Microsoft Announces 2006 Target Date for Broad Availability Of Windows "Longhorn" Client Operating System "Microsoft Corp. today announced it will target broad availability of the Windows® client operating system code-named "Longhorn" in 2006, and make key elements of the Windows WinFXTM developer platform in "Longhorn" available for Windows XP and Windows ServerTM 2003.
Microsoft will deliver a Windows storage subsystem, code-named "WinFS," after the "Longhorn" release. The new storage system provides advanced data organization and management capabilities and will be in beta testing when the "Longhorn" client becomes available.
At a meeting today with several hundred of the company’s top developer evangelists from around the world, Microsoft also announced that the Windows WinFX developer technologies, including the new presentation subsystem code-named "Avalon" and the new communication subsystem code-named Indigo, will be made available for Microsoft® Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 in 2006. This availability will expand the scope of opportunity for developers by enabling them to write applications that can run on hundreds of millions of PCs, resulting in enhanced experiences for users of those operating systems."
This is a big change -- and very pragmatic. Avalon on XP is a huge win for developers, and WinFS wasn't going to mainstream overnight anyway, so it's better for Microsoft to focus on getting Longhorn out in 2006 and adding WinFS later (and hopefully to XP and 2003 as well). Perhaps Longhorn, as was the case with XP, will be most successful as a consumer OS at first; Avalon and the rest of the Longhorn user experience will be very compelling for consumers, but most enterprises will plan on much more protracted upgrade cycles.
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