Feeds

Gates primes the pump for Longhorn

Bells and whistles

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Microsoft will probably ship the client version of Longhorn before its server counterpart, says Bill Gates.

This tentative prediction was made in Gates's rallying call to software developers to get behind the next version of Windows, at the Developing Software for the future Microsoft Platform in London yesterday. Even though Longhorm isn't due until 2006, Microsoft used the conference to build developer enthusiasm ("prime the pump") for the next version of Windows, which promises substantial architectural changes.

Longhorn’s major features include a revamp of the presentation layer (codenamed Avalon), a radical restructuring of the file system (WinFS) and far deeper integration of Web services technology (Indigo).

Altogether the enhancements amount to the greatest step change for Microsoft since it moved from NT to Windows 2000 four years ago.

Gates said Microsoft has been trying to develop a unified file system for some time. WinFS promises a file systems based on a relational database derived from SQL Server and the ability to search and manipulate data according to XML tags. Documents could be organised based on a keyword, author or some form of user-defined criteria.

With Longhorn it’s also goodbye to the Registry and hello to richer replication.

Middleware becomes underwear

The OS is crammed to the brim with middleware so that only "high end transaction processing" technology will have a life outside the platform. Microsoft argues this approach is necessary to build a better platform for e-commerce and to improve efficiencies within organisational boundaries.

Gates told developers that Microsoft was re-architecting the internals of the OS - everything from modelling to device drivers - with Longhorn. For developers, Microsoft promises that the OS will offer faster, easier development.

Longhorn will allow clients and servers to run in a stateless mode - where data and applications run concurrently on both a server and a PC running Longhorn - to exchange information and complete a task. "We are fudging the line between client and server," said Gates.

Egg timer

Tom Ilube, CIO at online bank Egg, demonstrated an application developed using Longhorn to show how Egg's online banking service is evolving towards a real-time system with more features to differentiate itself from online competitors.

The demo showed how a customer's PC could be running a Web banking application constantly in contact with Egg's back-end systems. In this way it is possible for users to be notified about questionable transactions more quickly, for example.

Although this prototype went down well with developers their real enthusiasm was reserved for the ability to do "rich search and views" which WinFS enables. Quite a few developers were comparing the ability to put together a document with embedded video clips, links, picture and data to the way data could be manipulated in the futuristic film Minority Report.

The interface is snappy but the Web-services hooks aren't finished yet, according to the demos we saw yesterday. So let's not get too far ahead of ourselves.

Future perfect

Gates said Longhorn will provide greater support for technologies such as instant messaging and VoIP. However greater support for speech synthesis and recognition will probably have to wait until Blackcomb, the successor to Longhorn.

An audience member asked Gates about his predictions for the future, cheekily pointing out that apart from his forecast that PC would only ever need 640K of RAM most of his predictions had been close to the mark.

Gates said he'd been misunderstood about the 640K prediction, which only referred back to the maximum address space of Intel's 8086 processor.

Looking towards the future, Gates said he didn't foresee the industry running out of the address space possible with 64 bit computing "in the foreseeable future". ®

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
PEAK LANDFILL: Why tablet gloom is good news for Windows users
Sinofsky's hybrid strategy looks dafter than ever
Leaked Windows Phone 8.1 Update specs tease details of Nokia's next mobes
New screen sizes, dual SIMs, voice over LTE, and more
POW! Apple smites Macbook Air EFI firmware update borkage
Fruity firm provides digital balm for furious fanbois
Call off the firing squad: HP grants stay of execution to OpenVMS
Startup to take over support for today's Itaniums and beyond
Fiendishly complex password app extension ships for iOS 8
Just slip it in, won't hurt a bit, 1Password makers urge devs
Mozilla keeps its Beard, hopes anti-gay marriage troubles are now over
Plenty on new CEO's todo list – starting with Firefox's slipping grasp
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
Another day, another Firefox: Version 31 is upon us ALREADY
Web devs, Mozilla really wants you to like this one
prev story

Whitepapers

7 Elements of Radically Simple OS Migration
Avoid the typical headaches of OS migration during your next project by learning about 7 elements of radically simple OS migration.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Solving today's distributed Big Data backup challenges
Enable IT efficiency and allow a firm to access and reuse corporate information for competitive advantage, ultimately changing business outcomes.
A new approach to endpoint data protection
What is the best way to ensure comprehensive visibility, management, and control of information on both company-owned and employee-owned devices?