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The Ideas Behind Longhorn 745

An anonymous reader writes: "Fortune magazine is carrying an interesting article on the new and improved Bill Gates, as well as some details on Longhorn: 'Because Gates' geeks are completely overhauling the operating system, they'll also have to redesign most of the company's other software products and services to take full advantage, including the MSN online service, its server applications, and especially Microsoft Office, the productivity suite that accounts for nearly a third of the company's sales and profits. If this enormous undertaking succeeds, it will make computers more personal than ever. Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier.'"
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The Ideas Behind Longhorn

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  • by pigeon ( 909 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @08:49AM (#3761739) Homepage
    Is that it won't play nice with samba anymore, office won't be compatible with openoffice anymore, linux and *bsd won't be able to read the filesystem anymore, wine will not be able to run MS applications anymore, and you are not compatible with privacy anymore.
    • Cry me a river.

      You sound like the whole point of Longhorn is to give Linux the big F-U. Honestly, that might be a side-thought, but the main thought is to improve their OS. You guys bitch and moan about BSOD, but when they say, "OK, lets overhaul the bastard from scratch, and make it better" all you can say is, "but it won't be compatible with ..."

      Some how, I think the open source community will be able to make a new version of samba (or another app altogether) that will be compatible with Longhorn before it becomes popular. If there is a need for it, the open source community will eventually get it out.

      Bottom line: Innovation is not a bad thing.
      • Innovation is not a bad thing

        Which is why its too bad that Microsoft hasn't ever done much of it. I like to call what they do 'immovation'. Its 90% immitation. The 10% of innovation they do seems to be in dirty tricks and proprietarization.

        Sure, a lot of open source is clones of other products as well, but in most cases at least the clones are faithful to the original. Microsoft tends to copy ideas poorly.

        • Which is why its too bad that Microsoft hasn't ever done much of it.

          What, exactly, is Longhorn immitating?

          Microsoft tends to copy ideas poorly.

          Like MS Office? Honestly, I find it the best all-around office suite out there. Sure, they copied the old word processors and spreadsheets and stuff, but did a good job making it userfriendly, and a nice product.
          • What, exactly, is Longhorn immitating?

            Hard to say until it actually comes out.

            But if its central feature is a database filesystem, PalmOS seems like the best candidate.
            • the old DR releases of BeOS also had a db as a filesystem. They left it for a more 'normal' fs since it bacame rather slow as things grew. Should be interesting to osee if ms can pull that one of
          • I seem to remember MS Word being a clone of WordPerfect...which was a clone of WordStar. As a matter of fact, I remember finding WordPerfect Helpfiles in a version of MS Word. Be a crony somewhere else.
        • What's wrong with taking everyone's good ideas and implementing them into one product? You know, it'd be easier to just say "I hate Microsoft and no amount of logic will change that" and get it over with, instead of trying to come up with actual reasons to dislike it (like "ono they're using other peoples' good ideas! how evil").
          • "What's wrong with taking everyone's good ideas and implementing them into one product?"

            Because that would require a public domain, and recent copyright laws have destroyed the public domain. It's a great idea, but let the protectionists reap what they sow. They can have infinite copyright, or innovation, but not both.
      • Heh. Nice Troll. (Score:3, Insightful)

        by DaveWood ( 101146 )
        Good form. All of your arguments are transparent enough to need little rebuttal, but I would add one thing:

        Do you think trying to reverse-engineer MS's encrypted DRM-able filesystem will be branded as "interoperability" or "a federal crime" under the DMCA?

        • You got me thinking....here's another troll for you.

          If federal antitrust settlements require opening up the interfaces into Microsoft's software to a greater degree, then do they not have grounds to sue the government on the basis of the DMCA for circumventing a copyright protection scheme?

      • I'm an opensource kiddie, and I agree with 'If there is a need for it, the open source community will eventually get it out.' On the other hand. The OS will know more about you... this scares me. Yes, it is intended to improve how you use your computer, but damn! Look at the potential risk they are taking with spyware, and crackers obtaining more information about you than you need. With Windows'(tm)(r)(c) current track record with spyware, I don't think I'd even trust a '100% built from the ground up' Windows. I've got a 2kpro workstation here at work. I've got numerous applications from Mcaffe's spam stopper to Adaware, and I still manage to get spam, and ugly ads I cant get rid of. Adware removes atleast 3 cookies(etc) a day. Then again, MS could do an unbelievable job on Longhorn and make it a tight, stable, and secure OS that is still packed with functionality. So I guess I'm just gonna sit back and see what happens. =)

        P.S. Yeah, I tend to bash MS often, but they aren't 100% wrong 100% of the time. They do make some nice products.
    • I've been wondering where all of this is taking us. The more our computers are taken out of our hands and the less we have control over them, the more suspicious I am about what they are doing. Makes me wonder after all of this new software and government mandated hardware takes effect, we'll have a machine that manipulates us into doing things, instead of a tool for getting things done.

      Myself, I refuse to take that step. I refuse to use a computer that I cannot directly control and use exclusively for my benefit. Not a tool for marketing and e-commerce sellers.

      So when all that is available at the local computer store are manipulation machines, I wonder if my P90, P120 running (A then illegal) version of Linux will become highly valuable.
    • you are not compatible with privacy anymore

      Too right! And if anyone thinks this is for the consumer's good, they're about as sharp as a junket sandwich.

      your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours

      ...dick length/breast volume, how long since you picked your nose, how often you get the cans into the rubbish bin (and how many are two-pointers)... but knowing Microsoft and their sense of timing, you'll still get their bill the same day you finally scrimp together enough to pay your outstanding taxes.

      making all those things easier.

      Making what things easier?

