After backing off, way off, from Longhorn, Microsoft is once more making noise about how wonderful the next generation of Windows will be.
Ill believe it when the boys from Redmond ship it. Even after Longhorns been gutted of its most innovative feature—WinFS (Windows File System)—I really doubt that Microsoft will make its latest Longhorn RTM (release to manufacturing) target of 2006s holiday season.
Think about it: We havent even seen a Longhorn alpha since WinHEC 2004. Keep in mind that that alpha came about before Microsoft started axing features, so you can see why I have serious doubts about seeing Longhorn any time before 2007.
Besides, even if we knew to the day when Longhorn would appear, we dont have time to worry about it.
Why? Because officially mainstream support for Windows 2000, both Professional and Server, ends on June 30. I dont know about your customers, but when I talked to a group of CIOs and CTOs last week in Atlanta, more than half of them were still running tens of thousands of W2K desktops.
The writing has been on the wall since Microsoft canceled W2K Service Patch 5 last November.
Microsoft has also been making it clear for some time now that XP, not W2K, is going to get the lions share of attention and improvements. For example, we now know that the security improvements in XP SP2 will not be making it into W2K.
Still, I dont know about you, but I was startled to realize just how close the end of the line is for W2K.
So it is that we need to start working now, not tomorrow, on getting new desktops to your customers.