back to article An NT-powered Windows Phone? Not so fast...

Sources close to Microsoft have confirmed the veracity of last week's Windows Phone leaks – but say no decision has been taken to base the mobile platform on the Windows 8 kernel. The information that leaked last week concerns 'Apollo', the next-but-one release of Windows Phone. It's all genuine, but should be thought of as …


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  1. JimmyPage

    Jam tommorow ?

    What MS really, and URGENTLY need to do, if they want to stand the faintest chance of competeing in the mobile market, is get apps onto Windows phone - oh and some BASIC FUNCTIONALITY.

    Ever tried to send a single contact to another phone via BT on WP7 ? Did you know you can't ?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward



      Its the one thing I can't understand; Ballmer keeps shouting "developers, developers, developers...", maybe even to rock himself to sleep. But when it comes to introducing a new platform those developers are all of a sudden held at bay (to some extend).

      Sure; the tools and information is all freely available. But if people want to use their apps on their own phone then they need to pull out their creditcards first.

      You can say about Android what you want, but at least they managed to get this issue sorted out; stuff goes through the marketplace /but/ if users opt-in for "insecure" applications then you can also supply apps. through http or e-mail.

      And that is much nicer on the home-developers. Which IMO should be key considering how they are most likely the ones who may eventually fill up the marketplace.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Bluetooth contacts!?

      Neither can the iPhone - and it's hardly stopped the uptake of that device...

      It was a big feature on my Nokia 6310i though.

      1. JimmyPage

        Didn't know that ...

        strangely, no one with an iPhone I know has told me that, when I whinge about it.

        Got the Mrs an HTC Desire S for Xmas ... she's overjoyed with it. The ONLY reason we got a new phone is that she has (finally) discovered the power of an online calendar which can sync with a phone, and the Nokia she had wouldn't work with Windows Live.

        So far, it pisses all over my Windows Phone (supplied by work). And it's getting boring, her discovering new apps that I can't have.

    3. bazza Silver badge

      Blackberries can Bluetooth contacts

      The phone that is, not the fruit.

      My old Symbian Sony Ericsson could too, and the millions of Nokias that preceeded it.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      I have a very high regard for WP and ill be blunt and quite happily say that 'almost' everything that people throw up against WP is utter crap, i honestly dont think anyone who thinks its terrible has spent more than a few moments with it, however, whilst i think your going a bit over the top and far to generalised with your "basic functionality" comment, I do agree with your point on BT vCards, sending vcards via bluetooth is a much missed feature and i would hope that it comes to WP sooner rather than later, it should have been included from day one.

      i suspect its to do with the limited BT profiles that are supported at the moment, id love for them to provide the full BT profile package which not even the beloved Android Supports, but then thats what i keep my Pocket PC running WM to hand for :)

    5. GitMeMyShootinIrons

      Bluetooth to send contacts...

      Sorry, but I can't see much use for it these days when you can text or email them about as quick.

      Personal choice, I guess, but not a feature I've used for years.

      1. bazza Silver badge

        @GitMeMyShootinIrons: The good old days

        Bluetooth could do it years ago, for free, using very little power, regardless of network coverage, was nigh on universal, and is going to the phone of the bloke you're talking to. Plus it defines the format of the contact data (VCard so far as I know), and is presented on the Bluetooth link as being a contact. This allows the receiving phone to add it to the address book with little room for misinterpreting the data fields and merely prompting the user as to whether they want this to happen. Problem solved well over a decade ago.

        *If* a handset manufacturer has put the 'Bluetooth' label on the box then all of the Bluetooth stack should work properly. But Androids and iPhones were (still are?) definitely a bit dodgy in the whole Bluetooth area generally (don't know about WP7), mostly I suspect because they were in too much of a hurry to do the job properly to a high quality. You couldn't even use a hands free kit reliably, something that not even Steve Jobs would ever have been able to convince the world it doesn't need. But I digress. Solving manufacturer laziness by saying "Oh just email it" is a backward step, an acknowledgement that things are a little bit worse than they used to be, is making things far more complicated than they need to be for no good reason.

        But you are right, it is a personal choice. Personally I'd far rather not have to type in someone's email address or phone number just so that I can swap contact details with them when I could just zap it directly into their phone with only a couple of button presses. I mean, once you've typed in their email address you've pretty much done the whole thing anyway. By way of analogy, when you're giving someone a business card you don't want to be writing it out long hand in front of them do you? Bluetooth is instant, so there's no awkward email/text delay and there's so little room for error.

