When I was first asked to join the team, I had read reports that the de-coupling of WinFS, Avalon, and Indigo made this release “XPSP3”. I was skeptical, and I did some digging. I delved into primary and secondary research. I read the specs, I talked to PM’s and Devs. And I came away fired up.
You know why? Because many got it wrong. WinFS is important, metadata is important, but the overwhelming majority benefits for how end-users actually want to find, view, and organize their documents, media, and assorted files is going to be delivered.
Today, you’ll start hearing more details about Longhorn. C|Net, PC Magazine, and CRN are all running stories so you can go there for the mainstream skinny. I’m not going to re-hash what they’re saying, but here’s a few points of my own:
1. There will be a LH build given out at WinHEC. This will not be Beta 1. This is a driver and hardware developer release to get the industry building hardware solutions for Longhorn. Beta 1 will be this summer.
2. I used to get really bummed by the “grouping” feature in Windows XP – r-mouse in My Documents and choose “Arrange Icons By|Show in Groups”. Some thought it was fantastic but for me it wasn’t very compelling when I have family members who still can’t find the files they’ve just downloaded. The ability to visualize and organize your information in Longhorn kicks ass. It’s FAST already and going to get even better. It goes beyond physical location of files. WinFS wasn’t required to deliver this and that’s where I think many stumbled in their perceptions.
3. Don’t expect to see a lot of updates to or new consumer-focused features right now. Right now it’s about fundamentals- getting hardware to work great, tapping into features that are in most PCs lying dormant for 90%+ of your time, addressing how people view and organize their information. They’ll be plenty of cool new wizardry to come.
So… I’ve added a new category on my blog for “Longhorn” and an RSS feed for just that topic. As I can talk more and provide my own perspective on things that are happening, I will do it as soon as I can.
In the meantime, you can send me questions but understand I won’t be able to respond. I will start keeping tally of the questions and answer as many as I can, when I can without executing a career-limiting maneuver. 🙂