his account history) which "has signed an NDA with Microsoft" and one can very well see how this benefits to Microsoft (they're working hard to make everyone think they do "Open Source" too with their SharedSource initiatives and such -- btw they do have a few projects under true F/OSS licenses afaik).

Microsoft (as well as other proprietary software companies) is (and has been) very interested in spreading FUD regarding Open Source (such as "if the source is available then it must be Open Source", obviously using a flaw opened by the Open Source Initiative which put the emphasis on the openness of the code rather than on its freedom from the start), and with such an headline on a site such as Slashdot (ie, where a lot people go but don't browse further than the main page) I'm sure to take a coffee next week with someone who will tell me about Singularity now being Open Source... Is that your definition of "news"?

Singularity is a great research project but it's not Free/Open Source by any means. So grand-parent is right (as are others), and you are just as much as a fascist than the F/OSS zealots you criticize since your critics are based on them being OSS fascist and not on the facts being right or wrong. Let's call a cat a cat. Open Source is a well-defined term (just like "Windows-compatible" and nobody would like to see the Wine project tout itself of that feat unless it's 100% true), so let's respect it.

Software Isolated Processes (5, Informative)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650560)

Singularity, if you'll recall, has gained wide interest from researchers and users alike, by claiming to be a fully managed code kernel (with managed code drivers and applications as well), something that would finally revolutionize the operating system research arena.
The impression I got by looking at what was known about the project a year ago is that it was of lesser interest that the OS was written in managed code and it was far more interesting that they had solved some problems of inter-process communication in a micro-kernel OS. As you can read at Wikipedia [wikipedia.org]:

Singularity is a microkernel operating system; however, unlike most historical microkernels, the different components do not run in separate address spaces (processes). Instead, there is only a single address space in which "Software-Isolated Processes" (SIP) reside. Each SIP has its own data and code layout, and is independent from other SIPs. These SIPs behave like normal processes, but do not require the overhead penalty of task-switches. Protection in this system is provided by a set of invariants, such as the memory-invariant which states there will be no cross-references (or memory pointers) between two SIPs. Communication between SIPs occur via higher order communication channels managed by the operating system. These rules are checked during the installation phase of the application, and must be fulfilled in order for Singularity to allow the installation (note: in Singularity, installation is managed by the operating system).
The promise of Singularity, as I understood it, was the possibility of constructing an O/S kernel with all of the modularity advantages of a microkernel without all of the process communication issues typical to this kernel type.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (1)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650658)

Thanks for the quick rundown. This sounds *really* cool actually, but I wonder if anything will ever come of it on the desktop? MS seems to be very "backwards compatibility" oriented, and it seems like almost every application would need heavy changes to work with this new kernel. Maybe they're going to use it for new markets like mobile and/or xbox etc?

Re:Software Isolated Processes (3, Interesting)

parvenu74 (310712) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650782)

This sounds *really* cool actually, but I wonder if anything will ever come of it on the desktop?
Perhaps in Windows 7. Like I replied on another sub-thread of this discussion, Singularity isn't intended to ever go to market. Rather it's a breeding and proving ground for advanced concepts that might find their way into the main Windows code base at some time in the future. I think it's something like the advanced technology/racing teams inside of the major car makers who create interesting ways of solving difficult problems: some of these advanced concepts (like ABS, traction control, etc) from the racing and research teams find their way into the cars we actually drive on a day to day basis.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (1)

EvanED (569694) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650988)

Yes. On the other hand, it's not unthinkable that there could be a compatibility layer to the Windows API if MS were to turn around and want to use it (which they won't, at least for a very long time). Mach also presents a very different interface, but it speaks POSIX because there is a Unix subsystem.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22651002)

Virtualization is becoming a core component of Microsoft operating systems. Once you have a solid virtualization core, you're free to radically change the kernel and still provide backcompat to older applications.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (2, Insightful)

downix (84795) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650722)

Reminds me a lot of the old Amiga exec kernel in that regards.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650834)

Sounds similar to the differences between lightweight cooperative coroutines and heavier-weight preemptive threads. Both have serious advantages and disadvantages.

Moderating is key, both techniques should be available in a well designed system. The "forcing everything into one limited model" rarely works out.

