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How Microsoft Plans To Get Its Groove Back With Win7

kdawson posted more than 6 years ago | from the you-have-no-compatibility-get-over-it dept.

Windows 612

shawnz tips a blog post up at thebetaguy that details Windows 7's huge departure from the past, and the bold strategy Microsoft will be employing to maintain backward compatibility. Hint: Apple did it seven years back. There are interesting anti-trust implications too. "Windows 7 takes a different approach to the componentization and backwards compatibility issues; in short, it doesn't think about them at all. Windows 7 will be a from-the-ground-up packaging of the Windows codebase; partially source, but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows."

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Pure Propaganda (1, Interesting)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963214)

It does not matter how you arrange your secrets or hide the way you break your competitor's work, malice is what makes Windows suck and what gets M$ in legal trouble. The author is amazingly defensive about all of this and anyone who believes what M$ tells them will be because they are living very large and obvious lies.

All Vapor. (3, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963454)

Microsoft is always promising the next Windows will be built new from the ground up so not much is really new this time. The only difference here is the promise to break backward compatibility. Thebetaguy contradicts himself about that by having the balls to promise, "This should allow the majority of legacy applications to run perfectly," while Vista provided less than 60% of the same.

There are lots of other contradictions because thebetaguy does not really want to admit several things and he's angry about the few he's given in to. The Microsoft way of doing things was inadequate, but the change is blamed on legal challenges that competitors strangely don't have. He cites some of Vista's insane processes but fails to mention digital restrictions or the last minute elimination of XP drivers as reasons for poor performance. It's funny to watch a fanboy admit Microsoft is following Apple, but it would be nice for him to also admit that Apple followed free software and Unix practices.

Like I said, there's not much to this article. It's mostly a fanboy making excuses and casting blame for the failure of his favorite operating system. No real details have been announced and the game plan will, as usual, change before release - a sure sign that there's nothing really open about the "new" Microsoft. They are going to keep their secrets and continue to mess with anyone who's got any revenue potential.

Did Microsoft ever have a "Groove?" (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963504)

Oh, Yeah. Ray Ozzie. [news.com]

But really. Windows 7 will be what? Does anybody really want something the don't have in XP?

Who cares? It's over. (1, Insightful)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963766)

We can sit and arm chair direct Microsoft in to all sorts of fun things, but why bother when we could just pick up some free software codebase and do better for ourselves? Hopefully hardware makers will start thinking like this rather than going down whatever SDK path Microsoft tries to sell them next.

With this announcement of total backwards break, Microsoft has declared complete defeat for their business model. It would be nicer if they would fly the white flag and be good sports about it. The free software community will welcome them if they just GPL their code and act nice. Hell, XP would survive longer than 2010 if they GPL'd it because the community could really make what they want. They don't seem ready to do that, so they can sink for all I care.

Re:All Vapor. (5, Insightful)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963672)

"This should allow the majority of legacy applications to run perfectly," while Vista provided less than 60% of the same.
And as anyone who actually tried to use Classic knows, it sucked. All it did was push Mac users to get new versions as soon as possible. This was actually a great thing for everyone involved -- developers got upgrade revenue, abandonware was replaced by new versions, and Apple got everyone to buy-in to the new system. If there was any problem, in my book, it was Carbon.

But there is one key aspect of the X story that has to be remembered: Apple was effectively a dead platform with a small user base. The vast majority of active Mac users today are new to the platform, or on a new-ish machine. There was little to no installed base to lose.

To think that Windows can pull off the same stunt strikes me as ridiculous. There is hope, surely, in the rapid rollout of ever-better virtualization systems, and API mappers (like WINE). But does anyone really think that the MASSIVE FREAKING installed base of Windows can afford a semi-solution like Classic while new versions of their software ships?

Case in point: I looked into the .net frameworks a few years back and basically gave up on it as massively underdeveloped. I knew this would improve as soon as Office was based on it. So I decided to wait until this happened, then I'd take another look. Still waiting. If MS's own applications end up running under emulation it will be unlikely to please. But if they don't, then you have to include all the legacy crap into the "base install". And if that happens, what, exactly, are you abandoning in the new code base?

Hey, maybe they'll pull off a miracle and make a compatibility layer that totally kicks ass. You know, like the new Office kicks ass.

Maury

Re:All Vapor. (2, Interesting)

dhasenan (758719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963842)

Microsoft can't adequately document previous Office formats for a .NET port to be feasible, I'm thinking. It's far easier to include substantial portions of the previous version than to rewrite the document parsers and so forth.

As for MS Office kicking ass, I have access to Office 2007 here at work, but I still use OpenOffice most of the time. It's quicker, leaves more screen space for the documents, and has a UI that I don't really have to think to use.

The Netscape Thing is a giveaway. (1, Flamebait)

inTheLoo (1255256) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963578)

It's amazing how they keep trotting out the integration lie about IE. The US Federal Government did not spank Microsoft because they made a better browser and tied it to their file manager, they spanked them for screwing Netscape in every orifice by creating problems for them. Anyone who does not understand that is either confused or lying.

Re:Pure Propaganda (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963694)

Y'know, you really do get on my nads, Twitter. Please, take your Microsoft ranting energy and put it towards something useful, like - I dunno - improving open source software. That's useful, in stark contrast to your sockpuppet Slashdot posts.

Getting their groove (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963272)

They'll probably just stick their dick in YOUR groove. It's what they do best.

