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Business Week - How Microsoft is Clipping Longhorn

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  • User profile image

    Business Week's Cover Story this week is about Microsoft at its middle age. As a part of this issue, there is an online supplement including this article:

    How Microsoft is Clipping Longhorn

    The article details the ongoing process that happens with every single software project. First you spec, then you get feedback, then you adjust and prioritize, then you ship. All of us how build software for a living know this process well. Nothing new under the sun.

    Longhorn is an ambitious and exciting project that we think will bring lots of innovations and improvements for users, developers, and IT. Lots of good stuff in here, with more details to come from Microsoft in the coming months.

    So what do you think?

    Slashdotters sure are having a ball!

  • User profile image
    Eric G. Harrison

    I'm not surprised that this is happening.  To me, this is starting to look like a mirror of Cairo.

    I really like MS products, but the combination of marketing wagging the development dog, lock-in attempts with three year contracts (which is now coming back to haunt MS I'm thinking) and product incompatibilities (you need version 2003 of every app to get this other app to work) is telling me that MS is starting on its downward slide.

    After a while, the marketing sounds shallow, the lock in gets tiresome, and people begin looking in other directions.  Heck, look at Linux - the Linux distros pretty much promise nothing and then deliver tons of improvements.

    I know MS is in a tight spot - if you don't tell anyone what you're doing then you get it from people that you're keeping secrets, but if you do tell everyone what's happening then you're trading in vaporware.  MS is in a position I don't envy!

  • User profile image

    I don't think the BizWeek article is FUD at all. People are blowing what it says out of proportion.

    Gates already acknowledged recently that MS is cutting "minor" features to try to get LH out the door. Until now, we just didn't know what "minor" meant.

    Also: the information on Windows XP Premium looks dead on, from what my sources are telling me.

    Here's my take on the story on Microsoft Watch, fwiw:,1995,1565118,00.asp

  • User profile image

    Well, I for one am happy.  I think Microsoft realizes that they *need* to produce an absolutly rock solid, secure OS with longhorn.  Win3k is a great stride towards that on the server side of the market, and if we have to sacrifice a few Longhorn features so that Microsoft can focus on secuity and stability, I'm all for it.


  • User profile image

    A hard position indeed ... but a place of privellege and responsibility. Nothing like being caught between the old world of business and a new world that doesn't play by anyone's rules. I personally am fascinated by the dynamic.

  • User profile image

    Yes, I don't think most people realize how much of the OS is changing. It's not just about new feature and new "cool apps" delivered with longhorn. It's mostly about enabling third parties to build these cool apps with a new, clean, powerful API replacing Win32. Managed code to the core and WinFx enable that. That's a huge undertaking and for a while we wont have much to show for it. 

  • User profile image

    While I am disappointed to see features cut I don’t doubt that MS carefully thought out all the issues. I guess it’s that horrible PM triangle on work Smiley

  • User profile image

    I would say this, with Security and the API the top priorities, a scalled back version of WinFS would be fine. Most users would not know how to use it (unless Office or the other built-in apps used it like the "My *" folders and so on).

    I would say to make the UI (Avalon) as wizbang as you can. Sun is trying to out wizbang you with their "Looking Glass" project and the average user sees the UI first. A big jump in the Ui capability gets people looking at the product closely. Besides that makes Windows look so cool!

    In order of preference I would say (not as a developer) aside from the Security and API, Avalon first, Indigo Second, WinFS third. But still have some piece of each in the system.