  2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    That "15-year-old Windows CE kernel"

    The rumour *I* heard was that the original CE "kernel" was a hatchet job on the Win3.1 "kernel", making it over 20 years old and devoid of any architectural features that one associates with the word "kernel". Nothing of my actual experience of programming for that platform made such an ugly rumour terribly implausible.

    1. jonathanb Silver badge

      The linux kernel that android and a few other mobile phone platforms are based on is about 21 years old, you can trace the history of the kernel in iOS back to about 35 years ago and the NT kernel is at least 19 years old.

      1. Steve McPolin

        'VMS' + (1,1,1) = 'WNT'

        Puts NT's lineage at about 34 years; or about 40 if you consider RSX as version1....

        "RSX was a separate path at DEC and the progenitor more than anything of VMS that went to NT via Dave Cutler." — Gordon Bell, Vice President, Research and Development, Digital Equipment Corporation.

        But being 40 is only a bad thing if your under 30. ...

    2. Filippo Silver badge

      "Original CE kernel" is something that's fairly hard to define. CE was rebuilt from scratch more than once. Maybe one of the early products with that names was indeed a cut-down Win3, but the CE that WP7 is based on has nothing to do with any of the desktop OSes.

  3. Colin Millar

    MS needs to do what they do best

    Offer a platform for diversity which neither Apple nor Android are currently offering.

    Apple are doing their usual thing and will continue to make money precisely because they don't want to be all things to all people - it's not their game.

    Android is just amateur rubbish with not a single player serious about the future of the platform. Seriously - it is the most insecure computing platform I have ever seen and no-one seems to care. I wouldn't touch anything in Android apps if I was wearing a BNC suit.

    If MS can get their act together with a serious mobile OS and a proper apps environment they will push android aside as the mass market alternative to the iPhone without any problem.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Silverburn

      Uh want this icon.

    3. frank ly

      @Colin Millar....

      BNC connectors are too big for any smartphone. You got the wrong mental image there.

    4. ArmanX

      "If MS can get their act together with a serious mobile OS and a proper apps environment they will push android aside as the mass market alternative to the iPhone without any problem."

      Well, quite. Also, if Linux could just get a few high-end businesses to develop business applications exclusively for Linux, it would easily topple the Windows behemoth, flooding the business world with Linux-based systems.

      And if Opera could pull together some decent marketing and get a group of supporters as energetic (and numerous) as Firefox had 8 years ago, they could become the top browser!

      Also in the line-up for obvious yet useless statements: if $BUSINESS would just start outselling $TOP_BUSINESS, they would become number one in no time! If $POLITICAL_CANDIDATE would just get a few more supporters than every else, they would get elected! Finally, if stupid people would stop communicating their stupidity, the world would be a smarter place!

  4. Anonymous Coward


    Suddenly I get the urge to pick up a copy of NT4 somewhere (TechNet) and slap it onto a VM. Simply because I can, and its sometimes actually fun to see how those older OS's worked out.

    Having worked with NT4 (client) I have to say that for the stuff it did it wasn't all that bad back then.

    Anyone remember the 'server hack' ? With a simple registry key change (and copying a splash screen over) you could actually change Windows NT4 client into a server.

    Hmm, makes you wonder if they'll port that one over as well :-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Ah yes NT4

      I was working for an international pharma company back then and all our lab data acquisition units were NT4 powered. We had a great couple of days rest when all the boxes were zapped with a worm.

      1. crowley

        Good old days

        Never had the 'pleasure' myself, but remember reading a hilarious article about a company whose CEO had been sweet-talked into adopting NT4 server by some marketing chappy going on about modernising in line with the rest of the sector.

        So the IT guys were forced to dump all their superbly reliable Netware servers, only to find that their clients were now being so overworked managing all the bloated traffic that they ended up replacing all 1500 client's NICs with expensive new ones that would manage the TCP/IP stuff themselves, just to get some CPU cycles back for real work.

        A fortune spent, and they finally had file and print, just as before. The piece ended with the beautifully sarcastic "and they'll probably announce it as a streamlining exercise."!

