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Microsoft

Longhorn M4 Build Review 418

Gsurface writes "I finally got my hands on the new Longhorn build, 4008, that was announced two days ago. After installing it and looking around through it, I decided to write a review expressing some thoughts on the new build. This new longhorn build, upon the prompt to "press any key to boot from cd..." jumps directly into a GUI that is unique. This build Microsoft decides to abandon the setup interface of XP and dress Longhorn on its own. "
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Longhorn M4 Build Review

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  • All that's here is one guy with FP, and I already get a database error. Talk about bad decisions, advertising your story to /. without preparing first.

    Anyone manage to sneak in and get a mirror up?
  • great..... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Lord_Slepnir ( 585350 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:18PM (#5418954) Journal
    SO microsoft is changing its interface yet again. Of all the CompE majors that I know here at school, every single one had their version of XP revert back to the old windows 95/98 look and feel. One of these days, people at microsoft and apple (and KDE and Gnome) will realize that people don't want a change in the interface every other release, and stick to their own standards.
    • Re:great..... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:22PM (#5418980)
      apple

      Let's give Apple some credit here - they have only changed their UI design once in the 20 year history of the Mac. In fact they were routinely getting hammered by the computer press for having an outdated UI.

      • Re:great..... (Score:4, Informative)

        by Wyatt Earp ( 1029 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:16PM (#5419245)
        2.25 times.

        There was the change to "Platinum" at OS 8.0 that added some little nuggets like the pop open windows and drilling down to where you want to move something, then closes all the windows behind you, and it added the drawers at the bottom of the screen.

        When I saw the bit about another Windows UI change, I cursed. Thats just what we need at the support level, having to train staff on yet another Windows UI. Because you know at some point MS will ban the sales of XP and all the new computers with come with Longhorn and then places like schools will have Win2K/XP/LH running at the same time.
        • Re:great..... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by BlueGecko ( 109058 ) <benjamin@pollack.gmail@com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @05:03PM (#5420235) Homepage
          Platinum doesn't count. If you're going to count that as an interface change, let's not forget things like MultiFinder, window zoom, labels, etc. The critical thing with Apple is that, for all of the Classic line, there was steady evolution. Each version of the Mac had an improved interface that built upon the last one, not replacing it. Platinum gave the windows mildly revamped dressing, but otherwise did not really change the operation of the system. You could even ignore MultiFinder when it came out if you wanted to, along with the windowshade button of OS 8, the proxy icon of OS 8.5, etc. The biggest consistency problem of the classic Mac OS, in fact, was the massive control panel reorganization that began with System 7.5 and didn't finish until Mac OS 9.0.

          Compare that with OS X. You fire it up and you've got a Dock (new), Apple menu is totally different (new), menu bar doesn't operate close to the same way (new), trash can is not on Dock (new), control panels have disappeared (new), Finder by default opens column view (new)...rather than evolution, Mac OS X completely redefined how every single control worked and operated. I read of no one having trouble moving from System 7.5 or Mac OS 7.6 to Mac OS 8 having problems with Platinum, but many Macphiles had serious issues with OS X, and even though I am extremely comfortable with Unix, even I think that Classic was just plain simpler and more intuitive in many, many ways than OS X. Since Mac OS X 10.0, however, Apple has mostly gone back to evolution rather than revolution, which I think is a good thing. No major new UI changes have arisen out of newer releases of OS X except that Apple randomly makes its apps brushed metal now.

          Ignoring the depth of change, though, compare the Mac's steady evolution too Microsoft's jumps and spurts. Ignoring Windows the first four incarnations of Windows, Windows 3.0/3.1 to 95 was the first major UI switch that Windows underwent. Internet Explorer 4 was the second major paradigm shift. XP was actually in many ways closer to the adoption of Platinum than the OS 9 to OS X switch, since just changing the window dressings makes XP look like the steady evolution of Win 2K (with the Start menu and the control panel reorganization being the two big changes), but Longhorn looks like it will be yet another major paradigm shift with the addition of Microsoft's very direct ripoff of NEXTSTEP's Dock and reworking of the control panels. That means that Apple has had a major shift once over 19 years; Microsoft will have had four major paradigm shifts over the last eleven years with the release of Longhorn. That's just ridiculous.
    • Re:great..... (Score:2, Insightful)

      by $$$$$exyGal ( 638164 )
      So why didn't they just "revert back" to Windows 3.1? Or even DOS 2? For some reason, they got past those releases and moved onto Windows 95, why?
      • Re:great..... (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:17PM (#5419251) Journal
        So why didn't they just "revert back" to Windows 3.1?

        When Win95 came out, a lot of people I knew reverted back to using progman as their shell. In many ways I prefer it to the start menu. In fact I don't use the start menu any more, I have a quicklaunch bar spanning my second monitor (it was a row above the taskbar before I got the the second monitor). Having to click more than once to lauch an app seems unintuitive to me.

        Or even DOS 2?

        Have you used DOS 2? *shudder*. Having said the cmd prompt is the first icon on my Win2K quicklaunch bar, so I guess that implies I still do go back to the old DOS interface quite regularly.

        I'm a girl.

        Why do you feel the need to tell us this? Suffering from some insecurities are we? :->

      • Re:great..... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by orbital3 ( 153855 )
        Because Windows XP is, as my boss calls it, the Fisher-Price OS. Alot of people think it's gaudy or just plain ugly. I agree that it's not so much the change itself that made people want to switch back, but that it's just not nice to look at. Personally, I like the old start menu better as well... simple, quick, and to the point. Not a big mess of stuff that imo, should be consolidated and nested. While I appreciate that Microsoft tried to make WinXP more friendly and pleasing to the average user, I think they really dropped the ball on WinXP.

