Some Legacy Subsystems Wont Get Windows 64-Bit Support

The portable operating-system interface for Unix, 16-bit computing and the OS/2 subsystem will 'be lost' along with some legacy transport protocols, product manager for the Windows 64-bit client says.

SEATTLE—While Microsofts upcoming Windows 64-bit client for extended systems will be almost feature-compatible with Windows XP Professional, some legacy subsystems and transport protocols will not be supported in that release.

"Not included in 64-bit Windows are some legacy subsystems like 16-bit support, the OS/2 subsystem and the portable operating-system interface for Unix [Posix]. Some of the legacy transport protocols will also be lost," Brian Marr, product manager for the Windows 64-bit client, said Wednesday at a session on 64-bit computing during the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) here.

In March 2003, Microsoft released Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, which supported the Itanium processor family. The next version of the product for 64-bit x86 extensions will be released in the fourth quarter of this year, and it will give users the ability to run their 32-bit applications today and then move to 64-bit computing down the road, he said.

On the server side, Microsoft is focusing on Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 (SP1), which is due by the end of the year. A number of its 64-bit Windows Server ports will be made available simultaneously with SP1. These include Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition for Intels 64-bit Extended and Itanium processors and Windows Server 2003 Extended Edition for AMD 64-bit Extended processors.

The industry has a huge opportunity with 64-bit computing, but Microsoft cannot do it alone, Marr said, repeating the calls by chief software architect Bill Gates and Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president of platforms, for developers to write 64-bit drivers.

"The biggest thing about moving to 64-bit computing is that 32-bit drivers wont work, and we really need the ecosystem around that to make this work," Marr said. "Microsoft can provide the foundation work, but without you and our partners, we cannot achieve this. We are looking to you to help us provide drivers for 64-bit."

Next Page: We see this as the default platform on PCs in the next few years, Marr says.