Microsoft Showcases Windows Innovation at WinHEC
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
At the 13th annual Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), held this week from May 4-7 in Seattle, Microsoft will highlight hardware and software that will shape the future of Windows computing.
At the WinHEC 2004 show, focus will be on the following:
- The Windows Home Concept, a prototype of the next generation of hardware and software innovations designed to deliver the ultimate entertainment and communication experience in every room of the home
- Windows XP 64-Bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, scheduled to be released in the fourth quarter of 2004; a Driver Development Kit and enhancements including support for Visual Studio® .NET 2003 and the Microsoft® .NET Framework 1.1
- The Devices Profile for Web Services specification detailing how to connect smart devices via Web services and preview developer kits
- Universal Serial Bus (USB) Flash Drive technology for simple configuration of wireless network security
- An updated version of Windows "Longhorn" developer preview code for device manufacturers to begin development of native Windows "Longhorn" device drivers
In his opening keynote address titled Seamless Computing: Hardware Advances for a New Generation of Software, Bill Gates, Microsoft's Chairman and Chief Software Architect, described the hardware and software breakthroughs coming over the next several years, including advances in connected systems, information-driven scenarios and rich interfaces that deliver great experiences, that will bring the vision of seamless computing closer.
He also took time to talk about security. One of the things he pointed out was that the first release (Windows Server 2003) Microsoft did after their huge focus on reducing the vulnerable code base, and changing the compiler had significant less critical security fixes in the first year compared to previous Windows versions (13 versus 42 was mentioned). He still wasn't happy about those 13, and thinks that Microsoft can, through the right kind methodologies, testing tools, probably improve another order of magnitude.
So hopefully this will be a good indication for Windows XP Service Pack 2, where a lot of code is being re-compiled with the new compiler.
Later Jim Allchin, Microsoft Group Vice President, Platforms, took the stage with his keynote address entitled Beyond Better, Stronger, Faster: Innovating around Experiences.
First off, Allchin started talking about experiences, and how experienced thinking is the way to the next segment of growth for Microsoft, and it's going to drive this next economic move.
On the client side, Allchin commented on Windows XP Service Pack 2 (SP2), which will be released late this summer, and will focus on safety features, including a new Network Setup Wizard that will setting up a secure wireless network a breeze. Allchin also commented on the new Tablet PC (Edition 2005 - code named Lonestar), which will have mayor improvements in its handwriting recognition, and pointed to the release of Windows XP 64-bit Edition for 64-Bit Extended Systems, which targets AMD64-based systems and the upcoming Intel-based x86 64-bit systems.
On Windows "Longhorn", the next Windows version, Allchin said that Microsoft has now decided to develop the client and server together, building them in synch. That's something Microsoft hasn't done previously, and originally it was also planned to release a server version of Longhorn some time (around 6 months) after the client version.
Microsoft provided WinHEC attendees with a new alpha build of Longhorn (4074), the first build it "publicly" released after the pre-alpha build they released at the PDC conference in 2003. I'll be taking a look at the 4074 build later, and will write a review about it.
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