      2. Aaron Em

        What were your "lab data acquisition units"

        doing talking to the Internet, then? Just sitting there waiting to get cornholed by Stuxnet 0.01-alpha?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          RE:What were your "lab data acquisition units"

          No stupid, they were connected to the server and BOOM.

          Computer security lesson 1:

          This might come as a surprise but something doesn't have to be connected to the internet to get pwned.

    2. FIA Silver badge

      Ahh, the server hack. That one worked all the way upto 2K if I remember right. There was even a handy utility to do it.

      After that trying it makes things go very blue. :(

      If you feel really nostalgic, slap NT 3.51 on a VM with a chunk of memory and a couple of virtual CPUs, it's weird seeing that. Runs like an absolute daemon too. :)

      1. usbac

        Actually works up to XP / 2003 Server. All you need is NTSwitch. Makes XP into Server 2003.

      2. /dev/null


        Pah, for the true retro experience go for the original NT 3.1!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What they really need to do first is get some direction. They need to pick a kernal and stick with it (even if its a new one!) and then they need to pick a development platform and stick with it. I dont know how they think they can gain momentum and control over mobile/tablet/etc markets when developers have no clue what platforms will be supported in a years time.


      AAPL's Approach...

      you just nailed it on the head.

      AAPL doesn't make fist loads of money and having done a complete round-end without the curtoursey of a reach around on the mobile industry by not having clearly declared their intentions

      AAPL's Approach - love them or hate them, AAPL has a plan, its doing, *uck you all!

  6. DrXym Silver badge

    Don't see why not

    When Microsoft eventually releases Windows 8 tablets they'll be running an NT kernel. What's the fundamental problem with running it on a phone? We're talking of a device with a similar CPU and performance characteristics, just a smaller screen.

    Besides, Windows CE has some serious issues in its current Windows Phone incarnation. It doesn't support multicore processors whereas NT does. So why not put the same kernel under both and save some development & maintenance grief for everyone?

    1. Aaron Em

      Sure, why not?

      Worked out great for Apple, or has everyone here forgotten that "iOS" is just the short way of saying "a carved-down BSD with a lovely UI"?

      1. Scott 1

        I'm not sure why you got down-voted twice. What you posted is 100% accurate, and (if my memory serves me correctly) was one of the selling points of the original iPhone to the geek/developer crowd.

        Also, fwiw, I remember when the common usage of IOS was in reference to Cisco gear.

      2. /dev/null

        Carved-down BSD?

        Don't you mean a mashup of Mach 3.0 and FreeBSD, with a weird-ass OO device driver model ...and a lovely UI?

  7. Ru

    Not the craziest idea ever... just doesn't seem to be particularly useful. Is the Wince kernel really holding back Windows Phone? There's an awful lot of application-level stuff that is either absent or very poor which I'd hope is a slightly higher priority.

    Broader hardware support is definitely 'aspirational' given the dire standard of driver development and the need to port existing drivers to a new architecture (eg. ARM) which will probably almost as much work as writing Wince ARM drivers for most vendors, I'll bet. It isn't like there are any x86 smartphones on the horizon, after all.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    The Windows Phone flop just gets funnier and funnier.

    Both Nokia and Microsoft running around like headless chickens, not knowing what way to go, what platform to ditch, what to embrace, what to do next week etc etc...

    Pretty bad new for anyone that was stupid enough to invest in any Microsoft or Nokrosoft mobile products. Here today, dumped tomorrow.


    1. Wibble

      New Nokia WinPhone review

      That was hilarious too; couldn't even keep its charge for a day.

      Just imagine what the battery life will be like with a general purpose kernel with context switched drivers and application multi-tasking. Maybe they want to bring back the old Motorola brick for the battery, it's so retro it'll probably sell as a fashion accessory.

    2. Gordon 10

      Yea hilarious

      Until you realise that the failure of winpho means we have a choice between the malware ridden cess pool of android and the super-max lockdown of iOS.

      Ok exaggeration in both cases but consumers *need* a strong third platform it will keep Apple and Google honest.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        "but consumers *need* a strong third platform"

        JUST like the desktop - Oh wait

      2. Richard Plinston

        but consumers *need* a strong third platform

        No. They only need the _threat_ of a third platform.

        It is the threat of 'the Year of the Linux Desktops' that keeps Apple and MS working, not the actuality.

