The little bird known as El Reg tells me that Microsoft are planning to slice features out of Longhorn (the version of Windows under development, for the uninitiated) to make a 2006 ship date. The most notable of these are WinFS and Avalon. WinFS was touted to be the filesystem to end all filesystems, allowing you to query your file structure just as if it were a database, and find exactly the file or files you wanted effortlessly. Looks like that’s going to be snipped, although it did seem a little too advanced for its own good.
The other feature, Avalon, is something I’m less keen on losing. Essentially, as far as I can tell, Avalon combines a rather nicer method of writing graphical interfaces (called XAML) with Microsoft’s amazing and revolutionary technique of having each application write its graphics out to an internal buffer, and then to use a DirectX graphics card to combine these windows together in a fully hardware-accelerated manner. This feature is so amazing and revolutionary that they appear to be cutting it out to attain release by 2006. I guess this is the technology of the distant future after all.
So why exactly does Apple appear to have already implemented it?
Sadly, it seems to me like the much-lauded, all-singing, all-dancing offering from Microsoft is slipping to be significantly less impressive. Ah well, by 2006 I’ll probably have a Mac anyway…
Addendum: CNet has a slightly different story, claiming that not only will Avalon be part of Longhorn, it will also be released for Windows XP along with the third ‘big feature’ of Longhorn, codenamed Indigo. This seems rather strange, as it implies they are generating more work for themselves, which could hardly bring the ship date forward. I suppose we shall find out in 2006. Maybe.