Re:Software Isolated Processes (4, Informative)

smallfries (601545) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651230)

It sounds like a very interesting project. The idea that screams out from the wiki summary is static analysis and verification. There is a really good rundown in one of the wiki links [microsoft.com]. The really big difference from previous work is not just the use of managed code, but splitting the entire system into either trusted, or verified code. The trusted component is a tiny core, which they are working on verifying. The design of the rest of the kernel and the SIPs is a good one: instead of doing arbitrary verification, change the language design so that you can only write verifiable code. Then see how much of an O/S you can write. The progress is astounding.

For the IPC they have made some strange choices, receiving is synchronous (as in process calculi) but sending is asynchronous. As they are writing the lowest level parts (such as the schedular) in this code it may be an implementation difficulty with synchronous sends. The cheapness of the IPC seems to be routed in the transfer of ownership that communication implies. In essence you can't alias, you can only pass by value - but the low-level runtime can modify this to pass more efficiently by reference because it can verify there are no dangling references. This would (if it works over a large enough code base) solve the performance issue with IPC in a microkernel. It is (as another reply pointed out) similar to providing the semantics of heavy-weight communication to the programmer in a way that can be implemented with cheap co-routines.

Having done some (well, little) work in this area I'm really impressed by what they've achieved already.

It's open source because... (5, Interesting)

Gabest (852807) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650562)

... they couldn't make it closed. Being written in a managed language means it's easily reversable.

Re:It's open source because... (1)

tehshen (794722) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651112)

Is there a difference between "managed code" and "interpreted code"? They seem like two words for the same thing.

technically not open source (1, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651122)

From the ars technica link below :

QUOTE:"Although the Singularity research development kit (RDK) is available for download, it is not technically open source. The source code is distributed under the terms of the restrictive Microsoft Research License rather than one of Microsoft's two OSI-approved open source licenses."

ars technica [arstechnica.com]

To be "open source" you need a tad little bit more than having the source readable in plain text, IMHO.

Re:It's open source because... (3, Informative)

Ctrl-Z (28806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651174)

Have you ever seen an obfuscator? Run your code through one of those and see how easily reversible it is.

NOT open source (1, Insightful)

john-da-luthrun (876866) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650588)

The licence only allows non-commercial use, and therefore does not meet the requirements of the Open Source Definition [opensource.org].

Given MS's propensity for muddying (or FUDdying?) the waters as regards open-source/free software (with terminology like "shared source" [microsoft.com]), a site like /. really shouldn't be doing their work for them...

Advertise (2, Funny)

William Robinson (875390) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650596)

Singularity, if you'll recall, has gained wide interest from researchers and users alike, by claiming to be a fully managed code kernel

Yeah...Rare kind of advertisement...The question is, will it work on slashdotters?

Why are people excited about this? (3, Insightful)

Compholio (770966) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650602)

... claiming to be a fully managed code kernel (with managed code drivers and applications as well) ...
Someone please explain to me why someone would want this. I've been programming for the past 14 years now and every time someone comes up with a new abstraction layer to "reduce bugs" it's been total BS. Sure, some of these layers have made things easier or faster to code but they have not reduced bugs and they have definitely made applications built with them run a hell of a lot slower. There are always bugs, and there will always be bugs unless there is careful and tedious checking by a lot of programmers. So, I ask you - why on earth would someone want to run their entire kernel like this?

Re:Why are people excited about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650814)

Who knows. 'managed code' is the flavor of the month I guess. It is a awsome mind share meme. 'I use managed code'. Which implies that all other code is somehow not as good. Interperted code just didnt sound as good.

Starting from a clean slate can be a good thing. Take Firefox for example. However after awhile cruft gets in there take Firefox for example (50 meg to open www.yahoo.com?).

It will be lean and mean at first but after awhile it gets tons of stuff bolted on to make it more useful. Then after awhile you can not tell what all the interactions will be. At which point we get a new meme.

Also with bugs with each new thing we find NEW and improved ways to make bugs.

Re:Why are people excited about this? (2, Informative)

garett_spencley (193892) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650902)

I'm not an expert on the subject, and everything I know I read just this morning (I hadn't even heard of Singularity before this slashdot article), but it appears as if everything runs inside of a SIP (software isolation process) which runs in ring 0 of the kernel's address space. Thus the creation of SIPs is extremely cheap, even less overhead than hardware enforced protection domains.

You're right, this will not eliminate bugs. But it will prevent applications from "stepping on each other's toes". SIPs can not modify their own code or write to other SIP's address space. I don't see this as so much of an abstraction layer as just a different way for the kernel to manage processes and address space.