  • User profile image

    • I don't see many people outside of Microsoft or the Microsoft clik posting to channel 9.   Yes, I am an outsider, as you can tell.   I promise I will be kind in my responses.   I don't plan on changin anyone's point of view here at Channel 9.   There seems to be a one-sided slant on Channel 9.   If anyone on Channel 9 changes their mind about anything, it is because they have chosen to do so.
    • I am an old timer in the computer sense.  I have programmed in assembler on Apple ]['s and Commodore 64's long before most of you were either born or on the payroll at Microsoft.  I have watch long and hard at the progress Microsoft has made in the world market.  By the looks of it's technology and innovation, it is not any better than anyone else's technology and innovation. Many applications are nice and useful. The OS code sucks. I have always had the opinion that Microsoft is a good applications company. Bad at OSes. I know you can take me down the road of what is an OS, what is an app. Does it matter? Well, as far as me goes, it matters to me, and that is as far as it matters.
    • I like what Bill Gates respresents in technology. I hate what Steve Ballmer is doing to the (political, goods market, stock market) system . He is the one that is trying to buck the systems, spooking the passengers, and creating lots of (unecessary) negative vibes in society. And he hides it well. Of course, one from the inside of Microsoft could debate me, but hey.. I am here , you are there.
    • I like software that allows me to choose what I want from it. If I want a GUI, then I will set up a GUI. If all I want is a text based system, then that is what I will set up. With Microsoft products, I have limited choices. With other products, like FreeBSD, or MAC OS X, or you-know, that pesky penguin OS [that just will not die no matter how hard Steve tries to throw money (not his money mind you) SCOs way to kill off the only real competition Microsoft has had in a long long time and as long as this new competition has been holding it's own,] I have technical choices.  I like Microsoft software. I don't like how it is pushed through channels, the marketplace, and the courts. So it is not the technology per se, it is the politics.
    • I watched "Pirates of Silicon Valley." Went to, verified some things. Verified my ideas with the real world.  Talk to Paul Allen lately? Never mind.  I have my opinions. You have yours.
    • Hey, I could run a company like Saddam Hussien ran Iraq, but then I wouldn't like myself much. Hey, there is a company like that already, guess who I am thinking about. Na. You would probably say something OTHER THAN Microsoft, of course.
    • What is Truth? By what standard can you compare what is truth and what is a lie? It depends on how big your picture is on the environment that you are looking at to derive reality. See the "Passion of the Christ?"  Is that a reality?  How will the true reality stick? Does it matter? I think is does. Maybe you don't
    • Have a nice Easter

  • User profile image

    A sort of unrelated question...

    Is Longhorn based off of the NT kernel (and other base code), and if not, are there any plans to move away from that?

    Also, I heard mention on an MSDN blog that MSFT is years away from a fully managed code OS... are there plans to do that, or is just the musings of that particular blogger?

  • User profile image

    Yes, Longhorn is based on the NT Kernel.

    Longhorn will not be a fully managed OS, but will for a large degree be built on managed code. All new APIs will be managed. 

    WinFX the new API for Longhorn and beyond is the foundation for the future when we achieve a fully managed OS.  How long will it take?  Hard to say, we will learn a lot from building Longhorn and go from there. 

  • User profile image

    Is the story accrete?  If so who “leaked” it?

  • User profile image

    eagle wrote:
    Is the story accrete? If so who “leaked” it?

    Isn't the point of a leak to be anonymous? I doubt they are going to jump on this thread and say "I did, come fire me!" Smiley

  • User profile image

    I'm going to be interviewing the WinFS team on Monday. Anyone have anything they want me to ask?

  • User profile image

    I think its definitely worth focusing on what is important to ship a solid, reliable and easy-to-develop-for OS...but one question.

    Is it a fault of the internal design process that Longhorn is being slipped, or were these features just too ambitious in the first place? I'm just wondering why an outfit like Microsoft with its huge resources and without a major home operating release for 2/3 yrs now needs to be cutting anything back. Couldn't you just expand teams to get the grunt work done?

    Hey, greater minds than mine here have thought this over, but any insight into how these decisions are arrived at...gratefully received Wink

  • User profile image

    Honestly, A few clients had discussed using WinFS as a major part of their products.

    So at the PDC it was probably my number one priority. At the end of the conference I was excited by it. But was left with more questions than answers about legacy file systems, networks, rogue applications or schemas.

    The main issue I saw was how to propagate metadata on non WinFS fileysystems or legacy servers.
    The other was the possibility of poorly written code modifying/extending existing schemas. This happening on a local machine would be bad enough, but extend it to a enterprise network and it could be a nightmare.

    So all in all I wasn't suprised by the article, however it still leaves me with tons of questions about what features are going to change in it.

    My main worry is that a half functional WinFS in Longhorn could slow or cripple the adoption to a network enabled WinFS in the future. But careful API design now with a eye towards the future could mitigate most of these issues now.

    But I will say that most of the WinFS people I talked to were upfront about the loose nature of server/network plans for WinFS.

  • User profile image

    Channel9 has been live only a few days and already I have learned something; Microsoft employees get their information from the same rumor mills we read. No wonder nobody knows what’s going on, that’s freighting for shareholders.    

  • User profile image

    Roadmaps and new product descriptions need to come from an authoritative source, yes plans change so don’t be afraid to post a ; NEVER MIND.

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