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Windows Could Use A Rush Of Fresh Air

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20 replies to this topic

#1 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:20 PM

In case you missed, I just came across this June 29 article from The New York Times that's a pretty good read on why Microsoft might consider doing what Apple did in 2001, and move users to a new kernel, rather than try to support 20 years of legacy apps.

It was written by Randall Stross, author and professor of business at San Jose State. /steve

http://www.nytimes.c...dVmHvCtasKTTukQ
/steve

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#2 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:46 PM

Apple's software, as popular as it is, has a very small install base compared to that of Windows. That, combined with the large number of different configurations, makes a ground-up rebuild all but impossible.

What is possible, however, especially with today's large drives, is to use true virtualization, as OS X did in the early days. The next Windows should come with full install sets of every version of Windows since 1.0 and you should be able to run any program in a virtual space booting into the correct Windows version. Even Vista should be virtualized, and if you do that, you're free to develop a whole new OS at that point.

Also, let me say I was there. I tried to load OS X 10.0 and it was awful. I didn't even consider migrating until 10.3 and even then there were classic apps run every day until about 18 months ago. It was not all sunshine and lollipops, and I was trying to run simple, honest, common applications.
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#3 OFFLINE   Steve Mehs

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 12:58 PM

I don't see that happening. You've already got people crying their printer from 1942 won't work with Vista and they refuse to upgrade. Microsoft should just have just stuck with Windows 98 forever, that way people don't have to fear progress, and there no worries about that scanner cavemen used to scan cave drawings ever lacking driver support.
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#4 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:02 PM

Sorry, Mr. Mehs, I don't believe this one's supported :lol:

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#5 OFFLINE   dpfaunts

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:18 PM

Quick question from a "younger" user, Mr. Sweet, is that a printer or a teletype machine? I remember using a teletype in junior high circa 1981. It reminds me of the teletype.
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#6 OFFLINE   EXTACAMO

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:24 PM

Yea, that looks like the old 50 baud model I used when I was in the Navy.

the quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs back 0123456789 times. LOL

#7 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:34 PM

Quick question from a "younger" user, Mr. Sweet, is that a printer or a teletype machine? I remember using a teletype in junior high circa 1981. It reminds me of the teletype.


You are correct, it is a teletype. I couldn't find an appealingly old photo of a printer. That being said, if I still had my old DEC line printer (similar to the one shown but without the keyboard) I bet I could get it to work with Windows.

I'm not saying you didn't use a teletype, but in 1981 it's more likely you used a line printing terminal (the source of the term LPT still used to denote a printer port) like the one pictured. A teletype had an integrated modem while a terminal had a serial port.

The last terminal I used was, I'd say, around 1987 and they were on their way out. Teletypes, on the other hand, were old news when my dad was programming computers.

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#8 OFFLINE   dpfaunts

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:46 PM

Thanks for the refresher, I do remember putting the phone receiver in the two round slots, but I don't remember if it was attached to the teletype/terminal. I do remember playing a silly drag racing game. You provide so specifications and the machine would return the results. Along with playing Star Trek on a old apple computer with a cassette tape "drive". Oh they don't build them like they used to. Thanks goodness :)
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#9 OFFLINE   EXTACAMO

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:50 PM

Yea, that phone thing was an acoustic coupler. That's how you connected to other computers in those days.

#10 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 01:56 PM

But back to topic anyway... my point is that Windows can only truly move forward through the use of virtualization. They will need to provide legacy support for 20 years of applications and that seems to be best way of doing that.
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#11 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 02:10 PM

But back to topic anyway... my point is that Windows can only truly move forward through the use of virtualization. They will need to provide legacy support for 20 years of applications and that seems to be best way of doing that.


The question here is (and I've been out of the loop a bit lately) whether today's processing power is good enough to run a virtual machine at comparable speeds? That's really the only reason not to use virtual computers.

It has been a while since I played around with virtualization... and there is always some speed sacrifice in the virtual machine, but perhaps today's 3GHz+ dual/quad core processors are powerful enough to run a virtual machine with comparable speed to an older machine running the OS available at its time.

That would be a pretty slick, and logical, solution to backwards compatibility. I agree that they eventually have to cut and run in order to make the current stuff work the best.

