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Thu, 13 Nov 2003
So what about Longhorn?
I've been collecting links about Longhorn, and mulling over what I've been reading. There have been a huge number of blog posts enumerating the various new features in Longhorn, the triad of Avalon/XAML, WinFS, and Indigo. There's not much more that I can add there, especially since I didn't go to the PDC, and didn't get the bits.

Much has been made over Microsoft's supposed flaunting of existing standards in Longhorn. Jon Udell and others have been ably keeping on top of this angle.

Then comes a long line of nay sayers proclaiming that Longhorn won't ship until 2006 and that even when it does, it won't look anything like what was shown because Microsoft always changes things around during these long timeframes.

I have to say that I am impressed by the vision for Longhorn. It's not going to get us the Knowledge Navigator (sorry Scoble). I'm impressed with Microsoft's willingness to make such a risky play. Rewriting a huge amount of system functionality with new APIs in managed code is fairly risky. But if they succeed, they are going to end up with an environment that will be pretty nice to program in, and there'll be some cool features in there. Once they get everything into managed code, people working in predominantly unmanaged environments are going to be hard pressed to keep up.

To me the real question isn't about Microsoft and Longhorn, it's about the alternative platforms, Linux and the Macintosh. The Macintosh is tough because Apple is basically saying "hey, just trust us to keep doing cool stuff". And they are doing cool stuff, there's a lot of nice stuff in Mac OS X. But let's be honest, most of this stuff is just NextStep dressed up a little bit nicer. We still have C/Objective-C/C++ at the core. We need more than that.

Linux is even worse off. Now I love Linux, but when I compare the Longhorn story with the Linux story, I get scared. Look at things like this. Operating system kernels are commodity software. The interesting stuff is moving up the food chain. I've written about this before, and Ray Ozzie discusses this in his eWeek interview. At least the Mac has NextStep/Cocoa sitting on top of FreeBSD. On Linux there's still a vacuum as far as I'm concerned. I'm not the only one who's concerned about this. Seth Nickell has expressed the concern well. And he's doing something about it. I hear Miguel talking about these issues all the time. Now I disagree with some of the things that are being done in Mono -- sticking to following Microsoft's lead, but overall, I think that what the Mono team is doing is one of the most important open source projects in the long term. But we need to do better here. We need to find a way to lead, not just follow. We're running out of things to copy.

Dare followed up Miguel's post. You can call it amateur versus professional if you like. What it comes down to is making it attractive to develop and deploy software on your platform.

[22:43] | [computers/programming] | # | TB | F | G | 16 Comments | Other blogs commenting on this post

In the following link


you can read some key points about the relation among WinFS, BeOS and Mac OS X... but it is written in Spanish...
Posted by Nemo at Fri Nov 21 15:04:45 2003

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I work at the Open Source Applications Foundation (OSAF).
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