Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 9th Sep 2010 13:00 UTC
Hardware, Embedded Systems So, we have Intel and AMD. These guys are doing pretty well in laptops, servers, and of course desktops, but when it comes to mobile devices, they've so far been unable to adapt the x86 architecture to the stricter requirements that come with those devices. ARM, on the other hand, pretty much owns this market at this point. And you know what? It's time for Intel and AMD to get worried - really worried. ARM has just announced its Cortex-A15 MPCore chips - which will reach 2.5Ghz in quad-core configurations.
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Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by brewmastre on Thu 9th Sep 2010 13:59 UTC
brewmastre
Member since:
2006-08-01

This to me just raises the question: what will Microsoft do? Sure, they have had a good run on the desktop and even on servers but that was all during the x86 days. True MS does have Mobile/CE, but will they be able to scale that up to a server platform? All I know is that MS will need to come up with a solid plan in order to compete in the very near future.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by lucas_maximus on Thu 9th Sep 2010 14:07 in reply to "Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
lucas_maximus Member since:
2009-08-18

Considering there has been versions of Windows NT running on Alpha and even PowerPC, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 (and I think even Server 2008 R1) running on Itanium ... I don't think it is a huge problem for them to port windows to another platform if it becomes popular.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by jabjoe on Thu 9th Sep 2010 15:34 in reply to "RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
jabjoe Member since:
2009-05-06

Great, Windows with no software. The thing the Linux software world has that the Windows software does not is the source. Any single distribution can port all the software they want to. In Windows world each company will do a cost analysis to see if it's worth doing. This causes a chicken and egg problem, why port to a platform (ARM/Windows) with no users, why buy into a platform with no software. Etc etc etc. In Linux world, the repository is just compiled, fixing anything that comes up on the new compile target. Windows is wedded to x86 until death do they depart, unless .NET hype is to believed, and lets not beat about the push, .NET is just JAVA all over again. Best case for them, all Windows apps are byte coded, but the platform they will be competing against will have native apps....

Reply Parent Score: 4

PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

2k8 R2 also runs on itanium.

Reply Parent Score: 3

TemporalBeing Member since:
2007-08-22

WinCE supports ARM too, so they are familiar with the architecture. It wouldn't be a big leap for them given the design of WinNT and its HAL layer. However, it would screw them out of all the software that runs on Windows, so as another pointed out there's no incentive as there is no software base to keep them in the lead, especially when Linux provides a huge software base on every processor it runs on, which is well over 100 different processor (e.g. x86, amd64, arm) and processor variations (e.g. i386, i486, ppro, p4).

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by renox on Thu 9th Sep 2010 19:49 in reply to "RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
renox Member since:
2005-07-06

Considering there has been versions of Windows NT running on Alpha and even PowerPC, Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 (and I think even Server 2008 R1) running on Itanium ... I don't think it is a huge problem for them to port windows to another platform if it becomes popular.


Sure, but will third parties port their software over Windows/anything else than x86 ?
They didn't for the Alpha, so I don't see why they would do it for the ARM.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by boulabiar on Thu 9th Sep 2010 14:08 in reply to "Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
boulabiar Member since:
2009-04-18

Linux (OK, and android...) will have some free time to show something before MS catches up!

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by Verunks on Thu 9th Sep 2010 14:09 in reply to "Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
Verunks Member since:
2007-04-02

afaik the windows nt kernel is very portable and they probably already ported it to arm, the real problem is not the os itself, but all applications would need to be ported too

Reply Parent Score: 9

Thom_Holwerda Member since:
2005-06-29

afaik the windows nt kernel is very portable and they probably already ported it to arm, the real problem is not the os itself, but all applications would need to be ported too


Virtualisation. If ARM really takes off that way, MS will not face too many problems. They've prepared for this, trust me.

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[2]: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by lemur2 on Fri 10th Sep 2010 01:27 in reply to "RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

afaik the windows nt kernel is very portable and they probably already ported it to arm, the real problem is not the os itself, but all applications would need to be ported too


In the case of Windows, not only the applications, but also the drivers. That is the ultra-critical bit.

Linux has source code for its drivers, as does Mac OSX et al.

Windows doesn't. Microsoft leaves it up to the equipment OEMs to write the drivers for Windows, an as a consequence, Microsoft doesn't own the source code.

Not only is there a problem in getting a whole raft of other companies to port applications to Windows on ARM, it is further compounded by having to get a whole raft of equipment makers to port drivers to Windows on ARM.

In addition consider that printer, scanner, your phone and your camera ... all of which you now use with Windows ... they all came with drivers on disks (probably CDs) ... x86 drivers, x86 binary-only drivers. They won't work with any new Windows on ARM computer that you buy.

In addition, all of the Windows applications that you have already bought (some of them very expensive) ... they too have been bought as x86 binaries. You won't be able to mover them to your new Windows on ARM machine, you will have to buy them over again.

Oh oh.

Edited 2010-09-10 01:31 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by vaette on Thu 9th Sep 2010 14:24 in reply to "Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
vaette Member since:
2008-08-09

Worst case if they really can't make any other legacy-windows-strategy work: They have prepared the .NET ecosystem as a fallback, throw Singularity or something similar onto ARM and just make .NET the new primary development model. Sure that loses them the whole legacy audience, but they would have a compelling offering from the get-go anyway.

More likely, if ARM really takes over completely, just port NT (it is perfectly portable), JIT x86 into ARM code. Nothing performance-intensive would work, but most critical legacy stuff is already old and shouldn't require too much performance.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[2]: Microsoft Windows + ARM?
by werfu on Thu 9th Sep 2010 14:39 in reply to "RE: Microsoft Windows + ARM?"
werfu Member since:
2005-09-15

Think about it... what mainly run on Windows Server? Microsoft will be keen to compile IIS, .Net and SQL Server for the ARM platform. All Microsoft software will receive the ARM version pretty soon. If ARM is successful, expect other major player like IBM and Oracle to create ARM version of their Windows program too. I can't just think about any possible obstacle for Windows onto ARM in the server market. Its already standardized and much more tight than the desktop market.

About a x86 JIT translator... It can be done, but I'm not sure how much it will be efficient. Today's code compilers produce is highly optimized for the current generation processors execution pipeline.

Reply Parent Score: 2