      Oh... yes, that's right. Burglars won't have to give you tickets to the opera any more in order to know where you are at any given time, they'll just stroll through Microsoft's firewalls and ask where you are, where you keep your valuables, and what the combinations/PINs/passwords are for everything you've ever touched.
    • by joshv ( 13017 )
      Ok, I doubt this will be a total overhaul of the technical underpinnings of Win32. They'd be insane. There is a massive amount of tried and true code there, and a huge installed base of programs. They will always have to provide backward compatibility.

      My sense is that Longhorn will focus more on the user experience, and specifically on re-working the way users create, store and find their information on a computer. Instead of ripping a CD and figuring out which damned folder to put the MP3s in, the files are just 'saved' (who cares where) and the ID3 tags are used to categorize them in the file system. You MP3 player knows about the new file system categories and simply provides different views of all MP3 content on the drive.

      Same thing with email. Each email is a file, where things like the from line, subject, etc, are attributes. The email reader users the attributes in the file system to store, sort and present the emails to the user. There was a BeOS email application that did this.

      The over all idea here is that meta data stops being the bastard step child of the file system and becomes the most important part of it. Right now meta data is scattered all over the place - in file names, in file extensions, in folder paths, and the few official pieces of meta data the current file system allows (modification date, size...). I shouldn't have to put files in a 'folder' in order to encode custom metadata about that file. I should be able to say "This is a file for the HR project" and hit save - why should I have to find a folder to stick it in?


  • Here's another... (Score:4, Informative)

    by kylus ( 149953 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @08:49AM (#3761741) Homepage
    ...discussion about this on the Register [theregister.co.uk].

  • Oh the Irony... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by night_flyer ( 453866 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @08:49AM (#3761745) Homepage
    Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier.

    Weren't we just talking about that [slashdot.org]
  • Security vs Privacy (Score:2, Interesting)

    by restauff ( 168301 )
    As I am sure many people will post, do we really want the computer tracking everything we do and everyone we talk to? I am happy that Microsoft is aiming towards better security, but is this new method just leading towards more exploits? Also, one might wonder about compatibility issues if they are talking about redesigning all of their software in order to be more secure.
  • Easier? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by saintlupus ( 227599 )
    your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier

    ...to sell to spammers and identity thieves. Thanks, Microsoft!

  • Ack! (Score:2, Interesting)

    by scottganyo ( 65515 )
    your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours

    This is a unifying technology! It will be fully endorsed by the SPA, RIAA, MPAA, FBI, ...
  • I would suspect that the Open-Source troops can beat 2005 for something similiar...

    I am also curious that the article didn't seem bothered that MS broke the law to get to its current dominance.... and of course I couldn't really resist this:

    "In 27 years he [B.G] claims he has never called in sick or missed work. Not even once."

    Certainly now its proven by science: THERE IS NO REST FOR THE WICKED!

  • by joel8x ( 324102 )
    This "personal" stuff is just fluff for the real initiative - DRM chips in the HW. Read this article and see for yourselves Infoworld.com [infoworld.com].
  • The Hook (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ackthpt ( 218170 )
    Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--

    Yeah, often not for the better, either, but that's always implied, just like this little beauty was only driven by a little old lady on Sundays. But indirectly, due to my lost patience with the company, I will spend more time with Linux and Open Source, and for the great strides their ridiculous attitudes and poor quality have encouraged in the aforementioned, I do thank them.

    The Hook -->> making all those things easier.' (It'll make it easier if it would just not crash and diagnostics agreed with what the system is actually doing, or not doing)

    At 135 mph around Sears Point Raceway (soon to be renamed (ugh) Infineon raceway.

  • If Longhorn really does turn out to be a Super Windows--a big if--it will handle so many functions of computing that Oracle, Sun, AOL Time Warner, and Sony may find themselves with less to do.
    Translation: By using our position as the OS supplier, we will integrate your functionality into our structure and therefore make our software more valuable and drive you out of existence.
    While there has been accusation of Apple usurping middle and third party ware.......Microsoft most certainly takes the cake.
    Wasn't less supposed to be MORE in an OS?
    • The difference between Microsoft and Apple is fairly large, however. Microsoft and Apple both have a monopoly. Microsoft with x86 PCs and Apple with Macs. They both bundle applications (music, video, email, and messaging software) with their OSes. However, Microsoft breaks the law and Apple doesn't.

      Why? Because Apple allows you to remove its products completely with no ill effect on other components. Don't want to use iTunes? Don't have to, just drag it to the trash and it's wiped from your system. Good luck trying to get rid of Window Media Player. Same goes for the other bundled apps in XP. Don't even get me started with IE.

      When OS X 10.2 comes out, it will come bundled with Sherlock 3 and iChat. People have grumbled that these apps usurp Watson and Adium, respectively. But removing the bundled programs will not make your system unstable, and Apple won't get in your way if you try to do it.
  • by waldeaux ( 109942 ) <donahueNO@SPAMskepsis.com> on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:02AM (#3761814)

    ... making all those things easier.

    Uh, if "those things" refer to getting the work done, I already have that down pat - once you're over the learning curve, it's done. Vi is vi is vi (unless it's vivivi - the editor of the beast!).

    However, it sounds as if "those things" actually refers to something else, namely the ability for some other entity to complete erode my privacy, have unprecidented access to my system (it is mine, like it or not), and leaving me open to unheard of security issues.

    Thank you, but I prefer that *I* keep track of how I work, who I talk to, what I look at, how I make *my* documents, and with whom *I* share them. It's not up to the system to decide which data belongs to me since to do so it must analyze my things. To insinuate oneself either personally, or impersonally through the operating system would be simply rude.

