Get ready for Windows "Mickey Mouse"

Midori. Mojave. Mickey Mouse. They all have one thing in common: They're fictitious constructs assembled by people with vivid imaginations and way too much time on their hands. By now, we’ve all heard about the Windows "Mojave" debacle. Microsoft seems hell bent on defending Vista’s honor, even going so far as to “punk” its own customers in order to prove that the second most unpopular Windows OS in history does

Midori. Mojave. Mickey Mouse. They all have one thing in common: They're fictitious constructs assembled by people with vivid imaginations and way too much time on their hands.

By now, we’ve all heard about the Windows "Mojave" debacle. Microsoft seems hell bent on defending Vista’s honor, even going so far as to “punk” its own customers in order to prove that the second most unpopular Windows OS in history doesn’t suck rocks.

OK, Microsoft. We get it. We’re wrong. Vista’s wonderful. And Windows 7, which is really just Vista R2, will be even “wonderful-er.”

But wait. What’s this “Midori” thing I keep hearing about? Is that the code name for Windows 8? No? Then what the heck is it? A completely new OS, you say? Written from the ground-up to replace Windows? But what about Vista? And Windows 7/8? I thought they were "wonderful/wonderful-er?"

Of course, most of the details surrounding "Midori" are still sketchy. In fact, the more you listen to the rumor mill, the more this whole "Midori" business" sounds like some kind of developer pipe dream -- an all-things-to-all-people fantasy that will quickly fall apart when faced with a legacy installed base in the billions of users.

For example, we've heard that "Midori" will employ lots of managed code in the base OS -- except where it doesn't (because managed code is slow as a dog). We’ve also heard that it'll provide all sorts of design-time robustness features to encourage developers to code better -- except that nobody can agree on which paradigms and rules it will actually enforce. Finally, we keep hearing how "Midori" will enable applications to run seamlessly across a distributed array of loosely coupled devices, some with varying form factors -- ignoring the fact that every previous attempt to construct anything even remotely similar has fallen flat (Java being the obvious example).

As they say, it all sounds great "on paper." However, translating a massive paradigm shift like "Midori" into a practical, workable computing platform is a lot harder than it sounds. There's an entrenched Windows ecosystem out there, and much of the "fauna" likes things just the way they are. Those who choose to tinker with such fragile, interdependent environments do so at their peril.

Bottom Line: History is rife with examples of high-concept technology projects that went nowhere (Microsoft’s own "Cairo" comes to mind). In the meantime, those of us in the real world somehow manage to trudge along using today's cobbled-together amalgams of yesterday's staid computing paradigms. The big shift never seems to come, at least not in the form or direction as predicted from on high.

That's why I'm placing "Midori" up there with Mickey, Minnie, [the] Donald and similar fantastical constructs -- i.e. things I'll likely never see in real life (unless I’m heavily medicated, in which case all bets are off).

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

How to choose a low-code development platform