“After months of keeping its prized cow in the barn, Microsoft is beginning to let Longhorn out of the corral for public viewing,” Ina Fried reports for ZDNet India. “Beginning with brief demonstrations to reporters this week, the software maker is starting to shed light on just what the next version of Windows will offer when it hits the market next year. High on the list of features are security enhancements, improved desktop searching and organizing, and better methods for laptops to roam from one network to another. ‘This is going to be a big deal,’ Jim Allchin, Microsoft group vice president, said.”

MacDailyNews Take: Oh yeah, a “big deal,” unless you bought a Mac five years ago.

“In a brief demonstration, Allchin showed off several key features that make the new OS stand out from prior versions. A ‘quick search pane,’ for example, allows users to type queries and instantly see matching files,” Fried reports. “In both look and form, the search mechanism is similar to the Spotlight feature in Apple Computer’s Mac OS X Tiger, which goes on sale later this month. Search results can be saved as virtual folders that are automatically updated to include all items that fit a particular query… Documents, pictures, music and even applications can also be given a rating or keywords to add further criteria for searching. But while the OS bears plenty of similarities to Tiger, Allchin stressed that Microsoft has broken new ground in Longhorn. For example, document icons are no longer a hint of the type of file, but rather a small picture of the file itself.”

MacDailyNews Take: No wonder Microsoft keeps the MacBU around. Prerelease copies of Mac OS X! Yaaay, Pepto for everyone!

“The company is still shooting for an initial beta around midyear, though it could be July, as the new official schedule is “early summer.” A second beta is planned, though no final date has been given, with the goal of having the OS broadly available on PCs by next year’s holiday season,” Fried reports. “Microsoft talked fairly early about Longhorn, with company Chairman Bill Gates first demonstrating it at a developer conference in October 2003. At the time, the company focused largely on the ‘under the hood’ features of the OS–in particular, a new file system, Web services architecture and the presentation system. Since then, Microsoft has significantly reshaped the OS. Last year, the company announced that it would pull out the new file system and that the Web services and presentation pieces would also be made available for Windows XP.”

MacDailyNews Take: “Significantly reshaped?” Stripped down is more like it. Hey, if parts of this thing can be bolted onto Windows XP, how innovative can it really be? We’re sure it’ll all work fine for the user.

“Allchin said his priority is making sure Longhorn meets quality standards, followed by getting the product out on schedule. Packing it full of features is a third priority, and the one most likely to give. As a result, Microsoft would delay Longhorn over quality concerns, but is unlikely to let individual features hold up its release. That could mean some further trimming around the edges if things fall behind,” Fried reports.

MacDailyNews Take: It must be easy to meet quality standards when you have none. While crediting the late Johnny Cochran, or not, Microsoft’s mantra these days is simple: “If it doesn’t ship, we must strip.”

“With Longhorn, Microsoft isn’t focusing as much on building in antivirus software as it is changing the behaviors that leave computer systems vulnerable to attack. For example, most computers today are run in administrator mode, making it easy to add new programs and make other changes, but also allowing major fundamental changes to a computer to be made by malicious software,” Fried reports. “With Longhorn, Microsoft is trying to change that so a computer runs with the least possible permission level.”

MacDailyNews Take: Hmmm, now where the heck have we seen that before?

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If people can’t figure it out what’s going on this time, they never will. You can see Windows ‘Longhorn’ today in Apple Mac OS X Beta, released September 2000, or just keep waiting and waiting and waiting for the unreal thing. Moo.

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