Listening to Bill Gates talk about the release date for Longhorn is a bit like reading the prophesies of the ancient “seer” Nostradamus - you can read anything that you want into the words, because the pronouncements are so vague, and there’s been so many of them.
True believers point to Nostradamus as predicting everything from the reign of Napoleon, to the moon landing, to the assassination of John F. Kennedy, to the attack on the World Trade Center. That’s because he wrote things like:
Within the pit will be found the bones,
Incest will be committed by the stepmother:
The state changed, they will demand fame and praise,
And they will have Mars attending as their star.
Um…thanks for sharing. The next time I’m looking in a pit for bones I’ll keep that in mind.
Bill Gates, of course, says nothing quite so colorful, but his words, especially when it comes to the release of Longhorn, can be open to just about any interpretation. A few days ago, at the Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2004, he said this about the Longhorn release date: “People are speculating that we’re out in 2006 sometime, and that’s probably valid speculation.”
Does that mean that Longhorn will be released in 2006, or merely that it’s valid to speculate that it will be released in 2006? Who knows? After all, a year ago Microsoft said Longhorn would be out in 2005, and it’s also previously said beta would be out in 2004. To use the words of one-time Nixon press secretary Ron Ziegler, those statements are no longer “operative.”
Why is this important? When Longhorn comes out everything changes. From its Web services-oriented underpinnings to its new database-driven file system, the new operating system will thoroughly alter how we used PCs, and how businesses use them as well. Developers will have to change what they write, and how they write it. And even the economy, to a certain extent, hinges on the release of the new operating system, because when it comes out, expect more hardware to be bought to take advantage of it, and new applications written to tap into it as well.
Selfishly, I can’t wait to get my hands on it - who doesn’t like playing with new toys? And I’d love to update my book Windows XP Hacks with the Longhorn edition.
So when will we see it? Perhaps you know better than Bill Gates. So here’s your chance to be Nostradamus. Post a Nostradamus-like prophecy here, and we’ll see if we can decipher it.
Become a modern-day Nostradamus. Write your prophesy about Longhorn.