Barney's Rubble

WinFS: It's Back!

Too many versions of Windows adds to the burden of support.

The unified file system component of Longhorn may have been unceremoniously dumped from the initial shipment coming in 2006, but it will appear sometime later, according to Microsoft prez Steve Ballmer. This is great news for those who have guzzled the Longhorn Kool Aid, but I have to wonder what it means for IT. After all, a file system is't like a new skin for Media Player that you just slap on and start using. I's a bit more fundamental.

IT vets typically wait for version 2.0 of a Microsoft release before going into production. My guess is they'll wait for WinFS (which hits beta when Longhorn hits gold) before moving to the new OS. The only real question is if they'll wait for Longhorn 2.0.

You Can't Hack What It Don't Have
Longhorn isn't just an operating system adapted for both clients and servers. It will also serve as the basis for a range of specialized tools, similar to Microsoft's current storage and Web OSes. Longhorn will give birth to operating systems specific to print and file sharing, and perhaps more.

While these slimmed down tools should be harder to hack, our News Editor Scott Bekker worries that we already have too many versions of Windows, which adds to the burden of support, patching and overall administration. A herd of new Longhorns will only feed that burden.

PCs for the Poor
Microsoft has readied a cheap, stripped-down XP designed for low-income countries such as India, Russia, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia. While IT pros in the good old United States have asked for the same treat, I think it's great that those in less-developed countries get a price break.

Steve Ballmer went one step further, calling for $100 computers for poorer countries. We live in an increasingly tech-centric global economy, and if those in undeveloped countries are to have any chance to participate, they need the same high-tech tools and Web access that U.S. teens take for granted—once their basic needs for survival are satisfied of course.

PCs at the Center of the Universe—and My Living Room
Bill Gates has been pounding the drums for PCs to drive home entertainment for years. Now he's making the same argument to promote the latest XP Media Edition. For this to succeed, XP has to lose all vestiges of being a PC operating system. There are PlayStations and Nintendos all over the Barney household because they always work, and they're so simple a child (even an adult) can operate them. When my XP stops hanging and when everything installs cleanly, then maybe it will drive something in my living room besides a browser.

And as always, feel free to write me at [email protected].

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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