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Microsoft Shows Off Experimental Designs for OS and Browser

Threats from Web applications are behind both ServiceOS and Gazelle browser

3 min read

11 August 2009—This week, computer scientists from Microsoft Research will unveil a new design for an operating system and a browser built to withstand the growing security threats of the Web. Though the projects—ServiceOS and the Gazelle Web browser—are far from becoming commercial products, they provide insight into how Microsoft views the evolution of PC software.

Helen Wang, a senior researcher, will present two papers on the designs at the USENIX Security Symposium this week. Wang says her work and the work of her colleagues is intended to address a “paradigm shift” in how PCs are used. People are increasingly dependent on their digital devices, and they are much more likely to use Web applications for everything from office chores to shopping, she explains.

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Why Functional Programming Should Be the Future of Software Development

It’s hard to learn, but your code will produce fewer nasty surprises

11 min read
A plate of spaghetti made from code
Shira Inbar

You’d expectthe longest and most costly phase in the lifecycle of a software product to be the initial development of the system, when all those great features are first imagined and then created. In fact, the hardest part comes later, during the maintenance phase. That’s when programmers pay the price for the shortcuts they took during development.

So why did they take shortcuts? Maybe they didn’t realize that they were cutting any corners. Only when their code was deployed and exercised by a lot of users did its hidden flaws come to light. And maybe the developers were rushed. Time-to-market pressures would almost guarantee that their software will contain more bugs than it would otherwise.

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