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Microsoft

"Longhorn" Alpha Preview 637

An anonymous reader submitted an actual review of the leaked Longhorn Alpha. Finally someone has provided us with more than a few screenshots. Here's your chance to see what the future of the microsoft desktop is gonna look like!
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"Longhorn" Alpha Preview

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  • Faked? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by chrisseaton ( 573490 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:30AM (#4743097) Homepage
    I've seen loads of leaked screenshots. Why should I believe this are not faked like they rest?
  • Mmmm (Score:2, Funny)

    Looks like a pretty kick-ass windows distro.

    Shame I won't be able to get an AMD CPU to run it on though :(

  • Yawn (Score:4, Troll)

    by VTg33k ( 605268 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:31AM (#4743103)
    Am I the only one that still uses Windows 2000? It's clean, stable, and doesn't stick its head quite as far up my rear end as XP does...
    • Re:Yawn (Score:3, Informative)

      by Phosphor3k ( 542747 )
      Nope. As far as stability, availability of drivers, windows compatability, and non-forced updates, win2k is the best windows IMO.
      • Re:Yawn (Score:5, Insightful)

        by IIRCAFAIKIANAL ( 572786 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:05PM (#4743277) Journal
        I love these threads - nothing like passing off an opinion as fact and backing it up with an anecdote or lies and/or ignorance (not just the parents - I mean in general, though in this case, there are no forced updates in Windows XP - default is on (which is good for the rest of us, considering how an ordinary user never thinks about security patches) but it is easily turned off).

        I hear the same arguments against all the operating systems (Jaguar is too slow, XP is too flaky, Suse won't work with my display driver, etc) and it's just convinced me to quit listening :)

        I personally have had problems with every Linux distro and Windows version I have ever tried except for Windows XP (approx 1 year w/o any crashes - no uptime to speak of because I shut it down at night due to noise :) - but I am quite certain that a number of people have never had problems with different distros or Windows versions and can't get XP to run for them (or it crashes constantly or whatever).

        Unless someone actually quantifies this information, it's pointless.

        Os benchmarks on comparable hardware, on the other hand, actually mean something but hardly ever get published.

        Information on os security is also readily available, although security is subject to the skill of the admin as well, so it's hard to evaluate purely on technical merits as well (ie/ I would trust a Windows box managed by a competent admin much more than a Linux box managed by some dumbass).
        • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

          by ealar dlanvuli ( 523604 ) <froggie6@mchsi.com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @01:26PM (#4743648) Homepage
          there are no forced updates in Windows XP

          Yes there is. The UELA doesn't say "If you consent" it says "Microsoft has the right."

          It may not be happening today, but how do you know it won't happen tomorow? Do you trust Microsoft to be a "good citizen"?
    • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Twirlip of the Mists ( 615030 ) <twirlipofthemists@yahoo.com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:45AM (#4743167)
      No, you're not. Since my company went under a few months ago I haven't touched a Windows machine, but at the time I was using Windows 2000 exclusively. I just didn't have a good reason to upgrade. All that stuff that Microsoft touted for XP-- media, burning, wireless-- I get on my Macs, and in a form that's a hell of a lot easier to use.

      From my chair, Windows 2000 was the pinnacle of Microsoft's operating system development, and we've been heading downhill ever since. Not because XP sucks, but just because it adds much stuff I don't need and no stuff I do.
      • Re:Yawn (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        A few things about XP are a little prettier but I have a feeling that Win2k isn't going anywhere for a long time. I use XP at home (came w/ computer) but win2k at work. No one wants to change. Interestigly there's a mix of reasons. Part of it is the the new licencing scheme and part of it is the general fear that microsoft has instilled in people with their new OS versions. General concensus seems to be that one should wait at least 1 year before considering changing to the new OS. Given that win2k is arguably really hitting maturity now (sp3) people are really likely to stay put for a while.

        and speaking of the burning capability in XP...

