Andrew Ducker made some interesting comments about my last entry, where I suggested that new silicon technologies would significantly change the role of the operating system.

One thing I failed to mention was that I was positing some future version of the .Net CLR that would focus purely on computation, and on network connectivity. This would significantly simplify the task of writing a “raw metal” CLR. Yes, Microsoft would have the problem of maintaining two different CLRs – a server/middleware version and a client version – however, the architecture that Microsoft is driving towards through the various Windows Foundations wouldn’t preclude such a move.

In fact it would make it easier – leaving Microsoft with a componentised CLR that could be tailored for specific tasks. After all, not everything needs a UI, and the .Net CLR is part of a mature application server platform. A componentised CLR would also allow Microsoft to synchronise releases of the Compact Framework with the full .Net system.

The Windows hypervisor would be able to manage multiple “raw” CLRs effectively, allowing system managers to get much more bang for the buck without the OS overhead.

And perhaps then Microsoft backends could take advantage of intriguing new technologies like Azul Systems network attached processing.

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