Microsoft confirmed today at the 2011 CES that the next generation of the Windows operating system will indeed run on ARM processors, following wild rumors and speculation this past week.
Windows on ARM processors means that the operating system is now capable of running on a plethora of mobile devices, thus opening up an entirely new market segment for Microsoft. Is this the end of Windows Phone? Will Windows 8 be the new Microsoft mobile OS?
EDIT (01/06): Not much more info was released in last night’s keynote speech by Steve Ballmer. However, the implications of having the full-fledged Windows operating system on a mobile device such as a phone are tremendous. Android and iOS will have to pick up some speed to compete with the OS that has been in the making since 1985 and has excellent hardware and software support e.g.: multi-threading, scheduling, peripheral support, .NET Framework, WPF, Win32 API, etc., etc.
I’m not known as a person who particularly likes the .NET framework but I still have to use it. The .NET Framework is basically a massive library of general purpose functions, much like the Standard Library is to C or the Standard Template Library is to C++.
But what if it all would be discontinued?
It’s not an impossibility and rather likely considering Microsoft’s track-record. The millions of applications, libraries and websites created with .NET would be useless.
I’ve been fortunate enough to be part of a VB6 (CGI) to ASP.NET (VB) conversion team and, trust me when I say this, you don’t want to be part of such an effort. These conversions require truckloads of time and money, and if you work for a mid-sized to large corporation, this could easily lead into the millions of dollars.
Now imagine all of your code obsolete. Everything you’ve coded since .NET 1.0. What would you do? Let’s take FoxPro as an example. Microsoft bought FoxPro in 1992 and released a couple of versions under the “Visual”-family of products. The last version was released in 2007 and a statement of Microsoft suggests that this is the last version.
No migration tools to any other language are being provided.
Another product would be J#, which will be retired in 2015. Keep in mind that J# is a fairly recent product and was only released with Visual Studio.NET.
How far will .NET go before a turning point is reached? Consider that .NET was first released publicly in 2002 and will be a decade old in less than four years. Knowing Microsoft, the end is quite possibly much nearer than you think.
While Visual Studio was originally planned to be released in February of 2008, November 19th 2007 seemed like a better release date for Microsoft. MSDN Subscribers can already download the Retail versions of Visual Studio 2008 Professional, Standard and the Visual Studio Express editions through their Top Subscriber Downloads screen when logged on to MSDN.
At the moment downloads seem very slow (probably due to high network traffic) and connections might fail. Remember: because Microsoft is offering this through the Top Subscriber Downloads box, the downloads will open in an Akamai window instead of the regular Transfer Manager offered by Microsoft; this causes problems.
Coming Soon to MSDN Subscriptions – Visual Studio 2008 The next version of Visual Studio, Microsoft Visual Studio 2008, will provide an industry-leading developer experience for Windows Vista, the 2007 Microsoft Office system, and the Web. We expect to have Visual Studio 2008 editions available on MSDN Subscriber Downloads shortly after release. For a faster, more reliable download experience, please utilize “Top Downloads” below. All English Visual Studio 2008 editions will be available here first. Visual Studio 2008 editions also will be released—on a staggered schedule—to Subscriber Downloads. To find out more about the new versions, see the Visual Studio Developer Center. All English Visual Studio 2008 Editions will be available from “Top Downloads” below. Please utilize “Top Downloads” for a faster, more reliable download experience.
Matthew Mullenweg at Photomatt.net “predicts” that:
Microsoft will Open Source Windows before 2017.
While I usually like Matt’s posts — I get them through the Wordpress control panel — I think that he might be a bit off this time. The Windows kernel is still under constant development and was derived from the DOS base architecture first founded in 1981.
This means that DOS is now 26 years old, almost 27.
Since MS-DOS hasn’t been released under an Open Source license I think it’s ridiculous to say that MS Windows will be releasing it under an O.S. license any time in the distant future — even with Open Source getting more and more popular.
An older product, BASIC which was first released on the Altair in 1975 (32 years old) is no longer being developed, is no longer being shipped with any Microsoft Operating Systems but has evolved in Microsoft’s Visual Basic / Visual Basic .NET. Products which in their own right have helped form products like C# and the Visual Studio product line. While you could get the BASIC source “code” (in patch point form), later binary versions of BASIC aren’t open and haven’t been opened up ever since.
