First Look: Microsoft Longhorn

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2003-10-30 Print this article Print

Although it's missing an advanced user interface, the Longhorn preview sports the new "sidebar"-based interface, improved media display and editing, and the advanced WinFS file system. See what ExtremeTech finds as it explores the PDC v

Disclaimer: This is a preview based on a very early release of Microsofts next-generation operating system. It lacks the modern user interface elements that will be in the final version. Given that the code is far from final and may contain many debug elements, the systems performance will likely improve in subsequent releases. Any statements we make about perceived performance may not apply to the final version, and any feature discussed here may also change before Longhorns final release in 2006.

Running with the Bull
Longhorn is the codename for the next-generation version of Microsoft Corp.s flagship Windows operating system. Its also the companys most ambitious project since the first Windows NT release. An impressive array of new technologies will be built into the new OS—a few of which were included in the pre-release version we checked out.
Recently, Jason Brooks wrote about his first impressions of Longhorn for eWeek. Now its our turn to dig a little deeper and try to understand a bit more about Microsofts next generation of Windows. Due to its ambitious nature, Longhorn has had its release pushed out to sometime in 2006. Because of this, Microsoft has committed to a second service pack release for Windows XP, which may add a few Longhorn elements – particularly in the realm of security. Some of the key features of Longhorn include:
  • Improved security—through its NGSCB initiative
  • WinFS, a new file system based around relational database technology (NTFS will still be available)
  • New user interface technologies based on DirectX rather than the aging GDI interface. Every window in the release version will be a 32-bit, z-buffered, 3D surface.
  • A new presentation and UI design subsystem, codenamed "Avalon," based on XAML (Extensible Application Markup Language).
  • A new communications architecture, codenamed "Indigo," thats an enhanced and integrated version of Microsofts .NET framework.
Read the full review on ExtremeTech..
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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