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Looking at Longhorn

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the proudly-imitating-all-of-Mac-OS's-flaws dept.

Windows 793

ShinyPlasticBag writes "Paul Thurrott has an excellent preview of Longhorn milestone five over at his Supersite for Windows. It looks like this may be Microsoft's equivalent to OS X -- the next version of Windows will have a 3D accelerated desktop and other graphical goodies. In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years."

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FRIST (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876131)


Senator Frist

Re:FRIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876176)

I'm all for moderating down trolls but how is a FIRST POST freaking redundant? Stupid mods.

Re:FRIST (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876188)

because so many people do it.. look at the beginning of almost every post replies!

Re:FRIST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876208)

but its the FIRST first post! Its not one of the failed ones, its the real McCoy! Its not redundant!

Redundant? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876247)

The ironing is delicious!

FP (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876132)

First Post!


In other words... (4, Funny)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876133)

...Windows 2005 will be Macintosh 1997.

OMFG (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876162)


+5, Makes fun of M$ (hahaha get it? M$? dollar sign because they are teh evil capitalistz!11)

Re:OMFG (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876233)

you better GB2GBS, am I rite?

Re:In other words... (5, Funny)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876204)

Only if they go back to cooperative multitasking, drop memory protection, get rid of about 99.99999% of the third party applications on the market, start making their own hardware and nuke all of the big name and beige-box builders, have really expensive peripherals, and charge an arm and a leg for it. Oh...and get a cadre of black turtleneck wearing, angst filled, coffee-house frequenting zealots to crow about it for no other reason than to just crow about it.

Re:In other words... (1, Funny)

joeszilagyi (635484) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876267)

Apple zealots are so easy to needle. Just ask them why they only get 1% of the floor space in any CompUSA store, and you can watch their entire world cave in on them as if they were a living, breathing black hole.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876313)

Yeah but who really needs 90 clones of Quake 3, 75 different word processors etc...

Re:In other words... (5, Funny)

KilerCris (637493) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876373)

From the front page of the site:
upcoming Windows operating system technologies. These exciting products include Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1),

Anyone else disturbed that this guy conciders SP1 to be an "exciting product"/"Windows operating system technology"?

NEWSFLASH, NTFS is a journaling filesystem! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876140)

git with the program dude.

Journaling File System: for those who don't know.. (3, Informative)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876147)

I didn't know what it was... hopefully this'll be useful for other people.

From whatis.com

A journaling file system is a fault-resilient file system in which data integrity is ensured because updates to directories and bitmaps are constantly written to a serial log on disk before the original disk log is updated. In the event of a system failure, a full journaling filesystem ensures that the data on the disk has been restored to its pre-crash configuration. It also recovers unsaved data and stores it in the location where it would have gone if the computer had not crashed, making it an important feature for mission-critical applications.

Not all operating systems provide the same journaling technology. Windows NT offers a less robust version of the full system. If your Windows NT system crashes, you may not lose the entire disk volume, but you will likely lose all the data that hadn't yet been written to the disk prior to the crash. By the same token, the default Linux system, ext2fs, does not journal at all. That means, a system crash--although infrequent in a Linux environment--can corrupt an entire disk volume.

However, XFS, a journaling file system from Silicon Graphics, became a part of the open-source community in 1999 and, therefore, has had important implications for Linux developers, who previously lacked such insurance features. Capable of recovering from most unexpected interruptions in less than a second, XFS epitomizes the high-performance journaling filesystem of the future.

The earliest journaling file systems, created in the mid-1980s, included Veritas, Tolerant, and IBM's JFS. With increasing demands being placed on file systems to support terabytes of data, thousands upon thousands of files per directory and 64-bit capability, it is expected that interest will continue to grow in high-performance journaling file systems like XFS.

Solaris has had UFS logging (journaling) (1)

phocutus (670853) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876271)

Since Solaris 7 (1996/97) has had journaling for awhile as well.

Re:Journaling File System: for those who don't kno (1)

incom (570967) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876359)

I always thought the default linux filesystem nowadays was ext3fs, which is infact journaling.

Re:Journaling File System: for those who don't kno (1)

CableModemSniper (556285) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876394)

Well theres no default Linux fs. Distro's use various and sundry default FSes. Some use Reiser, others Ext3 still others stick with ext2.

Re:Journaling File System: for those who don't kno (4, Informative)

n1ywb (555767) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876366)

No journaling file system guarantees that any unsaved data will be preserved in the event of a system crash. Data that's in RAM in the disk write cache is lost in the event of a crash. That has nothing to do with the file system.

Journaling file systems are transaction based. If a transaction fails partway through (IE the system crashes) the state of the disk is the same as if the transaction had never started, and is thus always consistent.

You would have to be doing something extra weird to risk corrupting an entire ext2 volume in the event of a crash. Also the article doesn't mention that ext3 IS ext2 with a journal added, it's not a totally different file system. In fact an ext3 file system that is cleanly unmounted can be mounted as an ext2 file system, FYI.

...Microsoft's equivalent to OSX (-1, Flamebait)

Quarters (18322) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876152)

Slow, not backwards compatible, and has 1st party applications that tend to always break the published HIGs?

Re:...Microsoft's equivalent to OSX (1)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876180)

NO, no, no. You've got it all wrong. They mean based on Unix! D'uh...

just kidding, that's what I first thought they meant when I read "Microsoft's equivalent to OSX.

Journaling FS (4, Informative)

VValdo (10446) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876155)

Microsoft's equivalent to OS X...will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years."

And OS X users have had for months [macosxhints.com]...


Re:Journaling FS (0)

sickboy_macosX (592550) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876241)

Actually Mac OS X has had it since the launch of OS X in March of 2001, you just have to choose UNIX File System when installing and it turns your disk in to ext2 FS.

