Might Microsoft's Midori be 'Cairo' revisited?

Might Microsoft's Midori be 'Cairo' revisited?

Summary: My post a week ago about Microsoft's post-Windows operating system, code-named "Midori," elicited some interesting responses -- and a few potential new clues.


My post  about Microsoft's post-Windows operating system, code-named "Midori," elicited some interesting responses -- and a few potential new clues over the past week.

Might Microsoft's Midori be 'Cairo' revisited?To those of you who sent me notes speculating/wondering whether Microsoft's Midori might be a derivative of the Midori Linux effort and/or the Midori lightweight Web browser project, I'll reiterate that I don't believe these other Midori projects have anything to do with Microsoft's Midori.

Microsoft's Midori -- from what little I've been able to glean about it -- is a next-generation Microsoft operating system that is currently in "incubation" -- meaning that it's likely to be launched sooner than a typical Microsoft Research project, but not so soon as to obviate the need for Windows 7 and Windows 8. In other words, we're looking at a new non-Windows operating system to debut some time before CEO Steve Ballmer retires (a date Ballmer has said is nine or so years away), but not before late 2009/early 2010 (the target date for Windows 7).

As I noted last week, my sources have said that Midori has something to do with "Singularity," the Microsoft Research effort to develop a non-Windows-based operating system from scratch. Midori is the realization that Windows as it exists today isn't the be-all/end-all. Microsoft isn't going to continue to deliver updates to its flagship product without thinking ahead as to what might come next.

(For another view on Microsoft's OS plans, see Ed Bott's "Why you'll have a long wait for Microsoft's next OS."

Since I posted my initial blog entry on Midori, I've received a few additional (and unconfirmed) tips. One that was especially intriguing: Midori is another attempt by Microsoft to deliver on "Cairo," Microsoft's distributed, object-oriented operating system that never saw the light of day.

Think this through, the tipster told me. Eric Rudder, the head of the Midori project, is a "Bill Guy," not a "Steve" Guy. If you look at Gates' pet projects that were left unrequited but are still much loved by Microsoft's Chairman, Cairo has to be high-up on that list.  (Remember Gates' "information at your fingertips" vision? That's what Cairo -- and more recently, the ill-fated WinFS, were all about.) Who better than Rudder to attempt to realize Gates' vision of a truly object-oriented, distributed operating system, the tipster argued?

Will Cairo make a comeback? Not surprisingly, Microsoft isn't commenting. But whether Midori is or isn't Cairo minus the Egyptian codename, it is key to Microsoft's future.

As Apple and other operating-system developers have learned over the years, you can only patch a war-horse for so long. At some point, you need to start fresh. That said, phasing out support for a 1-billion-Windows-PC-strong user base is not a project Microsoft will take lightly. As company watchers know -- despite its well-documented compatibility challenges with Windows XP and Windows Vista -- Microsoft isn't a company that underestimates the importance of app compat.

Microsoft has to be thinking long-term about what kind of operating system will supersede Windows.  I, for one, won't be surprised if Midori still ends up looking more like Windows than not.

What's your bet? What will Midori look like?

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows


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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  • If it is object oriented -

    it would work like OS/2, the versions after Microsoft and IBM stopped working together.

    The Workplace Shell was the best environment I've ever worked on.
  • Hail Mary, Full Of FUD

    The Ballmer is with thee...blessed is the FUD of thy womb, blessed is the FUD of our Lord Ballmer amen.
    • You'd better like barbeque

      You might be burning in hell eating spicy chicken wings for that little abomination of a prayer.
      • Holy charcoal, Batman!

        Pat Robertson, James Dobson and Mike Huckabee just issued a fatwa against itanalyst2. Any devout techie who meets him is commanded to use the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch. Either that, or load Office 2007 on his machine, which is even worse.
        The Daleks
        • RE: Holy charcoal, Batman!

