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Longhorn Preview 587

itraor writes "PC World has previewed Longhorn, not the first one out I guess. Among the few noted features is that Windows now offers translucent UI, finally catching up with Apple. "
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Longhorn Preview

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  • RE Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:56AM (#12985308)
    Hasn't microsoft sort of always followed apple?
    • Re:RE Apple (Score:3, Insightful)

      by SolusSD ( 680489 )
      Pretty much.. smart folders (macosx 10.4), translucency and 3d effects (OSX, aqua), database file system search (spotlight, google desktop search, beagle, kat, etc), tabbed browsing (firefox, opera, konqueror, et al), restricted user account (well .. a real implimentation would mean rewriting countless windows programs and an overhaul of the windows permission system... unix and unixlike)

      I don't remember the last time microsoft showed ANY innovation of its own. anyone?

  • Logo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jfengel ( 409917 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:56AM (#12985310) Homepage Journal
    I love the "bell and whistle" logo they've applied to the story. Very appropriate, especially since the review discussess little besides the eye candy.
    • Re:Logo (Score:5, Funny)

      by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:58AM (#12985327) Homepage
      Really, finally, a transparent UI you can be bored with in 10 minutes and put back to being opaque. Such innovation!

    • Re:Logo (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cybersaga ( 451046 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:04AM (#12985402) Homepage
      The review discussess little besides the eye candy.

      That's because there wasn't anything else to talk about. From TFA:
      "But it doesn't yet exhibit any breakthroughs in productivity, or promised features such as security improvements and smarter connections to handheld devices."

      Everyday, Longhorn seems to be more like XP with a new look.
      • Re:Logo (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tshak ( 173364 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @03:11PM (#12987793) Homepage
        I'm the first to admit that many of Longhorn's surface features look like like OSX five years ago. But /. readers more than anyone should know that the surface of software is only UI deep, and that under the hood changes are less noticeable by a casual review. The advanced driver model in Longhorn, for example, is going to mean easier driver development as well as a huge increase in stability (it will be very difficult for a driver to crash your box).

        Longhorn may be behind the times in many ways, but there's more to Longhorn than eye candy. You just have to look beneath the surface. I don't think we'll be getting any in depth reviews until the OS is launched.
    • Re:Logo (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Iriel ( 810009 )

      "Buyers of new 64-bit computers will undoubtedly opt for Longhorn's enchanting interface and new device support--especially if security improves."

      Could this statement possibly be any more backwards? The next sentence in the article actually clarifies the issue that there will need to many more improvements to inspire people to upgrade, but this particular snippet of words is decidedly poor.

      You don't need a 64-bit computer to pull of at least half of the eye candy effects in this 'new OS'. There are e

    • by Roadkills-R-Us ( 122219 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @12:24PM (#12986165) Homepage
      Every few years, MS announces a revolutionary new OS. A complete rewrite. Everything you ever wanted in an OS- an more. Breakthroughs. Security. Ease of use. Your PC will be more helpful than a correctly working NS5 in _I, Robot_. It will bear your children. Etc.

      And every time, before shipping, features slowly fall away, the release date slips, and eventually we get... a new GUI to learn and a new set of bugs and security holes. The GUI is usually about all they *can* talk about safely.

      But the article discusses other things as well. Such as the new way a user can install drivers without being Administrator and opening up a zillion security holes. Now that's advanced. After all, it's only been possible in *nix for a couple of decades.
  • ...in 3 to 5 more years.


  • by bushboy ( 112290 ) <lttc@lefthandedmonkeys.org> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:56AM (#12985316) Homepage
    "PC World has previewed Longhorn, not the first one out i guess. Amoung the few noted features is that Windows now offers transluscent UI, finally catching up with Apple. "

    And who said Slashdot doesn't have quality control ?
  • by Isosceles Triangle ( 264859 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:57AM (#12985323)
    Hmmm...more & more like Copeland evey day...
    • by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @04:43PM (#12988582)
      Even if you were an ardent Apple developer, following Apple's instructions for engineering a well-behaved System 8 (aka Copland) application would have also re-engineered your code to make it easy to move to another platform or GUI. Apple was begging their developers to:
      • Refactor your code to do without quirks of Mac programming like interrupt handlers, most memory manager routines, cooperative threading, or assumptions about the underlying file system.
      • Rearchitect your code so that it separates function from interface and doesn't make any assumptions about the look or feel of the GUI. Pump all interface interaction through an abstraction layer.
      • Drop any custom hacks and re-implement things like inits as independent applications, servers, or shared libraries that don't rely on specifics about the OS.
      • Rewrite apps that use older Apple technologies like Powertalk with OpenTransport, Standard File dialogs with Navigation Services, and Postscript drawing with Quickdraw GX. Users won't notice a difference, but these are the new "officially blessed" technologies in System 8.
      The big difference I see between Apple and Microsoft in these difficult development days is that Microsoft is firmly still "on message" and telling their developers to continue using old Microsoft technology. "There's no need to abstract your code to NOT rely on Microsoft intellectual property. Keep this leash on even though no one's holding it right now."