Re:Journaling FS (1)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876281)

from whatis.com:

By the same token, the default Linux system, ext2fs, does not journal at all.

so does the osx version of ext2fs journal?

Re:Journaling FS (1)

cpeterso (19082) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876302)

sigh, this is just so wrong. Mac OS X does not have ext2 FS support. UNIX File System != Linux ext2 file system. Mac OS X's UNIX File System is based on BSD's FFS.

Re:Journaling FS (1)

CTho9305 (264265) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876345)

NTFS is a journalling file system... at least since Win2k. I think older versions were journalling FSes but I don't remember. Journalling in Longhorn is nothing new - the Yukon-based filesystem, however, is.

NTFS (1, Informative)

Scoria (264473) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876160)

In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years.

NTFS (Windows 2000, Windows XP, et al.) is a journaling file system, actually.

Re:NTFS (1)

marcovje (205102) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876179)

True, see also

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserver2003/commu ni ty/centers/fileservices/fileservices_faq.asp

Re:NTFS (1)

powerlinekid (442532) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876307)

Not all operating systems provide the same journaling technology. Windows NT offers a less robust version of the full system. If your Windows NT system crashes, you may not lose the entire disk volume, but you will likely lose all the data that hadn't yet been written to the disk prior to the crash.

Provided by another poster off of some website with such information I'd imagine.

Re:NTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876387)

uh... if it's not written to disk you WILL lose it no matter what the filesystem...

You are correct but (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876347)

It is important to diffentiate NTFS5 (windows 2000, xp) from NTFS prior to 5. As I understand NTFS has been the same from NT 3.1 through NT 3.51, though I could be incorrect about that. It changed when win2k came out, but NTFS was around before that, though not journaling.

Retards (2, Informative)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876168)

In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years

And Windows users have had since... 1994? NTFS is journaling, and was WELL before e2fs was... (any of you old-school Linux users remember pulling the plug or hitting power on your Linux box back in the day and immediately screaming "OH SHIT!" when you realize you probably just corrupted a whole slew of data? I do.)

Those in glass houses... (5, Funny)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876298)

You pull the plug on your linux box and corrupt a "slew of data" and someone else is a "retard".

Move out of your glass house before throwing stones.

Re:Retards (4, Funny)

harlows_monkeys (106428) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876340)

any of you old-school Linux users remember pulling the plug or hitting power on your Linux box back in the day and immediately screaming "OH SHIT!" when you realize you probably just corrupted a whole slew of data? I do.

Sometimes it is nice to NOT have journalling. 1982. Caltech High Energy Physics VAX. Sunday morning. I am working on a program that has a config file in /etc. I want to delete the config file. Out of habit, I automatically type "passwd" after "/etc/". Oops.

Solution: run to the VAX, and hit the power switch. I caught it in time! /etc/passwd was still there after the fsck. :-)

Alas...the next time, I didn't run fast enough, and lost the file, so had to restore it from backup.

The next time after that, the other sys admin got tired of that, and so made a hard link to /etc/passwd so that we could just link it back after I'd remove it. That was fine until I accidently copied something to /etc/passwd instead of rm'ing /etc/passwd. :-)

So, finally they made a cron job that checked /etc/passwd every few minutes, and if it was good, made a backup, and if it was missing or appeared to be trashed, restored it.

NTFS (0, Redundant)

raxx7 (205260) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876169)

Isn't the NTFS filesystem, avaliable for Windows NT, 2000 and XP, journaled?

Filing system (4, Insightful)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876172)

In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years.

The big question is if like NTFS it will be proprietary. Even after years of reverse engineering the NTFS nut still hasnt been cracked, and if FAT32 support is not included then people may be put off from dualbooting longhorn and another OS.

Re:Filing system (2, Interesting)

deadsaijinx* (637410) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876225)

I wouldn't quite say that. NTFS might be proprietary, but progs like Partition Magic [powerquest.com] have been able to partition the mystical NTFS. Though the price does shy away many a person. Personally, I'd rather use a second HDD to dual boot anyway, that way if one disk fails, I still have the other operating system.

Re:Filing system (1)

Neophytus (642863) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876300)

I was actually meaning that OS could not read info stored on the windows partitions, rather than if they could be installed onto NTFS.

Re:Filing system (1)

Vlad_the_Inhaler (32958) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876361)

If I understood you correctly, you are half right.
Read-access to NTFS has been no problem for years, it is write-access which has been marked as being experimental and downright dangerous for just as long.
I believe M$ wrote a 'cease and desist' letter a couple of years back to the person working on fixing this problem. Can't remember the contents or reasoning though.

Isn't NTFS a journaling FS, too ? (1, Redundant)

rainer_d (115765) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876173)

Not that having to run Longhorn on my desktop is a prospect I'm looking forward to, but still:
NTFS has been there for 10 years or so.
And it's jounaling.


rofl (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876187)

let it not be said that the "SuperSite for Windows" is a Windows fansite - from the article:

"After turning off Windows Future Storage (WinFS) to speed things up, I was still astonished by how poorly the system performed."


Just wait... (1)

sickboy_macosX (592550) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876193)

Just wait until WINFS comes out, yes you too can have a SQL Database file system. I am not looking forward to longhorn but I might look forward to laughing at it if they dont change the huge size of the Start Menu...

Eric Masson and teh IMD4Linux project is a joke! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876198)

Either release it, or don't and let someone else work on it.
Stop pushing back the release date of beta 1 (if it even exists).
I've been waiting for months for the 5DWM!

Please... (4, Interesting)

humming (24596) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876201)

Can someone tell me why I need a 3d accelerated desktop?

