MinWin: An Exercise In Futility

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 19, 2009.

  1. You may have heard of “MinWinâ€: this is an ongoing project by Microsoft to
    try to introduce some modularity into the lower layers of the Windows
    kernel. A good overview is here
    <http://arstechnica.com/microsoft/news/2009/11/inside-minwin-the-windows-7-kernel-slims-down.ars>.

    Why are Microsoft suddenly interested in modularity, after decades of piling
    more and more functionality into the bloated monolith that is Windows?
    Partly, the adaptability of Linux makes them look bad. But really, it’s all
    about revenue: imagine selling the customer a bottom-dollar, minimal-
    functionality system (think “Starter Editionâ€). Want more functionality?
    Simple, just bring up the “Anytime Upgrade†dialog, and tick whichever boxes
    you want. But each box has a price tag next to it, and as you tick, a cash
    register at Microsoft is going ka-chink, ka-chink.

    But boy, do Microsoft have their work cut out for them. They’ve been
    concentrating a lot on slimming down Windows Server, presumably because
    that’s where they’ve been having their noses rubbed in it by the Linux
    users. But ...

    ... a Server 2008 Core installation, without any installed roles or
    extra features, still has disk and memory requirements that handily
    exceed a full Windows 2000 install. Server 2008 R2’s memory consumption
    is somewhat lower (I estimate about 30% lower than Server 2008 before
    roles and features are installed), but disk requirements remain high.
    Microsoft says there are still about 600 interconnected DLLs and other
    binaries, totaling hundreds of megabytes. None of these could be safely
    removed without causing other parts of the system to break. Even Mark
    Russinovich, widely regarded as one of the world’s top experts on
    Windows internals, admits that they still can’t predict what exactly
    would break.

    Even Microsoft doesn’t know what’s going to break! I think that says it all.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 19, 2009
    #1
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  2. Lawrence D'Oliveiro

    Carnations Guest

    On Thu, 19 Nov 2009 18:18:33 +1300, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > Why are Microsoft suddenly interested in modularity, after decades of
    > piling more and more functionality into the bloated monolith that is
    > Windows? Partly, the adaptability of Linux makes them look bad. But
    > really, it’s all about revenue: imagine selling the customer a
    > bottom-dollar, minimal- functionality system (think “Starter Editionâ€).
    > Want more functionality? Simple, just bring up the “Anytime Upgradeâ€
    > dialog, and tick whichever boxes you want. But each box has a price tag
    > next to it, and as you tick, a cash register at Microsoft is going
    > ka-chink, ka-chink.


    You don't need to reduce the size of the MS Windows kernel or to make it modular - you only need to
    configure it as cripplewhere. Oh yeah - they've already done that.


    --
    "Filtering the Internet is like trying to boil the ocean"
     
    Carnations, Nov 19, 2009
    #2
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  3. In message <he2kf9$rjk$>, Lawrence D'Oliveiro wrote:

    > You may have heard of “MinWinâ€: this is an ongoing project by Microsoft to
    > try to introduce some modularity into the lower layers of the Windows
    > kernel.


    Another report here
    <http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2009/11/18/windows_7_heart/>:

    Microsoft needs small footprint versions of Windows, both for embedded
    use and for the GUI-free Server Core edition. The problem is that the
    operating system is full of internal dependencies, and as Russinovich
    admitted: “We don’t really understand those dependenciesâ€.

    By the way, Microsoft’s DLL architecture seems to be unbelievably bad, and
    cannot reliably deal with versioning issues that Unix/Linux systems solved
    years ago.
     
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Nov 21, 2009
    #3
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