    You wouldn't tolerate your officemate or the person in the next apartment or even Richard Stallman rifleing through your desk/sock/nightstand drawers. Why should you tolerate it from Microsoft (or Apple, or Sun, or RedHat)?

    • by Lysander Luddite ( 64349 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:34AM (#3761996)
      "Thank you, but I prefer that *I* keep track of how I work, who I talk to, what I look at, how I make *my* documents, and with whom *I* share them. It's not up to the system to decide which data belongs to me since to do so it must analyze my things. To insinuate oneself either personally, or impersonally through the operating system would be simply rude."

      Too bad your boss doesn't think so. He even has the law to back him up. Your boss wants as much info on you as possible. If he knows what info you access and how long your typing away on your keyboard he will use it to his advantage. And his boss will do the same t ohim all the way up the ladder.
      • He even has the law to back him up.
        Not in MY country.
        I hope you take note of that fact, to re-think the situation. Maybe laws can be passed in your country too, in order to improve your situation? Here, we call those laws "social progress" and we judge other societies by them. (we even think sweden is more progressive than us.)
    • Great! Let's see your grandma using Vi.

      You probably are very productive, but 99% of people aren't and still struggle with basic concepts and tools. They need someone to hold their hand. If people like you dominate the open source world then Microsoft will continue to be No.1.

      • That's OK. She can use KEdit. Or NEdit. Or KWord. Or AbiWord. Or OpenOffice 1.5 (not quite there yet, but getting close!). I haven't checked StarWord6.0 yet, but it's probably better too.

        The MS applications aren't all that easy. Not until after you've learned them. There is a significant learning curve, but it's got a shallow slope. The same is true of most Linux word processors, and they all share the lower part of the same slope with MSWord. Now when you start doing column separations, indexes, tables of contents, etc. they are all different. But that's not the most common use.
      • Great! Let's see your grandma using Vi.

        My gradmother was a telephone operator - she could keep track of routing twenty diferent calls at a time and do it with grace. She could also type 40 WPM, flawlessly.

        Vi, if she wanted to learn it, would take he 30 minuits of man vi and some scratch paper for notes.

        The older generations fixed their own cars, invented the computer, and overcame polio - all without a talking paperclip leading the way.

      • In my experience, grandmothers prefer technology that is simple. Contrary to popular belief, the MS application GUI is not simple. It is quite complicated and extremely cluttered with icons whose meanings and functions are obscure to the uninitiated. People struggle with these 'basic' concepts and tools because they are overwhelmed by the clutter of the interface.

        In truth, KWord is a much better choice for the grandmothers of the world. The interface is as simple as Notepad, and it actually supports some fonts.

        It seems counter-intuitive, but most older users I've talked to who've encountered command line interfaces prefer them, even when that wasn't how they were introduced to computers. Why? Because the CLI is quiet. It doesn't overwhelm you with a clutter of options like a GUI does, it just sits there quietly blinking, waiting for you to tell it what to do.

        For my grandmother I would recomend vi if she were to ask my opinion. She seems to have dificulty only with the concept of the mouse, and something entirely keyboard based would thus be much easier for her to understand. She's also quite fond of sticky notes, which vi certainly encourages ;-)

  • by mnordstr ( 472213 )
    "Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier."

    And that's supposed to be a good thing?!
    • It's a good thing because it will help the Ministry of Homeland Security track everyone (because remember, everyone is a potential terrorirst), and it will help corporations market to you and restrict all that scary choice we have on the internet now.

      If you don't like that, you must really hate America.
    • "Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier."

      And that's supposed to be a good thing?!

      sed 's/your PC/The Powers That Be/'

      This is certainly going to be a hit with script kiddies too. I'm for innovation and all that, but fer-Bob's-sake, MS, figure out how to make it secure and stable before you go unleashing another piece of binary dog crap upon the public. I'll bet $LARGE_SUM that Longhorn is gonna have more holes than a gopher farm and will be prone to more nastier attacks than before.
  • his new Bill is ... well, let him speak for himself, as he did in his office one day in June: "I've always liked multitasking (...)

    Billy, Billy... you deserve a +1 funny there, but we all know that is not true :)

  • by tshoppa ( 513863 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:05AM (#3761833)
    The "Longhorn/Palladium" future - where the hardware contains Digital Rights Management [msnbc.com] hardware to stop us from seeing what Microsoft hasn't allowed us to see - is indeed a totalitarian one.

    But with at least 5 years until Longhorn's release, I think we can count on the world changing so radically in the meantime that Longhorn and Palladium become completely irrelevant. Look at Microsoft Bob, their last "big-bang" approach to engineering a network computer architecture, and how the WWW made it completely irrelevant.

  • that is if it is done right. This could get rid of a lot of the bloat that comes from making a product and slapping an addon here, and then there.....
  • your PC will keep track of how you work

    "An issue has been found where a malicious hacker can execute VBScript code through our new IE7 parser with the special command:

    Dim MyArray As String(100000)

    This will cause the array to grow into our Longhorn WorkTrack System, where the hacker might access its address space and see what the user does."

    Feel free to make up consequences of security holes in these systems:

    - ...whom you talk to
    - ...what sites you look at
    - ...how you make documents and whom you share them with
    - ...which data on the network are yours

    It doesn't take much imagination, so anyone should be able to do it.
  • Forgive me for being cynical, but considering Microsoft's previous histroy when reusing their past code, I'll believe it when I see it.

    To quote Cormac McCarthy's Cities of the Plain "Hay parches sobre los parches" (There are patches on top of patches)
    • And I want to see if they ever get rid of the file-trashing bug in Word/Excel, which dates back to a version 1.0 dependency on the DOS4 SHARE fix.