Would it be easier for me to navigate my windows if I could move between them as if I played Quake, instead of just clicking on the particular window I wanted?

Would I get more girls if my mailbox spun in cool 3d, instead of just opening?

Would my productivity improve if it took 5 more seconds to open a window just because it had to be animated, instead of just appearing?

Would it be easier for me to read text if all windows were transparent?

Is the human mind better trained to cope with windows if they are rotated 45 degrees along some axis?

I simply don't get the 3d desktop, but then, I prefer stuff that work, instead of stuff that looks good and doesn't work.

//H, just realized he has another flamebait post on his record. Damn that karma!

Re:Please... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876231)

I'm similarly opposed to the 'eye-candy for the sake of eye-candy' line that Microsoft seem so fond of. But having a 3d accelerated desktop is far more than that. Even if it _looks_ exactly the same, you should expect a performance boost, since much of the drawing work is now being done in the GPU, rather than your CPU. And if you do happen to like eye candy, you get it basically for free (computationally).

Re:Please... (1)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876397)

There used to be video cards that had 2D acceleration as a selling point. I take it the manufacturers forgot how to do 2D acceleration, so everything has to be 3D now.

Are perhaps you are just talking rubbish.

Re:Please... (1)

cscx (541332) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876237)

My guess is because they threw it in OS X, everyone thought the same thing (bloat); however, STeve Jobs is getting richer by the day. You do the math.

These sorts of questions apply to all devices... (1, Insightful)

Ieshan (409693) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876293)

These sorts of questions apply to all devices, in the end.

Take a look at your car. Do you really think it's design makes it much more aerodynamic, or do you think it's just the same eye-candy?

What about the paint? Paint jobs are pretty silly things, by your logic. They cost money and all they do is act as eye-candy.

What about the hubcaps, the flashing lights on the interior that never serve any real purpose, the leather, the...

The point is: People like things that glitz.

Re:These sorts of questions apply to all devices.. (4, Insightful)

sydb (176695) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876370)

None of the things you mention about cars get in the way of, or slow down driving.

The things humming mentioned get in the way of computing.

Re:Please... (1)

ZeroConcept (196261) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876318)

Well, the WIN32 rendering API is quite outdated, you will notice that if you try to develop anything that is rendering intensive (something like CorelDraw or Photoshop).

If this change means that developers can use an improved API, that means you will get better UI.

Re:Please... (1)

subzerohen (664161) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876324)

As a Linux user I would love a 3d desktop.

The first thing you get is nice optimized 3d drivers for all video cards.

Trancparency is probably useless but treating the windows contents as a texture map lets you do other cool stuff. How about smooth scrolling in your browser? No time spent redrawing windows when you move them around.

Okay here's a crack at it (3, Insightful)

goombah99 (560566) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876333)

Why do you need a 3d desktop. other than the actual legitimate uses of 3d for presentation of data there are what one might call psycic ergonomics. By this I mean clues and hinting that communicate to your brain things you need to know. A good example from the 2-d days was the way a macintosh icon would have little tracers radiate out form the application to the main window when you double clicked it. like it sort of popped out of the applications icon. IN the modern OSX the genie effect (or scale effect) has much the same effect: when you minimize an open window your brain registers where it was parked without you having to give it much conscious thought.

3d effect play simmilar roles. the tranparency and shadowing of foregroung and backrgound windows is something you immediatly grasp abd grasp without think about it becuase your brain already knows how po process those clues. like wise throbbing or size changing 3d icons can be subtle ways to grab your attention. Dialog boxes that drop down out of windows again clue you into what window they are refering to.

now done wrong they could also be wizbang distractions. This is of course what has always distinguished say apple products from others. Apple tends to follow a consisten and understated GUI that just directs your eye where it needs to go.

3d effects can clrify what is or is not a button, and even what you are supposed to do with it (twist, rock, slide, press)

no you dont need 3d. heck you dont need a gui. Dos didnt have it even though it did have a graphics mode.

Re:Please... (1)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876372)

Can someone tell me why I need a 3d accelerated desktop?

You don't. But some people, such as myself, are total suckers for eye candy. Given two systems with identical functionality I will be a good deal more impressed by the one with even only a little more eye candy. I'm tempted to upgrade to RH 9 from 8.0 purely for the latest versions of GNOME and KDE.

Re:Please... (1)

kauff (557689) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876391)

> Would I get more girls if my mailbox spun in cool 3d, instead of just opening?

Nope, but you'll get all the 3D-rendered-by-windows-dll Enlarge your penis spam you want, and then some more

Re:Please... (2, Funny)

gyratedotorg (545872) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876395)

10 make_faster_cpus(intel)
20 introduce_more_useless_features(microsoft)
30 goto 10

its a conspiracy!!! =)

OSX... (5, Insightful)

heldlikesound (132717) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876205)

It's funny to think that in two years Windows might be where OSX is now. Of course, OSX will be two years older at that point as well, and if 10.3 is any indication, Longhorn will not be enough to topple OSX, even if they stopped developing OSX now, (not in marketshare of course, just pure goodness).

Re:OSX... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876265)

ndows surpassed OSX in 2000...well before OSX was released. OS X is slow and crippled because of the hardware its forced to run on and the lack of software available for the platform. NT/2000/XP/ and 2003 server boxes run circles around the competition, especially apple/osx.

I laugh at fanboys when they say Windows/longhonr/etc won't be enough to topple OSX... Apple has been toppled long ago, honestly when will you geeks notice that? Unix, Mac, Linux, Be, or whatever inane OS people love to trumpet will never *ever* topple Windows. The battle was won by MSFT a long time ago.

