Feeds

Bill Gates, Windows, the Universe and everything: .NET

The Ultimate Windows project gets its first airing

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Microsoft has made no secret of its intention to dump the clunky Next Generation Windows Services title, and it has come to pass - the Next Big Thing is going to be called .NET, presumably meaning that Microsoft now proposes to take over the Internet in easy stages, following up later with .COM and - oh yes - .GOV and .MIL.

Bill Gates finally put flesh on the .NET bones today, and as predicted it's big, a project designed to encompass practically everything Microsoft produces and more, with XML a key plank of the whole operation. In terms of nomenclature this largely involves sticking .NET on the end of existing product names, so you get Windows.NET, MSN.NET and Office.NET, but the basic principle is that .NET itself is the platform, while existing products will be evolved by being .NET-enabled. So Windows.NET isn't a new version of Windows as such, despite the fact that Microsoft describes it as "the next generation of Windows". Instead, the first version of Windows "to incorporate .NET elements is scheduled to be available in 2001".

That is, it's Whistler. It's worth noting that "Microsoft will also continue to offer support for versions of the Windows platform without .NET services," and you can take that how you like - maybe it's a nod in the direction of the antitrust suit, or maybe it's just further evidence that what we have here is a middleware project that ties Microsoft products together, but doesn't actually change them at the core.

Microsoft wants to get the platform out there on the Web, and it wants it to be a services platform. The example of Windows.NET serves to illustrate how this will work. It'll incorporate "new .NET user experience technologies" (see the skins piece we did earlier today), and "is tightly integrated with .NET building block services including identity and search" (i.e. it's hooked into a Web-based services rental system. "Windows.NET will be self-supporting, featuring services that provide ongoing support and updates as users need them."

It'll provide a rich foundation for developers, and here's a good bit: "It will offer a programmable user experience that can be customised by corporations and individuals and programmed by .NET services including MSN.NET, bCentral for .NET and Office.NET, as well as a host of third party .NET services." That's quite a list of things that are going to be driving your machine for you. It also "facilitates the continuous delivery of software to customers," which we think must be that rental thing again.

In this light it's not exactly surprising that the Microsoft announcement front ends with "improved user experience puts people in control," and stresses that "innovative privacy technology" will be a foundation of its next-generation software.

Other things to watch include the "new Universal Canvas XML-based compound information architecture", which seems to be what compound documents did next, and the ".NET device software". That's a particularly interesting catch-all, "software to power a new breed of smart Internet-connected devices that can take maximum advantage of the .NET platform and fully participate in next-generation user experiences".

That'll include Pocket PCs, set-top boxes, mobile phones and games consoles. It may also explain why Microsoft might be maintaining a continuing interest in Win9x code, post Windows ME.

Although Steve Ballmer was talking about monthly rental fees earlier this year, the company seems to have been a little more reticent about it today. But it does describe "premium" services in addition to the MSN.NET ones. These will build on existing software in the games, entertainment, education and productivity areas, so you can expect online gaming (and hence X-box) to be included, along with productivity application service delivery to mobile devices. ®

Related Stories

The Skinny on Skinning Whistler
Windows ME the last Win9x OS? Maybe not...

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Preview redux: Microsoft ships new Windows 10 build with 7,000 changes
Latest bleeding-edge bits borrow Action Center from Windows Phone
Google opens Inbox – email for people too thick to handle email
Print this article out and give it to someone tech-y if you get stuck
Microsoft promises Windows 10 will mean two-factor auth for all
Sneak peek at security features Redmond's baking into new OS
UNIX greybeards threaten Debian fork over systemd plan
'Veteran Unix Admins' fear desktop emphasis is betraying open source
Entity Framework goes 'code first' as Microsoft pulls visual design tool
Visual Studio database diagramming's out the window
Google+ goes TITSUP. But WHO knew? How long? Anyone ... Hello ...
Wobbly Gmail, Contacts, Calendar on the other hand ...
DEATH by PowerPoint: Microsoft warns of 0-day attack hidden in slides
Might put out patch in update, might chuck it out sooner
Redmond top man Satya Nadella: 'Microsoft LOVES Linux'
Open-source 'love' fairly runneth over at cloud event
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.