: Longhorn Out of the Microsoft Corral?"> "The biggest focus for the Longhorn shell is storage," says the developer source. Storage efficiency and scalability are the Longhorn watchwords, he adds. "Think of how many photos you have for example on your computer right now. How many will you have in five years? Would the current model of management hold up or seem dated by then?" Other Longhorn features that sources who have seen recent demos say are under development include:
More system self-tuning, and not just in terms of the placement of tasks on menus based on how often a user selects a given option. Think of all menus becoming more like the Favorites option that would be applied to more than just Web pages;
Better multi-monitor support, including support for displaying the Windows Taskbar across multiple systems simultaneously;
More explicit error messages, especially around copying/moving files and handling documents and digital media, in general;
Easier application installation;
More stringent user permissions. In the same way a parent can control a childs account via MSN 8 Parental Controls, system administrators will be able to use the latest Passport and security controls to lock down users machines;
More self-healing and automation of daily operations. The ideal: Insulate average users from having to do any routine system maintenance tasks;
Better management of plug-ins and ActiveX components, beyond what is done in the system registry.
Microsoft officials have offered few details about Longhorn. Group Vice President Jim Allchin, in a recent interview with eWEEK, said that Microsofts goal is to deliver Longhorn client and server versions simultaneously. Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates has said publicly that Microsoft expects to deliver Longhorn in 2005. Before then, Microsofts Windows team needs to ship Windows .Net Server 2003, which Microsoft is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2003. Some third-party development sources say Microsoft also is likely to deliver some kind of interim Windows release at least for desktop machines, before Longhorn hits the streets. Want the latest on Longhorn? Sign up today for your 14-day free trial of Microsoft Watch.