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Jim Allchin - From starving musician to Longhorn vice president

47 minutes, 5 seconds


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Yesterday morning we sat down with Vice President Jim Allchin (aka the guy who is responsible for developing Windows).

Here's an index of the questions we ask. We talk about Longhorn and the recent Winhec conference, as well as get a personal look into Jim's life.

00:00 Where are we and who are you?
00:25 What do you do?
1:10 If you wanted to change the start button to a purple color you could probably get it done, huh?
1:30 What's your average day like?
3:00 What's a Jim Allchin review like?
5:14 What don't we know about you?
7:30 You're dogfooding Longhorn?
8:41 Tell me about your press tour last week. (Discussion about what Jim's passionate about; 64-bit, peer-to-peer, stuff happening around edge).
14:35 What's going to be thrilling in Longhorn? (Reaction to Winhec reaction. Discussion of Metro. Discussion of what Winhec was for).
18:17 Why are you so passionate about 64-bit Windows?
22:13 When did you get into this industry?
22:35 Are you suprised by how far this industry has come in just your lifetime? (Discussion of where industry is heading).
24:53 So the PC is not dead?
25:17 Getting the Channel 9 guys involved. What's coming on the Tablet PC?
27:30 Any guesses on how long it'll take most mobile devices to have inking capabilities?
29:07 What's the developer story on Longhorn?
31:16 What is a business going to get out of upgrading to Longhorn?
36:09 The most exciting thing about Longhorn for me is security improvements (discussion of security improvements in Longhorn).
38:12 What kinds of new applications (or improved ones, like Notepad/Paint) will ship with Longhorn?
39:03 Will Avalon and Indigo be in Longhorn?
39:40 What is the desktop compositor?
41:33 What will Longhorn do with RSS?
43:00 What's different about search in Longhorn?
45:45 When will we get a chance to use Longhorn?


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  • byronbyron strike1
    After watching WinHec, and others, the more Im falling in love with this area,Longhorn and Avalon.
    Thats me anyway, just to say....
    "In the future Imagine receiving a CT SCAN FROM HOSPITAL to/on your home or clinical medical records in Longhorn using webservices, in 3D Mesh,and Data 3D,avalon ,3D Diagnostics medicaly,apps,bypassing direct the doctor or your local G.P in your area, even if the hospital is far away, by broadband.Good for patients external and internal,
    Great for doctors at work or home with media center and the New windows systems.The systems can also be direct from Doctor to patient, if needed and vice versa."
    Just a little richmedia idea in reality attached to processes in hospital to I.T Systems,networked and using the webservices Live on demand medical records,
    with SQL2005.
    Everything connected, securely, New managed Code
    applied, to all.
  • Chris123NTChris123NT Longhorn Guide Writer
    Hmm, hes running 5059 as his main OS.

    Scoble, would you be able to find out if he has the nasty directsound bug thats been plauging the WinHEC build?
  • eddwoeddwo Wheres my head at?
    Great Interview. He seemed much more relaxed than in the last one.
    I'm starting to really look forward to using Longhorn, pity it's still such a long way off.

    Good answers about the compositior, registry virtualisation, application updates, new controls, etc. Sounds like its going to be fun.

    How much further up the chain of command can you go with your interviews? There can't be many people above him, apart from one obvious example...
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    eddwo, our hope is to get the one obvious example you mention in the not too distant future, but's it's hard to get on his schedule. We hear he loves Channel 9, though, so it shouldn't be impossible!

    Something tells me Steve Ballmer may be up next for the big shot interviews.

    Stay tuned.

  • moofishmoofish Living in Scotland, UK
    I saw this before, Scoble 'donated' the video prematurely to posting it here at Neowin.net.

    I thought it was a good video, I'm surprised he managed, at such an important time, to get Mr. Allchin's time. All I have to say is after learnign of his interest in P2P I would like to see this in MCE soon, I gather it will be in Longhorn so MCE should hopefully benefit.

    And not to mess up Notepad, the review of this as well as Paint and some new apps, well I won't ho;d my breath but I can't see Notepad being changed for the better unless Edit/Undo is given greater attention.

  • very interesting video indeed! congratulations on that one. i also found Jim Allchin's views on the internet as a raw means of transport (except some applications of course) worth noting... somehow the internet seems to get "demystified" a little these days and people tend to focus a bit more on the client side, whether it's the pc or connected devices etc.. the stuff i use to work on my information of interest (that maybe has been gathered via the internet).
    interesting shift in the point of view. maybe this is because users have gotten used to the web so much now, that it's taken for granted. it's nothing special any more.. so we've to focus on the client side again (also from a vendor's perspective). innovation in the structure of the internet might be achievable much harder with a sane amount of vision, time and money...
    i'm very much aware that microsoft is trying hard to change the way information can be shoved through the internet with new standards, the indigo platform, etc. i'm more refering to the excitement and focus of the industry (not so technical a post)..  just my random thoughts, much too late at night.

    btw, i have to say i'd really love to see an interview with Steve Ballmer. keep on your (more than) good work guys!

    more off-topic than anything i might have written here before: channel9 needs to get a hold of Jim Allchin's desktop wallpaper!
  • Andre Da CostaAndre Da Costa Created with PhotoDraw 2000 V2
    Thanks for asking my question Mr. Scoble.
  • pretty cool interview.  Now I want to hear his music.  What instrument(s) does he play?
    That said Longhorn does not seem to interesting from a web developer perspective.  Now if I can start developing some avalon apps that's a different story.
  • OkobojiOkoboji Kevin Moore, Program Manager, WPF, WinFX

    He played it at the company meeting a couple of years ago. He's really good.

