Microsoft won't ship an interim version of Windows, retail or otherwise, before Longhorn according to email seen by Business Week. The memos from a week ago suggest that Microsoft is jettisoning features from Longhorn in order to meet the ship date of the first half of 2006.
WinFS appears to be the main casualty, having already been curtailed. A year ago Microsoft confirmed that Longhorn wouldn't, as expected, introduce an entirely new database storage architecture in which file systems NTFS would be a plug-in. Rather, Microsoft would add database like properties to NTFS. Business Week reports that the new features of WinFS will only work on local storage rather than across networks. That's been pushed into Blackcomb, which is way out towards the end of the decade.
The leaked memos also confirm that there won't be an XP "Second Edition". In early March Paul Thurrot reported that "the interim XP version will ship as a new retail product that replaces existing retail boxed copies of XP and as a set of updates, called XP Reloaded, that existing XP users can install separately." We were skeptical, having been bitten by the same XP Second Edition story two years ago. So we won't say "told you so"; the only definite thing about Windows roadmap leakware like this is that at best it should be considered provisional, and at worst, the sort of thing that leaks when competing teams get bitchy.
Reports from Redmond suggest that the Avalon UI architecture and the "managed code" API are also likely to be trimmed in order to get this most reluctant of steers out of the gate. ®
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