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Microsoft Data Storage Operating Systems Software Windows

WinFS to be available in WinXP 428

Posted by Hemos
from the by-bits-and-dribbles dept.
ScooterMcGoo writes "According to a Microsoft Watch blog, WinFS is being back ported for Windows XP. From TFA: WinFS isn't dead, Tom Rizzo, Microsoft's director of product management for SQL Server, recently told Microsoft Watch. In fact, Microsoft is planning to provide an update on the technology at this year's Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in September, he said. Rizzo said that Microsoft is busily back-porting the WinFS file-system technology to Windows XP. It's unclear if Microsoft also is porting WinFS to Windows Server 2003, but such a move would be likely, given that the Redmond software vendor is doing so with Avalon and Indigo."
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WinFS to be available in WinXP

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  • by ggvaidya (747058) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#11866749) Homepage Journal
    I thought the Bill-Gates-as-borg icon had a slightly wider smile today ...
  • Sure... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#11866750) Journal
    I'll believe it when I see it... my sources inside MS (and no, I ain't giving any proof, so believe me or not, I don't give a shit), say that there are very hard deadlines for Longhorn, with features being left out if they don't meet certain benchmarks, etc... so to hear that they are now taking something, and wasting resources back porting it? Especially when they first said it would be dropped from longhorn? I call Bull..
    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by maeka (518272) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:30PM (#11866862) Journal
      I'll believe it when I see it... my sources inside MS (and no, I ain't giving any proof, so believe me or not, I don't give a shit), say that there are very hard deadlines for Longhorn, with features being left out if they don't meet certain benchmarks, etc... so to hear that they are now taking something, and wasting resources back porting it?


      As the article states: "Microsoft decided to back-port both Avalon and Indigo to older versions of Windows -- Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 -- in order to maintain backward compatibility and help seed the application-development market, officials said. "
      If Microsoft wants to make WinFS a fundamental part of their strategy, they must back port it. Forcing developers to upgrade before they can develop is foolhardy.
    • Re:Sure... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Swamii (594522) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:32PM (#11866881) Homepage
      Yes, there is a hard deadline for Longhorn, and that is a good thing.

      That said, WinFS will not make it into the hard deadline for Longhorn. That said, it will be available freely as a download, and possible as part of Windows Update, for Longhorn and other operating systems including XP and, yes, Win2003, some time after the Longhorn deadline.
    • Re:Sure... (Score:4, Informative)

      by antoy (665494) <alexis.thenull@net> on Monday March 07, 2005 @02:21PM (#11867520)
      Especially when they first said it would be dropped from longhorn? I call Bull..

      It has been dropped from Longhorn. WinFS is now an entirely separate project and, simply, all connections that existed between Longhorn and WinFS are being removed.

      Just because Longhorn has very hard deadlines doesn't mean that masses of MS developers swarmed into the project, like some sort of a really nerdy LOTR scene. WinFS was shown the door regarding Longhorn inclusion, but that doesn't mean the WinFS team was dismantled. It will continue, but with slightly different targets and no consumer-side deadline.

      I don't see why it's hard to see how a company can work two projects in parallel, especially a company the size of Microsoft. They probably have hundreds.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#11866751)
    Can Windows support any other modern filesystems such as Rieser 4?

    I'd love to be able to use a filesystem that can be seen in a dual-boot environment; that's better than FAT32 or FAT16; but those are really the only choices now.

  • WinFS (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mboverload (657893) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:22PM (#11866753) Journal
    I don't know about you, but NTFS is fine for me. I mean, jesus, its a file system, not a damn search engine.
    • Re:WinFS (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ironsides (739422) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:27PM (#11866823) Homepage Journal
      I mean, jesus, its a file system, not a damn search engine.

      Quote from MS on WinFS:
      One of the monumental problems organizations face today is aggregating information that's stored in disparate formats. Knowledge workers have long wanted to be able to search for content independent of format. WinFS allows the user to perform searches based on the metadata of the stored item, regardless of what type of file it is or which application created it.

