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Just a Thought - Microsoft's New File System Still A Long Ways Off

by - December 28th, 2004

Microsoft, is a bit red-faced these days; not only will PC users have to wait longer for the already long-awaited Longhorn, it now seems that finding files and folders fast with a new and promised file system, WinFS, won't find its way to users for a few more years yet.

A CNet News article reported that a Microsoft exec has pretty much killed any hopes of seeing a new file system from Microsoft anytime soon. More specifically, the article quoted Windows Server Chief Bob Muglia as having said "WinFS in not in the Longhorn client. It is also not in Longhorn Server."

So, when will the general public see WinFS? Try sometime past 2010. CNet article said that, "WinFS may not debut in the operating system until the next decade, when the version of Windows beyond Longhorn, code-named Blackcomb, is slated to ship. Mr. Muglia explains that, 'This isn't a relational database. This is a brand-new data model, and it satisfies a whole class of applications that frankly have been unsatisfied from a data model perspective since the beginning of history. We've been working on things like this for a long time.'"

There is some good news for Windows users, however; the article outlines some features that will appear in Windows servers via updates, service packs, and, in 2007, Longhorn.

What's interesting here is that Microsoft is admitting that it spilled the beans prematurely about WinFS. At least, that's what you read on the surface; what's hidden between the lines is the notion that Microsoft did not want to appear to be slacking when Apple announced advanced file system features in its new OS, Tiger, and it took a 'me too' position instead of one where it appeared to be leading OS innovation.

Now Big Redmond wants to disassociate the release of its OS and features from anyone else's, and take the time to insure that it is offering quality features.

It's a gamble for the Redmond giant, but one that few can afford to take. By pushing off Longhorn to 2007, and WinFS even further, Microsoft could lose valuable customers to its rivals. Apple, Unix vendors such as Sun and HP, and Linux vendors such as IBM, are all actively working on solutions that might entice current Microsoft customers away from the fold.

Even if Microsoft lost 20% of its customer base to others, it would still have a commanding presence in the server and desktop markets, and new and innovative features in future releases of Windows and Windows server could win back any losses, or so they might hope.

Gamble or no, the delay does open the door for other vendors, and it will be interesting to see how many customers decide to move.

is a writer who currently lives in Orlando, FL. He's been a Mac fan since Atari Computers folded, but has worked with computers of nearly every type for 20 years.

You can send your comments directly to me, or you can also post your comments below.

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