Microsoft's code name for 64-bit Windows was also a dig at rival Sun

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Microsoft adept Raymond Chen has appear that Redmond's efforts to anchorage Windows from 32-bit to 64-bit had a cipher name that served a additional purpose: a agilely buried dig at a rival.

Although today's Windows 11 is a 64-bit operating system, added than 20 years ago Microsoft was angry with how to anchorage the cipher from the 32-bit world. The antecedent ambition was Intel's Itanium architecture. The botheration was that aback then, the chips alone existed in simulators.

However, the 64-bit Alpha AXP was available, and Microsoft had absolutely a few systems lying about (Compaq pulled abutment for Windows on the accouterments in 1999) so the plan became an accomplishment to anchorage 32-bit Windows to the 64-bit Alpha AXP.

In 2016, Chen wrote about the analysis of an old Alpha AXP apparatus active a 64-bit adaptation of Windows from aboriginal 2000. His recollection this week apropos the cipher name of that project: "Sundown."

Microsoft loves a cipher name. Famous ones accommodate "Chicago" for Windows 95, "Memphis" for Windows 98, and "Longhorn" for Vista. It isn't abandoned – during the contempo DevOps World accident in London, CloudBees CSO Sacha Labourey told The Register that an accomplishment to accompany the action software maker's SaaS artefact and Jenkins DevOps applique afterpiece calm had been dubbed "Convergence."

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Chen said yesterday: "I hadn't accustomed the cipher name abundant thought. Lots of projects accept cipher names, and you rarely anticipate acutely about the name. It's aloof an approximate accumulating of words to analyze a project."

Except it wasn't absolutely so arbitrary. Sun Microsystems had afresh appear Solaris 7, the aboriginal 64-bit UltraSPARC absolution of the operating system. According to Chen: "The 64-bit adaptation of Windows was a absolute advance adjoin Sun's aboriginal foothold, with the ambition of unseating the accepted leader."

This was accepted at the address affair for the work. According to Chen, the activity advance took to the stage, thanked the aggregation for their adamantine work, "and again accomplished the accent by announcement 'Sun? Down!'"

Ah ha. Chen had an epiphany: "It was again that I accomplished that the cipher name of 'Sundown' was not called arbitrarily. It was a jab at Sun Microsystems."

It would be addition tech behemothic that would kill off Sun already and for all, years after – but that's addition story.

And Microsoft's -to-be dominance? History has apparent us that the OS titan absent an arising trend. Chen explained: "Today, the arch 64-bit operating arrangement is neither Solaris nor Windows. It's Android.

"As of 2020, over 80 percent of adults in the apple own a smartphone, over 70 percent of smartphones are active Android, and about 90 percent of Android accessories use ARM64."

Well, quite. ®