Windows 8: More early clues start to emerge

Summary:As soon as Microsoft releases the final bits of a new Windows release to manufacturing -- and often before -- many users' thoughts turn to what's next. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing in late July. By late August, Microsoft's Windows client unit already was turning the crank on Windows 8 client and server.

As soon as Microsoft releases the final bits of a new Windows release to manufacturing -- and often before -- many users' thoughts turn to what's next.

Windows 7 and its server complement, Windows Server 2008 R2, were released to manufacturing in late July. By late August, Microsoft's Windows client unit already was turning the crank on Windows 8 client and server.

Anders Vindberg, a Microsoft Technical Fellow in Microsoft's Management and Services division -- a "Big Brains" interview with whom I'll be posting soon -- acknowledged that planning sessions were well underway for Windows 8. And of the 12 working groups created, "eight or nine revolve around management." (Back in April of this year, Microsoft was seeking developers interested in working on some of these management features and enhancements to Distributed File System Replication for Windows 8.)

Stephen Chapman, a tech enthusiast who runs the UX Evangelist site, has been beating the bushes for a few months now for Windows 8 information. He recently unearthed a number of job profiles of folks who have worked on and are working on various elements which may or may not make it into the final Windows 8 release.

Chapman found listings regarding tweaks being made to the Hibernate/Resume/Integration programming interface "that can integrate and utilize the new TLZ file compression engine." (I'm not really sure what TLZ means here. I found a reference to TLZ as a file extension for Tar (.TAR) file compressed with LZMA (.LZMA) file compression "most commonly used on Unix systems.")

He also found a reference to more tweaks that Microsoft is making around kernel patch protection, via PatchGuard. Chapman blogged that, based on what he unearthed, "PatchGuard is apparently going to make life even a little more difficult for hackers (and anti-virus companies as well, perhaps)."

Things are happening on the Windows 8 Server front, too. It seems that the Dublin application server that Microsoft has been readying might find its way into Windows 8 Server, based on another online resume Chapman found. (Microsoft officials said last year that the grand plan for Dublin was to integrate it into Windows Server, but never said when.)

I've seen a few Windows 8 references out there focused around the server version that mention new functionality Microsoft is working on to make Windows 8 Server an even stronger datacenter operating system. That dovetails with Microsoft's slow but steady push toward offering customers not just a public-cloud hosting capability, but also a private one. For Microsoft, a private cloud will revolve around Windows Server. Some of the features/functionality developed by the Windows Azure operating system (Red Dog) team will undoubtedly find their way back into future iterations of Windows Server.

It's still early. Windows 8 is unlikely to debut until 2011, at the earliest, given the way Microsoft is delivering Windows releases these days. I'll be interested as to how Microsoft execs characterize Windows 8, given they decided to deem Windows 7 a "major" release and Windows Server 2008 R2 a "minor" one.

Anyone else hearing any scuttlebutt yet on Windows 8? What are you hoping gets included in the next Windows client and server releases?

Topics: Operating Systems, Hardware, Microsoft, Servers, 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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