Windows 8 predictions

This content is 15 years old. I don't routinely update old blog posts as they are only intended to represent a view at a particular point in time. Please be warned that the information here may be out of date.

Just in case you were wondering if the Windows client has a future after Windows 7 (it does), several Internet news sites are reporting that a Microsoft employee accidentally leaked details of his work on future Windows versions on his LinkedIn profile.  According to Gizmodo, Microsoft Research employee Robert Morgan carelessly left the following details in full public view:

“Working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects. Research & Development projects including 128bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP, and IBM.

Robert Morgan is working to get IA-128 working backwards with full binary compatibility on the existing IA-64 instructions in the hardware simulation to work for Windows 8 and definitely Windows 9.”

It’s no secret that there will be a Windows 8 – Microsoft has already publicly committed to a new release in 3 years’ time; however anyone working in a “high security” role would be unwise to leave details of their work on a social networking site!

For what it’s worth (I know nothing at this time… but when I do, I’m sure it will be under NDA so I should write it down now!), I would expect 64-bit computing to be mainstream on the client in the Windows 8 timeframe (and if you’re not considering it for Windows 7, then you should), and would only expect 128-bit to be relevant for high-end server versions (note that the quote above refers to IA-64 and IA-128 – so that’s Itanium rather than some new “x128” desktop hardware).  I’d also expect tighter integration with the cloud, and further developments in the area of boot from VHD, to further decouple the operating system from the hardware.

Of course, all of this is pure speculation on my part.

4 thoughts on “Windows 8 predictions

  1. What does 128bit computing get us? Is this referring to the data bus (which I imagine is largely transparent to the operating system)? If so, then we’ve already got chips capable of processing 128bit at a time.

    If it’s address space, then the question is one of, when will consumers require 128bits? At the risk of invoking the “640k should be enough for anyone”, has anyone calculated just how big an address space 128bits provide and how such a computer could be built?

  2. @JR – Based on the fact that this guy is reported to be working on IA128 compatibility with IA64, I’d guess it is address space. And whilst that sounds like an enormous amount of RAM (as did the 4GB in my laptop when Gates made his comment about 640K being enough for anyone) it’s probably not that far fetched as we move into the cloud…

    Then there’s the point about quadruple world length, rather than double… that has some efficiencies (albeit not 4x performance, granted).

    Finally, you asked when consumers will need that much memory… not for a very long time, if ever. If you read what I wrote in the original blog post, you’ll have noted that I said that:

    <blockquote>”I […] would only expect 128-bit to be relevant for high-end server versions ([…]Itanium rather than some new ‘x128’ desktop hardware).”</blockquote>

    That doesn’t sound like a reference to a consumer product, although I’ve seen similar comments to yours on some websites that didn’t pick up on the Itanium reference.

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