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Microsoft Reportedly Working On a 'Lightweight Version of Windows' Known As 'Cloud Shell' ( 164

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Neowin: Last week, details emerged of Microsoft's plans to develop a single, unified, 'adaptive shell' for Windows 10. Known as the 'Composable Shell', or CSHELL, the company's efforts were said to be focused on establishing a universal Windows 10 version with a standardized framework to scale and adapt the OS to any type of device, display size or user experience, including smartphones, PCs, tablets, consoles, large touchscreens, and more. Today, Petri reported that Microsoft is working on a new shell for Windows known as 'Cloud Shell'. According to internal documentation referred to in that report, Cloud Shell is described as a "lightweight version of Windows designed for the modern computing world." It also hints at plans to introduce the Cloud Shell sometime in 2017 -- but little else is known about the new shell besides that. Cloud Shell is said to be connected, in some way, with the Windows Store and Universal Windows Platform app framework, and the report speculates that it may also be related to Microsoft's plans to bring the full version of Windows 10 to mobile devices with ARM-based processors, which it announced in December. However, the cloud nomenclature, and the reference to this being a 'lightweight' version of Windows could hint at a 'thin client'-style approach, in which the Windows 10 shell could be streamed from Microsoft's Azure platform to any device with an internet connection, while its cloud servers remotely handle all of the processing and storage requirements of each users' tasks.
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Microsoft Reportedly Working On a 'Lightweight Version of Windows' Known As 'Cloud Shell'

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  • Yay (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:43PM (#53744421)

    Another product no one asked for or wanted.

    • Re:Yay (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:12PM (#53744689)

      People often don't know what they want, until they're given it, there's the (possibly apocryphal) Henry Ford quote:

      If I'd asked customers what they wanted, they would have said "a faster horse".

      • by Opyros ( 1153335 )
        It does sound likely to be apocryphal to me; after all, Ford didn't invent the automobile!
      • Was the Model T even really faster than horses though?

    • An unbloated, slimmed down version of Window has been on lists for decades. Think: plausible container shells, ROM-able instances, VDI.

      It remains to be seen what the downside(s) are, but yeah, skinny Window might actually be, dare I say it, competitive?

      • Yes it has been on that list... and it was found over a decade ago in a product called Linux (please see reference of potato web server: [] )
      • I'm a Linux guy. I use Funtoo/Gentoo pretty much everywhere.

        This honestly piqued my interest.

        I maintain a custer of DNS servers based on PowerDNS and MariaDB Galera. The deployment image I use is only a few GB uncompressed.

        If MS can bring Windows Server down to 2-3GB (uncompressed) I'm sure people will find a use for it.

        Undoubtedly the licensing will get in the way, like it always does.

        • Lots of items are unknown. Licensing, api differences, so much more. I'd like to shoot bullets and see how tough it is.

        • If you're already paying for a data centre licenses for your VMware hosts, I doubt it.

        • If MS can bring Windows Server down to 2-3GB (uncompressed)

          Windows 2000 Advanced Server was slightly cramped on a 1GB disk, but fitted fine. 2-3GB is a very low bar for an OS. A full install of the FreeBSD plus web, mail, and DNS servers is well under 1GB.

          • I agree. My DNS image is tailored specifically to my needs. Which is MariaDB Galera Cluster.. the dependencies that pulls in is quite a bit.

            I'm sure I could trim a fair amount of stuff out, but its not worth my time to test to ensure that everything works perfect out of the box on deployment, when this works. After all, compressed with xz its under 1GB, and transfering data center to data center it's pretty quick.

            I haven't used Windows Server, but my recent experience with Win10 is that it's a storage pig.

    • Re:Yay (Score:4, Insightful)

      by OtisSnerd ( 600854 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:57PM (#53745035)

      Another product no one asked for or wanted.

      You're missing the idea that this is a three letter agency and data harvesting company wet dream. Now, they don't even need back doors into your desktops, only to the cloud back end.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:43PM (#53744429)
    Interestingly, the internal name is Universal Data Harvester.
  • by phantomfive ( 622387 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:43PM (#53744431) Journal

    Cloud Shell is said to be connected, in some way, with the Windows Store and Universal Windows Platform app framework,

    Does anyone even use either of those?

    • by epyT-R ( 613989 )

      The few people playing microsoft exclusive games maybe.. That's about it.

    • by vbraga ( 228124 )

      I do use. I still have a Lumia 640. Not a bad phone. I could use a GMail app. There's a few other apps I'd like to have (Lykke wallet, an official Google Play Music client).