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#12 OFFLINE   Stuart Sweet

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 02:13 PM

My only experience is using Parallels on a Mac and I find no practical performance difference between Windows XP under Parallels on a Core2Duo-based Mac and running natively on a similarly-powered PC.
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#13 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 02:38 PM

The question here is (and I've been out of the loop a bit lately) whether today's processing power is good enough to run a virtual machine at comparable speeds? That's really the only reason not to use virtual computers.

It has been a while since I played around with virtualization... and there is always some speed sacrifice in the virtual machine, but perhaps today's 3GHz+ dual/quad core processors are powerful enough to run a virtual machine with comparable speed to an older machine running the OS available at its time.

That would be a pretty slick, and logical, solution to backwards compatibility. I agree that they eventually have to cut and run in order to make the current stuff work the best.

Ya. Actually the author makes the point that with today's dual- and quad-core machines, Microsoft today would have an advantage Apple didn't back in 2001, if they decided to create a new kernel (and presumably offer a virtual Vista or XP machine in software). /steve
/steve

#14 OFFLINE   curt8403

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 03:26 PM

when you mention aired out, I think of this.

http://ars.userfrien...06&mode=classic
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#15 OFFLINE   HIPAR

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 05:37 PM

My only experience is using Parallels on a Mac and I find no practical performance difference between Windows XP under Parallels on a Core2Duo-based Mac and running natively on a similarly-powered PC.


I'll second that. I have XP, Win2000 and, believe it or not, Windows For Work Groups 3.11 running on top of DOS working on my MAC using Parallels.

I don't remember how to get the internet running on 3.11 but I remember the guys in the office installing something called Trumpet Winsock.

Every so often when a patch for Leopard comes through, Parallels goes unstable and I need to update it too. Then the virtual machines work fine again.

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#16 OFFLINE   harsh

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 05:53 PM

But back to topic anyway... my point is that Windows can only truly move forward through the use of virtualization. They will need to provide legacy support for 20 years of applications and that seems to be best way of doing that.

What needs to happen is that someone other than Microsoft needs to take the lead in developing the programming tools so that porting applications to the next perversion of Windows is no longer the biggest challenge to software publishers.

Microsoft has bombarded the development community with no less than 50 languages and at least half a dozen programming metaphors in the last few years and it has substantially stalled new feature development. Somebody needs to pick and programming language and stick with it and while they're at it, make sure that the APIs are all encompassing and completely forward compatible.

Finally, the functionality that comes from IE needs to be incorporated back into Windows so that replacing/removing the web browser doesn't blow up any applications.

#17 OFFLINE   Steve

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 06:38 PM

Finally, the functionality that comes from IE needs to be incorporated back into Windows so that replacing/removing the web browser doesn't blow up any applications.

I totally agree. The idea that "whoever owns the most browser share wins" has long been debunked. /steve
/steve

#18 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:57 PM

Ya. Actually the author makes the point that with today's dual- and quad-core machines, Microsoft today would have an advantage Apple didn't back in 2001, if they decided to create a new kernel (and presumably offer a virtual Vista or XP machine in software). /steve


A few years ago I worked for a company where we were testing our software under not only different versions of Windows but also in many languages... so we had dozens of multi-boot machines in a lab... and I was trying to encourage them to run VMWare on a server and then create virtual machines for each OS and each language. Advantages in the test environment were the ability to keep those "virgin" virtual installs on backup so we could always revert to our ideal test environment anytime we wanted.

I could never sell anyone on it, but I always felt that was the way to go.

Now maybe we have fast enough processors that it even makes sense for home users. Also, VMWare could be tricky to navigate for the novice user... but I'm thinking/hoping ease-of-use/config has happened as things evolve.

I know I, for one, would jump on virtual machines with my next computer upgrade as it would be a great way for me to keep some old apps that would not run in 64-bit OS.. plus sometimes it is fun to plan with the old OS.

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#19 OFFLINE   Stewart Vernon

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Posted 16 October 2008 - 07:59 PM

I don't remember how to get the internet running on 3.11 but I remember the guys in the office installing something called Trumpet Winsock.


I remember back then buying Spry Internet in a Box for $4.95 or something like that which took care of installing the Winsock and also had the Mosaic browser. I used that for a long time before Netscape overtook them in functionality.

I never learned how to do manual installation because it was such an affordable package that handled it for me.

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#20 OFFLINE   djlong

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Posted 17 October 2008 - 07:06 AM

Stuart: Ok. I feel old. I recognized that 'modern' printer. Depending on the speed, it's either an old LA-36 or LA-120 from DEC's golden era.




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