Thursday, February 10, 2005

Microsoft's Longhorn -- A Recipe for Disaster?

I am one of those people who just can't wait for an updated software release. I am always waiting to see those new, gotta-have features that will make my life simpler. Its funny, though: the new features frequently make my work harder rather than easier. Nevertheless, I continue to hope that just around the bend.... You get the idea.

Microsoft is due to release its newest operating system, codenamed "Longhorn" sometime next year, some five years after the previous release, Windows XP. I've been following Longhorn's development from fifty-thousand feet and I have to say that, in at least this humble blogger's unschooled opinion, Microsoft may have bitten off more than it can chew. Longhorn is supposed to radically change the Windows environment, both as to how information is displayed and how it is processed. It all sounds very exciting and, if implemented, could change how we users relate to our PCs. But it has already run into some problems that have led to a scaling back of Microsoft's vision for the product. Several months ago, Microsoft announced that it was scuttling plans to include WinFS, a dramatically new filing system for Windows files, in Longhorn. Apparently, they just could not get the system to work well enough to include in Longhorn.

Now I understand that Microsoft is releasing for testing two of the three remaining pillars of Longhorn -- Indigo and Avalon. These two technologies still have not been melded into even a preliminary beta version of Longhorn. It sure seems to me that Microsoft still has a long way to go to get Longhorn in final form for a 2006 release. It also seems to me that they are going to have a tough time selling such a radically changed product to the all-important corporate market, which seems to be quite happy with Windows 2000, thank you very much.

I like Microsoft products and can't wait to see Longhorn. I just hope it hits the mark.

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