Windows 7 is due to launch in just two weeks time, but Microsoft have been working on its immediate and distant successors for some time now. Details about so-called Windows 8 and Windows 9 (perhaps unlikely to be their real release titles) have emerged thanks to a LinkedIn profile of one of the team members involved. According to that developer, Robert Morgan, Windows 8 and 9 will both have some degree of 128-bit architecture compatibility, with the latter OS definitely supporting IA-128.
"Working in high security department for research and development involving strategic planning for medium and longterm projects. Research & Development projects including 128bit architecture compatibility with the Windows 8 kernel and Windows 9 project plan. Forming relationships with major partners: Intel, AMD, HP, and IBM.
Robert Morgan is working to get IA-128 working backwards with full binary compatibility on the existing IA-64 instructions in the hardware simulation to work for Windows 8 and definitely Windows 9."
This is surprising, because Microsoft was expected to make Windows 8 64-bit only. That would follow on from Windows Server 2008 R2, which is 64-bit. Windows 8 may not be fully 128-bit ready - after all, Morgan only says they're working on full binary compatibility.
For end-users, Windows 8 should bring with it a new, improved hybernate/resume system, a new remote desktop system, and new security features including a PatchGuard follow-on. However there's a pretty long wait for the new OS; Windows 8 isn't expected to arrive until 2011 or, more likely, 2012.
[via Ars Technica]