Has "fail" written all over it (4, Insightful)

metamatic (202216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963274)

The thing is, the only reason most people run Windows is so they can run legacy Windows applications. A Windows that can't run Windows apps? Yeah, that'll sell like an iPod that can't play MP3s.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (4, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963302)

Why do you think people hate Vista so much? It breaks more older apps... there are still old games I love to play, that I'll dig out, but they take enough patching even to run on winxp, I don't even want to THINK about getting them to run under Vista.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (3, Interesting)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963718)

there are still old games I love to play, that I'll dig out, but they take enough patching even to run on winxp, I don't even want to THINK about getting them to run under Vista.
I'm in exactly the same boat. Sadly WINE has problems with the same set of programs :-(

Maury

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (-1)

CrazyTalk (662055) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963330)

Ummm - was that meant to be funny? I've never played an mp3 on my iPod (just ripped CDs and songs purchased from iTunes)

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (3, Insightful)

minginqunt (225413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963348)

While we're on the Classic Mac OS comparisons, I'd suggest that on current form, this could easily turn out to be Microsoft's Copland.

Were it not the fact that they (eventually) got something to stumble out of the door, that honour would fall to Vista.

The idea that Microsoft are really going to rip it all up and start again, with a company as profoundly conservative as they are, seems unlikely to me.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (3, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963588)

I would suggest that Vista is Apple's copland and MSFT just kept on beating the dad horse instead of doing something different.

Of course Vista was supposed to be this great OS with modulazation, a real command line, a fancy database file system, that ran older windows apps in a fancy VM(Virtual PC anyone?).

MSFT broke those promises, Windows 7 will have lots of hope but it too will fail. MSFt management is stuck in a rut and that won't change until all the managers do.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963352)

They're not so stupid as to prevent old Windows applications from running on Windows 7.

They're far, far stupider. They're going to run them in a virtual machine.

People already complain about how Vista is half as fast as XP (which is being generous). Imagine how much slower Windows 7 will be, when all your existing software is being run in a virtual machine.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (2, Funny)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963518)

People already complain about how Vista is half as fast as XP (which is being generous). Imagine how much slower Windows 7 will be, when all your existing software is being run in a virtual machine.

Too right. Most people agree: Vista is half-fast.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963840)

As my father is fond of saying: "Never start vast projects with half-vast ideas."

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (1)

KevMar (471257) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963620)

There is no question that they will use virtual machines to support older apps. They have done alot of work in that area. And it is such an easy way to add backwards compatibility.

If it it not in the product, what reason do people have to stick with windows. I thought vista was a good enough reason to push people to linux. If the change will be as big as office 2007 was to 2003 it will give apple and linux alot more room to gain market.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (5, Interesting)

Creepy (93888) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963632)

Transparent emulators (should they even be called that?) are very fast - ever run a VM? They just pass through code into the native processor and make sure functions get routed to the appropriate library. Not quite as fast as running natively, but if you are able to significantly increase your "native" speed, the tradeoff is usually worth it (at most it's about a 20% hit - real world is usually much less).

    Where you DO run into problems is with I/O, meaning we get the driver headache again. I believe that is one reason Vista pushed a new driver model - an attempt at future-proofing for this new OS model.

    The plus side of a VM is you get a layer of stability for free if you do it right (I don't count on MS to do anything right, especially the first time...) - crashing the VM doesn't necessarily crash the native OS (depends on what caused the crash - bad memory crashes everything).

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (2, Insightful)

Ahnteis (746045) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963378)

Just how "legacy" are we talking here? I don't much care about the software I was running 10 years ago. Oh sure, the stuff from last year I care about.

Of course, I suspect that I'm the minority even there. Most people just want a current version of word, internet explorer, itunes, and maybe something to touch-up their photos.

What they REALLY want is a way to transfer to the new computer painlessly.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (1, Insightful)

Gorm the DBA (581373) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963652)

"Just how "legacy" are we talking here? I don't much care about the software I was running 10 years ago. Oh sure, the stuff from last year I care about. Of course, I suspect that I'm the minority even there. Most people just want a current version of word, internet explorer, itunes, and maybe something to touch-up their photos. What they REALLY want is a way to transfer to the new computer painlessly."

As a personal consumer, you're right, I don't care much. So long as my personal stuff comes across cleanly, I'm happy.

As a IT Professional, I have to be concerned about maintaining the legacy applications my company has been running since 1988. If the new version of Windows will make that more difficult, I will be less likely to recommend following the upgrade path.

Business purchases drive MS's profit for OS's, not home computers. If Business fails to adopt, it's over.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (0)

twotailakitsune (1229480) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963388)

More like an IPod that does not play cassettes. OR a even better one: A Blue Ray Player, that does not play Betamax.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (5, Insightful)

tfinniga (555989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963396)

A Windows that can't run Windows apps?
Were you not paying attention when OSX came out? You just hook up an emulator and seamlessly integrate an older ("classic") version of the OS with the new one. That way you can still run older apps, but with reduced performance (or, about as fast as they used to run on old hardware).

Also, MS bought VirtualPC, and has been giving it away for free. Integration of the OS with VirtualPC would be pretty easy for MS to do. I've been waiting for it for a long time.

Customers win because they now have an OS that's not crap. Developers win because they just re-code the UI and sell a new version. And hopefully they have better UI libraries to do it with. MS wins because Windows7 isn't a joke.

