Monthly Archive: August 2004

So what will be included in Longhorn?

In an email message to all full-time employees on, Microsoft group vice president Jim Allchin said that the company’s customers “love our vision” but just wanted parts of it to be delivered sooner. He said that Microsoft will deliver the following in 2006:


  • The highest quality OS we have ever shipped
  • New information management tools to improve productivity, including fast desktop search and new, intuitive ways to organize files
  • Major security advances that build on Windows XP SP2, such as new technologies to make clients more resilient to attack, viruses and malware
  • Flexible and powerful tools to reduce deployment costs for enterprise customers, including technologies for image creation, editing and installation; and much simpler upgrades for consumers
  • Significant improvements in reliability, including a robust diagnostic infrastructure to detect, analyze and fix problems quickly, and new backup tools to keep data safe
  • A platform that creates Developer excitement with the availability of rich APIs [application programming interfaces]


“Our commitment to broad availability of the Longhorn client in 2006 and broadening the API set underscores our long-term vision for the Windows platform, and our desire to deliver high-quality innovations that our customers and developers are asking for in a timely …

So you want to understand what the changes to Longhorn mean?

Summary: The reaction to the news on Longhorn seems mainly positive


There is an enormous amount of debate on Microsoft’s decision to change the content and timing of Longhorn.  I discussed it in brief yesterday.  Since then there has been some very well informed discussions and links to these can be found on Robert Scobles blog.  However Robert just provides a very long list with little opinion so here is my take. In a bit more detail.


By far the best place to start in understanding this debate is this interview with Bill Gates by CNet.  It’s a fascinating piece with lots of snippets, a few of which I quote below:


We realized that we could do a lot of rich search capabilities in the OS without the full database, taking some of our text technology that’s been used by Office, and actually, MSN is doing some nearer-term local-search things, building on that same technology.  So that’s why MS bought LookOut!


Then we have other groups, like WinFS, where we’re way out in front, and there’s nobody to compare ourselves to. Making sure that they see how we’re committed …

Richard gives his view on the Longorn roadmap changes

Richard draws simillar conclusions to me

Myself I am ecstatic that Avalon and Indigo are going to be available to both Windows XP and Longhorn clients. Why? Because this might signify the resurgence of the thick client applications and also make the deployment of those applications simpler with the subsequent release of one click deployment. No longer will I be shackled to the confines of a web browser but rather I will be freed to create a rich user experience like the “good old days” and thereby increase the number of available features to each application I create. The fact that Avalon is going to be released to a wider audience means applications that were once awkward to deploy over the web will now be easy. Forget the marketing hype this is a great leap forward for the smart client developers

New roadmap for Longhorn

I was really disappointed when I heard that Microsoft were dropping WinFS from the initial release of Longhorn.  Then I read a bit more and listened to Jim Allchin, (the Group Vice President for Platforms at Microsoft), talk about the logic and sort of started to get excited.


Exited! That may seem a bit strange, until you realise that this indicates that Microsoft is actually starting to think responsibly about the needs to real businesses.  


“We’ve heard loud and clear from customers that they want improved productivity, easier deployment, increased reliability and enhanced security, as well as the many innovations we’ve been working on. We’ve had to make some trade-offs to deliver the features corporate customers, consumers and OEMs are asking for in a reasonable time frame,” said Jim Allchin, group vice president of the Platforms Group at Microsoft. “Our long-term vision for the Windows platform remains the same.”

Let’s take a look at what was really announced:


  1. Microsoft are going to ship Longhorn in 2006.  This gives corporates, developers and ISV’s something to plan around
  2. Microsoft are going to ship Indigo, (web services infrastructure), and Avalon, (Under experience), on XP and Windows …

The Secrets of Great Architects

having just posted an Article on the topic of too much abstraction, (too conceptual in my article), its quite a conincidence that the next article I read is The Secrets of Great Architects posted on MSDN, about the extact same topic.  Here is a short extract: All great architects have mastered...

Architecture Astronauts

As an Architect myself I found Joel’s thought provoking article titled “Don’t Let Architecture Astronauts Scare You” very interesting.  The article is all about the tendency of some architects to abstract problem to such an extent that it’s no longer useful.  This is how he gets started:   When great...

Why no one wants to save money saving paper

I admit I have written a business case or two in the past that included saving paper.  One actually did make the savings it claimed, but the other like millions of others resulted in more paper usage.  There is a good article on the topic on the Bloor blog ...

Flexible Workspace

Back in 2001, I was given the opportunity to create my own team.  It was a great opportunity and I pulled a team of about 30 people together to work on Architecture and Systems Integration projects in the Infrastructure arena.  We hit upon a slight problem though we could not find any space within the existing company buildings in the area.  This presented us with another great opportunity, work from home, or find and design our own office.  This is the story of how we designed our Office and what we learned.


  1. At the time, (and still today), my company designs its offices by giving a guy with Visio a template desk and char and an outline of the office and asking him to cram as many desks in as he can.  We actually have a few show case offices where they go to the other extreme, but we had no where near that budget.
  2. Starting with a very small budget and a very traditional culture we set about our search and found a large empty space not far from one of existing buildings.
  3. We spent our budget with great care.  For example …

I have finally made the switch

Having been a loyal user of Radio Userland, with all of its quirks, for 6 months I have finally made the switch over to blogmedia who host the blogware platform.  I did a trial switch over to typepad a month or so ago, but it did not go too well and I decided to stick with Radio.  But yesterday I ran out of disk space on the Radio Userland server and it went like this …


  1. So without any notice in my event log, I see that uploads are failing because I have used up my 40MB allocation.  40MB seemed a huge amount for text blog entries, but apparently radio has lots of different renderings and archives it maintains.
  2. I thought this should be easy – tidy up – but this has proven almost impossible to do cost effectively
  3. So I thought I will get more disk space, but it’s incredibly expensive.  For the same price as I pay for 80MB of space on Radio I can get 1 GB on blogmedia.

I really was not keen to change, because of the effort involved but I was so annoyed last night with trying to free …

Happiness and the Olympics

It seems that in an analysis of the expressions on Olympic medal winners faces on the podium the happiest people won gold, then bronze then silver. It seems that the people who won bronze were thinking “I nearly didn’t get a medal at all”, whereas the silver winners were thinking “if only I had tried that bit harder I would have got gold”.  I then got to thinking about how I think in these terms and it goes something like this:


  1. I always think about the worst that could happen.  I think through the worst scenario but while I am doing so I look for something good that could come out of it.

  2. I don’t dwell on this worst scenario though, I am quite a positive person so I quickly accept it as a possibility, and then assure myself that its fairly unlikely and move on.

  3. If it’s a repeat of some event that happened in the past I try and remember something good about that event as well.  

  4. Any outcome from that point onwards is then better than the worst scenario that I have already accepted as a possibility, but then set aside and not …