Can Virtualization Jolt OS Development?


Virtualization is probably the king of the tech buzzwords these days (unless you want to throw in anything 2.0).


But we were nonetheless taken by a recent suggestion by a columnist for The Guardian that virtualization -- most often proposed as the answer to all the data center's problems -- may be the key to future desktop operating system development.


In what otherwise shapes up as a love sonnet to open source and an epitaph for proprietary software development, John Naughton suggests that virtualization is the key to obviating compatibility issues with legacy software -- the "anchor" dragging down software innovation, the columnist contends.


At first we had trouble envisioning how the next version of Windows might roll out with built-in legacy support for Windows 2000-XP-Vista apps squirelled away in virtualized partitions. (The idea of end users clicking little Windows logos to launch Term Server-like sessions is still stuck in our heads.) And we still haven't figured out how Microsoft, which tends to release new Office applications to take advantage of its new OS rollouts, would make business sense of this approach.


But it's intriguing. At the very least, it would put the marketing onus on new and truly compelling feature sets, which of course open source advocates tend to believe are swinging in Linux's favor.


Another reason for Redmond to try to clean up shop and give the monolith another swing, we'd imagine.

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