Monday, October 12, 2009

Windows 8 to be 128 bit operating system

Microsoft is planning to make Windows 8 an 128-bit operating system, according to details leaked from the software giant's Research department. The discovery came to light after Microsoft Research employee, Robert Morgan, carelessly left details of his work on the social-networking site, LinkedIn.

"Research & Development projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan"

The senior researcher's profile said he was: "Working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects. Research & Development projects including 128-bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP and IBM."

Morgan's LinkedIn profile has now been pulled down, but a version remains in the Google search cache.

A move to 128-bit support would be a bold move for Microsoft. Many outsiders were urging Microsoft to make Windows 7 64-bit only, but the company continues to offer a 32-bit version of the forthcoming OS.

Microsoft has said very little publicly about Windows 8, although on a visit to the UK earlier this week, CEO Steve Ballmer denied rumours that Windows 7 would be the last major client OS the company produced. Ballmer admitted that planning was underway on Windows 8, although it's highly unlikely that the OS will arrive until 2012 at the earliest.

Morgan's talk of planning for Windows 9 supports Ballmer's claim that the company thinks there is plenty of life left in Windows yet.

This Slashdot comment raises some interesting points:

"Most 64-bit processors provide 40 or 48 bits of address space; they ignore the other two or three bytes of the address (often they support a larger virtual address space than physical, but even then it's usually less than 64-bit). I've yet to see a consumer-grade machine with more RAM than PAE (36-bit addressing) could address. That said, memory is not the only place where the number of bits is important. Hard drives are typically addressed by 512-byte blocks, so 32 bits gives you 2TB, which is a single disk these days. 64 bits gives you 8ZB, which is quite a lot, but it's not a completely unreasonable amount; some people are going to find that constraining in the next few years, which is why ZFS uses 128 bits. It's not that 128 bits are necessary, so much that 65 bits are and 128 is the most computationally-convenient size after 128. Making sure everything in the kernel supports 128-bit filesystem offsets is an important for long-term project."

Seems to me the future of Wine is going to also have be 128 bit to remain relevant and run the future 128 bit Games and Office tools that are geared for the future Windows OS. Possibly by the time of Windows 8 this will be when they finally kill off 32 bit support and release 64 bit and 128 bit versions of Windows. Looks as if the ground work for 128 bit computing is being set now and therefor a future 128 bit release of our favorite Windows re implementation Wine.

No comments: