Tag Archives: Bill Gates

Microsoft Open Solaris? Microsoft BSD? Microsoft what?


 

I wonder what would happen if Microsoft dropped the Windows NT core, making an about face, like Apple did years ago with BSD and adopted Sun’s “Open Solaris” as the core? No, I am not talking about the movie! Granted I am sure I could write an essay and make some comparisons. What if they took the rock-solid Open Solaris core and built there new Windows 7 upon it, instead of re-inventing the wheel? I doubt that Microsoft would ever consider doing this. Nor will they truly give up on the Windows NT core. MinWin looks promising; however do they have enough time? With the release of Microsoft Vista turning into such a disaster, the next version of Windows will need to be something different. One good reason for moving to a new core would be the ability to concentrate on other areas of their business. Although Windows and Office sales make up a large portion of Microsoft’s revenues, they need to look to the future as these revenue streams slowly erode due to Web 2.0 applications. I have personally tested many different Operating Systems, from Linux to BSD to Amiga (yes they still exist) and other lesser known systems. I have always been amazed on the boot time, applications installed and innovation. This is not to say that Microsoft has not done much over the years.

 

In some ways, Steve Jobs, of Apple Inc., made a smart move years ago by adopting a BSD core. Plugged in with NeXT, it allowed them to concentrate on other areas and develop their core business, and diversify. Microsoft is a large company with a lot of smart people, however they cannot continue with business as usual. Sun’s Open Solaris may not be the best choice for Microsoft. In fact, Microsoft first needs to focus their energy. Sun has lately shown expressions of a desperate company. Yes, they have Java, SPARC and Solaris, but business is slowly dwindling on the server hardware side. It would definitely be a benefit to Jonathan Schwartz the CEO of Sun. The reality is that the popularity of Linux is adversely affecting Sun Microsystems. This could explain the move towards open source along with there moves in other areas?

The fact is however that Microsoft is being attacked on all sides and history waits for no one. Microsoft executives have some hard choices to make, however they better make them soon. With everything slowly moving to the web and more and more non-Microsoft based devices they are slowly becoming irrelevant. What are Microsoft’s choices? Do they need to refocus? Are they just fine? What will Microsoft look like in 2-3 years? What will the technology trends be? Only time will tell, unfortunately time is not a luxury for Microsoft.

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario


Bookmark and Share

Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else, as soon as possible?


Is it time for Microsoft to abandon Vista and move on to something else? Maybe Microsoft should consider doing what Apple did and create an OS based on an existing UNIX based system (BSD, Linux, Amiga, etc…). Or maybe Microsoft should “move up the time table” of Windows 7, Min-Win or Microsoft Singularity and make a radical change? Or maybe they incorporate some of the forgotten features of Longhorn into a “new and glorious” Operating System? How about taking some of their experimental technologies, like “Singularity” and fusing it with a UNIX based OS? Or Microsoft just buyout Novell now and make a new Linux based OS (Microsoft SUSE)? Hey, I’m not saying that Vista is totally bad; however it is starting to look more and more like the “Windows ME” situation. My apologies to the Windows ME lovers still out there on planet “Wishful thinking”, but I digress! In some of the business sectors I work in, I.T/MIS departments and various individuals alike will not touch Microsoft Vista or even allow one connected to their network. There are still issues with legacy software and recently purchased hardware. You need to justify making the upgrade and unfortunately for many businesses, but not all, it just is not there. Now, maybe you home users can tolerate the incompatibilities and problems. One of my extended family members recently purchased an HP system with Vista Premium (they forgot to ask for my advice). Let’s just say “she is not a happy camper”! Too many problems and issues with hardware and software left her with no option but to return the “lemon”. She just did not have the time to deal with it and neither did I.

I use Microsoft Vista 64-bit business edition, at my place of work. It runs great, but I have 4 GB of RAM, a nice SATA drive and a supercharged video card (512MB); along with a whole host of goodies, however I imagine I am not the “average” person or small business. They say that “time is money” and many I’ve spoken with, who do not want to spend that amount of cash and time with Vista. In addition they are often saying, with an assumption, that they will wait until SP2 (Service Pack 2) before they make the dive into the Vista world; if that even happens. Recently Microsoft came out with their revenue and profit numbers, on Vista. I am sure it was meant to show a positive spin on Microsoft’s financial outlook. It also was probably more to do with the release of Apple’s new Operating System called Leopard. However, how are the OEM and retail figures broken down? How many OEMs are allowing downgrades to XP, just to ensure the sale? Acer, Dell and others have made recent changes and moves; allowing users to downgrade to XP or even get Linux distros like Canonical’s Ubuntu. Microsoft cannot simply bury their electronic heads in the sand and hope the issues go away. Sure Microsoft is large and they can “weather the storm”, however I just wonder how much time Microsoft has before it starts to impact on them as a company? Maybe they are planning something in secret and will take a page from Steve Jobs and say nothing. Maybe Bill Gates will come back and lead them to victory. Or better yet, maybe they should outsource it? Sorry, it was just an idea!

By: Andy MJ
a.k.a “The G.T.A Patriot”
Toronto, Ontario

Stripped-down ‘MinWin’ kernel to be at the core of Windows 7 and more…


Microsoft has created a stripped-down version of the Windows core, called MinWin, that will be at the heart of future Windows products, starting with Windows 7, the Windows client release due in 2010.Stripped-down ‘MinWin’ kernel to be at the core of Windows 7 and more

While the Windows team has been working for years on reducing the dependencies in Windows which have made the operating system increasingly bloated and difficult to maintain and upgrade, it’s only been recently that the team has been able to create a separate, usuable new core.

Going forward, MinWin will be at the heart of future versions of Windows Media Center, Windows Server, embedded Windows products and more.

