Yesterday evening testers of Whistler received an e-mail concerning substantial changes being made to the UI, allowing users to change the look and feel of it.
Since some testers do not respect their non-disclosure agreements (NDA), Microsoft is taking precautions by not releasing the code and interfaces of the most recent updates to prevent it from leaking and being viewed by the press and public. For those who have not stopped e-mailing me about Beta 2, it looks like the next build will be 2240, which should be one step closer to the release of Beta 2 planned to occur the week of February 12. This build should include the UI changes, which include an "extensible shell" and a new Windows desktop user theme code-named Luna. Luna - the equivalent to the Desktop Themes option in past Windows versions - will provide various customizable themes to skin the UI of Whistler. What's making it more special than the current Desktop Themes? I do not know, but as soon as I get my hands on build 2240, I'll be sure to report it.
Also found in a report by CNET.com is information on Internet Explorer 6 and the future of it. Microsoft isn't sure if it wants to completely integrate it into Whistler, and make it the base UI for all of Explorer features within Whistler. As always, Microsoft is standing tall and proud and ignoring all the lawsuits, but still isn't sure if it's going to make IE6 a stand-alone download, or just include it in Whistler - a better reason for you to get Whistler. Marketing... bah!
LinuxWorld has a write-up concerning file sharing between Linux and Windows. One can say that having Linux and Windows on one computer is an oxymoron, but for those who do, remember the time you forgot to save the files you created in Windows to a floppy before you booted up into Linux? This article addresses the various Windows file systems from Linux, and how to access files made in Linux through Windows. This may not apply to a majority of you, but you never know when it may help that system administrator on a deadline.
Microsoft hasn't done a great job letting people know about the next version of Office, Office 10, and from what it looks like, this may be the Office version of Windows Me - a useless update. In a recent review, Paul Thurrott mentions all of the new features in Office 10, focusing on the .NET integration and its future.
You know what I'm thinking? I think it's time for Microsoft to introduce a totally new UI for all its products. It's been the same for six years, and I'm getting bored of the Start button and monotonous graphics.