        (Side note: does anyone else, like me, hate the stupid rounded edges of the windows? If you have a window that's taking up the whole screen, but isn't maximized, you throw your mouse cursor up in the corner to close the window, and you close the maximized program behind it. Grr!)
        • Re:great..... (Score:5, Interesting)

          by neuroticia ( 557805 ) <<neuroticia> <at> <yahoo.com>> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:05PM (#5419583) Journal
          Actually, WinXP is easier for the end-user. (Yeah, I know. Who woulda thought?)

          My lesser-computer-inclined family folk love XP, and have finally started to be able to do things like make their printer work, remember where they saved their files, etc.

          I think that the blue rounded-corners give the end-user the illusion they're playing with a toy, and puts them off their automatic defensive "I don't know how to DO ANYTHING! IT'S A COMPUTER FOR GOD'S SAKE! IT'S THE BRAIN-SURGERY OF 2003!" mode.

          In addition, unless the user changes it, the default location to save things is *always* the user's home folder, and the user is logged out (Not logged off, if they re-click their icon at the login screen, they'll be returned to their applications just as they were. Although there seems to be an issue with another user being able to log in, re-run the application, and force the termination of that app under the other's user account.) after a short period of inactivity, which enforces users to log in as themselves instead of doing account sharing which was common under Win95-WinME. This forces users to save to their home folder most times, which drastically diminishes the number of "Oh my god, I lost my file that I just spent 10 weeks working on." incidents.

          I don't seem to have any problem with overshooting rounded corners. But, I think I overcame that with Apple's Aqua interface, in which I was initially doing stupid things on a regular basis. ;) (Clicking the little oblong button on the upper right thinking it would minimize the window, and instead turning the toolbars on and off repeatedly while laughing at myself comes to mind...)

          -Sara
      • Re:great..... (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Orion_ ( 83461 )
        So why didn't they just "revert back" to Windows 3.1? Or even DOS 2? For some reason, they got past those releases and moved onto Windows 95, why?

        Because the Windows 95 interface was better in many tangible ways than the Windows 3.1 interface. I'm sure there was some resistance to the changes, simply because there is always resistance to change, but I don't think there are many people that would want to go back to 3.1, having experienced the improvements in 95.

        The XP interface, however, was not improved significantly. They just took the old interface and gave everything bright colors, that in my opinion and in the opinions of many others, was a significant step backwards. The point is that there was no functionality added in the new interface, so we have lost nothing by switching back. The only effect is that we have created an environment that we consider more asthetically pleasing.

        There were a couple of improvements in XP, like the new Start menu, and an improved taskbar, but those things are completely independent of which widget theme you choose.
      • Because they were too young to remember 3.1, I imagine. Me, I learned on VMS and a TRS-80 (torture, absolute torture, compared to OS X). If it's got a command line, I'm home.
    • Did they try it? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by NetJunkie ( 56134 ) <[jason.nash] [at] [gmail.com]> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:39PM (#5419063)
      Did the XP users at least try the new interface for a while or instantly turn it off? If you give it a test you'll find the XP interface is nice. The changes are fairly minor but do allow you to access things more quickly. Some things do cause a performance hit but you can easily turn them off.

      In fact, I've found the XP interface to be pretty granular in control so if you don't like something, just turn it off.

      A lot of people don't like new things just because they are different. Sit a new user in front of Win2K and XP and I bet they prefer XP, especially after tweaking it to their work habits.
      • Re:Did they try it? (Score:3, Informative)

        by dpvtank ( 654603 )

        XP is extremely customizable, though not as much as linux...the look and feel can be changed and a lot of system resources can be changed because of turning off the overall look of windows xp. I agree with you...people using xp should try blkviper.com to get a thorough way to tweak their xp or win2k systems.

      • The XP interface is cluttered and annoying, I find all emulations of it to be disturbing. The win2k interface is much more pure and less eyecandy. I'm not running windows to be entertained. I'm running it to do work. XP reminds me of a baby's toy.
        • by rosie_bhjp ( 40538 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:05PM (#5419186) Homepage
          Agreed, I've always thought of the XP interface to be acceptable if the machine I was working on was called "Sony's My First PC".
        • The standard Windows xp interface was designed to be more suitable for pen-based computing. The window controlls are larger, they finaly fixed that Start menu problem (it was one pixel up and one pixel right of the bottom left corner), they added the mouse position effects so that it's easier to tell just what you're going to hit with the stylus, etc. They just made it more pen friendly. I, personaly, like the new Start menu. It adds a nice list of my most frequently used programs and such so that I don't have to go diving through the whole thing just to run my development environment. Other than that, I despise most of the changes. Only the Recycle Bin on the desktop feels like MacOS (good), but they don't mount drives to the desktop (bad). It makes it much harder to use. The classic "OK" and "Cancel" buttons are still a UI programmer's nightmare and MS still hasn't figured that out. I go to close a window and it says "By closing this window, you will not be able to log out. Logout now? [OK] [Cancel]" Now, what would you expect the Cancel button to do? I, persoaly, expect it to keep the window open, but it turns out that that is the button to close the window and not logout. Weird, huh? The list of useability fauxpaus goes on and on.
        • I needed cleartype for my new LCD's so went and upgraded a very stable (for microsloth) win2k to a not so stable XP. And I've already turned off just about every bit of eye candy. Unfortunately the field I work in has no linux/bsd software base, so I'm stuck. For now..
      • by Orion_ ( 83461 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:15PM (#5419239)
        The changes are fairly minor but do allow you to access things more quickly.