      Copland was insane precisely because it wasn't a technical goal but a marketing attempt to say "We'll address every visible fault in our product all at once." Apple did actually salvage some ideas (like a color GUI, CHRP, and ATSUI) but those small changes were almost unnoticable when coupled with the big changes Apple was promising:

      • A kernel rewritten for speed and stability
      • Erasing application boundaries via OpenDoc.
      • Eliminating all init and "shared memory" problems
      • Backwards compatability.
      Clearly Microsoft isn't in as much danger as Apple was by their slow delays because their changes don't encourage independence from their technology, but it might illustrate where some good Linux evangelists could take advantage of the delays.
      • Talk about the benefits of reworking your code to a good M-V-C paradigm.
      • Talk up things like Cygwin and APR and the ways shared libraries and background processes developed on these will be more forwards, backwards, and cross-platform compatible.
      • Talk about the security advantages of not relying on Microsoft IP for the data model of your app.
      • If the developer seems amenable to it, mention ways of abstracting a GUI to make things run on GnuStep or X/11.
      • Maybe even talk about Mono and Samba and the other Microsoft imitative tools out there.
      Microsoft was crazy to tout specific technologies (like a database driven file system) rather than simple, visible functional changes (like better searching). It seems that right now they're getting back on track (probably with Chris Jones' return). They're fulfilling their cosmetic promises since that's the only thing that end users will notice. And developers will stick around even on the stinkiest of development platforms solely because of the presence of end-users.
  • by 0110011001110101 ( 881374 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:57AM (#12985325) Journal
    Longhorn Preview

    The newest versions of the next Windows add graphics sizzle and more search features but lack visible productivity enhancements.

    Scott Spanbauer From the August 2005 issue of PC World magazine Posted Wednesday, June 22, 2005

    The most recent build of Longhorn--Microsoft's next Windows--has some impressive visual touches, including the kinds of translucent objects found now in Apple's OS X, and more powerful ways of finding files. But it doesn't yet exhibit any breakthroughs in productivity, or promised features such as security improvements and smarter connections to handheld devices.

    We tested the 64-bit version of the latest code released to developers (Longhorn build 5048) and have also viewed demonstrations of a subsequent build. The first beta version of the operating system is due for release this summer.

    Over the last several years, Microsoft has touted Longhorn's trio of significant innovations: a graphics engine dubbed Avalon; a technology called Indigo that enables programs on different computers or devices to communicate; and an indexed, searchable data storage layer called WinFS. But when faced with a self-imposed release deadline of late 2006, Microsoft decided last year to pull WinFS out of Longhorn, promising to release that component as an add-on at a later date.

    So what of the two remaining Longhorn design pillars? A new desktop theme called Aero is about the only sign of Avalon graphics in our pre-beta. Turning mundane buttons, window frames, title bars, and icons into animated, 3D-rendered, and sometimes transparent objects, Aero brings the Windows interface to life. Indigo, which supports enhanced Web services, won't be visible to end users.

    But even though WinFS is now out of the mix, Microsoft has taken advantage of file attributes in the NTFS file system already available in Windows XP to make Explorer better at ferreting out documents according to author, camera model (for photographs), or genre or album title (for music files). The operating system lets you create virtual lists based on these attributes so that, for example, you can see every photo on your system or all Microsoft Word files, regardless of where they are stored and without having to explicitly search for them.

    Longhorn will also do a better job of connecting to smart phones (Microsoft wouldn't indicate whether the phones would have to run the company's Windows Mobile operating system), cameras, and audio players, improving their integration into Explorer and making file transfers and synchronization more consistent across device types. Still notably absent from the Longhorn builds we've looked at are new versions of the Internet Explorer browser (even though Microsoft has said it is close to releasing a beta of IE 7) or any other bundled utilities. Gone, for the time being anyway, is the desktop sidebar that lurked in previous preliminary versions of Longhorn.