Besides, every kernel implements abstraction layers anyway. Heck, you could even consider the kernel to be one big abstraction layer to the hardware. So abstraction layer does not always equate to "more overhead". And this isn't an abstraction layer on top of an existing high-level system. This is an entirely new kernel that implements processes and memory management in a completely different way.

Re:Why are people excited about this? (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650932)

There are always bugs, and there will always be bugs unless there is careful and tedious checking by a lot of programmers.

Every program should have careful and tedious checking by a lot of programmers. This is where open source really shines, and is a large reason why open source OSes and apps are so much more secure than closed source.

Instead, the way most commercial software is written it appears that the code is given a cursory glance, run ("tested") by a few people, shoveled out the door for other people to run and betatest, and then shoveled in to store shelves to annoy and frustrate users.

Re:Why are people excited about this? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22651090)

Someone mod parent -1, offtopic. Having technical discussions on Slashdot is impossible these days thanks to morons like this guy.

Oh wow! (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650610)

Managed code! Look at that! Microsoft has managed to prove...

What OSS developers already proved [jnode.org] years ago. :-/

Actually, I'm still pretty happy about this. Regardless of whether Microsoft was first or not, they're going to manage to market the concept far better than a conglomeration of OSS developers ever could. (Sorry, guys!) If everything goes well, perhaps the public impression of managed code being "nothing but an interpreter" can finally get turned around and Computer Science can keep moving forward. :-)

I love the name (5, Funny)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650612)

However, considering that Vista has become something of a "black hole" for them, I think they were a little late with the "singularity" moniker. Is the next Windows going to be called "Event Horizon?"

That black hole has surely sucked in a few dollars of mine, and sucked in a lot of little companies that were pulled apart by Microsoft's huge gravity well.

-mcgrew
(Apologies for the lack of journals lately)

Managed code? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650668)

I know a huge performance hit when I see one. It might be more flexible than "conventional" operating systems out there, but the closer you run things to the bare metal, the better the performance is going to be.

BUT.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22650710)

Does it run linux?

It's a nice system. Is this abandonment? (4, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650872)

Very nice. It's sad, though, that Microsoft is making it available as open source, because that means it's not going to become a Microsoft product.

Singularity is an interesting system. Most of the individual ideas aren't new, but the combination of them is well chosen. It's a message passing microkernel, like VM and QNX, the OSs that actually work reliably. The storage management and of enforcement of process separation at compile time comes from the ALGOL compiler for the Burroughs 5500, circa 1960, for example. They recognized the problem of interaction between interprocess communication and the scheduler and dealt with it; QNX probably has a better solution, but the one in Singularity is OK. Singularity tries a bit too hard to avoid interprocess copying; so did Mach, and it made things worse.

There's a reasonable design-by-contract language. The language knows about marshalling for interprocess communication, which encourages its use. That's borrowed from Mesa. In most languages, a subroutine call is much easier to code than an interprocess call, which encourages bloat of individual processes.

Drivers aren't in the kernel and aren't trusted, although drivers that can do DMA still present a security problem. This is a problem with insecure PC hardware; IBM mainframe channels have DMA that goes through MMU checking. That could be fixed, especially since most new peripherals are on USB or FireWire ports. Add-on boards are on the way out.

Makes me wish I was still doing OS R&D.

Does this mean Microsoft is abandoning Singularity (1)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650888)

because it is too good and would make their current stuff look like ****?

Seriously, I guess this means it isn't in their mainstream OS roadmap,
which seems like bad news for those who would hope M$ might eventually
produce and sell a simple, safe, easy to use non-strongbad product.

NOT Open Source (2, Informative)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650926)

This is not open source. It's just another "you can play with it but don't you dare do anything real" license.

Re:NOT Open Source (1)

El Lobo (994537) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651010)

Hmmm.. and how is that bad? I love Pilsner bear and i don't know the formula. I enjoy it anyway. But if they could give out the formula for me to check out how it is done I would be overjoyed. Knowledge, my friend is the real treasure, not the often overrated Open Sources "liberties".

Microsoft hate (5, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 6 years ago | (#22650982)

I'm afraid stuff like this is reducing my hate of MS. For several reasons, I am finding MS products less and less frustrating.

