Tuesday, September 02, 2003


Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: The Road to Windows Longhorn 2003  

Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: The Road to Windows Longhorn 2003: "How we get there, when it happens
During his WinHEC keynote address on May 7, 2003, Will Poole, the Senior Vice President of the Windows Client Division at Microsoft, revealed the roadmap for Longhorn, setting the final release date of the product firmly in 2005, two years from now."

Exactly what I've been saying! In my case, it was an 'educated guess' :). It's a major Windows kernel change. That kind of thing doesn't happen in a couple of months. In any case, I'm sure that Microsoft wants to wait until the 32/64-bit Athlon64 is firmly entrenched on desktop machines before a new, high-power OS hits the streets. Anything truly revolutionary will likely require massive amounts of CPU horsepower, even if much of the former hoopla was smoke and mirrors. Anything that sets a new mark in user-freindliness will need that power to understand us quirky humans.

Now, given that this will be a new OS "from the ground up", or so it's been claimed by Microsoft, then it gives us some logical ground to build on AND it makes certain things about their current moves become clear. If the new OS won't run any of the current software (which is certainly possible), then we get a VERY CLEAR picture of WHY they went out and bought VirtualPC. When the new OS comes out, it will become the only OS in every supported platform. To ease the pain and to give Mom&Pop developers time to get with the act, they'll package VirtualPC with every copy of Longhorn that goes out the door and call it 'Longhorn' Compatibility Service or some such. Old apps will run inside VPC and be as happy as they could be. Meanwhile, people will have to start migrating to Longhorn native apps, because there won't be XP around forever to run under. Microsoft, if they can pull this off, will be making money like it's going out of style. A whole bunch of big corporations will be FORCED to buy new apps all around, if they want to run the (theoretically) must-have apps and features of the new OS. That's a HUGE amount of software going one way and money going the other. One point I hope Microsoft doesn't stumble over is that for the average consumer to make the jump, they're going to have to be offered some very compelling reasons why, starting with a price no higher than Win XP Home. This is because even if we see a 'Longhorn' Home version, it still means replacing a lot of apps in a short time. The share of the bucks going to this first version of the OS is going to have to be a little on the light side. Of course Microsoft can write the difference off against the gigantic profits from Office 'Longhorn'. You can read this further quote from Paul's article and notice how it confirms my guess-

"The interim version will help companies do away with DOS-based tools dependencies, and work with adding software applications directly into OS images. The next version of Microsoft Office, now known only as Office 12, will use this technology and, I'm told, ship concurrently with Longhorn."

WinFS is designed to deliver new file searching and navigational features to end users. One of the big problems with PCs today is that it often takes longer to find a document on your hard drive than it does to find information on the Web via Google. With WinFS, that will no longer be the case. See my Longhorn Alpha Preview 3: Build 4015 review for information about the new Libraries in WinFS that will help users logically collect related documents and other information.

Integrated DVD burning
As I first reported in WinInfo, Microsoft is supporting more than just the DVD+RW recordable DVD format, and at WinHEC the company formally announced that it would support every recordable DVD format in Longhorn. This means you will be able to use DVD-R, DVD+R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, DVD-RAM, and DVD+MR (Mount Rainier) format recordable DVD media with Longhorn, and not just DVD+R and DVD+RW as reported elsewhere"

About d**n time...

Having WinFS riding atop the file system will make life interesting for us all. I'm not sure how legacy apps will take to this playing fast and loose with the file system, but as it says, it will be atop NTFS, which narrows the field a good bit for utilities that it has to deal with.

The BIG question is: How will the new OS address the things that have deviled PC users since the very beginning- IRQ's, system resources, and ill-behaved apps that want to crash the system? And please don't write to say that the OS has nothing to do with things hardware, like IRQ's. It's a two-way street. If Microsoft says "JUMP", the hardware manufacturers say "How high?". They all want that 'Windows Certified' sticker.

The frames shown from the new AERO UI, whether faked or not, show the usual Microsoft lack of imagination, so they may be real. Imagine, if you will, an orbiting Start button in the shape of a sun, with numerous application 'planets' circling it in space. If the interface is close to that described by Paul, then the future holds a lot of 'Wow' factor for us all. The only thing that makes me cringe is the very real cost of the hardware required to give it to us. We're not only talking a hairy big CPU, but a brand new high definition, wide-screen display (read 'plasma or OLED', I think). The only thing that will let us in the door of this Brave New World will be a massive system upgrade- new hardware AND new software.

We'd better start saving now!

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?