Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 23rd Dec 2010 19:19 UTC
Windows The rumours about Windows possibly being ported to ARM has left a lot of people bewildered; why would you port Windows NT when Windows CE 6.0 is a perfectly capable operating system? Putting all the pieces together, it's actually quite clear why you would want Windows NT on ARM: servers.
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In addition to the .net ancle already mentioned, "porting" means just recompiling. That may not be trivial for ad hoc hackjobs abundant in microsoft shops, but big hitters (oracle, ms itself, adobe, ibm...) will have their software up and running in no time (most of the time going for verification).

[ ] You have already done that before and know what a tedious and difficult job it can be.

Let me remind you, that Adobe and Sun took years to properly port their plugins to AMD64 which is "just" another platform in your humble opinion. Way more software nowadays still uses handoptimized code and leverages features which are only present on certain architectures making the code very difficult to port. Ask yourself why there is no native version of Skype for AMD64 yet and why the JIT compiler of Chrome and other browsers were available on x86 first.

Porting code to another architecture by just recompiling the code only works if you wrote your code with portability in mind right from the beginning. Unfortunately that's not the case for many popular closed source software applications, especially when the codebase is older than 10 years.

Naturally, FOSS projects usually are way more portable since they were already designed with portability in mind.

And no, Microsoft certainly can't just easily recompile the whole NT codebase, which is already 20 years old, easily for ARM. Hell, ARM is a vast different architecture, it differs much more from x86 than AMD64 even though the latter also isn't just an x86 with doubled data and bus sizes (which isn't even true since all current AMD64-compatible CPUs feature 48bit addressing only).

ARM is for example big endian as compared to Intel's little endian and it's a RISC architecture as compared to the CISC one of x86 CPUs.


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