When Microsoft Corp. distributes the preview release of Longhorn at the WinHEC at the end of this month, it will look quite different from the early Longhorn bits it distributed at the same show a year ago.
Unlike last years Longhorn Windows Hardware Engineering Conference preview build, this years will include the first pieces of Microsofts built-in Windows security system.
That system—originally code-named “Palladium,” (and more recently, “Next-Generation Secure Computing Base,” or NGSCB)—has been one of the most controversial of the planned Longhorn components, since Microsoft first detailed it in 2003.
NGSCB, as Microsoft originally outlined it, was to be one of the key components of the companys overarching Trustworthy Computing Initiative.
The two foundations of NGSCB were designed to be the Trusted Platform Module on the hardware side, and the Trusted Operating Root (or “nexus”) on the software side.
The nexus was to be the kernel of an isolated software stack that was designed to run inside the standard Windows environment.
The nexus was slated to provide a set of APIs that would enable sealed storage and other foundations for trusted-computing.
The goal for NGSCB was “to marry hardware and software to gain better security,” said Jim Allchin, Microsofts group vice president for platforms.
That continues to be Microsofts ultimate goal for NGSCB, Allchin said. But the Redmond software vendor is planning a longer and different route to achieve that end, he acknowledged.