  9. Jamie Kitson


    > It may seem odd that a mobile phone should be based on the same technology that underpins a powerful desktop operating system

    Yes, that would be crazy! Imagine running Linux on a mobile!

    1. Aaron Em

      Or worse, Mac OS X

      Seriously, you'd think that as soon as somebody mentions the 'M' word around here, all sanity flies out the window (whatever there was of it, at least) and everybody's so busy stoking the bonfire and tossing the effigy on top that they forget how other people have done much the same thing and not gotten nearly this much stick about it.

      Oh, wait...

    2. ScissorHands

      Yes, imagine Nokia having phones that run Linux!

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      what about a wrist watch

      didnt IBM get Linux running on a wrist watch about 10 years ago.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "In particular, the decision to throw out the 15-year-old Windows CE kernel in favour of the even older Windows NT/XP/Vista/7 kernel has not been finalised."

    So it's going to be buggy and crashy but they haven't decided just how buggy and crashy yet?

  11. Pondule

    NT is a trademark of Northern Telecom

    So in one way a good OS to pick for a phone.

    1. John 62

      is that the Northern Telecom that...

      became Nortel Networks, which became Nortel and then went bust :)

  12. Mage

    NT3.51 vs NT4.0

    In high reliability situations the NT3.51 lived on quite a while after NT4.0. They blew stability for a measly 10% increase in video & game performance. Yet it wasn't until XP that most games really used NT rather than the Win9x platform.

    Since Printer Drivers use GDI also and sort of emulate a graphics surface on NT4.0 a bad printer driver could "BSOD" your workstation or Server. Impossible on NT3.1 to NT3.51.

    Ironically the WHOLE NT3.1 was release about the same time as ONLY the kernel of GNU/Linux, I think in 1993.

    Why NT3.51? Well, MS "invented" largely fake APIs so Win95 Apps wouldn't run on WFWG3.11 (some only really 16bit). In reality WFWG3.11 had 32bit TCP/IP, 32bit Diskmanager option and Win32s to run NT applications (no named pipe creation was only significant lack).

    So they had to add these to NT3.5 and give many a free upgrade to NT3.51. Oh, no version of win9x could create named Pipes either. Win95a little more than all the 32bit options for WFWG3.11 with the Explorer shell.

    NT4.0 could use Program Manager and Filemanager and there was a "Technology preview" Explorer shell for NT3.51.

    I think Win CE was more a cut down NT with very limited thread/process space (a fixed number) done for a Sega console, and not based on WFWG3.11/Win9x. It was designed for very limited memory with no paging, hence small fixed resource limits rather than dynamic structures. The main stupidity of WinCE PDAs and Phones was using a miniature version of the Windows interface instead of something designed for a small screen. 320 x 240 was a LARGE win CE screen for a long time!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Well put. Indeed the aspect of pulling in the graphic driver to the kernel was not the greatest of moves, for server usage, let alone workstations which would BSOD enough to negate that performance gain.

      But there again they did use to have NT3.5 available for non-intel platforms, so it's probably better written code with regards to comiling for new platforms. Though I'm not sure it's upto the real-time aspects needed. Maybe there better of buying RIM, selling on the email service and phone production aspects and going with QNX. As long as the API's map then it's just a compile instead of having to migrate from one set of API's to a set of API's that change direction every other update.

      Either way it will get to a stage were feature set is not the factor and it's all back down to battery life and size/weight.

    2. Rune Moberg

      NT and kernel mode printer drivers

      Yes, it took a while before games really started using NT, but Adobe Photoshop was one of the apps that benefitted from moving the GDI into the kernel. A dual CPU system would run PS slower than a single CPU system prior to NT4. (and keep in mind that XP kept GDI in the kernel for obvious reasons)

      As for the printer drivers, they were moved back again to user mode starting with Windows 2000. (

      I quite liked NT4 back in the day, but I have never been big on printing. :P

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "The main stupidity of WinCE PDAs and Phones was using a miniature version of the Windows interface "

      Have a look at the HP Jornada 720. Released in 2000, nearly Psion size (but not weight or battery life), nearly sensibly sized colour touchscreen (640x240), nearly usable(ish) keyboard, 200MHz ARM.

      Totally crippled by the useless WinCE-based HPC2000 OS which MS couldn't make interesting so they dropped it altogether fairly soon afterwards. ActiveSync wasn't real helpful either.

