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Gates Explains Longhorn Delay, Diet 619

Posted by timothy
from the trial-balloons-make-good-targets dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft has set late 2006 as the deadline for shipping Longhorn, but to make that date, it had to delay the full implementation of WinFS, an ambitious file system geared at letting users search through all of their files at once. In this interview with Bill Gates, he provides a summary of why Microsoft decided to drop WinFS, saying: "WinFS, I'd be the first to say, is very ambitious. Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things." Meanwhile, MS Watch has published Longhorn head-honcho Jim Allchin's memo on why some Longhorn features had to be axed."
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Gates Explains Longhorn Delay, Diet

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  • by Davak (526912) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:40AM (#10107627) Homepage
    Press releases like these are free ads for Microsoft. Does anybody here not think that Microsoft knew this was going to get released:

    We will not cut corners on product excellence. Our powerful vision is intact; our shipment plan changes will let customers get access to parts of the vision faster.

    Why don't they just admit that the market is forcing them to release parts of Longhorn (like Monad) [tech-recipes.com] earilier than expected! Leaks of betas and press releases like these are easy ways to keep the Microsoft buzz elevated.

    If they didn't release a product until 2008, the market (mostly linux) would have time to catch-up.
    • by lachlan76 (770870) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:45AM (#10107641)
      Do you really think a site full of Linux people, run on Linux computers, and owned by a Linux company is the place to advertise Microsoft software effectively?
      • Do you really think the content of the interview will be exclusively available on zdnet and /.? There are a few more sites on the net (who will link to the article (though I don't doubt that most of them are run on Linux machines))

        Remember: Every news is good news.

      • by pmjordan (745016) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:47AM (#10107928)
        It's probably more effective than preaching to the converted, i.e. the average home user who isn't even aware of the concept of an Operating System, or even that Windows is not 'part of the computer'.

        There are plenty of sysadmins reading slashdot, and probably quite a number of them maintain Windows networks, or are caught up in between. The idea is to make them think "Oh, if the next version of Windows is out in 2 years, it's not really worth attempting to convert to Linux." It doesn't actually matter whether Longhorn is released in 2006 or not, as long as it's "real soon now".

        ~phil
        • by dspeyer (531333) <dspeyerNO@SPAMwam.umd.edu> on Monday August 30, 2004 @10:45AM (#10108669) Homepage Journal
          It's probably more effective than preaching to the converted

          Not necessarily. Microsoft wants enourmous numbers of people to buy Longhorn (or new computers with Longhorn). Most of those people already run Windows. Microsoft needs to convince the people who are already in their camp to upgrade, much more than they need to recruit new users from Mac, Linux, or non-computer-ownership.

          This is a tricky game they're playing. Microsoft was telling Win2k users that they should upgrade to an operating system with a database file system, and is now announcing that they aren't going to provide one soon. This might encourage those people to upgrade to an operating system that already has one [sourceforge.net] (sort of).

          I'm sure that if more people help out, we can get that driver fully featured by 2006. Then we just need IBM to pay for a series of TV adds: "Linux: the features Longhorn was supposed to have."

      • by AviLazar (741826) on Monday August 30, 2004 @10:00AM (#10108416) Journal
        You know, whenever I call a company that I have a paid subscription to and I am on hold hearing their advertisements it really pisses me off. You know why? Because I already paid for their product - I am a customer - I do not need to be inundated with more sales from them for something that I am already paying for. Do I really need to pay my cable TV company two membership fees per month for the same service? The words "Preaching to the choir" comes to mind
        So advertising on a Linux site where you have less customer loyalty is not a bad place to advertise on.

        As for the original reply - just because Bill Gates makes a press release does not mean he is trying to get free press. He is the richest man alive, he can buy the press (he actually did). The press wants to hear from Bill Gates, they TRY and hear from him. If this was any other company (almost any) making a press release, you would have been praising them for being forthcoming and letting the public know whats up...so lets not down the man because he is keeping the public informed.
    • by jkrise (535370) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:47AM (#10107661) Journal
      If they didn't release a product until 2008, the market (mostly linux) would have time to catch-up.

      If MS did nothing innovative before 2006, it (Microsoft) will have to do the catch-up.

      -
      • by Kjella (173770) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:02AM (#10107750) Homepage
        If MS did nothing innovative before 2006, it (Microsoft) will have to do the catch-up.

        He said "the market", you're talking of "the product". Those two are unfortunately nowhere as closely related as one might wish...

        Kjella
      • by halowolf (692775) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:43AM (#10107904)
        What struck me about Bill's interview and the discusson about time frames and rewrites (or the denial of them as it was), was that just perhaps Windows is not structured in a way that isn't conducive to large over-arching changes. I would look at this as having difficulty in seeing what is actually the operating system and what is actually applications that sit on top.

        I get the impression that for every new version of Windows, they are just having to keep on doing (or perhaps redoing) too much work creating these huge delays and whatnot. They have alot of work to do to fix security AND make Windows usable for MAH and PAH at the same time. I just can't help but get the feeling that the way they are going about creating Windows is part of the problem they have in maintaining it and releasing newer versions of it.

        Perhpas I am just interested in seeing Windows evolve rather than just re-inventing itself again and again. Perhaps I'm now thinking of different operating systems.

        P.S. I am a Windows user that just happened to install Linux on his old spare PC recently and might have a Apple sitting in the corner ;)

        • by Martin Blank (154261) on Monday August 30, 2004 @11:21AM (#10108963) Journal
          Microsoft probably looks at software as less modular and more monolithic. Even when running server applications like Exchange or MS-SQL, they're either run as applications, or integrated strongly into the system in such a way as it's difficult to use the OS for any other dedicated purpose without reinstalling it to wipe away all traces of the server app.