    And in spite of announced planned enhancements such as monitoring of outbound data (Windows XP's firewall watches inbound traffic only), protection against malware, a new type of restricted user account, and a secure startup scheme to ensure that a PC hasn't been tampered with, Longhorn so far has the same minimal security toolbox as Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

    Though security remains an unresolved issue, build 5048 brings Longhorn's graphical user interface into sharper focus.

    Catch-Up Eye Candy
    The new Avalon graphics engine includes a programming interface that permits Microsoft and third-party software makers alike to write applications that put the latest and greatest graphics cards to work rotating, texturing, and fading windows, as well as making menus, title bars, and other elements translucent--finally enabling Windows to catch up to Apple's OS X, several years after the fact.

    We managed to activate a subset of these features in our copy of Longhorn build 5048, and they're certainly welcome refinements (see top screen). Nevertheles

  • by ceeam ( 39911 )
    Translucent UI. With frills!
  • Okay, from what I see about this beta, Microsoft is using the eye candy just for that, to show everyone how aweseome Longhorn is because your titlebars are semi-transparent. OOO! I'm totally uprading because of that!

    Looks like it will cause some nastyy readability problems. Apple uses eye candy in OS X for a reason! the windows suck down to the dock so you can see where they went. The active window has shadows to let you know its the active window. Users change with a cube flip because its easier on their brains. I'm afraid that this would do nothing but chew up processor resources with crap that I don't find useful. Expect a lot of eyecandy-disabling apps to come out very quickly.
    • by krell ( 896769 )
      ' Looks like it will cause some nastyy readability problems '

      That is a good point. There is a reason that in the "paper office", stuff is not printed on translucent or transparent paper unless there is some specific reason. I've seen these menus, and they are much less readable. It is like the problem with "Aqua", with its unreadable very-low-contrast buttons. Is this a case of Microsoft copying the "look" without the "feel" with less-than-optimal results?

    • by garcia ( 6573 ) * on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:07AM (#12985428)
      Expect a lot of eyecandy-disabling apps to come out very quickly.

      You mean like the disabling apps in the Control Panel? Like System -> Advanced -> Performance (Visual effects, processor scheduling, memory usage, and virtual memory)?
    • ALL windows on os X have drop shadows, not just the active one. IMHO the real reason for the addition of drop shadows is it gives a more intuitive visual cue on where window borders lie.
    • They didn't even get the eye candy right. Look at those folders, they're sideways. Things fall out of real folders when you put them like that. Is the idea of a folder is to make the abstraction of a filesystem directory more concrete to the user, or is it just supposed to look "neat"?
  • Oh my God (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @10:59AM (#12985341)
    That interface is more cluttered and garish than go.com, or some other failed late-90s "web portal". I'm used to trying to help users who wind up with some kind of mental block against using the start menu because every time they click on the start menu they're so overwhelmed with confusing options and information they don't understand that it's more than they can hendle. I guess I should preemptively get used to helping users who wind up with a similar mental block against using the windows file browser.

    I thought, when I first saw that Mac OS X release, that no one would ever make a clumsier, more overdesigned OS theme. Microsoft seems to be doing their absolute best to prove me wrong with every single release, reaching new heights of gangly ugliness with first "luna", then "avalon"...
    • by Peter Cooper ( 660482 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:04AM (#12985399) Homepage Journal
      I agree with the parent. There seems to be no real cohesion to the new theme. Everything just seems to be bundled on top of each other. If these were the first Longhorn screenshots out, that'd be fine.. but we've been seeing the same for a year now.

      In the screenshots it appears there's no difference made between menus and toolbars anymore.. the menus just kinda blur into them. Icons are different sizes. Different sized toolbars just smudge into each other and look messy. There seems to be no thought put into it.

      Microsoft never ceases to amaze me. The company has billions of dollars (and they don't get it by writing checks I know) but they supposedly have some of the "best minds" out there.. and yet their products and interfaces are so scrappy? I know being Microsoft isn't easy.. they've got to be compatible, they've got lots of products to integrate.. lots of hardware to support.. but heck, can't they at least get decent interface design? It's not like it's a billion dollar job. Even people working for nothing, like the xfce people, do a better job.
      • Firstly, "Overdesigned" may describe "Aqua" on OS X, but clumsy? You also seem to miss the fact that M$ is brilliant at getting the most money from its products, and cohesiveness in the OS doesn't help them do this. In fact, it helps if their software is as scattered and obfuscated as it can be without totally alienating "partner" hardware developers. Extending and protecting their position in the marketplace is important, which is why we will eventually see WinFS. That's what their best minds are working a
      • by nadador ( 3747 )
        > The company has billions of dollars (and they don't get
        > it by writing checks I know) but they supposedly have
        > some of the "best minds" out there.. and yet their
        > products and interfaces are so scrappy?