          Our group, Pastafarions of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster would have issues with that.
    • Hail Mary, Full Of FUD

      8.9 that was pretty cute!
  • Baseless speculation is fun but useless

    Toward that end I would recommend you look up the meaning of the word "Midori" in Japanese...

    Explains everything. :)
    • and there's Planet Midori

      Better than the Japanese midori is Planet Midori - finally an operating system on the good things in life :) :) :)

      Planet Midori
      About Midori

      An educator and columnist on adventurous sexuality, she's also the author of "The Seductive Art of Japanese Bondage", "Master Han's Daughter" and "Wild Side Sex: The Book of Kink"

      She's known for her humanistic, humorous and warm classes that help people to spice up their sex lives ... </pre>
      • While that might be fun...

        ...it's hardly safe for work. Cough.

        To head off the inevitable, the word "midori" in japanese means "green".

        So there. :)

        A green OS?
  • In other words

    You're talking about Microsoft's version of Plan 9
    Yagotta B. Kidding
  • As long as it isn't Vista's performance issues revisited.

    I build, implement and maintain 1000's of PCs, and many many exchange, IIS, FTP, database, SBS, file servers etc.

    Today I'm picking up a macboook for myself. Not because I'm jumping from XP to OSX but because I have to improve my OSX skills. More and more of my customers have become disillusioned with MS after the whole Vista fiasco. Some were willing to tough it out till SP1 but in the end after SP1 - all have gone back to XP. No "fixes" were ever released - just patches to improve performance - nothing ever "fixed" the crappy performance of Vista - only helped reduce the suckiness.

    I liken Vista to s steaming pile of dog poo. Vista with SP1 - is that steaming pile of dog poo with icing and sprinkles on top. I'm still not tempted by it even with the sprinkles on top.

    The IT groups I build the exchange 2007 servers for are very dissappointed MS never bothered to finish the exchange management console to do with the ease of a mouse click what previous versions of exchange did in the GUI. Now you have to know the special incantations of lengthy commands in a DOS prompt MS calls a "powershell" - so much sexier than calling it the DOS prompt. SP1 for exchange was supposed to put many of those functions back into the GUI - but as MS seems to like to do these days - never complete a project they begin - WINFS is a classic example of that.

    MS seems to be all over the place with ideas - but with very little follow through. I suggest they need some new management and seriously new leadership.
    • boed likens Vista to a "steaming pile of dog poo".

      Your professionalism is obviously quite in question immediately. <br><br>
      But what if I told you Vista is 43% faster than XP? Woudl you be interested? I suppose not. <br><br>
      And please list the "fixes" you are looking for and your "performance" issues. Vista flies for me on a 6 month old 1400.00 PC. <br>
      I don't need to spend 3000.00 or above, as you do with Leopard, to get close to instantaneous responsiveness. <br><br>
      What if i told you Vist has delivered everything the majority of anti-ms people have complained and whined about for seven years? <br>
      Would you listen? I doubt it. It''s a steaming pile of dog poo to you no matter what the reality.
      • LOL - 43% faster

        I wouldn't be interested because I've actually taken the time to do benchmarks - of ALL functions of VISTA - not just one item. And I took the time to do it on identical equipment of various models. I compared P4 2.4 GHZ models, P4 3GHz models, Core 2 2.4 GHZ models - tested 32 bit and 64 bit. And even on NEW equipment with 2 or more gigs of memory for most functions Vista is not a viable solution. I tested file copies - large, small, groups, I tested video editing, application opening and closing, boot ups, shut downs, and yes - I work for two gaming companies so I even tested gaming - can you enlighten us on your in depth testing - how many machines and of what type. Can you explain how you averaged a 43% improvement over the variety of IT functions used on your PC? Or are you comparing a single function comaparing your new Core 2 system with 2 gigs and a clean install of Vista to your 5 year old windows machine with 256 meg of memory on Pentium 2 that hasn't been reformatted in 5 years?

