OK, so WinHEC has been a bit of a bust so far– nothing terribly exciting to report. I’m really excited about Lonhwait… er… Longhorn, but I haven’t seen anything today that’s a dramatic departure from what was shown at the PDC. In fact the thing that WinHEC has impressed upon me the most is just how early-stage this stuff is. There are a lot of very low-level design decisions that clearly have not been made yet– the kind of design decisions that are foundation level and have an impact all the way up the chain.
I’m seriously thinking that Longhorn might be a Q4-2006 kind of affair. This seems to be a much bigger project than MS thought it was. For example, I was listening to an amazing presentation by someone on the Avalon team, and she mentioned that there are several UI bits that would not be available to users running in Classic mode, but what those bits were was not decided. Obviously, this has a profound impact on application developers! Even more, they haven’t even decided if the Avalon experience (as opposed to the Avalon Glass experience) will require the Longhorn Display Driver Model, which even impacts HARDWARE developers. These are important early-stage decisions that have not been made yet, and they will dramatically impact the development of Longhorn in a profound way. This stuff is going to be a while, folks.