Linked by Thom Holwerda on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 13:48 UTC
Windows Earlier today, OSNews ran a story on a presentation held by Microsoft's Eric Traut, the man responsible for the 200 or so kernel and virtualisation engineers working at the company. Eric Traut is also the man who wrote the binary translation engine for in the earlier PowerPC versions of VirtualPC (interestingly, this engine is now used to run XBox 1 [x86] games on the XBox 360 [PowerPC]) - in other words, he knows what he is talking about when it comes to kernel engineering and virtualisation. His presentation was a very interesting thing to watch, and it offered a little bit more insight into Windows 7, the codename for the successor to Windows Vista, planned for 2010.
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RE[2]: Honk! Honk!
by Weeman on Mon 22nd Oct 2007 19:53 UTC in reply to "RE: Honk! Honk!"
Weeman
Member since:
2006-03-20

The NT kernel indeed allows for subsystems (up until Windows 2000, for instance, it had an os/2 subsystem), but would you really want to run the entirety of win32 in an NT subsystem?

Actually, Win32 as it is, IS a subsystem in the very sense of the NT definition. Maybe with the years, they spaghetti coded some stuff, but that's being unwired for quite some time now (been said a whole lot during the Vista development, and Traut said it in his presentation).

One of the prime points in these two articles of mine is that you really do! not! want! to ship/run the current Windows userland, because it is a mess - if you move it to a subsystem, you do just that: you move it to a subsystem. You're just moving it around, you're not sandboxing or isolating it.

If it runs in a tailored VM or in a controlled subsystem (using resource virtualization a la UAC), where's the difference? Latter is easier on the total system.

As said earlier, the best way to implement this IMO would be using a construct like Solaris Zones, where there's hard partitioning inside the kernel already, running full blown operating systems (well, everything right above the kernel) inside the partitions, but using the same kernel and as such able to share resources (mostly just CPU and memory). Using a huge shim, you would be able to keep the old Win32 system running, just like Solaris can run e.g. the whole unmodified Ubuntu userland using a syscall translator in a zone.

VMs really aren't a solution for this, because they're too static and have a huge footprint (memory). To make them more flexible in that regard, the guest operating system would have to be able to deal with fluctuating memory sizes. I don't see that coming anytime soon, at least not automated, because different systems deal with memory pressure in different ways, resulting in a memory scheduling clusterf--k.

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