        Which changes are you referring to here? As far as I could tell, aside from the new Start menu the interface was pretty much exactly the same as the old one, only with ugly garish colors.

        I gave it a couple of days, then switched it back. The old look is much cleaner; more "professional" I suppose.

        As for the new Start menu, I gave that a few days and then turned that off too. I tend to dislike interfaces that are heavily oriented around my recent activities... I prefer consistency.
      • by n3k5 ( 606163 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:16PM (#5419246) Journal
        I think with "reverting back to the old look and feel", the parent poster didn't think of switching off usable features like hiding all those seldomly used items from the start menu until you request to see them all. I think he rather referred to switching off the new kindergarten-style window borders, config panel lazout etc., which take up more pixels on the screen (so less useful information is displayed) and look different for no good reason.

        Sure, maybe you can tweak the new l&f so you can be just as productive with it. However, the point wasn't that it's inherently bad, it was that _changing_ it around all the time is a very bad idea, and as the old one is just as good for most people, most people are better off continuing to use the old.

        "Pointless 'innovation' considered harmful." I read that somewhere today, probably Wired News. Definitely applies here.
      • Well (as a CompE), I turned off the theme service all together. Not particularly because I hated the themes (the silver one I could tolerate), but because it made screen refreshes even on my Geforce2 Go in my laptop slow as hell. Massive curtain effects moving windows around. Maybe it was the drivers, maybe it's windows. I dunno. But disabling it makes it soooooo much better.

        Besides, the less services the better. My computer started taking over 2 mins to boot and windows was using over 200MB RAM at startup. Just a few services disabled and I'm down to 45sec boots and 160MB RAM used after IE, AIM and Outlook Express are all opened. Stupid bloat...
    • It's not a new interface. All the buttons are still in the same place, just the images are different. I don't mind the interface's images changing with a new release - it makes things seem fresh.
    • From the _article_ -
      The desktop is clean similar to its predecessor, XP.
    • Re:great..... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by jayslambast ( 519228 )
      I think the change in interface is more related to the lack of content they provide with the new OS's. If you look at feature difference (ignoring the interface) between XP Pro vs Win2k, you would find that you're paying for Remote Desktop Connection services (which is handy), some minimal movie edit software and new 3d screensavers. oh, and the driver fallback stuff. While Remote desktop stuff is nice, its not worth the $200 to upgrade. So to entice people to pay XP, they had to update the look, or people wouldn't think it was worth their money.

      People do this all the time... If the content they are trying to say can't stand on its own, they try to wrap it in a pretty package, and some people are fooled by that....

      But that's my 2 cents...
      • Has anyone ever noticed how the default windows accessories almost never get updated? Why can't they spend a couple of programmer-weeks to update paint or notepad or the calculator? They have been the same since 95 and if I remember correctly 3.1. I know that these are trivial little tools and much better 3rd party replacements exist but would it kill them to support png's with paint?
    • by Master Bait ( 115103 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:25PM (#5419316) Homepage Journal
      When people make TCO studies of Windows vs. Linux , they never factor in the huge cost of hours and hours of retraining employees to learn a new Windows interface, nor do they factor in the social cost of the employees resultant torn social life:

      Increased divorce rate

      Skyrocketing health insurance costs due to prescribed antidepressants
      Increase in the use of designer drugs
      Petty theft and shoplifting increases amongst impacted employees and their offspring
      Hours and hours wasted in front of television reality shows in a vain effort to simply forget the horror of the interface upgrade

      Many of these employees feel so threatened that they have turned to driving huge, tank-like SUVs to provide them with a greater feeling of security -- yet we go to war in the Middle East to assure getting enough oil to feed these very same SUVs.

      Yes, the true social TCO of Windows upgrades will perhaps never be fully assessed. Research has just begun to scratch the surface. But we already know that our society is on the brink of disaster because of them!

    • Re:great..... (Score:2, Interesting)

      " Of all the CompE majors that I know here at school, every single one had their version of XP revert back to the old windows 95/98 look and feel."

      So? Woopie, they didn't have time to mess with it so MS gave them the option to revert. Oh yeah, damn them for that. :eyeroll:

      I got news for you: People want their interfaces updated, but at the same time they want to be able to use their machine. MS was a little more bold with XP, but arguably it was a good move. It was intended for the people just getting a PC for the first time, and from using it for the last couple of months I'd say that they did a good job. Simple example: Now Explorer gives you a list of your drives, but organizes them so you know which one's a CD-ROM and which ard HD's. Before it just gave you a: through z: and you had no idea what was what except for an icon. XP's full of little things like that to make users more aware of what is going on inside their PC.

      I agree with you that changing the interface so that you have to relearn it is painful for the experienced users. However, XP's not that different despite how different it appears. The stuff you want is still there.

      I also agree that their default color scheme's a bit.. uh. loud. That's easy to fix too, change it's scheme to 'Silver' and you get a nice tasteful interface. Don't like that? Go make your own scheme if you're that picky, or revert to the 2k look.

