Gates: Longhorn biggest thing since Windows 95
“Well, welcome to the ‘Longhorn’ PDC,” Bill Gates said in his opening remarks at the well-attended Microsoft Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles this week.
A sold-out developers conference in continuing tough economic times surprised even the chief software architect for the Redmond, Wash.-based software giant. “This is a year where most computer-related shows are a lot smaller than they were in the past, and so we weren’t sure what to expect when we put up the sign-up for this PDC,” Gates said. “We were amazed that this is actually a record PDC.”
Gates suggested that many development types spent from shrinking travel budgets to get a first look at Longhorn, the operating system follow-on to Windows that Microsoft insiders proclaim to be a quantum leap technological breakthrough that will create a paradigm shift -- and also not crash as often as its predecessor operating systems.
“This is going to be a very big release -- the biggest release of this decade, the biggest since Windows 95,” Gates said of Longhorn. “We’re tackling three different areas: the fundamentals -- that means the security, the auto-installation, applications not interfering with each other. There’s a lot in the fundamental area.”
After that enthusiastic introduction, Gates turned the stage over to longtime Windows champion Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft, to get into the specifics of the new technology.
Besides new security capabilities, Allchin promised that Longhorn will include performance features such as SuperFetch to help applications launch more quickly, and ClickOnce to “speed and simplify” application deployment.
A key Longhorn subsystem is “WinFS,” a storage technology that allows developers to “take advantage of pre-built data structures in their applications, and extend those structures to handle their specific requirements and add unique value to the application by creating new structures,” according to Microsoft.
Longhorn will also include a new graphics subsystem for Windows presentation that Allchin said will allow developers to take advantage of leading-edge graphics hardware and incorporate native support for declarative, markup-based programming.
Finally, Longhorn will feature new communications technology code-named “Indigo,” which is designed for Web services application support with new capabilities for security, reliability, transaction messaging and interoperability, he said.
Gates told his audience of professional Microsoft developers that the new technologies built into Longhorn will help them build better applications faster: “For developers, we want to take the things that people have had to duplicate and bring those into the platform so you can focus on other capabilities.”
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Rich Seeley is Web Editor for Campus Technology.