    • We had a hard enough time getting our customers to drop XP, and that was predicated upon the notion that security updates were no longer going to be forthcoming from Microsoft. We've got another 3 years to go before we'll be able to even consider such things--when MS ends Windows 7 extended support.
    • by cjjjer ( 530715 )
      Not the store per se but UWP. I have developed a few apps for my company already. One is used on both desktop and some cheap windows tablets (inventory / shipping / receiving).

      As for the Cloud Shell I wonder if it's just a version of Windows Server 2016 Nano running in the cloud.
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Does anyone even use either of those?

      For a few apps on my Windows (non RT) tablet, yes. That's it.

    • ...eventually. UWP is a self contained environment with access to APIs that are outside the scope of Win32, as MS updates its APIs to integrate with these services and also other features of UWP, they will further diverge from Win32, meaning Win32 will stop seeing API updates and be relegated to an "insecure" and deprecated status.

      MS is shifting Windows to a walled garden and will drag everyone there kicking and screaming.

  • rumors... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:44PM (#53744437)

    Rumors claiming that a space was misplaced by one character during creation of the marketing materials, and the product was originally to be called "Clouds Hell" cannot be confirmed at this time.

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:44PM (#53744439) Journal

    Microsoft sells cshells by the sea shore.
    The shells Microsoft sells are surely cshells.
    So if Microsoft sells shells on the seashore,
    I’m sure Microsoft sells seashore shells.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    What is old is new again

    Or you could just run ReactOS in a VM.

  • by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:45PM (#53744459)

    At least on the desktop. I am sure 'compromises' will be made that will favor mobile interface layout and aesthetics.

    • by rtb61 ( 674572 )

      Who cares what it looks like, if they can not deliver privacy and security (those two go hand in hand), then they in reality have nothing to offer, well, not to normal people. To psychopathic dictators of course, windows 10 the dream operating system, (would this indicate the board of M$ is composed of potential psychopathic dictators with delusions of controlling the world via a global extortion scheme, all your secrets belong to us).

    • by E-Rock ( 84950 )

      Maybe we'll finally get an RDP thin client that doesn't cost as much as a full PC.

  • by ruir ( 2709173 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:46PM (#53744465)
    CLoud shit, another product from the reverse midas than instead of turning everything it touches into gold, turns into turds. And no, I have not forgot to post as AC.
    • Golden turds sound great in theory till nature calls and the plummer makes off with the source of the clog!

  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:48PM (#53744489) Journal

    ... hey we have all this billions invested in WindowsPhone OS that we don't know what to do with since we plan to leave the market? Any ideas?

  • 64 bit x86 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:55PM (#53744551)

    How about getting 64 bit x86 to work instead of emulating 32 bit x86 which is 1980s technology?

    • by caseih ( 160668 )

      Okay I'll bite. How does MS emulate 32-bit x86 on 64-bit machines? I've got 64-bit Windows 10 on a couple of machines. I've not seen any evidence that these are 32-bit machines in disguise. Many apps out there are still 32-bit, probably for compatibility (32-bit is still supported as a platform), but many are 64-bit native. Are you telling me the software installed in Program Files--as opposed to Program Files (x86)--are all 32-bit?

  • The Cloud (Score:3, Interesting)

    by backslashdot ( 95548 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @04:58PM (#53744579)

    Nowadays everything wants to connect to the cloud. I mean you pull up Apple or Google maps on a phone and it can't even display a generic map showing where you are. It insists on asking the cloud. Yet somehow the OS is like 16 gigabytes in size. How can it take up 16 gigabytes when it doesn't know anything?

    • Spyware. It needs it's safe spaces. Safe spaces take space.

    • by bob4u2c ( 73467 )

      How can it take up 16 gigabytes when it doesn't know anything?

      Simple, all that space is used for storing tracking and real world data about you for "product development" purposes. You know the kind, where you are the product!

    • by Zaurus ( 674150 )

      Emojis. The first 1 gigabyte is the os, the next 15 gigabytes are emojis.

      They haven't even started including the video emojis yet.

      Once we have video emojis of every possible cute cat action, then we will have finally perfected the operating system.

    • by nasch ( 598556 )

      You're expecting your phone to show a map of your location without downloading it from the internet? How would that work exactly?

      • Umm, have a basic map on the phone. It doesn't have to be super detailed though it could have a cache of your neighborhood. That won't take up that much memory. I mean they could easily do it for a few hundred megs. At least the main roads and nearest highways .. if not an approximate location on the planet. Currently neither Apple nor Google will even show you what town you are in without asking the cloud.