      You can even get Linux for them these days; it'd be a laugh if there was an Android port (won't happen, only 32MB of RAM, though the near-identical 728 had a whole 64MB).

      Ten years is a long time for the wheel to turn again, even in Redmond.

    4. admiraljkb
      Thumb Up


      All of the above is exactly what I remember as well. In fact at the Microsoft WfWG 3.1 preview session (where I got my copy) the MS rep was publicly commenting they had more 32bit network code than OS/2. (IIRC that was still true until Warp3 or 4)

      The Win32s API was single threaded, so threaded apps wouldn't run under WfWG3.11, but all other Win32 apps did. It was pretty trippy stuff running NT apps under WfWG. It was an add-on though, it wasn't included by default. I typically only did it for fun, like running OS/2 character mode apps under NT and surprising people who didn't know NT actually started as OS/2 NT.

      WfWG3.1 itself was a backport from the semi-aborted Chicago project. Chicago was much more like OS/2 in nature, but the project ended up morphing into the less advanced and slightly disappointing (after Chicago) Win95. Wish I'd saved off the beta diskettes it came on. I'd like to fire that up for fun now in a VM and see how much my memory clashes with reality. :)

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On nt3 and microkernels

    This is what ast has to say: "Windows NT 3.1 was a half-hearted attempt at a microkernel system, but it wasn't done right and the performance wasn't good enough on the hardware of the early 1990s, so it gave up on the idea for a while. But recently, it tried again on modern hardware, resulting in Singularity."[1][2]

    They've had such influence that this wasn't a good signal for others tinkering with the same idea, though counterexamples like QNX show that it can be done with frightening efficiency.

    Personally I've seen them botch too much, too often, too horribly, to trust they won't botch it on the (n+1)th attempt. Reason for harkening back to NT3 could be that it might be ported as it was to alpha, which may be less true of this apparently already abandoned research project.

    A better approach --for us, not redmond-- might be to put andy's minix on those arm-based things in phones and fashion a programming environment and UI on top of that. At least there'll be someone with a few clues about building solid operating systems nearby. The porting to arm he's looking to pay a developer for, in fact, so if interested, go ahead and ask. I already did and he declined, worse luck.



    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Nice links, especialy the first one that lists microkernels with •Symbian being one of them. If only Nokia had........

  14. Old Handle

    Obviously more would be required than just porting the kernel, but if they could make it so you could actually run Windows PC applications on the phone, then they'd really have something unique among smart phones to offer people.

    Is it something people want? I don't know, but at least it would be something.

    1. Richard Plinston

      Windows PC applications on the phone ?

      The Nokia N800 (which I have) and N900 (which is a phone), and probably the N9 run Linux based Maemo/Meego. They can run Linux desktop applications such as Abiword, Gnumeric and even under Debian.

      Gnumeric is particularly effective. Abiword and really require a proper keyboard, fortunately they can be plugged in or use Bluetooth.

      So, no, desktop applications on a phone would not be 'something unique', and would be about 5 years late for that.

      Also I have written Python/Glade/SQLite applications that run unchanged (identical source code) on Linux desktop, N800N900 and Windows. I was hoping for N950 but that looks unlikely now, Nokia will go belly up before they can switch back to Maemo/Meego to save themselves.

      1. ScissorHands

        Not so fast...

        Main problem with doing what you say in Maemo6 (N9/N950) is that they don't use GTK+

        1. Richard Plinston

          >> they don't use GTK+

          """To support the hundreds of Hildon-based Maemo applications, users have to install the Hildon library ported by the community."""

          1. ScissorHands

            Nokia spaguetti development strikes again

            I believe that functionality was initially thrown as a bone to the Maemo/N900 community but when they weren't seduced with MeeGo AT ALL it became vapourware and was never delivered. At least it seems to have been evicted from Maemo6 (Harmattan/N9/N950), which is purely Qt.


            "Harmattan is really renamed Maemo6 with the Hildon UI replaced by Qt. It should keep backward compatibility, unless your application relies on a Maemo component replaced in Harmattan by Qt component. Which one are these? Only Nokia devs know.

            MeeGo (as on the other hand uses GTK+ for the Netbook UI and Qt for Handset UI. There are no plans on supporting Hildon on Netbook or GTK+ at all on Handset.

