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July 30, 2008

Microsoft documents reveal Midori

Posted by David Hunter at 10:21 AM ET.

Midori David Worthington of the SD Times has gotten hold of some Microsoft documents describing Midori. an adtech operating system being developed under Eric Rudder Senior Vice President, Technical Strategy:

Microsoft is incubating a componentized non-Windows operating system known as Midori, which is being architected from the ground up to tackle challenges that Redmond has determined cannot be met by simply evolving its existing technology.

SD Times has viewed internal Microsoft documents that outline Midori’s proposed design, which is Internet-centric and predicated on the prevalence of connected systems.

Midori is an offshoot of Microsoft Research’s Singularity operating system, the tools and libraries of which are completely managed code. Midori is designed to run directly on native hardware (x86, x64 and ARM), be hosted on the Windows Hyper-V hypervisor, or even be hosted by a Windows process.

According to published reports, Eric Rudder, senior vice president for technical strategy at Microsoft and an alumnus of Bill Gates’ technical staff, is heading up the effort. Rudder served as senior vice president of Microsoft’s Servers and Tools group until 2005. A Microsoft spokesperson refused comment.

So is Midori Microsoft’s post-Windows operating system? The documents do not say and there is many a slip between adtech and product, but it is nonetheless interesting to see what Microsoft is working on.

In a nutshell, Midori is a clean break from Windows with a modular, componentized design exploiting connectivity where applications are composed of pieces that could reside on a multitude of devices in multiple locations. For the end user there would be a brand new GUI with applications "created using .NET languages that will be compiled to native code using the Bartok compiler and runtime system, which is presently a Microsoft Search project."

There’s much more there, but while all this sounds swell if you an operating system guru starting with a blank sheet of paper, what about Microsoft’s often dilatory and fractious crowd of partners in the Windows ecosystem with their host of legacy Windows applications and device drivers?  Lip service is paid to providing "options for Midori applications to co-exist with and interoperate with existing Windows applications, as well as to provide a migration path" and Worthington plans two more articles based on the documents, one of which is on this very topic.

Still, it was the relatively minor changes in Vista coupled with partner sluggishness that has led to most of Vista’s bad reputation and this promises to be many orders of magnitude worse. Ah, but it’s a grand dream.

Filed under Eric Rudder, Executives, Microsoft, Microsoft Research, Midori

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