Let's just hope that this doesn't get the same treatment that WinFS did. I'd rather they not under-promise and over-deliver, but that doesn't seem to be the microsoft way.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (4, Insightful)

Junta (36770) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963828)

The difference being, OSX offered something intrinsically leaps and bounds better than their predecessor *and* Apple is a smaller software market anyway. It's easier to move a small, homogenous market to a new platform (the number of 'important' apps is small and were quickly ported). The market of people sticking with OS classic is uselessly small, so no one cared much about keeping them up to date. At the time of OSX, something with the sophistication of Unix marketed to the home user in a sane fashion was unprecedented. XP came out later based on the NT line and Linux was at the time hardly in a position to be that usable for the demographic in question.

Now Windows 7 is coming from a company that has not displayed itself as capable of meaningful innovation at the core of the platform for a while now. They promise doing things 'different' and claim it will be 'better', but they had the same thoughts and promises regarding a lot of the aspects of Vista that blew up in their face. They *thought* file copying would be faster, and quite the opposite happened because they mischaracterized a rare corner-case as being overly important. They again with Windows 7 claim multithreading will be faster, because they ditch ring 0 stuff, but who knows what the state of new hardware will bring to make perceived benefit evaporate and who knows what pain will happen. Will Windows 7 be any better than XP/Vista for the end-user, probably not. Will a compatibility layer be glitchy, with their history, probably so. Will Wine at that point be solid enough for most people to make the Linux platform of the day roughly comparable with Windows 7? Possibly.

Hardware vendors should want Linux (making a commodity of the software stack means healthier margins), businesses should want Linux (a level playing field means your software vendor can't aggravate you even a little bit without reprisal, MS can piss off customers and not sweat it). Software development companies should like Linux, they can't ask for a more transparent set of APIs. Home users probably in general don't care, except for the market of ~100 dollar systems that are made possible by lack of MS tax. It seems the market is ripe to take a big 'screw you' like this and jump ship given the frustration anyway..

I can't stop laughing... (2, Interesting)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963586)

...because all I can think of now is the fact that this would probably mean there will be people working very hard to port WINE [winehq.org] to run on Windows (7)...

Re:I can't stop laughing... (1)

bhtooefr (649901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963724)

WINE almost certainly runs on Cygwin, which runs on Windows. :P

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (0, Offtopic)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963734)

Vote for NoScript+CookieSafe by default in Firefox
No. I don't want my experience, nor the general web experience, to be dictated by paranoid Luddites who want the web to stay the same as it was in 1993.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (3, Funny)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963818)

A Windows that can't run Windows apps?

It's called virtualization. Give Apple a call, they can tell you all about it.

Re:Has "fail" written all over it (1)

Binder (2829) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963826)

I have a bunch of old windows software which won't run on windows xp... at least not without a lot of tweaking. To be honest backwards compatibility has always been shaky with windows.

Have you tried loading old win95 powerpoint slides in a new version of ppt?

over ambitious (5, Interesting)

Zashi (992673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963290)

Over ambitious as always. I say work on improving XP . Make it more efficient and add features. Perhaps get all those other features that were promised 10 years ago working. Like WinFS. Like a dozen other things. MS is just digging itself deeper.

Re:over ambitious (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963440)

This version will require them to do some real work to pull it off..... Updated release date: Jan 2013

Re:over ambitious (1)

Zashi (992673) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963634)

They could release something equivalent to a "major service pack" one a year and charge $50 for it. I'm a big believer in FOSS, but were I a windows user, I think the equivalent of going from unpatched XP to SP3 would be worth $50.

Re:over ambitious (2, Interesting)

fyrie (604735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963544)

One part of me totally agrees with you. XP really turned out to be a fantastic OS sometime after SP1. However, reading between the lines, I think MS sees the XP architecture as a legal liability.

Re:over ambitious (2, Interesting)

tuaris (955470) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963936)

No, not XP, 2000. It was much better.

They just keep... (2, Insightful)

superash (1045796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963292)

....shooting themselves in the foot. WIth Vista they screwed up half of the drivers and now with Windows 7 they screw up the entire lineup of software? WTF?!

Re:They just keep... (1)

fyrie (604735) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963602)

My initial reaction when reading the article was that I really hope hardware vendors take this release seriously and don't rely on their products working in some sort of driver compatibility mode. Many vendors ignored Vista until it was on the shelves and the consumers were left with a mess [slashdot.org] . You can argue that MS is to blame because they changed the driver architecture with Vista, but seriously, development versions of Vista were out for a year or more.

Just be patient, folks (5, Insightful)

Toe, The (545098) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963294)

No really... we'll get it right next time. The last five years were a mistake, but give us a few more years and we'll be more Mac-like. Honest!

Re:Just be patient, folks (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963368)

Yes, if they don't have to worry about breaking backward compatibility, they could move to a better hardware platform: the PowerPC, for example. That would make them more Mac-like, wouldn't it?

Re:Just be patient, folks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963462)

Can't you read? Microsoft will have Win7 released next year. They said so, and they ALWAYS meet their deadlines. Wait, maybe they said 2010. Still, its just around the corner. You can bet your (digital) life on it.

Mac like? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963598)

Mac like?

You mean like the Zune is iPod-like?

What a joke.

So, this is the new Longhorn (4, Insightful)

ericrost (1049312) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963298)

I mean Cairo, I mean the next piece of vaporware that will be used to keep Microsoft in a dominant market position even though their current product is inferior to the competition in both the desktop and server space, because why migrate off when "Windows 7" is just a few years away and will be SO FAAARRR ahead of everyone else.

