In February we discovered that Windows 10X will offer full compatibility with Win32 applications, but it seems that this claim has not held up very well with the test of time, at least according to what emerges from a new report published by colleagues from Windows Central, from which we learn an important change of course of the project that could also have consequences for "regular" Windows 10, according to Mary Jo Foley of ZDNet.
According to reports, in fact, it seems that the latest internal builds of Windows 10X have been deprived of VAIL, the technology used by Microsoft to virtualize Win32 programs. This means that the operating system will only be able to run UWP or Progressive Web App applications, while for old Win32 programs another strategy will be adopted: support via the cloud.
This will be based on a service similar to Windows Virtual Desktop offered within the company and will therefore allow for dab the absence of native support (or rather, local virtualization) for all users who need access to specific legacy programs.
The reason for this choice, according to sources, derives from Microsoft's choice to reposition Windows 10X on a new market segment. The project was originally born with the aim of offering a competing platform to Chrome OS, but was then specifically addressed to the world of dual screen laptops, thus going to position itself on a more prestigious segment.
Over the past few months, however, it seems that Microsoft has decided to retrace its steps and focus again on the low cost market and in the education market, choosing to make Windows 10X the reference operating system for all those who are looking for reliable and cheap terminals. Furthermore, the choice to remove VAIL would allow the project to disconnect from the x86 architectures and also to land on ARM SoC-based terminals, which continue to present various problems with the virtualization of Win32 programs.
Among the other reasons for the removal of VAIL there also seem to be reasons related to the poor performance – in terms of energy and the use of system resources – of the system adopted by Microsoft, as well as real compatibility problems by virtualized Win32 applications. This last detail comes from a report by ZDNet which agrees on almost every aspect highlighted by Windows Central, although it leaves open the possibility that VAIL will return to Windows 10X by 2022.
It seems that the first commercial product based on Windows 10X – could arrive by the first half of 2021 and will be equipped with the web versions – not UWP – of many Microsoft applications, such as Teams, the Office suite and Skype, in order to strengthen the concept of an operating system thought around the web, far from the traditional Windows 10 – which as a consequence of all this could move to a more relaxed major update cycle, one per year instead of the current two, in order to free up development resources for Windows 10X.
In short, there is an important change of scenery for Windows 10X – the latest news regarding support for devices with a single display hinted that something was taking another course (in this case too ZDNet points out that support for dual screens will only arrive in 2022) -, if the indiscretions were to be confirmed.
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