Longhorn to flaunt many new colours

Despite already facing end user scrutiny over its delayed release and the possibility forcing another hardware refresh, Microsoft’s next generation of Windows - codenamed Longhorn – will sport a multitude of enhancements, according to the company’s senior vice president of servers and tools Eric Rudder.

“Beyond the 2005 roadmap is Longhorn, the most exciting version of Windows we’ve done in a decade and it really has many constituents to satisfy,” Rudder said at Microsoft's Tech.Ed in Canberra last week. “We want to make it appeal out of the box to consumers and do a great job for IT professionals and developers, so things like desktop deployment, security management, or software management, and help and support customization are key areas for us to focus on.”

Rudder said it is important for Microsoft customers to understand that Longhorn is a “natural extension” to what the company is already doing.

“WinFX is a natural successor to the .Net frameworks. And the storage system, WinFS, is a natural successor to some of the technology that is in Longhorn,” he said. “We certainly want to make it easier for people to find things which is what we’re working on with WinFS. We will allow people to craft information agents. For example, being able to find things in your e-mail, Word documents and HTML pages in one result set.”

For business users and information workers, Rudder said Longhorn will include technologies to allow “anytime, anywhere access” to not only e-mail but documents on the machine.

New technologies are Avalon, the presentation system, WinFS, the storage system, and Indigo, the communications system.

“Avalon is a great presentation system that supports Web programming with XAML. So the user experience is a lot richer,” he said. “For example, you can use drag and drop, handwriting, and talk to your machine, yet retain the benefits of Web applications as you don’t have to install the application. One of the goals for Longhorn is to bring together the best of Windows and the best of the Web into a common environment.”

Rudder said Indigo is the next generation runtime for advanced Web services designed to be secure and reliable.

“It’s all about making it easier and simpler to build Web services,” he said. “On the collaboration side we will have new features for peer-to-peer applications and improved performance with new caching technology called Superfetch.”

Longhorn is slated for release sometime in 2006.

* Rodney Gedda attended Tech.Ed in Canberra as a guest of Microsoft

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