From Windows to the Balcony OS

NYTimes wrote an article discussing the possibility of Microsoft writing a brand new OS that is not Windows-based.

First things first:
1. I am a huge proponent of backwards compatibility because in my agenda, the user comes first.
2. Writing a new, truly modern and revolutionary, OS will take Microsoft 10 years (including its maturitization time). Drivers will be scarce, adoption will be a pain (I know the drill, we’ve lost a green card because of it with BeOS).

Despite these huge undertakings and problems, I don’t think Windows has any life on its knees anymore. It’s a 25-30 years old architecture, patched all over. Vista sucked big time — at least in the UI level. I believe that Microsoft has only two options:

1. Use these new ideas they have in their R&D dpt, for a future modern OS and start writing a new OS as soon as possible, in PARALLEL to upcoming Windows 7. All previous versions of Windows should run through virtualization, first releases should include a Windows 7 virtualization version for free.
2. Forget the OS business. Keep supporting Windows after Windows 7 for 3-4 years, and then keep supporting it for specific PCs only, for a fee, for another 20-30 years (like Sun does for Solaris). Move to different business.

I wrote the other day that Gnome should do the same: re-invent the wheel. Not because Gnome 2.22 is bad, but because when you see the bigger picture, with Linux, X11 and all that shit that fuck us users for 15 years now, I believe there’s a need for a clean slate for Linux’s desktop in general too. I just saw Gnome as the project which will bring that change, rather than Gnome itself needing that change (I hope I am making some sense).

Same way with Windows, it’s just so much craft in there, that’s just painful. Either take the big decision and put billions into the development of a new modern OS, or get out of the OS business and just keep lightly supporting the last released OS.

If Microsoft won’t do that, then their OS division will die a SLOW death. It won’t be pretty for any project manager in that division.

UPDATE: Interesting.

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