Microsoft's secret OS project Midori is still alive and moving forward

By on November 8, 2012, 4:00 PM

Microsoft is most commonly associated with developing Windows although few people know that Redmond has also been working on another operating in secrecy for several years. It’s been more than four years since we last heard about project Midori but we have now learned that it’s still very much alive and moving forward, according to ZDNet’s well-sourced Mary Jo Foley.

For those unfamiliar, Midori is a new operating system believed to be designed around Singularity, which was a Microsoft Research microkernel operating system. The under-development OS was (and maybe still is) overseen by senior vice president of technical strategy Eric Rudder. At its heart, it is believed that Midori is a distributed, concurrent OS.

The operating system was referenced during a presentation last month at the OOPSLA 2012 conference. A number of Microsoft employees presented a paper during the event titled Uniqueness and Reference Immutability for Safe Parallelism. In it, Microsoft outlined what is described as a prototype extension to C# that facilitates security and parallelism.

"Our type system models a prototype extension to C# that is in active use by a Microsoft team. We describe their experiences building large systems with this extension....

"A source-level variant of this system, as an extension to C#, is in use by a large project at Microsoft, as their primary programming language."

Additionally, a recent Microsoft job description called for a software architect to help develop a concurrent programming model. That excerpt has been reproduced below.

"This programming model is a core component of a new, novel operating system, 99% of which is written in type- and memory-safe C#. A core principle we add to managed code is that 1st class, statically enforced concurrency-safety must become a peer of type- and memory-safety. This role demands innovation at each layer of the software stack: programming model abstractions, scheduling (kernel and user-mode/runtime), message passing and asynchrony more generally, shared-memory, data and task parallelism, distributed parallelism, heterogeneity (including vectorization and GPGPU), interaction with processor architecture, feedback directed optimizations, and even language design and compiler implementation."

Foley says she discovered the OOPSLA 2012 paper through blog posts from Rob Jellinghaus and Joe Duffy, two people thought to be working on Midori. The person that tipped her off to the blog posts, however, wished to remain anonymous.

She concludes that not all internal Microsoft projects make it to production. But when you consider just how long Microsoft has been working on Midori, odds are that it will eventually see the light of day at some point in the future.




User Comments: 14

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1 person liked this | VitalyT VitalyT said:

....tired from the enforced OS "revolution" from MS... their interest in selling now far outweighs everything else.

The recent cancellation of SP2 for Win7 is just one of many proves to it - what if, God forbids, Win7 improves so it gets in the way of selling Win8?! - What a charade!

1 person liked this | psycros psycros said:

....tired from the enforced OS "revolution" from MS... their interest in selling now far outweighs everything else.

The recent cancellation of SP2 for Win7 is just one of many proves to it - what if, God forbids, Win7 improves so it gets in the way of selling Win8?! - What a charade!

You left out how their also going backwards in OS design

1 person liked this | Trillionsin Trillionsin said:

I dont see how learning something new is considering "going backwards" but that's just my opinion.

1 person liked this | RH00D RH00D said:

I dont see how learning something new is considering "going backwards" but that's just my opinion.

Agreed. People are just ignorant of change. It's funny because when MS first went to the start menu style UI people moaned and complained that it was stupid, etc, etc, and that they wanted their 3.1 UI back and now we're seeing the same in reverse.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

now we're seeing the same in reverse.
Soooo, MS is going backward!!

RH00D RH00D said:

now we're seeing the same in reverse.
Soooo, MS is going backward!!

Just because a UI concept is old doesn't mean it's bad. In fact, most of the methodologies used in modern societies are the exact same as the ones used for thousands of years, only the technology changes.

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just because a UI concept is old doesn't mean it's bad.
I agree! What I don't agree with is MS ignoring user wants and desires.

Guest said:

They took out the unnecessary start menu and gave you something WAY better. Yet I still never see it mentioned in a review of W8.

Bring your mouse to the very bottom left side corner of your screen (no not the start screen popup but the supreme edge of the screen!) and right click.

You get a menu that has everything you could want. I think this amazing feature is completely overlooked by so many people.

Guest said:

The problem with the Windows 8 UI is not that it's drastically different (it is) and it's not just that it's a change and people don't like change, it's that it is pushing something on people and forcing them to go in Microsoft's direction. We've gone from the 'Customer is always right' to 'Steve knows best'. If Microsoft was catering to its customers, it would have listened to them and come up with a more hybrid approach, something that appeals to current customers and future ones. They could have easily kept the Windows 7 style desktop and added the touch style Metro Start screen. Microsoft is forcing it's way, so they can sell you more things and monopolize the environment. They want a Microsoft world, where everything you touch is a Microsoft product, Xbox/TV, Phone, Tablet, Laptop, Desktop, Servers, Cloud, etc. This is fine and dandy, then sell the customer on the idea and don't just force it down our throats. Apple already uses this style of forcing things but making them seem cool, now Microsoft wants to clone themselves to be another Apple, without the cool factor. Linux offers choice, which is why after 25 years of Microsoft I'm moving to Linux.

Chazz said:

Wtf?! This article has nothing to do with windows 8. Come on guys.

pmcardle said:

They took out the unnecessary start menu and gave you something WAY better. Yet I still never see it mentioned in a review of W8.

Bring your mouse to the very bottom left side corner of your screen (no not the start screen popup but the supreme edge of the screen!) and right click.

You get a menu that has everything you could want. I think this amazing feature is completely overlooked by so many people.

Wow - I never knew this existed, thanks...

Guest said:

"Wow - I never knew this existed, thanks..."

Good thing you found it....

1 person liked this | NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Just because a UI concept is old doesn't mean it's bad.
I agree! What I don't agree with is MS ignoring user wants and desires.

Maybe they are taking a page out of Sony's book :P

Guest said:

Please explain how the Start Screen is "way better" than the Start menu.

- There are no Jump Lists,

- No recent items list,

- No most frequently used items listed,

- No unified search. Do you like to type and press 'enter'? If you use Windows 8, you may have to get used to typing, clicking on one search category (out of three), and then press 'enter'.

There are some advantages with the Start Screen, however.

- Item grouping,

- More screen estate,

- Live Tiles,

Then there's the issue of the screen interrupting your workflow...

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