          Linux, of course, is very modular. With some notably lame exceptions (I can't recall them exactly now, but they had to do with some graphics library), I'm able to run most anything I want to on my Linux server without installing X, but Windows 2003 will not run properly without Explorer. I could probably get those libraries to work if I did some investigation and re-compiling, but there's pretty much no way I could get Windows 2003 to run right without Explorer. I could change the shell, but I would be missing some critical core functionality.
          • by Foolhardy (664051) <[moc.liamg] [ta] [23htimsc]> on Monday August 30, 2004 @12:45PM (#10109696)
            I could change the shell, but I would be missing some critical core functionality.
            Such as?

            Go ahead, remove all the libraries that make up Internet Explorer, change the shell to cmd.exe and nothing outside of the shell will break. Delete shell32.dll, msi.dll, netshell.dll, shdocvw.dll, browseui.dll, explorer.exe, userenv.dll, urlmon.dll, shlwapi.dll, webcheck.dll, mshtml.dll and anything else you find that implements IE; nothing server-side will break.
    • If they didn't release a product until 2008, the market (mostly linux) would have time to catch-up.

      Catch up? Because Linux doesn't [gnu.org] have [tcsh.org] any [zsh.org] command shells...

      Seriously, it seems to me that Windows is less and less about operating systems. WinFS was the major new OS feature, and it's been shelved. Looks like we're waiting all these years for adequate security, a new window manager and a bunch of wizards. That's right, and a new command shell. Forgive for not getting too excited.

    • by rp (29053) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:40AM (#10107883)

      Frankly I have grown disappointed with the level of reporting on software from Slashdot. A main reason for me to prefer open source software over commercial software was that what you got to read about it came from real developers and real users of real, readily available software. Since it focused on open source software, Slashdot's reporting used to reflect this, announcing release reports from actual developers on actual releases of software that people actually used.

      Today many of the "news" items on software releases that feature on Slashdot are no longer on actual releases, but announcements on future releases, delays on future releases, plans on future releases, etcetera. The announcers are not developers but CEOs, marketeers, magazine columnists, tcetera. Consequently the "news" items themselves and the ensuing discussions are shrouded in marketese and speculation, and generally demonstrate a very superficial, PC-ish outlook on software, treating applications or even whole OSes like participants in a sports competition. "Will Microsoft's (KDE's, Mandrake's, Enlightenment's, ...) New Team Top The League Again In 2005?" Having to wade through this hogwash is what turned me off commercial software; now that sites like Slashdot and their users give free software the same treatment, both the sites and the software itself lose a major competitive advantage. Slashdot is a major culprit.

      Interestingly enough, Microsoft has made a very successful move in the opposite direction by letting its developers blog on their daily work, which provides us users/programmers with the kind of communication channel that sites like Slashdot used to provide for open source software.

      It would help if Slashdot introduced a system to separate advertisements, in whatever form, from real reports on real product releases.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @09:56AM (#10108387)
        Lately, I keep running into, Gee the Open Source world used to be cool and interesting. They used to talk tech, but no more. Now it is about gossip! However, "if you look at my other hand" Microsoft has this really cool stuff in their blogs and the likes...

        I really wonder if there is not some stealth blogging going on...

        Now to address your issues...

        1) I read MSDN blogs and it is essentially the same material posted by ten different people. It is quite amazing how "monolithic" independent blogs can be. Scoblizer seems to be the only "oddball"

        2) Slashdot has always been about both gossip and tech news.

        3) More people use Open Source, hence more news will be about CEO's who give press releases about Open Source.
    • by msobkow (48369) on Monday August 30, 2004 @11:08AM (#10108858) Homepage Journal

      We will not cut corners on product excellence.

      Right. That's why SP2 came out on time and with so few problems. Not only was it late, it came with new security problems.

      I think Bill is just desperate to keep the press from noticing articles like this [newsforge.com] little tidbit at Newsforge.

      As interesting some of the planned features are, they are still dancing around the most important issue: security and timely fixes.

      Surely you can't be so naive as to let some FUD like a script utility distract you from the fact the security problems and perpetual scheduling delays!

  • new concept (Score:5, Funny)

    by mirko (198274) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:41AM (#10107629) Journal
    So, in his (apocryphous) diary, he mentioned being the inventor of product pre-announcement, now he's just invented the post-pre-announcement.
    Way to go, Bill :)
  • by djsmiley (752149) <djsmiley2k@gmail.com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:41AM (#10107630) Homepage Journal
    "Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things."

    Wasn't this the whole idea behind meta-tags for files? I thought thats why we had such tags in windows media too?

    Or is this the same tags that winFS will use to search with?
    • by ClippyHater (638515) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:09AM (#10107774) Journal
      IMO, the whole idea behind winFS is to take all of that structured information (meta-tags, perhaps?) and allow complex queries on it ("richly find").

      However, the problem they're probably facing is making such potentially complicated queries easy for "grandma." Most programmers I've worked with have trouble creating SQL queries that do exactly what they want it to for complex results, how on earth will grandma find anything?

      It'll be really interesting to see how they solve that problem.
      • by Brandybuck (704397) on Monday August 30, 2004 @02:53PM (#10110969) Homepage Journal
        Oh but if you talk with the proponents of structured information they will tell you that it's so much easier than hierarchical information. And they will provide you with unrealistic scenarios supporting their view. In the meantime, it's still easier for Grandma to navigate than to search.

        Grandma: What do you mean type?

        Grandson: With the keyboard. Just type in your query.