      Sorry, I'm going to defend XP's interface. It's not MS's fault that CompE majors weren't capable of spending a few minutes with it.
    • Re:great..... (Score:4, Insightful)

      by dotgod ( 567913 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:01PM (#5419564)
      They KNOW that not all people don't want a change with every other release...that's why they give us the "Windows classic" appearance. The funny thing is that if Microsoft didn't change the look and feel of Windows, we'd curse at them for their lack of innovation and we'd say they only came out with a new release because they're greedy and want to make billions. We'd complain because this new release didn't have many differences from the older one. No matter what Microsoft does, half the people on slashdot are going to criticize them.
  • Funny.. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Lysol ( 11150 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:18PM (#5418956)
    kinda looks more and more like KDE and some other Linux desktops. Personally, the >= XP interface is way too gaudy for me.
    • Re:Funny.. (Score:3, Interesting)

      by plone ( 140417 )
      If you find Luna too flashy, then you can just replace the uxtheme.dll and use your own themes. There are literally thousands of themes available at themexp.org. Unfortunately, like most skinnable apps, about 90% of them are unusuable.
    • Re:Funny.. (Score:5, Funny)

      by sessamoid ( 165542 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:21PM (#5418974)
      Personally, the >= XP interface is way too gaudy for me.

      The same for me. Luna always seemed to me to be like the ugly fat chick who wears way too much make-up to try to hide the underlying ickiness.

    • by Wingchild ( 212447 ) <brian.kern@gmail.com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:24PM (#5418989)
      ... really wanted to keep their Win3.x interface, because Win95 was so different.

      Things change; it's the nature of our business as computer users and professionals. Adapt and learn about it, or pay people like me hordes of money to teach you how to reset your shell to look `the way it used to`. :)
      • I can certainly handle changes in UI (heck, I've followed gnome and kde, and the window manager du jour (fvwm[2] -> afterstep -> windowmaker -> enlightenment -> ...) for several years).

        My only real grief with the Luna UI is that it takes 47 thousand different clicks/double clicks to get to where you can meaningfully change network settings. Since we're rolling out XP, and I run DNS, I've had to go through that sequence a LOT recently on various clients.
  • by OverlordQ ( 264228 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:20PM (#5418968) Journal
    here's the text of the article sans-pictures:

    I will express my initial reactions to the new Longhorn build that was introduced by neowin. The installation was initially done using Virtual PC to capture some screenshots of the install process. The desktop screenshots were taking after installing Longhorn on my D: partition.

    The install went through very smoothly, and minimal procedures were encountered. We no longer see the old setup which we were so accustomed to when booting from CD-Rom and installing Windows XP or 2000. This new longhorn build, upon the prompt to "press any key to boot from cd..." jumps directly into a GUI that is unique. This build Microsoft decides to abandon the setup interface of XP and dress Longhorn on its own. The setup continues after a small waiting period by collecting information and copying files needed for setup to continue. This process lasted for about 20 minutes, actual time being less because the initial installation was done using Virtual PC. Choosing this method first because I must admit that like many others, I was also skeptical and wanted to make sure this was not a fake before I made a partition on my hard drive.

    Interesting fact about the content of the cd, there is no i386 folder which we typically see in other NT based OS's. Could this be prone to this build only? We will have to wait till the final release to answer this question.

    I was greeted by a blue screen with the text "please wait..." for about ten minutes. I assumed this wait was due to Longhorn detecting my hardware. I would have been impatient during this stall and assumed the installation had crashed, but a friend of mine commented that this was usual, so with patience I held my horses. In no time, the installation went back into action. And before I knew it, it was done. Longhorn was installed on my pc. I have to say that this is one of the fastest Microsoft install to date. In total the installation completed in approximately 30 minutes using the Virtual PC. After I saw that it was the real deal, I went ahead and partitioned my hard drive and did the installation again. The whole installation took about 20 minutes. My system specs are Athlon XP 1800, 1GB Ram, 80 GB HD. I was never prompted about network configurations during the install process. This quick installation, reminds me of when installing Lindows.

    The welcome screen is presented, where I am logged in automatically. During the installation I was asked to enter a username, by default this username was given full administration access. Maybe not such a good idea according to some security experts.

    Immediately after login, Longhorn attempts to detect any hardware and prompts for drivers of unrecognized hardware. After installing some drivers here and there, a reinstall is necessary. I notice that, similar to the previous longhorn build, this build also hangs at the login screen before restarting (I wonder if I'm the only one that has encountered this problem).

    The sidebar is started once logged in. A new feature is added to the star menu, a shortcut to "My Contacts"; where you can manage your contacts.

    Interesting, even though I installed longhorn on the D: drive, it is seen as the C: drive by Longhorn.

    The look of the devices in my computer is different than that of the previous build. No longer do we see the status bar indicator under the hard drives. Too bad, I kind of liked the status indicator. There is a new properties bar on top which shows details of a picture, video or icon selected. Right above the taskbar, the address field has been replaced by drop down menus. Even though you can toggle between the address bar and the drop down menu, they should have made it an add-on instead of a replacement of the address bar.

    Going into the control panel, it's funny how the administrative tools icons still haven't been replaced to match the longhorn or XP look.

    The sidebar doesn't seem to have undergone any new changes. Of course I may have overlooked some details.

    "My Contacts" seems to be a new feature included in this build. The "My Contacts" folder seems to be a fresh add-on for longhorn since not much navigation was added to it. To add a contact, a right click on the folder will do the trick.

    Windows Media Player 9 build 2991 is bundled into the M4 build.

    The desktop is clean similar to its predecessor, XP.