      I'm not even all that fond of the MRU list, hell if I want the computer to track everything I do...

      Given the direction M$ is going, methinks WinXP will be the last version of Windows I ever use, and XP's new "friendly" features are almost too annoying as it is!!

      I want the computer to compute, not hold my hand -- in an iron grip.

  • by D0wnsp0ut ( 321316 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:12AM (#3761877) Homepage Journal

    Starting with the "Longhorn" release, Microsoft will unveil a new naming scheme to enhance the "Windows" brand name. No longer will versions numbers or years be tacked onto the Windows name, instead, Microsoft is shifting towards a more descriptive naming convention.

    When Longhorn finally hits the shelves, it will come in 3 flavors, a 'personal' edition for home users, a 'corporate' edition for businesses and a government release.

    • "Orwell Personal" for home use
    • "Big Brother" for corporate use
    • "The Ministry of Truth" for government use

    Pricing has not been set but early speculation would indicate that licensing fees will be rolled into federal taxes to ensure everyone is paying for their license and not using a pirated copy.

  • I thought the whole idea of Longhorn [longhornsteakhouse.com] was a really good steak.

    Fillets With Flair!
  • It's going to be five (or more) years until the next major Windows upgrade? Well, that explains why they were pushing so hard to get corporate clients to sign up for subscription pricing for Windows. MS will be getting steady income for the next five years for minor point releases.

    --Andy Hickmott
  • Can't wait... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by daveman_1 ( 62809 )
    As if WinXP hasn't already driven me to the brink of insanity with its endless wizards. As if clippy wasn't already annoying enough, now he is gonna be taking steroids. As if my privacy wasn't already being invaded enough. As if Microsoft really needed more marketing data. As if Microsoft was trying really hard to make Windows resemble AOL's interface. As if developers really wanted to learn all new Microsoft APIs.(that never stabilize...) As if computers and their endless changing interfaces didn't annoy people to the point that they just don't try anymore. As if their software wasn't already proprietary enough. As if the rest of the world hadn't already wasted enough time trying to keep up with their ever-changing closed source APIs and protocols.

    As if people were really going to buy into this hook, line, and sinker. As if Longhorn really had a chance to be any more successful at making computers easier to use than any other attempt in history. As if this half-cocked idea will be any more successful than .NET. As if the world around MS, the endless dreamer on heroine, stopped and waited to see what MS would do next. As if I weren't waiting for them to file for chapter eleven protections in the near future...
  • I remember the hoopla that surround the book "1984", when the actual year came around. Its nice to know that BillG has not forgotten the book after all these years. And now with this new initiative from Micro$oft and the chipmakers Intel and AMD, we can finally live out the promise of that story.

    I know my first wish is to have Big Brother Gates and his M$ and BSA jack booted thugs knowing everything I do on my computer, not to mention any government agency that wishes it. I know I will be one of the first in line to put my rights in the shredder for a safer, cleaner, more wholesome society. It is nice to see the end of privacy finally arrive and we can finally get on to the business of business. Better late than never, as they say.
  • by fizzychicken ( 567804 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:25AM (#3761934) Homepage
    This Longhorn sounds like the answer to all our problems - an OS that works for us and stops all those nasty viruses and hackers from stealing my VISA card numbers - it will also help me play those nice hollywood films and pop music on my PC without risking that evil mp3 stuff.

    rewind two years

    This XP sounds like the answer to all our problems - a simple OS that helps me watch all that rich web content without all those old bugs in WindowsME. It's got a redesigned interface and makes working with a PC a safe and enjoyable XPerience - indeed I will be able to fly. Where do I sign up ?

    rewind two years

    This WindowsME sounds like tha answer to all our PC problems. It's got multimedia extensions built in and more user friendly software. Now I can handle all my media on the PC without fear of downloading any nasty software from the interweb. Where to I pay ?

    rewind two years

    This Windows98 really is the biz - it helps me handle all my PC jobs and lets me enjoy the interweb without any of that nasty netscape software. It can play media files and even games. Wow - where do I sign up ?

    rewind two years

    Oh yes - now this is cool Windows95 finally lets me enjoy the power of my 486. It's got a revolutionary new interface and even lets me enjoy the interweb. Where do I sign up ?

    rewind two years

    Holy smoke, this Windows3.1 really is the biz - I can use a mouse and just click the little pictures instead of having to touch the keyboard. Finally, I can use the PC with one hand.

    fast forward to 2010

    Wow - this new WindowsXXX really is the biz. I don't even have to type in my credit card details anymore - I can hire music instead of own it, and rent films instead of owning them - I don't have to lift a finger because all my data is held in the safe hands of MS. It even shows me the news when I turn it on - MSNBC really is a high class newsfeed. It tells me how nice those MS people are and how there are no bugs or security problems with Windows. One of my nasty friends tried using that Linux stuff last month, but we all just laughed at him - he's been taken away now for not supplying his social security details at the checkpoint. He was a communist and a theif. I love my happy world of the interweb - someone else has taken care of it all for me. All I have to do now is click a button to consume the lovely produce of our great society. Only terrorists would use anything else - why else would they want to keep their information secret ? I am finally free from all those confusing decisions.