      So not only is it a file system, it is also a search engine.

      Source:http://msdn.microsoft.com/data/winfs/ [microsoft.com]
      • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward
        So not only is it a file system, it is also a search engine.

        No, bad design if so. The FS allows the storing of metadata (nothing new here, even HPFS on OS/2 had the concept of per file metadata). This metadata can then be utilized to store additional information about the file that can then be searched on in a consistent manner (or really a singular place). Think of it as being able to store your mp3 tag info, Word document properties, etc in a single place, it would make writing an over-arching searc
      • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Interesting)

        by RangerRick98 (817838)
        WinFS allows the user to perform searches based on the metadata of the stored item

        So where's the metadata come from? If it's dependent on the end user filling it in when they save the file to disk, I don't hold out a lot of hope for the usefulness of this idea. I rarely add any additional information about the files I save (e.g., Microsoft Word documents), and I don't know anyone who does.
        • So where's the metadata come from?

          I would think it must be something akin to Windows Indexing Service -- which is always among the first services I kill on any new Windows install, FWIW.

      • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ThosLives (686517)
        This is all well and good, except that unless there is a way to automatically determine metadata, or the person creating the document can forsee what type of metadata searches people in the future will use, this will not be that great a thing. In fact, it sounds like it will add all sorts of process overhead.

        I know, for instance, that in my company we'd have to develop a process for writing the metadata, reviewing the metadata, and that sort of thing. Adding more data to something isn't going to improve th

        • I think asking users to define metadata is a wasted effort. While users can tag data, it's a huge chore...

          Spotlight I think has the best compromise. Modules that can define meta-data from document contents themselves. Most document formats that people would want to search already have a means of storing meta-data (like EXIF for pictures) so just let people modify this meta-data as appropriate with tools specific to the format, and encourage new app writers to generate documents with room for meta-data a
      • Re:WinFS (Score:5, Funny)

        by goofyspouse (817551) on Monday March 07, 2005 @02:27PM (#11867581)
        "So not only is it a file system, it is also a search engine."

        Man: WinFS is a desert topping.
        Woman: No, it's a floor wax.
        Man: Desert topping!
        Woman: Floor wax!
        Announcer: You are both right...WinFS is both a desert topping *and* a floor wax.
      • One of the monumental problems organizations face today is aggregating information that's stored in disparate formats. Knowledge workers have long wanted to be able to search for content independent of format. WinFS allows the user to perform searches based on the metadata of the stored item, regardless of what type of file it is or which application created it.

        Being a GNU/Linux user with a light well-organised Gentoo system at home, I often wondered about statements like this. But in the last few year

    • What would be really interesting is for Microsoft to compare a desktop WinFS deployment use scenario to a system with NTFS with file indexing enabled.
    • Re:WinFS (Score:2, Funny)

      by XzeroR3 (774011)
      My google [google.com] partition works well.
    • It may be 'fine' as you see it; then again, searching my Windows box using the standard Windows search was also 'fine' until I started using tools like Google Desktop Search.

      As a developer, WinFS's usefulness is obvious: storing desktop application settings, configuration, temporary files, even serialized runtime objects, is a royal pain when having to worry about actual files on disk. You have to worry about asynchronous file I/O, duplicate files, making sure directories exist, making sure you clean up yo
      • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        As a developer, WinFS's usefulness is obvious: storing desktop application settings, configuration, temporary files, even serialized runtime objects, is a royal pain when having to worry about actual files on disk. You have to worry about asynchronous file I/O, duplicate files, making sure directories exist, making sure you clean up your temporary files, making sure the user or some other program hasn't royally screwed you configuration files, just to name a few. With a database-backed file system, the deve
        • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Informative)

          by Swamii (594522)
          While what you say mostly sounds good, let's see all of them in practice:

          The registry: hundred of applications forget to rmeove registry settings upon uninstall. Try running Norton System Works and running the registry cleanup editor; hundreds if not thousands of entries are reported as dead, and should've been cleaned up when the app was uninstalled.

