April 14, 2005 10:00 PM PDT

An early peek at Longhorn

After months of keeping its prized cow in the barn, Microsoft is beginning to let Longhorn out of the stall for public viewing.

Beginning with brief demonstrations to reporters this week, the software maker is starting to shed light on just what the next version of Windows will offer when it hits the market next year. High on the list of features are security enhancements, improved desktop searching and organizing, and better methods for laptops to roam from one network to another.

"This is going to be a big deal," Jim Allchin, Microsoft group vice president, told CNET News.com on Thursday. While he acknowledged that Microsoft is unlikely to get throngs of people to show up outside retail stores on launch day as happened with Windows 95, he did say the company expects Longhorn to drive PC sales. "This product has something for everybody."

News.context

What's new:
After staying relatively mum on what the next version of Windows will look like, Microsoft is offering a peek at how the new OS will look, work and feel.

Bottom line:
Windows, the OS used by more than 90 percent of the world's computers, hasn't had a full revamp in five years. Computer makers are counting on Redmond to produce an upgrade that will make people run out to nab a new PC.

More stories on Longhorn

In a brief demonstration, Allchin showed off several key features that make the new OS stand out from prior versions. A "quick search pane," for example, allows users to type queries and instantly see matching files.

In both look and form, the search mechanism is similar to the Spotlight feature in Apple Computer's Mac OS X Tiger, which goes on sale later this month. Search results can be saved as virtual folders that are automatically updated to include all items that fit a particular query, such as "authored by Mary" or "containing the word 'Cleveland.'" Documents, pictures, music and even applications can also be given a rating or keywords to add further criteria for searching.

But while the OS bears plenty of similarities to Tiger, Allchin stressed that Microsoft has broken new ground in Longhorn. For example, document icons are no longer a hint of the type of file, but rather a small picture of the file itself. The icon for a Word document, for example, is a tiny iteration of the first page of the file. Folders, too, show glimpses of what's inside. Such images can be rather small, but they offer a visual cue that aids in the searching process, Allchin said.

Allchin said that Longhorn also goes further than Tiger when it comes to what one can do with search results, saying it offers new ways to organize and view the information. While the look of the OS hasn't been finalized, the translucent windows and other graphics tricks are expected to find their way into the finished software.

Microsoft clearly has a lot of work to do with Longhorn. Although the company has added Tablet and Media Center versions, as well as the Service Pack 2 security enhancements, a lot has changed since XP debuted five years ago.

What's in a name?
As for timing, Allchin said development is basically on track for the schedule outlined by the company last fall. An updated developer preview version will be given out at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference, or WinHEC, set to take place at month's end in Seattle. The company is still shooting for an initial beta around midyear, though it could be July, as the new official schedule is "early summer." A second beta is planned, though no final date has been given, with the goal of having the OS broadly available on PCs by next year's holiday season. Longhorn will come in 32-bit and 64-bit versions, Allchin said.

While many details about Longhorn have been nailed down, others, including its name, are still up in the air. The company is close to deciding which different versions will be available, but it's not ready to announce that yet. It is too soon to say, for example, whether there will be separate Media Center or Tablet PC editions, Allchin said.

"We are moving features around," he said.

Microsoft talked fairly early about Longhorn, with company Chairman Bill Gates first demonstrating it at a developer conference

CONTINUED:
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88 comments

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What a great propaganda puff piece
Longhorn...Longwait...Shorthorn...who cares? Thanks for this
useless piece, Cnet. By the way, Apple already offers visual icons
for files and ways to view folder contents without opening them.

It would have been just swell if you could have elaborated on
Allchin's claim that Longhorn lets do more with search results
than OS X, but that must be asking too much of a news site like
yours. Errmm...you are a news site, right?

Say, is this enhanced search feature going to actually make into
Longhorn, or is it being introduced piecemeal, delayed
indefinitely, or just dreamed about?

Allchin says that his top three priorities are:
1. Quality standards for Longhorn
2. Getting it out on schedule
3. Packing it full of features

It's all about SECURITY, STUPID. So nice to see that this OS won't
ship with full privileges enabled as the default. Nice to see that
Allchin et al put that dollar to good use and actually bought a
clue.

