Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

Summary: It looks like Microsoft is continuing to incubate its stealth Midori operating system project. On September 18, a thinly-veiled Midori reference appeared on a blog of one of its team members who noted that the OS incubation project on which he works is actively hiring.

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It's been eerily quiet on the Microsoft Midori front -- at least since March of this year when Jonathan Shapiro quit the stealth Microsoft operating system project and left the company.

Shapiro hasn't been willing/able to comment on why he left. And Microsoft execs have continued to refuse to acknowledge much about Midori other than yes, there was a codename for an operating system incubation project by that name.

I've gotten more than a few reader queries about Midori. Did Microsoft quietly kill the effort? If not, what's the latest about it?

On September 18, a thinly-veiled Midori reference appeared on a blog of one of its team members, Joe Duffy (who identifies himself as "principal architect on an OS incubation project at Microsoft"). Entitled "We are hiring," Duffy's post begins:

"I have several positions open on my team here at Microsoft.

"My team's responsibility spans multiple aspects of a new operating system’s programming model. The three main areas are concurrency, languages, and frameworks. When I say concurrency, I mean things like asynchrony and message passing, data and task parallelism, distributed parallelism, runtime scheduling and resource management, and heterogeneity and GPGPU. When I say languages, I mean type systems, mostly-functional programming, verified safe concurrency, and both front- and back-end compilation. And when I say frameworks, I mean virtually anything you could imagine wanting out of a platform framework: all things XML, data interoperability (database, web services, etc.), collections, transactions, multimaster synchronization, and even low level things, like regex, numerics, and globalization."

I realize there is no mention in Duffy's post of Midori, or even Singularity, the Microsoft Research operating system project (which was the original inspiration and foundation for Midori). But past leaks about Midori have indicated that the operating system is focused on bringing concurrency, distributed computing and parallelism to the fore.

(Duffy, by the way, was Lead Developer and Architect for Parallel Extensions to .NET. and author of the book Concurrent Programming on Windows.)

There are no new hints about how close Midori is to debut or any new insights as to how Microsoft is planning to position it if and when it does go public. But at least it seems Midori hasn't fallen prey to the cost-cutting ax, at least for now....

(Thanks to reader Vincent-Philippe Lauzon for the pointer to Duffy's post.)

Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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47 comments
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  • Yes but.....

    if/when it starts to threaten one or more of MS's existing business units, will it survive? And I cannot see anything really worthwhile in MS's future that will not threaten something very entrenched. Haven't we been there before?
    Economister
    • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

      @Economister
      Yawn!
      Ram U
      • I guess your post reflects...

        @Rama.NET

        you intellectual capacity. Well done.
        Economister
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @Rama.NET I believe Rudy de Haas (Murphy) has room in his museum at the moment - why not apply?

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        atrok
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

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      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

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      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        It;s been eerily tranquil about the Microsoft Midori front ??? at least since March of this year when Jonathan Shapiro quit the stealth Microsoft operating system project and left the company.Shapiro hasn;t been willing/able to comment on why he left.<a href="http://googleadsenseapproval.com">Make Money With Your Blog</a>
        mitalidevar123
    • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

      @Economister

      MS has the best OS, best products, best research, best programmers, best systems... Your alternatives are garage software, development by an advertising company, bad makeover jobs on Unix or the little OS that couldn't - Linux.

      It may be a shock economister, but the world's moved on and some time ago as well.

      I believe Rudy de Haas (Murphy) has room in his museum at the moment - why not apply?
      tonymcs@...
      • Best is very subjective......

        @tonymcs@...
        The Chinese have by far the most people followed by India so are they the BEST people? As for the Best products well Zune is the best? How so? What about their smartphone or smartphone OS? Have you seen Apple's profits of late? Or it's company value?

        Pagan jim
        James Quinn
      • I guess that is why their stock....

        @tonymcs@...

        is doing so well. Thanks for pointing that out to me.
        Economister
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @Pagan Jim

        "@tonymcs@...
        The Chinese have by far the most people followed by India so are they the BEST people? As for the Best products well Zune is the best? How so? What about their smartphone or smartphone OS? Have you seen Apple's profits of late? Or it's company value? "

        Nowhere was it said that most == best, so I'm not sure where your comment on China and India comes from.

        Yes, the Zune is better than the iPod in many ways in my opinion, and I have owned both but gave up on iTunes and went with a Zune pass which is a better deal and a better software experience hands down. Again, my opinion, but you asked :-)

        Microsoft doesn't make a smartphone, just the OS, so they don't control the hardware aspect.

        As for Apple's profits and company valuation, how is that relevant? Yes, Apple has made a lot of money for their shareholders, no one can argue that, and yes, they are now the 2nd biggest tech company in the world, but they are also being sued on all fronts for various patent violations of products that got them there. As for their CEO, he's a different story as I simply despise the man for his unrelentless arrogance and disregard for anyone who doesn't fall in love with his offerings. There are many public examples of this as of late.

        Again, it's all just my opinions and I could be wrong (yes, I stole that from Dennis Miller!) :-)

        Pat
        omdguy
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @tonymcs@...

        I believe you need to take a step back look at the larger picture.

        MS sweet spot isn't related to kernel development. Users don't care about the kernel of their OS anyway, it is completely invisible, unless it breaks. The do care users about user experience. MS needs to build (and sell) their graphical shell that is the user experience on top of Linux. MS can cut development and maintenance costs. MS could also better succeed in an extremely important area where they are being destroyed, mobile and embedded systems. Linux, and Apple's iOS are ruling the mobile and embedded markets. Sony, Cisco..etc are using Linux in almost everything going forward. Intel has really pushed Linux out there pretty hard as well (Moblin).

