Microsoft Midori – Tomorrow’s Operating System

In light of Microsoft’s new operating system, codenamed “Windows 7”, a different project is coming into play in Redmond, this project called “Midori”. Microsoft’s Midori is an operating system project which could, one day, become the successor to Windows. Midori is a branch off the Singularity project which aims to create a better cloud computing platform in which your programs, files, and settings would be blurred between your local disks and a cloud computing system. The outcome? You will likely be able to run Midori locally or sync it through the cloud to multiple systems. The project is an “incubation” stage, so it’s nowhere near ready for mainstream use. But, can you imagine a time where there’s not Windows?

“That sounds possible—I’ve heard rumors to the effect that he [Rudder] had an OS project in place,” said Rob Helm, director of research at Directions on Microsoft. He noted that it is quite possible that the project is just exploratory, but conceivably a step above what Microsoft Research does.

One of Microsoft’s goals is to provide options for Midori applications to co-exist with and interoperate with existing Windows applications, as well as to provide a migration path.

Building Midori from the ground up to be connected underscores how much computing has changed since Microsoft’s engineers first designed Windows; there was no Internet as we understand it today, the PC was the user’s sole device and concurrency was a research topic.

Today, users move across multiple devices, consume and share resources remotely, and the applications that they use are a composite of local and remote components and services. To that end, Midori will focus on concurrency, both for distributed applications and local ones.

According to the documentation, Midori will be built with an asynchronous-only architecture that is built for task concurrency and parallel use of local and distributed resources, with a distributed component-based and data-driven application model, and dynamic management of power and other resources.

I personally don’t use any of Microsoft’s web based Windows Live applications, except for Live Messenger, because I don’t think they’re any good. I would hope that if this project ever does become a reality, our friends in Redmond would not base this off of the current Windows Live platform. Instead, use something similar to Zoho office or the Google Apps. I’m not closed to using Microsoft’s services, but they should do something that puts them above the host of web apps that are already on the market to attract people to Midori.
Another thing that remains to be seen is the cost. How will consumers be charged for Midori? I doubt Midori will be free, despite the open-source revolution. Perhaps Midori will be paid for on a subscription basis, much like MobileMe. Or, maybe Microsoft will build on their current marketing scheme and go with approximately 8 million versions. These questions remain to be answered, and may never be answered. It all depends on the progress of the project and the practical applications of it.

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