In the end, its all about the developers. Microsoft has long understood this, and winning over those developers has been a persistent specialty of Gates, Ballmer & Co.
The lure to entice them for the next platform generation is "Indigo," the service-oriented architecture technology thats in "Longhorn," the next major version of Windows. Indigo will let programs caucus among themselves and automatically come up with solutions to business problems. John Shewchuk, a Microsoft .Net architect who drove this idea, tells Senior Writer Darryl Taft how he persuaded Gates and Ballmer to back his vision. The result could, one analyst said, be a masterstroke in the strategic struggle between Sun and Microsoft to win developers.
As for Longhorn, Senior Analyst Jason Brooks takes a look at Build 4051, a copy of which was given to attendees at last weeks Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles. Jason says developers will be excited by components such as Windows Future Store, which should give users far better search capabilities over their data.
Meanwhile, Linus Torvalds released last week the test9 version of the Linux 2.6 kernel. Tim Witham, lab director for the Open Source Development Lab, tells Senior Editor Peter Galli the kernel will be very much at home embedded in consumer devices as well as in 32-processor systems.
Despite a loyal developer following, erstwhile Microsoft nemesis Borland did not succeed in toppling Redmond during the PC database wars of the 1980s. But, several repositionings later, the company has emerged as a Microsoft ally. In their Face to Face interview with Darryl Taft, Borland CEO Dale Fuller and Chief Technology Officer Blake Stone explain why they believe the companys future lies in application lifecycle management, even if that takes them into head-to-head competition with IBMs Rational division.
In Labs, the news on the enterprise information portal front is good. IBM has made major administrative and end-user improvements to its WebSphere Portal in Version 5.0, according to Labs Director Jim Rapoza and—pleasant surprise—Microsoft has made tremendous strides with SharePoint Portal Server 2003. That product could be the Florida Marlins of EIPs—seemingly out of the running in the spring, but in the fall, contending for the title.
Till next eWEEK, send your comments to me at email@example.com.