    It's nice to have cool execs.
  • Good interview.
  • bimmerbuffbimmerbuff What's next?
    Great interview! Enjoyed immensely. Allchin seems like a really cool exec...
  • moofish wrote:
    I saw this before, Scoble 'donated' the video prematurely to posting it here at Neowin.net.

    Yeah Robert, what is with these 'I want to give you an early look' messages? You give them to your blog readers, and apparently to other relevant websites as well, and then you point us in the forums to it before release as well.

    Why bother?
  • Stevan VeselinovicSteve411 Me, all suited up!
    See those computers? Running the new longhorn WinHEC build. Microsoft will ask you guys to take the video down cause you're showing too much stuff.. Wink
  • tsilbtsilb Hardware Geek, Multimon, Carputer
    Do does this cameraman purposefully get up close and aim his loud laughs straight into the microphone or what?
  • tsilbtsilb Hardware Geek, Multimon, Carputer
    Jim, if you're reading this:

    As a consumer I fully (and enthusiastically) agree with your "Get it out in bits, quickly" attitude.  To be blunt, We want bits on Looking Glass!!!
  • I'd like to know how as a company we can make strategic decisions on something that is only a year away but that we can't get access to.

    Would it be possible to know why the WinHEC release is not going to be available on MSDN?
  • rjdohnertrjdohnert You will never know success until you know failure
    Good interview Scoble, he seemed a little nervous at first but it looked like he calmed down a little.  I actually met Allchin 1 time but I doubt he would remember, anyway, cool guy, great job guys.  Scoble we are still waiting for Bill Gates or the Steve Ballmer interviews.
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    tsilb: the problem is I'm using on-camera microphones and those are pretty close to me, since I'm both the interviewer and the camera guy. Sorry about that.

    As to the questions about why I posted the video other places than here? Cause I needed to get that video out into the community since our lawyers were messing up relationships. Sorry for the confusion. I can't post here until I get all the pieces uploaded and Thursday night I only had the download piece uploaded (the streaming servers are harder to get stuff up on).
  • don't you guys work
  • I need a longhorn beta
  • CharlesCharles Welcome Change
    sohamroy wrote:
    don't you guys work

    Yeah. Too much. You?
  • I have do my studies at OSU at night. I am a senior at UAHS. I am kinda busy.

  • MauritsMaurits AKA Matthew van Eerde
    sohamroy wrote:
    I need a longhorn beta

    Did you ever get that XBox to boot linux?
  • yes i need, but gentoo is the best
  • manickernelmanickernel anticipate ​consequence​s..
    This was great. Kill the lawyers.
  • {OffTopic} Why is the RSS feed no longer working?  It no longer loads in my reader, and I get the following error:

    XML Parsing Error: reference to invalid character number
    Location: http://channel9.msdn.com/rss.aspx
    Line Number 72, Column 50:MSI (s) (94:60) [08:38:52:367]: Note: 1: 2262 2: DigitalSignature 3: -2147287038 <br>

  • William Staceystaceyw Before C# there was darkness...
    Like it.
    I know Marking has its own ideas, but I would like to see LH, Media Center, and Tablet edition combined into one product.  Media Center is really just an application (or set of applications) that could run on standard versions of windows with the right hardware (i.e. TV card).  Same with Tablet.  The Ink and touch stuff could be installed with LH.  Could be used if you have some kind of touch device.  It would be cool if display devices could be hooked up on a multi-port card like a 5 port Firewire card (but not Firewire).  Then adding displays would be like plugging in some new USP device.  If a display device handles touch or ink, then you can get the "tablet" features.  If you unplug device (i.e. laptop and go) then you don't have access to them, unless you could still use a mouse or something (ugg.)  Kinda like a plug and play tablet feature.  Media Center "app" features in LH could downgrade/upgrade same way. If you have a TV card or one gets pluged in (i.e. firewire/USB x.x), you have more features, if not, you get reduced set of features.

    Right now I have to decide if I want MC, Tablet edition, or std XP.  Don't really want all three as seperate machines.  I would not have to choose if they all could be "enabled" on an XPx/LH build.  I still might decide to buy a rack box for the entertainment center (with the TV card), so I gotta buy another copy anyway.  So its not like you would be loosing an OS sale.  

