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Microsoft Talks Open Source, Shows 64-bit at WinHEC

In a keynote at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference ’99 (WinHEC) in Los Angeles, Microsoft Corp. president Steve Ballmer said that the company is considering the possibility of opening source code to Windows, and demonstrated a 64-bit version of Windows 2000.

"We're trying to really understand and decide what to do about is this notion of open source," Ballmer said. "We're really studying and talking to customers about their reaction to this source code availability."

Microsoft’s president demonstrated the 64-bit Windows running on an emulator for Intel Corp.’s pending Merced chip and an Alpha-based server. With SQL Server 7.0, program manager Richard Waymire searched 800,000 rows from six and a half gigabytes of memory; first with Windows NT 4.0, which took ten minutes, then he performed the same search with Windows 2000 on the Merced emulator in about 30 seconds.

"With 32-bit NT you could get 4 gigabytes of memory. With 64 bit Windows 2000, 8 terabytes of memory," Waymire said.

Contrary to Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates’ keynote at WinHEC last year and several announcements since, the company will also be releasing another version of Windows 9.x, that will not be based on the NT kernel. Following in the footsteps of its Windows 9.x predecessors, this new version will be built primarily for consumers, but also will be available to corporate users.

Ballmer announced a new server appliance based on the Windows NT Embedded operating system that was jointly developed with Intel Corp. The Windows Server Appliance is scheduled to be available in the second half of 1999. – Thomas Sullivan, Senior Reporter/Northwest Correspondent

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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