Service Pack 2 sheds light on Longhorn

With the release of Microsoft's Service Pack 2 for Windows XP later this month, users will be re-evaluating their upgrade plans.

Existing Windows XP desktops are likely to receive the SP2 update, while Windows 2000 users have the choice of moving directly to XP SP2 or waiting until Longhorn, the next major Windows release arrives. Service Pack 2 is widely viewed as a significant update, offering greater security and bundling more functions into the operating system. More importantly, it will offer a taste of things to come from Microsoft: the eagerly-awaited operating system codenamed Longhorn.

This, the next version of Windows, has been described by Microsoft chairman and chief software architect Bill Gates as the biggest product release for Microsoft since Windows 95. "[Longhorn] is going to be a very big release: the biggest release of this decade," he told a developers conference in October 2003. "We are tackling three different areas: the fundamentals - that means the security - the auto-installation and applications not interfering with each other."

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