Re:OSX... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876334)

a Microsoft zealot? Wow, I thought nobody actually advocated MS nowadays...

Who would have thought?

Re:OSX... (1)

jimmy_dean (463322) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876355)

hehe, yeah...not me...I surely hope that person was being sarcastic. Otherwise...wow...one sick person. Or it was just Bill Gates logging into slashdot.

Re:OSX... (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876283)

There are two reasons why Windows will probably never catch up to OS X: Apple's legendary ease of use and OS X's BSD/Mach underpinnings. The Apple ease of use speaks for itself, but I think a lot of people miss the point about OS X being a *nix. From what I've heard, XP is pretty stable. People often use this argument to claim that XP is thus as good as a *nix. What they fail to realize is that part of being a *nix is being able to run the plethora of applications out there for unices.

Finally (5, Funny)

handsomepete (561396) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876211)

Examples of visual effects that will be enabled in Windows Longhorn include:

Windows tumbling onto the screen.

Rotating windows.

Warped windows.

Ah, just what I've always wanted - A version of Windows that acts like a home video made by my parents.

Overhead? (4, Insightful)

neuro.slug (628600) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876220)

The Microsoft Windows Longhorn desktop is being drawn in a completely different way than all previous versions. Every window will have its own, full window-sized surface to draw to. The desktop will be dynamically composed many times a second from the contents of each window. The goal for desktop composition is to enable compelling new visual effects for both the Windows user interface and for applications created by third-party developers shown on increasingly affordable high-density displays.

And people say the GUI in Mac OS X has a lot of overhead? Correct me if I am wrong, but this sounds like a big drain on the cpu, agp bus, and graphics card.

Re:Overhead? (4, Informative)

moonbender (547943) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876315)

If you're able to offload most of the new effects on the graphics card - which so far has been quite idle in the desktop environment - this shouldn't be much of a performance drain.

Re:Overhead? (1)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876352)

I'm more concerned with what kind of issues this will introduce to existing applications on Windows. This change sounds decent in theory (freeing up my CPU so my graphics card can do more than idle), but I'm wondering if the API will be changed, and if any existing applications will be broken. This does seem like an awfully big change to do without screwing up other people's code.

Whoa! (4, Funny)

Dark Lord Seth (584963) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876222)

It looks like this may be Microsoft's equivalent to OS X

So, when do we see MS using a BSD kernel for Windows? I mean, there are so many advantages and- ... Hey, why are Steve Ballmer and Bill Gates in front of my house with a torch and a pitchfork?

Re:Whoa! (1)

MalleusEBHC (597600) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876304)

So, when do we see MS using a BSD kernel for Windows?

Just to nitpick a little, while Darwin is considered a BSD, it is actually composed of the Mach microkernel and a FreeBSD/NetBSD userland.

All the answers, but still too many questions (4, Funny)

failedlogic (627314) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876224)

With all the detail in the article, one thing is still missing:

What does the blue screen look like? Is it still blue? Why not red? Has it been changed or improved in anyway ( transparency, DirectX 9 features ) .... ?

Judging by the screenshots... (2, Interesting)

Dthoma (593797) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876227)

...it'll look something like KDE but with more Microsoft logos and a thicker taskbar.

Re:Judging by the screenshots... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876336)

I thought is looked a lot like KDE too, except lame-assed..

After all the copying (you know what I mean) that linux has done of windows, this version looks more like another linux distro than it does windows.

Somebody please tell me, WHAT is the upshot of this system, all I have really seen is M$ mirroring what Linux does under the hood, and no backward compatability, for what? It doesn't look like a great 'User Experience" since XP runs better and isn't near as ugly.

In Case of Slashdotting (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876229)

Here's a text-only version... there are quite a few nice purty images, but if it's gone, it's gone.


Longhorn Alpha Preview 3: Build 4015

With Windows Server 2003 behind us, it's time to turn our attention to the more exciting world of desktop computing, where Microsoft is slowly plowing through pre-beta milestones of Longhorn, it's follow-up to Windows XP. Due in late 2004 or early 2005, Windows Longhorn will offer sweeping changes over its predecessors and be the most significant release of Microsoft's desktop operating system since Windows 95. For developers, consumers, and business users alike, Longhorn is going to be huge. I've written a lot about this intriguing release (see my original Longhorn alpha preview and Longhorn alpha preview 2 for more information) but I present this third Longhorn alpha preview with some reluctance. Frankly, Longhorn hasn't changed much since the last alpha build I examined, and it's unclear what all the excitement is about. But 2003 is going to be a big year for Longhorn information, starting with an interesting little trade show next week in New Orleans. So here, at last, is my look at Longhorn build 4015. Suffice to say, things are going to start picking up soon.
WinHEC Preview: A new Longhorn shell is on the way

Since I first revealed the true nature of the new 3D video architecture in Longhorn, I've been besieged by requests for more information. Early in May, we may finally get that information, if the following technical content teaser for the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) 2003 is any indication. Note that the following text was provided by Microsoft to potential WinHEC attendees and is completely unedited. And yes, I am going to WinHEC.

WinHEC 2003 Tech Content Teaser: 3D Graphics Enhancements in the Next Version of Microsoft Windows The following extract is from "Graphics Hardware and Drivers for Windows Codenamed 'Longhorn'," an exclusive publication for WinHEC 2003 attendees which describes the enhancements to graphics capabilities and driver functionality in the next version of Microsoft Windows "Codenamed Longhorn."

3D Graphics Enhancements in Windows Longhorn Windows Longhorn will foster a major step forward in terms of how graphics hardware is used by mainstream Windows-based applications, from the Windows desktop to consumer and line-of-business applications. To achieve this enhanced desktop experience, a new Windows Longhorn Display Driver model has been designed to radically advance functionality, stability, and reliability. Coupled with acceleration provided by current and future graphics hardware, this new graphics driver model enables Windows Longhorn to deliver a higher level of performance, quality, and a new desktop experience.