        I work for a large company, and was fortunate enough to work on a high risk project, one whose failure would have meant financial ruin for the company. Knowing this, they spent lots of money (both in salary and in opportunity costs) to get their "best minds" on the project. This was nearly a
  • No word on XAML (Score:2, Informative)

    by Jose-S ( 890442 )
    Is XAML going to be available in the Longhorn beta?
  • by Reverend528 ( 585549 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:00AM (#12985353) Homepage
    For a second, I read "Longhorn Preview Infected in 12 Minutes".
    • They really should have tried to let Longhorn get infected by XP viruses to sees if Longhorn is actually secure or not.
      • This is /., so I'm going to get pedantic.

        A virus does not rely on any vulnerability in the platform to propogate. Instead, a virus attaches itself to an executable and spreads itself when the executable is launched. So, by definition, Longhorn will be as vulnerable as XP to a virus. And Linux 2. will be just as vulnerabile as Linux 2.. And OSX 10.4 will be as vulnerable as OSX 10.3. As long as you can run binary content, your platform is vulnerable to viruses.

        Now worms are another story, since they'r
        • A virus does not rely on any vulnerability in the platform to propogate. Instead, a virus attaches itself to an executable and spreads itself when the executable is launched. So, by definition, Longhorn will be as vulnerable as XP to a virus. And Linux 2. will be just as vulnerabile as Linux 2.. And OSX 10.4 will be as vulnerable as OSX 10.3. As long as you can run binary content, your platform is vulnerable to viruses.

          I'm going to say this isn't totally true - A failure to meaningfully seperate write an

    • Now, the question is if it was a vision or a confusion. ;-)
  • by mopslik ( 688435 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:02AM (#12985369)

    And in spite of announced planned enhancements such as monitoring of outbound data, ... protection against malware, a new type of restricted user account, and a secure startup scheme to ensure that a PC hasn't been tampered with, Longhorn so far has the same minimal security toolbox as Windows XP with Service Pack 2.

    Though security remains an unresolved issue, build 5048 brings Longhorn's graphical user interface into sharper focus.

    Soooooo, little development with respect to security, but more colourful icons. Super.

  • Loose spelling, poor grammar, and lots of trolling. Oh, itraor, if only you had linked to your own in-depth analysis on your blog, you would have had the Slashdot Superfecta.

    Better luck next time.
  • More cycle-stealing graphical chrome - that was certainly on the very top of my list of features. Far more important than security or availability (be able to add / update software w/o rebooting). Definitely worth the cost of upgrading and buying more RAM / bigger CPU, etc.
  • Most users systems will not be able to handle it and if any corporation deploys this(probably those still on Win 95 or Win 3.1), it will be sure to turn off the all these themes and such. So, the only users that will see and probably use them are the only that don't know translucent from non-translucent anyway.
    Yes, I am sure some will buy it for the eye candy, but I am not sure if there are that many people that will just jump up and upgrade, especially with the DRM and all the other junk that will be in
  • "Among the few noted features is that Windows now offers transluscent UI, finally catching up with Apple."

    Haha! Get it? "Windows" with a "transluscent" UI?

    And just when I thought Windows usage couldn't get any murkier, too...

  • Not a Troll (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CleverNickedName ( 644160 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:05AM (#12985407) Journal
    I'd like to be the first to say that I have always found Windows to be a fine product for all my home needs.

    I'll I'm looking for from a home-OS is for it to be easily compatible with my usual web/mail and games software. Windows has never let me down on that score.

    I'm sure there are plenty of MS horror stories, but personally I have yet to experience them.
    • Spam zombies. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khasim ( 1285 )
      It's really good that you're happy with Windows at home.

      And many of the people who have Windows at home and are spam zombies are also fairly happy with Windows. Until it becomes too laggy.

      The average Windows user would not care how many viruses/trojans/worms were on his computer as long as it seemed to be performing okay for what he used it for.

      Meanwhile, there are bot nets out there with 10,000+ compromised Windows machines on them.

