Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Windows in a virtual machine

Is the answer to every problem with windows (and as Microsoft put it, modern operating systems in general) to run it inside of a virtual machine? According to this article here,
Goodbye, XP. Hello, Midori , Microsoft are working on a long term project to have the OS as managed code. To some extent this is not a surprise (after all .Net has been a great success, as have other virtual machine implementations such as Java, Flash and Shockwave to name a few) as they offer platform independence (you target the virtual machine and not the platform itself), potentially increased security as the code can be checked and monitored before it is run and arguably very good performance (I had a conversation a couple of months ago with a games developer who said that if you know how the .Net garbage collector works you can equal C++'s speed with C#, and also look at how the Flash 9 player is very quick too).

But an OS running in a virtual machine. Is this the answer? If modern operating system architecture is too old, too designed for a non networked 24/7 age, then we better think about alternatives. Alternatives that include running the whole shebang using virtualisation on a seperate core to a lightweight OS that just gets that up and running. Or perhaps a version of linux on a ROM chip that lets you surf the web and chat like Asus are doing. Or perhaps an OS that boots from the web (kind of like switching to boot from network in your BIOS).

What will be the future paradigm for operating systems be?


2 comments:

Gary Paluk said...

The motherboard booting linux is an interesting concept but this makes me wonder why a full OS needs to be ran on the motherboard only to run runtime environments that in turn may run an runtime based OS. If the motherboard was to support a runtime environment, then an OS could be ran on top, thus illiminating one of the 3 layers. Each motherboard takes a specific CPU and can compile code directly into the relevant machine code. This would still have the advantages of protecting the machine from malicious attacks if attack prevention was part of the runtime core.

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