Microsoft is developing versions of its Windows operating system with only a subset of the Windows code base, designed for specific server tasks, in a move that could reduce maintenance costs for customers and create products that are less vulnerable to attack. The new "role-based" products may appear in 2007, when the server version of Longhorn is scheduled for release. Offering a smaller code base would mark a significant technical shift for Microsoft and could help it to better address the competitive threat posed by Linux. But it also presents significant engineering challenges for the company, industry analysts say.
Microsoft already sells two role-based versions of Windows--one for storage and one for Web serving. They essentially conceal from users the parts of Windows that are not needed for the task at hand, making them easier to install and use. But those products still are based on the entire Windows code base.
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News source: PCWorld