      The issue isn't what you are happy with. The issue is whether you are b
    • "I'm looking for a home-OS is for it to be easily compatible with my usual web/mail and games software" Over the years I've found Win 3.x-Win95,98,Me-Win2000-XP to require "upgrades" for all my usual web/mail and games software, which makes it less "easily" compatible. I would like a product that continues to provide support for my applications without requiring me to download and/or pay for upgrades. This precludes Apple, which has been even worse in the longetivity of support for its software. (How long

  • Major point: Please can that excellent windows icon with the bell and whistle casually draped over it be the new 'Microsoft' icon on /.? Pleeeeaaase?

    Minor point: I could have sworn Windows had transparent and non-rectangular windows at least as far back as win2000, which is before OSX -- hey! Who are you guys, and why am I being handcuffed? And what do you mean, 'ideologically incorrect speech'? There's not even any such crime! Put me down! Put me doowwwwnnn...

  • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:07AM (#12985427) Journal
    The exact same build we've been able to read about on Slashdot a few months back [slashdot.org].

    Beats me why they suddenly reviewed it super late out of the blue, because it's not really like Slashdot is posting a really old news article either here.

    And here I was thinking they were having an early beta 1 review, whose release is due this month.

    Reviewing alpha quality software should tell a lot of IT people here about how useful a review like this is. Beta 1 and 2 should be far more interesting in seeing where Longhorn is heading.
  • by Arthur B. ( 806360 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:08AM (#12985430)
    wtf... alpha blending has been around natively in windows since W2K. It wasn't used but it was there and many mods allowed context menu to set windows transparency.

    o x-composite is still slow like hell...
    o e17 will us software blending...


    • alpha blending has been around natively in windows since W2K

      Oh no, if Bill Gates reads this, somebody will get fired ;-)

    • by dr.badass ( 25287 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @01:19PM (#12986701) Homepage
      wtf... alpha blending has been around natively in windows since W2K. It wasn't used but it was there and many mods allowed context menu to set windows transparency.

      I know the article and summary make it sound like this is the difference, but it's not. The key difference in this regard is that all windows are composited the same way, as if they had transparency, whether they do or not. (i.e., the compositing model is like what Mac OS X has always had.) This basically means a faster UI when using all kinds of crazy effects, and the enabling of new effects. Something like Apple's Expose is virtually impossible to do with out a graphics system like Quartz or Avalons.

      In other words, they're catching up with Apple in capability, but it's yet to be seen if what they do with it will be anywhere near as good.

      (IIRC, e17 uses the same kind of model; it's kind of like Mac OS X pre-10.2/Quartz Extreme.)

      This is an oversimplification, but at least not as bad as the one in the article.
  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp ( 305814 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:10AM (#12985452) Homepage
    Good to see that Apple seems to finally be gaining [amazon.com] some marketshare [google.com], and that Microsoft is resting on its laurels...
  • by mcn ( 112855 )
    ... besides speedier search and better eye candies? If I still continue to file my documents according to my folders and sub-folders and sub-sub-folders, I only search once in a blue moon. What does XP SP2 not have that I needed badly in Longhorn?

    And does the eye candies slow the machine down? Or maybe not since Intel and AMD would have spanking new processors by release time (end 2006 or 2007?) and maybe 1GB RAM as minimum for satisfactory performance.

    Honestly, now with 512 RAM on a brand new notebook (P
  • by G4from128k ( 686170 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:12AM (#12985472)
    I wonder if OS 10.5 will arrive before Longhorn? Steve Jobs said that the company plans to release Leopard in late 2006 or early 2007.

    Perhaps 2007 will see a 3-"L" competition on x86 -- Longhorn, Leopard, & Linux.
    • I think you're putting too much weight on Linux. It's not going to be ready for the desktop by 2006-2007. You may be putting too much weight on Apple even.

      My bet is that 2006-7 will be a Microsoft vs. Microsoft competition: 98/2000/XP/2003 vs. Longhorn. My bet is that Longhorn will pull forward less users than XP did.

  • I get translucent reminders and stuff in XP already. Am I missing something?
  • OK to be fair... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by narrowhouse ( 1949 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:17AM (#12985518) Homepage
    I would like to see some version of the virtual folders like those in Evolution in the GNOME and/or KDE desktops. It looks like that may be one handy feature coming up in Longhorn. If we start work now maybe we can beat the Longhorn release date :).

