Windows and its variants are the most popular operating systems in use today. While hats off go to Linux and its variants, these operating systems in one way or another revert to computer designs of the early 60’s and 70’s. That was a long time ago, and changes, even at the kernel level, support that model without modifying it.
But Microsoft is quietly looking at changing that. Project Midori, begun in 2003, is designed to review every aspect of the operating system and come back with an operating system guided by managed code.
Managed code is a program set created by Microsoft that will identify and use software code under the control of Common Language Runtime virtual machine. The development of program code then will operate only under the “management” of a CLR. Such code will be C# or Visual Basic, running through the .NET environment.
The Singularity Operating System
One commercial implementation under consideration is the Singularity operating system; the post Windows OS. The goal is to build a highly-dependable operating system, but different from the Windows model, in which the OS kernel, its device drivers, and supporting applications are all written in managed code. This may be the next operating system model to replace Windows.
“Singularity is a new operating system being developed as a basis for more dependable system and application software. Singularity exploits advances in programming languages and tools to create an environment in which software is more likely to be built correctly, program behavior is easier to verify, and run-time failures can be contained. A key aspect of Singularity is an extension model based on Software-Isolated Processes (SIPs), which encapsulate pieces of an application or a system and provide information hiding, failure isolation, and strong interfaces.” A more complete description of the Singularity project can be obtained from the whitepaper below.