        Grandma: Why can't I use a mouse?

        Grandson: Because queries are easier. Now just type "taxes 2004 lastmod yesterday"

        Grandma: Why can't I just click for it? I know I put it in the "taxes" folder.

        Grandson: No, no, no! Using folders is too difficult. Just type in what I said using the keyboard.

        Grandma: Okay. Oh wait... There's that nasty error message again. It says it can't find it. Oh this is so difficult!

        Grandson: No it's not, just type it in again, all you did was mistype "204" instead of "2004".

        Grandma: Aaargh!!!
    • by pedestrian crossing (802349) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:44AM (#10107916) Homepage Journal

      The problem with meta-tags is that they have to get populated somehow. Only the anal fill in meta-data, everyone else either blows it off or takes the defaults.

      The real breakthrough happens when the system can decode and parse the file accurately to provide "automagic" meta-data. Otherwise meta-tags are a nice academic exercise that is either ignored or misused in practice.

    • by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:48AM (#10107942) Homepage

      File metadata should be in filesystem side.

      First benefit: (semi-)standard interface. Want to parse MP3 tags? Write code for it. Want to parse Vorbis tags? Write code for it. Want to parse WMA? More code, man, more code! If it all were in the file system side, you could edit and find it easily.

      Second benefit, especially for l33t m00zik d00dz in P2P networks: Editing file metadata would not touch file contents and thus not the file checksum. You could manipulate the tags to your heart's content and the MD5 for that file would stay the same. These days, there are only hacks that specifically open the file, parse the actual data content, and get checksum for that. Very wasteful. Very non-generic.

      Third benefit: Extensibility. Ease of searching. Blah blah. Read the marketing material.

      Humm, would be cool to use vorbis-like tags in POSIX extended file attributes, but the software as of yet doesn't even think of supporting them... =(

  • Nobody? (Score:5, Informative)

    by HoneyBunchesOfGoats (619017) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:45AM (#10107640)
    "WinFS, I'd be the first to say, is very ambitious. Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things."

    Maybe Bill considered them nobodies... [wikipedia.org]
  • by dackroyd (468778) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:46AM (#10107645) Homepage
    WinFS, I'd be the first to say, is very ambitious. Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things.

    Translation:

    We thought it was a good idea but no-one else has done an implementation that we can copy off, so we can't really figure out how to do it.

    Can anyone explain exactly what will be in Longhorn, now that the new filesystem and graphics system is not going to be in it ?

    • Re:Via babelfish (Score:4, Insightful)

      by ricotest (807136) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:52AM (#10107688)

      Well it's sure as hell not going to be an increase in stability or performance. From the interview:

      What is really causing sort of the rewrite on Longhorn?
      There's no rewrite going on here.

      Things I can think of: the tacky sidebar, the 'My Games' et al. menus which will only work with a handful of Microsoft games, and the new GUI look and feel which is probably tied to Avalon. So nothing worth upgrading for, then ;)

    • by mr_z_beeblebrox (591077) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:57AM (#10107717) Journal
      Can anyone explain exactly what will be in Longhorn, now that the new filesystem and graphics system is not going to be in it ?

      All the great features of Windows 2003 plus the addition of a NEW logo and desktop theme!!!!
    • by StevenHenderson (806391) <stevehenderson.gmail@com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:03AM (#10107753)
      Can anyone explain exactly what will be in Longhorn, now that the new filesystem and graphics system is not going to be in it ?

      Bugs.
    • Re:Via babelfish (Score:5, Informative)

      by phiwum (319633) <jesse@phiwumbda.org> on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:03AM (#10107755) Homepage
      According Allchin's unbiased memo, here's what's new.


      * The highest quality OS we have ever shipped

      * New information management tools to improve productivity, including fast desktop search and new, intuitive ways to organize files

      * Major security advances that build on Windows XP SP2, such as new technologies to make clients more resilient to attack, viruses and malware

      * Flexible and powerful tools to reduce deployment costs for enterprise customers, including technologies for image creation, editing and installation; and much simpler upgrades for consumers

      * Significant improvements in reliability, including a robust diagnostic infrastructure to detect, analyze and fix problems quickly, and new backup tools to keep data safe

      * A platform that creates Developer excitement with the availability of rich APIs [application programming interfaces]


      Feel the developer excitement yet? Developers! Developers! Developers! Developers!

      Wow. Sorry. I didn't realize that Allchin's memo was so hypnotic. I started channeling some fat, sweaty monkey man there for a moment.
      • by inerte (452992) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:48AM (#10107939) Homepage Journal
        hehehe, this guy's speech reminds me of this [tunes.org]:

        A proven 32-bit cutting-edge state-of-the-art industrial-strength Y2K-compliant zero-administration plug-and-play industry-standard Java-enabled internet-ready multimedia professional personal-computer Operating System that is even newer and faster yet compatible, with a user-friendly object-oriented 3D graphical user interface, amazing inter-application communication and plug-in capability, an enhanced filesystem, full integration into Enterprise networks, an exclusive way to deploy distributed components, seamless network sharing of printers and files.
      • by twitter (104583) on Monday August 30, 2004 @09:45AM (#10108302) Homepage Journal
        "Allchin's unbiased memo" promises high quality, reliability, diagnostics, RAD and graphics tools, as well as developer excitement. That's quite a list.

        Are they going to ship a Linux distro?

    • Re:Via babelfish (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Antique Geekmeister (740220) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:22AM (#10107816)
      >> Can anyone explain exactly what will be in Longhorn, now that the new filesystem and graphics system is not going to be in it ?

