Microsoft has made a Research Development Kit (RDK) available for their 'concept OS,' dubbed Singularity. The new OS was written almost entirely in C#, giving it the benefits of managed code, including the ability to easily avoid buffer overruns, a major attack vector for viruses and worms.
The new OS is currently little more than a kernel, lacking any type of user interface, but has left some observers wondering if Microsoft plans to abandon the Windows NT code base, the basis of their server operating systems for over a decade.
Microsoft's overview begins with a discussion of how they decided to create the operating system, saying...
Singularity is a research project in Microsoft Research that started with the question: what would a software platform look like if it was designed from scratch with the primary goal of dependability? Singularity is working to answer this question by building on advances in programming languages and tools to develop a new system architecture and operating system, with the aim of producing a more robust and dependable software platform.
There is at least one other project aimed at creating an OS out of C#, a high level programming language not normally used to create operating systems. SharpOS, the non-Microsoft project, released version 0.0.1 on the first day of 2008.
Singularity certainly looks like a step in the right direction as a secure, dependable operating system. Hackers will still try to find ways to compromise the operating system, but curing buffer overruns would put an end to one attack vector entirely. It is refreshing that people are working on an OS that is not based on 1960s technology and programming language, but the question is, will this concept OS make it out of the lab and onto the road?