        • OSMAnd has a world map that is about 30MB and gives you the country and major cities, but nothing much beyond that. Detailed maps for European countries or US states weigh in at 100-300MB (except France, which seems to have incredibly detailed maps and is a few GBs). Routing works offline and I can easily store a map of my home country and half a dozen countries that I've visited recently or plan to visit soon on my cheap 3-year-old phone.
        • by nasch ( 598556 )

          Umm, have a basic map on the phone. It doesn't have to be super detailed though it could have a cache of your neighborhood.

          I doubt many people would have much use for a nationwide map with nothing more than interstate highways, and preloading the device with a detailed map of the US, let alone the world, would be impossible or at least prohibitive. You can certainly instruct the app to cache an area for offline use, but it's not going to do that without you instructing it to (which is appropriate), and the first time it gets that map it has to come from somewhere.

          There are map apps that work differently if you don't like the o

      • by Anonymous Coward

        All the roads in the US fit on a 700 Megabyte CD rom, probably with room to spare. Even with Apple's outrageous prices for flash memory, it wouldn't be a big hardship to include offline maps.

    • by Desler ( 1608317 )

      Because your phone is supposed to get map data from the aether?

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Your OS runs in the cloud and you shell out money every month to use it

  • Chrome OS? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by jfdavis668 ( 1414919 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:08PM (#53744667)
    Doesn't this sound awfully like the Chrome OS? Just Microsoft running the servers instead of Google?
    • 2017 will be the year of The Cloud.
      2018 will be the year of Linux
      2019 will be the year of the Doomsday Clock
      2020 will be the year of cockroach computing

    • That was my first thought. My next thought was that Classic Windows would be bolted on the side the way ChromeOS is starting to run Android in a weird sand box. The final move is to create 'Windows Instant Apps' instead of 'Android Instant Apps' and teh circle will be complete,
    • Microsoft's motto: Monkey see Monkey do.

  • In a couple of years they will be releasing a browser called Navigator.
  • I know CS degree programs are supposed to be hard, but not THAT hard.

  • by hey! ( 33014 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @05:15PM (#53744713) Homepage Journal

    It'll bring everything you love about Windows to the Cloud.

  • Great! Now they'll have an operating system that only takes 10 minutes to boot up instead of the 20 minutes currently required.

  • who read that as "Compostable Shell"?

    Seems fitting for a shitty product...
  • Surely an oxymoron.

  • The cloud is the business of human behavior, leaded by Facebook.
  • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @06:16PM (#53745153) Journal
    20 years ago, someone would have a bright idea. Some venture capitalists might see some potential. They will work feverishly on it. Microsoft might get a wind of it. And it will just release a press release saying it is considering working on the same idea. That's it. The VCs will flee like they had seen ebola. Funding gone, the startup will die.

    Now people just make fun of Microsoft, when it says vaguely plausible things they might have actually invested on. Even stupid idea like warehousing products in the near earth orbit and delivering packages using Multiple Independently Targeted Re-entry Vehicles by Amazon would be discussed seriously. But Microsoft? nah! No one believes it can do what it says it wants to do. Including the VP in charge of the project.

  • The first C-SHELL will suck.

    It will be followed by a new and improved TurboCSHELL...

  • Back full circle (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Dorianny ( 1847922 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @06:37PM (#53745261) Journal
    And just like that we are back to the days of mainframes/dumb terminals except that know we will call it the cloud/thin client. The reason are simple, vendor lock-in, walled gardens and "services" instead of ownership means you can milk your clients for years instead of selling them something once
  • See shill CSHELL! Bye, the csh whore.
  • by JeffOwl ( 2858633 ) on Thursday January 26, 2017 @07:17PM (#53745483)
    I used to do a lot of stuff in a lightweight environment called C-Shell and it was really awesome, but that was more than 30 years ago and it really didn't have a lot to do with MS.
  • This might actually work if it supports standard Windows software. For example, you may have an old machine running few selected programs, or even have an actually light version of Windows for Raspberry.
  • Sounds like they are bringing back Windows NT.
  • If Micro$oft wants to please me, they need to work on a Lightweight version of Windows known as Linux.

  • ...but instead of needing to because of technology and cost constraints, Microsoft is doing it as a method of control. Once Microsoft has the O.S. and your data on their servers, they have you by the curlies. You'll pay what they tell you to pay to access your own data or they pull the trigger.
  • So the Azure platform will be in some far away place. People will access it using "thin" clients. The C Shell name also has been co opted. I predict next the display will be called Virtual Teleport 100 or something, and it display 24 lines each 80 characters in beautiful glowing green phosphors.
  • Computer scientists will love this
  • I'll take the lightweight version with a 'old school' UI that only does OS tasks without the shop and telemetry thank you very much.

Have you ever noticed that the people who are always trying to tell you `there's a time for work and a time for play' never find the time for play?