          Temporary files: go into your temporary files directory and see the hundreds, if not thousands, of files and directories that are no longer in use, but eatin
    • NTFS Sucks (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sterno (16320)
      One major problem with NTFS is the fact that it's still prone to fragmenting. Every so often I have to run a defragmenter or my system just starts churning when I need to do any disk access. I've never had to do this on a Linux box becaue the filesystem is designed to avoid that.

      So, will WinFS finally get this figured out or are they just going to make something more complex and bug prone without fixing a fundamental design issue from their previous filesystem?
    • Re:WinFS (Score:3, Interesting)

      Answer one question: Why shouldn't your file system be a search engine? The file system is charged with organizing, protecting, and allowing access to the data stored "permanently" on your hard drive. It is only logical to want to make improvements to it to allow metadata and easier searching of the data.

      Whether WinFS can deliver that is another issue entirely, but I sure as hell don't see a problem with this type of improvement in file systems.

      Hell, why not go back to FAT? After all, why should your file
    • Ahahahaha. Let's review.

      1) Run a file search on Windows. Go get a coffee and then see the results. Realize that you can only search on basic attributes of the file, like name/dates/raw content.
      2) Run a file search on OS X. Click your heels twice and then see the results. Still, you're limited to some basic attributes.

      Some months (or years) from now...
      3) Run a file search on WinFS. In theory you get hits pretty damn quickly, if they ever finish this technology. I'm not sure yet what extra file info you'll
  • WinVapor (Score:5, Funny)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#11866766) Homepage Journal
    WinFS announcements are one of Microsoft's most popular products. Thanks for the upgrade!
    • Seriously (Score:3, Insightful)

      by bonch (38532)
      This is just a response to kill the buzz on Apple's Spotlight, which is actually shipping. When some competitor starts to make gains, Microsoft just lets loose that they're "working" on things sometime in the future to make the shareholders happy and to keep their name in the press.
  • Longhorn (Score:5, Interesting)

    by 0x461FAB0BD7D2 (812236) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:24PM (#11866767) Journal
    If everything will be back-ported to XP and Windows 2003, how does Microsoft plan to make any money off Longhorn, which has cost the company a lot in development time and money?

    Do they plan on back-porting the first versions of Avalon, Indigo and WinFS, and then providing feature updates to Longhorn only, forcing customers to update? Or is Longhorn really just XP SP3?
    • Re:Longhorn (Score:2, Funny)

      by jerichohol (821580)
      It will be probably XP SP6 by the time it is released.
    • Re:Longhorn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by rsborg (111459)
      If everything will be back-ported to XP and Windows 2003, how does Microsoft plan to make any money off Longhorn, which has cost the company a lot in development time and money?

      Simple... claim that Longhorn is *much* more secure (and actually deliver, by taking some advice and shutting off certain "features" in legacy windows). So if you *want* to keep using the insecure POS that is XP, sure go ahead... otherwise, pay up for Longhorn... oh, and btw, we have all these SW vendors that are releasing at the s

    • Re:Longhorn (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bfizzle (836992) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:34PM (#11866919)
      Maybe thats the point...?

      The more news I see about feature of Longhorn it makes me wonder if M$ is pushing more towards the subscription model of their OS. Having users upgrade XP to Longhorn rather then sell Long Horn straight out. Start watching ELUA of these "upgrades" you might find yourself stuck in a subscription service called "Longhorn"
    • Maybe it's all an elaborate ploy. Get people all hyped up for longhorn, and start eeking features back so more people buy it that way and the upgrades that get backported?

    • Re:Longhorn (Score:5, Funny)

      by Sheetrock (152993) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:34PM (#11866928) Homepage Journal
      Expect seamless integration of these features, as well as the best support options, to be available in Longhorn.

      We had Internet, 32-bit color, and multitasking in Windows 3.1, but no one seemed to complain about the jump to Windows 95 (especially because they didn't have to tinker with CONFIG.SYS/AUTOEXEC.BAT to get games working.) Similarly, while new advanced technologies may be available in XP for developers and power users to preview or even use it is no substitute for the successful integration and exploitation of these features at all levels of the operating system.