      Why yes, we can. The two key words are "XML patents". Microsoft talking paperclip for their new OS is XML, which is fairly insane to use for a filesystem, but will allow them to solve some of the serious bugs in Word, like the silliness in the "Undo" command.

  • by DrSkwid (118965) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:47AM (#10107656) Homepage Journal

    So that's bye bye new file system
    bye bye new GUI
    bye bye new API

    wtf is left ?

    http://www.theregister.co.uk/2004/08/27/microsoft_ decouples_longhorn/ [theregister.co.uk]

    • by leomekenkamp (566309) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:51AM (#10107683)
      New system requirements?
    • Re:Avalon's gone too (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gl4ss (559668) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:58AM (#10107720) Homepage Journal
      slowness.
      slapped on eyecandy(ala xp).

      but really, who didn't see this coming? that's just how they work at ms, if a product is "somewhere on the future" they'll announce all kinda funky crap their r&d crew finds on the net as the next big thing in their future product X.

      then the features get axed because they actually have to start to think about getting it out the door!
    • by Xpilot (117961) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:00AM (#10107735) Homepage

      bye bye new GUI
      bye bye new API


      Ah, the Longhorn version of American Pie. Come on, what's the next verse?
      • "The developer boys were thinking 'This will never fly', singing 'This will be the day Longhorn dies.'"?
      • by BJH (11355) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:47AM (#10107927)
        XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

        A long, long time ago,
        I can still remember
        How a release wouldn't take a while
        And I knew that if I had my chance
        That I'd do the upgrade dance
        And maybe I'd be happy for a while

        But XP made me shiver
        With every email it'd deliver
        A new worm for my inbox
        I couldn't take one more Win32.CTX

        I can't remember if I cried
        When I read about the delayed Longhorn
        But something touched me deep inside
        The day the upgrade cycle died

        *Chorus*
        So bye, bye my new GUI
        Pointed IE to WindowsUpdate but it was empty
        And them good old hackers were using Linux anyway
        Singing this will be the day Windows dies
        This will be the day Windows dies
        • by BJH (11355) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:49AM (#10107947)
          Did you get that new filesystem
          Do you have faith in the schedule
          If Mr Gates tells you so?
          Now, do you believe in release dates
          Will Longhorn raise your running costs
          And can it make your PC run real slow?

          Well, I know you're in love with it
          'Cause I saw you running the beta
          You sure had to spend a few bucks
          Man, I don't see any new features!

          I was a lowly Pentium user
          With a little hard drive and a tiny screen
          But I knew I was out of luck
          The day the upgrade cycle died

          I started singing

          *Chorus*
          So bye, bye my new GUI
          Pointed IE to WindowsUpdate but it was empty
          And them good old hackers were using Linux anyway
          Singing this will be the day Windows dies
          This will be the day Windows dies

          Now for ten years we've been running XP
          And losses get bigger on their balance sheet
          But that's not how it used to be
          When the Monkey Boy sang for developers
          In a suit he borrowed from a gorilla
          In a voice that went from high to low

          And while Bill Gates was looking on
          The USB driver crashed his poor PC
          The conference was adjourned
          No reviews were written

          And while Linus wrote a kernel and more
          The core team tried really hard
          And were given stock options up the wazoo
          The day the upgrade cycle died

          We were singing

          *Chorus*
          So bye, bye my new GUI
          Pointed IE to WindowsUpdate but it was empty
          And them good old hackers were using Linux anyway
          Singing this will be the day Windows dies
          This will be the day Windows dies

          XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
  • by ricotest (807136) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:47AM (#10107659)
    One is (that) we have a date-driven release. Things that make that date get in.

    Previously Microsoft were skirting around the 2006-7 point without being clear about when Longhorn would ship; it looked like they were going to try to finish features X and Y before release. So now they've moved on to a date-driven release, we can pretty much guarantee 2006 for Longhorn (client edition) and they're going to drop anything they have to, to make that date.

    Bill said that the OEMs are okay with the delay, so why the pressure? Looks like Linux is hurrying Microsoft up!
    • by gosand (234100) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:49AM (#10107945)
      OK, let's look at this for a second: October 25, 2001 was when Windows XP shipped. That is when it was released, which means that it was essentially done well before that.

      Now Longhorn isn't going to be shipped until late 2006. Let's give them the benefit of the doubt and say they'll hit that date (just in time for Xmas!). OK, so that means that they will have been working on this thing for a MINIMUM of 5 years. If there was any release overlap, and I am sure there would have to be, it is probably more like 6 years. WTF have they been doing in Redmond!? You can't tell me that everyone there has been working on XP service packs.

      Now I am not discounting the complexity of software and what it takes to release something of this magnitude. But we are talking about the largest and richest software company on the planet! Surely if anyone could do this, it would be..... Hmm. Perhaps what seems to be an advantage is actually a disadvantage in this case. If you look at their OS timeline (I used this one [computerhope.com]), it seems that it was usually around 3 years between major instances of their OS lines. Now, that has doubled for some reason? Maybe they had to start over from scratch and are putting some security into this one. (the good kind, not the DRM kind)

      I guess we'll just have to wait and see. It's good for me that they are delaying, at least they won't be changing the "corporate standard" again where I work. I really don't care for XP and wish I had 2000 back...

    • by Spoing (152917) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:51AM (#10107967) Homepage
      1. Bill said that the OEMs are okay with the delay, so why the pressure?

      Two words: Software Assurance.

      Right now, the managers that took that bait are looking silly so they would like to show something for the expense. Unfortunately, Microsoft is still a few years away from making a difference for this group, and in the meantime there's quite a bit of room for them to look foolish.

      1. Looks like Linux is hurrying Microsoft up!

      Spice for the pot.

