Woundup Redmond to vet Windows skins

Some slim skinny

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The Preview Program for the widespread beta of Windows XP is opening for entries, as we reported the other day. To be considered, you have to sign up with Microsoft's XP newsletter, which will then notify you when the program will be in action. It seems you have to actually order a release candidate which will ship once Microsoft's good and ready, and it's not free either.

It turns out that the origins of the XP tag go back a bit further than Hendrix. "In 313 AD the Roman Emperor Constantine defeated his enemies under the banner 'XP' and became the undisputed Roman leader and the first Christian Emperor. These letters X and P, or in Greek 'Chi' and 'Rho' - the first two letters of Christ's name in Greek - were a standard under which to fight the heathen masses," writes Reverend David Thom. The truth is out there people (HA!).

Earlier in the week I reported that Windows XP is going to need speedy hardware to run flawlessly, well David Brune says he currently runs Windows XP Personal "on an old Pentium Pro 150 with 64MB of memory. It wont burn any barns down but it runs as well or better than Windows 98 or ME and it does plug & play better than any previous version of Windows." But still, if you want XP to perform at its best, you're going to need at least a Pentium III and 128MB of RAM.

Paul Taylor puts the Windows XP UI in a couple words: "why do I get the feeling we're facing 'Windows for Retards' or for the 'Chromatically Handicapped'.

Something I should add about the UI is that it's designed for hi-resolutions (1024+). All the screenshots over the Internet are at 800x600 but to get the full "Luna" effect one will need at least 1024x768 resolution, which will be the native resolution for all PCs in Q3 2001 anyway.

Who's going to skin the Windows XP UI? The users or Microsoft developers? According to Philip Colmer, an article on MSDN (which I wasn't able to get hold of), states that "the theme file formats are not public; Microsoft retains the design control for themes, to allow a consistent user interface and the able to ensure design continuity. A theme developer's kit will not be available with Windows XP." Which means that Microsoft will be the only ones creating skins. That completely contradicts previous reports that Windows XP will be fully skinnable "by the user". I'll try to get more info.

This week's Windows Roundups

WinXP to include pirate music 'terminator'
WinXP beta build 2428 ships - quietly
Windows XP hype-fest commences
Zapping the ads in MS Messenger

All our Windows roundups are archived here

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