  • by ceswiedler ( 165311 ) <chris@swiedler.org> on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:25AM (#3761943)
    Even the most die-hard /.ers have to admit...the guy is good. Good at what he does. He made Windows, and it wasn't luck. I don't know if his run is over, don't know whether Longhorn will succeed--but I wouldn't bet against it.
  • And I quote:
    a radically new version of Windows, code-named Longhorn, which, if all goes well, will come out sometime after 2005

    So "sometime after 2005" means, what, 2006 at the earliest? The big Software Assurance [microsoft.com] plan MS has been trying to force us into only provides upgrades for the first 3-1/2 years for client software, and four years for server software. But wait, this new version isn't coming out for at least 3-1/2 years, and that's just if all goes well. Like, if the XBox doesn't crash-and-burn, the courts decide that MS was right after all, virus writers get bored with Outlook, worm writers get bored with IIS, and there are no more terrorist attacks. Then, maybe Longhorn will be released just after this first software assurance period ends. Of course Service Pack 1 wouldn't come out for another five months (which addresses the "faulty product activation" vulnerability that refuses to authenticate your license on all versions), and by then MS will start calling them point releases, so we'll have to re-subscribe.

    Yes, I know the plan covers other stuff like Office, but the other software tends to coincide with Windows releases (Win95 - Office for Win95, Win98 - Office97, WinME/2K - Office2K, WinXP - OfficeXP). I hope a lot of companies get pissed at MS for not releasing any new software during this first cycle of "Software Assurance."

  • Wow... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Junta ( 36770 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:27AM (#3761951)
    That was the biggest bunch of corporate ass kissing I have seen in a long time. The journalist comes off sounding like a little teenage girl talking about the boy band of the day rather than a reporter. Ugh, that was such crap I couldn't read much, especially after the claims the Bill Gates always knows and shapes the entire industry, and portraying the anti-trust case debauchery in a positive light... But then again Fortune is a publication dedicated to corporate ass-kissing, but this seems to go overboard even for them..

    Well, in any case, if Longhorn does do all this and do it successfully, it's good news for me. I mean, if so many people's personal information is made vulnerable in that way, then attacks against *my* personal information might go down. Kinda like Apache not getting as much attention because IIS is such a ripe target. That's not to say that Apache isn't more secure, but certainly the presence of IIS in the market draws dangerous attention from Apache :)
  • User Configurable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Sargent1 ( 124354 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:27AM (#3761953)

    I'm fine with my computer tracking what I do and working to anticipate my moves -- this kind of pattern matching is what computers are good for, and we're getting to the point that most of the time we've got the spare cycles lying around. But for any such system there better be two things about it:

    1. Let me turn it off if I want to, either temporarily or completely, and
    2. Give me control over where the information goes

    Anyone care to lay odds on Microsoft giving me those two items?

  • 5 years... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mrscorpio ( 265337 )
    Gives AOL/Redhat/Netscape/Winamp/StarOffice 4 years to come up with a secure, free (or free with 1/2/3 year AOL subsciption) Linux solution that installs faster and easier than Windows and handles all NECESSARY functionality of Windows. You've got AOL for the internet services, Redhat for the OS/Admin tools, Netscape for the browser, Winamp 4 "could be" a MS Media Player killer if they wanted it to be, and Star Office 7 could be the MS Office killer.

    Hell, I'd sign up for that.

  • Of course, this "upgrade" will be ridiculously costly, and force users to buy new systems and new software.

    Consider the latest Google zeitgeist [google.com]. 46% of the visitors were still using Windows 98. People aren't upgrading like MS wants, they aren't buying new machines and a new $200 copy of Windows. They are using the system they bought a few years ago that still works. And they will continue to do so. Mind you, it's going to be a while before "Longhorn" is released, but what makes MS think people will start all over again when they wouldn't even shell out for XP and a new system?

    There is a critical mass right now in the Windows world, with their latest offerings not giving much more functionality than their previous versions, but offering a larger price tag. If there was ever a time for Linux to catch up, this is it.
  • If they would... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by SWTP ( 550956 )
    Actualy if they:

    Remove the ten ton's of usless features and junk.

    Cleaned up the API so it makes sense in spots.

    Put an underlining system to monitor and protect the core from coruption.

    And have it so you could start with a basic simple core and add on with out making too big of a mess.

    This would litterly burn rubber even on a 800mhz system. Also it would keep the "Undocumented Features" down to a reasonable level.

    Most of the people usualy use about 10% of the features in any given software package.
  • Now I'm Scared (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bilbo ( 7015 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:35AM (#3762000) Homepage
    In an article that is gushingly Father Bill worship, the statements about Longhorn frankly scare the crap out of me. The computer will now know everything about you -- who you talk to, where you go, how you work. And all of this will be owned by Microsoft.

    Anyone know of any old used Y2K bunkers that are up for sale?

  • by kipple ( 244681 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:36AM (#3762009) Journal
    I really hope people will have their data managed, and they'll be checked, double-checked, controlled, sniffed, parsed, re-checked and managed again. I really hope The System will know who you have talked to, and when, and what you said. I really hope all the website someone checks will be saved.

    Then I want that everything blows up. I want every website, every file, every private information made public by a flaw in the system.

    Since such a system is TOO complex not to have flaws (that's Chaos Theory, plain), even the smallest flaw could be exploited and will eventually crush the system.

    And I want to see that.
    Being a lawyer in that time will be like being a VC during the dot-com boom..

    and the best part will be...? that microsoft windows 'longhorn' will be made illegal by the DMCA :)

    have fun!
  • ReplayTV (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by lostchicken ( 226656 )
    Didn't ReplayTV keep track of what we watched to "make our lives easier"?

    Now, it's being used to spy on us. "More personal information" is something that we should have to remember. Would you tell some random guy on the street your SSN, so he could keep track of it for you? I don't think so. Closed source software is much like some random guy on the street, you never can know what it's gonna do with the info you give it.
  • "Equipped with Longhorn, your PC will keep track of how you work, whom you talk to, what sites you look at, how you make documents and whom you share them with, which data on the network are yours--making all those things easier."

