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Microsoft May be Working On New Non-Windows OS

By - Source: Business Insider | B 48 comments

Several reports published on Monday reveal that Microsoft is currently writing a new computer programing language, and could be using that language to generate a second operating system that is not related to Windows.

The new language was revealed by a Microsoft researcher named Jim Duffy on Friday who said that nothing secretive is going on, that all he is describing in his blog is pure research.

"As is hopefully clear from my bio, the language I describe below is a research effort, nothing more, nothing less. Think of me as an MSR guy publishing a paper, it's just on my blog instead [of] appearing in PLDI proceedings," Duffy writes on his blog.

The blog heated up talk about Microsoft's Midori project, a supposed non-Windows-based operating system. Unnamed sources claim that this platform has come out of incubation mode and tossed into the Unified Operating System group headed by Executive Vice President Terry Myerson.

ZDNet reports that Microsoft officials gave the green light for a number of Midori team members to come forward and produce a few details. Duffy is supposedly one of those people, who reportedly helped build both the operating system and the new language simultaneously.

Sources say this new language is codenamed "M#," or M sharp; Duffy names this new language as "C# for Systems Programming." Sources also claim that M# is an extension of Microsoft's C#, and reportedly grew out of Sing#, which is the system language of Microsoft's Research Singularity OS.

There's a possibility the M# platform will go open-source.

ZDNet reports that a "skunkworks" team began working on Midori since at least 2008. The project was originally "championed" by Microsoft CTO Eric Rudder, and the team itself consisted of all-star Microsoft veterans, including Duffy. The project also had several developers pulled in from the outside.

Ultimately, what's expected to happen is that parts of this operating system will be pulled out to be used in Windows 9 and beyond.

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Top Comments
  • 10 Hide
    PhilFrisbie , December 31, 2013 11:14 AM
    NT was phased out? My copy of Windows 7 reports it is NT Version 6.1 :) 
Other Comments
  • 1 Hide
    Estix , December 31, 2013 9:47 AM
    Midori has been a very neat project to follow; essentially an OS written entirely (or almost entirely) to run with managed code.

    Theoretically, it would be less vulnerable to a lot of common security vulnerabilities and exploits.

    From a practical standpoint, though, it's more of a toy for CompSci people than a practical operating environment... Though, if a person can get by nowadays with just a smartphone, there's no reason that this wouldn't be just fine for most people, even before it matures and gains software support.
  • -2 Hide
    sean1357 , December 31, 2013 10:43 AM
    Looking to see if they develop OS or compiler for FPGA environment. Parallel processing... High speed data communication...
  • 0 Hide
    qlum , December 31, 2013 10:56 AM
    this could be another NT where nt gets slowly phased out like the old windows did when xp came out. Windows right now is pretty inefficient so I wouldn't mind a newer version that isn't as all consuming I mean the harddrive and memory requirements of the os itself are just insane compared to linux distro's that even offer more preinstalled programs.
  • 10 Hide
    PhilFrisbie , December 31, 2013 11:14 AM
    NT was phased out? My copy of Windows 7 reports it is NT Version 6.1 :) 
  • -4 Hide
    sciophobiaranger , December 31, 2013 12:15 PM
    Hopefully it is not like Windows 8. Dreadful.... why the hell do they keep changing the themes? Windows 7 was fine and so was XP. (even though I prefer 7)
  • 3 Hide
    Aragorn , December 31, 2013 12:16 PM
    qlum: It wasn't NT that got phased out. All versions of windows were moved over to the NT kernel and the old DOS based kernel was tossed. It would be good to see something like that happen again if Microsoft moved to a more secure more efficient kernel again. This may well come from the project the article referenced (in combination with many other projects that Microsoft is assuredly working on).
  • 2 Hide
    vpoko , December 31, 2013 1:02 PM
    Quote:
    Looking to see if they develop OS or compiler for FPGA environment. Parallel processing... High speed data communication...
    To run an OS on an FPGA, or to compile code written in an imperative language for one, you'd have to synthesize a a normal, sequential processor with it. While this can be done with IP cores, no current FPGA can synthesize something like a modern, Haswell CPU. This will always be the case since there is substantial overhead required to make the IC reconfigurable. Actually, FPGA's are going in the other direction, with hard processor cores on-die with the FPGA. What I hope we'll see one day is FPGA's on-die with a modern CPU (or attached as a coprocessor) so they can handle massively parallel tasks while the CPU handles all the sequential stuff that a CPU is good at.
  • 1 Hide
    sean1357 , December 31, 2013 1:08 PM
    --> vpoko...

