MinWin A Multi Layer OS ala Linux ?

[UPDATE] July 9th 2010, Virtualization.info just release the info, Hyper-V 3.0 to run on top of Windows 8 MinWin.

It all started like this: “…there’s always been a dirty little secret hiding underneath that iconic field of green grass. From an engineering and security standpoint, the foundation of Windows 2000 and Windows XP is absolutely horrible.”

No kidding, even thought Windows XP is the well-known OS of all time, it is also the most insecure of all time too!

So it all started in 2003, too late for Windows 2003 and Vista but just on time for Windows 2008 and W7. The project was led by Eric Traut who is one of Microsoft’s chief operating system design engineers. He gave a demo at the University of Illinois, where he talked about where the Windows core is going and ended with a sneak peek at the kernel of the next version of Windows (starts at 43′), known by the exciting codename of “Windows 7.” That is almost 3 years ago!

Traut ran a stripped-down version of Windows 7 called “MinWin” that included only the core kernel: for the first time Windows NT has been seen running naked, without even a GUI to dress itself.

It was consuming about 25MB on disk (compare with 14GB for a full Vista install) and 40MB of RAM. Traut admitted that he would “still like to see it get smaller.”

You can go that path without fundamentally re-thinking the OS kernel and all those DLLs, especially the core ones such KERNEL32.DLL, USER32.DLL, and GDI32.DLL, are linked up. For instance ADVAPI32.DLL, which is responsible for both managing the services on the local machine as well as domain interaction, two unrelated things.

Here comes the idea of layers Having different layers each one depending on the layers beneath except for the first layer obviously.
This smells like not teen spirit but Linux’s RunLevels
Is Microsoft moving away NT technology, a monolithic OS, and entering (embracing!?) *NIX world with real multi user capabilities!?

Now with the battle of hypervizors, even though Windows 2008 R2 Core is 14x smaller than the full deployment, it is still 1GB too large! For instance, ESXi 4.0 is 65MB (w/o VMware Tools, VC client, …).

Sources: Arstechnica.com, Arstechnica.com, Brianmadden.com

About PiroNet

Didier Pironet is an independent blogger and freelancer with +15 years of IT industry experience. Didier is also a former VMware inc. employee where he specialised in Datacenter and Cloud Infrastructure products as well as Infrastructure, Operations and IT Business Management products. Didier is passionate about technologies and he is found to be a creative and a visionary thinker, expressing with passion and excitement, hopefully inspiring and enrolling people to innovation and change.
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