Great interview on Longhorn
This is a great interview on Longhorn. Some bits I liked:
better security with application compatibility!
As you well know, most users on Windows XP run with administrative privileges, and this is because the system didn’t partition itself well. This is one of the legacies that were inherited from Windows 95. Windows NT, Windows 2000 and Windows XP all have the security built into them, but the problem is that in many of the applications that were designed to run on Windows 95, you have to relax the security in order for them to run, which meant that the people had to run as administrator. We’re just getting rid of all the user level classifications in Longhorn. We have shimming and other capabilities that we’ve done with our applications like file virtualization, registry virtualization and other characteristics that allow applications that want to write to administrative parts of the system to think they are writing to those parts, while all along keeping those parts isolated and virtualized to the instance of that application.
Search done right, like apple, I particularly like the fact that they are doing desktop search in a way that makes sense on the desktop, rather than the way that makes sense on the Internet – a completely different environment
In Longhorn, what we have done is taken the concept of content indexing, which has already been in Windows for quite some time, and added property based indexing. And then we’ve also done two things in the shell, one is we’ve put a search box anywhere you are in the shell, which does filtering and fast search, full text search and property searches, and the second is that we’ve changed the way the shell works in that you basically build queries into the properties. For example, a user could write “show me documents written by John” and the result will look like a folder, but it is actually a running query. It uses the same index so it does not re-crawl the drive; it just goes to the indexer and requests the set of documents with the prescribed set of properties. So this is not just desktop search, it is an indexed property store with full text search and rich views based on the indexed store, and those properties will vary on the type of data. So for example, photos have metadata like the size of the picture, time it was taken, and maybe voice annotation; all of these get indexed. Music also has metadata like track numbers, names of songs, artists and that all gets indexed also.
I used Windows 2003 on my desktop and Volume Shadow Copy is one of the main reasons, and at last a home user friendly backup approach:
We’ve basically changed how the file system works in Longhorn. Functions like system restore and document backup are now handled by the file system. For example, when you save documents, the system will also save a version of the document in the background in the file system. This allows the user to use a function that gives them the capability to request an earlier version or versions of the document. This function already exists in Windows Server 2003 today and is being used. We took that same capability and applied it to system restore, so the way we keep restore points is to take snapshots of your system on a periodic basis, with the ability for the user to set the duration between snapshots. This function is also integrated with backup, so that if you have two drives on your system, and one is designated as the backup drive, the system can just snapshot deltas to the backup drive, so if your drive fails, the system can just restore your previous state from the other drive. The same back up procedure can be performed with an external drive as well, or you can burn CDs or DVDs that are snapshots of your back up, and all of this will be built into the Longhorn system.
And things get more firewall friendly, great for collaborators
Remote assistance exists in Windows XP today, so you can go via remote assistance into your mother’s system and help her to repair and or configure her system. The problem that exists today is the issue of firewall transversal with the remote assistance tool. With Longhorn, the system runs rendezvous services for the IPv6 network, so that you can do consumer-to-consumer firewall transversal. This functionality will work seamlessly in Longhorn, which is good for enabling voice, video, instant messaging and remote assistance. For other programs, we just use terminal server protocol between the remote and local computers. But if both users have Windows messenger, the user in need of assistance can application share through the program. With Windows Messenger or MSN Messenger, a user can open up a session and invite another user to use an application on their system and control that application remotely. The reasons we use Messenger is that you need consent to use those remote applications, and you need an IP address. So Messenger servers are used to do the rendezvous, and once the connection is established, what is left is a peer-to-peer connection, which is why you need firewall transversal. In the future, the system will use IPSec to secure the communication between the two terminals.