        Does anyone actually use it? The idea is good but, the interface has some problems. Drag the files that you want to burn into the CD-R's folder, see files in the folder, forget to hit burn to CD (it just puts fake links in the folder as place holders and waits for you to hit burn to CD to actually do anything). Also, I've found that it uses a screwy driver or something. I haven't been able to burn CD's reliably this way, most (>80%) are F'd up. I've had to use the burning software that came with the drive instead of using the XP interface. It's a good idea, but it doesn't seem to work. If CD-R's were still $2 each I'd be pretty pissed. Can't wait for them to mung up DVD-R burning as well.
        • Yes, I've used the burning capability in XP. It's actually very easy-to-use and I've found that very non-technical people pick up on it very quickly. To them, the CDRW becomes a much more useful storage device.

          Maybe you should get a CDRW that costs more than five bucks in your local Fry's bargain bin. :)
    • Re:Yawn (Score:4, Insightful)

      by RinkSpringer ( 518787 ) <[un.knir] [ta] [knir]> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:56AM (#4743233) Homepage Journal
      I still use Win2K as well. I think XP is utterly annoying. Win2K is (mostly) stable, and doesn't come with all that bloat that I don't have a need for.

      For me, it's Win2K + FreeBSD 4.7 on my main boxes, the rest almost exclusively run FreeBSD.
  • by DJCouchyCouch ( 622482 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:33AM (#4743107)
    So, (as I've said before) besides the systray, task bar buttons, icons on the desktop and the start menu we have *another* way to "quickly" get to applications and documents? Pretty soon we'll need a quick launch bar for the quick launch bars.
    • Maybe they will finally wise up and move the "Shutdown" option from the "Start" menu ;)
    • A question I should've asked in the original post is why the heck aren't they sticking to just one application finder/launcher and making it the best it can be instead of having 4 to 5 half-assed ones? They're just adding more shiny buttons without merit.
    • I don't know. I kind of like the new quick launch bar. It makes it feel more like GNOME.
    • by mbogosian ( 537034 ) <mattNO@SPAMarenaunlimited.com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:01PM (#4743261) Homepage
      Pretty soon we'll need a quick launch bar for the quick launch bars.

      Most of the time, I think Microsoft has made "innovation" a four-letter word. That's just when I'm pissed. When I take a step back (especially when I see stuff like this), I get the impression that Microsoft's idea of innovation is visual masturbation. Sometimes I think they measure success by number of entries in the Interface Hall Of Shame [iarchitect.com].

      Two points:

      1. I don't see how eye candy is ever innovative without improvements in the underlying architecture such as security or ease of use. My definition of ease of use is slightly different than most however. I would define ease of use the ability to quickly and easily get what you want done, regardless of skill level. One of the things that really irks me about Windows in general (and to a certain extent OS X) is that it is targeted so much at the ignorant user, that it is nothing but frustrating to me as someone who knows a little more.

      2. What's worse is that the free software world seems to emulate this behavior more and more. There is a lot of imitation in OpenSource. This is good. It is extremely important to have free tools which support POSIX standards (like awk and find). What's great is there's a lot of innovation too (emacs, gcc, the Linux kernel module architecture). There just doesn't seem to be much innovation in free software UI design. The default behavior seems to be to "make it like Windows". Microsoft UIs attempt to hide so much from their users they become unusable. KDE attempts to mimic this behavior. RedHat took this direction with 8.0 for its entire UI, and as a result I'm frustrated to the point of looking for a new distro.
    • by perlyking ( 198166 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:50PM (#4743478) Homepage
      They don't know when to stop it seems.

      "Longhorn... what can we have? Bigger fatter UI!"...
      "Lets call more things 'my....'"

      Whats with all the redundant "my..." anyway - e.g The "my" in "my hardware" is totally redundant, is a user really going to wonder if they are configuring someone else's hardware?
  • by glrotate ( 300695 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:34AM (#4743109) Homepage
    Am I the only one who prefers a clean minamalist desktop. I still haven't seen anything that would make me want to upgrade from 2000. Desktop themes are like kids hanging plastic effects on their cars because they think it makes them look better, it doesn't. It's just heavy crap that slows you down and gets in the way.
    • Nope, I'm the same. While I use OS X and love its internals, the theme (no matter how slow or quick it may be) is blah. I'd rather be looking at the old style OS9/Platinum look. It's clean, takes up minimal screen real estate and kept out of the way.