  • Microsoft's Copland? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trurl's Machine (651488) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:48AM (#10107663) Journal
    I must admit I'm getting more and more of the deja vu feeling, reading Microsoft's statements on Longhorn. I've seen it before, when Apple representatives struggled to explain the delay with shipping their ultimately sophisticated version of MacOS, codenamed Copland [wikipedia.org]. They understood all too well that the classic MacOS is a bloated unstable construction based on a single-user single-machine Macintosh System, that was not designed with networking and multitasking in mind. They managed somehow to hack this system to have a sort-of poor man's multitasking and also some rudimentary networking capabilities, but they knew it's not gonna last in the Internet Age. They needed a new system and they needed it ASAP. Yet after millions of bucks and years of coding, Copland turned out to be just nothing but very expensive vaporware, and Apple's last chance to survive was to purchase NeXT, with their Unix experience, and thus MacOS X was born.

    There are many similarities with Windows and Longhorn - Microsoft also tried for a very long time to hack and upgrade their old OS, also designed for single user with no networking. And yet they were strangled by their own limitations they needed to keep for sake of backwards compatibility. Can they solve it on their own or will they just, say, buy Sun for their OS experience?
    • by twbecker (315312) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:30AM (#10107845)
      There are many similarities with Windows and Longhorn - Microsoft also tried for a very long time to hack and upgrade their old OS, also designed for single user with no networking.

      Seriously, have you heard of Windows NT? It definitely has it's problems, architectural and otherwise but to say it was designed as a single user system with no networking is just false.
    • by danheskett (178529) <danheskett@gmail.OPENBSDcom minus bsd> on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:36AM (#10107864)
      Microsoft also tried for a very long time to hack and upgrade their old OS, also designed for single user with no networking
      While DOS was still vogue, MS recognized that it was drastically limited, and began work on a New Technology. That was NT. They maintained both lines - improving and upgrading the technology behind NT until it could provide a consistent user experience with the legacy line.

      It may not have been planned, but MS did a great job merging two completely seperate code bases. The DOS/Win9x codebase merged against the NT base under XP, and now, within 3 years, 50% of Windows users on the desktop run XP. The next 25% will be there within another year (the last 25% will probably take a decade; many will not move to XP until they are forced to by hardware failure, and that's their right).

      and Apple's last chance to survive was to purchase NeXT, with their Unix experience, and thus MacOS X was born.
      Don't forget that in there was CEO who had no idea of the business. That's an important factor, remember.

      There are many similarities with Windows and Longhorn
      Not as many as you pretend, let's think it through.

      Microsoft has already moved the majority of it's users to an operating system that is truly mutlitasking, has fine networking support, and is in fact the industry standard for desktop operating systems. Not that it's the best mind you - but rather the industry standard. What Longhorn is adding is not core bits needed for a modern operating system. XP has those. The fact remains that if everything stayed where they are, MS could milk XP for 10 years. But of course, what MS wants is to continue to be dominant for decades, and that's where Longhorn enters. Let's face it, XP is good enough for just about every current Windows user. It performs fairly well, it's straightforward to install, it supports basically the entire universe of x86 hardware, it's cheap enough for OEMs to use, it's easy enough for users, powerful enough for administrators, flexible enough for developers, etc. It's certainly not perfect.

      With Longhorn, MS is exploiting the weaknesses of the FOSS world, so they can continue to dominate the business, corporate, and home desktop market. What isn't FOSS good at doing? Changing rapidly. If a group of programmers get together and code some great new thing, it'd take years of flamefests and discussion to get to the majority of Linux users. Plus chances are it will fork within a few versions and the talent pool will be split. Add to this the fact that much of the really hardwork in software engineering is shunned - people want to work on the stuff they want - not the stuff that others want them to.

      So this is what is MS thinking: implement the things that FOSS world can't do thanks to its red-tape laden world-view. Implement a filesystem layer that provides nifty functions that while aren't new are new in this scale. Writing a similiar filesystem and getting it into use in the FOSS world would not happen, or if it did, take a decade. Re-write the graphical subsystem to use strictly vectored screen elements. This is a huge boon to developers - any GUI programmer can tell you what a pain it is thinking about how your application will look at 800x600, at 1600x1200, etc. Will that panel here look funny since it will 99% empty at 1600x1200? Sure different programming enviornments will physically scale the interface for you, but how will it look, feel, and work? Enter Avalon, MS's solution. Screen elements will stay the same size while you increase resolution, but your workspace will gain resolution and capability. All of the sudden you can edit a large image in Photoshop on your high-resolution monitor without all the widgets becoming microscopic. How long would it take for the FOSS world to replicate this? X is completely widget agnostic. Every application or desktop environment has it's own set of widgets with it's own code tree and it's own egos. Not only would X have to ma
      • you need a clue (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Ender Ryan (79406) on Monday August 30, 2004 @09:21AM (#10108152) Journal
        You're either stupid, ignorant, or willfully lying(FUD).

        "implement the things that FOSS world can't do" eh? Then you go and talk about filesystems and vector graphics, both of which, at present time, FOSS absolutely trumps MS at. Linux has ext2/3, ReiserFS, Reiser4(which was just released, and has the potential to do everything WinFS will do), Storage(another datastore similar to WinFS). KDE and GNOME are both moving to SVG, and are moving along quite nicely. The X.org X server is implementing loads of new graphics features, and since forking from XFree, they're actually getting done. Also, most of E17's base libraries are mostly done, and implement a lot of features MS is in the process of "inventing."

