The WinFS rumors were true: Microsoft has posted for download by its Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) subscribers a first beta of its next-generation WinFS file system.
While many developers were not expecting Microsoft to release a Beta 1 build of the technology until late 2006, Microsoft officials said on Monday that getting early bits to testers before Windows Vista (Longhorn) shipped was actually the plan of record since last year.
“Beta 1 is by no means early or late,” said Quentin Clark, director of program management for WinFS. “And it will still be in beta by the time Vista ships.”
Originally touted by Microsoft top brass as the crux of Longhorn/Vista, WinFS was set to be a platform for organizing, searching for and sharing all kinds of data and information.
Microsoft described WinFS as a revolutionary storage platform that would include schemas for everything from images and documents, to people, tasks and events.
But in August 2004, Microsoft officials announced it was cutting WinFS from both Vista client and Longhorn Server in order to ship those products in a more timely manner. A first beta of WinFS was not anticipated to debut before Vista shipped in the latter half of 2006.
Following that bombshell, Microsoft executives refused to discuss WinFS. Until Monday, that is, when Microsoft made public some new information about WinFS and its plans for the technology.