Same tune.

Or they could just keep XP and save some cash (2, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963306)

Oh, right - it's harder for force upgrades like that.

Re:Or they could just keep XP and save some cash (1)

russellh (547685) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963642)

Oh, right - it's harder for force upgrades like that.
troll modded? There must be at least a few people who think MS doesn't force upgrades. Apparently one of them had mod points at the time. Now that's a coincidence.

Drivers (2, Insightful)

imgod2u (812837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963316)

I'm gonna agree that this may not turn out how they want it to. Although I'm all for throwing out the old and starting new, the sheer fact that Windows has to support not just legacy software (which can be easy to emulate, sort of) but legacy hardware as well, probably means more people will have issues with this than not.

Awesome (5, Insightful)

Mutiny32 (932593) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963322)

Wasn't this what Vista was supposed to do in the first place? It was supposed to be a dramatic departure from previous versions, but too much politics pressured developers into making backwards compatability a little too over-bearing on the system. This is clearly what they were trying to accomplish with Vista, but higher-ups were too afraid to do it, so they told them to half-ass everything to make it all work. After seeing what a disaster Vista has become, both on the development and user experience side of things, the Higher-ups have no choice but to listen to what their devs wanted in the first place; kill legacy. Not build it in and make it limp along half-working and hard to develop for, but just start with a clean slate and build a kickass base OS and worry about compatability with older applications and frameworks later. Basically, they tore a page out of OS X's plan of action.

Re:Awesome (4, Insightful)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963606)

This is indeed awesome. Now there will be precious little reason not to switch to a better OS. "I can't run XYZ" well guess what, you can't in Windows now either, your only option is virtualization and Linux tends to be a better host for that anyways, and even the virtualization platforms are free.

Re:Awesome (1)

Miseph (979059) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963770)

I think I've heard that story told about another flavor of Windows... oh, right ME. If Windows 7 is the next 2000, I might even consider installing it (around SP2, at least).

Same old... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963338)

I know you've been disappointed with Windows in the past, but THIS version is gonna be awesome!! srsly!!!

Credit where credit is due (5, Insightful)

PinkyDead (862370) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963344)

...but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows
Sure Vista does that now.

I seem to remember Vista was supposed to be a huge departure from what was done before - and then reality hit.

The mistake they are making (will make) is that that they think their software is what is broken - when in fact the software is just a representation of the business model they have chosen. Their system design is market driven not engineering driven - and whatever they produce from this point on will be the same as all the others. Windows, OSX, Linux, Unix etc are all products of the ethos in the organizations in which they are created.

If the mould is defective, there's no point is making a second one in the hope that it will turn out differently.

Re:Credit where credit is due (1)

jacekm (895699) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963512)

" ... - when in fact the software is just a representation of the business model they have chosen. Their system design is market driven not engineering driven - and whatever they produce from this point on will be the same as all the others. Windows, OSX, Linux, Unix etc are all products of the ethos in the organizations in which they are created. "

I have to agree with this. It sheds some light, why Linux is such a user unfrielndly software. It was created by geeks instead of engineers.

JAM

Offtopic here but... (0, Offtopic)

fuego451 (958976) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963810)

"Genesis 1:32 And God typed :wq!

I think he typed :shell and forgot how to get back.

Argh, i can't beleive (2, Informative)

zsouthboy (1136757) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963350)

how many times Microsoft has gotten away with "Our current version has issues, but the NEXT version of x will be great! Make sure you use current version in the meantime - we're announcing this only because our competitors DO have a better product/will be releasing a better product soon!"

I'm not even an MS hater - but damn, they have crushed more than one alternative by doing something similar, even NEVER releasing, sometimes, whatever it is they announce (I recall reading an account from a fellow ./'er stating that they did just that to his small company - funding dried up because they didn't want to compete with MS, and MS never released whatever it was anyway.)

Poor article (5, Insightful)

mrslacker (1122161) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963406)

Unfortunately, the article itself is a work of fiction. The guy has lots of bad reasoning, poor memory and is desperately lacking in technical understanding.

For once, I'd say just read the article summary ;-)

I love the lack of understanding (3, Informative)

filesiteguy (695431) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963408)

I run vista on two machines - and actually like it better than that crappy earlier version of NT (XP) and even 2K. I was curious about Singularity. In any case, I love the quote from the article:

For Windows Vista, Microsoft had to change their design and development strategy in order to comply with the DoJ and EU regulations regarding the anti-trust issues present in previous versions of Windows; specifically, the integration of assistive applications such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player into the core operating system. Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).
Funny - I didn't know linux came bundled with ANY media player or browser. I know distributions do, but not Linux.

Re:I love the lack of understanding (3, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963550)

Oh come on, do you really expect every article to specify the distributions it is referring to when the characteristic is something shared by almost all of the major ones. At best you'll get them saying Ubuntu instead (in place) of Linux, at worst they just won't bother mentioning it. You know full well what they meant, as did anyone else who knows what Linux is so why the attempt at criticism.

Re:I love the lack of understanding (1)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963848)

Oh come on yourself. Are you really unaware that Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player are not just included with the operating system, but embedded in the operating system? There's a reason you can't uninstall either of them.

Re:I love the lack of understanding (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963866)

Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).

And despite MacOS X and Linux not being convicted abusive monopolists...

Seriously, Copy Apple Again (4, Insightful)

Gotung (571984) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963410)

Why can't they do what Apple has done about 3 times now?