    My initial reaction of this new build is that it has notably come a long way from the previous build. Noticing the installation changes we are able to determine that Microsoft is taking a different approach wit Longhorn. I didn't encounter any crashes while playing with Longhorn, even though I would have loved to see what kind of errors I would have gotten. I'm sure a couple of more minutes while browsing would have done provoked Longhorn to squeal. Even though longhorn is still in alpha phase, Microsoft is slowly beginning to unwrap the future of its OS, codename Longhorn.
  • If only.. (Score:4, Funny)

    by matttastic ( 613925 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:21PM (#5418979)
    Larry Wall would promote Longhorn. We'd get some truly memorable phrases! "Longhorn will give you the long horn!"
  • by handsomepete ( 561396 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:25PM (#5418999) Journal
    I do not want pictures of people I don't know built into my OS [flexbeta.net] (for those that can't get to it it's a picture of a woman wearing headphones and smiling as an image appearing underneath the title part of the 'My Music' folder). Thanks.
  • by millertime3250 ( 631993 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:25PM (#5419000) Journal
    I don't know how he got his hands on a copy of longhorn, but it's exciting to see that it's not crap yet.
  • by superpulpsicle ( 533373 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:28PM (#5419013)
    From an inside Microsoft source - "Longhorn will be released with a retina and fingerprint scanner since the previous product activation code was not effective enough. We are currently on beta 2 of our scanner. By RC1 we should be able to scan your retina without detaching your cornea."
  • /.ed (Score:3, Funny)

    by Distinguished Hero ( 618385 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:30PM (#5419025) Homepage
    I guess he decided to install Longhorn on his server...
  • by Wingchild ( 212447 ) <brian.kern@gmail.com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:34PM (#5419041)
    From the article,

    The welcome screen is presented, where I am logged in automatically. During the installation I was asked to enter a username, by default this username was given full administration access. Maybe not such a good idea according to some security experts.

    That's standard behavior of Win95 and 98 (you're just the admin by nature), Windows NT (you start as the admin account), Windows 2000 (creates an admin account, then prompts you to create a user w/ full administrative rights) and Windows XP (see Win2k).

    Does any *nix installation *not* start you off as Root, with the ability to create more accounts?

    By the way, Windows installations from Win2k onward will not prompt you to create a local admin account (i.e., Please enter your Username so I can make you an admin, too) provided that you're joining a domain right off the bat -- which, as the installer of this OS, is the only case where your local account's security rights becomes a real concern. If you're doing it at home, for yourself, you're already the installer/admin. You know the admin password. Meaning, the user will know the admin password.

    So, non-issue.

    I didn't encounter any crashes while playing with Longhorn, even though I would have loved to see what kind of errors I would have gotten. I'm sure a couple of more minutes while browsing would have done provoked Longhorn to squeal.

    "I said it died screamin' like a stuck Irish pig!"
    (with props to Untouchables)

    Likewise, I'm sure that me evalating any Linux kernel of your choosing could smash it into a million pieces through careless use of rm * -o , whack Solaris by repeatedly throwing the power while it's doing disk writes, or break any other *nix operating system you choose to name.

    *Any* operating system can be broken through maliciously beating on it. "I bet I can make it squeal" doesn't imply "I am going to conduct a fair and extensive beta test of this newest distribution to see where it's faults still lie". It implies "Let's see what we can destroy". :P

    Work on your bias. Good work submitting the article; news is news, regardless of the bearer.
    • by rmarll ( 161697 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:00PM (#5419162) Journal
      Ain't that the truth.

      My inability to mod this up is going to have to be sated by a me too post.

      Back on topic, this review is pretty much useless asside from the screenshots showing off the *GIANT BITMAPS FROM HELL*. The details are pretty marginal in and of them selves. The most obvious change(*GIANT BITMAPS FROM HELL*) didn't even get a mention, while other featurs that have been around a while (box displaying file properties) get a mention. An examination as to if there is a checkbox in the Tools>Folder Options panel that read "Turn off *GIANT BITMAPS FROM HELL*?" would have been nice.

      This was obviously a "Get the review out and up on Slashdot before anyone else" review(and a successfull one too). Not to say that's the most horrible thing in the world (the pictures were certainly of some use), but I hope a real review will make it onto the front page in a couple weeks.
    • Most linux distros I've used ask for a root password, and then the name/password for a regular user all in the course of installation. Then you're supposed to log in with the name/password for that regular user.

      Yes, it's different. It's an issue. Are you trolling? Many unix types consider running as admin to be a security risk, whether or not you know the admin password. When you run some shareware app you downloaded, it has access to the entire computer. Trojan horses are a serious risk. If you are running as a limited user, the trojan horse cannot infect other binaries, cannot install kernel modifications, etc.

      Agreed, however, that the reviewer may have been biased. I'm just picking nits.
    • How exactly does "couple of more minutes while browsing" translate to "maliciously beating on it".

      I hardly concider browsing the web malicious activity, and any box that crashes from that sole activity will not be used for long by me.
    • Since the person installing probably is an administrator, it only makes sense to give the installer admin access. He can then create and change permissions at will later. You don't have to work this hard to find thing to criticize about MS.
    • by pjrc ( 134994 ) <paul@pjrc.com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @05:08PM (#5420258) Homepage Journal
      Does any *nix installation *not* start you off as Root, with the ability to create more accounts?

      Most have you create non-root accounts at installation. All RedHat installers in the last couple years have done this.

      You know the admin password. Meaning, the user will know the admin password.

      So, non-issue.

      If you misunderstand the issue (that by default the user is logged in with full admin privs) to be the an issue user _could_ login with admin access, then it is a non-issue.

