A Quick Peek at Longhorn

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2005-04-25 Print this article Print

Here are some first impressions of the latest Longhorn build, handed out to developers Monday at the WinHEC conference in Seattle. (PCMag.com)

We last looked at an alpha of Longhorn, Microsoft Corp.s next-generation operating system, in May 2004. We were even able to get elements of the Aero desktop running, plus took a look at the ambitious WinFS file system. Since then, Microsoft has removed the advanced filing system WinFS and made other key changes. Microsoft released an updated alpha of Longhorn, Build 5048, at this years WinHEC (the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference).
We installed the Longhorn build on a Dell Inc. Inspiron XPS notebook PC, figuring that the 3.4GHz Pentium 4 processor and ATI Mobility Radeon 9700 graphics chip would have enough horsepower to handle even a stripped-down version of Longhorn. Unfortunately, the driver subsystem has a long way to go, as Longhorn failed to recognize either the Mobility Radeon 9700 or the Gigabit Ethernet chip built into the XPS system. But that just gave us an excuse to install the 64-bit version of the build on a beefed-up desktop system, which ended up working just fine. Our first impression, upon booting up Longhorn, was that the companys engineers have made some key refinements to the interface. While not flashy, they should prove very useful for daily computing. Some of these ideas were present in skeletal fashion in the current build, but are more fully realized in this build. Microsoft also gave a peek at more advanced interface ideas in the keynote presentation that was given by Bill Gates and others at the start of WinHEC. Read the full story on PCMag.com: A Quick Peek at Longhorn
Loyd Case came to computing by way of physical chemistry. He began modestly on a DEC PDP-11 by learning the intricacies of the TROFF text formatter while working on his master's thesis. After a brief, painful stint as an analytical chemist, he took over a laboratory network at Lockheed in the early 80's and never looked back. His first 'real' computer was an HP 1000 RTE-6/VM system.

In 1988, he figured out that building his own PC was vastly more interesting than buying off-the-shelf systems ad he ditched his aging Compaq portable. The Sony 3.5-inch floppy drive from his first homebrew rig is still running today. Since then, he's done some programming, been a systems engineer for Hewlett-Packard, worked in technical marketing in the workstation biz, and even dabbled in 3-D modeling and Web design during the Web's early years.

Loyd was also bitten by the writing bug at a very early age, and even has dim memories of reading his creative efforts to his third grade class. Later, he wrote for various user group magazines, culminating in a near-career ending incident at his employer when a humor-impaired senior manager took exception at one of his more flippant efforts. In 1994, Loyd took on the task of writing the first roundup of PC graphics cards for Computer Gaming World -- the first ever written specifically for computer gamers. A year later, Mike Weksler, then tech editor at Computer Gaming World, twisted his arm and forced him to start writing CGW's tech column. The gaming world -- and Loyd -- has never quite recovered despite repeated efforts to find a normal job. Now he's busy with the whole fatherhood thing, working hard to turn his two daughters into avid gamers. When he doesn't have his head buried inside a PC, he dabbles in downhill skiing, military history and home theater.

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