I have discussed the issue of support for Longhorn technologies on existing platforms with some Microsoft people I met during the Tech-Ed in Eiat a couple of weeks ago. One of them, Yosi Taguri, suggested that I post my concerns on this site, so here it
As a proponent of Microsoft technologies in Tecnomatix, I was always proud to introduce to Tecnomatix new productivity enhancing technologies from Microsoft. I was also proud to be able to be an early adopter of these technologies, as all major technological breakthroughs I wanted to use were always available on all supported platforms (.NET being the latest example).
Now, Microsoft is starting to talk about Longhorn, and the message I am getting is that contrary to your policy up to today, it seems that there will be no backward support for most of the Longhorn technologies. I am personally interested in Avalon and its promise to bridge the gap between UI designers and software developers. In Avalon, the developer can always implement any GUI designed by the graphic designer. Today I always get GUI that is easy to implement…
However, anybody writing "out of the box" software, that needs to be installable at different customers, using different Microsoft platforms, will not be able to target these new technologies. We would have to wait until Longhorn becomes a legacy platform before we could program to these new APIs, as we must make sure our software runs on any supported Microsoft platform. There is no way we will be able to split our implementation into a branch using Longhorn, and a branch using "legacy ..NET" – too expensive.
Thus, as things stand now, I face the prospect of not being able to use any new client technology after .NET 2.0, for many years. I see this as a breech of an unwritten contract I had with Microsoft. I push your technologies into my products, and as a bi-product I "make sure" they are not portable to competing platforms. You in return make sure I can use the most current technologies available, as soon as they are released. Now I am afraid the Java proponents in Tecnomatix will gain power as they claim Microsoft is not even compatible with itself, as opposed to Java that will run on any platform.
The decision not to support legacy platforms is not an item for a feature review within the Longhorn team. It is a strategic decision that affects the ability of all Independent Software Vendors to adopt Longhorn technologies, the next major technology breakthrough. I would much prefer to get a Longhorn with less features, but one I can use, than having a very advanced Longhorn that I will have to wait many years to use.
MPM Applications Group