Microsoft streamlines kernel

Microsoft has offered a glimpse at the kernel of its next operating system, while suggesting that it will be a more streamlined entity than the current incarnation.

Microsoft streamlines kernel

Speaking to students at the University of Illinois, Microsoft engineer Eric Traut said that some people perceive the current version of Windows as “this really large, bloated operating system”, and agreed that to some extent it was a “fair characterisation”

“It contains a lot of stuff in it, but the kernel and the components that make up the very core of the operating system is pretty streamlined,” he adds.

“It’s still bigger than I’d like it to be, but we’ve taken a shot recently at really stripping out all of the layers above and making sure that we had a clean architectural layer there. And we created what we called MinWin,” Traut said.

Traut displayed MinWin, which currently has limited functionality and a text based interface, operating in only 40MB of memory, running a simple HTTP server that hosted a list of running processes, an operating system file list and statistics on memory usage.

“We’re definitely going to be using this internally to build all of the products that are based on Windows,” he continued.

“We build a lot of products based on this kernel. It’s not just the operating system that’s running on many of the laptops in the room, it’s also the OS that we use for Media Centre, that’s running in a lot of people’s living rooms, it’s used for servers, it’s used for smaller and better devices, it’s used in a lot of different ways, and this will provide us the ability to move into even more areas.”

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