    I can do that all myself thank you very much, I don't need a machine to babysit me.
  • Why are my document files stored one way, my contacts another way, and my e-mail and instant-messaging buddy list still another, and why aren't they related to my calendar or to one another and easy to search en masse?
    I can't recall the last time I needed to search all of this stuff at the same time. Guess I don't need this option
    Why can't my computer protect me from distractions by screening phone calls and e-mails, and why can't it track me down when I'm out of the office or forward things to me automatically?
    That's funny...I thought I already had those things. Our CRM package handles incoming call screening, and my system forwards emails to me on my cell phone. Most modern modems contain caller-id chips that can be used to display incoming phone numbers on the computer display. A buddy of mine even has his caller-id show up on his TV. And Exchange already comes with the ability to create rules, with Junk Email and Adult Email filters already built in.
    Why can't our computers arrange conference calls and online meetings for us?
    First off, you do need to actually type in the names of people to conference in. If you then press the 'Autopick' button -- Surprise!! It finds the first open time for all the people.

    Of course, if Mr. Gates would open the calendar portion of Exchange a little bit, other programs could access the calendar, maybe even between organizations. But that would require some kind of security. Maybe an Open-source calendar system would be better anyway.
    Why is it so hard for a soccer mom to set up a simple Website and e-mail group to keep people informed about who's driving and who's bringing treats?
    If Soccer Mom can't use Frontpage already, she shouldn't be allowed to make web pages at all. And do you really want little Tommy's appointment schedule on the Internet??
    Why can't I tap into all my stuff at home or at work from any device that's mine, and have it just be available because it knows I'm me?
    Um....can you say VPN and X-Windows/telnet??
    Why can't I read digital versions of magazines on my portable computer that look the way they're supposed to look?
    I don't even understand this. I have downloaded books to my Palm, and I already use my computer to read Infoworld, Slashdot, et. al.

    Come on Bill .... try something innovative. Maybe then I'll get excited.

    You have to be trusted by the people you lie to -- Pink Floyd
  • Yes, we've redesigned Microsoft Office! The product that we said would do all your things for you now, won't. Oh dear. You'll have to buy it again. Oh tough, we don't support Windows XP anymore you'll have to upgrade to Win 2010.

    To both the PHBs who read slashdot - DONT DO IT!!!!

  • Isn't a Longhorn a large, dumb animal that consumes massive quantities of resources and turns most of them into shit?
    • No, a Longhorn is two tons of superbly well-armed bad temper. If you can ride one for as little as eight seconds and dismount without being killed, you win a shiny prize!

      Whoops, still sounds like the right product...

  • One of the chief reasons they're developing Longhorn is to further integrate the operating system (and the applications that run on it) with their network services, MSN. You can see how they tested certain parts of this strategy in XP -- Windows Messenger, for example, or the streaming audio features in Media Player -- and they're going to continue the trend. This is where Windows is headed. It's going to be as much of a media outlet and a web portal as it will be an operating system.

    This, in and of itself, is a wonderful idea. I always thought integrating the web browser with the desktop interface was a brilliant move, and I wish to God that Netscape had come up with a way to do it first. I have the same sort of feelings about Longhorn: it looks like it could be the next really big thing in the development of computing, but the fact that Microsoft is at the wheels makes me very nervous.

    Microsoft is going to make it easier for 'a soccer mom to set up a simple website', for business users to 'arrange conference calls and online meetings', and so forth. The truth is, people can do all these things now -- but not through the operating system. They can only do it through a wide range of third-party vendors, which adds an extra level of complexity. But it's this level of complexity that allows for competition; once Windows allows you to automagically post web pages to MSN, where will Angelfire or Geocities go? When Windows lets you remotely control your PC without any technical know-how, what happens to PCanywhere? The list goes on, and as Microsoft tightens integration with MSN, a plethora of what used to be highly competitive industries will fall the same way Netscape did when IE became a bundled component.

    This is the next step in Microsoft's strategy, and it's a very good strategy indeed. People are sick of having to install software, or browse the web, before they can do what they want to do. The average computer user wants to be able to do everything from one place, and Microsoft knows just what that place will be: your MSN-powered Longhorn desktop.

    The saddest part is, I'll probably end up using it anyways.
  • The Spruce Goose (Score:4, Insightful)

    by AriT93 ( 255058 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @09:59AM (#3762167)
    Just a thought,
    Doesn't this sound a bit like the spruce goose. Build the biggest greatest ever plane. Sure it flew but then what? It seems to me that an undertaking of this magnitude has the potential to become a money sucking vortex within MS.
    Sure rewriting from scratch and redesigning the OS sounds great but in five years? Linux has taken 10 years to get to its current state. That includes havind 20 years of Unix development to learn from. I think 5 years is a dream. Especially if you are trying to rethink the whole thing and not build on the existing windows world.
    There are a few outcomes from this plan.
    1. MS develops the greates most user friendly OS and continues to dominate
    2. Longhorn drags on for years and years and is eventually dropped. Collapsing under its own weight.
    3. In order to release someting, Existing elements from the windows code base are integrated to make a ship date. Thus continuing the windows problems they would like to solve.

    On another note: Does anyone else see the humor in BG going to the boss and saying that he wants to scrap it and rewrite from scratch? How many IT managers would accept that from the development staff? Would BG have accepted it prior to becoming "Chief Software Architect"?
    • Longhorn sounds just like Microsoft's "Cairo" (aka "Information at your fingertips") project from the mid 1990s. It too was supposed to deliver an object-oriented database system with a new UI. Eventually, bits and pieces were released in IE, Windows 2000, and Active Directory, but the reality fell far short of the promises.

      btw, one rumor is that the "Windows XP" name is an homage to the Cario project because xp = "chi rho" in Greek letters. :)
  • by d0n quix0te ( 304783 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @10:11AM (#3762244)
    Seriously according to Bill this is akin to designing a 747 and that they have 500 people on the wing alone.

