Analysis: the future of operating systems

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Microsoft chief executive Steve Ballmer has said that the company "won't ever take five years to develop another version of Windows". If this is true, and if the time between previous major consumer versions of Windows is any gauge, it places the successor to Windows Vista, code-named Vienna, on course for a 2010 or 2011 release.

Apple's Leopard revision of OS X, due out in early 2007, will make incremental improvements to the Mac OS, adding such features as an automated backup utility and multiple workspaces. And on the Linux front, the XGL and Compiz windowing systems – interfaces that finally give Linux a pretty face – may outdo OS X's Aqua interface in sheer awe factor.

In Compiz, the windows stretch and skew as you move them.

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