Move to new technology, but provide a compatibility layer so legacy apps still work, even if they are in some sort of emulated environment?

The new hardware people will be using with the new system will be fast enough that even an emulated environment will be as fast (or faster) then their previous machine.

With the virtualization technologies available today this should be even easier to do then, say, Apple's transition from 68xxx chips to PowerPC chips, or PowerPC chips to Intel, or OS 9 to OS X.

Were they all seamless transitions? No. But they were arguably better then then the transition from XP -> Vista has been so far.

Microsoft seems to want to either take the course of backwards compatibility at the expense of progress, or progress at the expense of backwards compatibility.

Why not go for the best of both worlds through emulation/virtualization?

Re:Seriously, Copy Apple Again (4, Insightful)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963592)

Microsoft has always been obsessive about providing this kind of backwards compatibility. I would be astonished if this "exclusive" about them doing completely the opposite this time turns out to be accurate.

Re:Seriously, Copy Apple Again (1)

zbuffered (125292) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963732)

I'm going to hedge and say that Microsoft will maintain compatibility through emulation, as a separate add-on to the base OS. For goodness sakes, they've bought enough virtualization companies to be able to do this.

Re:Seriously, Copy Apple Again (3, Informative)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963882)

I think Apple's market share actually helped them when it came to the transitions. There were fewer applications to migrate. Those applications that did exist were often specialized enough to make sure that they migrated. Incidentally enough moving to OS X opened up many of the Unix applications to Apple. Often times a port was needed and not a full rewrite.

since MS has bought several virtualization outfits (1)

swschrad (312009) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963904)

you would think the idea would be in their heads.

either that, or their ultimate goal is to make it impossible to do anything Windows(tm) without their getting a cut off the top.

either way, folks, I'd short the stock over about two years.

Those who think in operating system... (5, Interesting)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963426)

...releases lost the game long ago. It is useless to think in an OS as a package, much less something you put in a box. Given that the OS is the first software building block of a system and due to the sheer complexity of the thing, it has evolved into a continually updated and polished piece of engineering, where you take snapshots of the development and call them releases.

An operating system evolves and you don't sell it. You either provide it as a service, or provide it for free, so that you can hook people on some service you offer.

I'll tell you why Win 7 will be a huge flop: since it breaks almost all compatibility between itself and previous windows releases, it has to compete on the same grounds as Linux, *BSD and OSX. Which means, that without the massive inertia of the previous windows releases, those three will kick the living crap out of Win 7 in terms of maturity, usability and price.

Re:Those who think in operating system... (3, Insightful)

gsslay (807818) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963688)

I'll tell you why Win 7 will be a huge flop: since it breaks almost all compatibility between itself and previous windows releases, it has to compete on the same grounds as Linux, *BSD and OSX.
Why all the negativity? This is a good thing. For the first time in a long time Microsoft will have to sell an OS on its own merits. If it doesn't deliver the goods it will lose out to others. Rather than being part of the crowd intoning "Doom, doom!" from the side-lines, I hope that this inspires/forces Microsoft to deliver a kick-ass operating system, and everyone involved in computing can forget about the nightmare that is Vista.

What Microsoft is doing here is a bold move. We all benefit if it pays off with an improved product.

Re:Those who think in operating system... (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963856)

Why all the negativity? This is a good thing.
I'm not negative about it at all. I'm particularly happy that Microsoft's stranglehold on IT is lessening and their older products end up on the trash heaps of history.

Re:Those who think in operating system... (1)

micahqs (1267632) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963814)

those three will kick the living crap out of Win 7 in terms of maturity, usability and price.
Will kick, have kicked, and will always kick. And not just Win 7. M$ in general. Hopefully people will be smart enough to see through the hype of a "brilliant new release" and remember Vista. The more valid choices users have for an OS means better security for everyone. Competition is always good for the end user.

Legacy support may happen (5, Informative)

oahazmatt (868057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963444)

From TFA

...This should allow the majority of legacy applications to run perfectly, while still retaining native performance for applications compiled specifically with the Windows 7 platform in mind.
Seriously, what is it with all the editing of story submissions? Lately every summary has a knee-jerk reaction, but if you RTFA it's not nearly as bad as implied.

This reads like a 7th grader's English paper (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963448)

I couldn't get past the first paragraph.

"In the face of the mass-media criticism of Windows Vista, mainly with regards to the performance issues present when compared to Windows XP on hardware with similar specifications. However, very little information has been presented with regards to the performance of Windows 7, this article however shall change that."

Good News (1)

calebt3 (1098475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963466)

If all applications need to be rewritten from scratch to be compatible, it should be just as easy porting to Linux/Mac as Windows 7.

Oblig. (0, Troll)

AccUser (191555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963474)

'Start your photocopiers' anyone?

I doubt that they can pull this off. It is not that the Microsoft engineers are not capable. In fact, I am sure that they are. I just don't think that management and marketing have the balls.

Microsoft switches to unix! (1)

rcallan (1256716) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963516)

...isn't that what apple did with OS X? Honestly why is this such a hard pill to swallow for them? Can someone explain why they refuse to do it (especially if now they are breaking reverse binary compatibility anyway)?

Good idea? (2, Funny)

DrugCheese (266151) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963526)

NOT!

Its groove? (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963534)

Really? Its groove? Does that mean we're going to see another article on how some guitarist spent two years of his life writing the login theme for Win7?

