by havoc

I realized today that all the talk about Longhorn is “look how cool
the technology is” – Avalon, XAML, WinFS, blah blah. This includes the
noise coming from Microsoft. There is some small amount of Aero
user experience
info, but most of it describes building blocks – a
sidebar that can hold tiles, a notification feature, WinFS. The user
functionality shown for WinFS is not that exciting; search, sort, and
filter. Yay.

People seem to be saying “here’s a ton of code – imagine the
user experience possibilities!” but not really talking about any
specific concrete enhancements the OS will include. How do real user
tasks get better: calendars, email, document collaboration,
whiteboarding, etc.? How does this thing help me get my work done?
If I’m not a developer, why should I care about Longhorn?

I don’t doubt that Microsoft has some ideas, but I think it’s
interesting that they aren’t talking about the OS in these terms.
Am I just missing the relevant information?
The Longhorn
home page
links to a bunch of developer stuff.

More importantly, why is GNOME talking about Longhorn on Microsoft’s
terms? We’ve been talking about “competing with Longhorn” in terms of
matching all the technical gizmos. But shouldn’t we instead be talking
about the most expedient way to get similar user experience
enhancements? Our desktop offers similar functionality to Windows XP
today, but is implemented completely differently. But for Longhorn,
we’re talking about competing with the implementation before we even
know the functionality.

I’m sure everyone will agree with the principle that we should plan
the Linux desktop by starting with what we want users to be able to
do, and ending with how to implement it. But in thinking about
Longhorn, at least I haven’t been doing that.

(This post was originally found at http://log.ometer.com/2004-04.html#20)

My Twitter account is @havocp.
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