Overall, your article offers no critique, little background and no
insight as to the final feature set or actual ship date of
Longhorn. I hope MS paid Cnet well for this two-page
advertisement.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Innovative
Ok so the linux KDE desktop does the document-preview thingy since version 1(?). Of course if you point to the icon you get a bigger preview. Of course it works for sound files aswell. So when will micro$oft innovate that into longhorn too? I know that Micro$oft stole the GUI from apple but geez how much longer are they willing to copy(steal) Mac? They should try to copy(steal) stability not eyecandy.
Posted by (92 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Funny
You have to admit it's kinda funny to read a story about Longhoen and have a bunch of Linux and Mac people say how their OS is better. It is like a religion or something.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Mac is linux
Well, sought of, Unix to be more exact. Mac to me is more like what gnome and kde is to linux, a desktop manager. Since the underlining muscle is BSD (unix base) it stands closer to every linux, unix system out there. On the matter of windows now changing their icons with a shot of what's inside, mac and linux have already passed that stage. And it just seems to me some of the features that are mentioned in the article is just copies of current stuff that's already out there, but that's just Microsoft.
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
2006?
Longhorn seems to be an indication that there are massive mangement problems at microsoft. From everthing I read , Microsoft has really good tech people but they haven't met a deadline in how many decades. If the tech people are as good as I think it means that the upper management at Microsoft is messing up somehow and making it impossible for the worker bees to deliver the goods. If they want to keep their position on the razor's edge they had better fix things so they can deliver a product in a timely manner
Posted by mpotter28 (130 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Beware the hidden "advantages"
There are advantages to Longhorn that indeed are not much heeded. Like the potential for a new file system to make existing apps eligible for expensive replacement. Or the opportunity to buy new video cards to support the new colorful interface.

The new video card opportunity is a plus point, since with new card slot standards coming this will feature will also afford many the opportunity to buy a whole new PC just to acces the new glorious video.

Oh sure, there will be backward comptibility to some extent, just like Win 3.1 apps ran great (Not!) on Win 95.

Of course when we have this grand opportunity to buy a new PC we will also get Longhorn with, too. An extra bonus.

And yet despite these overwhelming plusses, Microsoft still has to convince the market that Longhorn is a great economic benefit for the users and not just for Microsoft.

The firm is bringing on Longhorn after a long period when it has short-shrifted the home users who used to drive new waves of PC adoption. MS has skewed the game market towards separate pricey game consoles, for example, completely eroding the need for middle clas home users to rebuy big expensive PCs so the kids can play on.

And with Product Activivation MS has destoyed the economic equation that made the PC feasible in the home in quantity, and in terms of the the value of rebuying new PCs frequently, since the software can't be repurposed and neither MS software costs nor the OS cost can any longer be amortized over several home PCs.

The prospect of web-centric perpetual-pay .NOT (er .Net, sorry) apps will not help either.

Small wonder that the consumers that drove MS's success are now focussing on driving iPods and Macs instead. And on HDTV etc.

But hardly on MS and its products at all any more.
Posted by PolarUpgrade (103 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Always running as root...
Thank goodness Longhorn won't "suggest" that one run as root.
Now to convince the 3rd party developers to jump on board
*cough* ADOBE *cough*.

In WinXP, the default user runs as root (and hence so do all the
apps he runs). Opening a command prompt and deleting the
contents of C: is fun, whether you do it or that script you just
downloaded does it. So MS puts up "armed guards" around the
perimeter, to shoot down any intruders (ie viruses, spyware).
Works great. Right.

Instead of having any armed guards, why not put the stuff you're
protecting in a safe. No more armed guards required.

Microsoft will tout this new "minimal permissions feature" in
Longhorn as INNOVATIVE! Its been around for 30+ years.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
So you want transparent windows
Download a program called "iconoid", I've been using it on a P4-M 2002 laptop and it has worked like a charm. No 128MB of video memory required.
Posted by sanenazok (3449 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Aero/Aero Glass & AGP Requirement
Hmm ... one thing I can't understand is why they are saying that there is a need specifically for an AGP card to run the Aero or Aero glass. Me hopes that this is a 'soft restriction' (i.e. you can still chosse your setting on your own, although they might engage some warning dialogue) rather than hard reinforced (i.e. won't let you select Aero glass if you have a PCI card) deal.

Just to get all personal: I, for example, have a newly purchased Dimension 3000 (dell). 3ghz processor, 1gig RAM, but, as with all Dimension 3000 systems, only PCI. (Thanks Dell). Now, Microsoft is telling me that my PCI card -- the best one available, a 256MB GeForce FX5700LE heavily overclocked -- won't be able to handle Aero Glass?

