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Extensibility

A friend of mine looked at the word extensibility last night and asked, "What is extensibility? Is that a word in the English Language?" Flexibility and extensibility were among the highest priorities for NT-based systems designers because they allow applications and operating system software to be upgraded quickly and in a cost-efficient manner. The upgrading typically extends the functionality of the software. Owing to the quickly changing face of computer hardware and application hardware requirements, extensibility of an operating system is key to its continued success.

Windows 2000's modularity of design renders extensibility fairly easy. NT was intentionally written in such a way that modifying it for future upgrades and porting it to other computer platforms are possible with relatively little hassle. The environment subsystems are a case in point. They can easily be removed or new ones added. They aren't even loaded into memory unless they're needed. Likewise, all the other major portions of NT are written and function as modules: the security subsystem, the hardware abstraction layer (HAL), and the NT Executive (kernel, I/O manager, object manager, security reference monitor, process manager, Local Procedure Call [LPC] facility, and virtual memory manager).


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