  • LONGHORN needs to hurry and get here!!!! UGH, I am tired of waiting. Sad
  • rasxrasx Emperor of String.Empty
    It very, very important that men like Mr. Allchin are brave enough to tell the truth about their past relationship with food stamps. Seriously. Any student of history (not the channel but the books) cannot deny that a guy like Jim can be censored or jailed for mentioning in public that he was on food stamps.

    Propagandists out there, trying to make lies common knowledge and common sense, would have their new world order scrambled when people like Jim mention that they were on welfare.
  • Andre Da CostaAndre Da Costa Created with PhotoDraw 2000 V2
    Cheerios without milk!!! Damn, this guys a survivor!
  • rhmrhm
    The absolute most important part of this video was when Jim was talking about was to sandbox processes. Robert asks about integrating VirtualPC and Jim says that yes, you could do that, but then the user has to deal with multiple machines with disconnected resources. Jim suggests a way of running a process and giving it limited access to resources like files/registry, but also possibly implementing a shadow scheme whereby the process thinks it has full access to parts of the filesystem and registry but nothing actually changes outside the processes 'world'.

    I firmly believe this sort of thing is the future of operating systems - giving processes limited access to resources based on the trust of the actual program rather than the traditional simplistic unix inspired "process has access to everything the user running it does" model. That model was concieved before the days of malware. Smug Linux users are always saying how important it is for users to log on in a non-priveliged account as if that solves all your problems. Of course it stops every tiny buffer overrun opening a route to take over the entire machine, but it still allows malware access to all the files the user has access to which can be massive.

    There are solutions to this in other operating systems and it's probably already possible on Windows to write a subsystem that restricts access, but things like ACLs and chroot() and other tools you would use to set up such an environment are difficult to use and you can't expect end-users to get involved in that sort of thing. If I know Microsoft at all I know that they will only implement such a feature if it can be done in a way that is easy for casual end-users. If Microsoft can do this it will be a great triumph and certainly make it worth the upgrade.
  • I really would like to know what the story is with Avalon and Indigo and to what extent they will play a part in Windows XP (Win32/64). 

    Frankly, what I've seen with Avalon and Indigo and how they could potentially run in XP (with faster machines, etc. in a few years) makes me wonder, "Why do I need a new OS again?" 

    Yes, the big winner would be in terms of security (if and only if Microsoft indeed gets that crucial part right) and some other things he mentioned, but I guess maybe I need to see the pizazz or something because the story isn't complete for me.
  • guegue
    Hey Scobleizer,
    woulda loved to HEAR the interview, but then I saw the ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY MEGABYTE FOOTPRINT of this file and I shuddered.

    I guess there´s not ONE demo in it?! Could you PLEASE provide an audio file at an apt bit rate for TALK? Needn´t to be HIFI!

  • gue wrote:
    Hey Scobleizer,
    woulda loved to HEAR the interview, but then I saw the ONE HUNDRED AND NINETY MEGABYTE FOOTPRINT of this file and I shuddered.

    I guess there´s not ONE demo in it?! Could you PLEASE provide an audio file at an apt bit rate for TALK? Needn´t to be HIFI!


    If you use streaming and have low bw, the total footprint will be lower as a lower bitrate version will be output from the MBR. If you on the other hand have a fast line but with daily/monthly quota.. http://www.microsoft.com/billgates/speeches/2005/04-25WinHec05.asp has some answers to questions presented here also.

    For the LH demo we have to wait for Beta 1 it seems.
  • guegue
    let me repeat again in advance:

    Is it really too much asked that those techies seperate the streams for download and provide three D/L buttons?

    Example: Millet on Indigo - 138MB d/l

    300Kb stream 93MB
    110Kb stream 33MB

    Work of two minutes on my laptop.

    So they can continue filming without the least of a concept. To seperate demos from talk that is.

  • slyzaarslyzaar Chill...

    Who was asking the questions? He has the most annoying laugh ever!

  • Andrei PAndrei P Geekpedia.​com
    Great interview, now I'm more anxious than ever for Longhorn to come. For me, as a geek, I'm going to feel like moving in a new home.
  • scobleizerscobleizer I'm the video guy
    Slyzaar: I was asking the questions.

    Sorry my laugh is annoying. Can't do much about it, it's my laugh and I enjoy what I do.
  • SteveProStevePro Avatarless.

    Really enjoyed listening to what Jim had to say.

    Raised a little concern for me at the 40 minute mark where Jim is talking about the "Desktop Compositer".  For performance reasons, I hope the architecture is not such that every bit destine for the display has to go through the Compositer. 
    Intense performance starved graphics applications would not appreciate the overhead.

    Holding out for the 64bit verson;)

  • SecretSoftwareSecret​Software Code to live, but Live to code.
    it is sad to see him go. He is retiring after Vista ships.

    I wanted to see how MS will solve Multi-Core problems and concurrency without locks.

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