While Microsoft gives you many tools to build upon the Windows Platform, I don’t think that Microsoft will open the source to Windows, not even Windows 1.0. I might be wrong — and I hope I am — but I got a pretty good feeling that current Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer is more focussed on monetary rewards for him and Microsoft than anything else.
As a developer (and gamer) you always want the latest gadgets and DirectX 10 seems to be one of these gadgets that you just “need to have”.
But does it justify spending much money for an upgrade?
What does DirectX 10 have that DirectX 9 doesn’t? According to some technology demos - not so much. Ok, some special effects but what about the rest? A game isn’t made out of SFX (although it seems to become a trend).
It turns out that DirectX 10 isn’t only about special effects but defines a new style of next generation technology. Video Card manufacturers are forced to use optimized pathways to support the new industry standard resulting in very fast hardware such as the Geforce 8 series (8800 GTX, 8800 GTS).
One of these features is WDDM which stands for Windows Display Driver Model. WDDM is basically a resource manager for graphics processes. One example of what WDDM does is this: In XP when you switch from one Direct3D application you will receive a DEVICE_LOST exception, which basically means that you can’t run two processes from one GPU. Your application crashes and you’ll have to write X amount of handlers dealing with the exception. According to Microsoft this is now a thing of the past.
Since the Vista desktop is a 3D environment you’d loose your application everytime you minimize. This has now been eliminated. Each GPU process is its own thread (just like in regular programming) meaning that you can have X amount of 3D processes running without the need for special handlers.
Also in the same category is improved crash handling that comes with DirectX 10.
Ok, so that’s neat but I’ll need more to be convinced to switch to DirectX 10 hardware and Windows Vista.
Another feature of WDDM is that if you run out of video memory WDDM can virtualize your System’s memory for video processes. Which - in theory - sounds very cool, but I don’t know if this would cause slowdowns.
Here’s a list of new features
Shader Model 4
DirectSound is gone, XACT is its replacement
Less load on the CPU - GPU tasks really get processed by the GPU this time
Unified Pipeline Architecture - the Programmable Graphics pipeline (SM 4.0)
No object limit - There is no software limit to how many objects you can add to your scene. The only factor in this is your graphics hardware
Instancing 2.0 - An optimized version of the Instancing technology found in Geforce 6 series up and Radeon 9500 and up
So as a developer is it worth it to upgrade to Vista and DirectX 10 hardware? In my opinion, yes. This is simply the new generation of computer graphics, just because you have to upgrade doesn’t mean is’t evil.
Remember when you upgraded from your TNT 2 card to a Geforce? Same thing. Yet this time the improvements revolve more around the pipeline than the actual quality of the image.
Conforming with the Ajax/Web 2.0 trend, Microsoft has updated their Microsoft.com homepage to a sleeker looking page stuffed with DHTML goodies. Yet as with most media-rich websites it’s very slow on older computers (probably the one you have in your office also ;) ) so it becomes quite tedious to navigate through.
One good thing about all this is that the website works well in Firefox, you’d think they’d screw it up but they didn’t. Gotta give some kudos for that one.
What the new page comes down to is a roll-over navigation system to the left side of the screen, and less links as before if I see correctly. Apart from the homepage, nothing has changed, except that instead of going to the http://www.microsoft.com/ page you get redirected to http://www.microsoft.com/en/us/default.aspx which has no PageRank and I doubt the search engines will like a 302.
And you can get it: Here from Mozilla.org if you’re interested in trying it out. I am, I’ll report on it later.
I was actually wondering if anybody has actually seen a “Zune” since the introduction on November 14th this year. I haven’t, and I’ve seen one commercial so far on the TV. Even on the internet, I haven’t seen many things yet (or maybe I’m just on the wrong sites). I have some colleagues that didn’t even know what “a Zune” is and didn’t bother to find out.
A company named Interlink has sued Nintendo over the type of remote the Wii is using. interlink claims to have a patent on the motion technology, yet ArsTechnica claims this is not entirely true. I think that Interlink knew that Nintendo was going to use this technology long ago but just waited for the actual release so they could get lots of money out of law suits. Dontcha love how money works? ;) src
Is it me or has this last season been the most productive one at Microsoft in a long time? First we get the new version of the DirectX SDK and now we finally have the final version of Internet Explorer 7, not to mention the plethora of CTPs that came out the last couple of weeks..
