The Road to Cairo?
It’s been clear for quite some time that Microsoft would at some point like to offer an OS in managed code (remember WinFX and the managed API PDC statements?). Couple this view with recent “cloud” thoughts, and you can see that one of Microsoft’s future goals is a distributed cloud managed OS. Microsoft Research has been actively rolling down this road with a number of initiatives – Singularity, CHESS and Dryad – have a look at slide 35. Midori may or may not be the product that we see in a few years that provides this managed stack.
One of the problems as I understand it with the Windows OS today is its need to be backwards compatible. One though I had after seeing MinWin was that Microsoft should release MinWin as essentially a VM OS (25Mb), which by default hosts Windows Vista and XP. Singularity/Midori should be the third hosted OS, which would offer the first 100% Microsoft managed OS and move .NET to the next paradigm. Using MinWin avoids the need to pollute Midori, thereby allowing a clean future generation OS to evolve, yet maintaining Microsoft’s backward compatibility for legacy applications.
Midori in summary could possible be Microsoft’s latest attempt to delivery Cairo. However, based on previous attempts to delivery Cairo, at this stage its unclear if we will ever actually see Singularity/Midori outside of the incubator stage. Maybe Microsoft needs to put its research division at the heart of the company to keep innovation alive – we don’t want another WinFS….