    There are 4000 programmers and managers working on this product in the long term , excluding testing and Q/A folks. Assuming a rate of 100 bugs per programmer (typical MS level) per year that need to be Q/A'd and squashed thats 400,000 bugs/year to tackle. And since this will be released in 2.5 years thats close to a Million bugs!

    And what is more bothersome is that Bill mentions that the groups don't talk to each other (well it's difficult when you have 500 guys designing the 'wing') -- he says that the fuselage guys don't do lunch with the wing guys. This has always been a big problem in the 'Super star' driven MS culture, and will be exacerbated even more.

    The problem with MS has historically not been one of talent, but one of culture and management. I don't see Bill addressing these issues. Perhaps, Bill needs to be introduced to some Software management gurus.

    Frederic P. Brooks Jr. meet William Gates Jr. III

    Ultimately, tightly knit groups of developers in close contact with the users has a better chance of delivering the goods. Look at BSD or GNU/Linux. They've come so far because of a close knit group. As long as we keep our eye on the ball we will do well. Tackle the issues one at a time and build on the foundation.

    For instance, take the filesystem. MS is going after a database filesystem with 500 people on the code. Look at BeOS, 2-4 people worked on the team with Giampaolo at the lead. It wasn't a true Database FS but it did a remarkable job of looking and fucntioning as one. Want to bet that the MS DBFS is going to be top heavy and over engineered and buggy as hell? Or look at security, a tightly knit group of volunteers have made one of the most secure OS's in the world - OpenBSD. And here we have a giant struggling with years of accumulated bad practices- more holes than all of the cheeses in Switzerland. Or look at Quartz and Quartz Extreme from Apple. The core group is less than 15 people led by Mike Paquette have developed a graphics subsystem that has not been matched by the 100+ strong DirectX/3d team from MS.

    Ultimately, what matters is a closely knit team which works on building software one step at a time. There are no giant leaps in software, only tiny steps that accumulate over time. This is core to what BSD/Linux has achieved. Apple under Avie Tevenien (sp?) also seems to understand the value of incremental code releases. Release early and release often. This is our biggest advantage. Let's stick to it.

    Bill can continue to make his grandiose plans. Heck, let him even get a persian kitty but his plans will take its natural time to evolve. They may have the money but we have the resources.

    In the end, it will be lack of good taste and good management which will make Longhorn a spectacularly mediocre release like all other MS products.

    • Ultimately, tightly knit groups of developers in close contact with the users has a better chance of delivering the goods. Look at BSD or GNU/Linux. They've come so far because of a close knit group. As long as we keep our eye on the ball we will do well. Tackle the issues one at a time and build on the foundation.

      Whatever happened to this whole Cathedral and the Bazaar thing?

  • Linux FUD (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fzammett ( 255288 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @10:36AM (#3762439) Homepage
    Call this a troll if you want, but consider: if it was a troll, I'd have done it anonymously...

    I understand /. is anti-MS in nearly every respect. I understand and accept that, in fact it's one of the reasons I visit here 100 times a day: I like seeing both sides of an argument before I reach my own conclusions.

    But it seems to me that many of you (you meaning the open source community in general) are spreading just as much FUD as MS is, drapped in a cloak of supposed reality.

    For instance: I constantly see posts saying how crash-prone MS OS's are and how you get 100 BSOD's a day on your work PC's (those of you that admit using an MS OS in the first place that is).

    I'd be foolish to try and say that Win95, Win98, Win98SE or WinME aren't more crash-prone than just about any Linux distro, they are. But the FUD is in not being specific enough: Win2K and WinXP are quite stable. If you find it to be otherwise in your experience, let me point you in the right direction: It's not the OS! My work PC, a 2+ year-old Win2K PIII/500 Dell Optiplex GX1 with 512M RAM, on which I have over 20 gigs of various software installed, I have 10+ different things running at any given time (currently I have Windows Explorer, UltraEdit, CuteFTP, Apache Tomcat, IE, Lotus Notes R5, IIS with .Net installed, Norton Antivirus, ActiveSync, eVC++, Seti@Home, Popup Killer, WinAmp, AOLIM and a PocketPC emulator... and this is pretty much what is always open). My machine is virtually never turned off and I have not seen a BSOD in well over a year, I virtually never experience problems whatsoever, and those that I do on those rare occassions are directly traceable to a misbehaving app, and the OS DOES NOT get taken down with the app.

    If your Win2K or WinXP machine crashes all the time, perhaps I'm just that much better an admin than you are, but I doubt it. But, rather than be fair about it, you will be quick to bash MS and their "buggy" OS. Bull. Rag on any Win9x you want, I won't argue, but if your going to tell me Win2K or WinXP are crash-prone and buggy, you are wrong, absolutely. (WinNT by the way is somewhere in between in my experience... I have 5 NT servers, database and web servers, with heavy usage, none of them has had ANY unscheduled downtime in about two years, but I also had NT on my desktop for a while and it did blue screen on occassion, once every few months perhaps. Not terrible, but not great either).

    How about the secure argument? Well, there's no denying that MS didn't place the emphasis on security that they should have all along. There are far too many buffer overruns in MS software to be sure. But the vast majority of viruses and trojans and other serious security problems are the result of good-old-fashioned social engineering, getting people to open attachments and such. Understand, having an application scriptable is not a bad thing, *IF* the user base is somewhat intelligent (there are exceptions of course, scripts should NEVER run without user authorization, and they of course can under some conditions in Outlook, that's MS's fault for sure). I'm not going to hammer them for giving us greater flexibility.

