Longhorn ... the next step?
Longhorn will include a a revised task-based (or "inductive") user interface, an extensible, dock-like, Start panel, and a SQL Server 2003-based file system. Visually the desk top will include a new Sidebar which is an XML panel that includes links to outside resources. The OS will also include a file system called Windows Future Storage which is capable of data retrieval from widely varying individual sources including documents, email etc. It is a new method of storing, accessing, and indexing files. Such is the rapid developments in DVD technology that future intentions are probably speculation. Probably the most distinguishing feature of the next initiative will be the inclusion of the Microsoft PC universal security system Palladium claimed to prevent unauthorised material from viruses to spam from intruding into the desktop, whilst also securely distributing content to a wide variety of destinations. Considerable attention is being paid to running the operating system on screens with a resolution of 120 dots per inch, compared with 97 for current systems.
However, there is a famous saying, 'A week is a long time in politics'. Who would bet on the format of Windows OS in two years time. The Editor
Longhorn to arrive in 2005
Longhorn, the next major version of Windows for desktop PCs, will debut in 2005 ushering in a new level of graphics for PCs, Microsoft have said.
While Microsoft plans to release "a couple of beta," or test, versions of Longhorn in 2004, the final version of the operating system won't come out commercially until 2005. Microsoft hopes to improve the visual quality of the computing experience running the OS on screens with a resolution of 120 dots per inch or higher.
Current 17-inch SXGA displays have a resolution of about 95 dots per square inch.
More dots lead to crisper, more defined images. They can also make it easier to view high-resolution images. Increasing the resolution on a current monitor shrinks the size of the image, a phenomenon that can be observed by cranking the resolution setting in a computer's control panel to the maximum. At some top settings, text becomes almost impossible to read. With a higher overall resolution, users won't have to go to the extremes of the resolution spectrum. Longhorns debut is closely tied to Microsoft's work on a new file system derived from the company's database development which is designed to make it easier for people to find information on PC hard drives and across networks. The new file system will be part of Longhorn and also as part of Yukon code-named next version of its SQL Server database software.
Called Windows Future Storage (WinFS), the file system is a new means of storing, accessing or indexing files. It would replace NTFS and FAT32, which are used by Windows XP and earlier versions of Windows.
Microsoft have shown an early test version of Longhorn with an applet (a small program that can be downloaded quickly and used by a computer with a Web browser) that lets applications shrink proportionally on the screen. In the applet, two identical electronic calculators were displayed, but one was noticeably larger than the other. The smaller calculator, however, was identical, proportionally, to the larger one. In Windows PCs today, only similar applications at the same resolution are identical. The applet, however, remains under development. The difficulty in its development is in coming up with a way to allow the mouse to shift between applications of different resolutions.
Between now and the release of longhorn, Microsoft will continue to tweak its existing operating systems,. A new version of its handwriting recognition engine will come out for Tablet P and a European version of Windows XP Media Centre with better TV programming data will also emerge. However, there will not be an interim release of Windows before Longhorn