Coffeehouse Thread

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WinFS no longer a product

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  • User profile image
    mawcc

    Quentin Clark announces in his blog that select technologies from WinFS will be integrated in ADO.NET 3 and Katmai (next release of SQL Server), but WinFS will no longer be continued as a separate product. That means that there once again will be no relational file system in the foreseeable future.
    Wild guess: WinFS has been a pet project of Bill Gates. Doesn't seem to be one of Ray Ozzie.

  • User profile image
    Manip

    It was a bad idea anyway.

  • User profile image
    BryanF

    Having read the post, it doesn't seem as dire as you're suggesting. Basically, there was a recognition that WinFS was really a host of different technologies and was split along lines that made more sense. Roughly,

    Angel The data API and model is being rolled into the next version of ADO.NET as LINQ and Entities, which were discussed in a recent video with Sam Drucker and Anders Hejlsberg. Seems reasaonable, since it would be cumbersome to have to learn one data API for the filesystem and another for everything else.

    (b) The advances in self-management and integration of unstructured data are being put into the next release of SQL Server. Again, good call. It would have made absolutely no sense to offer a self-managing relational data store for free download and then try to sell a separate enterprise-grade RDBMS to go with it. Essentially, you'd be buying SQL Server for the reporting and data mining capabilities while you wondered why the management smarts weren't in SQL Server.

    (c) Everything else goes... where? As for the UI and filesystem integration, my guess is a future release of Windows, which seems reasonable in that introducing these changes via a free add-on to existing Windows installs might be somewhat disorienting for many users. Much of the search functionality has mades its way into Vista. The part I was looking forward to was the common data synchronization engine, the need for which seems more obvious in light of all these "live" services; but then maybe that's the niche SQL Server Everywhere is targeting.

    In short, it's messier than before, but I think the end goal is more or less the same.

    WinFS is dead; long live WinFS! Smiley

  • User profile image
    messerschmi​tt

    Well, Vista5384.4 are running on NTFS 3.1, same as XP, so that pretty much sets it for 2-3 years ahead.

  • User profile image
    DCMonkey

    [C]

  • User profile image
    kettch

    I think that this is for the best. If the other major products all absorb WinFS features, it will make a relational file system (when it comes) more useful. Rather than being a stand alone product with it's own API's and schema's, it will be a rather painless upgrade, because all of the plumbing will already be there for the various platforms to use the data.


    Edit: Sorry BryanF, I went to the bathroom while writing my post and didn't notice that I said mostly the same stuff I was in the process of typing.

  • User profile image
    Michael Griffiths

    Lame.

  • User profile image
    Cairo

    So it's down to "new version of ADO.Net"? Wow.  In with a bang, out with a whimper. What's the future of search technology on Windows?

  • User profile image
    DCMonkey

    Cairo wrote:
    So it's down to "new version of ADO.Net"? Wow.  In with a bang, out with a whimper. What's the future of search technology on Windows?



    Trying to keep up with Spotlight most likely. The ability for 3rd parties to write protocol handlers to search inside non-filesystem stores (like Outlook PST files) is about the only thing they have on Apple at the moment.

    I'm extremely disappointed in MS right now.

    Boooo! Booooooooooo!

  • User profile image
    W3bbo

    Manip wrote:
    It was a bad idea anyway.


    How, exactly?

  • User profile image
    Manip

    W3bbo wrote:
    
    Manip wrote: It was a bad idea anyway.


    How, exactly?


    Files by their nature are an assembly of metadata... So they want to write a system that creates a relationship between metadata and more metadata in order to somehow make it easier to find the file ? ...

    It sounds great on paper to add more information about a file, but in practise it will be no more useful than XPs comments (which nobody uses).

    You're end up with a situation like the Windows Registry in which you have thousands of entries which contain completely useless information, and then are forced to try and clear out the data without damaging anything.

  • User profile image
    rjdohnert

    It got axed.  Thats a shame.  many people were waiting on that technology.  There is another reason for you NOT to upgrade.

  • User profile image
    Xaero_​Vincent

    Bleh... what baffles me is how Vista can be three years late when only a handful of the promised features were actually implemented. Eye candy and security are nice features but they dont justify the prolonged delays. Microsoft really needs to organize their priorities and establish and manage efficent development teams. I hope this is a learning experience and that they'll strive to better meet deadlines in the future.


    Regards,
    Vincent

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    mawcc wrote:
    Wild guess: WinFS has been a pet project of Bill Gates. Doesn't seem to be one of Ray Ozzie.


    Quite impressive - not only can Ray Ozzie make a split-second decision that instantly changes the direction in a company of 60,000 people, he can also do it two years before he fully replaces Bill Gates!
    I'm guessing the two-year cooling period is just a code name for Ozzie having Bill tied up in his basement and signing everything he brings him?

    In other words, remember that in a company this huge the people at the very top make large changes in direction, but rarely decide the fate of specific features or products.

    I think the UI/filesystem integration is a very touchy subject. It's a pretty drastic change to the way we organize our files, and as such has to be implemented right. I prefer the current method with all of its problems to a half-assed implementation. Some may say that they've had years to get it right and still they failed. That may be true. But unlike some others here, I don't feel like anyone's promised me anything. A press release isn't a contract, and I doubt anyone has based their business plan on the existance of WinFS.

  • User profile image
    Yggdrasil

    Xaero_Vincent wrote:
    Eye candy and security are nice features but they dont justify the prolonged delays. Microsoft really needs to organize their priorities and establish and manage efficent development teams.


    I think they have got their priorities straight.

    Windows XP isn't lacking in features. It's got TONS of features. It's got great features. Where it's lacking is security, usability and occasionally stability.

    I would much rather see Vista be an XP Redux done right, with these problems addressd, before we start doing completely new things without making sure we got our bases covered.

    WinFS? Avalon/WPF? These are the real eye/geek candy. Brand new technologies are fun for us developer, but don't solve the real needs of the OS users.

    I'm sure the Vienna teams are hard at work on brand spanking new features for us. I'm sure the MSResearch folk are thinking up god-knows-what. I'm also sure the Vista management knows what's important.

  • User profile image
    Tom Servo

    You've got to be kidding me...

  • User profile image
    messerschmi​tt

    I hope Microsoft have learned from the Vista adventure that they dont have the capacity to re-invent a OS in one try, they should really do what Apple have done for the past six years -releasing somewhat minor but still substancial OS upgrades every year that really pushes the user experience forward.

    Look at the 90's -3.11->98 was within a 5 year timeframe, NT 3.1->4.0 within just 3 years and all of them was a substancially upgrade for users

    Another thing, if the pricing rumors for Vista are true, well this user just wont buy it, its not worth that kind of money. 

  • User profile image
    Manip

    Apple completely re-write OS X from scratch... They didn't make minor changes...

    And Operating Systems get exponentially harder to develop, particularly if you have unrealistic backwards compatibility goals.

    I think Microsoft should take its lessons from Vista and for their next big release drop all backwards compatibility before Windows XP (e.g. no Win16, MS DOS, POSIX, and OS/2 etc). These old components also offer the biggest security headache... They were written in the dark age of computer security and thus cannot be trusted.

    Microsoft might do what Apple did in OS X and for the next major OS release add a virtual machine that will run all the old junk, while removing it from the primary OS its self.

    Windows XP has twenty dlls last updated in 1998 and 1999. It also has 1,616 dlls that I've never accessed since I installed virgin XP. On top of that there are 300 executable (exe, com) files that I have never used since installing Windows XP orginal.  

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