        At the fortune 150 company that I work at, we are deploying Linux for safety critical projects, in places where we wouldn't dream of putting MS. Why? Cost. Cost of acquisition, deployment, maintenance, diagnostics, ...etc. At our company we will deploy 100K of embedded Linux systems over the next 6-8 years for one project.

        On the systems manager side for servers and desktops, Linux systems can be patched on the fly, no reboot needed, even the kernel (read about ksplice).

        That garage O/S, is everywhere, you may have just missed it. Blu-ray, phones, TVs, cars, ..etc. :)

        Enjoy.
        sys_engineer
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @tonymcs@...
        Then what's Vista?
        ZackCDLVI
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @Economister - I take it that your pen-name refers more to the size of your intellect than your grasp of basic economics.

        What has a company's stock price got to do with it's operational success and effectiveness?

        A company's stock price is largely controlled by the whims of a bunch of 20-somethings who trade stocks for a living. These traders barter stocks based more on rumor than anything else.

        If you would care to do some basic research you'd note that Apple has indeed done well, but is some way off besting Microsoft:

        Last year, Apple made $12.24Bn on sales of $57Bn while Microsoft made $18.76Bn on sales of $62.48Bn. Apple will have to work hard to reap higher profits because they primarily make money on hardware sales which have a high COGS vs. Microsoft's primarily software and services businesses. And let's not forget that iPhone sales are slowing, Mac desktop sales are slowing and while iPod is doing well, the competition is only just arriving so they won't have the pool to themselves any more. Interesting times are ahead.

        When it comes to which company would you bet your money on: Would you bet your money on a well diversified company with fingers in a HUGE number of pies to help it weather even downturns in several markets? Or would you bet all your cash on a vendor of 4-5 niche products and a somewhat narcissistic and abrasive leader without whom the company would largely collapse and who's already fallen seriously ill several times in the last couple of years? Not wishing illness - or worse - on ANYONE, but one has to consider the facts.
        De-Void
      • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

        @tonymcs@... These are the comparisons that have been going on for nearly 2 years now (since the Diamond came out). iPhone 4 isn't out yet so it isn't relevant. Besides, while it might be a tiny sliver thinner, it still takes up far more room in the pocket. Try fitting an 8.5X11 piece of paper in your pocket without folding it. You can't do it even though the paper is thin, thin, thin!<br><br>I'm LAUGHING at the stupidity of an iPhone owner calling anything else a brick considering that the iPhone isn't a small phone either. Like I said, it's all relative and you would have realized that if your vision weren't so impaired from Apple's RDF. iPhone is a brick. Deal with it. <a href="http://www.arabaoyunlarimiz.gen.tr/"><b>araba oyunu</b></a> <a href="http://www.kraloyun.gen.tr/yeni-oyunlar/">yeni oyunlar</a> <a href="http://www.oyunbee.com/">oyunlar</a> <a href="http://www.kraloyunu.net/">kral oyun</a>
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    • The Customers Want It

      @Economister MSFT's existing business units are moving into the cloud. The server OS of the future will be managing a massively parallel, physically distributed 'thing' in which instructions and data are flying around the world at light speeds to take advantage of momentary resource availabilities. Midori sounds like it is aimed right at that problem. It is therefore critical to the existing business units. Microsoft is flailing and failing at the device level as mobile "things" of various sorts eat into the 'business desktop' market. But the enterprise server market is still open to them, and something they will either keep or die trying.

      What tends to kill successful tech companies is that their customers tie them in knots with short-term demands for new features and extensions to existing capabilities. The entire sales and marketing organization becomes a bullhorn for these demands, and in most places is able to keep the R&D budget aimed squarely at what the existing customers want. Meanwhile, the "new paradigm" (whatever it is) -- which the engineers and the visionaries see coming and are warning about -- gets short shrift because the big customers aren't asking for it. But they are asking for something else, something they need now, or next year.

      Thus does MSFT watch helplessly as Google runs off with the smartphone market. Verizon's wireless side is not a big Microsoft customer. The Microsoft salesforce isn't clamoring for things that wireless carriers want. The salesforce promises revenue -- next quarter -- if R&D will just perform these six minor tweaks to Windows Server 2011.

      Midori is something the product marketing people can run by the big customers and hear, "Yeah, we're going to need that, and we'll buy a bunch of it." So that stays funded. Windows Phone 7, on the other hand, stays in the budget by the skin of its teeth, and only because the stock analysts keep asking where it is.

      This is the same process that killed all the non-IBM mainframers, all the minicomputer companies, Word Perfect, Lotus, and so many others. Their own customers kill them, by demanding incremental progress that they need now.
      Robert Hahn
    • Nothing will be built to compete against Windows

      @Economister
      I can't see Microsoft building a rival to Windows. If anything project Midori is an incubation project for future editions of Windows, where the best features will be integrated into Windows.
      General C#
    • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

      @Economister - "Midori" isn't a replacement for Windows - it's a runtime environment in which "Midori" applications can run. Since "Midori" applications are compiled with compilers that can guarantee that code doesn't interact directly with memory outside its own process and that it doesn't contain many of issues that affect concurrent code, it can be run in independent sandboxes interacting with other "objects" and "services" via in-memory and network-based message passing.

      You should do your homework before making yourself look any less informed than you already do. You can even go download the source and all design docs for Singularity (predecessor to "Midori") if you want:
      http://singularity.codeplex.com/

      But we all know you won't in case it de-fuses your ABM ignorance.
      De-Void
    • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

      @Economister

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    • RE: Microsoft's Midori operating system is still alive (and seemingly well)

      There are no new hints about how close Midori is to debut or any new insights as to how Microsoft is planning to position it if and when it does go public. But at least it seems Midori hasn???t fallen prey to the cost-cutting ax, at least for now
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