Microsoft codename 'Redhawk' lives... in Windows 8

Summary:I've refrained from posting much on the Windows 8 under-the-hood features that individuals with access to recently leaked Windows 8 builds have been unlocking as of late. But I can't hold back from mentioning "Redhawk," which seems to be part of the larger Windows 8 package.

I've refrained from posting much on the Windows 8 under-the-hood features that individuals with access to recently leaked Windows 8 builds have been unlocking as of late.

But I couldn't hold back from mentioning one of the recently discovered tidbits, as it hearkens back to a Microsoft codename about which I wrote years ago.

Way back in 2008 -- a year before Windows 7 was released to manufacturing -- I blogged about 'Redhawk.' My tipsters at the time said Redhawk was focused on the creation of a new managed-code execution environment that would be more lightweight and more appealing to developers who have been put off by the perceived overhead of the current Common Language Runtime (CLR) at the heart of the .Net Framework.

Back then, I heard that some of the Redhawk deliverables (specifically around the driver model) potentially could be incorporated into Windows 8. My tipsters said that Microsoft Tech Fellow Patrick Dussud was leading the Redhawk charge -- something about which Dussud declined to comment. (Dussud's bio lists him as the Chief Architect of the .Net Framework team and a member of the Windows Core Architecture team.) Dussud told me when I interviewed him that he was very focused on scalability and multicore support as part of his next big project.

It seems from folks who have unlocked the Milestone 1 (M1) of Windows 8 that leaked to the Web earlier this month that Redhawk somehow plays into Windows 8. There are comments on MyDigitalLife and Microsoft's Channel 9 site (thanks to Charon at for the pointer to Channel 9) discussing Redhawk and speculating as to what it might bring to the next version of Windows. The commentors note that "Rh" and "Rhp" (Redhawk Project?) that refer back to a System Language Runtime (SLR) in the build.

It's interesting to me that we have heard nothing (so far) about a .Net 5. The M1 leaks don't include mention of it; instead they mention a .Net 4.0.30215 build. Maybe we'll hear more about the next .Net Framework later this summer -- or maybe even in May at TechEd -- when Microsoft might start talking publicly about Visual Studio 2012.

I'm also wondering what the inclusion of Redhawk in Windows 8/.Net Next means, if anything, in terms of "Midori." When I initially received tips on Redhawk, my sources said Redhawk deliverables might also include a new back-end compiler that somehow paved the way for Midori, an incubation project inside Microsoft headed by Senior Vice President of Technical Strategy Eric Rudder, that is/was slated to be a distributed, concurrent operating system. There's been no word on Midori and its current status for a while now....

Topics: Enterprise Software, Microsoft, Windows


Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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