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  • More Details About Longhorn

    Posted on April 15th, 2005 at 23:27 woody Comment on the AskWoody Lounge

    Windows Group VP Jim Allchin has been flying all over the US spreading the gospel and spilling a few beans about the next version of Windows – which is still known as Longhorn.

    Joris Evers from IDG/PC World, Carol Sliwa and Robert L. Mitchell at ComputerWorld, John Foley at Information Week, Ina Fried at ZDNet/CNET, and Michael Miller at PC Mag all have essentially identical coverage. As usual, Paul Thurrott had the most insightful coverage in his WinInfo Daily Update newsletter. And, as usual, Mary Jo Foley’s Windows Watch site included some tantalizing additional information.

    When it comes to features, I’m still not overly impressed with Longhorn – but I may change my mind. We’ll see a new 3D interface (Avalon, driving the Aero interface – the “glittergrade”?). There’s new plumbing for Internet applications (Indigo). We’re supposed to get “Instant Desktop Search”, but whether it’ll be much better than Google Desktop Search remains to be seen. (No, I don’t use Search Folders in Outlook 2003, and I’d be willing to bet that the new Longhorn “Virtual Folders”, sans WinFS, will have all of the same problems). Microsoft says that it will finally get a folder synchronization routine that works. Could happen. Heaven knows they’ve been trying long enough.

    On the security front, I wonder how Longhorn will balance the power of Admin accounts with the new default “Standard User” accounts. As for parental controls, pardon me while I guffaw. Any teenager who can read a newsgroup posting will be able to crack whatever Microsoft comes up with, in no time flat. “Whole-volume encryption” sounds a lot like NTFS encryption. Where’s the beef? IPv6 is neat, but I wouldn’t pay for it. So far, Longhorn’s feature set strikes me as being a whole lot of warmed-over-what-we-got-now.

    As for the schedule… man, Microsoft’s bafflegab machine is in high gear.

    There’s a “pre-Beta 1” going out to WinHEC attendees next week. No word on how that differs from the Avalon and Indigo preview that Microsoft released a few weeks ago, except that pre-Beta 1 is “dramatically improved” and we still won’t see the much-anticipated Aero interface.

    After the pre-Beta 1 we get “a Beta” after the Professional Developer’s Conference in September, per Mr. Allchin. I have no idea if this Beta will be the real Beta 1, Beta 1 Reloaded, pre-Beta 2, pre-post-Beta-Preview 3, or The Beta At The Bottom Of Blackcomb. Paul says that Microsoft’s interrnal schedule calls for Beta 1 in May (about the same time as the “pre-Beta 1”) and Beta 2 in October (about the same time as Allchin’s “a Beta”). Mary Jo says Beta 1 will go out in July/August, with “Technology Previews” in late 2005 and early 2006, with Beta 2 sometime in the first half of 2006. Clearly, Microsoft’s timeline is up in the air, although they will shove something out the door at the end of this month, and no doubt have something else ready around the time of PDC.

    Longhorn’s final delivery date is way up in the air, too. Not too long ago, Microsoft announced that Office 12 (the next version of Office) would not require Longhorn, thereby prompting speculation that the Office and Windows development teams were off on separate schedules, presumably because Office would be done long before Longhorn. But Allchin’s comments have me scratching my head (and other parts of my anatomy). He says, “We’re still on track for shipping by holiday 2006, so we’ll be done before then.” Paul’s conjecture is that Microsoft may hold off on shipping Longhorn until Office 12 is ready – presumably, Christmas 2006.

    This much I know for sure. If we’re still 12 to 16 months away from a final product, absolutely anything could happen, with either Longhorn or Office 12. Stay tuned.

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      woody
      Da Boss

      Windows Group VP Jim Allchin has been flying all over the US spreading the gospel and spilling a few beans about the next version of Windows – which i
      [See the full post at: More Details About Longhorn]

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