The latest word is that Longhorn will finally ship in time for the holiday season 2006, a full five years after XP was released. It will be the longest time between operating system revisions in Microsoft history.
We’ve been promised time and time again that it will be worth the wait because Longhorn will include all kinds of advanced technologies not currently available.
It’s now looking like that’s not the case. Microsoft is already publicly backing off about just how advanced Longhorn really will be.
“Maybe we hyped it up a little bit too much,” Microsoft group product manager Greg Sullivan told Information Week in an interview before the WinHEC conference being held this week. He added, “We’re set up to pleasantly surprise people who don’t have super-high expectations for Longhorn.”
Longhorn won’t include WinFS, Microsoft’s much-hyped new file system that was supposed to make it easier to organize and search for documents. Indigo and Avalon, two other much-hyped technologies, will be available for other versions of Windows, not just Longhorn. And you can be sure between now and shipping time, other features will be dropped as well.
So what’s been taking Microsoft five years? It’s tough to know. But it’s a year and a half (or more) until Longhorn ships, and at the moment, the new operating system doesn’t necessarily sound as if it’ll be worth the wait.
Do you think Longhorn will be worth the wait?
Wondering where the next generation of malware will come from? Just take a look at your instant messenger program. You’ll find the answer there.
Email worms aren’t much of a danger these days — anti-virus software catches them, system administrators know how to combat them, and users have smartened up so they’re less likely to be fooled by them.
But Malware The Next Generation is headed your way — directly from your instant messaging program.
That’s the conclusion of a new report by Alexander Gostev, Senior Virus Analyst of Kaspersky Lab, that traces the evolution of malware from January through March of this year.
The report notes that the first part of 2005 brought a “notable increase” in IM malware. Most alarming, said Gostev, was that it appears this type of malware is in its infancy, and at the moment is most likely being written by inexperienced “script kiddies.” He draws that conclusion because most of the IM malware is written in Visual Basic. Most target MSN Messenger. When more sophisticated programmers get into the act, expect the malware to become more dangerous and insidious.
Don’t count on your anti-virus software being of help; not all detect IM malware. And much IM malware relies on social engineering — for example, an IM will appear to come from a friend, telling you to click a link. It’s really from the malware, and when you click a link, malware is downloaded.
So just because you haven’t been hit by an email worm recently, doesn’t mean you should feel smug. IM malware is headed your way, and it most likely will pack a bigger wallop than today’s rudimentary malware worms.
What do you think about the dangers of IM malware? Have you been victimized? Let me know.
One major advantage that Internet Explorer has had over Firefox is the ecosystem of add-ins and developers that have sprung up around it. There are many add-ins and toolbars that extend IE, but that don’t work with other browsers. So even if people want to switch to Firefox, they’re leery of giving up their favorite browser tools.
All that is changing…and fast. For example, the newest version of the excellent Onfolio tool for organizing online content and reading RSS feeds (a tool I use to write all my books) works with Firefox as well as IE. The original only worked with IE.
And there are increasing number of extensions available for Firefox, many of which offer capabilities that go beyond any IE add-ins.
Better yet, a startup company called Round Two, founded by former Mozilla Foundation staffers, is devoting itself to developing Firefox extensionsand supporting other companies that develop them.
For example, it’s supporting development of the SwitchProxy anonymous surfing extension, and the Extensions Mirror site, which is a great destination for finding Firefox extensions.
With this growing ecosystem of add-ins and developers, Firefox stands a better chance of thriving, so let’s hope the trend continues.
Do you think Round Two will help create a larger ecosystem of add-ins and developers for Firefox?
There was some disturbing news for Microsoft this week: A study found that less than 25% of corporate PCs running XP have upgraded to SP2. This, even though SP2 is a significant security upgrade, and offers a better wireless client than pre-SP2 XP.
The study didn’t question why the adoption rate is so low, but it’s most likely because of compatibility issues with custom-built applications. The Windows Firewall is turned on by default in SP2, and it has caused numerous problems with custom apps, as well as some off-the-shelf ones.
That news is bad enough. Worse, though, is that Microsoft can likely expect a much-lower adoption rate for Longhorn, when it’s released, possibly some time next year. After all, from XP to XP2 is an upgrade of the same operating system. From XP to Longhorn is an upgrade to an entirely new operating system, with different plumbing underneath. Expect compatibility issues to be severe, and so companies may well stay away in droves.
This will have a much more serious impact on Microsoft than the upgrade to SP2. Microsoft received no revenue from the upgrade to SP2. It’s likely hoping for a massive revenue boost from Longhorn. If the SP2 upgrade is any indication, it won’t get it.
Could this mean Longhorn will be dead on arrival? For consumers, the answer is no — when you buy a new PC off the shelf, you won’t have a choice of operating systems, and so you’ll get Longhorn. But for enterprises, the answer may well be that Longhorn is DOA. And that means potentially big financial problems for Microsoft.
Do you think Longhorn may be DOA? Let me know.