      But in fact, the issue is that ordinary, unskilled users will by default be running with full admin privs, rather than a set of privs that are adaquete for the tasks they normally would do and protect them from accidental mistakes and malicious code they may be duped into running. Some people might say "well, they chose to run as admin", but in fact they just clicked-their-way-through without paying much attention. Good design and security practice is the make the default settings as secure as possible. This is a basic, well established principle... on of those things all Microsoft developers were supposedly off to "training" for a month after Bill's famous "trustworthy computing" memo. But it appears that even now, Microsoft is still making the default for ordinary users to run with full admin privs.

      For sake of comparison, in Redhat 8, users are likely to run the system as ordinary users. The installer encourages them to create non-root accounts. The first time the GUI is started, it will complain with a warning dialog box if the user is running as root. Thing like this warning go a long way to helping protect users. Some other apps will also complain if the user is running as root. The other notworthy feature in Redhat 8 (and possibly other distros) is that GUI-based configuaration programs prompt for the root password, and a security manager maintains the root access for a while so the user isn't punished by having to retype the root password constantly as they tweak settings. And most linux-based apps are designed to run without root access. All of these factors work together, most of the time, to cause users to run without root privs and all the unnecessary risks associated with it.

      Compare to Microsoft land, where by default the unskilled user runs with full admin privs, and nothing warns them and attempts to get them to "do the right thing".... and historically lots of things "just don't work" unless the user logs out and logs back in as the administrator. Those conditions all conspire to drive ordinary users to run with admin privs (when 99% of the time it's not necessary and needlessly opens them to unnecessary risks).

      Ordinary users just want things to work, and they usually take the path of least resistance. Modern linux-based systems make that path relatively secure. But Microsoft, despite their "trustworthy computing" marketing still appears to take the easy approach, where they make the easiest path one with unnecessary security risks.

  • commentary (Score:4, Informative)

    by suhit ( 171059 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:34PM (#5419042) Homepage
    There is some interesting commentary on Longhorn, Build 4008, including cracks that are already being released :). You can read about them at http://www.xbetas.com/ [xbetas.com].

    Plus, there is a Longhorn 4008 wallpaper [pcmodkingdom.com] for those really interested.

    NeoWin also reports [neowin.net] that they got their hands on a new leaked version of Windows Longhorn. "The reporter insists that these are original shots. Lots of grandients are going on in the UI and while this is an alpha and the final version might look different (that's what happened with XP's Luna, MS only revealed XP's final design only a few months before the release, while most betas used another theme), these shots showing there are just pretty ugly IMHO. Bad taste on colors, no easy distinction between elements, it all looks like a big bad web page."

    Finally, there are some nice screenshots available at http://www.windowsxpstuff.net/comments.php?id=460& catid=1 [windowsxpstuff.net].

    Suhit
  • A Mirror (Score:3, Funny)

    by DigiBoi ( 139261 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:38PM (#5419060) Homepage
    If you cant get to the site, here is a Mirror [great-grooms.co.uk].
  • Screenshots (Score:5, Insightful)

    by JewFish ( 315210 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:39PM (#5419064)
    Windows Longhorn XP 4008 Alpha M4 screen shots can be found here.

    http://www.206.dk/4008.html
  • cheesy mirror (Score:2, Informative)

    by lizzybarham ( 588992 )
    here [soggytrousers.net]
  • by I Love this Company! ( 547598 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @01:44PM (#5419090)
    But underneath, Longhorn is the same old bull.
  • I only have one question... Did they finally get rid of the random error generator?
  • It looks like a somewhat more drab version of the Luna theme (bright colors have all been replaced with varying shades of blue) that looks not bad in my opinion.
    • But I can't help but to think users would think it strange that the UI, while possibly keeping a consistant Feel, change looks with Every release now.... I mean, adding gradients in 98 and 2000 was pretty minor. The changes to XP were drastic enough, and looks playskool to me, but occasional change I understand (3.x to 95 for example) (even though Apple seems more concerned with this and only underwent one 'major' Look and feel overhaul in the Days of MacOS, everything until OSX was quite small, incremental changes, that only tend to add color). This really makes MS look like a company that really doesn't care about consistent UI, favoring instead eye candy. I appreciate Eye Candy (hell, I change Window Managers quite frequently, but I *do* seem to always come back to WindowMaker), but if you are supposedly catering to ease of use, it should be low on the priority list.

      That new start menu seems in XP seems to be more about keeping the desktop clean and looking flashy. The frequently used items menu can be annoying as it can change, and some users just skip that list because they can almost never be sure what they are looking for is there, so why bother looking?

      Everyone I know stuck with XP switches at least to the classic start menu first. A lot of business users I have dealt with insist on the classic look, because the new look doesn't look professional...
  • Yeowza! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Snork Asaurus ( 595692 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:06PM (#5419195) Journal
    after installing Longhorn on my D: partition

    He either one brave fellow or all his other data are belong to the recycle bin.

    I wouldn't let an early beta o/s on a system that even had another partition or drive in the same room. I'm still pissed from when that dumb-assed release version of Win2k "upgraded" my NTFS 4 on another drive to NTFS 5 (making it incompatible with NT4) WITHOUT WARNING when I simply looked at the other drive. Yes, they warn that it could happen during the install if you have any NTFS 4 partitions, but this was after the install, when I connected another drive to copy some files over! Luckily, I had imaged the drives beforehand just in case.

