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  1. Technology
October 10, 1991


By CBR Staff Writer

The conference season is upon us – a time when every presentation is geared to knocking the opposition – the Windows Expo conference and exhibition held in London this week was no exception as Microsoft Corp’s Paul Maritz kicked the proceedings off with a demonstration of New Technology. Maritz is Microsoft’s vice-president in charge of Advanced Operating Systems and believes that OS/2 is not designed to keep pace with new technology as it unfolds in this decade. This is because, he claims, OS/2 is not extensible, portable, secure or capable of multi-processing. Windows, on the other hand, way back at the time of its inception with Windows 1.0 in 1987 was designed to handle these demands, says Maritz, and this is because New Technology is being developed by the core of the VMS development team from Digital Equipment Corp. The New Technology team looked at Carnegie Mellon University’s Mach kernel, took it to pieces and put it back together again. They liked the sophistication of the memory manager and file manager extensibility. This fascination with Mach shows in the layered approach Microsoft is taking with New Technology and in the NT Executive kernel. Subsystems can be snapped onto NT Executive to support a style or type of program. To begin with, of course, New Technology will be optimised for supporting Windows applications – 32-bit and 16-bit. Support for OS/2 server applications and Posix will be written, although support for Presentation Manager will take a little longer to appear. New Technology is portable and will ship for Intel Corp 80386 and 80486 chips as well as for the MIPS Computer Systems Inc R3000 and R4000. Less than 5% of its code needs to change from one instruction set to another, whereas typically with Unix, 15% of code needs to be changed. Applications moving from Intel chips to RISC need recompiling; 16-bit applications will require software emulation of the 8086 instruction set and this will be provided using technology from the UK company Insignia Solutions Ltd. New Technology has also been designed with the server environment in mind. Maritz argued that OS/2 and Unix keel over when trying to handle high throughputs for servers because packets of information choke the memory as they get copied from buffer to buffer. This won’t happen to New Technology, he claimed, because all input-output shares a common buffer pool within the operating system, but this technology is open, so, in theory, Novell could write a version of its software for it… Meanwhile, Lan Manager code is being re-implemented for New Technology. The developer’s kit for this new operating system will be released next month on compact disk, with beta test versions to follow in the first half of 1992 and the fully-fledged product pencilled in to fly next summer.

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