In the past, the OS desktop has been a single graphics surface, and each window was defined as a region on this shared surface. Each application was responsible for drawing to only its window regions of the shared surface. Visually, windows appear to overlap and usually only the front-most window at any pixel is actually drawn.

The Microsoft Windows Longhorn desktop is being drawn in a completely different way than all previous versions. Every window will have its own, full window-sized surface to draw to. The desktop will be dynamically composed many times a second from the contents of each window. The goal for desktop composition is to enable compelling new visual effects for both the Windows user interface and for applications created by third-party developers shown on increasingly affordable high-density displays.

Examples of visual effects that will be enabled in Windows Longhorn include:

* Windows tumbling onto the screen.
* Rotating windows.
* Warped windows.
* Alpha blending between windows.
* Threads.
* Events and other synchronization objects.

The Windows Longhorn Driver Model allows for the visual effects seen on a user's desktop to scale relative to the available graphics hardware. For example, the experience of viewing Windows Longhorn on hardware with capabilities equivalent to a high end DirectX 9-compliant graphics chip will be much richer than Windows Longhorn displayed on baseline legacy graphics hardware.

More at WinHEC 2003
Come to WinHEC 2003 and witness demonstrations of the new graphics capabilities available in Windows Longhorn. WinHEC 2003 is your opportunity to learn more about how the new graphics infrastructure of Windows Longhorn will enable:

* Sub-pixel Microsoft ClearType text display technology with anti-aliasing.
* Hardware accelerated and resolution independent anti-aliased 2D graphics.
* Rich 3D graphics using a higher level API, integrated with 2D API and controls infrastructure.
* Glitch-free video playback.
* Greater than 8 bits per component color pipeline.
* All graphical elements can be arbitrarily combined within applications and across the desktop using the Desktop Compositor.
* Support for higher pixel density on both LCD and CRT displays.

What it all means

Here's my executive summary of the preceding information. According to this teaser, and based on information I've received separately, Longhorn will include...

* an enhanced desktop experience that includes advanced 3D graphics capabilities and driver functionality.
* a new display driver model that will feature radically advanced functionality, stability, and reliability.
* a radically redesigned user interface with a dynamically composed desktop featuring compelling new visual effects like graphically tumbling, rotating, and warped windows.
* hardware accelerated and resolution independent anti-aliased 2D scalable graphics that will expose functionality based on the capabilities of your system's 3D video hardware.
* a rich 3D graphics architecture that is integrated directly into the Windows UI.

In other words, the visual display in Longhorn will be awesome, simply awesome. Put another way, it will look nothing like the dredge we see in Longhorn alpha build 4015. Still interested? Let's look at the improvements we can find in this interim build.
So what's new in Build 4015?

Despite its complete lack of exciting visual elements, Longhorn build 4015 (Milestone 5, or M5) does hint at future improvements and includes a few interesting new features when compared to build 4008. Here's what I've seen examining this build.
Setup improvements

Setup, as with build 4008, is streamlined and much quicker than that of Windows XP. I suspect most Longhorn installs will take about 20 minutes, or about half the time, or less, that it takes to install XP, though it does take a bit longer to install than 4008. One interesting note in Setup is that "non image-based installs cannot be upgraded. Build 4000 and higher is required for upgrades." For this reason, I performed a clean install of Longhorn 4015 over an existing Windows XP set up.

Longhorn 4015 includes a new boot screen (Figure) and a new first boot screen similar to what you see in XP (Figure).
New Welcome screen

Longhorn's new Welcome screen is a combination of the full-screen approach used in XP and the logon window seen in previous Windows versions (Figure). Technically, it's a full screen display made to look like a floating window. There's a weird new option called "Log on as..." that lets you type in a username/password combination (Figure), suggesting that Microsoft truly is trying to combine the best of the old logon window with the Welcome screen. Presumably, you will eventually be able to limit which user names appear on the Welcome screen and then manually enter user information if desired.
Desktop, Taskbar, and Sidebar

On first boot, there are a few changes from previous builds. The so-called thinner "new taskbar" is on, and the taskbar and sidebar are both locked by default (Figure). Build 4015 introduces a new style of notification (Figure), or "slice of toast," as it's called internally at Microsoft. (These notifications, like several other features in Longhorn 4015, appear to be culled directly from work done previous on MSN. I find this functional combination interesting.) These notifications appear for such things as activating the product, finding new hardware, and the like.

As before, you can unlock the taskbar and sidebar (Figure), hide the sidebar (Figure), and almost infinitely configure which each UI element appears on-screen (Figure). Some of the combinations are awkward (Figure), but after messing with it a bit, I ended up putting everything back where it was in the beginning.

To configure the sidebar with new functionality, you can right-click anywhere on the sidebar and choose Add a Tile to see a list of available tiles. These include:

While I'm guessing this will eventually incorporate functionality from ActiveSync as well, currently the Synchronize choice (Figure) provides a link only to IE's Offline Web Pages feature. This will be an area to watch over time.

It's not clear what the Basket tile does (Figure), but it appears to be either a replacement for the Recycle Bin or a multi-item Clipboard (Figure). Future builds should reveal more.
Most Frequent Apps

The Most Frequent Apps tile displays the Programs List, which is identical to the most recently used applications list in the XP Start Menu (Figure).

The User tile displays your user name and logon photo, but appears to do little else (Figure).
Slide Show

The Slide Show tile is unchanged from previous builds (Figure). The Properties dialog for this tile, however, appears to be written in .NET managed code and crashes repeatedly (Figure).
Windows Media Player

As with MSN 8.x's Dashboard, you can display Windows Media Player directly in the Longhorn sidebar.

