Longhorn Reloaded R.I.P

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Were you one of the many, and the chances are that being a reader of Inside Edge dumps you squarely into the informed geek category (and there really is no offense meant in that remark, says a fellow informed geek), who mourned the passing of promised core parts of Longhorn such as WinFS when Vista finally emerged?

If you shed a tear then, perhaps you might want to get the big box of tissues out again. This is not going to be a good news day for you.

It has come to my attention that attempts to revive a version of Vista, complete with WinFS, have been shot through the head by the Microsoft legal machine.

It should come as no real surprise that the Longhorn Reloaded project is officially dead. “To put the projects aims simply, we aim to finish off what Microsoft started before the operating system was canceled. It is a modification of Windows 6.0.4074, which was originally released during the 2004 Windows Hardware Engineers Conference” says the project blurb. It was doomed to failure from the get go.

Did anyone seriously think that Microsoft would allow an early Vista Beta to be promoted, distributed and lauded?

Of course not.

Doesn’t stop me from applauding the effort to take this build and build upon though, not least because it would have been nothing short of a miracle if the Longhorn Reloaded project could succeed given that it had no access to the Microsoft source code.

It didn’t stop 25000 knowledgeable nerds from downloading the Milestone 1 release either.

So why am I writing about this, why do I even care? Because, friends, I do actually care about the future of the Windows OS as surprising as that might sound to those of you who have read myriad slagging posts of mine over the years. Removing WinFS from Vista was, in my not at all humble opinion, one of the biggest mistakes Microsoft has made with regard to OS development. Forget the fact that it looks likely to be available at some point in some form as an add-on for SQL Server, it’s the fact that it is not going to be integrated into the Windows OS development tree that sucks elephants through a straw.

25000 people are like a spit in the sea to Microsoft, but I have this admittedly forlorn hope that perhaps it could spike a revolt amongst the Redmond Campus Nerds Association who might just slip WinFS back in unnoticed as part of a forthcoming Windows Update…