        You have one PC - and Vista works great for you - congrats- I support companies of 20,000 employees to small companies with only a few dozen or so PCs. I currently don't support companies of 1 employee who only use notepad - but I'll contact you for advice as soon as that is my cash cow client.

        I guess the people at Intel 80,000 employees who decided Vista wasn't a good solution probably don't know much about technology either - good thing you are hear to clear up that error in judgement.
        • Note: z_xunil only said "what if I told you..."


          [i]"But what if I told you Vista is 43% faster than XP?"[/i]

          So s/he [b]isn't[/b] claiming that Vista is 43% faster at all, and is therefore free to pull this figure out of his/her imagination.
          • Check out

            Vista's various copy and other speeds on Server 2008 vs XPSP2. I didn't pull the 43% out of the blue, it can be easily found. <br><br>
            try the search phrase Vista 43% faster than XP on Server 2008

            And check out how much faster server 2K8 is over 2k3. I think, along with Hyper-V, it will make server 2008 one of MS's fastest selling server OSes, and it will bring Vista with it since it shares the kernel to some degree and Vista has more support for 2k8 than XP.
          • Is everyone supposed to buy Server 2008 for their desktops, then?

            Surely not.

            Microsoft sells Server 2008 as a distinct product to Vista, so it sounds like you and boed are talking about different things. Not least because boed has actually done some analysis while you're just talking in marketing sound-bites.
          • You've got to be kidding Zogg.....

            <i>No "fixes" were ever released - just patches to improve performance - nothing ever "fixed" the crappy performance of Vista - only helped reduce the suckiness.

            I liken Vista to s steaming pile of dog poo. Vista with SP1 - is that steaming pile of dog poo with icing and sprinkles on top. I'm still not tempted by it even with the sprinkles on top.
            That is the mind of an objective analyst in your mind? <br>
            And did you check out his "analysis"? Apache is trending downward. It jumped the shark Zogg. Look at netcraft, since he stands behind it. You'll see IIS is trending upward. It's the new kid on the block of the web server world. That was dominated by Unix for years. Linux was the logical jump from Unix. Apache had a huge running start. For IIS and Windows to break into that "good 'ol boys" club is amazing. You see, it does not involve any "lock in" on the client. It did involve showing perenial Unix gurus that Windows is a hell of lot easier to run and administration is like a dream compared to *X. <br><br>
            As for the marketing "bytes" comment, the link i posted to boed has data from benchmarking. <br>
            If you look around the web, you'll find many non biased reviews of Vista on 2k8. And why shouldn't it be faster on 2k8? It shares basically the same kernel and support for things XP does not. <br><br>
            My point was that Vista can be faster than XP, it depends on what environment you are talking about. <br>
            I could have said DOS was faster than win95, when it came out, on the same hardware, and it surely was, but the move forward with the GUI and multitasking and so much more obviously outweighed that fact. <br><br>
            All i'm saying is that maybe XP is faster than Vista on the same hardware, but like my previous example, what does that mean? The fastest car is the best car? Is that it? Speed is suddenly the overall deciding factor? <br><br>
            of course not. I have personal experience with Unix(10 years programming and performing system admin), Polyforth(helped program much of a derivative from Polyforth for healthcare system), Windows (4.0 thru server 2k8), Novell netware, MUMPs and some Linux based stuff. I feel i have a handle on the big picture when it comes to building a system. I started in the 90s and have moved to basically advising admin and dept mgrs. and working with their IT on major projects. I'm no longer providing just IT grunt work support and i don't have time to give a full analysis on each talkback. I'm not a braggard, but on here it seems whoever is most current on current events and trivial facts, or someone who can blurt out "netcraft" stats and make some aging and no longer valid points about Apache and IIS 7.0 makes them somekind of analyst. <br><br>
            My ONLY point was that indeed Vista is 43% faster than XP when you benchmark then in a server 2008 environment. Is that not a valid observation to make? I think the uptake on server 2008 will be greater than normal for a variety of reasons. (marketing bytes to you).
            hyper-V. Want a rundown of how it works? It's downsides and upsides? Bottom line is it's very robust and even open source bloggers have given it high marks. Teh speed. The benchmarking of server 2k3 vs. 2k8 shouls the latter is significantly faster. That will be a major factor influencing the decision to upgrade. <br>
            A significantly faster network is a huge deal for most folks that I know.
            <br> <br>
          • LMAO@xuniL_Z

            The only "trend" at netcraft was that of GoDaddy switching millions of parked domains to Windows machines. IIS is still a joke web server and Windows is still a joke server period.

            You must have been counting on selling some 2008 servers to pay the bills. Now you see its still a joke so you rant about how "great" it is when it wasn't even the subject of discussion. Maybe when they implement more of the *nix features that they are trending towards it will be a worthwhile server solution. But why bother with that wanna be when you can have the real thing for free.
          • z_xunil, you are *still* talking about Server 2008!

            Boed was talking about [b]Vista[/b] (client), and there is evidence to suggest that [u]these two products are significantly different[/u], Microsoft's claim that they spring from the same code-base notwithstanding:


            So by all means, sing the praises of Server 2008 if you like. But that doesn't make what boed is saying about Vista wrong.

            [i]"That is the mind of an objective analyst in your mind?"[/i]

            S/he's anonymous, you're anonymous, but boed is a newcomer here (AFAIK) and so I afford him/her a basic credibility which s/he is (of course) free to erode. His/her basic message is sufficiently "First Person" that it does at least read like personal experience.

            [i]"And did you check out his "analysis"?"[/i]

            As I recall, boed didn't provide a link to his/her results, but described what s/he had done in this post:


            "I've actually taken the time to do benchmarks - of ALL functions of VISTA - not just one item."

            So s/he is talking about benchmarking, but you are talking about Netcraft (e.g. you say [i]"Look at netcraft, since he stands behind it."[/i]) So now you're [b]two[/b] apples for boed's two oranges!

            [i]"As for the marketing "bytes" comment, the link i posted to boed has data from benchmarking."[/i]

            I distinctly said "marketing sound-[b]bites[/b]": if you're going to claim to quote me then please do so correctly. Failing to do so erodes [i]your[/i] credibility.
          • Storm14 you are so full of it.

            You avoided all facts. The very site you listed that would make me "see the reality" or whatever. Well if you didn't lie and looked at the graphs on your own link, you would see Apache jumped the shark sometime ago and is trending downward. I didn't create that chart, your friends at netcraft did. You will see IIS is trending upward. <br><br>
            your name calling and trashing MS products out of hand shows nothing but your ignorance of technology and a clear bias. Nothing more. <br><br>
            Another thing you seem to be getting backwards is that since 1991, Linux and the various systems using that kernel have been desperately trying to catch up with Windows. That is obvious. Even die hard aBMers come out and admit that now and again. <br>
            Take Samba, for instance. That is just windows reverse engineered, or a large part of it. Jeremy Allison isn't hiding that fact. <br>
            The SMB implementation is from Windows at the very least. <br><br>
            And I hate to tell you this but i've been writing Scripts on windows domains since NT 4.0. Powershell is more than you obviously know, since you are equating it to the Linux CLI. Pfft!! Most Linux loonies like you are trying to say they never have to touch the CLI to run a linux shop. That is from Linux User 123456 (don't know the number exactly). <br><br>
            You Linux Lusers are all the same. Braggadocio is all you have. <br><br>
            Windows and Vista has it all over Linux. That is why one distro came out with "Vixta". It's an attempt by a linux distro to look and feel like Vista, however it is a pathetic failure. <br><br>
            And you know Ubuntu is still not nearly as user friendly and has no where near the driver support as Windows. Nor the game support. <br> <br>
            Keep on trying dude, but so far all you can do is a bit of name calling and saying IIS is trash, even as it's heading to overtake Apache....It's going to put the Ax to Apache and "scalp" it. HA HA HA HA