    And what about the FUD? People claim Linux is less virus-prone than Windows. Of COURSE it is! Go out and iterview 100 virus writers and I guarantee you will find the majority hate MS and love Linux and the open-source movement. Which platform do you think they are going to target? DUH!

    Windows sees more viruses because it is targeted more, plain and simple. Now, don't misunderstand me: I AM NOT blaming the open-source community for viruses, not in the least. And I am NOT saying that Windows is as secure as Linux, because it's not at a fundamental level. But simply because you see more viruses on Windows DOES NOT mean it is soo much more virus-prone than Linux. That's why I hope Linux does make it's way onto the desktop in good numbers. Let's see if this piece of FUD still stands up at that point. I very much suspect it won't.

    Now, what about this Longhorn stuff? MS is trying to do something innovative (although not original) here... they are trying to give you ubiquitous access to any type of data from any location in a common fashion. What's wrong with that? Sounds like a fantastic idea to me. In fact, from a strictly forward-looking mentality, it's the logical evolution. I see so many paranoid statements about privacy, but come on folks, your smart enough to not go down that path! You know as well as I do that if MS is pulling anything fishy with privacy, it will be found out in short order. I mean, how hard is it to unplug your cable modem and throw a packet sniffer on the network to see what the OS is sending out? Geez, MS's worst move would be to do something like that because, and I say this in a positive way, you people will find it and scream it at the top of your virtual lungs faster than Bill Clinton goes down on an interm!

    You say they never truly innovate. Then, when you hear about some potential innovation from them, you bash them for it!

    It's one thing to be anti-MS, it's another thing to spread your own brand of FUD. It's also another thing to dismiss out of hand absolutely anything at all that comes from Redmond. If something is a good idea, it's a good idea regardless of where it comes from. The United States thought the atomic bomb was a good idea, even though the idea came from Germany (and try to not make the obvious "and Windows explodes just as bad as an atomic bomb!" jokes).

    It's funny... I have always hated with a passion Bill Gates because he always struck me as an arrogant cheater who I just could not respect. Be better than that folks, make the community better than that... don't pull the same dirty tricks he has.
    • Re:Linux FUD (Score:4, Insightful)

      by daveman_1 ( 62809 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @11:15AM (#3762693) Homepage
      You say:
      "I'm not going to hammer them for giving us greater flexibility."

      I say:
      "You apparently don't really use linux."

      Windows gives you flexibility? Try moving your Outlook contacts from Outlook to Groupwise some time. Yes, that is in your own words the definition of flexibility.

      From an admin's point of view, I can't stand Windows. (Let's forget for a moment that MS tried to eliminate my necessity with something they called ZAW, yet another failed MS pursuit.)

      Quick, think: Where is that user's address book stored right now? Is it in "Documents and settings", under "Local Data" or "Applications"? Is it in the Windows directory under profiles? Is it in some folder named after some GUID?

      Now, quick, think: Where is the user's address book in linux? Well, it's definitely in their HOME Directory. What e-mail program are they using? Evolution? I'll bet it's in a folder called ~/evolution.

      Now, please tell me about intuitive design...
      • Re:Linux FUD (Score:3, Informative)

        by GrandCow ( 229565 )

        What e-mail program are they using? Evolution? I'll bet it's in a folder called ~/evolution.

        Now, please tell me about intuitive design...

        Um... for the last few years just about any program for windows installs itself into the /Program Files/ directory. Pretty intuitive if you ask me.
        • Re:Linux FUD (Score:3, Interesting)

          by SuperKendall ( 25149 )
          You mean, "Program Files/Publisher/Program" don't you? At least, for the ones that do install there - I still encounter programs that install in c:/.

          I just love having to remember the publisher when looking for an App!! Sure you can usually change it but that is the default location, indeed the SANCTIONED location.

          I really like how OSX handles this better, letting me set up (and alter!!) the structure of my applciations directory at will. Programs are just moved around, no install/deinstall just because I'd like it to live on a different drive.
  • Apple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jhines ( 82154 ) <john@jhines.org> on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @10:48AM (#3762518) Homepage
    With every article I see on the future of computing from Microsoft, the better an Apple looks.
  • by blamanj ( 253811 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @10:48AM (#3762527)
    Is Time-Warner reducing everything to the same level. Fortune sounds like "Entertainment Tonight" with fawning and drooling over CEOs instead of celebreties. Add just enough content to keep you from tossing the whole thing in disgust and you've got a four-page "article."

    You'd think that a business magazine might attempt some analysis as to what is feasible, desirable, and what the competition (oops, forgot we were talking about Microsoft) might do in response.
  • by gelfling ( 6534 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @11:19AM (#3762714) Homepage Journal
    Honestly does anyone believe this is anything more than the usual 3 years early pre development hype? Software companies now take the tack that they talk about developing something before they try and then use the feedback as market research. It's a kind of reality check combined with mindshare.
  • rewriting history (Score:3, Insightful)

    by g4dget ( 579145 ) on Tuesday June 25, 2002 @02:26PM (#3764040)
    The old Bill, the one we all know, thought he could do it all--and pretty much did. He built the most profitable tech company in history, almost single-handedly transforming the rarefied, clubby computer industry into a mass-market enterprise

    Today, we may still snicker at this. After all, we had a thriving, competitive PC industry without Microsoft: Commodore, Amiga, Atari, Exidy, Apple, and many others. Those systems were often way ahead of whatever Microsoft was selling at the same time. All of Microsoft's major successes were invented by others, then copied by Microsoft.

    Rather than creating the modern computer industry, Gates single-handedly destroyed most of it. Gates' legacy in computer history is despicable. But the victors get to write history...

Take an astronaut to launch.