    I realize that if I want all my pictures in one folder I could just put them in one folder instead of scattering them all over the machine, but for me it would be nice to have the virtual folders show files from ALL of my machines at once.

    So congratulations Microsoft, I have found a feature that I would like. if I still used Windows. I wouldn't upgrade to get it mind you, but I would at least know there was something I couldn't do on XP that I could on Longhorn.
    • Re:OK to be fair... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by gsfprez ( 27403 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @12:41PM (#12986359)
      to me, it looks like virtual folders are nothing more than items in a folder grouped together by meta-data that you have to manually hack in, or by other built in meta-data (like creation dates).

      Yes - i said manually enter meta data... look at the previous screen shot.

      That means that i can type "2005 yesemite vacation" 89 times in 89 "get info" windows... versus that clumsy old way of putting 89 files into a folder called "2005 yosemite vacation".

      hellz yeah - sign me the fsck up! /Mitch Hedberg

      This HAS to be a joke. I know MS is slipping, but these sophmore-year computer science assignemnts are being touted as "improvements" to Windows.. i cannot believe it.

      this is all, of course, a moot point if you're a Mac os X 10.4 user, where i have about 15 actual, useful virtual folders that track things like "all my .m2v compressed files that i've made in the last week" so that i can wipe them out when i make my batch of DVDs at the end of the week - which i want separated from the m2v files i that want to keep from way back. and, of course, all the project folders which are virutal that keep organized each project by either account or project name (doesn't matter, i put in both and it finds everything) so that even if they're on the RAID or on my archives disk (i NEVER have to work from the archive files, because it always is right he first time....) i have them all in one folder.

      the worst part of this article is what doesn't happen - the editor does NOT take MS to task for their sad-ass new features that are trivially implimented or years past old-hat on other operating systems - and point out that if this is all we can expect, we're in for a shock. And that shock could be major problems at microsoft.
  • by broothal ( 186066 ) <christian@fabel.dk> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:18AM (#12985528) Homepage Journal
    Ok so I read the review, and we can obviously expect a lot of bells and whistles as well as a fair amount of eye candy. It may or may not be good, but it reminds me of cellular phones (mobile phones). All I want is a stable phone that I can use to make calls. But with all the crap they've put into phones recently, that's actually hard to find. And I feel the same way about windows. All I want is a stable OS that I can use to run my applications in.

    (And before someone jumps the gun - I use *nix at home, but I'm forced to use Windows at work)
  • TSOD (Score:3, Funny)

    by krell ( 896769 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:23AM (#12985561) Journal
    Does this mean we will get a translucent "Screen of Death" superimposed over the crashed OS screen, instead of the solid-blue one? Just one step toward the "Invisible Screen of Death".
  • by file-exists-p ( 681756 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:35AM (#12985657)

    There is one thing I can't understand: why is Windows so ugly ? Why are non-Apple computers so ugly (yes, Sony's and IBM's PCs are ugly too) ? Why are MP3 players so ugly ?

    Is it really that high-tech firms are full of dorks without any taste ? Is the difference with Apple the fact that Steve Jobs decides, and the guy actually has good taste ?

    I am not joking, this is really something that puzzles me.

    Go Debian!
    • Is it really that high-tech firms are full of dorks without any taste ? Is the difference with Apple the fact that Steve Jobs decides, and the guy actually has good taste ?

      No, it's because different people have different tastes.

  • by Cheeze ( 12756 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:35AM (#12985660) Homepage
    Let's see,

    minimal new features? check.
    lots of hype about features that won't be included? check.
    said hyped features to be included later? check.
    main upgrade is fancy windowing? check.
    requires more cpu/ram? check.

    One big advantage Longhorn has is the addition of DRM. I say advantage because this basically gives MS rights to control what software is on your computer. The advantage is theirs, not yours. What does DRM bring for the customer?

    I don't really see a reason to upgrade. Of course, most of the people that adopt new operating systems don't actually buy the new operating system, they buy a computer and get what's forced upon them. Eventually everyone will upgrade when MS DRM model decides anything older than Longhorn is an unregistered piece of software. Just wait, it's coming.
  • by sxmjmae ( 809464 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:42AM (#12985728)
    Article Summary:

    - Windows is catch up to Apple's OS X.
    - All the features that would sell an OS upgrade have been pulled to meet the release date.
    - Same as XP with a kewler user interface.
    - Only advantage over Apple's OS X is the hardware support.
  • Pimped out (Score:3, Funny)

    by the_rev_matt ( 239420 ) <slashbot&revmatt,com> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @11:49AM (#12985809) Homepage
    I use XP at work, but in classic UI mode because it's the only way to not want to gouge my eyes out. Seeing the Longhorn screenshots reminds me of something going on in the nicer neighborhood a few blocks from my house.

