Wednesday, November 19, 2003

More Longhorn speculation 

So what about Longhorn?
Yesterday's post on Longhorn got a fair number of reactions. Most of the folks who left comments were indignant Macintosh users. I agree that today Mac OS X is probably a superior operating system to Windows XP. That's one of the reasons that I asked for a Mac OS X machine as my official OSAF box. I wasn't talking about today. I was talking about tomorrow.
It's not about Mac vs Longhorn or Linux vs Longhorn
I have to say that I am impressed by the vision for Longhorn. It's not going to get us the Knowledge Navigator (sorry Scoble). I'm impressed with Microsoft's willingness to make such a risky play. Rewriting a huge amount of system functionality with new APIs in managed code is fairly risky. But if they succeed, they are going to end up with an environment that will be pretty nice to program in, and there'll be some cool features in there. Once they get everything into managed code, people working in predominantly unmanaged environments are going to be hard pressed to keep up. To me the real question isn't about Microsoft and Longhorn, it's about the alternative platforms, Linux and the Macintosh. The Macintosh is tough because Apple is basically saying "hey, just trust us to keep doing cool stuff". And they are doing cool stuff, there's a lot of nice stuff in Mac OS X. But let's be honest, most of this stuff is just NextStep dressed up a little bit nicer. We still have C/Objective-C/C++ at the core. We need more than that. Linux is even worse off. Now I love Linux, but when I compare the Longhorn story with the Linux story, I get scared. Look at things like this. Operating system kernels are commodity software. The interesting stuff is moving up the food chain.

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