Fog Creek Software
Discussion Board

Newbie Overview of Longhorn?

Can anyone provide a link to a very superficial overview of Windows Longhorn that is more than "blah blah enabling information synergies etc etc"?

I was intrigued by a comment that it's not based in any way on the NT kernel. I didn't know that, because I basically ignore the hype about new Windows releases until they are selling at retail.

I am interested in reading about the scope of the project, the development languages being used for its development, and the amount of compatibility with Win32.

Moronic questions I know. TIA.

Bored Bystander
Monday, August 30, 2004

If you ignore the hype, continue to do so. With at monimum 14 months left to release the new version, everything can change. One of the main features, WinFS, a new file system based on SQL and XML technologies and advanced queries (like, in a second give me all photos from the kids) was just postponed/cancelled.,1377,64759,00.html

Mauricio Macedo
Monday, August 30, 2004

What I was interested in were some of the broad parameters of Longhorn. Why it's "special", why a desktop user might want to switch to it, whether it has any trace of NT in it, etc. I don't think the basic nature of any major release will change even in a couple of years.

Bored Bystander
Monday, August 30, 2004

If you know that it's moronic that why do you make yourself pathetic?

Monday, August 30, 2004

How's this?

Monday, August 30, 2004

---I was intrigued by a comment that it's not based in any way on the NT kernel. ---

According to Mr. Joel, that would constitute suicide on the part of Microsoft. I guess it is just a rumor.

Whatever they do, it will always be the NT kernel; just by looking at the requirements - here you need a HAL there you need a Object Manager, then you need a cache manager - whatever you name it, it is NT.

Michael Moser
Monday, August 30, 2004

BTW, why is WinFS such a big deal? Couldn't it be possible to rewrite the CreateFile() API so that it first writes its infos into a database, before actually sending bytes to hard-disk (or USB key, etc.)?

Monday, August 30, 2004

"BTW, why is WinFS such a big deal?'

Simply saving the data to a database, or even search indexing the contents of all files, is a road well travelled already on the desktop. What they were trying to add with WinFS is a defined set of schemas that cover every application data need, so an email from any app uses a row in table "emails", for instance.

Of course this is something that is absurdly more difficult than it first appears.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, August 30, 2004

Well, and what they're really hoping to do is to add a set of schema's for documents PRODUCED BY MICROSOFT PRODUCTS... and maybe not-so-well-supporting the other guy's stuff. So it would appear that the microsoft search results come up a lot "faster" when you have a lot of microsoft products... nice, huh.  I'd bet anything that's the driving force here, because why make a database unless you're gonna use it to collect metrics and block out competitors?

Not trying to be cynical, I really want to know why?
Monday, August 30, 2004


I can't believe that you're actually suggesting that Microsoft would create a proprietary feature in its OS that interferes with its competitor's application products?!

Hah, like THAT's ever going to happen.


Bored Bystander
Monday, August 30, 2004

"Of course this is something that is absurdly more difficult than it first appears."

And utterly pointless.  They're trying to solve a problem that nobody cares about.

full name
Monday, August 30, 2004

<luke>I care</luke>

Chris Altmann
Monday, August 30, 2004

Why use a relational database?

Because typical computer users are highly skilled at organising their data in regular (and even well-normalised) forms, always categorising data accurately, and can always remember the exact schema used for organising their data when they go to search for specific records.

Ahem. Anyone want to buy a bridge?

I'm not even convinced that it's all that brilliant even for address books - there'll be an easy API to access a table where people's names are stored back to front or in the wrong field, and inevitably someone will suggest adding a filter so that "he lives in maryland or virginia, I need to check this" is an illegal entry (how dare you not put in one and only one absolutely valid entry?) making it hard or impossible to find the list of people you know who probably live in a specific state that you're visiting next week unless you remember that you need to search the comment field and manually filter out all the people who you noted used to live in the state in question. (Apparantly WinFS will allow all sorts of amazing relationships between various types of documents - which is wonderful, but it's going to make it much harder to ban hard to understand data and much more important to actually deal with the data in the way users enter it, rather than the normalised "pure" forms that databases like.)

See? Relational databases are good because most people have huge amounts of well structured and regular data, while in the real world they can be problematic because most people don't realise they're supposed to be so organised in order to make computer's lives easier.

Still, being able to group files by type and a few basic categories won't be all bad - a good number of the users who've managed to grasp advanced folder management will eventually learn the fine art of grouping files by multiple categories and there'll be a few people making money off "learn to categorise your files in 21 days" books :)

Monday, August 30, 2004

To avoid the threadjack and answer the OP's question - usually works for any manager types that start asking questions.

Greg Hurlman
Monday, August 30, 2004

Thanks, the Winsupersite article is just what I was looking for.

Bored Bystander
Monday, August 30, 2004

The "activity center" reminds me of a baby's "Busybox".

Gosh, lookit all the little widgets.  Tied tightly into MSN I'm sure.

When I tried to install Money 2003, I was had to apply for a Passport password.  The install went no further.

Microsoft's desktop UI has always been a follow on to someone else's good ideas.  Win95 was a OS/Warp ripoff (which may have been a ripoff of something else I'm sure).

Regardless, there appears to be nothing new here, and without Apple or anyone else coming up with some good ideas to copy, this is the end result.

I see gains in the Linux dersktop ahead. The rest of the world is standing still, and gives the Penguin time to catch up.

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

My first take on the features of Longhorn is silly overcomplexity and adding administration burdens (SQL Server based file system, for God's sake!!?) that are inappropriate for the desktop. Plus a resource-sucking graphics system mandatory in the package that is basically designed to obsolete desktop hardware currently being  sold. NICE.

This is the end game of a company that still needs crap to sell even though what they currently have is perfectly OK.

It's like little kids painting a "masterpiece" and then crapping it up by embellishing it (OK, I just plaigarized that last analogy...)

I always pose the following question - what's the application? What problem is this trying to solve? Here, there is no obvious answer other than "keeping MSFT above 20"...

Bored Bystander
Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Avalon sure got a lot of Microsoft bloggers excited, though. I'm not usually terribly critical of MS but it does look like they're mostly creating shiny new toys for themselves these days.

Chris Nahr
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

*  Recent Topics

*  Fog Creek Home