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Microsoft working on "post-Windows" OS

By Matthew Sparkes

Posted on 4 Aug 2008 at 13:07

Microsoft is working on a web-based operating system called Midori, as it looks to life beyond Windows.

Midori is expected to be a cloud-computing service, and so not as dependent on hardware as current generations of Windows.

The operating system is also expected to run with a virtualisation layer between the hardware and the OS, and is expected to be a commercial offshoot of the Singularity research project which Microsoft has been working on since 2003. Previously the company had denied that the project was intended for commercial release.

"Singularity is not the next Windows," said Microsoft's senior vice president of research, Rich Rashid, earlier this year when details of Singularity emerged.

Microsoft is keeping tight-lipped about specific features, although SDTimes claims to have seen internal Microsoft documents that detail possible directions for the OS.

The leaked documents claim that Midori will run directly on x86, x64 and ARM hardware, and that applications will be developed to co-exist and interact with existing Windows apps.

Microsoft is said to be planning several ways to ease the changeover from Windows to Midori, all of which will retain compatibility with existing devices and applications. One way would involve having Midori run under Windows as a subsystem, with the OS acting as a device driver. Another approach involves running Windows alongside Midori, and the last alternative would be a standalone Midori implementation that could run traditional Windows applications.

Microsoft is refusing to comment on the new OS. "Midori is one of many incubation projects underway at Microsoft. It's simply a matter of being too early in the incubation to talk about it," replied the company to questions from the BBC.

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