        • by Mongoose Disciple (722373) on Monday August 30, 2004 @09:43AM (#10108288)
          ...what the grandparent poster was trying to say. At least, I took something different out of it than you apparently did.

          It's not so much that FOSS can't implement these ideas. It's that they can't, or at least won't, do so in a way that's pervasive for the whole OS. FOSS can, for example, design a new filesystem or display model, but it can't make all of the apps written for Linux support those things. It especially can't make the apps support it in a consistent and comprehensible way.

          Microsoft is capable of saying: This is the way we are going to do things now, and if you are going to make software to run on our OS, that's the way it's going to be. If the Office suite, for example, deals with the new filesystem in a certain way, that becomes the Right Way. Instant industry standard. Any software vendor who deviates from that method is going to be looked at as doing it the wrong way.

          FOSS can't compell that kind of compliance. Developers are free to support or not support the work of other developers depending on how much time they want to put in or if they think it's a good idea. If there's a difference in vision, a fork can occur.

          Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying the FOSS way of doing things is bad, and I don't think the grandparent poster was either. It's just different. It absolutely has its strengths, but it also has its weaknesses too. Microsoft is, perhaps wisely, choosing to try to push the strengths their model has.

  • So, still NTFS??? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by bcarl314 (804900) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:51AM (#10107677)
    I'm guessing this means that they'll be using some implementation of NTFS with longhorn. Could be good news to all those dual-boot people out there that like to be able to access their Windows files from Linux.

    Just as they're making some progress with mounting NTFS filesystems under linux, MS changes the FS. Something which surely would cause problems in Linux.

    Looks liks we'll be able to keep dual boots with Longhorn after all.
  • by Biotech9 (704202) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:52AM (#10107687) Homepage
    Introducing Microsoft Longhorn Millenium edition!

    Preorder now and recieve a copy of Duke Nukem Forever!

  • Pointless (Score:3, Interesting)

    by StevenHenderson (806391) <stevehenderson.gmail@com> on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:52AM (#10107689)
    If people are waiting til 2006 anyways, Gates would have been smarter to delay Longhorn until WinFS could be totally implemented. If they need more money coming in on the conveyor belt, then they could have just released Windows XP OSR2 - essentially a service pack/ upgraded version people would have to pay for. I seriously doubt I will be paying for a cippled version of Longhorn - especially if its best parts are going to be made available for XP.

    Looks like maybe MS should have spent a little more time getting WinFS working instead of tweaking the UI to make it "oh so pretty." Unfortunately, I think MS realizes that a slick (albeit graphics intensive) UI will likely sell more copies to the ignorant masses than an innovation like WinFS.
  • by Proudrooster (580120) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:52AM (#10107691) Homepage
    Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things.

    Someone please call Oracle and tell Larry that Bill says that IFS (The Oracle Internet File System) [internetweek.com] doesn't exist.

    What is iFS?
    iFS can manage all content -- which is scattered across PC desktops, document management systems, and websites -- in a single repository, he said. It supports the storage and management of more than 150 different file types, including documents created using XML.
    • Can you search for files using simple phrases?

      If you can't find the pictures from your cousin's wedding by searching for "wedding pictures," it's not the same thing as WinFS.
    • IFS is a SAMBA interface to an Oracle database... there's nothing special about it.

      iFS can manage all content -- which is scattered across PC desktops, document management systems, and websites -- in a single repository, he said. It supports the storage and management of more than 150 different file types, including documents created using XML.

      Gee, whaddayaknow... that doesn't say SFA about being able to search for content using meta-tags, etc.... all it does is act as a network drive in a SAMBA environ
  • BeOS? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:53AM (#10107692)
    "Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things."

    Didn't BeOS have something similar?

    Also, won't OSX actually have something like this even before Longhorn ships (without WinFS).

    Aren't there a lot of pretty advanced projects to do the same for Linux, for example beagle for gnome and the new kde search feature planned for the next release? (Granted, these won't be implemented at the fs level, but who cares as long as they work)

    Isn't reiserfs4 actually providing some of this functionality (and much more) and has allready been released?

    Doesn't MS have about 60 billion Dollars in the bank and still can't get its act together?

    Didn't MS talk about something similar already years ago and wanted to ship it with what is now known as Win2000?
    • Reiserfs 4 (Score:4, Interesting)

      by travail_jgd (80602) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:40AM (#10107880)
      "Isn't reiserfs4 actually providing some of this functionality (and much more) and has allready been released?"

      Yes, it has.

      I was just thinking that it would be cheaper, easier, and faster for Microsoft to just license Reiserfs v4. Just the atomic file writes/updates would be worth the effort! And the filesystem supports plugins.

      Some people in the Linux community don't think Reiserfs v4 is stable... but I'm willing to bet by 2006 the issue will be settled. :)
  • iTunes-like? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pascal Sartoretti (454385) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:53AM (#10107693)
    Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things

    Maybe he should have a look at iTunes and GMail.

    For me, a kind of "iTunes for files", including smart queries, would be fairly enough. And it doesn't require a brand new file system and its instability risks...

  • search pc (Score:5, Funny)

    by MarsDude (74832) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:57AM (#10107715) Homepage
    imagine that... treating everything as files...

    how inovative... ;-)
  • Reiser4 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msh104 (620136) on Monday August 30, 2004 @07:59AM (#10107730)
    winFS doens't seem very usefull in my eyes. it's just a layer on top of ntfs. in the end (windows 2012) you'll see they rewrite it to be a true filesystem. reiser4 seems to do this the right way. having a nice filesystem that you can extend all the time using plugins. I think microsoft wastes a lot of time by doing this in 2 steps. I also understood that winFS is "My Documents" only (or something like that) and cannot be used on the entire harddisk (atleast not in longhorn).
  • by Cyrus Dogstar (540037) <cyrus@@@cyrusdogstar...net> on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:01AM (#10107743) Homepage
    WinFS, I'd be the first to say, is very ambitious. Nobody has ever brought together the world of documents, media and structured information in giving you one simple set of verbs that lets you richly find, move around and replicate those things.