So, what’s going on? More marketing on MS’ side? Let’s hope so since free software is great - even though most products expire next year and it’s not free in the manner of beer and speech.
Still, allowing everyone to become a “beta-tester” is a great marketing strategy. People use the products for almost a year, become dependent on it and will have to buy the product when in comes out since the CTPs expire.
Take Windows Vista RC1 for example. This version of Windows is freely download-able but will expire on June 1st 2007. For home-users this is a great way of getting a Next Generation operating system for free and even be able to work with it for quite some time. By using CTPs/Betas you are not limited in saving files etc, there’s simply a time period - similar to trial software. Now, June 1st 2007 - Vista expires. You’re stuck with your CTP and all your important data on your hard-drive. Your copy of windows has expired and the only way to get back in is to buy Vista/License key.
Now that’s how you sell products — by creating a dependency.
Today me and one of my co-workers (not my boss as I announced earlier) went to the MSDN Event in Boca Raton. This was my first time at one of these events so think of this post as a first-timer. There were three sessions discussed at ther Event that I’d like to go over with you.
Because me and my colleague were at the Event a tad early, we were treated with a couple of tracks from Jethro Tull’s live album at the Isle of Wight. Always nice. These tracks were chosen by our presenter. We also watched some Microsoft propaganda from http://www.escapeyesterworld.com/ .. it was funny though.
Our presenter was Mr. Russ Fustino, who introduced himself to the crowd in person wearing a yellow hard-hat and red suspenders while his theme-song (yes, a song bout Russ, not by Jethro) was playing in the background. Unconventional? Maybe. But it’s an attention-getter for sure.
Session 1: Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals
After all that stuff it was time to get down to business and absorb information — after all that’s what we came for. Visual Studio Team Edition for Database Professionals is a nice integration of Database accessibility into Visual Studio 2005. It looked fairly simple to set up a new database from within Visual Studio and some features were very nice. Features such as the ability to rename a table in MSSQL and automatically rename all its references in Stored procedures etc without losing Data. I guess this could be called Recursive renaming or something similar. Another striking feature was the ability to compare changes side-by-side in a Visual Studio window. This product could really save some time and money on a large production scale.
Session 2: Windows Workflow Foundation
Windows Workflow Foundation (WF for short) is a layer in the .NET 3.0 Framework and got a Visual Studio extension in which you can create/define applications from a diagram view. Similar to the Class Diagram tool in Visual Studio yet think bigger and more objects to drag and drop. Mr. Fustino Slapped together an asp project from which he called the xoml (same as xaml, different extension) file in which he made a litte if/else diagram to show how the extension works. I can honestly say that I didn’t see the benefit of having this ability. Maybe it’s the type of company I work for but most of it seemed quite redundant to me. Each object that you drag into the diagram holds code and from what I saw, the code beneath the if/else function was stored in its own functions which seemed strange. I’ll have to look more into this program to actually understand its benefits. Please note: I’m not bashing the program/functionality just not sure about its usefulness.
Session 3: Expression Web
All I saw of this presentation was “Expression Web Designer” which is the tool marketed as “similar to Dreamweaver” yet more similar to say.. FrontPage yet including ASP.NET support. Not long after the presentation began I got the gist of the program and became rather scared for Russ’ Safety while he was presenting a designer’s tool to a room filled with Software Developers. Though this tool I am sure about: a waste of money. People already had FrontPage, Dreamweaver and many more wysiwyg tools, no need for more. Expression Web Designer claims to be a standards compliant tool.. Like the Microsoft browser? Hm.
Now, one tool in the Expression package seems interesting which is the “Expression Interactive Designer”. I didn’t see it in action but I will install the CTP to my machine tonight and might make a post about how it is later this week. Regardless of the software, Russ Fustino was a great presenter who was fun to listen to and watch. Kudos for that.
Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s iPod will hit the U.S. market on November 14th as announced on the Microsoft.com website. The player will feature a 30GB hard drive, a full color display but annoyingly pre-loaded content such as music, short films and pictures. The music player will be sold for $249.99 a pop and will be available with many expensive addons and accessories. Below is an image of the music player courtesy of Microsoft’s press room.