Nov 18, 2009

Everything Old Is New Again: Microsoft MinWin Attempts to Modularize Windows

There have, historically, been two competing models of operating systems development. There's the UNIX mentality, of small pieces loosely joined. That is, you have a whole bunch of little, stand-alone applications that all work together to accomplish more complex tasks running atop a svelte kernel that doesn't know -- or need to know -- about the pieces its running. Then you have the "everything and the kitchen sink" mentality, used by Microsoft. All versions of Microsoft Windows have huge dependency chains, and what is rightly called "Windows" is a dizzying amalgamation of interdependent pieces of software, none of which can do much on their own. If you've ever wondered why your Windows-powered web server included Windows Media Player, or Solitaire, that's the reason: the "stuff" that makes up Windows is highly interdependent. Read on for some interesting changes underway.

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