Hmm. What could they base it on? (4, Funny)

AccUser (191555) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963536)

Apple used FreeBSD and this was a success. What Microsoft needs is a service based operating system kernel, such as this one [gnu.org] . It would be nice to see it used. ;-)

It's about time (1)

TonyZahn (534930) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963546)

This is really the path Microsoft should have taken with Vista.

I'm not sure who this "TheBetaGuy" is, but if the article is accurate I'm more interested in Windows 7 than I have been in any version of Windows since '95.

Two articles within one (3, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963596)

The first article tries to push the idea that all problems Microsoft is experiencing come from the antitrust wrist slapping they have got. This is stupid. Also takes some jabs at Apple and Linux.

The second part of the article is telling us the real problem Microsoft is facing. Code bloat. Dll hell. They have decided that they canÂt hold it any longer and they are going to start from scratch and run the old windows apps on a virtual machine for backwards compatibility.

There is a third part that is missing in the article. Most people around here suspects that some of VistaÂs performance problems, specifically on the the multimedia department are caused by the interference of DRM code. Is Microsoft removing all this code from Windows 7?

So that's what slowed Vista down?! (4, Informative)

Coryoth (254751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963612)

Some interesting comments in TFA regarding the "source" of Vista's performance issues:

In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together; shifting more towards modular designs rather than the monolithic processes used in previous versions of Windows. This increased amount of componentization, while satisfying the DoJ and EU, also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system. On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit.
and then later

Another reason for Windows Vista's performance issues is the way in which Microsoft approached backwards compatibility in Vista. The operating system stores multiple copies of core system libraries, as each revision of a library typically adds/removes functions, and applications compiled with dynamic links to a specific version of a DLL file may call on functions not present in the currently installed library.
So, apparently, Vista being slow is all the fault of the EU and the DOJ asking for a more modular design that didn't have everything tied into monolithic core systems. The thing is, unless I missed something, most Linux and *BSD already have exactly what is described: a very modular system with literally hundreds (if not thousands) of shared library files; moreover, versioned shared libraries have been around for a very long time as well. If having to split things out into many library files, and keep multiple versions around is such a death knell for performance, then surely something like GNOME would absolutely crawl. For those who say GNOME does crawl, note that, in comparison to Vista on the same hardware it flies -- it's only in comparison to to other lighter linux options that it looks slow. So I have to say, I'm just not buying the excuse. Modular functionality in lots of versioned library files shouldn't be a problem. I suspect it has more to do with blaming poor performance on EU anti-trust regulations than reality.

Re:So that's what slowed Vista down?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963876)

Mod parent up!

I like how... (1)

AlmondMan (1163229) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963616)

noone posting here seems to have read the actual article that was linked to...

The important question about Windows 7 is... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963650)

Will it Blend?

TFA is just a troll.. (5, Insightful)

sw155kn1f3 (600118) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963654)

No single link to source - where did they get this info, just unfounded speculations.
Windows 7 early builds was already demoed and there's no evidence that it will be backward-compatible.
Also WinSxS (side-by-side dlls) is what windows xp uses to maintain different versions of runtimes from the start and obviously it has little to do with OS speed.
While reading this article the only thought prevailed - wtf author is smoking. Complete rubbish.

Microsoft's answer to code bloat - bigger DLLs? (5, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963678)

From the article: On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit. ... In Windows 7, Microsoft will break from the Windows' norm by breaking previous API compatibility, offering new API frameworks as a native solution, and providing support for legacy frameworks (COM, ATL, .NET Framework, etc) through monolithic libraries designed to provide the functionality of all previous revisions of the modules in question.

And so, the answer is to put everything in one bloated DLL?

It apparently hasn't yet penetrated to the Windows 7 group that computers aren't going to get much more powerful for years to come. That stopped once laptops started outselling desktops. In laptops, what matters is size, weight, and battery life. The future is the OLPC and the Asus Eee. In a few years, laptops in bubble-packs for $89.95 will be hanging on racks at the drugstore. Microsoft isn't ready for that.

Progress now will come from reducing software bloat. Microsoft has, in desperation, extended the life of Windows XP for little machines. That's only a stopgap measure. Now they need to de-bloat their whole product line and get their costs down.

If Microsoft was smart ..... (3, Interesting)

mlwmohawk (801821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963680)

If Microsoft was at all smart, they would use a light weight "Windows on Windows" strategy similar to how they implemented 16 bit Windows on the NT base on a new VERY stripped-down 64 bit Windows kernel and use virtualization of every Windows application.

In this day and age, it makes no sense to me to write another massive OS.

Am I supposed to take this guy seriously? (5, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963682)

However, very little information has been presented with regards to the performance of Windows 7, this article however shall change that.

No numbers. No estimations. Just some hand waving of "they are doing something different". The article doesn't change that fact at all.

Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism)

Because OS X and Linux aren't de facto monopolies with 80%+ of the market.

In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together [... this] also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system.

Yes, because loading 1 MB of code as part of one executable is vastly faster than loading it as 1 MB of library. This is especially true when loading 10+ different executables that have the same code statically linked in. That is way faster than loading it once. More efficient too.

No, wait...

Besides, that code (such as MSHTML.DLL) was already an external library. Just about every operating system tends to get new libraries with major upgrades. Windows was not one monolithic executable before. Heck, it wasn't way back in the 3.11 days.

However, Windows' lure has always been that applications from older versions of Windows are almost guaranteed to work post-upgrade; this is in contrast to older UNIX solutions where upgrading the system could render old applications useless without access to the source code.

