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Changes in Longhorn Plans

I thought the following would be interesting  to those discussing .Net and forward/backwards compatibility. It seems that Avalon will now be targeted to run on XP as well as Longhorn. I think Indigo was already intended to do so.

It also looks like the full-on object database style WinFS will be pushed off to coincide with the later server release of Longhorn (IMHO a good idea). There will instead be some sort of advanced search capability (probably related to their purchase of Lookout and comparable to Spotlight from a user POV).

All of this is to make sure they ship in 2006.

http://news.com.com/Microsoft+revamps+its+plans+for+Longhorn/2100-1016_3-5327150.html?tag=nl

"Microsoft is making changes to all three pillars. WinFS will be available as a beta when the Longhorn release comes out as a client. Avalon and Indigo will be part of Longhorn, but also made available separately at the time the client ships for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

By making Avalon and Indigo work on older machines, Microsoft hopes more developers will want to write software that takes advantage of the new technologies. Had they been Longhorn-only features, the concern is that developers would have held off writing software until there was a critical mass of machines running that operating system."

Chris Altmann
Friday, August 27, 2004

I somehow suspected WinFS would be the hardest thing to pull off.  Making a fundemental change to the file system itself is probably the hardest thing to accomplish in terms of software compatiblity.

John R. Troy
Friday, August 27, 2004

I was always underwhelmed by WinFS, so I don't think delaying it is a big deal.  With WinFS Microsoft solves the easy problem (defining a standard way to exchange metadata), but punts on the hard problem (defining agreed-upon schema).

I do like the idea of Avalon being more widely available, but I suspect it will face the same adoption problems that .NET did/does (how do you get current customers to install it?).  I predict a long and healthy life ahead for our old friend USER32.DLL.

It's too bad that the grand idea of a brand new platform was scrapped, though.  Bold ideas are beautiful.

Oren
Friday, August 27, 2004

Heh. I was thinking the same thing. Apparently so was Bill himself: "It's not a tiny download, but it's the kind of download that is not unreasonable in today's world."

http://news.com.com/Gates%3A+Longhorn+changed+to+make+deadlines/2008-1016_3-5327377.html?tag=nefd.top

Chris Altmann
Friday, August 27, 2004

So if WinFS won't be anything like as innovative as the original designs intended, and the other exciting new APIs are going to be backported to XP... what killer featurs does Longhorn have left?

I'm not saying another evolutionary upgrade like XP would be a bad thing -- but it'd be a bit of a let-down after all the hype...

confused
Friday, August 27, 2004

Well, I think Avalone alone is a good paradigm shift for development. 

Windows is in bad need of an interface upgrade--we need to start developing vector-based icons and text management, so we can prepare for hi-resolution screens and multimedia apps. 

That alone is what I am excited about.

John R. Troy
Friday, August 27, 2004

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