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Longhorn Beta Coming in First Half

Windows "Longhorn" Beta 1 is on track for availability in the first half of this year, a Microsoft official said last week.

The comment by John Montgomery, a director of Microsoft's developer division, in a ZDNet interview last week at the VSLive! conference was the first on-the-record comment of the year by a high-ranking Microsoft official pinning the beta release to the first half.

Technical previews of Longhorn have been floating around for more than a year, but Microsoft greatly reduced the focus of the operating system since the last of the previews.

The original Longhorn preview was known as PDC Longhorn after the October 2003 Professional Developers Conference at which the preview was distributed. At the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference in May 2004, Microsoft distributed another preview, known as WinHEC Longhorn.

But in August, Microsoft rearranged the three pillars of Longhorn, leaving significant questions about what unique benefits Longhorn would bring for customers already running Windows XP. The original pillars of Longhorn were the Avalon presentation subsystem, the Indigo communications subsystem and a file system overhaul called WinFS.

In late August, Microsoft revealed that WinFS would not be finished in time for Longhorn's 2006 ship date. The company also said Avalon and Indigo would be built as technology downloads, like .NET, that users could install on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

A server version of Longhorn is planned for 2007.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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