Coffeehouse Thread

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Starting Windows over...

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  • User profile image
    Tom Servo

    I posted a thread already in the past about rewriting Windows to get rid of the mess that's being stackpiled in the operating system. One reason against it was cited to be backwards compatibility, thus you can't break the Windows userland (all that aint kernel).

    I'm running Windows x64 since some weeks here, and actually, it's kind of doing exactly that sort of breaking. Afterall, all 32bit applications are being run in their own modified 32bit Windows environment, that thunks all kernel calls to the 64bit kernel.

    Now, why isn't it possible to stabilize the Windows userland and put it into maintenance mode while starting a new usermode subsystem from scratch, and running it in parallel to the old stuff? You'd instantly get rid of that spaghetti code mess and all design errors that can't be fixed anymore.

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    They're going to re-implement Win32?

    I like to think Microsoft is already rewriting an OS, look at Singularity.

    All they need to do is wait a decade or so until the typical computer can run Singularity as a main OS then just write a compatibility layer (or just "borrow" WINE)

  • User profile image
    messerschmi​tt

    I have been able to run 1986-rel DOS programs in Windows XP with and without some minor tweaks, and that just scares the hell out of me, please drop the 16bit backwards comp Microsoft.



  • User profile image
    Tom Servo

    W3bbo wrote:
    They're going to re-implement Win32?

    I like to think Microsoft is already rewriting an OS, look at Singularity.

    They can keep the kernel, since it's apparently a fine piece of work according to various *nix and VMS developers.

    However the stuff on top of it starts getting scary.

    Also, I doubt you'll see Singularity on a desktop commercially anytime soon within a decade.

  • User profile image
    die-Sel

    I was just reading up on Singularity  and made a topic lol



    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=184119

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Tom Servo wrote:
    They can keep the kernel, since it's apparently a fine piece of work according to various *nix and VMS developers.


    Well yeah, the NT kernel is coded by guys with beards, so you know it's good Smiley

    The kernel guys are the unsung heros of Windows, a lot of the attention goes towards the shell and other non-essentials parts of the OS.

  • User profile image
    SlackmasterK

    die-Sel wrote:
    I was just reading up on Singularity  and made a topic lol



    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=184119

    http://channel9.msdn.com/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=184119

  • User profile image
    AndyC

    W3bbo wrote:

    All they need to do is wait a decade or so until the typical computer can run Singularity as a main OS then just write a compatibility layer (or just "borrow" WINE)


    You can't just "write a compatibility layer" or "borrow WINE" because Singularity is fundamentally different in the entire way it handles process management. You'd have to emulate a full x86 processor and then run another OS on top of that, by which point you'd be no better off (just a hell of a lot slower).

    Singularity will never replace Windows. Ideas from it might make it across in some form, the OS itself may surface for embedded use or special purpose code perhaps. Any talk of using it to replace Windows is pure nonsense though.

  • User profile image
    Xaero_​Vincent

    Anyone ever hear of SkyOS?

    It's a commercial OS that is not related to Linux or BSD in anyway except for the Crystal icon pack it steals from KDE 3.x. Everything is written from scratch.

    It looks quite interesting.

    http://www.skyos.org/


    Regards,
    Vincent

  • User profile image
    DoomBringer

    I don't see any reason to ditch hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lines of code.  Some of it you'd just rewrite exactly the same...

  • User profile image
    msemack

    Most often, re-writing from scratch is a mistake.  It seems very tempting, but usually ends up ding more harm than good.

    http://www.joelonsoftware.com/articles/fog0000000069.html

    You also have to ask yourself: why would you want to develop a new user mode API?  What does it actually gain you?  And more importantly, what does it actually gain your CUSTOMERS?

  • User profile image
    TimP

    W3bbo wrote:
    Tom Servo wrote: They can keep the kernel, since it's apparently a fine piece of work according to various *nix and VMS developers.


    Well yeah, the NT kernel is coded by guys with beards, so you know it's good


    Dave Cutler has a beard?

  • User profile image
    sgomez

    No Microsoft staff in this thread???
    Any comments?

    .seb
    http://sgomez.blogspot.com

  • User profile image
    messerschmi​tt

    I dont either see any reason to write code "from scratch", in my opinion the kernel in 2k/xp/2k3 -aka "the windows engine", is one of the best there is on the market 

    I would prefer tough that Microsoft ditch the backwards comp in Vista, including dumping win32, why not go .net all the way?

     

  • User profile image
    Sven Groot

    TimP wrote:
    W3bbo wrote:
    Tom Servo wrote: They can keep the kernel, since it's apparently a fine piece of work according to various *nix and VMS developers.


    Well yeah, the NT kernel is coded by guys with beards, so you know it's good


    Dave Cutler has a beard?


    "Al die willen de kernel schrijven, moeten mannen met baarden zijn.
    Jan, Piet, Joris en Cutler, die hebben baarden, die hebben baarden.
    Jan, Piet, Joris en Cutler, die hebben baarden, die schrijven mee."

    (A little in-joke for the Dutch speakers Tongue Out )

    PS: I have no idea whether Dave Cutler has a beard. Smiley

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    messerschmitt wrote:
    I would prefer tough that Microsoft ditch the backwards comp in Vista, including dumping win32, why not go .net all the way?


    Simple - because %95 of software out there is Win32 or Win16. And the purpose of the OS is to run that software.

  • User profile image
    msemack

    messerschmitt wrote:
    I would prefer tough that Microsoft ditch the backwards comp in Vista, including dumping win32, why not go .net all the way?


    Why though?  What does it gain you?

    Furthermore, what does it gain the CUSTOMERS?

    Ditching the Win32 stuff DEGRADES the user experience, because people can't run the programs that they know and love.  Remember, it's all about the applications.

  • User profile image
    Maurits

    Sven Groot wrote:

    Al die willen de kernel schrijven, moeten mannen met baarden zijn.
    Jan, Piet, Joris en Cutler, die hebben baarden, die hebben baarden.
    Jan, Piet, Joris en Cutler, die hebben baarden, die schrijven mee.


    Watch out for the walrus!

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