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Longhorn Renamed Windows Vista

Microsoft officially named the next version of its Windows operating system "Windows Vista" in a naming ceremony streamed via Windows Media Player Friday.

In the video, Microsoft senior vice president for the Windows Core Operating System Division Brian Valentine trades a cowboy hat for a cap with the Vista logo and says, "There's no more Longhorn. We're now officially Windows Vista."

Microsoft also said Friday that the Beta 1 release of Vista, targeted at developers and IT, will be available by Aug. 3. The Beta 2 release will be the giant, end-user beta. In its announcement, Microsoft said Vista is coming in 2006. Previously, Microsoft has said Longhorn would ship in time for the 2006 holiday season. Also Thursday, during a discussion of financial results, Microsoft confirmed that Longhorn delivery wouldn't occur until its 2007 fiscal year, which begins July 1, 2006.

The name decision continues Microsoft's pattern of moving away from using years in the name of client operating systems and toward adding words or letters to evoke a mood. With Windows XP, the somewhat obscure reference was to "experience." Vista offers a slightly more straightforward emotional reference.

Given that the operating system is more than a year from release, the name is appropriate as well in light of a clause in the main Webster's dictionary definition of Vista. "A view or outlook, especially one seen through a long passage, as between rows of houses or trees." (Emphasis added).

The name has some depth, as well, for an operating system. Webster's second definition reads, "A comprehensive mental view of a series of remembered or anticipated events." One of the major themes of Windows Vista will be to reorganize the way files are organized and accessed in order to make the user interface more intuitive.

Microsoft's announcement materials did not discuss Windows Longhorn Server, which is currently planned for a 2007 delivery. The Vista decision doesn't necessarily mean there will be a Windows Vista Server. Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 shared a code base and code-name, "Whistler," but Microsoft went in different directions for the products' final names.

Link to the official Microsoft Vista homepage.

About the Author

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

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