Windows 8 Preview: Open Source, Apps, HTML5, Tablet Ready, Cross Platform and Linux?

A few weeks ago browsing YouTube I stumbled upon some previews of Windows 8 and I uncovered a surprisingly dramatic new direction. One quote sums it up: “We reimagined Windows“.

This was prior to Microsoft unveiling it at the BUILD conference on 15th September 2011. Here it was revealed that a large focus will be allocated to developing Metro Apps for Windows 8 (Metro UI is Microsoft’s ‘design language’ using principles, such as the typography, to approach the design of the user interface by consolidating groups of common tasks, to speed up usage and catch the eye. A refreshing change from icon based interfaces).

The focus on Apps and Metro UI clearly indicates Microsoft’s intention to make headway in the tablet and mobile computing market. But what I found out about the other features of Windows 8 really intrigued, how many of these features are speculative, rumours or truths will remain to be seen…. So whats the deal?

Design and Layout

The first video I found was this one

Something of an official Microsoft preview video on Windows 8 development. Notable features in this video are how the design and layout is very similar to what we have seen recently on mobile phones using Windows OS. The interface is designed with much focus towards applications and how these can be easily be accessed, moved between and operated. The user interface allows applications to be scrolled through indicative of smart phones and the whole OS is very much tailored towards touch screen devices.

Microsoft clearly see touch screen as the future and are directly taking on Apple with this approach.The suggestion that Windows 8 may be cross platform, i.e. it can work on systems other than PC’s, means the whole market could be blown right open. Microsoft have not stated this is the case but if it does come true there are good times ahead for the consumer! …more cross platform info found on

User Interface using HTML 5 & JavaScript

In this video Chris Porillo talks about the UI and how website languages HTML5 and JavaScript are used to build the top layer of the interface, giving further weight towards the prospect that Windows 8 could be cross platform, because the very nature of web languages is that they work across the board. The use of HTML5 and JavaScript opens the doors to developers with website development knowledge to get involved with making Apps for Windows.

Backwards Compatible, Play your old DOS Games, Virus Free…. or Fake!?

More in-depth features are revealed here – – with a guy who has installed a  leaked version of Windows 8 and he picks it apart bit by bit. Some interesting points are raised throughout such as; A 3D navigation system where screens are rotated through as if on a 3D cube, old software such as DOS games are supported, it will be virus free. Initially this is all very impressive but from trying to validate this and getting nowhere, plus the many comments of ‘Fake’ on the YouTube board, we can conclude that most, if not all of this is a hoax. Yet….

Based on Linux

The biggest revelation is at the end of this video where the OS appears to be based on Linux. Eh!? However further support to this claim is found here, on Here it is claimed that Microsoft is using a fork of Linux kernel in this version. “The OS was fast and detected all our hardware — a clear indication of Linux’ presence“. There are also reported messages in the change-log by Linus Torvalds (chief architect of the Linux kernel) which Microsoft engineers forgot to remove.

Another blurring of truth’s perhaps? An equally if not more likely eventuality is that Windows 8 will lock out the ability for Linux to be installed on a Windows 8 machine due to doing away with BIOS for a secure boot protocol known as UEFI. Essentially, the UEFI technology is designed to protect against rootkits and other low-level attacks by preventing executables and drivers from being loaded unless they bear a unique signature. These signatures, or keys will not be generic and can be assigned by any vendor so unless they are made available, Linux won’t install .…read more here

Okay, we may have gone a little too techy for the average reader here, still, however much of this is true, it certainly has people talking about Windows 8. How it plays out remains to be seen. Lets just hope its not Vista Mk2!


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