    *cough* [apple.com]

    Microsoft still can't come up with shit until Apple has done it better, first. Sad.
    • by weave (48069) * on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:43AM (#10107908) Journal
      Maybe Microsoft has to delay it to see how Apple does it first. In the meantime Microsoft apologists will just say what a stupid bloated useless feature it is. Then 10 years from now when it's common place and someone dares say that Apple did it first, everyone else will be arguing that Apple sucks and they ripped it off from BeOS or something along those lines.

      I love consistency in the tech industry. It gives me warm fuzzies.

  • by MemoryDragon (544441) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:05AM (#10107764)
    Nobody except the people who brought you BeOS and Hans reiser has done a filesystem like WinFS :-) WinFS is a blatant ripoff of the BeOS filesystem.
  • by Deep Fried Geekboy (807607) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:08AM (#10107772)
    What Microsoft REALLY needs is a next-gen OS. The current codebase isn't going to hack it. The delays on Longhorn are an absolute giveaway. If Longhorn had come out in 2004, it would already have been out of date. 2006? Don't make me laugh.

    Unix-like systems are going to win out in the end. That is why Mac's OS X looks like a smarter move every day.

    Microsoft has so much cash and so much clout that it will take a long time to die, but it is doomed to do so unless at some point it ditches backwards compatibility and the current codebase and does something new.
    • Do you have any specific reason that Unix-like systems will win?

      And you want them to ditch compatability?

      That's the way you get users to.. use.. your product!

      If I can't run my copy of *work program from 1998* (read: game) on the latest version of windows, I'd end up not using the latest windows, costing microsoft another sale. They had already sold me the current version of windows that I run. Their next job is to sell me the new version. And the features that 99.999% of the customers NEED is the backwards compatibility.

  • WinFS bad? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by spuzzzzzzz (807185) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:10AM (#10107778) Homepage
    Does anyone else think WinFS is a Bad Thing? A filesystem is a low-level, simple, reliable method of storing files on a disk and a database is a method of catologuing and searching through files. If you combine them, it will get hideously complicated. Which means it will probably be buggy and slow. It's almost as bad as putting windowing in a kernel...
  • by Zapdos (70654) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:13AM (#10107786)
    That Micro$oft will be making Windows XP OSR2, followed by Windows XP ME?

  • by mrjb (547783) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:38AM (#10107875)
    "Rapid Development" by Microsoft Press. There's this chapter on Classic Mistakes. To mention a few:

    - unrealistic expectations
    - wishful thinking
    - placing politics over substance
    - overly optimistic schedules
    - inadequate design
    - feature creep

    Maybe this company should take some time to read their own publications.
  • by mandrake*rpgdx (650221) on Monday August 30, 2004 @08:47AM (#10107934) Homepage
    - http://www.sunrizen.com/ [sunrizen.com] It basically does what was taken out of Longhorn- turns the filesystem into a database, and uses that for fast searching. It doesn't have the SQL and real-time queries that BeOS does, but it's hella fast and really cool. I've used it for bug-hunting code, since it searches for text inside documents hella fast. It's much better than MS's shipped in search utility.
    • by electroniceric (468976) on Monday August 30, 2004 @10:50AM (#10108702)
      While the sunrizen.com utility seems like it could be quite useful, I think it's much more limited in scope than what WinFS plans to be. As I understand it WinFS is essentially about trying to get a reasonable set of XML tags to store data in bits that are searchable semantically and reusable between different apps.

      It's one thing to be able to search for a text string, or even to use metadata to search for audio, images, etc. It's another to be able to detect that a user has pasted a paragraph from a letter she wrote three weeks ago into an email, and link the email semantically to the letter, or track how that text moves and is modified through her correspondence and others in the organization. (Not sure WinFS will be able to do this, just trying to distinguish the scope of WinFS from just searching).

      To me, the question is not whether MS can come up with a filesystem can do this, the question is whether anyone wants it. That is, does the market want to do this deep, sophisticated searching, or is it really in just a simple search interface to a good index of existing text, ala Google or this sunrizen business? That's what makes WinFS a big bet, not really the quality of the technology, which will be refined as necessary if people really implement it.

      The other thing that makes me a little dubious of the necessity of WinFS is the fact that institutions have yet to really embrace weblogs, which have a similar ability to promote sharing memes but are built on simple technology. This is a "future of collaboration" technology, but so far in the institutional setting it's basically floundering. So either I'm missing some big space where WinFS is really crucial, or it's a bit of a boondoggle. Of course you've gotta bet all that money on something.
  • by Whatchamacallit (21721) on Monday August 30, 2004 @10:49AM (#10108696) Homepage
    1. Microsoft announces a new search feature with a layer on top of NTFS called WinFS and will be using MS-SQL Server lite to query the data. Huge bloated solution using technology originally embedded into Office 2003. (Office 2003 installs a mini MS-SQL Service, used with Mail Merge, etc). (I don't know which came first, the chicken or the egg. Microsoft may have announced this ambitious plan after seeing the news about Apple hiring the BeFS developers or they did it first and Apple responded, either way file searching has been itching for a major upgrade industry wide.)

