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Saturday, September 24th, 2005, 2:52 pm

Vista Re-built From Scratch

Longhorn beta
Longhorn beta – recent screenshot

MANY must have wondered why the latest version of Windows, namely Windows XP, dates back to the end of 2001. Moreover, one might ask, why has it been so fragile and susceptible to attacks? Service packs were merely a plaster that covered up a variety of loopholes. Monthly security patches did not help credibility either.

Longhorn

Spherical desktop – experimental demo

It turns out that Windows is a collection of component stitched together rather poorly. A Wall Street Journal article reveals that Windows Vista had to be re-built in a simplified manner, some would say “from scratch”. The name of that article, quite surprisingly and yet not out of the ordinary, is “Battling Google, Microsoft Changes How It Builds Software“. As mentioned earlier today, Microsoft surely recognise Google and respect their status as the main rivals. On the contrary, Microsoft CEO still refuses to openly express fears due to Linux. From the WSJ:

REDMOND, Wash. — Jim Allchin, a senior Microsoft Corp. executive, walked into Bill Gates’s office here one day in July last year to deliver a bombshell about the next generation of Microsoft Windows.

“It’s not going to work,” Mr. Allchin says he told the Microsoft chairman. The new version, code-named Longhorn, was so complex its writers would never be able to make it run properly.

The news got even worse: Longhorn was irredeemable because Microsoft engineers were building it just as they had always built software. Throughout its history, Microsoft had let thousands of programmers each produce their own piece of computer code, then stitched it together into one sprawling program. Now, Mr. Allchin argued, the jig was up. Microsoft needed to start over.

Related Vista/Longhorn items:

Update: a more profound article on the subject appeared in The Register the following day.

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