Windows Longhorn: Shipping in 2006?
by Arie Slob
Hello Windows users,
In the past week you might have seen a number of articles dealing with the next Windows version, currently code-named Longhorn. Most were based on an article from BusinessWeek online which suggested that Microsoft has decided to omit "some of the most ambitious features."
When you actually read the original article, you may also realize that there's not that much to it, although many reviewers read over the details and announced that Microsoft is making changes to WinFS, the new database-like file system in Longhorn. Reading the article, it is explained ain this way: "The current plan calls for the file system to work on PCs but not extend to files shared over a corporate network."
I don't consider that much of a change. You might recall that I went to visit Microsoft for the 2004 MVP Global Summit. There we had access to a lot of information about Longhorn, and saw the latest build versions in action. Without going into too much technical detail, the way that WinFS is able to find related information across different file types (email, word documents & pictures - for example) is that it stores extra "meta-data" within the files. But when a file is moved/copied to a non-Longhorn machine, this extra data will be lost.
The main reason that Longhorn got moved back (delayed) is the amount of work that has been put into SP2 for Windows XP, and SP1 for Windows Server 2003. All the new security features (Updated Firewall, new Security Center, and code-recompiling) have used resources that were scheduled for Longhorn development. You can see a short review of Windows XP SP2 RC1 on the Windows-Help.NET Web site.
Windows XP SP2 is now scheduled for release this June.
Microsoft also promised that it will be providing a new build of Longhorn to developers at WinHec (to be held May 4-7), to replace the "PDC" version released last October. A beta is planned for 2005, while 2006 is mentioned as a release date for Longhorn.
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