            But you may roll your own GTK+ installation for Handset UI, as there in none in standard, so you will not conflict anything."

            I don't believe the N900 community will bother to do a Hildon library for Harmattan now, because most of them sneer at the N9 and feel just fine in the GTK+ castle with their beloved N900 (until it breaks, that is). Most of them seem to be desktop developers that like to take a desktop in their pocket, not mobile developers. From that POV, the N9 (and the Swipe UI) do not work.

            Don't know what this Hildon has to do with AndyO's Hildon:

            And for the rest of the UI sad story of foodfights, why Maemo and Moblin were both GTK+ but because of Symbian (and Nokia GTK+ library developers' idiocy) Nokia had to use Qt, another AndyO saga:

            Thankfully QtQuick/QML seems to be very, very good. Unfortunately, it's been killed with extreme prejudice. Only the lucky ones with an N9/N950 will ever see it.

  15. This post has been deleted by its author

  16. eulampios

    they might've done it too?

    Did Redmond ever consider porting Vista to ARM too?

  17. debio

    What's odd about using an NT kernel?

    "It may seem odd that a mobile phone should be based on the same technology that underpins a powerful desktop operating system."

    Really? Are you being serious? Aren't both iOS and Android respectively based on the same technology as Mac OS X and Linux respectively? Let's see... On my (jailbroken) iPad, the 'uname -a' results in

    Darwin iPad 11.0.0 Darwin Kernel Version 11.0.0: Tue Nov 1 20:34:16 PDT 2011; root:xnu-1878.4.46~1/RELEASE_ARM_S5L8940X iPad2,1 arm K93AP Darwin

    And, on my Android phone, 'uname -a':

    Linux localhost 3.1.10-ICS_Passion #1 PREEMPT Sat Jan 28 08:40:57 EST 2012 armv7l GNU/Linux

    It would seem that both iOS and Android use the *same* technology/kernels as their workstation/server bretheren.

    1. eulampios


      Right, however, Microsoft is so special that the IT common sense stuff does not always apply well to what they do.

    2. admiraljkb

      It's only odd that MS is NOT running the current NT kernel

      This isn't the 1990's when they forked NT and then massively crippled it to make WinCE work on the anemic devices of the day. That was understandable at the time. But the best phones out today outclass the *BEST* server hardware that NT ran on 15 years ago. :) To that, NT3.5.1 itself ran AWESOME on limited hardware. A 486/100 with 24MB of RAM did fine. My smartphone has dual core 1.5Ghz proc with 1GB RAM. I would think NT3.5 would run great on it. It was the NT4 Ring0 driver aberration (better known by the Bond Girl alias - "BSODs Galore") which ruined the cross platform thing, and it just got fixed with Vista returning to a Ring3 driver model. (possibly the only good part about Vista...)

      Why Winphone7 didn't get rebased on the current Win7/2008r2 kernel code is a bit of a mystery to me on a technical level since Win8 phone is now creating further continuity problems for MS upgrades. It looks like Marketing are the ones that wanted to be out to market faster though, and I'm sure a new kernel would have been a long pole item causing a six month ship slip. But, now that a large chunk of MS Marketing is getting laid off, maybe engineering can do their job properly again without interference? :) Current Winphone 7 users are *likely* still screwed though with Winphone8's release unless MS cripples Winphone8 to maintain backward hardware compatibility.

    3. Ilgaz

      Linux and Mac share same design philosophy

      Linux and osx share the same design principles (Unix) and those design principles (down to apps) makes it possible to scale down to tiny smartphones without changing anything, just removing unnecessary parts.

      You know the 'run level' thing on Linux, that is the part Microsoft lacks and some real hackers/ engineers from ms admits its their weakness. There is no clear border where gui starts or basic io ends.

    4. ScissorHands

      Android uses *a* Linux-based kernel, but it has been disowned by the Linuz kernel developers. It's not really Linux, and what's on top of it is REALLY not Linux, Jim, not as we know it.

      The only phones that can claim that are the Nokia "excretus est ex altitudine" Maemo line: N800, N900, N9, N950. And some bizarre old things like OpenMoko.

  18. Mikel

    Nokia's got this all to themselves.

    Looks like all the traditional phone vendors are getting off the failtrain before Apollo. Too hard pushing this river uphill, and Nokia's preferred vendor status chafes. No way do they want Nokia maps on their phones.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    NT kernel space

    > The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of reliability.

