'Longhorn' Builds in Ease of Use

The latest build of the client operating system is richer and more stable, but it will require heavy-duty hardware.

In the opening keynote address at WinHEC, held earlier this month in Seattle, Microsoft Corp. Platforms Group Vice President Jim Allchin focused on Microsoft's desire to provide rich, new Windows experiences, a goal that the company plans to realize in its next-generation client operating system, code-named Longhorn.

When it ships, probably late in 2006, Longhorn will feature dramatically redesigned graphics (Avalon), storage (WinFS) and communication (Indigo) subsystems, as well as a new driver model—all of which are intended to contribute to a client operating system that's significantly more stable, more useful and easier to develop for than Windows is today. eWEEK Labs had the opportunity to gauge Microsoft's progress when we tested Build 4074 of Longhorn, which was distributed to WinHEC attendees. (The build is also available to MSDN subscribers at www.msdn.microsoft.com/longhorn.)

Based on the time we spent in sessions at WinHEC and on our tests of the latest Longhorn build, it appears Microsoft is on track to deliver on its promises. However, if Longhorn is to be a success, it'll require significant buy-in from hardware and software vendors. New hardware must be developed, and new drivers—in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors—must be written to run that hardware. Also, for users to experience much of what Longhorn has to offer, applications that take advantage of Avalon, WinFS and Indigo must be written, and it remains to be seen whether developers will push Longhorn-only features in applications that must also support Windows 2000 and XP.

News source: eWeek

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