Neobond and I made a pilgrimage to Redmond. And boy did Microsoft have some cool stuff. While there, Longhorn was re-dubbed Windows Vista which is an entire topic on its own. So what is Vista all about? What specifically is it supposed to do? Most of the really good stuff we can't talk about until the beta is released (due to NDAs). But we can summarize what is already known.
Windows Vista is designed to be a lean, mean, secure machine. Security is a top priority at Microsoft with many low-level systems rewritten to avoid future "Blaster" type worms. It's getting an all new presentation system called Avalon along with a whole toolset of new ways of creating really cool and useful software (XAML, integrated .NET, Indigo, etc.).
And while the jury is out on how polished the final product is going to be, Microsoft is taking quite seriously the need to deliver a secure, solid, and visually appealing OS into people's hands next year. When beta 1 ships, we'll do a second round preview that we can go into more detail with.
View: Vista Preview