    • Re:Longhorn (Score:3, Insightful)

      by man_of_mr_e (217855)
      People don't just upgrade overnight. It's going to take longhorn several years to become as entrenched as XP now is. In fact, it probably won't be until the next version of Windows is about to be released that Longhorn may become the majority or Windows boxes.

      That means, if they want people to develop for WinFS, Avalon, Indigo, etc.. they best make it available for XP and 2003.

      My prediction is that Longhorn will be like Windows 2000. It will be adopted by the serious people, but most users will skip it
    • Re:Longhorn (Score:3, Informative)

      by Darth_Burrito (227272)
      Maybe the question to ask is how much money does microsoft make from the upgrade market versus how much they stand to make from being nice to their customer base. I imagine that very few people buy upgrades. As for organizations, I imagine that if an orgranization insists on having the latest windows software, they probably have some kind of licensing agreement that gives them "free" upgrades while simultaneously locking them into the agreement.

      For example, at Ohio State University, we recently went f
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:25PM (#11866788)

    It seems to me that every major component that Microsoft has promoted for Longhorn is eventually being backported to Windows XP. What's going to be new in Longhorn?

    • by loraksus (171574) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:44PM (#11867066) Homepage
      You'll find out in 2010.
    • The remaining functionality is called "fundamentals". Here's a link to an episode of The .NET Show [microsoft.com] that has a discussion of these "fundamentals". From the link:

      Longhorn "Fundamentals" is an important part of what we feel is part of the core experience of Longhorn. It includes User Experience, System Security, Application Deployment, System Manageability, as well as many other features and capabilities.

      Sounds perfectly nondescript to me, simply some buzzwords thrown together to give the impression of sta

    • I don't think that Microsoft is concerned about users wanting to upgrade Win XP and Server 2003.

      What Microsoft is concerned about, I think, is to evolve their product to remain competitive with the alternatives, such as Linux, so that the new desktop or server that someone buys, will run windows.

      The days when people upgraded the OS on their servers and desktops because a new version was out are over.

      So they don't need to motivate why a user should upgrade from XP to Longhorn, with the cost that that enta
    • According to Microsofts Tech Net [microsoft.com] (subsriber section only) MS has incorperated much Unix technology into it's new Longhorn OS.

      That said, most current applications won't run on it. However it does state there will be a program to emulate older versions of Windows to allow those applications to run. Crossover Office [codeweavers.com] anyone?
    • The name?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:25PM (#11866800)
    And now what reason do I have to upgrade to longhorn?

    Oh Wait
    1. Slower Performance. Why would I acctually want free system resources?
    2. DRM, Who doesn't want their rights managed by M$
    3. Spending More Money. Who doesn't want to give their money to M$, really?
  • by lbmouse (473316) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:26PM (#11866809) Homepage
    Frankie Avalon [history-of-rock.com] and The Indigo Girls? [indigogirls.com]
    • Microsoft has hired...Frankie Avalon and The Indigo Girls?

      Aww hell... I can see some marketing "genius" reading that and saying to themselves what a great launch party gag it would be to have performers with then same names as the code names for the products being launched. And I thought the Rolling Stones and "Start Me Up" was bad...

  • by Black Cardinal (19996) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:28PM (#11866835) Homepage
    After all, they probably want to give people an incentive to migrate their servers, but realize that servers with WinFS will be adopted more quickly if the large installed base of WinXP clients can work with it. But if Server 2003 can support it as well, then there goes one reason to migrate.
  • "Technology" (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hey (83763) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:29PM (#11866856) Journal
    Could we please stop using the word "technology" when "component" or "chunk o' software" would do fine. It's Microsoft speak.
    • Re:"Technology" (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sloppy (14984) *
      But a component or a chunk can suck. A "technology" never sucks. A "technology" can merely be improperly used or underused, or at worst, superceded by even newer "technology." And anyone can call bullshit on Microsoft crap, but if you call bullshit on anyone's "technology," you're a luddite.