Microsoft Distinguished Engineer Eric Traut described some of the work the Microsoft Core OS team has done to build the MinWin core during a recent talk he gave at the University of Illinois. The full video of Traut’s talk is here. Blogger Long Zheng clipped out the piece of Traut’s talk which highlighted how the MinWin core will work in Windows 7 and posted it to his site.

MinWin is internal-only and “won’t be productized but it will be the basis for future products,” Traut said. But “it’s proof there is a really nice little core inside Windows.”

MinWin is 25 MB on disk; Vista is 4 GB, Traut said. (The slimmed-down Windows Server 2008 core is still 1.5 GB in size.) The MinWin kernel does not include a graphics subsystem in its current build, but does incorporate a “very simple HTTP server,” Traut said. The MinWin core is 100 files total, while all of Windows is 5,000 files in size.

Traut said he is running a team of 200 Windows engineers working on the core kernel and Windows virtual technologies.

Traut acknowledged tat the Windows kernel is between twelve and fifteen years old right now. He said that Microsoft is operating under the premise that “at some point, we’ll have to replace it (the kernel),” given that it “doesn’t have an unlimited life span.

Traut did not mention Singularity — Microsoft Research’s built-from-scratch microkernel-based operating system — during his talk.

Instead, Traut spent most of his time describing Microsoft’s thinking around virtualization, and how virtualization can be used to ease backwards compatibility and other problems Windows users incur. He did not speak specifically about how Microsoft plans to incorporate virtualization in Windows 7, but did stress that virtualization should not be viewed as a crutch, in terms of improving existing code. He said Microsoft considers application virtualization, like that it provides via SofGrid, presentation virtualization (Windows Terminal Services and “enhancements to core Windows functionality” are all other ways that the company can improve users’ Windows experience.read more | digg story

Patent suit against Linux has a Kevin Bacon-esque connection to Microsoft


It appears as though the first patent suit against Linux — targeting Red Hat and Novell — is now official. According to Groklaw’s Pamela Jones:

IP Innovation LLC has just filed a patent infringement claim against Red Hat and Novell. It was filed October 9, case no. 2:2007cv00447, IP Innovation, LLC et al v. Red Hat Inc. et al, in Texas. Where else? The patent troll magnet state…… [this is] The first ever patent infringement litigation involving Linux. Here’s the patent, for those who can look at it without risk. If in doubt, don’t. Here’s the complaint [PDF]….The plaintiff is asking for an injunction, along with damages.

Jones goes on to cite some relevant points of the complaint but then, like the Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon, unearths a potential connection to Microsoft. According to a story posted by Patent Troll Tracker well before this lawsuit turned up, IP Innovation LLC is a subsidiary of Acacia Research Corporation which the site classifies as a patent troll. This past July Acacia hired Jonathan Taub away from his job as Director, Strategic Alliances for the Mobile and Embedded Devices (MED) division at Microsoft and then, just last week, it hired Brad Brunell away from his job at Microsoft where, among other jobs, he served as General Manager, Intellectual Property Licensing.

The blogosphere is likely to have a field day with this connection and I suspect that dumpsters will be dived in hopes of finding a less tenuous connection to Microsoft. The timing of the suit seems rather serendipitous given both the timing of Brunell’s move as well as the threats that Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer issued last week — ones that specifically mentioned patents (vs. the other form of intellectual property; copyrights). Even so,

Is there a connection? Well, there’s no smoking gun at this point. And if there was such a connection, you can’t help but wonder why Novell would be named in the suit since Microsoft and Novell are now working together to better integrate Windows with Novell’s Suse Linux and the arrangement includes patent protection for Novell. So, you’ll have to judge for yourself what’s going on here.

read more | digg story

Does Ballmer’s comments reflect deeper problems at Microsoft?


Steve Ballmer’s latest rant against open source, and Microsoft’s internal reaction to it, reflect deep problems within the company.Part of the problem is that, as they say, Elvis has left the building. Elvis in this case is Bill Gates, Ballmer’s one-time Harvard classmate, the drop-out whose strategic vision and intense focus made Microsoft what it is.

Part of the problem is that Ballmer has never really acknowledged this. It was Steve Ballmer who built Microsoft’s sales effort, Steve Ballmer who created its esprit de corps, and Steve Ballmer, whose chip on the shoulder attitude he’s never been without that we recall, who doesn’t understand how the game has changed.

You can’t fight open source as you would fight IBM, or Novell, or the U.S. Justice Department, the enemies from the 1990s. Those foes put their pants on one leg at a time, just like Microsoft did. Open source is not like that.

Open source is not a person, or a company, but a movement. It’s an idea. It’s like water. You fight water you drown. Each time Steve Ballmer opens his mouth this becomes more obvious to observers on the shore. Yet it never seems to occur to him. And he’s the boss.

The fact Ballmer made these remarks in England only compounds the problem. The EU still has an active antitrust case against Microsoft. The EU has not yet agreed with the U.S. policy on software patents. Bluster in the face of all this was ill-advised, yet Ballmer blustered away.

Bill Gates would have handled things differently. He would have smiled. He would have been diplomatic. He probably would not have commented at all, yet he would have left the impression that the EU is somehow working against competition in fighting Microsoft, and ignoring the interests of its own innovators in rejecting software patents.

Microsoft is going through a tough transition. It is an entrepreneurial company whose entrepreneur has left. Steve Ballmer was as close to Gates as anyone, and has long felt he could fill his shoes, but can he really make Microsoft an ad-driven company when his sense of public relations is so poor?

None of this really matters to open source. Open source, like water, will flow around Microsoft the way a stream flows past a rock in its path. But Microsoft needs a swimmer to succeed in this new environment, and its leader keeps doing cannonballs.

read more | digg story