      Then again, OSX and Windows are commercial OSs which as part of their marketing focus is the look - it does attract some people one way or the other and if Joe & Jane User choose one over the other cos it's flashier, there's an extra sale.

      That doesn't quite explain why perfectly good open source desktops are blindly following this kind of mess, however.
    • Not only that but we are now adding pictures of OTHER PEOPLE [winsupersite.com] to Windows?

      Explain to me why I would want to look at a picture of someone else using a camera?

      An analog clock? I thought Windows was supposed to be easy to use! What are they thinking? (yes, that was a joke).
    • by Jugalator ( 259273 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:13PM (#4743317) Journal
      Yeah, but Windows is designed to allow a mnimimalist desktop for those who wish so. I can make XP look like Windows 2000 anytime by selecting the Windows Classic theme (which actually disables part of the theme system of XP so it consume less memory). You can disable menu/window/combobox/listbox/whatever animations, set menu open delays to zero milliseconds and a whole lot more.

      And in XP there are even Visual Styles you can download to get an even more minimalistic desktop than the one you find in Windows 2000.

      Granted, for each new release of Windows there are usually more settings to turn off, but most of the time, the new features in new releases of Windows can be turned off. I have yet to see a visual features of Windows that can't, actually.
  • Not that new... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Malic ( 15038 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:34AM (#4743110)
    The "Sidebar" seems (functionally) very much like The Dock in MacOS X. The rest is just, pardon the pun, "window dressing".

    The big questions have yet to be answered:
    1) Is it more stable?
    2) Is it more secure?
    3) Will the licensing restrictions be reasonable?
    • ...I can already see the bumpersticker: "Windows 2006 is Macintosh 2001."

      (2006 may be a little ambitious; it's a guess.)

      Granted, they are catching up, my compliments. But what happened to all that innovation they keep promising? Push the envelope Bill, and I don't mean profit margins.
  • Mirrors? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Nefrayu ( 601593 )
    How soon before: 1. This is /.'ed or 2. MS "requests" that the info be pulled? Someone better mirror pretty fast...
  • by zentec ( 204030 )

    Looks like they shoved it through the AOL interface maker and called it "new".

    Microsoft needs to realize that cosmetic changes to the OS are not a reason to upgrade. Although that won't stop them, through yet more forced upgrades and built-in obsolesence from pushing this on the computer world.

    I use Mac OSX at work, and occasionally SuSE 8.1 at home. If Microsoft depricates my Windows2000, I'll just move to OSX or SuSE.

    • >Microsoft needs to realize that cosmetic changes to >the OS are not a reason to upgrade.

      Oh, MS do realize it very well. It is the windows users and sysadmins who need to realize that.
    • Re:Ok, I Switched (Score:3, Insightful)

      by GT_Alias ( 551463 )
      Microsoft needs to realize that cosmetic changes to the OS are not a reason to upgrade.

      Yes, well, the general population in't going to get too excited about an NTFS replacement, an XML-enabled sidebar, or OS-level DRM. In fact, the latter would probably send them running.

      But slap a pretty new face on it and suddenly you've given them a tangible reason for upgrading, regardless of whether the new interface is actually an improvement or not. It represents something newer, so it must follow that it is better. At the very least cooler, so that when the Smiths come over and see your new machine they can go "Oohhhh...you must be running the new Windows [insert catchy release name here]!!!"

  • Leaked screenshots? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by GnomeKing ( 564248 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:37AM (#4743127)
    what about leaked videos [beginners.org.uk]?

    I'll say it again that this server is unlikely to cope with many requests - so if anyone can provide a mirror, feel free ;)
  • by EvilCabbage ( 589836 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:41AM (#4743137) Homepage
    .. more stuff I need to disable to stop my users from hurting themselves?

    Hope not.
    • I especially like Windows XP in this regard.. the _professional_ edition, alledgedly for business use, comes complete with "MSN Gaming Zone" .. and all the files in it are covered by Windows File Protection, so you can't delete them easily.