      BTW, it's not just MS, but all of their kind. For example, some might debate the usefulness of hyperthreading, but no one would deny that "hyperthreading technology" is a neat thing.

  • by mcc (14761) <amcclure@purdue.edu> on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:34PM (#11866923) Homepage
    Depending on when this arrives, this could possibly be an attempt to take the wind out of the sails of Apple's Tiger release-- probably to arrive sometime before midyear-- which lists as one of its major selling points a new feature called "spotlight" [apple.com]. Spotlight is a system service that has been described as offering similar functionality to WinFS, but does it without filesystem changes. I don't know exactly how accurate this description is, of course, since though Microsoft seems to talk an awful lot about WinFS and talk about its hypothetical technical capabilities, they never seem to give specifics on exactly how it works for the end user and what it means for the end user...

    Of course, the above assumes Microsoft still actually cares about what Apple does, which isn't all that likely.
  • Standard?? (Score:5, Funny)

    by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@NospaM.gmail.com> on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:35PM (#11866937)
    I think that the most important Question here is ... is microsoft going to provide an specification for the fs?, and, in case they do, will it be licensed in a GPL-compatible way?
  • There's another File System structure Microsoft worked on: WebDAV. They built a couple of file management suites on it. It's gone, largely, nowhere.

    It's JUST enough to make the things that aren't supported a royal pain to implement. Dropping another filesystem in your OS just Must Always Work. Otherwise, no one will use it. We've got a Sharepoint Portal Server that sits largely idle because it didn;t have 100% backing from Microsoft.

    • WebDAV...It's gone, largely, nowhere.

      Mac OS X uses WebDav to mount iDisks. Tons of web developers use it in Dreamweaver.

      I don't know if that's exactly somewhere, but it surely isn't nowhere.
  • Apple releases Tiger with Spotlight
    MS adds WinFS to XP, says "Hey, we can do that too, you don't need to wait for Longhorn!"
  • Can't wait! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Ancient_Hacker (751168) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:38PM (#11866992)
    ooooh, o00000h, oooooooh! Can't wait.

    After seeing how completely incompetent and pants-wetting funny awful Microsoft is at file searching with the little doggie, I can't wait to experience having a few more unnecessary, superfluous, extravagant, and bloated layers HELPING me.

  • In other words.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by loraksus (171574) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:41PM (#11867027) Homepage
    Longhorn won't come out until 2010 or so, and Microsoft will be able to charge for "Windows 98^K^KXP Special Edition".
    Not a bad idea.
    If you have the ability to put off the release of another OS for years, you can save loads of money on development, but still have a steady income stream from copies bundled with computers (every dell, etc from 2001 to 2006, and those of us who had beta copies of windows 97 all know how the 2006 date will work) and the occasional consumer retail purchase.
    Look, I'm not saying that MS isn't innovating anything, but compared to everyone else, they move at a glacial pace.
    Since there really isn't any competition (and I use this word as "an OS that could hurt significantly MS financially", so please, no flames), they can sit back and release stuff whenever they feel like, but still have a pretty much guaranteed income stream.
    • by jay-be-em (664602)
      "Look, I'm not saying that MS isn't innovating anything, but compared to everyone else, they move at a glacial pace."

      Now I'm no Apple fanboy (debian fanboy) but it is pretty startling how much Apple has been able to accomplish in the last several years compared to Microsoft.

      A completely revamped, stable OS, the iTunes/iPod combination, Keynote, the entire iLife suite, a web browser, a new neat piece of hardware every year or so, a stable server os along with some nice SAN software, a quick X11 implementat
  • by pandrijeczko (588093) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:43PM (#11867058)
    ...what's the point of a search engine built into the filesystem? Surely it's just adding overhead for no reason if you don't need it.

    Yes, I'm a UNIX-type person but keeping files in a logical directory structure along with copious use of find and grep commands seems to be good enough on most of the systems I work on. I even use WinGrep on Windows for that level of text searching...

