Microsoft 'Midori' mention makes it into new research presentation

Summary:It's been a while since I've found any new information about Microsoft's Midori operating system skunkworks project. But recently, a new Midori nugget surfaced.

As Microsoft codename watchers know, one of the codenames the Softies have tried their best to keep under wraps is "Midori." But last month, one Microsoft researcher slipped an interesting Midori reference into a presentation that makes it seem that Midori is still alive and well.

First, a quick codename refresher: Midori is a new operating system being developed by a team inside Microsoft that isn’t based on the current Windows kernel. Headed by Senior Vice President of Technical Strategy Eric Rudder, Midori is/was to be a distributed, concurrent operating system, according to various tips. Currently, the product and associated deliverables (a related programming language/framework, etc.) are still in technical incubation, I believe.

Another couple of Microsoft codenames that figure into this picture include Drawbridge and Singularity. “Drawbridge” is a Microsoft Research project developed by some of the same folks who helped create the Singularity microkernel operating system inside Microsoft Research. Drawbridge is a new adaptation of the “library OS” concept. It is a form of virtualization that seeks to replace the need for a virtual machine  to run software across disparate platforms. (Thanks to Channel 9's Charles Torre for the concise explanation.)

During a March 9 presentation, Galen Hunt, principal researcher in Microsoft Research's operating-system group, made a brief presentation on Drawbridge (as noted by "felix9" over in the MIcrosoft Channel 9 Coffeehouse chatroom).

We know from previous published articles that Microsoft has managed to test Drawbridge on Windows 7, Windows Server 2008 R2, Windows 7 MinWin, a pre-release version of Windows 8. But now we know that the researchers on Drawbridge also have managed to host it on top of the Xbox platform, Windows Compact Embedded, Barrelfish (another Microsoft Research operating system project) and ... Midori.

Here's the rather grainy slide from a video of Hunt's presentation which includes a reference to Midori:

Hunt said during his presentation that the Drawbridge team has done different library OS implementations across different hosts, and some of these "look very much like Windows as a host and some don't."

As I often note when writing about Microsoft Research projects and incubations, there is no guarantee that any of the technologies discussed and demonstrated here are going to become commercial Microsoft products or parts of products. However, I disagree with some Softies and Microsoft watchers who say that delving into these kinds of Microsoft technologies is nothing but an exercise in Kremlinology. Increasingly, many of these kinds of projects inside the Soft end up influencing heavily technologies that will ship from the company in the next five- to ten years.

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

About

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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