Longhorn evisceration

Snipped Longhorn logoThe 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.

3 Responses to “Longhorn evisceration”

    •  Gravatar for Ben
    • From Ben
    • Saturday 28 August 2004 at 11:45

    Hmmm, bit of a shame is that.

    WinFS, far from being “too clever for its own good” really should be a ‘must-have’ for future end-user operating systems. The

    // system of strucuturing documents on a computer is really rather worn out — espeically in an age of pictures and music that can bridge traditional ‘filing’ catagories. WinFS – if implemented as described by MS – would really have been quite revolutionary. Now sure, Gnome are working on their own version and I’m toying with writing one as a third year project, but MS were actually ahead of the game here and this was one of their ‘new ideas’ that really was rather impressive.

    As for Avalon, I didn’t really know much about that before (beyond the pretty screenshots).

    It’s hard to tell really what Microsoft will actually be shipping if all of this is dropped, other than a reskinned Windows XP. Rather depressing, really.

    •  Gravatar for Jonty
    • From Jonty
    • Saturday 28 August 2004 at 15:38

    Methinks Microsoft are missing the revenue a new operating system brings, hehe.

    What is intriguing is how the original ‘three pillars of Longhorn’ may be adaptable (‘WinFS’ storage engine, ‘Avalon’ presentation layer, ‘Indigo’ web services platform). Apparently Windows Server 2003 and Windows XP SP2 may be able to accommodate Indigo, if not more. To make things more confusing, it seems that certain aspects of these ‘three pillars’ do not always correspond to actual features. For instance …

    Longhorn will still feature a very rich search experience … It’s kind of a mistake to equate local search with WinFS. They are different platform elements. So local search will still happen, and we will still deliver a very compelling full text search in Longhorn, alongside new shell capabilities. This will provide some semblance of the ‘Find My Stuff’ experience. But it won’t be the full relational store with deep integration and platform exposure via APIs. For end usrs, however, it will be the same. We will offer a very compelling user experience for local search inside of Longhorn.

    I guess we’ll have to wait and see what happens. To much speculation can drive a man crazy 😉 (… it seems like that Gabe Newell HL2 gold date may also be a speculative hoax :().

    •  Gravatar for Fatty
    • From Fatty
    • Saturday 28 August 2004 at 15:54

    Nah, speculation won’t drive a man crazy – I’ve been speculating all my life, there’s nothing wrong with me 😉