That has not always been the lure. The lure was it was pretty and not a DOS prompt. Then the lure was simply that there were more programs for it when it became dominant. But then again, Leopard runs programs designed for Tiger and before. OS 9 ran programs designed for OS 7. Just about every OS does that, including many UNIXes.

During Apple's death throes back at the start of the decade, Steve Jobs made a bold decision; to replace the old, proven Mac OS lineage with a UNIX-based platform running a custom GUI.

You've GOT to be kidding. "Proven" for OS 9? It didn't have memory protection. It didn't have preemptive multitasking. Heck, you still had to pre-allocate memory to programs at launch, didn't you? It was a fine OS design for 1992. It didn't work so well in 2000. It was a weight around Apple's neck and would have killed them if they didn't try to escape. It needed to updated, and previous projects had failed. A clean break was a very smart decision.

Mac OS X was such a success - despite breaking backwards compatibility - that many customers were willing to put up with Apple's hardware, which ranked far below Wintel solutions in terms of performance, in order to obtain the hardware-locked user experience of their new flagship operating system.

This is somewhat true, (quite on the laptop side later in life with the G4s), but it's also highly troll. "...in order to obtain the hardware-locked user experience of their new flagship operating system"? That's unnecessary.

Apple took an unorthodox approach in order to offer Mac OS 9 users the ability to retain their existing software while still upgrading to the improved Mac OS X experience; the virtual machine. Essentially, Mac OS X contained 3 separate application environments; Cocoa, Carbon, and Classic.

It's not like anyone had ever thought of that before. If only Windows had a virtual environment in it. Maybe since 95. It could have run old DOS programs. Oh, wait, it did. Then there was WoW, Windows on Windows, that let 95 and up run old Win16 programs. Emulating older stuff is a common way of handling it.

Cocoa was the name for the native, Objective-C environment which allowed code to execute directly on Mac OS X without any interpretation or legacy libraries.

Carbon is not interpreted. It's native too. It's legacy libraries, yes, but not interpreted.

Classic, the most interesting of the three environments, is the approach that Microsoft will be taking with Windows 7.

Yes, it's not like a Cocoa with all it's neat features (especially CoreData) is interesting. And old emulator is though. No one has ever emulated anything before Apple did with OS 9. It's not like Windows emulated DOS. Oh, right.

It should also be possible for applications produced with previous versions of Visual Studio to be directly recompiled into native code using the new API frameworks.

Ooh. Compiled code against recent libraries can be made "native". I'd have never guessed.

This also allows Microsoft to neatly sidestep the DoJ and EU anti-trust rulings, as including the MSHTML library (Internet Explorer's rendering engine) in the monolithic libraries would provide support for the old rendering functions of Explorer to legacy applications while still remaining hidden from the end-user, the primary complaint in the antitrust cases. On the Windows 7 side of things, Internet Explorer can be abstracted from the Windows 7 codebase making removal/inclusion as simple as installing a normal application.

They already did that, to a large degree, in Vista. But you won't be able to remove it still, because Windows will depend on it everywhere.

While the anti-Microsoft naysayers out there will claim that this is unethical business practice, however, technical users will appreciate that this is an excellent way of providing new features while maintaining backwards compatibility with legacy applications.

I agree. Continuing to provide a library that you already provided so people can use it is ingenious.

Seriously. This article isn't very good. It's not researched. There is nothing in it that is "exclusive" as the title indicates. It's a fanboy article. "MS is coming back, here is some hand waving."

PS: Not why I did it, but highly relevant [xkcd.com]

If this is true... (1)

blind biker (1066130) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963702)

MS didn't think this through very carefully - it seems like a giant "oops!" waiting to happen.

Though I'm really looking forward to Linux with Wine being better at running existing Windows applications, than Windows 7. That's an amusing thought, isn't it? I'm also giggling inside at the thought that the company to jump on the idea of Windows 7 will be HP, since they have developed a habit to embrace doomed technologies of this sort. [hp.com]

I keed, I keed... Besides, I really doubt the veracity of this rumour. MS would be crazy to do this (they might as well rewrite their corporate strategy as "shoot ourselves in the feet with machine guy").

Re:If this is true... (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963852)

what will be funny is when Win7 users need Wine port to Win7 to run native Windows applications.

say that ten times real fast.

Monopoly (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963728)

I don't think this guy gets it... he says:

Competitors complained that offering internet and media solutions with the operating system harmed competition in the marketplace (despite other operating systems such as Mac OS X and Linux apparently being immune from such criticism).


Of course they are immune from this criticism - the criticism was aimed at a monopoly. Microsoft has a defacto monopoly, Apple and Linux distributions do not. Indeed, Linux distros are the very antithesis of a monopoly.

So of course they were immune from this criticism, because they are not monopolies!

A "from the ground" up OS, w/o back compatibility (1)

monopole (44023) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963786)

Already exists [ubuntu.com] .
So why would we want Win7 w/o backward compatibility and with hardware support on par w/ Vista?