Not understanding why, and praying for soft restrictions.

There are going to be a LOT of angry and relatively computer unsavvy customers calling up Microsoft in about a years time from now if MS doesn't figure a way out to make kosher the whole PCI / new OS apperance thing. Can you imagine a million soccer moms calling up MS tech support to find out why the new Microsoft 'Cow' Operating System they installed on their 1-year-old Dells looks nothing like their neighbor's new 'Cow' Operating System even though they have similar computers?

Plus, there will be that tiny but vocal subset of the population (specifically me) who know that their computers could run things just fine with a PCI card. I'm sorry, but there's no way that the interaction layer of an OS could be any more taxing, Aero glass or no Aero glass, than the most recent games out on the mkt right now.

AH, please let this work out, O Great Bird of the Galaxy
Posted by (3 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Allchin is wrong...
"But while the OS bears plenty of similarities to Tiger, Allchin stressed that Microsoft has broken new ground in Longhorn. For example, document icons are no longer a hint of the type of file, but rather a small picture of the file itself. The icon for a Word document, for example, is a tiny iteration of the first page of the file."

Depends on how you define "breaking new ground". Linux desktops running Gnome have displayed files like this for years. True to Microsoft form, their definition of "innovation" is taking an established idea and running it on Windows.
Posted by rdean (119 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Wow, sound like features linux has had for years!
See subject. I'm running the latest iteration of debian. Aside from having to spend ten minutes being sure I had drivers, the experience of using linux is far simpler and much more satisfying. I would choose linux and apple osx over longhorn, or anything that ms has to offer, any day.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Sounds like OS X... almost.
No wonder it's been delayed. They needed to get their hands on
OS X first to see what an OS should be.
Posted by (2 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pathetic Lack Of History Knowledge PC wannabe.
Yes XEROX PARC invented a "crude" version of the GUI point &
click, pull down menu system. NOBODY wanted it & could not
see any use for this "mouse & GUI".
Offered to HP: NO
Offered to IBM: NO
Jobs & Woz visited PARC & were fascinated by this innovated,
abeit "crude" at the time. XEROX R&D did not want it either.

Apple PAID for this in Apple stock to Xerox.
Apple thenrefined & polished the GUI & mouse action to
revolutionized the personal computer industry with "point &
click, drag & drop, copy & paste" all with a new & updated
polisdhed & elegant GUI.
MS DOS was doomed & Citizen Gates knew it. That's why they
developed the first version of Excel & Word for the Mac GUI /
platform.
That's also where they had the opportunity to "sample" (i.e.
steal) the GUI. GUI could not be trademarked as intellectual
propery, only the codes behind them could.
Windows was born out of sheer envy & greed of MS stealing the
GUI from Apple.
Mac were born out of seeing a visionary way to create a better
human computer interface that started from the seeds of Xerox
PARC, that everyone thought was worthless (except for two TRUE
visonaries...Jobs & Woz).
Get the facts Jack...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Pathetic PC wannabes...
Yes XEROX PARC invented a "crude" version of the GUI point &
click, pull down menu system. NOBODY wanted it & could not
see any use for this "mouse & GUI".
Offered to HP: NO
Offered to IBM: NO
Jobs & Woz visited PARC & were fascinated by this innovated,
abeit "crude" at the time. XEROX R&D did not want it either.

Apple PAID for this in Apple stock to Xerox.
Apple then refined & polished the GUI & mouse action to
revolutionized the personal computer industry with "point &
click, drag & drop, copy & paste" all with a new & updated
polished & elegant Apple GUI.
MS DOS was doomed & Citizen Gates knew it. That's why they
developed the first version of Excel & Word for the Mac GUI /
platform. (can't drag & drop in DOS...no GUI)
That's also where they had the opportunity to "sample" (i.e.
steal) the GUI. GUI could not be trademarked as intellectual
propery, only the codes behind them could during that time
period.)
Windows was born out of sheer envy & greed of MS stealing the
GUI from Apple.
Mac were born out of seeing a visionary way to create a better
human computer interface that started from the seeds of Xerox
PARC, that everyone thought was worthless (except for two TRUE
visonaries...Jobs & Woz).