      Dear Microsoft, this is not a way to win over your corporate customers.
  • Well it looks like Microsft suceeded in duplicating the OSX dock. Can't they leave poor Apple alone? Or buy them outright?
  • by panurge ( 573432 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:44AM (#4743160)
    I am currently doing some work for a major services company which is still running NT4 on the desktop and still using Office 97. They really do not want to change and they see no reason (other than being forced to) why they should. The fact is that most users want something familiar to do their jobs on.

    A major objection for the average office worker to both Mac OS and Linux is the need to learn new ways of doing things, and the things they do not want to have to learn to do are often amazingly trivial. (Only this morning I had to show a white collar professional how to turn a Mac on, and explain that the reason IE didn't start immediately was because the double click interval on this particular machine was set quite short and a faster double click was needed.)

    The constant drive for change on the Windows desktop could, paradoxically, reduce market share if it perceived that each new version of Windows is going to need as big a learning curve as switching. One for Apple and KDE to exploit?

    • I agree with this.

      Completely changing the GUI to make the OS look better won't make it more intuitive. For instance just click in the "Start" button in XP and read through the items that pop up. To me it looks like the menu has been slapped together in a day or two.

      IMHO a good graphical user interface is one where you have 1 quick access point per important section of the OS. The need to have quick launch items all over the screen means poor design.

      Windows isn't bad, and XP has some really nice improvements over older versions... unfortunately it can't compare to *nix bases OSes from the stability and reliability point of view. They have to show that they can win when it comes to ease of use over any other OS. And a good idea would be to spend some serious bucks on GUI research and then stick to whatever they liked most for at least a couple of windows OS generations.

      Just my 2 cents,
      Decameron
  • by gimpboy ( 34912 ) <john...m...harrold@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:46AM (#4743169) Homepage
    looking at the screen shots i noticed that the location bars simply say:

    My Computer\ something\something else\...

    does this mean they are getting away from drive letters? what a novel concept.
    • Not likely. (Score:3, Insightful)

      by FreeLinux ( 555387 )
      No, I'm afraid that this is not the case. While it is true about the Location Bar not showing the drive letter, this is not new. Windows 98-XP show a similar behavior if they are using recent versions of Internet Explorer. There is a configuration option that allows you to select whether you want the full path (including drive letter) displayed or not.

      If you look at this [winsupersite.com] screen shot, you will see that the location bar displays My Computer\yada\yada. However, if you examine the contents of the directory in the pane below, you will notice the hard drive, which is displayed as "C:" along with its usage statistics.

      Microsoft's drive letter analogy/concept has a deep rooted history. Users have grown accustomed to this analogy and it is highly unlikely that Microsoft will cahnge it in the future. Most average users that are used to drive letters find the mount point tree that is used in Unix to be almost incomprehensible.

      Now, having said all that, it is really impossible to tell what the future holds. Remember that Longhorn is supposed to use a new file system. This new file system is not yet functional in the alpha release so there's no telling what it will actually look like. None the less, if I had to bet, I'd bet that drive letters will continue to be used in Microsoft OSes for a long long long time, regardless of the underlying file system.

  • > Here's your chance to see what the future of the microsoft desktop is gonna look like!

    I already know what the future of the Microsoft deskgop is gonna look like: Nowhere to be seen on my desk.

    I went cold turkey five or six years ago, and there aren't enough whores in Vegas to drag me back.

  • I've used the leaked build for the past few days. There's nothing super impressive about it yet. True, it looks nice from the screenshots, but when you actually start using it, most of those dialogs give you placeholder text whenever you select something. For example if you open the "display" applet from Control Panel and actually choose one of the categories, you get either "currently under construction" or an exception (what fun!). Other than that, it's just plain ole win xp.
    • "Other than that, it's just plain ole win xp."

      Question: Did it update faster or anything like that?

      What I find mind-boggling dumb about this article is that all it looks at is an early artistic look at Longhorn, not at what's really interesting about it. From what I've read, it's supposed to use hardware accelleration to paint the windows on the screen. I think that's damn cool because it means some of the overhead of drawing the interface on the screen can be offloaded, thus making it more responsive.

      Did you have any luck like that? Is it implemented?