    2. Apple hires the BeFS developers and within a year integrates the BeFS metatag system into HFS+. It's extremely fast and it works great. Apple calls it Spotlight and it's available to developers right now in Beta form within the Tiger OS 10.4 beta release. Tiger's been updated a few times already. Expect in first or second quarter of 2005 for gold release. The system works across all file types and can handle indexing the contents of files. There is an API for more advanced metatag insertion and application specific search features and interface. I've seen this system in action and it is truly remarkable. Less then a second to retrieve all sorts of data. Email, AddressBook, keyword search in documents, URL's, Bookmarks, etc., etc., etc. It's so good, why even bother organizing one's data anymore?

    - Microsoft forgot a primary engineering philosophy. "Keep It Simple Stupid" - KISS! They simply failed in their initial design of WinFS with MS-SQL Server. They need to scrap it and start over. The primary problems being it's too big and bloated and the potential for bugs is enormous. It's too difficult to build queries. They started with the work done on Office 2003 instead of being more innovative and starting over with a better design.

    When XP changed it's search abilities I had endless calls from developers who could no longer search the contents of source code files or SQL files like they could with NT's Find command. Apparently, one had to write a plugin to the MS Search engine to add support for various file types. There were work arounds but they required re-indexing all of the files and it took hours and hours to finally start working. Also it was unpredictable in the way it began a re-index. A new file was not immediately available via search. If Longhorn really does not ship with WinFS then it is deeply disappointing. Well back to giving my developers a grep GUI...

    The Apple Spotlight system instantly and on the fly indexes the metadata. It does so very quickly. The results are instantly available. You can save the query and add it to your sidebar so it's available from the main file manager (Finder). Click the smart folder (saved query) and it's always up-to-date with the latest data results. The Smart Folders idea was from iTunes, it's a way to represent a query.

    Here's to looking forward to OS X Tiger and future Linux systems using similar metatags! And watching Microsoft fumble the ball and have a thirty yard penalty! Gee, by 2010 MS may actually have a viable search system. Perhaps Google will beat them to it by releasing a Windows file search feature. The Google toolbar and SearchBar are awesome all Google needs to do is add filesytem metatag layer and do the same thing as Apple Spotlight. Heck, I would pay for that solution!
  • by wandazulu (265281) on Monday August 30, 2004 @11:02AM (#10108805)
    ...on Linux. IIRC, the whole point of WinFS is not so much the "find anything anywhere" stuff but that a version of SQL Server was going to be a part of the file system, so that, if I read it right, your receipes can be indexed and catagorized in the context of a rdms instead of folders and such on a "real" filesystem. At the end of the day, NTFS is still doing the actual heavy lifting of saying what block on what platter belongs to what file.

    I admit to thinking this was kind of a cool idea...a big information store instead of a bazillion files. The actual implementation, I would think, wouldn't actually be that hard...again, you're not dealing with files per se, but with data.

    The *nightmare* is probably in how you're supposed to interact with it. When your whole world is made up of the file/folder/cabinet metaphor, trying to define what an "information store" is, and how a user is going to interact with it in some seamless fashion, must be mind boggling complex because the only way it will work is if you have the relationships correctly set up. Photography cataloging programs do it by giving the user dozens of fields for him or her to fill in, and only on those fields that there is data is it useful to search on.

    Back to Linux...I think that implementing this, presumably using a Reiser4 plugin + some RDMS, and then have the correct way to interact with it, would show Microsoft up to no end. "Information at your fingertips" is more likely to get the attention of a PHB than "10,000 node cluster" and anything to show how the Linux community delivered when MS couldn't, is obviously a Good Thing.
  • Typical Gates (Score:4, Interesting)

    by catwh0re (540371) on Monday August 30, 2004 @11:53AM (#10109233)
    I love how he denies that anything like it (WinFS) exists... when there are metadata file systems already out there. A good example is the fully-functioning meta data file system in Apple's OS 10.4, sure it won't be released for public consumption until early 2005. The flip side is that it's working fine in the months old developer preview of 10.4.

    So in early 2005 consumers will have a meta data file system, and since Mac OS 10.2 they've had 3d accelerated GUIs... Now if WinFS did get released in longhorn (which it won't be, according to MS.) We'd still be waiting until late 2006, for these features.

    I wouldn't place too much emphasis on MS's ability to timeline a product to market. After all windows 95 was meant to have the 3D accelerated GUI, and NT 4 was supposed to have WinFS.

    At this rate it'll be 2010 before WinFS sees sunlight.

  • "Our scheduling and predictability on this project has been better than it was on OS 360. So software has not gotten more complex."

    Bill seems to be forgetting that OS/360 was one of the first attempts at anything like a modern OS and whole books have been written about the mistakes that were made in its development. Fred Brooks "the Mythical Man-Month" is largely a result of the lessons learned in its development. What's he saying here? Is he implying Microsoft hasn't learned anything about developing complex software since 1960? As cynical as I sometimes am about the company, I don't believe that... they have put together systems successfully that are far more complex than OS/360.

    Remember, OS/360 had to run on hardware that was less powerful than anything any Microsoft operating system all the way back to MS-DOS 1.0 has had to deal with. Features like being able to run a variable number of jobs were restricted to the top-of-the-line models, and most early installations ran it purely in a static batch mode with a fixed number of concurrent jobs.

    This is a great soundbite, but it doesn't begin to address the question. The best answer to a question like "Has software just gotten more complicated to write?" is "Yes." I don't know if Microsoft accepts this or not, I have no idea, but if Bill Gates answers a question like that with a red herring like "We're doing better than IBM did on OS/360" I fear they're still in denial. So perhaps the best answer to the next part, "What, if anything, does Microsoft need to do as a company to reflect that reality?", is "therapy".

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