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Modern Operating Systems by Herbert...
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Page 892
SEC. 11.1
NT did meet its portability goals, with additional releases in 1994 and 1995
adding support for (little-endian) MIPS and PowerPC architectures.
The first
major upgrade to NT came with
Windows NT 4.0
in 1996.
This system had the
power, security, and reliability of NT, but also sported the same user interface as
the by-then very popular Windows 95.
Figure 11-3 shows the relationship of the Win32 API to Windows. Having a
common API across both the MS-DOS-based and NT-based Windows was impor-
tant to the success of NT.
This compatibility made it much easier for users to migrate from Windows 95
to NT, and the operating system became a strong player in the high-end desktop
market as well as servers. However, customers were not as willing to adopt other
processor architectures, and of the four architectures Windows NT 4.0 supported in
1996 (the DEC Alpha was added in that release), only the x86 (i.e., Pentium fam-
ily) was still actively supported by the time of the next major release,
Win32 application program
Win32 application programming interface
Figure 11-3.
The Win32 API allows programs to run on almost all versions of
Windows 2000 represented a significant evolution for NT.
The key technolo-
gies added were plug-and-play (for consumers who installed a new PCI card, elim-
inating the need to fiddle with jumpers), network directory services (for enterprise
customers), improved power management (for notebook computers), and an im-
proved GUI (for everyone).
The technical success of Windows 2000 led Microsoft to push toward the dep-
recation of Windows 98 by enhancing the application and device compatibility of
the next NT release,
Windows XP
Windows XP included a friendlier new look-
and-feel to the graphical interface, bolstering Microsoft’s strategy of hooking con-
sumers and reaping the benefit as they pressured their employers to adopt systems
with which they were already familiar.
The strategy was overwhelmingly suc-
cessful, with Windows XP being installed on hundreds of millions of PCs over its
first few years, allowing Microsoft to achieve its goal of effectively ending the era
of MS-DOS-based Windows.

Page 893
CHAP. 11
Microsoft followed up Windows XP by embarking on an ambitious release to
kindle renewed excitement among PC consumers.
The result,
Windows Vista
was completed in late 2006, more than five years after Windows XP shipped.
dows Vista boasted yet another redesign of the graphical interface, and new securi-
ty features under the covers. Most of the changes were in customer-visible experi-
ences and capabilities.
The technologies under the covers of the system improved
incrementally, with much clean-up of the code and many improvements in per-
formance, scalability, and reliability.
The server version of Vista (Windows Server
2008) was delivered about a year after the consumer version. It shares, with Vista,
the same core system components, such as the kernel, drivers, and low-level librar-
ies and programs.
The human story of the early development of NT is related in the book
(Zachary, 1994). The book tells a lot about the key people involved and
the difficulties of undertaking such an ambitious software development project.
11.1.4 Windows Vista
The release of Windows Vista culminated Microsoft’s most extensive operating
system project to date.
The initial plans were so ambitious that a couple of years
into its development Vista had to be restarted with a smaller scope.
Plans to rely
heavily on Microsoft’s type-safe, garbage-collected .NET language C# were
shelved, as were some significant features such as the WinFS unified storage sys-
tem for searching and organizing data from many different sources.
The size of the
full operating system is staggering.
The original NT release of 3 million lines of
C/C++ that had grown to 16 million in NT 4, 30 million in 2000, and 50 million in
XP. It is over 70 million lines in Vista and more in Windows 7 and 8.
Much of the size is due to Microsoft’s emphasis on adding many new features
to its products in every release.
In the main
directory, there are 1600
Dynamic Link Libraries
) and 400
), and that does not
include the other directories containing the myriad of applets included with the op-
erating system that allow users to surf the Web, play music and video, send email,
scan documents, organize photos, and even make movies. Because Microsoft
wants customers to switch to new versions, it maintains compatibility by generally
keeping all the features, APIs,
(small applications), etc., from the previous
version. Few things ever get deleted.
The result is that Windows was growing dra-
matically release to release.
Windows’ distribution media had moved from floppy,
to CD, and with Windows Vista, to DVD. Technology had been keeping up, how-
ever, and faster processors and larger memories made it possible for computers to
get faster despite all this bloat.
Unfortunately for Microsoft, Windows Vista was released at a time when cus-
tomers were becoming enthralled with inexpensive computers, such as low-end
notebooks and
computers. These machines used slower processors to
save cost and battery life, and in their earlier generations limited memory sizes.

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