The J Curve

Friday, September 10, 2004

Whither Windows?

From the local demos of Longhorn, it seems to me that OS X is the Longhorn preview. As far as I can tell, Microsoft is hoping to do a subset of OS X and bundle applications like iPhoto. Am I missing something?

It seems that the need to use a Microsoft operating system will decline with the improvement in open source device drivers and web services for applications.

Why worry about Microsoft operating systems as a non-user? Well, the spam viruses on Windows affect all of us. I have not had a Mac virus for at least 10 years (sure, you could joke that nobody writes apps for the Mac any more =), but my email inbox has seen the effects of the Windows worms.

And of course, I am an indirect user of Microsoft servers. And that can be another source of concern. Microsoft is a global monoculture and is therefore subject to catastrophic collapse. The resiliency of critical computer networks might suffer if they migrate to a common architecture. Like a monoculture of corn, they can be more efficient, but the vulnerability to pathogens is more polarized - especially in a globally networked world.

When will the desktop Linux swap out occur, as it did seamlessly at Apple with the XNU kernel in OS X?


  • The Digital Pearl Harbour

    ""In 2010, information security will be much better than it is today. But between then and now, everything will get inconceivably worse. There's no need to imagine a worst-case scenario for Internet security in the year 2010. The worst-case scenario is unfolding right now.

    Based on conservative projections, we’ll discover about 100,000 new software vulnerabilities in 2010 alone, or one new bug every five minutes of every hour of every day. The number of security incidents worldwide will swell to about 400,000 a year, or 8000 per workweek.

    Windows will approach 100 million lines of code, and the average PC, while it may cost $99, will contain nearly 200 million lines of code. And within that code, 2 million bugs.

    By 2010, we’ll have added another half-a-billion users to the Internet. A few of them will be bad guys, and they’ll be able to pick and choose which of those 2 million bugs they feel like exploiting.

    In other words, today’s sloppiness will become tomorrow’s chaos.

    The good news is that we probably won’t get to that point. Most experts are optimistic about the future security of the Internet and software. Between now and 2010, they say, vulnerabilities will flatten or decline, and so will security breaches. They believe software applications will get simpler and smaller, or at least they won’t bloat the way they do now. And they think experience will provide a better handle on keeping the growing number of bad guys out of our collective business. Some even suggest that by 2010, a software Martin Luther will appear to nail 95 Theses — perhaps in the form of a class-action lawsuit — to a door in Redmond, kicking off a full-blown security reformation.

    The bad news is that this confidence, this notion of an industrywide smartening up, is based on the assumption that there will be a security incident of such mind-boggling scope and profoundly disturbing consequence — the so-call digital Pearl Harbour — that conducting business as usual will become inconceivable.";1039367795;fp;4;fpid;18

    See also:

    By Blogger Dimitar Vesselinov, at 8:00 AM  

  • "It seems that the need to use a Microsoft operating system will decline with the improvement in open source device drivers and web services for applications."

    do you mean "web services" here, or do you simply mean managed services (ASPs)?


    By Blogger Mark Wong-VanHaren, at 12:32 AM  

  • I was thinking about web services in a broad way - to include Google and Amazon, web resident applications, wireless data services, and utility computing futures. In each case, the target "platform" shifts from the client operating system to the browser.

    So it's no surprise that Microsoft wants to embrace and extend the browser into the OS.

    By Blogger Steve Jurvetson, at 9:18 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger stewart, at 11:27 PM  

  • [Weird truncation on previous comment - no HTML allowed?] How do you do this stuff without getting killed?

    By Blogger stewart, at 11:31 PM  

  • Stewart: it is rapidly getting off-topic, but your photo of Steve does not beat THIS ;-)

    I was doing a lot of cryogenic superconductor chip testing, you see, when you take the probe out from a dewar of liquid He (4.2K) air condenses on the probe and liquid O2 and N2 start dripping on the floor... I was always wondering what would happen if an oil-soaked rug would happen to be laying where the drops fall. ;-)

    Paul B.

    By Blogger Paul B., at 9:40 AM  

  • Good stuff. There is still a link to the Purdue Liquid Oxygen BBQ experiments on our website which dates back to 1995. I was the webmaster back then. And we all used Macs.... and didn't need an IT guy.....

    Which brings us back to the topic. As seen in USA Today:“Get a Mac!”

    “This virus and security problem might be the biggest challenge to Microsoft in years.”

    Read the war stories of beleaguered Microsoft users in Kevin Maney’s column. It is fun to read, as always.

    By Blogger Steve Jurvetson, at 7:01 PM  

  • Steve

    in early 1998 I had an email dialogue with Marc Andreessen (co-founder of Netscape and Mosaic lead developer). I basically said the browser was on a collision course with Windows OS.

    Right now there's a battle for the first window, which Google holds the lead in by far.

    The web is the polyculture that expands from the in-breeding tendencies of Windows. Windows is basically relegated to a layer of the polyculture.


    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:32 PM  

  • All Windows interfaces were stealed from Apple. And this new one - from Mac OS X.

    But Windows will stil alive for long time in future.

    Pitty :-(

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 7:25 AM  

  • Hello Steve,
    The need of use a MS software will never decline, i agree that web applications will be more and more in the future but that doesn't mean that people is gonna stop udo}ing Microsoft stuff.
    I agree thatit's nice using open source "but" there will allways be people, programmers that do it for the money, for example you Steve, you do it all for growing up as a bussiness man but you do it for the money like we all do. There's so few people that don't want a reward for the thing that they so effortely do, and i think that there will allways be that kind of open source people.
    Now, talking about viruses, i was never infected by any virus or worm because i correctly use and update my antivirus, and choose wich mail could be dangerous and wich one not.
    About MAC OS s, a couple of months ago Apple turned itno Intel's Pentium 4, i think this is the only way Apple can survive, because it is absolutely ridiculous that Apple software like for ex Logic and many many (the most) of the software don't work on new versions of the OSX, they will have to completelly turn into the Intel's world and leave their G4 Gx technology and create an architecture similar to microsoft's wich works on any version of the Windows OS and works on any hardware (good for that Bill Gates)
    Someone said Bill stealed the interface, we all do or create things based on other things, that's called competition, we all compite, we all create, we all do or try to do things better.
    Well see you Steve, u do a very good job, i admire your work
    from Argentina

    By Blogger manuel, at 4:26 PM  

  • The prolific and monomogous use of Cisco in the Internet routing world is another accident waiting to happen. The secrecy, resignations and lawsuits surrounding the ISS employee who uncovered a serious flaw in IOS shows just how scared they are of a potentialy Internet crippling virus.

    By Blogger Bill Strathearn, at 1:54 PM  

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