    The Registry is a database and definitely a weak point of Windows when it comes to resilience. NTFS seems to do a reasonable job of keeping the filesystem intact, why add a risk of introducing resilience problems into the filesystem by linking it to a database? Unless it's just a marketing ploy to sell you an MSSQL license at the same time.

    Whatever anyone says about UNIX/Linux, the concept of keeping operating system tools simple and doing a good job of one specific task has allowed it to earn the stability and resilience reputation. Sure, you've got to spend time shell-scripting to unleash its full power but that's half the fun of it.

    I'd love someone to give me a definitive answer as to why the concept of WinFS is so good - I genuinely don't understand all the hoohah about it.

    • by SuiteSisterMary (123932) <slebrunNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:48PM (#11867117) Journal

      I think it's good for all the same reasons that BeOS's metadata filesystem was good; the more metadata you can take out of the file format and put into the file descriptors, the better.

    • by Swamii (594522) on Monday March 07, 2005 @02:17PM (#11867481) Homepage
      what's the point of a search engine built into the filesystem? ... keeping files in a logical directory structure along with copious use of find and grep commands seems to be good enough.

      Here is a fundamental basic of what's wrong with Linux:

      Developer: "I use grope, pully, xtract, gunit, and other nonsensical named 3rd party tools AND I organize my files in a logical directory structure, which gives me everything I need!

      User: "Where is my Word Document?"
    • Yes, I'm a UNIX-type person but keeping files in a logical directory structure along with copious use of find and grep commands seems to be good enough on most of the systems I work on.


      You should really check into 'locate'. I pretty much forgot how to use 'find' after discovering it.

  • by idlake (850372) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:51PM (#11867148)
    Linux already has the technologies that comprise WinFS: generic metadata (e.g., ReiserFS 4), file alternation monitoring (e.g., FAM, dnotify), and higher level functionality being built on it (e.g., rlocate, Beagle, Dashboard, etc.).

    Which of these "stick" on the Linux platform in the end will be decided by users. I think indexing and search will be popular, but more complex metadata schemes won't be.

    It beats me why it is taking Microsoft so long to get their act together on this one.
  • Logical move (Score:5, Interesting)

    by DeepDarkSky (111382) on Monday March 07, 2005 @01:51PM (#11867149)
    Getting WinFS out there means they can work out more kinks before release of Longhorn and at the same time provide the "benefits" of WinFS to people earlier. Separating out key pieces of the OS is always good for the still changing OS. Similar to the Linux/UNIX FSes, after all. This will make the transition to Longhorn "smoother".

  • by Mustang Matt (133426) on Monday March 07, 2005 @02:33PM (#11867646)
    Can someone give me the short answer as to why we can't support filesystems like ext3 or reiser under windows?

    I imagine the problem is that it can't plug in to the windows kernel well enough but I'm still curious. Seems like it would be a really neat idea if it were possible.
  • by jay-be-em (664602) on Monday March 07, 2005 @03:06PM (#11868041) Homepage
    I think the traditional concept of a filesystem with data organized within directories is beginning to show its age.

    Why bolt on things like DB functionality and version control features (this is coming eventually...) to a traditional filesystem model when these features fit neatly with the concept of a more generalized persistent object store system?
  • by raider_red (156642) on Monday March 07, 2005 @03:32PM (#11868320) Journal
    So is this the new development plan for Longhorn? Rolling it out in chunks instead of one coherent release?

    It kind of makes sense to me. This way, they'll have some field testing of the key technologies and they'll be able to use the longer development cycle to work out more bugs.
  • by shoptroll (544006) on Monday March 07, 2005 @04:45PM (#11869247)
    Wasn't this announced a long time ago? I swear there was an article several months to a year ago, stating that MS was abandoning the WinFS and 3D-Windowing features of Longhorn in order to get it out sooner. There was talk of integrating it into XP at some point instead of holding it off until Longhorn was done, since LH's release date kept being shifted back. There was some other features they were moving to XP too I think.

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