    There's a really working class guy who made good running a car repair shop. They've got a great reputation and do solid work. So he's moved into an upscale neighborhood, bought an older house that needed some work, and he's fixed it up. But he didn't just relandscape and update the paint job, he is seriously pimping it out. It's all very nicely done and high quality, but it's done with no eye for aesthetics. If a three tier $4500 marble fountain with an 8 foot radius is good, then four of them in a front yard that's 50 feet wide is even better!

    From what I hear the inside is pretty much the same concept.

    That's what these screenshots make me think of.
  • by pcraven ( 191172 ) <paul.cravenfamily@com> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @12:13PM (#12986067) Homepage
    If you want eye candy on windows, use stardock's [stardock.com] stuff. (No, I don't work for them.) They have had their stuff out for several years.

    Windowblinds allows you to skin your apps. FX allows you to do transparency and 3-D effects for min/max. And you can use their icon program to change all the icons.

    It is a lot of fun, although I still use windows classic most of the time.
  • by dioscaido ( 541037 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @12:45PM (#12986399)
    Build 5048 was 'released' at WinHEC so that the hardware manufacturers could begin writing drivers under LH's updated driver architecture. This build was not intended to showcase any particular feature of Longhorn, in fact many were removed from the build (including the new 3d interface). The purpose was to provide a shell platform where they could verify their drivers, that is all.

    I wouldn't give creedence to any LH review until the upcoming Beta in late August.
  • by BRSQUIRRL ( 69271 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @01:27PM (#12986767)
    ...because there is a good chance that the upcoming beta releases will look completely different. And the final release will then look completely different than the betas.

    For comparison, here are some links that illustrate the evolution of the Windows XP UI:

    Whistler preview [winsupersite.com]
    Another Whistler preview [winsupersite.com]
    Yet another Whistler preview [winsupersite.com]
    Whistler beta 1 [winsupersite.com]
    Beta 1, another build [winsupersite.com]
    XP Beta 2 [winsupersite.com]
    XP RC1 [winsupersite.com]
  • Same old MS? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by UnknowingFool ( 672806 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @01:30PM (#12986792)
    Though security remains an unresolved issue, build 5048 brings Longhorn's graphical user interface into sharper focus.

    Focus on the fluff. Ignore the substance.

    Microsoft has yet to announce minimum Longhorn system requirements, but for PC buyers seeking insurance that a new system will run Longhorn, the company advises getting 512MB of RAM and a "modern" CPU--more than Windows XP needs.

    Yet another hardware upgrade required. XP was supposed to run on a PII 300MHz with 128MB RAM. By extrapolation, you'll really need 1GB or 2GB of memory and a P4 3.2GHz just to run it comfortably.

  • by glsunder ( 241984 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @01:37PM (#12986855)
    Here's a few of the things that I would want in the next version of windows:

    --don't require users to run as admin. Go after sw companies that put out software such as games that require users to run as root.

    --allow users to easily "su to root" for installs, reconfig, etc. Don't require a logoff/logon.

    --use the 3d for something useful, like letting users run at 1280x1024 but have everything be sized as if it were 800x600. Try giving a person with bad eyesight an lcd and telling them they should run in 1280x1024. It has to be easy to change.

    --never let the user lose control. I hate it when the interface hangs up and you can't do anything. This happens when printing, programs screw up, accessing some media, etc. Fix that.

    --restore the uninstall information when doing a system restore. I might be wrong on this, as I've only used it on one system, but it seemed to restore uninstalled programs, but they couldn't be uninstalled again. BTW system restore is the main reason I bought xp for home. Improve that.

    --a decent command shell. Hey, just port bash over, it'll save both of us some time.

    --easy to use equivalent to ln -s

    --easy way to schedule when the computer logs someone off automatically, and is locked from use for certain times of the day. This is for kicking the kids off the computer automatically, and preventing them from getting on in the middle of the night.