  • by krele ( 654617 )
    Few nice screenshots, longhorn screensaver and wallpaper. http://www.msfn.org/comments.php?catid=1&id=13 75
  • by shadowlight1 ( 77239 ) <chris DOT feyrer AT gmail DOT com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:22PM (#5419274) Homepage
    ..the more they stay the same.

    Having survived the Windows 98 to ME, Windows ME to 2000, and Windows 2000 to XP migration curves, I have to say, that until this thing reaches release candidate status, all bets are off.

    I remember installing every single Win 98 beta that came out -- what a buggy headache (especially the early Active Desktops) -- when I could have spent my time being productive, and waiting and watching.

    This time, I will wait and watch.

    So far all I see in Longhorn is Windows XP with a few new panes, some screen reogranization and some pretty icons. Until I see a dynamic, functional difference that is not just screen reogranization or eye candy, I'll be convinced that this is just more of the same, in a new package, with some bugfixes, speed optimization and additional hardware support (like DVD burning, for example).

    Oh, and I forgot .net, which I think will be the equivalent of embedding the channel bar into the OS and trying to make it look more "seamless" in the OS. Remember the subscription channel bar in Win 98, that no one ever uses and hates?

    I could have guessed those "improvements", without even seeing one screenshot. Come on, MS, where's the real innovation?

    Time will tell.

    Chris
  • Fight club (Score:3, Funny)

    by Repugnant_Shit ( 263651 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:30PM (#5419376)
    When I look at the screenshots, all I can think of is "And YOU, you're too FUCKING...BLUE!"
  • by golo ( 95789 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:39PM (#5419449) Homepage Journal
    from this picture [neowin.net] it seems they changed the "Yes to All" button when doing a multi-file copy/replace with a checkbox like in Jaguar (OS X) however the wording is terrible "Repeat my answer each time this occurs".
    And what's the point of having a slideshow in the taskbar [neowin.net]?
  • by badasscat ( 563442 ) <basscadet75@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @02:57PM (#5419535)
    There seem to be two camps here (with a third lurking in the background), and they're diametrically opposed: those who think the GUI is too big a change from WinXP and therefore people won't like it, and those who think the GUI is too much like WinXP's and therefore people won't like it.

    You can't have it both ways.

    There's always a third camp around here (of which I'm a part), which seems to be strangely under-represented in this thread today. This camp believes WinXP is actually a perfectly fine OS, its UI is perfectly functional and easy to use. These people look at Longhorn and think "well, it's no worse than XP, and probably a little better."

    Lots of people use Windows XP and lots of people like it. Heck, lots of people even use its new swanky GUI - I do, my wife does, and everyone else I know does too (including most of my co-workers... all of the ones running WinXP, that is). I'm not sure why anybody would expect MS to make any drastic changes to a formula that works, and that a lot of people are used to using. Honestly, the core functions of the GUI haven't changed since Windows 95/NT 4 (which were very similar with the exception of the added administrator functions in the NT 4 GUI). Some of you seem blinded by bright lights - the XP GUI is almost no different than the Win2000 GUI underneath, and what *is* different (the control panel layout, start menu, etc.) can be easily changed back without removing any of the functionality or the prettiness. For my part, I find the new start menu much more useful than the old.

    And from what I'm seeing of Longhorn, it's hardly any different from the XP GUI. It's a bit flatter, with fewer 3D effects - an attempt at being a little more tasteful and understated without going back to the ugliness of Win95 (though I'm not a fan of rounded window corners - especially when maximized, they just don't like right). Still has the start button, the systray, the quicklaunch, very few desktop icons, etc. A few new transparency effects on the new sidebar. Honestly, if anything I'm disappointed they haven't made more visual improvements to the UI, though this is still an early build, and most of the visual flash comes last in any software development. I'm sure the final release will look even better than this.

    I think you all need to stop expecting Windows to be Linux (or BeOS, or whatever), and accept the fact that not all of us want to worry about customizing every last bit of our GUI or working in terminal consoles to get anything meaningful done. This doesn't mean we don't have "half a brain", it just means we want to spend less time with our OS and more time with our work. But it's nice if the OS looks good out of the box, so we don't *need* to spend time with it to make ourselves comfortable with it.

    On the other hand, it seems KDE and Gnome are both trying to move closer to the Windows GUI. They both have "start" buttons of their own, they both have quicklaunch equivalents, etc. They're both even going for eye candy lately. So what are some of you complaining about? This is what most people want, and it's the way most people are used to working. Just deal.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      KDE and Gnome are not the only Linux desktop options. You're ignoring another faction, those that just don't like the Windows paradigm at all and don't care. It's good to see someone unapologetically state that XP and Longhorn are little more than re-jigging the Win 95 concepts, and there's nothing wrong with that. Familiarity breeds efficiency. Some of us though prefer other ways of working and use Windowmaker, Fluxbox, Ion, etc. No start buttons and in some cases no desktop in the classic sense at all.
      Oh, and Longhorn is looking more and more like KDE, not the other way around. KDE looked like this back when 2k was a twinkle in NT4's eye. MS is looking at a the neat stuff created by developers free to express themselves (instead of serving a marketing target) and picking what they think best suits their market.
  • by Zone-MR ( 631588 ) <slashdot @ z o n e -mr.net> on Sunday March 02, 2003 @03:22PM (#5419672) Homepage
    I wrote my own review with a bit more detail and thoughts. It is availible on www.betaone.net as well as below. My review assumes you had seen the previous M3 leaked build so doesnt go into details about the sidebar etc:

    ----
    Well, I finally got around to installing Longhorn build 4008 on my laptop, and have decided to write a mini review. Rather than writing a full review of each possible screen, I will concentrate on changes from previous versions of windows.