  • by Drestin ( 82768 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:50AM (#4743194)
    Taken from his > Friday website post [wininformant.com]:

    Notes on the Longhorn Alpha

    It's always humorous seeing other news agencies pick up stories days after they've first run in WinInfo or the SuperSite, and my Longhorn alpha build preview is one perfect example, with a variety of legitimate news Web sites suddenly discovering Longhorn build 3683 after I wrote about it ten days ago. Two items arose in the aftermath of this event. First, this build is old, and doesn't even slightly resemble the Longhorn we'll be using years down the road (heck, it barely works), let alone more recent builds. Second, much of the email I've gotten about this and other leaked alpha builds revolves around where I got it and whether I can distribute it. I won't generally answer email of that nature, sorry, but to answer to one bizarre query, no; I wasn't responsible for the leak either. There's something about leaked Windows builds that gets people in a tizzy, but remember: We're on the XP train now and will be for some time. This Longhorn stuff is really just a shell for technology tests at this point. It isn't something anyone would actually use day-to-day.

    So, as anyone who actually thought about it (hint: ALPHA release, strictly internal), this isn't what Longhorn is about. This is some internal MS messing about with ideas for a UI - that's all. Might be twenty more variations on taskbars and quickstarts and what-have-yous. And, besides, who cares about changes to the UI. You'll get used to them, as you got used to going from W3.1 to W9x to W2K to XP. They are small changes, progressive improvments/refinements. Why get so hung up on some screenshots.

    Instead, read about some of the new features and improvements to Windows that Longhorn introducts by reading Paul's Longhorn FAQ [winsupersite.com]. I especially like the SQL Server .NET-based file system - "Originally slated for Blackcomb, I've now verified that Longhorn will ship with a new SQL Server .NET-based file system, originally code-named "Storage+". Based on the "Yukon" release of SQL Server, this file system will let Microsoft's search tools work across a wider range of storage devices, including the file system, Active Directory, SQL Server databases, and Exchange Server data stores." Sweet!

  • Why "My"? (Score:4, Funny)

    by AdamHaun ( 43173 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @11:50AM (#4743197) Journal
    Would anyone really be worse off if Microsoft took the "my" off of "My Computer", "My Documents", etc? I already *know* that they're mine! Do people really like their computers to talk down to them like that?
    • IT doesn't talk to anyone, it just does what it's programmed to do. Do you blame the TV for the dumbing-down of television. Maybe it's your modems fault that some of the posts on /. are dumb?

      "and like the OSDN bar at the top, it says 'Our Network'. I know it's their network, it's not mine. Does anyone else like it when OSDN talks down to them like that?"

      Good luck on getting the "funny +1" mod. :)
    • by inburito ( 89603 )
      According to the new MS licensing policy they will be now known as "My Licensed Computer, My Licensed Documents, My Licensed Music, etc.." You will have no option to run anything not preapproved by MS/RIAA/MPAA/etc.
    • "My ____" is degrading. It's like Microsoft saying "You little child, you don't know anything so I'll tell you what is yours".

      Unfortunately, it's not even accurate. It only really applies to the computer not the person using the computer. Even with profiles, the local machine is the dominate factor under Windows not the user. Ironically, a network with X stations is more likely to be correct; the desktop, settings, programs, and any files are 'Mine' and the local machine is just a piece of machinery.

      Yet, most novices I've talked to refer to specific programs as "My ____" as in "My Quicken" -- even before Microsoft started using the phrase.

      Personally, it annoys me.
      • by grub ( 11606 ) <slashdot@grub.net> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:54PM (#4743494) Homepage Journal

        "My ____" is degrading. It's like Microsoft saying "You little child...

        Have you seen OpenBSD 3.2?