    --a reasonable price.
  • Wheres the future? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MrBandersnatch ( 544818 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @02:16PM (#12987236)
    I keep on wondering why the OS I was envisioning 10 years ago isnt here now. You know, integrated voice recognition, some basic but workable AI to assist in common repetative tasks, a little high quality speach synthesis as an alternate CHI...instead we have more eye-candy and security updates!! That seems to be all Ive seen from MS since...ooooh 1998....

    I know that some of this stuff IS rocket-science (well computer science) and no-one was going to get there over-night but 10 years ago I certainly didnt think that I would have learned to have touch-type before decent voice recognition was integrated into the OS...

    It really feels as if the true innovation in IT has stalled...however its much more likely that it has just been strangled to death by patents.

  • by argent ( 18001 ) <peter&slashdot,2006,taronga,com> on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @03:13PM (#12987816) Homepage Journal
    They don't need to run IE in "low rights" mode, they need to change the design of the HTML control and IE so they display pages in "no rights" mode all the time, unless the application they're embedded in explicitly extends the capabilities. That is, the HTML control by itself should have no mechanism for running ActiveX or VBscript or any "local access" features in JScript. All these would need to be added by the app (such as Windows Update), and there would be NO TIME that the IE shell would add these capabilities, no matter what "zone" it's in.

    Give us a strong sandbox in the browser, and you won't need to run the browser in a weak one.
  • by minus23 ( 250338 ) on Tuesday July 05, 2005 @04:46PM (#12988614)
    I really WANT to use linux as a desktop OS. I've wanted it since Redhat 5.2 or so. Every now and then I give it another go. So much of it just seem silly to me though... like installing an app.

    There is a thread here on Slashdot right now about the future of Linux. It links to Gobolinux. Here is what it says. Yea this is user-friendly.


    Installing programs from source

    If you are used to compiling programs in Linux, you are aware that it is mostly a three-part process: prepare the sources (configure), compile them (make), and install the files generated by the compilation (make install). The process is basically the same in GoboLinux. However, it requires additional setup in the first step, in order to prepare the sources to compile targeting the GoboLinux directories, and additional actions in the third step, so that files installed in /Programs get linked in /System (in order words, to make the files from the programs available for the system).

    GoboLinux fetures a series of scripts that automate this process. They are:

    * PrepareProgram
    * SymlinkProgram
    * CompileProgram

    PrepareProgram and SymlinkProgram are wrappers to the first and third step of compilation as explained above (the second step being simply running 'make'). CompileProgram is a higher-level wrapper script, that wraps the process as a whole: well-behaved autoconf-based programs can be compiled with a single CompileProgram command.
    Setting up the sources: PrepareProgram

    The PrepareProgram script does two things. It creates a directory hierarchy for the program under /Programs, and it attempts to prepare the sources for compilation.

    The syntax for the PrepareProgram is:

    PrepareProgram [ -- ]

    Passing a program name and version number is mandatory. These names are the ones used in the directories under programs. For example,

    PrepareProgram SuperFoo 1.0

    creates the directories /Programs/SuperFoo/Settings, /Programs/SuperFoo/1.0, /Programs/SuperFoo/1.0/bin and so on.

    The second task performed by PrepareProgram is to prepare the sources. Since there isn't a standardized format for distribution of source-code tarballs in the free software world, there is no way to implement completely automated preparation. Fortunately, the popularization of the GNU AutoTools brings us closer to such a standard.

    PrepareProgram, in this second step, will detect availability of preparation tools and perform one of the following:

    1. If the program includes a 'configure' script generated by GNU autoconf, PrepareProgram will run it, passing the necessary options (mainly --prefix, --sysconfdir) as well as any additional options requested by the user in the command line (as ).
    2. Some authors develop their own 'configure' scripts, but due to the popularity of GNU autoconf, design a command line interface similar to that used by this program. PrepareProgram tries to detect if a non-autoconf 'configure' script accepts at least the --prefix option, and use it.
    3. If unfortunately the program does not feature a standard preparation script such as 'configure', the PrepareProgram will, as a last resort, scan for hardcoded paths in the Makefiles and attempt to modify them. Given that this automated process can be highly error-prone, PrepareProgram avoids being "automagical" and asks for the user's assistance: it asks the user for permission before attempting modifications, it saves backup copies of all Makefiles, and displays a summary of changes to the user. (Note: If the user is sure the modifications will be correct, all interaction can be suppressed passing the --batch option to PrepareProgram.)

    In short, PrepareProgram can be considered a wrapper to 'configure'. Instead of running, for example,

    ~/superfoo-1.0] configure --with-shared=yes

    you'll run


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