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Microsoft to kill Windows with 'web-centric' Midori?

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Microsoft is working on a project, codenamed Midori, to create an “internet-centric” operating system to replace Windows.

Technical details about Redmond’s alleged Windows successor emerged yesterday. According to a SD Times report, which cites internal Microsoft documents, a team, led by Eric Rudder, has been developing the Singularity-microkernel-based OS.

Midori is a distributed operating system that appears, in part, to contain elements of Microsoft’s failed 'Cairo' and WinFS projects.

“In order to efficiently distribute applications across nodes, Midori will introduce a higher-level application model that abstracts the details of physical machines and processors. The model will be consistent for both the distributed and local concurrency layers, and it is internally known as Asynchronous Promise Architecture,” reports SD Times.

Midori is designed to run directly on native hardware and be hosted on Microsoft's virtualisation technology, Windows Hyper-V. It’s also a project that underscores Steve Ballmer's obsession with cloud computing and "software plus services".

“The future is about having a platform in the cloud and delivering applications across PCs, phones, TVs, and other devices, at work and in the home,” He told staff in an internal memo last week. “It’s also about driving change in business models through advertising, subscriptions, and online transactions. Software plus services is a huge opportunity for us to deliver new value on the desktop and the server to all of our customers.”

According to the SD Times the “proposed OS would have a non-blocking object-oriented framework API. This would have strong notions of immutability — in the sense of objects that cannot be modified once created — and strive to foster application correctness through deep verifiability by using .NET programming languages.”

Microsoft also looks set to walk away from its existing GUI model, and we’re guessing that will probably happen after Windows 7 (a kernel based on Vista) and possibly Windows 8, which brings the arrival of the new OS easily into the next decade.

However, the company hasn’t yet decided what “user interface abstractions are appropriate when applications cut across boundaries, or how to combine the best qualities of rich client applications and web applications”.

Microsoft continues to downplay the importance of Midori by saying it is just a research project.

Perhaps it’s being mindful enough to hold back any suggestion of a commercial release after shelving its doomed Cairo project, which was later reborn in 2001 as WinFS – an idea described by MS as an object-oriented operating system, built on top of Windows NT. It was originally intended as one of the "three pillars" of Vista before Redmond eventually abandoned the project in 2006.

Ironically, Cairo, which the software multinational first touted way back in 1991 when Google was but a twinkle in the eyes of Larry Page and Sergey Brin, was sidelined as a result of Microsoft's focus on the internet. ®

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