Windows

Will Windows continue to bloat or can it go on a diet?

Some people are speculating that one of these days, Microsoft will do a radical overhaul of an operating system that has remained based on the same code since the mid 1990s. When it comes down to it, all of the current Microsoft OS offerings are direct descendants of this code, having only gotten more and more bloated along the way. If recent demonstrations and Microsoft sources are to be believed, Windows 7 will not be what the MinWin proponents are hoping for.
Some people are speculating that one of these days, Microsoft will do a radical overhaul of an operating system that has remained based on the same code since the mid 1990s.  When it comes down to it, all the current Microsoft OS offerings are direct descendants of this code, having only gotten more and more bloated along the way. If recent demonstrations and Microsoft sources are to be believed, Windows 7 will not be what the MinWin proponents are hoping for. The Myth of "MinWin" and a Thinner Windows 7 (InfoWorld) Late in 2007, there was talk around the Microsoft camp that the rewritten MinWin kernel would appear in Windows 7, as Microsoft acknowledged that the old kernel code does not have an "unlimited life span." However, with the apparent acceleration of the Windows 7 project, it seems unlikely that a product that Microsoft claims will have the same driver support, graphics, audio, storage subsystems, and full backward compatibility for apps and devices will include a fundamental rewrite of the central kernel code. Stripped-down 'MinWin' Kernel to Be at the Core of Windows 7 and More (ZDNet) Microsoft (Slightly) Lifts Curtains on Windows 7 (InformationWeek) There is no doubting that Microsoft has done a lot to push the computing industry forward. Unfortunately, one thing that has been constant is that with every OS release, the base operating system gets more and more bloated. A big part of this trend has been the major increases in the power of computer hardware, but for normal, everyday business uses, I haven’t seen major increases in application responsiveness in a number of years. Do you think Microsoft will ever slim down Windows or will it go the same way as federal spending, always expanding?
10 comments
Fregeus
Fregeus

I believe that the achille's heal of Microsoft is Microsoft itself. They've had a philosophy since the mid 90's that they can be everything to everyone. I strongly believe that they will not be able to achive MinWin unless they forgo that philosophy and accept that Windows can be an OS and nothing more than that. Only then can the Microsoft Operating system be a lean, mean, operating machine! Unfortunately, it does not seem to want to change anytime soon. Event their other products are bloated to the max for the same reason. I wish there was a version of office standard that would give us just what we need, and have another version of the individual softwares, for the heavy users who need special, more in depth solution. But i'm not holding my breath for it. TCB

Andy J. Moon
Andy J. Moon

It certainly seems to me that an operating system should be able to run much more efficiently than Vista does, even on the latest hardware with 4 GB of RAM. Is MinWin in our future or is it yet another urban legend like the Yeti or the Neiman-Marcus $250 cookie?

jamesdtuttle
jamesdtuttle

Does anybody remember when operating systems (and, gasp, even application programs) were written in assembly language ? I can vividly recall meeting a recent computer science graduate and asking him if enjoyed assembler. He said "What's that ?" There is no optimizing compiler that can produce code that will run as fast or in as little space as hand optimized assembly. And when new computer science grads don't even know what it is, there's no chance the bloat will go away soon.

Tony Hopkinson
Tony Hopkinson

Got to go modular, must get rid something like twenty years worth of cruft and bloat. The only reason that they aren't already dead is their market dominance and they are going to lose more of it when they finally bit the bullet and pull the plug on backwards compatibility. I'm constantly surprised they managed to stretch out the monolithic design this far. It's quite obvious the marketing typs are still firmly in charge, nobody technical enough to manage a light switch would have kept it going this long.

jck
jck

They will have to cut the bloat to stay viable. Various Linux distros are becoming more and more user-friendly, and providing compatibility to Microsoft file formats. If Microsoft were not to at some point revamp and make the OS more efficient, I see Linux OSes (of which some distros still run well on Pentium processors) eventually being able to boast something to the effect of "we not only can handle all your Microsoft documents and other office necessities...but we are free and easy to install. Why pay $200 to use your computer?" Microsoft, much like IBM of the 70s, is now the computer world's tech behemoth. If they don't revamp, I see them beginning to lose mass market share around 2010-2011.

jdclyde
jdclyde

of throwing more hardware to compensate for poor coding can only last while there isn't an easy alternative. And yes, linux is getting closer and closer to that solution. Will MS wake up in time?

jck
jck

Bill Gates in on boards/committees of several companies. I know he owns/owned part of HP, as well as Intel. I agree. Linux is proof that, in order to provide a high-quality graphic computer environment, you don't need dual quad-processing power. Hell...I remember IBM OS/2 Warp. My friend loved it, and had gotten familiar enough with the internals that he actually honed the memory settings to where OS/2 Warp could run a Windows application faster in emulation than Microsoft Windows 3.11 could. MS must revamp or lose everyone eventually. I've got 4 dual boot machines now. And if I can help it, my next new desktop will be totally Linux based.

jdclyde
jdclyde

if MS gets some kind of kickbacks from the hardware vendors in exchange for REQUIRING more and more resources to keep the PC's turning over. I am sure you have seen the LongHorn demos from YEARS ago, showing what it would do? All designed for hardware from several years ago. How is it NOW it requires a top of the line gaming system to do word processing? It can NOT be an accident.

jck
jck

With MS revamping the OS interface code and adding new little gadgets to give users a visual warm fuzzy...and that taking 3-4 years? No. I think a Microsoft kernel revamp would take a minimum of 3 years by itself, and I think they are too concerned with being (stupid?) user-friendly...rather than efficient. They are letting AMD and Intel makeup for their short fallings and band-aided code (a.k.a.- service packs/hotfixes/critical updates). MS better get off their butt, unless they want to be another game machine company by 2020.