Up Close with the Latest Longhorn Build

By Loyd Case  |  Posted 2004-05-06 Print this article Print

The next version of Windows is still several years away, but PC Magazine offers a sneak peek. Take a guided tour of the 4072 build of Longhorn from the disc handed to WinHEC attendees in Seattle.

At this years Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC), Microsoft released another sneak peek at its next generation operating system, code-named Longhorn. PC Magazine, along with the rest of the WinHEC attendees, received a DVD with the 4072 build. This preview is based on that build. The latest build is similar to the one released at Microsofts Professional Developers Conference last September. A few things have been added, though not all are obvious. At first blush, Longhorn appears to retain the look and feel of the earlier versions except for some new background art. The bulky-looking taskbar still consumes considerable real estate on the right side of the screen, though you can minimize the bar. The overall user interface has been streamlined a bit and made more consistent. Longhorn builds a contact manager into the operating system itself and even allows users to pin frequent contacts to the taskbar.
Although the surface looks placid, some goodies lurk beneath. As Neowin (http://www.neowin.net) reported, the Avalon desktop window manager (DWM) is incorporated into this build of Longhorn, though its inactive on startup.
Avalon will be the replacement for the existing Windows desktop graphics technologies, and is built on XML and DirectX. Avalon itself is an API framework, much like the GDI interface on which the current Windows desktops are built. The Avalon DWM alters the look and feel of the desktop just a bit. On the surface, the changes dont seem dramatic. The "bugs"—the minimize/maximize/close buttons