Get the facts Jack...
Posted by Llib Setag (951 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Just leeches
Looks like it's just another technology leeching that you always see. Stealing innovation and creativity from *nix.
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Techno-Man Does Not Live by Engineering Alone
Techno-man does not live by engineering alone, but by all that marketing can promise the customer-client, and with luck engineering can deliver just a few weeks, months or years behind schedule.

Read Em and Weep, Apple Vegans and Penguin Carnivores. Bronco Billy and his Redmond Rascals are cutting everyone off at Longhorn Pass. A S/W release and scheduled delivery promise is a promise to be cyber-broken by M$. Elegant FILE SYSTEM&maybe next time around S/W Fans&and on and on.

Im a fallen MACintosh True Believer who got left in the S/W apps availability dust with a pile of not so useful MAC OS-driven H/W I had to trade in for MS DOS-driven PCs to keep my clients happy, and my bottom-line in the BLACK. I haven't looked back since.

ALL HAIL THE WOZ-STER&YES!!!...because the Woz-ster's Apple-Mac OS rules as the best collegial partnership between man and machine to date. ALL HAIL JOBS?!? Whatzup wit dat??? Jobs was great for OFF-SITE week-end "Religious Retreats," covered on 60 Minutes, but never really LOVED US the Monday morning that followed.

The same malady affected MAC Visionaries who had a technically superior MAC OS and DRI-DOS Visionaries with their technically superior CP/M-based PC DOS. They all were blinded by GO-GO EIGHTIE$ GREED I$ GOOD, and contract red-lining, fine-print reading Corporate Lawyers. They all got THEIR$ in spite failing against desktop sleeping bespectacled Billy the Kid, sans lawyers. Billy Got His "All Rights Reserved To Microsoft" IBM PC M$ Bugware DOS Contract. The corner-office heavies at Apple and DRI STILL GOT THEIR'$ whilst we Faithful Techno-Purists got left holdin' & eatin' the Apple-Digital Core seeds & all, and GOT OURS IN THE WRONG END. Funny thing, it didnt feel like SOFT WARE to me.

Check out MAC OS vs. M$ OS vs. Other Stuff OS Market Share here in Y2K + 5, and READ EM & WEEP Techno-Market players and IT purveyors. The TECHNO Bottom Line is the BIZ BOTTOM LINE. Please, no...Yabbut-but-but-t-t Apple has iPOD...iPOD is a soon to be waning Flavor-Of-The-Month...and Pengie is soon to go the way of Batman & Robin. We UNWASHED, out here in the e-Hinterlands, wont be doing the Penguin SOFT[ware] Shoe Shuffle to MAC delivered I-Tunes, but rather will still be dancing to Bronco Billys Longhorn Doesy-Do.

I and my System Software Mates are anxiously awaiting delivery of our copies of Longhorn Beta 1, currently promised this Summer of 2005. B-)
Posted by Catgic (106 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Fire Molly Wood
Fire Molly Wood
Posted by montgomeryburns (109 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Are you KIDDING me?
Quote from the article:
"But while the OS bears plenty of similarities to Tiger, Allchin
stressed that Microsoft has broken new ground in Longhorn. For
example, document icons are no longer a hint of the type of file,
but rather a small picture of the file itself. The icon for a Word
document, for example, is a tiny iteration of the first page of the
file. Folders, too, show glimpses of what's inside. Such images
can be rather small, but they offer a visual cue that aids in the
searching process, Allchin said."

HA!!! That's a NEW feature for Windows? Guess what, I have Mac
OS X Panther (the currently available version) and it ALREADY
does that with... get this... MICROSOFT WORD documents!
Already have a little icon showing me a preview of the
document. And this is the best thing CNET could come up with
as a new special feature for Longhorn? Give me a break!
Posted by hatandglasses13 (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
Greedy?
What the hell does "greedy Mr. Jobs" have to do with this? That is
an incredibly naive reply. I won't even debate whether or not Mr.
Jobs OR Mr. Gates is "greedy," since that is irrelevant and quite
frankly makes no sense.

I would rather spend my hard earned money on a reliable,
productive, and user friendly operating system than waste it on
an unintuitive operating system that does not support the
leading creative professional software titles, better yet on a
company that makes false claims about its products.

Is it worth it to be constantly frustrated and unhappy with an
incapable computer that I will have for YEARS just to save a few
hundred dollars? Guess what, no.
Posted by hatandglasses13 (68 comments )
Reply Link Flag
 

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