31 March 2008

The Marvels of Modularity

One word that has cropped up time and again on this blog is "modularity". It's one of the prime characteristics of the open source way - and one of its greatest strengths. Now wonder, then, that Microsoft has finalled cottoned on - helped, no doubt, by the abject failure of its Vista monster:

When Windows 7 launches sometime after the start of 2010, the desktop OS will be Microsoft's most "modular" yet. Having never really been comfortable with the idea of a single, monolithic desktop OS offering, Microsoft has offered multiple desktop OSes in the marketplace ever since the days of Windows NT 3.1, with completely different code bases until they were unified in Windows 2000. Unification isn't necessarily a good thing, however; Windows Vista is a sprawling, complex OS.

A singular yet highly modular OS could give Microsoft the best of all possible worlds: OSes that can be highly customized for deployment but developed monolithically. One modular OS to rule them all, let's say.

Modularity has another huge benefit for Microsoft: it will allow it to address the nascent ultraportable market, something that it finds hard to do with its current operating systems.

Needless to say, though, even in making this sensible move, Microsoft manages to add a touch of absurdity:

Unsurprisingly, Microsoft already has a patent on a "modular operating system" concept.

A *patent* on modularity? Give me a break....


Anonymous said...

To be fair to Microsoft (TBF2MS), it's not quite "a patent on modularity." It's patent on a particular, DRM-soaked, approach to modular operating systems.

Glyn Moody said...

So DRM makes it better....(only joking)?

Apologies for the delay - Google is eating all my comments....