Erik Ableson 2 minute read
May 23, 2008

Re: thebetaguy » Microsoft Windows 7 Exclusive

thebetaguy » Microsoft Windows 7 Exclusive: "Windows 7 takes a different approach to the componentization and backwards compatibility issues; in short, it doesn't think about them at all. Windows 7 will be a from-the-ground-up packaging of the Windows codebase; partially source, but not binary compatible with previous versions of Windows. Making the break from backwards compatibility is a dangerous proposal but a dream for software developers. Performance of native applications can be increased, distribution sizes can be cut down, functionality can be added without the worry of breaking old applications, and the overall end-user experience can be significantly improved.

However, Windows' lure has always been that applications from older versions of Windows are almost guaranteed to work post-upgrade; this is in contrast to older UNIX solutions where upgrading the system could render old applications useless without access to the source code. On an operating system which uses a binary distribution model, this is an unreasonable expectation. However, there is one company which made a success out of breaking backwards compatibility, using a method which Microsoft are seeking to emulate with the launch of Windows 7. The company in question is Apple."

(Via The Beta Guy.)

An interesting article on the Microsoft approach to backwards compatibility in Windows 7. By following in the footsteps of Apple's Classic pseudo virtual machine approach they should be able to (finally) jettison a huge amount of legacy Win32 baggage. This of course makes we wonder if we couldn't just pull out this virtual machine abstraction layer and build the perfect Win32 "Just EnoughOS" for virtualization platforms like ESX.