Interesting Article on what Apple-heads Say is Wrong with Longhorn

July 2, 2005
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While I don’t agree with much of what they say, especially that MS code is poorly written and buggy; I am convinced that MS has lost their way with what the story around Longhorn really is.  They announced so many interesting ideas in Longhorn that have been either dropped (WinFS, Monad) or moved it to pre-longhorn (Indigo, Avalon, Aero), that they have lost the momentum story.

The funny thing is that I don’t think Apple or Linux have an opportunity here (unlike what the article perports).  I think Windows real competition in the next round is with Windows XP/2003.  People just won’t move because Microsoft wants them to.  XP is a solid OS (unlike 9x or even 2000).  I cannot imagine that unless there is a real story here around Longhorn (and they get it right *not*, not when the public beta arrives), many people will move.  Unfortunately, I think Ballmer is betting the company on Longhorn’s success.

Lastly, I’d like to hear from Microsoft on which direction Longhorn is headed:

  • Replacing the Win32 with a .NET API; or…
  • New Hardware Model that will lower driver crashes.

I can’t imagine they can do both, and I suspect the promise of the .NET API is dead.  Too bad.  We will still be stuck with Win32 legacy for too long.  Avalon might help this, but until we see a real designer that can help replace WindowsForms, VB and a ton of older RAD tools…I am not convinced.  Essentially Win32 was a maturation of Win16.  There are a lot of hold-overs from Win16 that still plague us.  We now have coolbars, gradient titlebars and other niceties, but it is still basically Win16 designs.  Avalon promises a new model where we can actually innovate…hopefully.

What do you think?