Longhorn Rollout Slips

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2003-09-01 Print this article Print

Push-back of Windows update raises upgrade concerns for some users.

Microsoft Corp. has once again shifted the schedule for the release of "Longhorn," the companys next major version of Windows, leaving some users up in the air about an upgrade path.

Microsoft executives from Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates on down have long described Longhorn as the Redmond, Wash., companys most revolutionary operating system to date. The product was originally expected to ship next year. Then in May of this year, officials pushed back the release date to 2005. But now executives are declining to say when they expect the software to ship.

"We do not yet know the time frame for Longhorn, but it will involve a lot of innovative and exciting work," said Gates at a company financial analyst meeting this summer. Since then, other Microsoft officials have neither retracted nor clarified Gates statement.

They have said that the next step for Longhorn will be at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles next month, where Longhorn developer preview CDs will be handed out. That will be followed by a broad first beta next year, said Jim Allchin, group vice president of Microsofts Windows Platform Group, at the same summer event attended by Gates.

Some Microsoft partners and customers said that they would welcome Longhorn delays and that there needs to be more time between major releases to allow Microsoft proper engineering time.

For example, the two newest features due in Longhorn—the Windows File System and the new compositing system—both need a lot of engineering and testing time, observers said.

A partner with a Midwest company who works closely on Windows and who requested anonymity said he wants to see more distributed computing features, which is a logical path for Microsofts .Net initiative to take.

"When Im writing code at home or rendering something, why does it have to happen on my home machine? Why cant it seamlessly run those tasks on the dozen or so machines I have access to that are just sitting there?" he asked.

Next page: Legal reasons behind Longhorn delay?

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at www.eweek.com.


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