posted by Thom Holwerda on Tue 2nd Dec 2008 10:58 UTC

Randall
Thom,

The flaw in your analogy is that you're assuming you can simply interchange kernel functionality like you can swap LPs - except that to do so in NT's case would be to irreversibly change the aggregate "tune" of kernel "collection," with the net result that legacy applications and drivers would start breaking all over the place. So any such changes to the "collection" would have to be extremely subtle so as not fundamentally alter the "beat." Which is exactly how I'm describing the Windows 7 kernel changes: So minor as to not merit more than the point release moniker that the Windows core team assigned it (i.e. Windows NT 6.1).

To expand on your analogy, any attempt to significantly increase the functionality of the NT kernel would require more than a re-shuffling of the "LP" deck - it would necessitate the introduction of new "LPs" (threads) to support this expanded capability while maintaining the existing "collection" mostly intact in order to preserve the original "tune" (i.e. backwards compatibility). Clearly, this has not taken place with Windows 7 but would almost certainly need to take place in any major OS update that continues to support legacy code.

Which brings me to my second point: You're dismissing established precedent. *Every major* update of the NT kernel has introduced additional threads in support of the new functionality provided. So while thread count may not be *conclusive* proof that only minor changes have taken place, it's a heck of a good place to start looking. And in the case of my article, that's exactly what it was: An empirical starting point that helped me quickly establish a set of assumptions (i.e. Windows 7 = Vista "R2") which I then sought to further qualify through additional analysis and testing.

But I can understand your confusion. To the untrained eye, the kernel thread count metric may seem "empty." But to someone who's been working with this platform professionally since you were still finger painting in primary school, it says an awful lot. It tells me this is a minor, as opposed to major, update. It tells me that, barring a complete dismissal of legacy compatibility, no *significant* new functionality has been introduced. And it tells me that any performance optimizations made will deliver, at best, modest gains - a supposition I later proved-out during benchmark testing.

BTW, I hope that LP collection of yours includes at least a few classic American bands. Boston. Aerosmith. Led Zepplin. Maybe a little Tom Petty. Please tell me you're not into "techno" or some kind of Euro-trash fluff - that stuff's a waste of good rack space. :-(

RCK

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