        $ ls -l /
        total 9066
        drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 1024 Apr 13 2002 My_Bin
        drwxr-xr-x 4 root wheel 19968 Oct 23 10:48 My_Dev
        drwxr-xr-x 21 root wheel 2048 Nov 24 09:55 My_Etc
        -rw-r--r-- 1 root wheel 4543036 May 18 2002 My_Kernel
        drwxr-xr-x 4 root wheel 512 Oct 25 03:44 My_Home
        drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 512 Apr 13 2002 My_Mnt
        drwx------ 3 root wheel 512 Oct 24 04:51 My_root
        drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 2048 Apr 13 2002 My_Sbin
        drwxr-xr-x 2 root wheel 512 Apr 13 2002 My_Stand
        lrwxr-xr-x 1 root wheel 11 Oct 22 16:38 My_Sys -> usr/src/sys
        drwxrwxrwt 2 root wheel 512 Nov 24 01:34 My_Tmp
        drwxr-xr-x 17 root wheel 512 Oct 23 10:58 My_Usr
        drwxr-xr-x 24 root wheel 512 Apr 13 2002 My_Var


        Dammit, I knew Theo was getting soft in his old age..

    • Re:Why "My"? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Hooya ( 518216 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:49PM (#4743474) Homepage
      because, all the other information residing on that machine that aren't under one of the My* 'folders' belongs not to you but is just licensed to you.

      therefore it actually makes sense.
    • by Frac ( 27516 )
      Actually, it has always been on Microsoft's roadmap to support a consistent and unified interface to hax0r someone's computer.

      It's actually a naming convention that Microsoft planned out to transparently support desktop shortcuts such as "My ex-girlfriend's Computer", "Company CEO's Documents", "Girl Next Door's Webcam Pictures", "IRC l4m3r's Hardware", etc etc.
    • Just go with it, man. Create your self some folders, such as "My Porn", "My Backups", "My MP3's". You can even do the same thing in Linux!! ;-)
  • This really looks like MS is going to just add to the problem of screen clutter. Pretty soon if you're screen resolution isn't over 2048x1536 you simply won't be able to do anything with all the side bars and crap.

    This is actually one of my biggest problems with Solaris's CDE, you can't really do a whole lot on a single screen so you end up having 11 "workspaces".

    The main UI interface really really needs a complete overhall, we are ready for something completly different not just with add-ons. Perhaps this 3d window manager the article speaks of will help address screen clutter. I just hope they don't look toward Jurassic Park for any ideas. Now that was slow!
  • Why do screenshots make or break a new OS? Shouldn't the functionality (encryption and privacy options, performance, failover, multi-user access, etc. etc.) of an operating system be its primary features?
    Ever notice how when *BSD or Linux kernel updates come out, there are technical articles about them, while Windows updates (pun intended) are all about the new GUI? Can you say "fluff" ?
    • the majority of Linux/*BSD users are technically oriented.

      the majority of people that MS really cares about marketing to are people that are home users and bullshit artists at businesses who don't care about anything...

      So how the computer looks is important to people who don't really care how their computer works, just that it does and that it looks nice.
      • Yes, though "technical" discussions often go astray too. We sometimes forget that IT is how technology manages information, rather than information about technology.

        IMHO worthwhile subjects of discussion are things like the SQL-Server based file system that was supposed to appear with Longhorn, or maybe Dotnet security, or real real-time capabilties, or DRM.

        I'd put these rather arbitrary GUI issues down at the relatively insignificant end of the feature list, along with ephemera such as tablet PCs, XML "technologies" and C#/Java syntax differences.
  • Quite interesting (Score:2, Insightful)

    by murat ( 262137 )
    Check this [winsupersite.com] screen shot.

    It shows a My Hardware "window".

    Are we gonna see "everything is a file" concept in Longhorn too?
  • bah (Score:3, Funny)

    by Gavitron_zero ( 544106 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:03PM (#4743266)
    it doesn't matter what they add to the UI, I'm just going to make it look like windows 98 anyways.
  • This abundance of screenshots and reviews is due to the actual ISO being available at various "windows beta" sources on the internet. More information on this is available here [xtechnet.net].
  • spoiler leak (Score:2, Informative)

    by rawshark ( 603493 )
    First of all, regarding the hoax comments, I consider Paul Thurott an authority on Microsoft news-- his site comes up first when you google for "Microsoft News", and I read it periodically to see what They are up to.

