Feeds

Avalon faces axe as Microsoft dismembers Longhorn

WinFS, new GUI face 'decoupling'

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

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?

5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup

More from The Register

next story
Why has the web gone to hell? Market chaos and HUMAN NATURE
Tim Berners-Lee isn't happy, but we should be
Mozilla's 'Tiles' ads debut in new Firefox nightlies
You can try turning them off and on again
Microsoft boots 1,500 dodgy apps from the Windows Store
DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! DEVELOPERS! Naughty, misleading developers!
'Stop dissing Google or quit': OK, I quit, says Code Club co-founder
And now a message from our sponsors: 'STFU or else'
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Uber, Lyft and cutting corners: The true face of the Sharing Economy
Casual labour and tired ideas = not really web-tastic
Linux turns 23 and Linus Torvalds celebrates as only he can
No, not with swearing, but by controlling the release cycle
prev story

Whitepapers

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup
Learn why inSync received the highest overall rating from Druva and is the top choice for the mobile workforce.
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.
Rethinking backup and recovery in the modern data center
Combining intelligence, operational analytics, and automation to enable efficient, data-driven IT organizations using the HP ABR approach.
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.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.