Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Windows Vista: Don't Call It Delayed, and Don't Call It Longhorn

One of the more interesting series of conversations I has with Microsoft employees around CES regarded the infamous "Longhorn Reset" (Original Posts: Part 1 | Part 2 | JimAll Video). You see, by trying to put a positive spin on what was going on, Microsoft missed an opportunity to communicate a clear message moving forward that the Longhorn project had actually been axed. According to several people at Microsoft, Windows Vista, while drawing many key themes and much of the research from Longhorn, was actually seen internally as a brand new project.

So instead of saying "Longhorn is dead, we're taking the research and moving on", Microsoft instead called it the "Longhorn Reset", leaving the external perception that the project was still Longhorn, but they were just moving to the Windows Server 2003 codebase. the fact that the server project was still called "Longhorn" hasn't helped any. The fact that they kept publicly calling it "Longhorn" during and after the announcements added significantly to the confusion. Personally, I think that was the only really bad move Microsoft made at the time. Had they gone with a clearer message, they might have actually engendered more good-faith with the community, and it wouldn't have been so maligned in the already-AntiMicrosoft tech press.

Fast forward to today. While Microsoft is at this very moment assembling their product teams for the next release, they have decided to refrain from using codenames for the project. Instead, it is being referred to internally as "Windows v.Next" or "Windows 7". IMO, that takes some of the fun out of the process, at least for online communities. Remember all the Longhorn merchandise and desktop wallpapers? Well, I guess people could stylize the number 7... Anyway, as a side note, you won't see me running out to buy, although Steve Sinchak has probably already beat me to it.



  • Andy Simpson said:

    Wonder what they'll do for the next release? My bet would be that now .net/WPF/Expression is all ready, the Windows 7 shell will be a .net/WPF app.

    I'd say the time was right for certainly any new stuff getting built to be .net from the ground (or as close as possible) up, and old stuff to get a few .net tricks.

    January 19, 2007 4:27 PM
  • CoLD-FiRe said:

    You would really think so,

    That Windows 7, would have a WPF Shell. After all, Longhorn back then was powered by WPF.

    January 20, 2007 6:33 AM
  • anonymous said:

    I sincerely wish it brings out normal major useful additions and enhancements and doesn't try to be "larger than life", next-generation, revolutionary over-ambitious, under-delivered and the next "best" thing.

    January 20, 2007 1:04 PM
  • mysterious.e said:

    Robert, it's okay. They admitted they dropped the ball. They've cleaned house in management. And althought it has only half the first advertized features, it's still the biggest windows overhaul ever.

    I run Vista RC 2 at home and XP at work. Every day I begin to loathe XP more. Vista is that good.

    So, don't try to spin.

    Longhorn is dead. Long live Longhorn.


    January 20, 2007 6:37 PM
  • It's just not Joe Wilcox's week. On Thursday, I beat him down for extremely faulty logic regarding his

    January 21, 2007 2:19 AM
  • dirtchamber said:

    Next version will  be called "Vienna".

    January 22, 2007 6:11 AM
  • Tufty said:

    and it looks like someone has already got - they might have a long wait :)

    January 22, 2007 8:18 AM
  • MJ just posted a commentary based on my post the other day about how Vista isn't really "Longhorn" circa

    January 23, 2007 2:31 PM
  • I don't think that Jim Allchin published the PDC 2003 Video with Hillel Cooperman on the Official Windows

    January 26, 2007 3:31 AM
  • It's just not Joe Wilcox's week. On Thursday, I beat him down for extremely faulty logic regarding his

    January 28, 2007 1:15 PM
  • Status said:

    Mostly just fun, actually. An ongoing class action lawsuit against Microsoft in Iowa this year has resulted in a raft of internal communication being exposed in discovery to the public record. I haven't seen anything really exciting or surprising yet,

    February 1, 2007 9:03 AM
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  • July 22, 2007 1:22 PM