As with previous builds, the Longhorn Clock tile is graphically rich and includes a one-click Calendar (Figure) that doesn't do much quite yet.
Quick Launch

The Quick Launch tile replaces the Quick Launch taskbar toolbar (Figure). By default, it provides shortcuts to Launch Internet Explorer Browser and Show Desktop.

The Search tile provides you with a sidebar-based method of "finding your stuff" (Figure). Again, you can filter the results and search for just about anything (Figure). And, again, it crashes repeatedly (Figure). I'm sure this will get better over time.
Legacy Notifications

Small applications that were written to live in Windows' tray notification area now display in the Legacy Notification (Tray Icons) tile (Figure). The old XP-style Activation icon shows up there, for example.
Shell improvements

As expected, the Longhorn shell is still a disaster. After turning off Windows Future Storage (WinFS) to speed things up, I was still astonished by how poorly the system performed. Most Windows include a preview pane that is slow to display, and even when it does display, it's nasty looking and incomplete (Figure). For the first time, in this build, taskbar buttons for open windows are actually centered in the taskbar; I don't have an opinion yet whether this is a good idea.

By default, the Explorer address bar is hidden (Figure), though it can be toggled on with a simple click (Figure). View styles, as before, are adjustable, though the current XP-style icons don't react well to icon size changes (Figure); this will change dramatically when the new 3D shell is in place. Tiles view appears to be replaced by a new Extended Tiles view (Figure), which supports type collapsing (Figure), while Icon and Details views carry over unchanged. The system still reports the version number as 6.0 (Figure).

A new shell location called Download Manager (Figure) appears to be functionally similar to the Download Manager used by MSN 8.5. The integration of downloading into the shell led me to some speculation about the future of Internet Explorer (IE). You might recall that many people are wondering why IE development has virtually stopped. This might be because IE, the product, is indeed going away and that Longhorn users will simply browse the Web using the Windows shell. The relationship between Web browsing and Longhorn may therefore be similar to the relationship between Web browsing and the MSN 8.x interface, which supplies a Web browser window, sure, but also lots of other functionality. I think the MSN-Longhorn connection runs deeper than previously thought, but this is just speculation at this point.

I'm still not a big fan of the Plex visual style, which is ugly and amateurish, but I was interested to see that the old Classic view style seems to work pretty well with the new UI elements (Figure). The Explorer pieces, especially, are much more attractive in Classic (Figure).
Libraries, pivot views, Carousel view and stacks UPDATED!

In this build, special shell folders have been replaced, sort of, by a new construct called a library. A library is a virtual folder that intelligently gathers information about files on your system and presents them to the users in a collection. So, for example, the My Pictures folder has been replaced (logically) by the Picture & Video Library (Figure), which can collect images and videos from various locations in your system and display them in a single place (I write "logically" here because the My Pictures folder still exists. But it's only one of many locations in which you might have images stored).

Note that libraries don't actually contain anything physically; instead, they are a special collection of shortcuts, similar to the Control Panel in XP. The files themselves could be anywhere on your system, though most libraries are limited to searching particular folders for performance reasons. As I understand it, the objective here is to transparently shield the user from having to worry about physical disk locations, and it seems like a good idea.

In Longhorn, libraries can be filtered to display only certain types of content. When dealing with libraries, a filter (or view) is called a pivot. So, for example, you might display all pictures and videos in the Picture & Video Library, but you might want to filter the view by various criteria as well (size, date, whatever); this view of the data is a pivot. You can also modify the default view, or pivot, for each library (Figure) and determine which physical folders it links to (Figure). Actually, in Longhorn, these locations aren't even called folders for some reason. Instead, they're referred to as machines and volumes, which I find confusing because these terms are used to refer to physical PCs and partitions in XP. Perhaps the terminology will change during the beta: When you attempt to add a location, the standard Browse for Folder dialog appears.

Every Explorer window includes various ways to filter the view (Figure). Generally, there is a context-sensitive drop-down list as well as an edit box into which you can type custom filters. But the Explorer window task pane will also display a set of filters customized to the contents of the folder you're viewing. In 4015, I've seen a variety of things in the task pane, including ways to filter documents by name, size, date of creation, and so on.

Longhorn includes the Document Library, Game Library, Music Library, My Contacts, and Picture & Video Library. We might also include the Control Panel as a library, since that's basically what it is, and it exists at the same level in the shell hierarchy as the other libraries. In the following sections, I'll take a short look at each new library in Longhorn build 4015.
Document Library

The Document Library will logically replace My Documents and is, naturally, a collection of all of the documents on your system. By default, the Document Library collects documents from My Documents, the desktop, and Shared Documents. It does not collect pictures, videos, or images.
Game Library

The Game Library's purpose is unclear, but it will presumably integrate with the Parental Controls feature discussed below and offer game un-installation functionality, game controller configuration, and other related settings. Back in the early Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me) beta releases, Microsoft toyed with including a Gaming Options applet, which was designed to aid users in the installation and management of games. When games that supported the Application Manager were installed, their disk space usage could be managed automatically, so that frequently used games got the space they needed while infrequently used titles could be setup to use a CD-ROM disk instead. This feature was eventually dropped and didn't appear in XP, but it will be interesting to see how it develops going forward. Currently, the Game Library virtual folder in Longhorn is empty.

