As much as I would be happier to just ignore it, there is something about the increasing Longhorn hysteria that is reminiscent of the depths Apple slid into in the mid-90s.
There were a succession of enticing technology demos promoted as seeds of totally new architectures, more than a couple of which almost survived deployment then in the process of their ultimate abandonment burnt many fans.
But the ask was always too big, just the same as it has always been with every other monolithic attempt at software over engineering.
The one thing we can count on from Microsoft is that they will eventually bring out something which they will tell us is Longhorn. They are too political to contemplate honest abandonment. But all they will ever deliver will be cherry picked features grafted onto their already long suffering underlying architcture.
Apple needed two things to break the cycle of unleliverable promises and finally produce the most significant new OS since IBM's VM: the only multi-achieving arse-kicker in the industry and a decade of somebody else somewhere else evolving the other half of their answer. (The fact that that "somebody else" was the same "arse kicker" on out placement also served to smooth a few wrinkles.)
One fact of life ignored by believers in seven day solutions is that there is a complexity ceiling which applies to engineering and logistics, beyond which more complexity can only be added by an evolutionary mechanism--variation plus selection. If it were not so serious it would be amusing that those who proclaim complexity as evidence for design are so far off target.
But back to Longhorn. My betting is that there will never be another truly new OS from Microsoft, or at least not while their market share remains significant. They will continue to lie about it and continue to fail to deliver. Intel and AMD all over again, yet even Intel has a more resilient basic culture to fall back on, IBM-style, than the isolates from Seattle.
Of course there is never an easier place to make a dishonest living than on the coat-tails of an empire in decline, so if that's your style don't let me discourage you. Just keep the dollars circulating.