In a desperate - but, as it happens, successful - attempt to get The Register to write about its latest name change to .NET Server, Microsoft has made it a secret. Until today, anyway. The company has released the information, together with an explanatory backgrounder, to its partners under NDA, thus drawing our attention to an otherwise eminently binnable announcement.
It's not called Microsoft(R) Windows(R) .NET Server 2003 any more, since you ask, it's called Windows Server 2003. This tidily follows up on last August's name change to Microsoft(R) Windows(R) .NET Server 2003, prior to which its been called numerous things at various points, including Windows 2002 server. Not, of course, that Microsoft is confused or anything - oh no, sir...
The official rationale is that Microsoft "is making an effort to clarify the naming and branding strategy for .NET." At the time of the initial .NET announcement there was much loose talk from MS execs about 'the first .NET operating system' (which was sometimes XP, sometimes Blackcomb or whatever was deemed to be the Next Big Thing at the time), and this did kind of send the message that .NET was supposed in some way to be about operating systems. Microsoft now however seems to be moving it into the 'set of technologies' category to where Cairo was consigned when it became an UN-OS.
"As support for Web services becomes intrinsic across our entire product line," it says here, "we are moving toward a consistent naming and branding strategy to better enable partners to affiliate with this strategy and customers to identify .NET-enabled products."
Windows Server 2003 will also have the logo "Microsoft .NET Connected," as no doubt will practically everything else coming out of the Redmond stable, and certification under this programme will also apply to partner products. This logo will indicate "its ability to easily and consistently connect disparate information, systems, and devices to meet customers' people and business needs (regardless of underlying platform or programming language)." That last bit may have some significance - is it perhaps more important that Windows has fallen off .NET than that .NET has fallen off Windows?
The Q&A attached to the announcement is far too tedious and uninformative to bother you with, but you'll be pleased to know that the name change won't cause slippage:
"A) No -- we remain on track for a worldwide launch of Windows Server 2003 in April 2003."
So they haven't printed the boxes and manuals yet. ®