One interesting side-note about the Game Library: It is the only library that doesn't appear in the list of libraries you see in My Computer.
Music Library

The Music Library logically replaces the My Music folder. By default, the Music Library collects audio files from My Music, the desktop, and Shared Documents (not Shared Music as you'd expect, though this should change). The default pivot for Music Library is All Albums, but you can choose between that and All Artists, All Genres, All Playlists, and All Tracks.
My Contacts Library

The My Contacts library replaces Windows Address Book (WAB). It has only one pivot, called Personal Contacts, though I expect to see a Shared Contacts feature pop-up eventually. By default, My Contacts points to %SYSTEMROOT%, which is an odd location, but then this feature isn't fully implemented yet. However, there are some interesting hints at what's to come. Here's what I've found out so far: The My Contacts Library features a new Explorer view style called Carousel. Now, there is no way to actually view, add or modify Contacts in Longhorn yet (though I'll get to how that will eventually work in a bit), but I have seen Carousel view, so I can at least describe how it works.

Graphically, an icon representing your user sits at the center of the carousel, and lines, or spokes, branch out from the center towards your contacts. In Carousel view, items can be grouped by various criteria, such as relationships. In the relationships concept, you might have people sorted by family, friends, work, and the like. So you'd see lines radiating out from your icon toward these groups. Items that are logically further away from you (alphabetically, those items that are further from the letter A) will graphically fade as they move further from the center of the carousel (you). Here's a rough mock-up of how this feature might eventually look.

But there's more new to My Contacts than just the Carousel view. In My Contacts, you can arrange contacts by Name, Email, Work Email, Personal Email, Home Phone, Work Phone, or Online Status, but you can also utilizing a new feature called Stacks. Because you can't actually work with stacks in 4015, it's unclear what the feature does, but you can stack contacts by the same list of criteria by which you can arrange them, and you can also unstack them. Stacking and unstacking might be related to the Carousel view but, again, that's unclear right now.

As I noted previously, there is a choice for creating a new contact in the File menu while viewing My Contacts or Personal Contacts, but it doesn't do anything. Another choice, called Add Contacts, launches the new People Picker UI (Figure), which exists but doesn't work. A third option, Import Wizard, indeed launches a wizard called the Import Wizard (Figure), but it failed to import any of the contacts I provided it in a variety of formats. I was able to import contacts into the Windows Address Book in Longhorn, but I suspect this legacy application is on the way out. All attempts to import into Personal Contacts or My Contacts failed, and the option for importing legacy Windows Address Books is marked as NYI (Not Yet Implemented).

Ah well, maybe it will work in build 4018.
Picture & Video Library

The Picture & Video Library logically replaces (and combines) My Pictures and My Videos. Currently, this library defaults to displaying all pictures and videos, and the only other pivot option (for now) is By Year. The Picture & Video Library collections media from the desktop, My Pictures, and Shared Pictures.
Parental controls

Though much of Control Panel appears to be identical to XP, there are a few changes (Figure). A new applet called Parental Controls lets you determine when your children can use the computer and which games they can play (Figure). To test this feature, I created a Limited User named Limited (creative, eh?) and set about limiting his capabilities. Longhorn 4018 let me configure the hours in which he could logon to and use the system using a grid (Figure) and determine which games he could play using the industry standard ESRB game rating system (Figure), which is similar to the rating system used by movies.
New hardware capabilities

Another new Control Panel applet, Portable Audio Devices, appears designed to simplify the connection of those popular digital devices (Figure). Like Game Library, however, the applet is currently unfinished.

Like its predecessors, Longhorn 4018 includes an enhanced Hardware and Devices applet (Figure) that lets you view and configure the devices connected to your system.
Searching and Windows Future Storage (WinFS)

In Longhorn 4018, searching has been updated somewhat (Figure). Now, we get a "What are you looking for?" Search Results window (Figure) that can apparently handle anything from documents, email, music, pictures, and tasks, to visited Web sites, people, or the Internet, all in one location. This concept is in keeping with the WinFS functionality I first revealed here on the SuperSite, but the feature is buggy now, resulting in frequent Explorer crashes (Figure) which, incidentally, seems to be written in .NET managed code now. Interesting. You can filter searches by "My Stuff," Help & Tasks, Contacts, and Internet (Figure). This is also very interesting.

So there you go, another slow, buggy, crash-infected Longhorn alpha build, but one which includes a few new pieces of interesting functionality. As ever, this build is not for day-to-day use, and it's certainly not a perfect indication of what's coming down the road. But in these beta-starved times before the official Longhorn Beta Program kicks in, it's better than nothing. We should get more Longhorn information next week at WinHEC, and then again at the TechEd and PDC shows later in the year. Beta 1 is still expected in October, with the final release set for late 2004 or early 2005, depending on who you ask.

Let me know if you have any questions. But no, I don't know where you can download this build.

--Paul Thurrott
April 30, 2003
Updated May 1, 2003


ALSO, these are captions below the screenshots:

"The new Welcome screen."

"Same old, same old: The desktop hasn't changed in this build."

"Eventually, we'll be able to scale icons more elegantly."

"New parental controls let parents determine when and how kids use the computer."

"The Hardware and Devices library will probably replace Device Manager eventually."

"The taskbar, Start Menu, and sidebar are almost infinitely configurable."

"Explorer.exe is now a .NET managed code application, but it crashes frequently."

"New searching features will expose WinFS functionality."

"The sidebar clock picks up a calendar."

"Here's how ugly Plex is: Even Classic looks better."

Um... (1, Redundant)

ctr2sprt (574731) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876230)

In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years.
NTFS is already a journaling filesystem, and has been for some time. From here: [microsoft.com]
NTFS guarantees the consistency of the volume by using standard transaction logging and recovery techniques. In the event of a system failure, NTFS uses its log file and checkpoint information to restore the consistency of the file system when the computer is restarted.
I haven't been able to find anything which says when this feature was introduced, so I can't say for certain that it's been around since NT 4.0. But it's definitely been around since 2000.

