Next Microsoft operating system will be radical change from XP

Thanks Toxicfume...Windows XP has been on the market for a year now, so naturally everyone is clamoring for details on the next version of the world's most popular operating system -- or so Microsoft Corp. hopes. Details are dribbling out, but Microsoft won't say a word on the record, declining to comment for this story. Analysts and software developers haven't been briefed, either.

But here's what has leaked out so far.

The next version of the world's most popular desktop operating system, code-named "Longhorn," is due out in test form next year and in final form in 2004. It will have a new look and feel, very different from Windows XP's. Its guts will also be radically different from Windows XP's, because they're based on XML -- extensible markup language, the emerging lingua franca of the Internet. And it will be the first version that won't function fully without new hardware.

"With the possible exception of Windows NT, which was a change from the ground up, this could be the biggest change ever" to Windows, said Giga analyst Rob Enderle.

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