    Installation
    Behind the scenes a lot of changes have happened to the setup program.
    * Rather than having all files in one folder (i386) there is now a directory dtructure in 'boot' which resembles the structure of the system once installed.
    * Rather than having a text-mode preinstall upon booting the cd which then spawns a graphical setup, the entire Longhorn M4 setup is graphical. This seems to be based on Windows XP PE (preinstall edition).

    The changes look very promising, although the GUI is clearly unfinished and seemingly rushed;
    * In many places the wording is quite unproffesional
    * You are informed you will be informed when you can "just walk away" and "setup will complete on its own". While setup requires little user interaction, you are not informed when your input is no longer required.
    * There is a nice treeview for selecting the installation partition, but your options are quite limited. In XP you can select Fat32/NTFS, FULL/QUICK format. In LH M4 the only option you have is a checkbox - "Format this partition (NTFS)".
    * The layout will need more work. Currently everything is centered, giving a kind of pyramid look. The previous setup style with several 'panels' proving information looked more visually pleasing.

    I am sure the little flaws will be ironed out sooner or later, but one thing is for sure, a lot of work has gone into improving the setup wizard which until now had remained largely unchanged ever since windows 2000.

    Visual and Features
    When longhorn M4 first starts, you are greeted with a much nicer screen than in Longhorn M3. In M3 there were a lot of visual imperfections and the plex theme looked worse than the luna theme on many windows. Now these imperfections have been ironed out and longhorn looks truly beuitiful as far as visuals are concerned.

    The sidebar, in additional to being much nicer visually, now has a few essential features that were missing in M3. Namely, there is a tray icon tile, so you do not lose access to trayed programs when using the sidebar in place of the taskbar.

    Glitches, Speed, Stability
    I tested M4 on modest hardware - a laptop with a 600Mhz P3 and 128MB of RAM. Longhorn ran SIGNIFICANTLY slower than .NET (which I was running previously). Even with the WinFS service disabled, the system runs painfuly slow.

    After altering the screen resolution the sidebar seemed currupted. Hiding and then reenabling it made the sidebar completly invisible.

    Stability is difficult to comment on because I have only been running LH for a short time so far. Till now I have not had a single crash or even error message.

    Rant on WinFS's implementation
    A lot of effort seems to be going into WinFS. The idea behind it seems brilliant - store files in an SQL like database so you can search for files, run queries, and receive results in a fraction of a second rather than having to wait for the computer to scan through each folder and take several minutes to search through the entire drive. Unfortunatly if the implementation in M4 is anything to go by, MS are going in completly the wrong direction. The new search panel prompts the user to enter a search string "Example: 'Pictures from John' or 'What is a firewall?'". It can search both the local files. This seems very newbie-oriented. Computers are usless at interpreting natural language queries. They should do what they are good at - fast indexing by filenames and keywords in the files contents. Also, searching a local filesystem for a jpeg and searching the internet are two entirely different activities. Combining them into a single search seems to make no sense and will just confuse advanced users.

    The current search system in XP is good enough as far as the interface is concerned (at least after you kill the faqing dog - again classic newbie-oriented bloat). You can search by filename, modified/created date, and a files contents. It is layed out in a perfectly logical way, and you know exactly what you are asking the computer to do. If only this was based on SQL and queries lasted under a second it would be perfect. Why replace this clean, logical interface with a textbox claims to supposedly understand plain english questions and automatically decide for you if you are looking for an email message, file, internet document, or application. Pointless artificial intelligence which will be far from perfect. I think ill stick with 'grep' and 'ls -R' - they do everthing I need them to.
  • You can tell Longhorn is made up of vector graphics from the non-antialiased folder here [flexbeta.net].

    This might also be why they bought out some SGI OpenGL patents; they don't want to risk some patent issue on their GUI.

    Also, there may be design issues with ATi, nVidia, Matrox because of making the entire desktop from vector graphics.
  • [looking at screenshots]

    Blue Screen of Birth? [flexbeta.net]

  • Nice move, slick (Score:3, Informative)

    by osgeek ( 239988 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @05:54PM (#5420452) Homepage Journal
    The poster of this story apparently Slashdotted himself?

    Nice move.
  • by Anonymous Poodle ( 15365 ) on Sunday March 02, 2003 @11:56PM (#5421997)
    for the blind.
  • Wow. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Chris Johnson ( 580 ) on Monday March 03, 2003 @03:40AM (#5422599) Homepage Journal
    Wow- they are desperately chasing after MacOSX Aqua while at the same time trying not to look TOO translucent, TOO rounded or TOO lickable. Check out all the rounded but not TOO 3D edges, and how they're pushing for a 3D effect but not too contrasty and aggressive in the manner of OSX.

    Which unfortunately makes them look just washed-out and lacking in attitude. It's like the safe corporate version of Aqua, only instead of being Playskool like the previous attempt, this time it's "OK, we'll make it all blurry and stuff!".

    God help them, this is pretty sad.

    It reminds me of a Roger Ebert review of 'Heaven's Gate': "When you don't enjoy even the physical act of looking at a movie, the director is in deep, deep trouble." Well- Longhorn appears both annoyingly blue, and annoyingly washed-out and contrastless. This is the best they could do? Windows 95 was more appealing, in a crude-but-cheerful way. Do you suppose they know they are downward spiraling?

If bankers can count, how come they have eight windows and only four tellers?

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