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Earlier this month, Microsoft’s distinguished engineer Eric Traut gave a presentation at the University of Illinois about Microsoft’s virtualization technology. He also talked about where the Windows core is going and ended with a sneak peek at the kernel of the next version of Windows (Windows Vista successor), known by the exciting codename of Windows 7.

Windows 7

While the presentation is not directly about Windows 7, it contain a demonstration of MinWin – an internal project to literally strip down the Windows to the core and build the most efficient Windows kernel which will be used in Windows 7. The kernel is only 25MB (compare to 14GB for a full Vista setup) and even includes a simple HTTP server.

Isn’t this great? Microsoft has finally decided to go the Linux way, separating the core kernel system from the presentation layers. In Traut’s presentation, although the new kernel ran in a Virtual PC with 40MB of RAM only compared to todays Vista requirements of at least 1GB of RAM, the MinWin ran reasonably fast. It booted up in about 20 seconds inside the Virtual PC. Anyway, it’s still not quite as lightweight as some distributions of Linux kernel but remarkably a good start for Windows.

Watch the presentation below.

Core of “Windows 7” taking shape: meet the “MinWin” kernel