    The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of security.

    1. admiraljkb

      re: NT kernel space

      > The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of reliability.

      > The micro-kernel approach was dropped in 1996 when video drivers were pulled into kernel space – with NT gaining performance at the expense of security.

      Both answers are correct, for the same reason, and it wasn't just the video. They pulled most drivers into the kernel space which blew cross-platform compatibility as well as security/stability. I don't necessarily disagree with the decision *at the time* for desktop gaming performance (as they were trying to kill off the even more insecure Win9x), but for servers? You ever tried explaining to a customer that their mission critical system went down due to a bad video driver on a headless server? (answer - it doesn't go well because they keep saying "but no monitor is attached "...)

      With Vista they went back to Ring3 drivers, and these days I really wish they'd just stayed Ring3 the whole time...

  20. ideapete

    It will come with a BIG red box ( 8'x3'x3')

    About 8 ft tall with lots of REALLY old windows ( that work ) and an umbilical chord to Steve Balmers brain

  21. P. Lee

    When you still employ the guy who wrote the NT kernel...

    Why not ask him to do it again for the target hardware?

  22. JPO
    Thumb Up

    Phone 7 apps will run on 8, since those are running on XNA / Siverlight. No matter what OS there is. I would even say the this was the reason Microsoft did not allow native apps on Phone7.

    And presuming Windows Phone 8 has same kernel, then it will have sama user mode driver model (including display driver) as Windows 7. And that's microkernel.

  23. Goat Jam

    "a wish-list, than a concrete roadmap"

    Translation: We'd like to do that, but we are having as much trouble getting that to work now as we did before with "Longhorn"

  24. redxine

    Windows phone 8

    Now compatible with all your favourite windows 8 malware.

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    War Over Before Battle Engaged

    If it's really true that MS are just now pondering which kernel to use for Win Phone 8 ...

    Game over, man. Far too little, far too late. WP8 will be Insanely Late, buggy as hell, compromised to death. And competing against iOS 9, Android 7.2 "Plum Pudding", the Kindle Über...

    Also, MS won't be able to keep their captive partner Nokia on life support until WP8 is shippable.

  26. Doug 3

    or they don't want confusion around WP7 as they push Win8

    think about it, if they posted now that WP8 will be a whole OS change and a newly ported OS at that while they are telling everyone WP7 is what devs and users want, it'll stall WP7 sales. As low as they already are, they can't afford to stop that. Add to it how long it will take to get Win8 cut and chopped down so it won't need 8 ARM cores and 4GB of RAM to run they have to try and pull the plug on any discussion of WP8.

    tough place to be as they are ramping up Windows 8 and targeting tablets with that marketing. Thanks to Android and the iOS, tablet OS's are implicitly tied to phones and phone apps. They really must dump the WindowsCE OS to compete so no matter what they say, WP8 has to have a new kernel from somewhere and it is far more likely to be attempted to use Win8 kernel. No matter what they say to the public.

  27. I_am_Chris

    Let me get this right...

    MS are saying they will put the same NT kernel that was in XP. Is that right?

    Remember Windows XP? It's the OS that was so full of holes that MS spent the best part of 10 years trying to fix it and then replaced it. TEN YEARS!

    And now they are wanting to unleash it onto a market where anti-virus is unheard of, unsecured networks are commonplace and scams are a daily problem.


    MS are imploding under their own stupidity... EPIC FAIL

    1. admiraljkb


      Umm, no. Its either the NT 3.5.1 kernel which was decent/stable (and ran on next to nothing for hardware), or the Win7/Win8 kernel which are decent/stable. (just kernel, don't get me started on 8's Metro... !@#$)

      The bastardized NT4-WinXP kernel is not as easily made cross-platform due to a really buggy driver model on top of it (with the associated security issues), and probably several other hard-coded ("quick get to market!") bits when they ventured away from the original microkernel design work dating from the late 80's. The Kernel driver model related security issues you reference were introduced in NT4 in 1996. Technically that part was fixed by Vista in 2007, so that would be 11 years. If you count in the couple of years taken to fix Vista to be usable as Win7, then it would be 13 years to fix. :)

  28. Bela Lubkin

    Thanks, now I get it

    They don't want confusion around WP8, so they don't announce their intentions, they just release a swirl of contradictory rumors.

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