Good, but... (1)

headkase (533448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963800)

Backwards compatibility is a trap. There have been countless better ways to approach OS challenges but they all end up sacrificed on that backwards altar. You just can't break applications or your users will leave. Linux is more immune to this that Windows simply because you have access to the source - you can just recompile when the architecture breaks things and you're fine. On a binary only system however this simply doesn't work so you end up with the infamous "thunk" layers. Emulation/Virtualization is a good way out. You encapsulate all the old crap into one big ugly ball and prop that ball of emulated crap on top of a clean-break of an operating system which works the way you wish you could have made it work five years ago but couldn't because of compatibility. You're still in a trap however. The new trap is that the new operating system must offer tangible improvements and abilities or developers will not transition to it in effect keeping the emulation the defacto standard and wasting the effort of developing the new. Back in the 80's I experienced this situation first hand: I owned a Commodore 128 which had built into it a Commodore 64 mode (which was the previous generation of computer) and what actually happened was that even though the C128 was superior from a programmers perspective, the C64 software base was large and good enough that end-users had no reason to buy C128 software. Without end-users buying C128 software none was written for it and myself and everyone else with a C128 ended up running the machine exclusively in C64 mode. There was no compelling reason to move to C128 mode and this is the same challenge that faces Win 7: without something that really makes it worthwhile to write programs for Win 7 - that end-users can see and touch - then people will stick with the emulated mode and developers will ignore the fancy new capabilities.

Incorrect article summary (1)

ThePolkapunk (826529) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963816)

The summary is incorrect. Windows 7 will be executable backwards compatible. Though the author of this article claims early on in the article that win7 won't be executable backwards compatible, he contradicts himself at the end where he states
 
"Microsoft will break from the Windows' norm by breaking previous API compatibility, offering new API frameworks as a native solution, and providing support for legacy frameworks (COM, ATL, .NET Framework, etc) through monolithic libraries designed to provide the functionality of all previous revisions of the modules in question."
 
In other words, older executables will still work, but they will just run more slowly than natively compiled apps.

Why "Windows" (1)

fph il quozientatore (971015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963832)

Why should it be called "Windows" at all? If it is as backward-compatible as (let's say) Ubuntu or OpenSuse or OsX, then technically it is not Windows (ok, you do not need to remind me of all the commercial reasons). Besides it, it is a very well known issue that most old dos games run much better on Linux+DosBox than on Windows+command prompt

Free upgrade? (1)

lantastik (877247) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963844)

If I cry like an iPhone user [switched.com] , can I get a free upgrade from Vista?

I smell an idiot (1)

bockelboy (824282) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963888)

In response to this, Microsoft made fundamental changes to the way Windows Vista was linked together; shifting more towards modular designs rather than the monolithic processes used in previous versions of Windows. This increased amount of componentization, while satisfying the DoJ and EU, also led to performance issues due to the increased number of libraries which comprise the operating system. On traditional hard drives, the more separate files which the operating system has to load, the more seeking across the hard drive is required, and therefore overall performance takes a hit.
Hmm... so, the reason Windows Vista is slow is because it has too many files? I mean, I understand the overhead of loading DLLs is non-zero, but really?

He goes on to explain that the problem with Unix is that when you upgrade, you lose compatibility with old applications because the libraries change. I'm not Unix wizard, but I'm damned sure that you can always just keep copies of your old libraries and get about anything to run. That's why you can still run old Mosaic Netscape versions, right?

Finally, he claims that they will replace all existing frameworks with a new monolithic framework. I'm sure .NET is going to get a version bump for Win7, but replacing it? Hell no.

I ain't buying this.

Unsourced Article is Pure Speculation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963892)

The article doesn't cite any Microsoft sources or even any sources "close to" Microsoft. It's pure speculation. Kdawson is nothing but an intellectually void troll.

I recall... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963908)

...the same amount of complaints when Apple did this for OSX. And then AGAIN when Apple finally decided to cut Classic mode adrift.

Oh wait, this is an article about MSFT

Stop the April fools jokes ! (1)

eulernet (1132389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963922)

I thought that this article was real until I saw:

partially source, but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows

Come on, Microsoft's business only depends on its large collection of programs, and every new version of its OS breaks a large percent of them.
A full binary incompatibility is dead from the beginning (except for server applications, and we all know Microsoft earns money from the desktops).

With friends like these (1)

Whuffo (1043790) | more than 6 years ago | (#22963932)

There's some interesting revisionist history in that article. I especially like the way that IE and WMP were "baked in" for performance reasons - I guess that's what was meant by "cutting off their air supply".

And Vista's performance problems - no mention of all the DRM processes inspecting every bit of data and each other constantly. Nope, it has to do with the way the libraries are structured and it's all the DOJ's fault.

If you ignore all the marketing bullshit then it's nothing more than the same old line; the next version will be much better. Gaze in wonder at all the new features that will be cut before the product actually ships. Ship date? Take their estimate and add two and a fraction years.

Heck, I can predict what will be different in Windows 7 too: slower, less compatible, more expensive

I wonder how long it'll be before someone uncovers the connection between "the beta guy" and Microsoft marketing...

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22963938)

That was an oversimplified and somewhat wrong opinion on things. First off, MS integration of IE into every facet of the OS is NOT seen on Linux/MAC. The reason is they ARE modular. MS is getting a clue and is getting painted in a corner. Their current method is cumulative. They add more and more features on top of legacy, hence bloat. Plus they use hidden features and undocumented secrets and tricks. What MS has realized is that the flexibility of *nix is the way to go. I've predicted that some day MS will follow a similar model as Linux, possibly even create their own distro using the Linux Kernel and a Windows GUI and WIN32 API. More likely they will build their own kernel, more for control and licensing issues.

Vista is to XP as _____ is to Win98? Answer WinME. We see what happened to ME. The only thing hurting MS, they don't have a Win2k in the pipeline.
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