Ironic, considering my last post: Microsoft has made major changes to the Longhorn project, recognizing that it was in danger of slipping into 2007 or later. The SuperSite has an excellent overview of the changes (far better coverage than any other site– clearly the inside scoop is here.) Some key points:
<li>Avalon and Indigo will ship with Longhorn, but will be available as an add-on for XP SP2. This was sort of known, but now it’s official. It’s good news for everyone: the wider availability on desktops makes it far more viable for third party developers to target the technologies.
</li><li>The scaled-back Longhorn will ship (supposedly) by 2006… they are suggesting “mid-2005” but I’ll beleive that when I see it. This is good news for everyone as well.
</li><li>No WinFS in Longhorn. This is too bad– for me, WinFS was the reason for Longhorn. Alas, it’s a fairly ambitions project, and it will ship several months (probably a year) later with Longhorn Server. They did clarify, however, that Longhorn will still include a powerful local search functionality, but not the relational store that WinFS will provide.
I’m really bummed about WinFS not making the cut– this was one of those technologies that was really getting me excited about computers again. However, I understand that Microsoft is recognizing that, as I’m often quoted as saying, “Shipping is a Feature.”
They’ve done a good job of re-steering the ship, and providing clarification about the new timelines. I wish them Godspeed.</li>