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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Windows 8 ServiceOS vs. Chrome OS

 Windows 8 ServiceOS vs. Chrome OS
Has Microsoft already been at work on a Chrome OS rival platform, even before Google released its browser-based operating system?
The Mountain View-based search giant recently announced that Chrome OS will start being available to customers on the first Chromebooks as soon as next month, in June 2011.

What users get with Chrome OS is just a browser, but in a sense also an OS, minus all the actual functionality of an operating system, save for allowing users to connect to the Internet.

With Windows 8, Microsoft is also reported to explore a more intimate connection between its Cloud and the desktop platforms. Windows vNext will allow customers to use email addresses for user accounts, as well as enjoy roaming settings, applications and personalization options through connected accounts.

But at the same time, the Redmond company’s researchers have been exploring a browser operating system themselves, dubbed ServiceOS, which is the evolution of Microsoft Research projects such as Gazelle and MashupOS.

Some Microsoft Research resources are available to those that want some insight into the project, via the Resource Management for Web Applications in ServiceOS page.

But the real goodies, as far as I’m concerned, were unearthed earlier this year and shared initially by Mary Jo Foley.

I didn’t think much of them then, but now that Google is on the verge of releasing Chrome OS, the information provided for a TechFest2011 showcase makes it sound like the software giant already has a valid response to the Mountain View company’s platform.

Here is the full abstract:

“We design ServiceOS as a client platform that purposely supports the SaaS paradigm where the master copy of a user's applications resides in the cloud and cached on her end devices.

In ServiceOS, we embrace the web model, its software distribution model and the protection policy (the Same Origin Policy), for all applications including traditional applications. At the same time, ServiceOS empowers applications (including web applications) with richest possible functionalities without losing security by providing cross-principal protection, sharing, communications, and resource access and scheduling that are appropriate for the SaaS setting.

The ServiceOS project aims to address many challenges faced by our Windows Phone platform, post Windows 8 platform, the browser platform, and Office platform.

In this demo suite, we will demo:

1. A MinWin-based ServiceOS prototype that refactors Trident to have a multi-principal OS-based design for the browser platform.

2. ServiceOS exposes a new sharing abstraction called User Data Channel to enable the user to share her own data across application and protection boundaries.

3. How traditional application like Word can run on ServiceOS and able to embed rich web content such as a Youtube video without sacrificing security.

4. How applications can access privacy-sensitive devices and data and how we prevent unwanted access.”

So, a post-Windows 8 operating system that would stretch across a variety of form factors, including smartphones, take Windows itself to the next level, ensure the migration into the Cloud for users, and still enable the evolution of Office.

Make no mistake about it. ServiceOS is nothing more than the reinvented core of Internet Explorer, the Trident rendering engine, designed to allow Cloud applications and services to use hardware resources not like a browser but like an OS, all because it also based on MinWin, the core of Windows 7 and Windows 8, presumably.

ServiceOS would not only run traditional programs such as Office Word, but at the same time enable users to live in the Cloud, as Chrome OS does today.

Alas, Chrome OS is almost here, while ServiceOS remains a Microsoft Research project, which, as all prototypes go, could be shelved, integrated into other projects, and never become an actual product.

Windows 8 ServiceOS vs. Chrome OS

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