Home > Articles > Operating Systems, Server > Linux/UNIX/Open Source

  • Print
  • + Share This
Like this article? We recommend

4. And you think we should all use Windows?

I have a great deal of respect for David Cutler’s work on both VMS and Windows NT. Unfortunately, Microsoft decided to take an elegant and flexible kernel architecture and build a quite atrocious pile of hacks on top of it in the name of backwards compatibility.

In 2001, Apple demonstrated the correct way of maintaining backwards compatibility with a poorly-designed legacy operating system—you build an emulated environment into your system and run legacy code there. Even before then, Windows 3.x had made use of the primitive 8086 virtualization features to run legacy DOS applications. The route Microsoft took was to port its legacy APIs and ABIs. Even today, Microsoft is reaping the benefits of this with features such as the WMF vulnerabilities.

I still believe the core design of the Windows NT kernel to be sound, and watch the ReactOS project with interest.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account