    That much out of the way, there are a few UI tweaks which I think are interesting. The enhanced explorer nodes for "My Pictures" and "My Music" look like something I might use-- not something I would pay $200 for, but if my computer shipped with it or if similiar functionality was in GNOME/KDE.

    On an even more trivial note, it looks like their Virtual Desktop manager shows the different wallpapers to the different backgrounds. I think this Makes Sense as a quick and easy way to identify different desktops.

    Of course, I must throw in the "har har, been there, done that"s to virtual desktops in general and the dock. I haven't say it yet, so even though it may be obvious, le tme say "WinFS concerns me"

    That was probably more lectrons than an alpha with two years to go deserves
    • The enhanced explorer nodes for "My Pictures" and "My Music" look like something I might use
      Think carefully before you say something like that. I recently discovered a very annoying thing about XP: it tries to figure out what the contents of your directories are and choose an "appropriate" way to display them. I discovered this when I looked at a directory I keep MP3s in and discovered that I didn't get the same Explorer display as for other directories.
      (Screenshot here. [panix.com])
      Note that "Date Modified" is not one of the columns! You wanted to sort your MP3s by date? Sorry, Microsoft has decided you shouldn't. Please note I did not choose this behavior; Windows just started doing it on its own. It looks like you can turn it off (View/Choose Details...) but the fact that the GUI is making decisions for me about how I should visualize stuff is highly annoying. (But that's Microsoft for you.)
  • theme looks familiar (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jd142 ( 129673 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:04PM (#4743272) Homepage
    The "plex" theme looked familiar, and then I realized where I've seen it before. It is Redhat's Bluecurve theme, with windows with rounded corners, combined with Aqua's jellybean/translucent buttons.

    Or am I imagining it?
  • UI (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Apreche ( 239272 )
    IF indeed those are real screenshots, and that is indeed a real leak of the "new windows" then I have the following to say about it.

    Even if under the hood it is just as stable and powerful as win2k/XP, and even if it is faster or better with new file systems and other new features. Win2k does everything I need. And it doesn't have DRM or a crappy UI like the one pictured there.

    Disregarding all the other factors in the linux vs. windows battle I must say the even though win2k's UI is pretty good, I dislike XPs UI greatly. And that even though linux might have 100 to choose from I like KDE, and at least I know that if I put in the time and effort I could make it look and work however I wanted. In Windows that option just isn't there.

    You wont see me upgrading windows until they add a real UI, custom UI, or new games just don't run on 2k anymore.
  • by weird mehgny ( 549321 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:13PM (#4743311)
    Features of coming Microsoft OS:es:

    - We'll be required to log on to our computers through .NET Passport.

    - The whole UI will be based around MSN explorer.

    - If we wish to write programs that'll run, we'll have to do something like:

    .NET_PROGRAM
    {

    // Must receive clearance to do this!
    MS_PALLADIUM_REQUST_SESSION();

    // Must check that the data doesn't infringe any copyrights!
    MY PRIVATE STRING STR1 = MS_PALLADIUM_AUTHENTICATE ("NEW STRING (\"Hello world\")");

    // Must check that the data doesn't infringe any copyrights!
    MY PRIVATE FUNCTION MAIN = MS_PALLADIUM_AUTHENTICATE ("NEW FUNCTION ()");

    // Must check that the data doesn't infringe any copyrights!
    MY MAIN = MS_PALLADIUM_AUTHENTICATE
    (
    "/* Logon to passport to send the message through MSN Messenger */
    PASSPORT_LOGON_();
    MSN_MESSENGER_PRINT(STR1);"
    );

    // OK!!!
    MS_PALLADIUM_END_SESSION();
    }

    - Exponential growth of area of objects such as "start menu", "option bar", etc.

    - Every program, file and message will of course be required to have the prefix "My".

    - Exponential growth of number of alternations to an obvious and given task, for example, there'll be 62 ways to create a shortcut to a web page, none of them intuitive.

    - There'll be more curves and pastel colors. By Windows 2010, there'll be curves so complex that they have to be express in 11-dimensional morphed space! Windows will require 2048-bit color GFX hardware to operate.

    - Meh...
    • Actually, they ultimately DO want you to log onto your own computer via .NET, and use MSN as the interface. That's essentially the direction M$'s own people have been talking about at their own seminars.

