Microsoft (MS) just announced the beta release of an assortment of operating
systems (OS), tools and programs that intend to elevate user experience and
productivity when using the next version of its operating systems and programs.
- beta 1 of its long awaited next Windows version, initially called Longhorn
and now named “Vista”, has already been made available to beta
testers as an early feature-inspection package,
- beta 1 of Internet Explorer 7.0 is currently being offered as part
of the Vista beta 1 release and also as an add-on for Windows XP SP2 installations,
- betas of the new server family of operating systems (still code-named
Longhorn) are also expected to be simultaneously available for inspection,
- among all these, service pack (SP) 2 for the Windows 2003 series of OS’s
has also been scheduled for release. It is now called Windows 2003 Release
2 (R 2) and also includes 3 new feature packs as well, something justifying
the renaming of SP 2 to R 2.
All these releases are currently offered only to official MS beta testers
and MSDN subscribers. Some of them will possibly be also available, later,
Although most of these new offerings will not be ready for official release
before one and a half to two and a half years by now, they already get a
lot of attention through the online publication press.
- The new Windows OS Vista is intended to replace the Windows XP line of
products. It is expected to include both the code-named Avalon and Indigo technologies.
The first is related to vector-graphics presentation through common monitors
(in the way NEXT did 10-15 years ago). The second builds upon the NET MS web
services initiative and is expected to promote interoperability and ease of
Many new security features are included in the new OS, the part of which that
is viewable by the end-user includes an enhanced firewall for blocking also
outbound PC traffic, in the way Kerio, Norton Anti Virus and other programs
already do today.
Many users are aware of the 3 in 1 OS CD versions circulating the web. The
good news is that MS is embarking this “technology” itself as
a way of cutting off medium cost when releasing multiple versions of a program
with overlapping data content.
Most other reported enhancements are among those to be expected from a company
with the tracking record of Microsoft on which all of us rely on for easing
our day to day tasks.
- The IE 7.0 beta 1 is expected to offer dynamic security and malware
protection, as well as full control over installed and activated add-ons.
It offers tabbed
browsing in the way competing browsers already do. Inline search gets more “democratic”,
as search engines other than MSN (like Google) are now pre-included.
Users will also be able to easily locate and read RSS feeds and bloggs, similar
to how users of other browsers (like Opera and Mozilla) already enjoy.
- The Windows R2 beta currently seems to users more of a nuisance than
a performance enhancement, as it requires SP 1 installation, unlike other
windows service packs.
Two are the most important of all these announcements related to end-users.
- First is the inclusion of a vector graphics engine (Avalon) as a presentation
layer for all next versions of windows, as well as some of the latest existing
versions. (It seems now is a good moment for anyone to extend his portfolio
buying graphics chip-makers stock!)
- The other is the inherent windows support for the new Trusted Platform Module
(TPM) 1.2 hardware chip set.
By using a constant through time kernel memory to PC processor two-way association,
certain OS functions cannot be performed (decoded) in case this relation breaks.
Establishing this relation early enough during OS boot, certain parts of the
OS itself will not be exposable for debugging and can thus be used for defining
a safe medium for distributing copy-protected material, as that of the forthcoming
holywood high-definition DVD distributions.
It seems that Bill Gates dreams for making windows the premium platform for
entertainment playback, despite some recent EC setbacks, is now closest to
fulfillment than ever.
Below you can see a couple of screenshots of the updated Vista user interface.