Microsoft to Preview Another Piece of Longhorn

Updated: Microsoft will make available early, integrated builds of two of the three key Longhorn foundation components.

SAN FRANCISCO —Microsoft will deliver in March early developer releases of two of the three key pillars of its next major version of Windows, code-named Longhorn.

These so-called "Community Technology Preview" (CTP) WinFX releases will be made available to developers next month, said Eric Rudder, Microsofts senior vice president of servers and tools. Rudder made the announcement at the VSLive conference here during his Tuesday morning keynote.

Rudder said the WinFX CTP releases will "bring Indigo and Avalon" out together for the first time, pointing to the "Avalon" Windows presentation system and the "Indigo" communications subsystem. The releases will also include elements of the WinFX programming core that will comprise Longhorn.

The releases also will include a new build of Visual Studio 2005, Microsofts next-generation tool suite. Rudder did not specify whether the CTP builds will include the Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 bits, but Microsoft is slated to ship Visual Studio 2005 Beta 2 in late March, as well.

"Even if its March 38th or 43rd, we will deliver it [the CTP(s)] in March," Rudder said.

Avalon and Indigo are two of the three key pillars of Longhorn, which is due to ship in 2006.

The third key Longhorn pillar is called "Fundamentals," and consists of the more mundane but necessary Windows functionality, including its security, manageability and deployment infrastructure.

Rudder said Microsoft will make the WinFX CTP builds available to its MSDN (Microsoft Developer Network) subscribers, among other channels.

The WinFX CTP builds will be designed to run on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003, not on any of the early Longhorn builds that Microsoft began distributing last year.

Microsofts goal in distributing the WinFX CTP releases is to get developer feedback on Indigo before the company releases full-fledged betas of Avalon, Indigo and Longhorn, according to company officials.

Editors Note: This story was updated to include further information on the two releases.

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