Microsoft Doesn’t Understand (part 42)

A few days ago Frans Bouma asked if the (new?) WinFS delays were
politics or incompetency, pointing to ReiserFS version 4 as an example of a fast, meta-data lovin’ next generation file system. ReiserFS version 4 has been developed and released while WinFS is keeps on getting delayed. Anyway, Robert Scoble linked to this and asked

Think about the engineering problems there. Does Photoshop run on Reiser? Yet it’ll need to run on WinFS cause the market expects that of Windows apps.


A while back (several years) Microsoft made a big splash by announcing they were going to have a booth at one of the Linux Shows (don’t remember if it was a Linux
World or what) and everyone was amazed that such a bold move was to be made. The impression that Microsoft had was that “Linux people” just didn’t understand that Microsoft wasn’t a big bad guy, but was there to help. Roberts comments above about Photoshop and ReiserFS indicate that the opposite is true.

  • Photoshop runs on linux thanks to Code Weavers Crossover Office.
  • The model under linux is that Filesystems and physical devices are pretty independant of the user experience. IE: it doesn’t matter if I run ext3 or ReiserFS or XFS, or if I’m running on one physical disk or 10, it’s just a filesystem, and they’re just files.

Of course, one thing that Robert brought up in my mind (unintentionally I’m sure) is how the different development models work. In the Linux and Open Source world it is possible for a completely separate company to develop something so “close to the metal” if they have the experience because all the APIs, source code, and tools are available free.

If a company wanted to develop a WinFS-type filesystem for Windows would they be able to? Could they give it away for free? I doubt it. License fees, cost of getting Shared Source, etc etc would make it pretty much impossible. Course I might be misinformed, someone prove me wrong.

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