Windows 8, How are you Shaping up?

By Angsuman Chakraborty, Gaea News Network
Saturday, April 25, 2009

windows 8After covering Windows 7 extensively, the quest to find what else is happening obviously took us to the question, Is Microsoft gonna rest now? But for what reason? May be the next version of Windows 7 will be a completely cloud based OS. But as it seems for now that Midori (Windows 8 codename) will be another Microsoft operating system with some more special features than Windows 7. Better cluster support, support for one way replication and also a significant performance improvement are in the cards. What remains as the crux is that we may have a complete make over of File system (better security?) and the Kernel redesign.

Windows 8: Is it really happening?

Microsoft Posted a job description that led to such speculations. Let me put an excerpt from that,

For the upcoming version of Windows, new critical features are being worked on including cluster support and support for one way replication. The core engine is also being reworked to provide dramatic performance improvements. We will also soon be starting major improvements for Windows 8 where we will be including innovative features which will revolutionize file access in branch offices,” reads an excerpt from a Microsoft job posting for the position of Lead Software Development Engineer in Test -

Date Posted: 04/14/2009

Windows 8 Server

Another Job description about Microsoft Windows 8 Server reaffirms that,

As the team moved to Windows 8, you will have 2 main responsibilities - (i) put on the customer/design critique hat as we plan our next version file server management experience (i) participating in the architectural design, and development and driving automated testing for managing the next generation file server.

So we can expect a complete remodeling of Windows File Server for sure. Another significant aspect is DFSR file system service, which stands for Distributed File System Replication. This service is focused on keeping files and folders synchronized across multiple servers and it will likely show up in Windows 8 and Windows 8 Server.

Talk about Unmatched Scalability

We expect something magnanimous from the next version of Windows, i.e. Windows 8 because as Microsoft hints here

Our current automation does not meet the multi-machine paradigm requirement and so you will contribute significantly in the development of test automation to validate setup/configuration of the new server, managing configuration changes, performing diagnostics and reporting using Power Shell, Command line, Object Model, UI.

its quite evident that even with their most sophisticated infrastructures, Microsoft still needs to develop theirs in order to meet the standard they want Windows 8 to work upto. Amazing when you talk about the scalability of operations in the future, no?

Midori, Singularity and CHESS

Microsoft CHESS researchNow let us come to a more technical aspect at this point. If we date back to 2007 Microsoft Researchers’ conference led by Shaz Qadeer, we see an emerging concept from Microsoft called CHESS - an automated tool from Microsoft Research for finding errors in multithreaded software by systematic exploration of thread schedules. It finds errors, such as data-races, deadlocks, hangs, and data-corruption induced access violations, that are extremely hard to find with current testing tools. To put long story short, a super advanced debugger.


Let us come to Singularity now, a research operating system that works upon hardware protection domain, safe code, complete isolation of software from os and other very vital aspects of an operating system that merges down to the advanced days of computers in the future.

Singularity exploits advances in programming languages and tools to create an environment in which software is more likely to be built correctly, program behavior is easier to verify, and run-time failures can be contained. A key aspect of Singularity is an extension model based on Software-Isolated Processes (SIPs), which encapsulate pieces of an application or a system and provide information hiding, failure isolation, and strong interfaces

So where is the point in talking about them now and how are they linked with Midori a.k.a. Windows 8? Actually by speculations and the way Microsoft says that Windows 8 is shaping up, this project takes the Singularity platform that consists of a kernel in mixed code. Project Singularity and CHESS may combine with Midori to give the essential drive that Microsoft will seriously need if we are talking about a good 3-4 years or may be more.


Its too early and a bit speculative to say anything that Windows 8 will hold essentially. While even Windows 7 isn’t fully out of the box with the official version, the definiteness of Windows 8 is far off. But, it sure has started. Windows 7 shows a lot of effort from Microsoft’s point of view and users have welcomed it as well. The only concern that Microsoft has to face is to risk and predict the future when the growth curve of technological advancement (read between the lines: adaptability of users to complex technologies) is really steep.

In the coming future we may just well shift to a super browser that will help us use any and every software as a plug-in within and other internet services will be sufficient to get minimal about a full fledged operating system as Google NativeClient foresees already. What does Microsoft think about that? And what do you think?


May 20, 2009: 3:28 am

Regarding the super browser i think its a joke , the last few years people have been using Web apps less for work ( though social use is increasing though Skype /MSN/QQ seem to be growing in social capabilities) . I don’t see ANY business apps going the web way a few people made that mistake a few years ago.

Web 2.0 is an unproductive disaster sure you can employ 100 people to write an app with worse functionality , slower and harder to use than an email app 15 years ago which was written by 3 people ( eg new yahoo/gmail compared to Windows 3.1 /95 mail or even Google docs compared to Word for windows 1.0 ) .

RIA is the way of the future though. The web will go back to being simple html and probably document delivery/processing and more complex apps delivered through products like Adobe RIA or silverlight where you run a local run time.

May 20, 2009: 3:05 am

The sharing files is not likely to be a distributed file system but an extension of Live Mesh which is being actively developed improving it for team ( branch) support and moving it to the kernel makes sense.

No way Windows 8 will be based on Midori - It may carry a Midori engine in a process to run Midori apps. With any new OS there is a lot of pain , to get the benefits of Midori it breaks backwards support for all drivers and applications. It is just to early. It may be possible for Midori to run this stuff through virtualization but i think its too early . Think about new kits will have to go to device driver companies (and negotiation to persuade them to implement managed only (C#) drivers), you will need Visual Studio support for Midori apps and drivers , Office needs to have a Midori version. MS will not release it until these other pieces are ready even with legacy support why release a super stable OS when it crashes when you run a bad Windows Driver it would be a marketing disaster on a product that may be its future 15 years from now.

You probably will see Midori released with Windows 8 as Windows Mobile NT 8 ( or something like it) and it will probably be able to be run on desktops but with basic Windows Mobile apps. Microsoft will probably use it as part of Azure and MS cloud solution , this is a lot easier as it only supports SOA like Medium Trust services.

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