There have been reports floating about the internet hinting on Microsoft’s big new projects, and the reports are likely to confuse and perhaps be somewhat shocking to many in the PC and tech industry. These reports state that Microsoft is not only creating a new programming language, but that is programming language is already being put to use, to create an a brand new operating system that isn’t related to Microsoft’s flagship, Windows.
On Friday, a Microsoft researcher by the name of Jim Duffy created a blog post where he gave away some of the details regarding the new programming language. The name of the blogs entry “C# for Systems Programming” goes into detail of a supposed ‘research effort’ that is happening at Microsoft. But, as so often happens with these things, the story doesn’t end there.
Mary Jo Floley, a reporter at ZDNet has said that there is indeed a new Operating system in the works, code named Midori. It’s unsurprising that Microsoft are working on another OS, Windows 8 has been released, and writing a new OS isn’t a quick feat. But the rumor and reports indicate that Midori has been in incubation since at least 2008. And it’s nothing to do with Windows, in fact it’s about as far away from Windows as Microsoft could get.
Midori – No Longer Just Research?
Its purpose was originally a research project, and with a clear mission: create a small, light weight Operating System that didn’t need to cart around much of the Windows Legacy. As I’m sure many of you will be aware of, Windows has to retain a lot of backwards compatibility between previous versions. But this adds to a lot of bloat, and also issues with performance. Gamers are likely more familiar with this than most, with issues in the DirectX and the Windows Sound Stack still being present to this day.
For quite some time, it appeared that Microsoft’s Midori wouldn’t be anything more than a research project, a thought exercise. But now the project (if the reports are accurate) is gathering momentum and getting a life of its own. It’s no longer in the hands of a research group, but now in the hands of the same group which handle Microsoft’s commercial Operating Systems (for example, Windows 8, Windows Server versions).
Foley reported the following: “I heard from two of my contacts that Midori — Microsoft’s non-Windows-based operating-system project — moved into the Unified Operating System group under Executive Vice President Terry Myerson. (Before that, it was an incubation project, without a potential commercialization home inside the company.)”
It’s unlikely that we’ll be hearing anything about this for some time, and don’t expect a box to pop up in your local store selling “Microsoft Midori” anytime soon. As I mentioned earlier, Windows 8 has just been released and Microsoft are focused on its improvement. They’ve just gotten Windows 8.1 out to the masses, and reports indicate they’re going to make larger improvements with the next version of Windows 8 (8.2).
It’s possible that parts of Midori will either be used in the new version of Windows (let’s for the sake of argument call it Windows 9), or Microsoft will create a entire new project line. I suppose it’s not impossible that there’ll be tailored versions of Midori for say gamers and say cloud servers, but that’s just pure speculation. It’d also mean a rather interesting time of it when it comes to compatibility and just how they’d handle it since it wouldn’t have much of the legacy intact which allows the applications to function.
What about C# for Systems Programming, AKA M#?
This new language, which Duffy calls in his blog “C# for Systems Programming” is apparently codenamed M#, or M Sharp. It isn’t an entirely new language, but rather an extension of the standard C#.
The primary purpose of this new language, M# is to increase productivity, and is likely at least somewhat inspired by the emergence of Cloud Computing. Microsoft are keenly pushing Windows Azure as one of their premiere products, and it’s currently performing very well for Microsoft. In various reports it is at least on par with Rackspace and Amazon’s cloud services, and in several is significantly quicker. Microsoft are clearly keen to capitalize on this.
Microsoft certainly aren’t the only folks pushing a new programming language, Golang (sometimes abbreviated to Go) is a programming language released by the search engine giant, Google. It’s proving to be extremely popular right now too. Golang typically is used for programming applications in a cloud environment, and has less overheads which means less memory usage, easier to deploy, less bandwidth usage and so on).
Some may remember the .net programming language, and might wonder if Microsoft would be so quick to kiss it goodbye. It’s worth remembering that the programming language was created before Cloud computing took hold so readily. It’d likely be easier for Microsoft to just create C# for Systems Programming rather than mess around with .net. It goes without say Microsoft aren’t too keen to just let Google have all the fun and swallow up a large portion of the market share with Golang.