There are enough things wrong with Windows that you don't have to go making new ones up.

Linux geeks? (1, Redundant)

no reason to be here (218628) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876232)

In addition to this, it will include a journaling file system, so us mere mortals can enjoy what Linux Geeks have had for years."

we BeOS geeks have had this even longer. ;)

Why do "next gen" OSs have such GIANT interfaces? (4, Insightful)

httpamphibio.us (579491) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876243)

Apart from this image [cofc.edu] the new trend of making next generation operating systems which have giant interfaces really worries me. I always felt the advantage of running 1600x1200 (or 3200x1200 in my case) was to have more workspace, not a higher resolution interface. When OSX came out I installed it on my iBooks, then immediately uninstalled it primarily due to it's absolutely intrusive interface (secondarily due to lack of support for the software I was using at that time. My PC recently suffered an HD crash and I couldn't find my Windows 2000 Pro CD so I installed XP (yeah, I tried linux... Redhat to be exact, and the out-of-the-box ceased to function after two reboots), and came across a similar issue... the interface is too big, too audacious, and clamors for attention.

In Vegas the person with the biggest, brightest, flashiest sign will make the most money... but when it comes to OSs small, fast, and unobtrusive is the key, too bad nobody else sees that.

Re:Why do "next gen" OSs have such GIANT interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876385)

When OS X was designed, they had the original Mac Classics and 512Ks in mind. Back then, on the little tiny screen, icons were supposed to take up a certain portion of the screen; however, as screens got bigger, icons stayed the same size. With OS X, they brought back the idea of items (like icons) on the screen taking up a larger amount of space, but it's normally very customizable.

Re:Why do "next gen" OSs have such GIANT interface (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876392)

You will never know it. The candy effects, the smooth fonts (little bigger) and other goodies in OSX do really help you when you are actually using the system.

The shadows of windows in OSX help you determine which one is on top of another (give you a depth perception).

Although it may not be directly apparent to an expert user like you, OSX's "giant" interface does help.

Bass ackwards? (3, Interesting)

arvindn (542080) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876245)

Back in the days of Windows 98, when rebooting every couple of hours was the norm, it would have made a lot of sense for M$ to introduce a journaling FS, so that users don't lose data all the time. But now that Windows users too have pretty decent uptimes, I wonder if it is such a big deal, since journaling has a performance penalty.

hmmmmm (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876254)

another slow, buggy, crash-infected Longhorn alpha build Before I read the end of that statement I though we were talking about the final build of Longhorn.

Contents of the article (1)

MoobY (207480) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876262)

Note that the so-called preview only discusses what the new Longhorn looks like, not what internals have changed. So take the article pretty literally, since it really only *looks* t Longhorn.

Has anyone else noticed... (5, Interesting)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876279)

...that there are no drive letters in any of the Explorer screenshots? I'm wondering if this signals an eventual move away from drive letters towards UNC-style paths, or referring to volumes by their labels, in a fashion akin to Mac OS.

Looks like OS X (1)

imnoteddy (568836) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876288)

It looks like this may be Microsoft's equivalent to OS X

Certainly does look like OS X. The login screen looks almost identical to the OS X login screen.

This beats me (4, Insightful)

fredrikj (629833) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876292)

Not to bash Microsoft in general, but the dialog in this screenshot [winsupersite.com] demonstrates incredibly retarded user interface design.

"OK" to terminate the application.
"Cancel" to debug it.


And this isn't new either, AFAIK the same dialog has been around since the Windows 9x days.

Re:This beats me (1)

AntiOrganic (650691) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876374)

Anyone who has programmed on Windows knows that the MessageBox API function has flags for OK and Cancel buttons; go much beyond that, and you're writing custom dialogs. Microsoft is just too damn lazy to write custom dialogs for everything that ever has to pop up.

seems like mostly eye candy (1, Interesting)

b17bmbr (608864) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876322)

sure there are some neat features undernetah. but this mostly looks like just more eye candy. for the average user, there will be nothing of significance, save DRM, that isn't already in XP. really. it looks like a combination of KDE and OS X desktops. but that is microsoft innovation really. "borrow" something two years old, integrate it into your product and call it new.

microsoft faces some big future challenges and they recognize this. .NET is all about this. they are trying to change basic software/user paradigms. they defined the first one with the desktop PC, now they are trying to redefine it again. the question is will they be successful? it is just that innovation and new ideas don't typically come from redmond.

Fisher Price (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#5876364)

So how much money does Microsoft pay Fisher Price to design there GUI?

Different name, same result (3, Funny)

molrak (541582) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876367)

From the article, underneath a screen shot [winsupersite.com]:

Explorer.exe is now a .NET managed code application, but it crashes frequently.

Well it's good to know that Windows hasn't changed that much. (yes, I know it's an alpha, but explore.exe crashes have happened to me in every final version of windows that I have used.)

Parental Control (5, Insightful)

selderrr (523988) | more than 10 years ago | (#5876375)

New parental controls let parents determine when and how kids use the computer.
This is one of the things I truly hate about windows : control, control, control !

They drive it so far that a parent (me) has to control how kids use the computer. That's insane. We have 1 iMac at home for our kids (age 10,7 and 5) and they have to figure outTHEMSELVES when and how to use it. If they have a quastion, they can ask away. If they have a fight, i turn off the machine. It took 3 weeks to find a balance, and now they manage perfectly. No control needed.

Control is like a handbrake on kids efforts to solve conflicts. You'de be amazed how intelligent the remarksof a 5year old can be if he is forced to find his own words. Quite often, he's capable of handling his big sister better than I ever could !
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