Microsoft Mum After Midori OS Plan Leaked

Microsoft is working on a project to develop a new operating system, code-named "Midori," but the company won't disclose the details at this time. The Midori OS will be a non-Windows solution, unlike Microsoft's "Windows 7" code-named OS currently in development, which will largely use the Vista OS kernel.

An SD Times article on Tuesday provided a description of the Midori project based on leaked "internal Microsoft documents." However, the first indications of the project's existence may have been publicized by Mary-Jo Foley in her All About Microsoft blog.

A Microsoft spokesperson wouldn't comment on the SD Times article, but did confirm that the Midori project exists.

"We can confirm that Midori is one of many incubations projects underway at Microsoft, as such we are not talking about it at this time," the spokesperson stated in an e-mail. "Microsoft is always thinking about and exploring innovative ways for people to use technology."

An incubation project means that the project is "closer to market than most Microsoft Research projects, but not yet close enough to be available in any kind of early preview form," according to Foley in her "Microsoft 2.0" book.

Midori will be designed to avoid some of the dependency problems associated with Microsoft's older software technology. It will be "componentized," "Internet-centric" and based on a world of "connected systems," According to the SD Times article.

Foley says that the Midori project is led by Eric Ruder, Microsoft's senior vice president for technical strategy, whom Foley described as a "Gates heir-apparent." Ruder also oversees Microsoft's Singularity research project, an OS with some similarities to Midori, according to Microsoft's description of it.

For instance, Singularity focuses on a kind of componentization called "software isolated processes," or SIPs, which "provide the strong isolation guarantees of OS processes (isolated object space, separate GCs, separate runtimes) without the overhead of hardware-enforced protection domains," according to an overview at Microsoft Research Web site.

Midori's componentization may be designed to handle the problems of bloat that have come with Windows OS evolution over time. The SD Times article describes Midori's componentization as boosting both security and performance.

"It [Midori] will have strong isolation boundaries and enforced contracts between components, to ensure that servicing one component will not cause others to fail, while keeping overhead minimal."

Midori will also support "distributed concurrency -- or cloud computing -- where applications components exist in data centers," according to the SD Times article. The concurrency will be in effect "both for distributed applications and local ones," the article explains.

The concurrency concept sounds a lot like the data-handling capabilities of Microsoft's Live Mesh solution, a cloud-computing solution unveiled in April that promises to enable data connectivity and synchronization across various devices regardless of the location of that data.

The whole cloud computing concept is being heavily promoted by Microsoft, including Chief Architect Ray Ozzie. It's part of Microsoft's software plus services approach, in which software will be either installed at the customer's premises or hosted on external servers and accessed over the Internet.

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is online news editor, Enterprise Group, at 1105 Media Inc.