Feeds

Avalon faces axe as Microsoft dismembers Longhorn

WinFS, new GUI face 'decoupling'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Exclusive Cattle mutilation appears to be a phenomenon more common on the MidWest prairies than the Pacific coast, but one steer in particular faces a very nervous weekend: Microsoft's Longhorn.

Microsoft project managers have demanded that features be jettisoned in order for the next major version of Windows to ship as projected by 2006, and the major loser is the new GUI, codenamed Avalon, according to multiple sources who spoke to The Register on condition of anonymity. Features are being "decoupled", according to current Redmond jargon, meaning they may be introduced at a later date. Or not.

Avalon features a new compositing engine and a new, vastly simplified API that makes coding Windows forms much like writing a web page. The two year project has been the victim of high staff turnover already say sources, but had previously been thought to be sacrosanct. In two years' time much higher pixel densities will make Windows XP's hardwired fonts hard to read, and a modern GUI was considered a necessity. (In anticipation of higher density LCDs, Nokia recently introduced a "double" sized version of its Series 60 user interface). Avalon had won praise for its elegant API and speed at PDC earlier this year. How much of the work, if any, will ship in Longhorn will be decided in the next few days.

Another feature likely to be "decoupled" is WinFS, or Windows Future Storage. However Indigo, Microsoft's middleware infrastructure, is not considered a candidate for mutilation. Microsoft has promised to backport it to Windows XP. Reports earlier this year that WinFS would lose network functionality were strongly denied by Microsoft staff, who pointed out that the company had only ever slated these features in post-Longhorn releases, towards the end of the decade.

Bill Gates described Longhorn as Microsoft's largest ever engineering project, but it has been bedeviled by slippages. Two years ago, Gates said that Longhorn was "the equivalent of many moon shots". How much of this expense is absorbed by the "strategic" deployment of 1,400 webloggers isn't clear - nor is it clear how much they contribute to the slippages. (And they certainly don't tell you anything useful, like what won't appear, preferring to make up fictional 'features', instead). But slip it has: in October 2001 Chairman Bill vowed that Longhorn would hit the CD pressing plants in 2003.

Last year some members of the Longhorn team threw a "Gold Release" party three years early, prompting witty readers to make suggestions for what the acronym 'RTM' really means. But now that looks like a good bet - it might be the only opportunity some staff ever get to celebrate releasing any Longhorn code. ®

Related stories

Longhorn RTM: what it means to you
Microsoft developer hoax backfires
MS Trusted Computing back to drawing board
Windows Shorthorn is dead-on-arrival
Microsoft celebrates Longhorn Gold Release early
Longhorn to erase Cairo mis-step with 1995 ship date
Now MS trails 2006 for Windows Longhorn
Windows Longhorn slips again, becomes megaproject
In victory, Microsoft morphs into IBM, and loses it
Gates confirms Windows Longhorn for 2003, Blackcomb MIA?

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
'Windows 9' LEAK: Microsoft's playing catchup with Linux
Multiple desktops and live tiles in restored Start button star in new vids
Not appy with your Chromebook? Well now it can run Android apps
Google offers beta of tricky OS-inside-OS tech
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
Greater dev access to iOS 8 will put us AT RISK from HACKERS
Knocking holes in Apple's walled garden could backfire, says securo-chap
NHS grows a NoSQL backbone and rips out its Oracle Spine
Open source? In the government? Ha ha! What, wait ...?
Google extends app refund window to two hours
You now have 120 minutes to finish that game instead of 15
Intel: Hey, enterprises, drop everything and DO HADOOP
Big Data analytics projected to run on more servers than any other app
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.
Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.