1). Open sourcing weird stuff like this.
2). Silverlight is pretty good.
3). I disabled UAC in Vista. Now Vista is just like XP, but it has a prettier (albeit inconsistent at times) UI.
4). Realizing that as much as I may like free as in freedom with Linux, in XP, my stuff just works, and it's fast and snappy and doesn't get bogged down (of course I'm not doing stupid stuff like using IE visiting sketchy websites that install things). It works great for all my games, etc. Solid OS; I just had to get over my Linux vigilatism to notice it.
5). I just found the speach recognition built into Vista 2 nights ago. For just about everything but typing, it works flawlessly. As much as I love my mouse; sitting back, relaxing with both hands comfortably unbound from a keyboard and mouse, feels absolutely wonderful. So instead of clicking minimize/maximize/close, alt+tab'ing until you see the window you want, clicking start, etc; you just say into your headset "Minimize" "Maximize" or the name of the window you want to use. So to change focus back to Firefox, I would say "Mozilla Firefox". Then you can say things like "Bookmarks" and it opens the menu for your bookmaks. Say the name of the bookmark and it selects it, then "ok" or "enter" to open it. If you've got several bookmarks it thinks you're saying, it highlights all of them with a transparent bar that you can see through, and places a number in the middle of that bar. So if I say "Slashdot", it highlights the 8 slashdot bookmarks I have, and then I say "7" and it opens the one under the bar labelled "7". "Scroll Down", "Scroll down 10", "Press control w" to close a tab. If you have a list of sites you usually like to go to, and have them all bookmarked (for me they're all in the bookmarks toolbar folder), then browsing your favorite sites that you check daily is easy. "GM [gmail]" "Reddit" etc. Since I have all these bookmarks on the toolbar, it automatically finds them and clicks them. When you're surfing the net, just say the name of the link on the page and it opens it for you.

The Start Menu works nicely too. Just say "Start" and then the name of the program you want to open. Then it opens it. If it thinks there's several things you could be referring to, it shows these in the search results pane and uses the same number scheme to select which one you want. You can access windows here as well; after saying "Start" say "Show numbers" and then the number of the window you want to restore.

This is the same tech they're putting in Ford/Lincoln/Mercuries for the GPS and music system that you've been seeing commercials for lately. After using the Vista version for just about 30 minutes, I've quickly gotten used to it; the commands are very intuitive. Gotta say it's really cool stuff. Yes I know OSX has had this since who knows when, but meh, OSX can't play my games. It feels much closer to what I'm thinking I want to do, because there's no physical motion besides just speaking what I want to do and it does it. Seems like they're progressing towards the synergy between brain and computer control very nicely.

Microsoft will never be able to do microkernel (3, Interesting)

IGnatius T Foobar (4328) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651004)

Microsoft has proven time and time again that they don't have the discipline to do a properly layered operating system.

When they had OS/2 available to them, they switched back to DOS and stuffed everything into Win16.

Then when they had the original NT microkernel available to them, they stuffed everything into the Win32 layer, where it didn't belong.

Do you really believe Microsoft when they say, again, "This time we're going to design it properly" ??

We were always at war with Oceana (1)

BigJClark (1226554) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651016)


Seriously though, I wonder how long it will be until Ballmer will be throwing chairs at closed-source solutions. I can see MS doing quite well with this new model, and any move to go back to the closed-source will result in fits from Ballmer.

Just a thought. (0)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651054)

Since Singularity is supposed to run every application, driver, service, or whatever, would it take your entire computer out of commission if it crashed? When Explorer gets locked up and has to restart it takes everything that had anything to do with it out of commission. At least then it's not doing a dump of my drivers, running programs and etc.

That would be the crash heard around the world... thanks to my screaming!

Call me when... (1, Redundant)

UncHellMatt (790153) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651116)

FTA: "Haptic technology has uses ranging from remote medical breast checks and exploring distant lands, to recreating the feel of fabrics."

Yes, but when can I remotely feel and explore distant breasts?

Gotta have priorities, mate.

Get... Get your hand away from that moderation button, you! Don't mod me, bro! It's a legitimate, technical and inherently geeky question of a viable, important and distinctly boob related issue that I'm sure I'm not alone in... Oh bugger, you modded me down, didn't you?
smeg.

Just Say NO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22651158)

/|_ . ,' .\ / No to Imperialist war | ,--' _,' | Wage class war! |
        / /
      ( -. |
      | ) |
    (`-. '--.)
      `. )----'

Please fix the title! (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | more than 6 years ago | (#22651238)

Won't someone fix the title? It's just plain wrong. A non-commercial license is not Open Source.

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