      And you thought you were joking!!

  • by jevring ( 618916 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:18PM (#4743342) Homepage
    What's the matter with you people? Every time someone, be it apple, microsoft, or anyone else, comes out with a new GUI feature, there are always claims that "well this windowmanager had this years ago", or "they've copied this from apple" and whatnot. When are people going to realize that saying that someone copied a certain feature from someone else in the operating system world is like saying "hey, BMW copied that thing with having doors from Volvo", or "hey, linux had a 'kernel' before I heard the windows NT talk about kernel/user-land separation". There are just some things that are basic operating system concepts, rather than vendor-specific ideas. I'm not saying that this is always the case, but more often than not. So please, stop the whining, it really just makes you look like you value advocacy over common sense.
  • Remember this is an alpha of Windows. As someone on Microsoft said -- "we had six different visual styles of XP before the final". Whatever Longhorn looks and functions like now, it will likely not look like that in the final release. Just like the early alphas of Whistler.

    This alpha contains very few improvements over XP, and the stability and optimizations are horrible. Yes, even for being Microsoft, if someone would like to pull off a bad joke about that. For example. the new WinFS file system runs in Longhorn as a service that consume a lot of CPU power while not offering any special WinFS.
  • by Raul654 ( 453029 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @12:33PM (#4743401) Homepage
    ...who like to pretend that the last 30 years of UI research never happened, I'd just like to say please take some notes. Not that KDE and Gnome have to look like a cartoon (ala the default Windows settings), but that is something Windows DEFINETELY does better.
  • While new, MS is trying to make people used to older versions of Windows feel at home: the new look and feel is a big blue screen.
  • Wow I must say (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ealar dlanvuli ( 523604 ) <froggie6@mchsi.com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @01:24PM (#4743639) Homepage
    That sidebar looks just like the dock, only uglier and even bigger (I didn't think that was possible). I also notice it only contains MS applications... I sincerely hope that's because of this particular setup.

    Did anyone else notice over 20% of the screen space was taken up by "navigational help" (eg these are the folders you might want to go to, then again you might not) in almost all of those screenshots? How does that help anyone by confusing the interface to such extremes?

    I like the new preview pane, a little big for my tastes, but it's there (albeit 7 years to get right after the introduction in windows 98). I am hoping it's not hardcoded which directories you can use it in, that would be a serious shame.

    I really wonder why they don't just license the look and feel of finder already, I can already tell their explorer is going to be very cluttered (then again that might be partially because of their insistance on a really pecular file heirachy for user directories..).
  • by FooBarWidget ( 556006 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @01:56PM (#4743849)
    I don't understand why people call Windows XP or Longhorn or whatever new version of Windows "userfriendly". Look at the screenshots!
    There's now some kind of sidebar which duplicates the functions of the Start menu ---> confusing to new users.
    If you open Windows Explorer and check My Computer, you get a complex screen with buttons, icons and progress bars.
    If you go to My Documents you get overloaded with options! Any new user will get confused by that!
    Not to mention all the eyecandy. Sure, it looks nice, but all those gradients and icons do is overload the user with information. New users will get confused and will have a hard time recognizing standard controls.
    The entire UI is extremely cluttered.

    The Longhorn GUI is good for advanced users, but will confuse new users! If GNOME or KDE do this, the Windows people will flame us down for creating a "hacker desktop" that's "not consistent" and "overloads the user with too much information". But if Windows does this, it's suddenly allright and called "huge improvements" or "innovation".
    I just don't get it...
  • by jez9999 ( 618189 ) on Sunday November 24, 2002 @02:17PM (#4743979) Homepage Journal
    Slashdot, you've linked to the wrong review. Sorry to have to point it out, but if you look at the screenshots, you will see it's just Windows XP. And the title also says that it's ... oh.
  • by dalutong ( 260603 ) <djtansey&gmail,com> on Sunday November 24, 2002 @02:46PM (#4744144)
    I don't know why... but i hate seeing multiple desktops for windows... i've always prided that as a reason to convert.

    oh well. time to look for something new.

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