    Altera Stratix 10... with quad cores Cortex ARM-53 x64 bit MCU in it..
  • -2 Hide
    g-unit1111 , December 31, 2013 1:14 PM
    How many more operating systems do we need? There's Windows 7, Windows 8, Android, iOS, Steam OS, Mac OS 10.5, Blackberry 10, Web OS, I could go on and on.
  • 3 Hide
    vpoko , December 31, 2013 1:15 PM
    Quote:
    --> vpoko...

    Altera Stratix 10... with quad cores Cortex ARM-53 x64 bit MCU in it..
    That's an actual MCU on the chip with the FPGA, it's not being synthesized using logic cells. Since it takes several transistors to simulate what would be one transistor in an ASIC, an FPGA will always be at a disadvantage (compared to an ASIC) when it comes to simulating a sequential processor. The other part of it is the clock speed: that Statix 10 isn't going to reach 4 GHz like a modern CPU will.

    There are lots of things an FPGA is great for, but I wouldn't waste one to re-invent the wheel.
  • 5 Hide
    Avus , December 31, 2013 2:07 PM
    call it Microsoft Door...
  • 0 Hide
    falchard , December 31, 2013 2:13 PM
    Just what the world needs, another language that is not faster than C++. I thought the point of .NET was to bring a common programming language across multiple architecture.
  • 0 Hide
    acadia11 , December 31, 2013 4:25 PM
    And C++ was not faster than C, what's your point. And C is not faster than assembly. The issue is that for the far more complex and robust High Level Functionality offered in todays programs , it would be just asinine to try and develop with languages that are far more low level.

    A simple example who wants to keep track of pointers today? Or before then registers? No one ... you let the language handle these sort of details ... and focus on how can I say with one function tell the program to launch music when program opens up...
  • 4 Hide
    vpoko , December 31, 2013 4:46 PM
    Quote:
    I thought the point of .NET was to bring a common programming language across multiple architecture.


    I'm not sure why you thought that, but that's almost the opposite of the .NET framework's design goal. The framework was actually launched with several languages, and new ones (like F#) have been added since, while others (like J#) have been deprecated. The point was to create a single compile target (MSIL) for all supported languages, and have the MSIL run in a virtual machine (the CLR), which would provide common services and interoperability between code regardless of the (.NET) language the original code was written in. It's evident that while the .NET framework is useful for high-level programming, it's not so useful for low-level programming (Windows device drivers are still written in unmanaged code, for example). I have no idea if bringing managed code to low-level programming will work out, but it's certainly not a case of Microsoft backpedaling on any .NET promises (and there has been plenty of that from Microsoft elsewhere... e.g., WPF and Silverlight)
  • 5 Hide
    g-unit1111 , December 31, 2013 5:21 PM
    Quote:
    call it Microsoft Door...


    I'm dating myself here but does anyone remember Microsoft Bob from the early 90's? :lol: 
  • 1 Hide
    belardo , December 31, 2013 5:55 PM
    Isn't windows 8 a non-windows OS?
  • 1 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , December 31, 2013 6:01 PM
    Was Windows 8 based on Windows?

    Seriously though, whoever said managed code is less vulnerable is a jabroni.
  • -4 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , December 31, 2013 6:15 PM
    Hey, as long as I know WHERE- and HOW-to...START...I'm good.

    I suspect they might grab some functionality from the XBOX One in terms of voice commands. However, I don't think the keyboard and mouse are doomed.
  • 6 Hide
    ddpruitt , December 31, 2013 6:18 PM
    Quote:
    C# for Systems Programming


    This language already exists, its known as ... wait for it ... C. Any real systems language has unsafe memory operations and registers, learn to program well and deal with it.
  • 0 Hide
    sulumordna , December 31, 2013 7:06 PM
    I think it would be nice if Microsoft went to a Unix or Unix-like platform. I love the Linux distros but I have to keep windows for the software I use. and wine , while great, doesn't support even close to everything I use.
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